Reading is one of the most beautiful pastimes. You can live a thousand lives, in a thousand different places and meet a thousand different people within the pages of a book. However, there are many things that comprise the experience of being a book lover. Many of us have encountered these scenarios multiple times.
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Also entitled, "The Day I Stopped Believing In God"
I had just walked across the street from the soccer field back to the school. I turned around and saw the cars rushing, passing each other, going fast over the crosswalk where I had been moments earlier. “It would be so easy to jump in front of one of them,” I thought, looking at the cars. “I could jump, and this life that I’m stuck in would be over.”
I didn’t jump that day in 8th grade, but as I walked back to the locker room to change, I reflected on the state of my life. I hated every minute of life, and no one seemed to notice or care. I had always been told there was a God and that He cared about me, but I sure didn’t seem to see it. And that day was the day I stopped believing in God.
Today, I am a strong Christian, and I have seen God work in my life and through others around me. My faith is one of the most important things to me, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without it.
But I haven’t always been this way. It’s not easy to talk about either. I’ve been raised in the church my whole life. I couldn’t outright abandon it. So I didn’t tell many people, if any, that I had stopped believing in God. Even when my parents read this, it will be the first time they hear it. But I feel like this is something we need to talk about.
So let’s talk about it.
Words about God are heavy. The God I had heard about created people who He knew would die without Him, and sent them off to hell without so much as a second thought.
The God I kept hearing about would put people through hard times, but nothing more than they could handle. When I’m sitting in my room alone at night, crying because the world seems to be coming down at me, it sure seems to be more than I can handle.
How do I sing about the goodness of a God who did not seem to care about me? A God who left me floundering around in the confusion of life with no help?
I couldn’t do it anymore. If I was surrounded by people who followed God, and this was how they acted, the final straw snapped, and I wanted nothing to do with God.
Eventually, I came back, believing in God, even though it sometimes made no sense. The cry of the man in Mark 9:24 became my daily mantra: “Help my unbelief.” I crawled back from agnosticism, knees bloody and hands torn.
When I look back on that time in my life, I realize that my agnosticism was a blessing in disguise. That the God I had believed in before was a monster, undeserving of my praise and love.
I’m so glad I stopped believing in that monster. And I’m so glad that monster wasn’t real.
What I had thought was the end of my faith was really only the beginning.
When I stopped believing in God, I found Jesus. And in Jesus, I saw a clearer picture of God than I ever had before.
In Jesus, I met the God I had been so angry at and afraid of. I met Him and saw His love for me and His love for all those He created.
In losing my childhood religion, I found my faith and it changed my life.
No matter how many times I tried to leave Christ, His gospel pulled me back, calling to me with it’s story of restoration and forgiveness. The gospel calls to me, and I cannot ignore it. I have found it in the most unlikely of places, and in ways that no one would expect. The reality of the gospel has changed my life, and I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.
One does not simply pass this article.
College as told by the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit memes. Everyone will be Tolkien about it.
1. First day...or any day of the week really.
3. Getting ready in the morning.
4. Walking to class.
5. Math class
8. Working with your computer.
9. Food...better if it's free
10. School, work, social life, trying to survive.
11. Being in college...and being broke.
12. Trying to stay healthy.
13. Hanging in your room.
15. FINALS (...I've got plenty)
16. Celebrating with friends.
17. Semester breaks...
20. After college...
The end! Have a great semester!
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, I’d like to share a few thoughts about being Hispanic in a country where it’s hard to be Hispanic.
Just a little background information; my dad was born in Mexico, came to the U.S. as a newborn and became a citizen when he was 25 years old. My mom was born and raised in the U.S. as were my grandparents and great grandparents, but my great-great grandparents did migrate here from Mexico. I am proud to classify myself as Hispanic but there are times when I feel like I’m living a double life and I don’t fit into either one.
I was raised in a Mexican-American household where I was taught to speak both Spanish and English but once I started elementary school, I lost my ability to speak Spanish altogether. I understand a fair amount of Spanish now but it’s still difficult for me to hold a conversation without stumbling over my words. It didn’t help that the elementary school I went to was majority Caucasian because then I started acted more American than Mexican. All of my little friends had pretty blonde hair and fair skin and I always wondered if things would have been different if I had childhood friends with long brown hair and tan skin like mine.
I thought my situation was unique but talking among my peers, so many of them also struggle to fit into both the American and Mexican lifestyle. I’ve realized that a good reason for this sense of isolation has a lot to do with not feeling good enough for either culture.
