Love Never Fails

Love Never Fails

The most stunning wedding pictures.
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Just a few years ago Homs, Syria was a flourishing city of approximately 1 million people. Today, much of the city lies in ruins due to the civil war that continues to rage between the Syrian government and the rebel forces. Despite the destruction and violence that has ripped lives apart and resulted in a refugee crisis, one couple and their photographer wanted to demonstrate how “life is stronger than death,” the Washington Post reported. Hassan Youssef and Nada Merhi, along with their photographer Jafar Meray, went to Homs to take their wedding pictures. With the hollowed out buildings as the backdrop, Hassan and Nada’s romantic pictures were stunningly beautiful because they showed that love never fails. Radical extremists have wreaked havoc, forced people to leave their homes, torn families apart, and shattered hopes and dreams. By capturing resilience and undying love in this couple that has risen from the ashes of this brutal war, photographer Jafar sent a message that violence and hate will not drown out the power of love.

Another amazing reality that Jafar was able to show in Hassan and Nada’s wedding pictures is that love perseveres. Seeing the buildings falling apart in the background make it evident that rebuilding Homs will take decades. In the photos, Hassan wore his military uniform, showing the viewers that this war is not over and there is still fighting to be done. Amidst piles of rubble and overgrown weeds, Nada’s white dress stood out like a light in the dark. Using Homs as their backdrop, it was like the couple was saying: “This is our story. We’ve seen horrific things and stared death in the eyes many times. But we’re not going to let the hate of others ruin what we have for each other.”
What Jafar captured in Hassan and Nada’s wedding pictures was so much more than just two people who fell in love. The pictures represent a nation that has faced atrocity after atrocity over the last several years with no real end in site. Once stable citizens have been forced to leave their lives behind and go try to make a new one in a foreign land. Homs is only a “shell of its former self,” as stated in the Huffington Post. The city will truly never be the same and the people who lived there may never fully rebuild their lives. But seeing Hassan and Nada’s wedding pictures taken in this ruined city demonstrates that there is hope for the future because love never fails.

Cover Image Credit: Jafar Meray

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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4 Reasons Why Men Should Not Be Making Laws About Women's Bodies

Why do men get to decide if women have a choice?

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Everyone is so quick to judge, especially Christians. Going forward, I'd like to make a point. As Tomi Lahren wrote in a Twitter post on May 16, 2019: "You're not God so don't you dare evaluate my faith based on your moral superiority complex." In more words, judging someone is a sin, and each sin is seen as the same in God's eyes. Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death..."

There is no specification as to which sin wages as the worst, so before you are so quick to judge, remember we are all seen as the same in God's eyes.

1. Men cannot become pregnant

"Men cannot become pregnant." They have no idea what it is like to be pregnant and to co-exist for an entire 9 months.

2. Men say things like... 

"Rape is kinda like the weather. If it's inevitable, relax and enjoy it." — Clayton Williams, TX Rep.

"If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that thing down." — Todd Akin, MO Rep.

"Rape victims should make the best of a bad situation." — Rick Santorum, PA Rep.

"If a woman has the right to abortion, why shouldn't a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist's pursuit of sexual freedom doesn't (in most cases) result in anyone's death." - Lawrence Lockman, ME Rep.

3. Men do not get their rights taken away by female politicians 

I'm sure there are things men go through that women couldn't imagine. But we don't judge them about whatever those things may be. Most women are advocates for men and their health. They acknowledge statistics about men, their mental health, and their physical health. We would never want to force men to get (what most of the media is buzzing about) a vasectomy until marriage. That isn't right, and no one would ever consider doing something that radical because ironically enough, it isn't right to tell someone else what to do with their body.

4. Men are men, politicians are politicians, and that doesn't mean they have the appropriate education to make decisions like this 

Some men are rather educated on women and their bodies. On the other hand, there are thousands of men, even men that are in the public eye all the time, that are not educated on women and women's health. They are politicians, they want to win, they want to manipulate, and they will use every single tool that they can to get to the top. Most of the men signing these bills into place have no credibility when it comes to women's health.

At the end of the day, this list could be so long that it would take hours to read. But, it shouldn't have to be. If a man isn't educated and credible enough, he shouldn't be making laws. Women's bodies aren't a playground to see who can go the furthest on the monkey bars. We must put a stop to this. We have to educate our youth. Most of all, we have to put these manipulative politicians in their place.

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