Essay on War and Violence–Honors Program Essay

The topic of war and violence is very delicate.  Many people will say they do not like the idea of war, but it is a necessary thing.  As a people, we have the right to protect ourselves.  But where is the line drawn?  Who dictates when, where, and for how long we should go to war? What about violence? In the world, there are many forms of violence other than sending troops with guns to fight another country’s troops and guns.  We have bullying, robberies, rape, and anything else that physically or mentally harms another human being.
Stanley Hauerwas said after September 11, 2001,  “America is a country that lives off the moral capital of our wars. War names the time we send the youth to kill and die (maybe) in an effort to assure ourselves the lives we lead are worthy of such sacrifices.” America is extremely proud of our military and the sacrifices they make.  This in itself is not a bad thing, but war seems to be idolized. When violent acts are put on pedestals and become more important than living, this becomes a problem.
America responded to the 9/11 attack by sending soldiers overseas for the self-defense of our country.  But after eleven years, there is no point in maintaining that station.  We should have left the Middle East a long time ago because America’s self defense is not a problem any more.  With any form of retaliation, it is inevitable that innocent people will be hurt.  Though it is a long quote, the words from the 1995 film The American President are very relevant to this subject, “…Somewhere in Libya right now, a janitor’s working the night shift at Libyan Intelligence headquarters…He’s just going about his job, because he has no idea that about an hour ago I gave an order to have him killed. You’ve just seen me do the least presidential thing I do.”  Michael Douglas’s character sees the consequences of retaliation.  He knows innocent people are going to die because of his choice to defend the country.  Sometimes this is a necessary risk.  Is it worth the life of one person or small group to save many more people?
On a smaller scale, the issue of violence is the root of what war is.  Young children are exposed to violent images through television, video games, comic books, home lives, or through other children. While knowing what violence is does not instantly mean the child will grow up to be an angry adult, but they must be taught how to handle violence if they are to control it.  This is what is wrong with the world. Many young people are brought up surrounded by violence as a natural thing and have no moral compass towards it. This leads to bullying in school, other public places, or on the internet.  This leads to bigger crimes like robberies, manslaughter, rape, etc.  How easy would it be to teach children how to handle anger and control it before it turns violent? As they become adults it would benefit the world to have the knowledge of self-restraint as opposed to solving every strife with pain.
In Patrick Henry’s famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech from 1775, he remarks that to be free we must fight.  We cannot be handed our freedom as a country without working for it. This goes with anything.  Sometimes we must use self defense in order to free ourselves from a situation, we go to war to save our country’s rights.  If we do this, we have to realize when to retreat, when to pull out our troops.  When war or violence is no longer doing any good, we have to know when enough is enough. 

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Essay on Poverty–Honors Program Essay

Poverty is everywhere whether we care to admit it or not.  People who are less fortunate are not only a local problem, but a global problem as well. Every country in every part of the world has to deal with the poor.  The topic has been widely debated since Bible times and will continue to be a topic we discuss as long as humans exist. Jesus himself was not “wealthy” and spoke mostly to the poor, in fact, he lived among them.  Why don’t Christians do the same? We seem to have a problem helping the issue of poverty for longer than necessary to make ourselves look good instead of trying to find a permanent solution instead.
In the transcript from the National Prayer Breakfast we read, Bono says, “We like to give, and we give a lot, even those who can’t afford it. But justice is a higher standard. Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice; it makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties, it doubts our concern, it questions our commitment.” Though many Christians do mission work or give to certain organizations, the majority rarely does more than the yearly mission trip to Mexico.  If those same people would spend the rest of the year working in other ways to help the issue of global poverty, how much better could our world be? If we helped get rid of the dangers in other countries and began bringing in job opportunities for the people, the entire world would benefit from it, and poverty would decrease.
The Sojourners article mentions our mindset of having “deserving poor”, “working poor”, and the kind of poor who we consider lazy.  I am guilty of seeing people who I place in the last of those categories, because I believe that there are jobs for everyone in America who wants one.  It may not be something you enjoy, but that is no excuse to be given government money for nothing.  Though, like we said in class, most of us have been given money through scholarships or other grants. The difference in my mind is that most people who receive these “handouts” so to speak are going to college to further their lives for the better, and in turn benefitting their community and the world.  America is the land of opportunity, thus almost everyone is capable of making something of themselves.  There are some special situations where it is physically or mentally impossible for someone to work, and in those situations, we should band together and help take care of those people.
I think organizations that help the less fortunate in other countries are amazing.  It has been something I have been considering for a long time the idea of sponsoring a child in another part of the world. Children, especially orphans, are some that need help the most.  Children cannot go out and get a job to feed themselves, but if they are supported by someone better off than them that wants them to succeed in life, that child will have a better chance of getting out of such poverty and pay that kindness forward in the future.
Poverty is not an easy topic for me.  I have lived in what I would consider for my life to be misfortunate, but I have never lived in what would be defined poverty. I cannot understand what it means to not have a place to sleep, or to have nothing to eat. My mother has never allowed my sister or I to say we are “starving” because that has never been true. But there are people who are starving every day. Poverty is a very real issue, and most take for granted how much they have when some will never know what it feels like to have that much.

Essay on Evil–Honors Program Essay

I believe that evil is an uncontrollable force.   Humans cannot defeat evil or control what we define “evil” as.  We have a view of superheroes who put an end to an evil villain by the end of the movie or comic book, but this is not the real world. Captain America and the rest of the Avengers are not there to save us from villains from another planet and Batman is not there to control murder in the streets.  What we can do is whether or not we choose to act in an immoral, evil, opposite of good way.  Evil will always exist until God comes to defeat Satan once and for all. Until then, in the words of Mr. Incredible from Pixar’s The Incredibles, “No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again.”  But there are different forms of evil; some forms of evil are small and it is a choice to commit them, while some are larger and uncontrollable. Free will is a real benefit to humanity, though there are still situations that will forever be out of our control.
Think back to the Ten Commandments back in Exodus. They tell us not to lie, steal, covet, murder, have other gods, etc.  Doing any of those things is evil.  But we have the free will to choose whether or not we break those laws and commit evil sin.  God has given us the power to make our own life choices that we must keep on track.  Like the quote from Uncle Ben in Spider-Man, “With great power comes great responsibility,” we are responsible for our actions.  We are not pre-destined to make certain choices—we are not a little girl’s Barbie dolls being forced to play in our dream houses. We have free will.
Human nature is full of evil.  From a young age we are selfish, yanking away our crayons from other preschoolers, but we are taught to overcome that. When we become older, we are faced with new forks in the road.  Do we lie to our parents? Do we cheat on tests?  We make a conscious choice to commit any kind of deceitfulness in our lives.  Some people murder, taking a life away from another like preschoolers take crayons.  Some are adulterous.  All of these examples are choices humans make that are forms of evil.  Though our lives are not pre-destined, everything happens for a reason, we just have the choice which path we will take.
For some people, like myself, the feeling of unrequited love or the feeling that not a single person believes your feelings are sincere is a very real, though unconventional evil.  A father dying of cancer is evil in the mind of a son or daughter. Natural disasters are evil to the towns destroyed.  These “evils” are unavoidable, and unexplainable to those hurt by it.  But did God not create everything for a purpose? Even the most horrible situations can be used for good in the end if God wills it.
“Now that we know who you are… I know who I am. I’m not a mistake! It all makes sense. In a comic, you know how you can tell who the arch-villain’s going to be? He’s the exact opposite of the hero, and most time’s they’re friends, like you and me,” says Samuel L. Jackson’s character in the movie Unbreakable.  I believe that for there to be good, there must also be evil.  Opposites keep the world balanced. Opposites attract and give us the opportunity to choose our path in life. Whether we choose to make good choices or evil choices, our lives are completely ours to be responsible for. Until Jesus, the ultimate superhero returns to conquer evil forever, what choice will you make? The hero? Or the villain?

Essay on Authority–Honors Program Essay

            Authority is something we have been taught from a young age to respect.  We should respect the authority of our parents, teachers, bosses, the government, etc.  But as we get older, sometimes we begin to think that they should begin respecting us as well.  Like Martin Luther King Jr. says in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Just because someone has power doesn’t mean that they are respected by those below them.  When is it okay to express civil disobedience toward those examples of authority, and when is it okay to sit back and let them do their jobs without being questioned?
            We are brought up with our parents being in authority over us.  We do what we are told, “because I said so.”  But after a few years of this, we are granted more privileges until we are on our own and making our own decisions.  We (typically) respect our parents because we choose to.  They aren’t simply this impersonal power looming over us, so we are able to relate and slowly wean ourselves away. We always respect the authority we grew up with, but we don’t have to submit to it when we leave home.  This is when we become adults and think for ourselves.  We are not given this freedom to the same extent when it comes to our government.  The government gives us new freedoms at ages like sixteen, eighteen, and twenty-one, but besides that, we never fully “leave the nest” like when we leave the authority of our parents.  The government is always a power in our lives.
            One way we can control this is by voting.  We can choose which candidate we agree with and can see expressing good authority.  But some citizens, like myself, are 1) not educated in politics enough to confidently vote on the issues, and 2) have too many different ideas to be fully content with voting on one person.  I have many liberal views and many conservative views.  The beliefs I have are very contrasting, so whichever side I vote for, whether democratic or republican, I won’t be satisfied with my choice because both will in the end disappoint me anyway.
            Civil disobedience is a non-violent protest of the government.  Thoreau wrote about civil disobedience in his own life when he stopped paying his taxes.  He felt as though it was not fair that he had to pay taxes to benefit others when no one was paying taxes to benefit him.  In this way, he has a point.  While I do not agree that we should stop paying taxes to protest the government, I do agree that everyone should benefit from the money circulating the country.  Civil disobedience does not just have to be a governmental protest.  When any group is not holding up to the standards they have publicized, they may be subject to a civil disobedience protest.  Like the story of my senior year I told in class, my high school English class was not holding up the morals of the school and when we went to the “authority” of the school, he did not use that authority to change what was happening.  This led to us dropping out of the school and refusing to pay for the rest of the semester. This is an example of disobedience similar to Thoreau’s.
            Government demonstrates both power and authority. But these two are not the same thing.   Until the differences are known and used, we cannot fully give our attention and respect, because the government is not even aware of the two kinds.  It is our choice and duty to educate ourselves in the ways of the government so we are able to decide as a country who we want representing us and making decisions for its citizens.

What I Want (As of 8-16-13)

This is another rant about college. With classes starting in 10 days, and financial aid crap being confusing and still needing to buy books, I can’t help but ask myself why I’m going through all of this stress.  Really, the smartest thing I could have done, I didn’t do. 

The reason I am even attending ANY school this fall is to be eligible to apply for the Disney College Program in September. That’s the SOLE reason. Nothing more. Not to continue my education (because I don’t know if that’s what I want to do anymore), but as a means to follow my dreams and get a foot in the door at Disney. 
Why, then, didn’t I just take a single class at our community college? I have no idea. That would have been the smart choice. To be eligible, one only has to be enrolled in SOME kind of college class. I could take an online yoga class from any college, and it would count. But instead, I decided to take on 5 classes this fall at a school that I hold a great deal of animosity toward.
Any dealings with this school I have had make me progressively more angry. Just the way they handle things pisses me off. Really, I hope I don’t hate it so much when I get there. I really don’t. I don’t have to have school spirit (because I won’t), but I do hope that I can at least tolerate it for however long I’m there. I want it to be a pleasant semester, but my ideal situation would be that I’m only there for the one semester. 
My mom asked me today why I didn’t just drop classes and be part-time, still meeting the DCP requirements. I don’t want to do this, because, if I decide I DO want to continue going to school at any time, I want to make the most of the semesters in succession that I attend a school. That way, if I take time off and go back part-time (or full-time), I will have a good deal of classes  under my belt.
My plan after getting to Orlando next January is as follows:
  • Do the Spring Advantage DCP (January-August, I believe)
  • Apply to extend my program (You can totally do that. I don’t know about doing it with SA, but I am going to try anyway)
  • OR, in the place of the above bullet, find a group of friends who have the same general goals as myself who would like to find regular Cast Member jobs and move to Orlando permanently at the end of our program. 
  • From there, if I would like to continue going to school, I can take a class or two part-time and slowly work at it. IF I want to do that. 
  • Fall in love with a man who plays the Aladdin that I met in EPCOT last Christmas, marry him, and live happily ever after. 
I don’t want anyone to think I don’t believe school is important…I do. But I’m not in a place in my life where I’m exactly passionate about sitting in a classroom. I LOVE learning, but I want to learn by DOING. And I feel like the DCP is where I can begin doing that. Sure, not like selling Mickey Ears or introducing people to the back side of water on Jungle Cruise is EXACTLY real-world experience, but moving four states away from my home, having to pay rent and buy my own groceries and deal with roommates and customers and bosses and princesses on my own IS real experience. It’s a growing experience that I would like to try out. 
Maybe I’ll get there and hate it and want to go home. It’s possible. But at the same time, I don’t want to miss out on a chance to do something kind of scary. And moving to Florida is scary. Not finishing school is scary. But it can all be un-done. I can move back. I can move somewhere else. I can ALWAYS go back to school if it becomes a major priority. 
Or maybe I’ll be happy giving tours on Jungle Cruise and riding Splash Mountain and watching fireworks all the time. Who knows. Either way, on this day, August 16, 2013, this is what I want. 
Granted, I wanted to be a dolphin trainer at Sea World for the longest time, and now I freaking HATE fish. So there’s that. 

So Many Books…So Many Movies…Not Enough Spike.

I’m staring at an insane stack of books on my desk. It’s a stack of things I purchased all in the same week at the beginning of August.

Thinking back on my manic episode of binge book buying, I bought so many in such a short amount of time because I was going through a depression or bi-polar moment or whatever the hell I have sometimes. Where I used to emotionally eat, I changed it to emotionally reading. Because it allowed me to escape (cliche) and forget (also cliche) and tune out whatever things I was hating about myself. Hey, I’ll take it over gaining 20 pounds around my middle. I just gained 50 pounds on my bookshelf. More constructive. Not only that, but it also satisfies that “self harm” feeling (I don’t physically self-harm. Eating does that enough). I emotionally harm myself, and at least books can stab my heart and crush it and leave me in the corner crying because of another character’s situation.

Again, I’ll take it over the other way to do it.

I purchased 23 books in less than a week. (There are less than that in the stack, Piper is reading one, and two of these, Once, and The Paradise Trilogy, have 3 books in each.) Spending about $130 in total, it only comes out to less than $6 per book! That definitely helps justify buying a few hardback or new books when I bought SO many used ones to even it out. I’m going to  make an official August book haul on my youtube channel in a few days once I’m 100% well again.

While being sick, I also watched something like 15 movies in the last three days.

  • Up
  • Robin Hood
  • Step Brothers
  • Toy Story 2
  • Swan Princess
  • X-Men: Last Stand
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • The Black Cauldron
  • Back to the Future Part 2
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Princess Bride
  • The Matrix
  • Home Alone
  • Nightmare Before Christmas
If I hadn’t “lost” my debit card and had to stop mine, I would have Netflix right now and would have watched MUCH more. So ready to get my new card in….I’ve missed watching Buffy like crazy. >< Actually, I REALLY miss Spike. Yum. 

Spike….

Can we just…..

Appreciate him for a second?
Ok. Spike tangent over. I may or may not have been on Pinterest WAAAAY too long looking at pictures from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. God, I love that show. 
Speaking of, I found a book version of it at Hastings…..I almost got it, but knew it’d throw me off with watching it. But I’ll proooobably go back and buy it when I finish watching it…
And finish the stack of 25 books on my desk…
What was I talking about?
Oh. Being sick. Movies. Right. Well….I’m distracted now. 
Peace out, girl scout. 

Sick Thoughts

I’ve been sick since Monday.

Because of this, a lot of movies have been watched.

I will do a bullet-point list when I’m well.

It’s quite extensive.

Also, I bought 24 books the first week of August.

This, too, is quite extensive.

Really, I’m just killing time until I can take my meds and go to sleep.

I’m supposed to take them at 3:00 am….

It’s only 2:08

I’ll probably wait till 2:30 or 2:45. Give my Tylenol time to kick in, then take my prescription.

My bedside table (aka my bookshelf) looks like my grandma’s with all the pill bottles.

Ok.

I’m done now.

Book Recomendations!

Because I’ve been posting incessantly about my bookshelf, I’ve had several people ask for recommendations of things to read. Well, MOST of what I’ve read (I think) is GREAT, but I thought I would at least narrow it down to a few CHOICE selections from my personal library to share with you. 🙂

Most of the books I’ve read in the past are found in the children’s section of any library or Barnes and Noble. I’m almost 20 and am just NOW getting into actual YA books. So I’ll try and fit in some older reads, but don’t overlook the children’s books just because they’re an easier read. They’re on this list because I love them and read them over and over.

Here we go. The first list is younger reads.

  1. Voices After Midnight by Richard Peck (Actually, ANYTHING by Richard Peck. Especially A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way From Chicago)
  2. A Dog’s Life by Ann M. Martin–if you love dogs, be prepared for TEARS. Such an AMAZING book. A very easy read, but not easy on the emotions (don’t worry, it has a happy ending)
  3. Half Magic by Edward Eager
  4. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin–This is a Newbery winner. Though it is a children’s read, it’s a great mystery that I’ve read probably 6 times, and STILL read new things.
  5. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster–this is one of my ALL-TIME favorite books. Ever.
  6. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
  7. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson–the movie was an INSANE disappointment. HATED the movie because the book TORE ME APART. 
  8. Though I hate admitting it, I have NOT read all of The Chronicles of Narnia. I believe I stopped in the middle of Dawn Treader. But I have them all on audio book, and listen to them all the time. Eventually I will finish them. BUT, my ALL-TIME favorite is The Magician’s Nephew
  9. As a kid, the books I remember reading most were the Nancy Drew books. I have read almost all of them, and have to at least recommend one, my number one favorite, The Clue in the Crumbling Wall
This list is older reads, from YA to regular adult fiction
  1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky–Tears. So many tears. I love Patrick.
  2. I Am Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell–I bought this book not having ANY idea what it was about. And loved it. 
  3. The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy–read this in my Honors class last year, and really enjoyed it. It was different than most books I’ve read subject-wise, but it was really good.
  4. The Secret History by Donna Tartt–Yes. Read it.
  5. The Abram’s Daughters series by Beverly Lewis–by far my favorite Beverly Lewis books. From my Amish obsession phase. 
  6. The Fault in Our Stars and Looking For Alaska by John Green–definitely one of my new favorite authors. I must say, I didn’t like Looking for Alaska QUITE as much as Fault in Our Stars, but it was still great. I’m going to read Paper Towns next, I’ll let you know what I think. 
  7. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath–although I only gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads, I would still recommend it. Yes, it was depressing, but at the same time I was glad I read it. Wasn’t my favorite, but I didn’t regret it. 
  8. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame Smith–YOU GUYS. I loved the movie so much, but the book was just….Crazy. 
  9. Immanuel’s Veins by Ted Dekker–I’m pretty sure it took me until the last chapter or so to actually realize this book was about vampires…Because I’m kind of an idiot. XD
  10. BoneMan’s Daughters by Ted Dekker–HOLY. 
  11. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  12. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne–the movie broke my heart, but so did the book. A very easy read, because it’s written from a child’s perspective, but such an innocent take on a heavy plot.
  13. Obsessed by Ted Dekker–if you like Holocaust books
  14. Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng–my history teacher told me to read this one last semester. It’s the memoirs of this woman, and it’s such a GREAT story of survival
  15. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon–this is a novel about two cousins in the 40’s who create comic books. Nuff said.
  16. Do I even have to put the Hush, Hush series on here? I’ve been freaking out about it all over Instagram. I’m almost ashamed that I even like it so much because it’s SO MUCH LIKE TWILIGHT and I HATE Twilight. But whatever. It’s major fluff reading. 
I feel like it’s a give-in to put Harry Potter and The Hunger Games on here…I’m also about to start Divergent and City of Bones, and Beautiful Creatures, so I’ll have a lot more series to read…
If you like any of these, I probably have recommendations based on the individual book, I just wanted to give a little smattering of my absolute favorites. This year I’ve decided that I want to read more “classic” books, because I haven’t read near enough of them. You’ll see only one or two on this list, but I’m working on it! I’m in the middle of The Diary of Anne Frank, and just bought several like Swiss Family Robison, The Scarlet Letter, etc that I’m planning on working on just to branch out from my usual fluff. 
And if you have any books you would like to recommend to ME, let me know!! I’d love to add to my shelf. 😉

BookTube and August Reading Challenge

On July 31st, I looked at the stack of books I had bought a few months back, and decided that they needed to be read. ASAP.

What does this mean?

This means I gave myself until 8:00 AM, August 26th, when I walk into my first POLYSCI class of the semester, I have to finish them all.

The stack had 11 books.

It’s the 4th, and I’ve already read three of them, plus another that was not originally in the list.

I also bought 10 books today and on the 2nd.

I might have a problem. A mental problem.

On the 31st, I discovered a YouTube Community called “BookTube” where people make book hauls, review books, and wrap-ups of what they’ve read in the month. WHERE HAVE THESE PEOPLE BEEN ALL OF MY LIFE?!?! I don’t have many people to geek out about books with, and in all my nearly 20 years of book reading, I have not known this existed. I am BEYOND excited to become a part of this group of people.