One of my favorite movies "Selena" (1997) written by Gregory Nava, includes dialogue that perfectly describes this issue of being Mexican-American and trying to please both cultures. Nava’s script includes a scene where the character Abraham Quintanilla (Selena’s father) is trying to have a very real conversation with his kids and what he says is spot on, "And we gotta prove to the Mexicans how Mexican we are, and we gotta prove to the Americans how American we are, we gotta be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans, both at the same time. It's exhausting. Damn. Nobody knows how tough it is to be a Mexican American."
No one is ever pleased.
I chose to attend Cal State Long Beach because it is known to have a larger diversity of students and that is most definitely true but there is still this weird sense of cultural loneliness.
My first year in the dorms, there were hardly any other Hispanics around so I always felt out of place even though the friends I made were all very welcoming. There’s just something about meeting people with a similar background to yours that makes you feel connected. When I’m around my non-Hispanic friends, I speak English, eat wherever they want to eat even though I’m really craving my grandma's menudo and we only talk about topics that they’re familiar with like our favorite TV shows, celebrity drama, memes, etc.
When I’m with my family or with other Hispanics, I can understand if they have something to say in Spanish, we can talk for hours about the remarks Donald Trump has said about us, and we can all appreciate authentic home-cooked Mexican food.
Now what happens when these two worlds collide? I’ll tell you a little story about my most recent experience…
I love the Mexican culture I come from which is why I wanted to be part of clubs on my campus that celebrated Latino/Hispanic heritage. I am a member of The National Association of Hispanic Journalists and also the Latino Student Union. Both are amazing organizations and I am so happy to be a part of them but there are times when I don’t feel I am “Mexican enough” because my Spanish isn’t the best. Yes, I love being Hispanic but I never realized that wouldn’t be enough and that terrified me. Thankfully, everyone is so accepting despise my level of Spanish but It’s me who feels I cannot fully embrace my culture if I cannot speak the language.
If you’re going through a situation similar to mine and are also asking yourself “Where do I fit in if I’m exactly in-between two cultures?”, just know that knowledge is power. The more you know about where you come from, the more you will feel connected to your roots. Call your grandparents and ask them about a historical event they will never forget.
When your mom’s cooking a recipe she learned from her mom who learned from her mom, let her teach you. Learn all that you can about what your family went through to get you to where you are now so that when you do feel lost, you will always be reminded that you are exactly where you belong.
It's not you, it's me.
Dear College Football,
Hello. It’s me. As you know, our relationship with each other is something I cherish very much. We have laughed together, cried together, and made some unbelievable memories. I can even remember the first time we met and I heard your roar consume the air. You were my first love and I appreciate everything you have done for me.
I have to get some things off my chest, so I wrote you a letter to better express how I feel. We haven’t seen each other in a week and it's starting to affect me. It's not like us at all to go this long being apart.
Because I have not heard from you since last Monday, I feel it is appropriate that we take a break. It does not have to be a long break, but I think we can agree it would do us both some good. We can both use this time to focus on some other things and make sure we have our priorities in order.
I myself will spend the time we are apart focusing on my grades. I am not blaming you, but there is an odd pattern I have noticed, and it seems that my grades are lower when our time is spent together. Again, not blaming you, but that correlation of lower grades and our relationship is a little too coincidental.
While we are on a break I can also start that workout regimen I have been trying to get into. Whenever I am off for the weekend and I want to get out of the house to get some exercise, all you do is pull me back inside and force me to sit on the couch and do nothing. What we have is special, but this break we are taking will be good for me, and my health, as well.
My bank account will be grateful of this break, too, because (and I hate to say it) you are expensive. I can take this time to work on raising funds for when we decide to give this another shot. For both our sakes, you know next time will be way more enjoyable if I have more money to spend on us. Let me save up some money and I promise we will use it for more great moments together.
I love what we have and what our relationship is about, but you really do need to accept that we are taking a break. I can promise you right now we will be together again, but in order for that to work, this break has to happen.
Know that I will miss you every day as I work to focus on other things for now. I am doing this for you, but more importantly I am doing it for us. I’ll see you soon.
In Louisiana and many other states, it is important to have a hurricane plan
With hurricane season, it's always best to be prepared for it. It means having a plan for your family and home. Everyone in Louisiana should know the basics of preparing for hurricane season.
Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.Put together a disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate.If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads. Make a family emergency communication plan. Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications.To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”
Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe. Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property. Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors. Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlets.Consider building a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter designed for protection from high-winds and in locations above flooding levels.
Listen to local officials for updates and instructions. Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media. Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe. Watch out for debris and downed power lines. Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away. Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away. Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim. Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.
If you need any more information for preparing for a hurricane, please go to https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes for help. The website will tell you what to do.
1. Brittany Morgan, National Writer's Society
2. Radhi, SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign