Monday, March 17, 2008


I tend to become irritated by the small things in life: The teacher who doesn’t really teach, the friend who steals your keys as a practical joke, or the small fact I shouldn’t have blurted out yesterday. God has been working on helping me with the small things my entire life. Grudges have always come easily to me. Sometimes I lose the grudge as fast as I gained it, other times I wallow in self-pity. God is constantly teaching me to change the way I act and to change the way I forgive both myself and those I know.

One summer, I went to summer camp. I found out on accident that a friend of mine planned to play a practical joke on me. I took it the wrong way and decided to get even. I took measures to defend myself and the day before the planned joke I played a guilt trip on her, telling her how much I loved and trusted her. Nothing happened the next day.

Another summer, I went kayaking with some friends. We stopped to play in the water on the shore for a short while. I didn’t play. I didn’t like getting wet when I had my clothes and no bathing suit. My friends snuck up behind me and splashed water all over me. I was soaked and I added more water to my clothes with my tears. I cried and yelled at them and held a grudge against them for a day or two before I got over it, but I never fully or officially forgave them.
Most recently, while playing a game of Apples to Apples, my college friends decided to steal my keys and hide them. They refused to give back my keys until we had finished the game. The stress built up inside me and once the game was over I ran to my room to cry. I wasn’t so much mad at them as I was mad at myself for getting stressed over such a small thing.

Another day, a college friend of mine called me an idiot for skipping chapel. It hurt my feelings, and I yelled back at her. We didn’t talk for most of the day. After a while, however, we talked it over and forgave each other.

Some of my college teachers also get on my nerves. One teacher, in particular, talks down to her students a lot. There have been days when I wanted to shoot her or myself (figuratively speaking – not literally) because I didn’t want to be in class. I felt her class was pointless and that she didn’t teach anything. When Professor Cook gave his lecture on forgiveness, this teacher was the first person to come to my mind.

As the days went on after the lecture, I began to think of all the other areas of my life where I have forgotten to truly forgive. I needed to forgive my teacher and get the most out of her class as I possibly could. I needed to forgive my friends for playing practical jokes on me. I needed to forgive myself for all my sins.

I have the most trouble forgiving myself. The guilt won’t always go away. I often feel drained inside. I question God. I ask Him how He could have a plan for me, a sinner who never seems to stop sinning. I question how He can forgive me and why I can’t forgive myself. I ask Him if He still loves me even after all the stupid things I’ve done and continue to do. Even the little sins tend to grow on my back as a burden. I know God sees all sins as equal, but it’s hard to see things through God’s eyes. I keep reading verses about how God has a plan for my life and about how He will never stop forgiving me, but they don’t seem to register in my heart.

A few months ago I opened my Bible and found Luke 17:4. It says, “And if he sins against you 7 times a day, and 7 times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” This verse applies both to forgiving my friends and forgiving myself. It stood out to me because it was different. I had never read it before, although I had read Matthew 18 plenty of times.

I continue to try to allow God to work in my heart. While things don’t seem to register, I know God will always be there for me. As a step of faith, I often randomly open my Bible and start reading. I ask God to speak to me. Even if I don’t feel His presence or His forgiveness today, I ask Him to show Himself to me and to use me. I ask Him to take my bitterness away and to help me forgive myself and my friends.

Recently, I opened my Bible to Proverbs 24:10-11 which says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.” Reading this, I said a short prayer to God:


I know I am weak. Lord, be my strength. Do not let me fall again. Help me to forgive others and to forgive myself. I need You and You alone to deliver me from. Hold me back and keep me from death. Show me your ways. Help me to be careful what I say and to not let my emotions get the best of me. When I am tempted to show my frustration, I will go to you. I will love others as you love me. Thank you for being the light on my path. Please continue to shine in my life. Make me whole in You.

Your Daughter, Harmony

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tom Cruise on Scientology

Sounds a lot like you could insert Christianity wherever they talk about scientology in most parts of this video. I'm sure Cruise leaves a lot out and I'm sure there's a lot they're not telling Cruise.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Sociology of Fast Food: Starbucks

My mother loves flavored coffee. Naturally, she loves Starbucks. She often goes there to relax. She’ll bring a book and sit and read for an hour while drinking her coffee. I observed that this is a common practice at Starbucks. My partner Rachel Steiner and I went to Starbucks to observe the kind of people who go there, the way they interact with the employees, and what they do once they get their drinks.

Since I’m not a coffee person, I decided to buy a cup of hot chocolate. The servers didn’t think it strange that I was not buying coffee. They kindly asked me what I wanted. After they had charged me, they gave me my receipt and told me I had been randomly chosen to take a survey. If I took the survey, Starbucks would enter me in a drawing for prizes.

“Give us a good rating,” the woman at the counter teased.

“20 out of 10,” I replied.

“Come back and tell us if you win. We like to know when our customers win.”

There were two women taking orders. One of them was middle-aged and the other looked like she was in her twenties.

“What’s your name?” the older of the two asked. She needed to put my name on my cup.

“Oh, that’s a pretty name,” she replied.

Once Rachel and I got our drinks, we sat down in a corner near two men. The men were dressed professionally and were talking about business. It looked like they were having a business meeting or were two co-workers talking about work.

“It’s one of those deals… business managing. I’ll let him know,” one of the men said.

“I try to do what’s best for my clients,” the other man said.

“I emailed him the quote and am trying to meet with him, but he’s so darn busy he can’t fit me in right now.”

The younger woman who had served me and Rachel began to sweep the floor. I saw her coming near me and moved my feet to give her more room.

“Sorry about that,” she said as if it were a great trouble for me to move my feet.

The two female servers were very nice and interacted with customers, but the man who made the drinks did not talk much. Some customers were regulars and knew the two servers. One gentleman came in and the servers talked to him as if they had always known each other. Male customers often came in talking on the phone or otherwise task-oriented. They came in, bought their drink, and left. Many women also came and went but chatted with the employees more. Some students also came in to hang out and study.

Some customers sat quietly, drinking their coffee. Others talked with friends. Many just came, bought a drink, and left. A few people looked at the knick-knacks for sale. As I sat, listening to the relaxing jazz music that played and observing customers coming and going, I wanted to fall asleep. The environment was a comfortable one.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Sociology of Fast Food: Wendy's

I know that eating fast food too often harms your health, but I often wonder if there are other aspects of eating out that harm you. Does it cause you to spend less time with friends and family? Does it keep you so time-oriented that you never slow down to appreciate life? Visiting a nearby Wendy’s fast food restaurant, Rachel Steiner and I knew that what we were about to eat was unhealthy. We knew that if children get used to eating out every day, they will likely eat out every day when they grow older.

We wanted to observe the types of people who go to fast food restaurants and how customers and employees interacted. There was only one problem: There were only two people inside. Several people came to the Wendy’s but went through the drive-through instead of coming inside to eat. I’ve been in a hurry before and used the drive-through to get food, but sometimes I think I was just too lazy to go inside. It was cold out the day we went. I wondered if people were using the drive-through because they didn’t want to get out in the cold weather to go inside.

I wasn’t very hungry, so I only ordered a medium French fry and asked for a cup of water. The cashier stared at me in disbelief and asked, “That’s all?”

“They must get a lot of overeaters here,” I thought to myself, “or maybe he wonders why I bothered to come inside for such a small order.”

“That’s all,” I answered.

The cashier hadn’t been kind to me. He had asked what I wanted and charged me. He seemed task-oriented instead of customer-oriented. There were no women working there at the time.Taking our food, Rachel and I sat down near two girls, the only other customers in the restaurant. They were not talking. They sat, eating their food in silence. It reminded me of the many times I’ve eaten out with my mother. We go out for dinner often to places like Wendy’s and Olive Garden. We often go because we don’t feel like cooking our own meal, not because we want to spend time together. We order our meal, read a book while we wait for our food, and eat when our food comes.

My mother did teach me one thing about eating out: Always treat your servers with loving care. Her mother worked as a waitress. Because of this, my mother gained an appreciation for what workers at restaurants do. She has passed this appreciation on to me. With little to observe at Wendy’s, Rachel and I began to talk about good service and tipping. I decided that no matter how badly an employee may serve me, I can never know their reason and should always leave a tip with a good attitude. Unfortunately, fast food restaurants don’t allow you to tip.

Upbeat, contemporary music played. The chairs were stiff and the tables were sticky. I did not feel comfortable or relaxed. Rachel and I waited for thirty minutes before leaving, but no one else came in and the cashiers didn’t talk amongst themselves. All had been quiet.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fun in the Form of a Slide

I was there strictly for the yearbook. Camera in hand, I took pictures of the Sadie Hawkins event at my high school. My expectations, however, fell sideways and tumbled onto the floor. My peers looked at me the way celebrities look at paparazzi. I loved taking pictures, but they hated having their pictures taken. Fortunately, this night, something else was about to lure me: fun. It came in the form of an inflatable slide. I looked at that slide and it baited and reeled me in. Our worldly desires often mislead us.

The slide’s design allowed two people to go down it at once. Who would go down it with me? My drama teachers’ wife, Mrs. Anderson, stood nearby. She made a good candidate. One problem existed, however, that we failed to recognize: We were both just a tad overweight.

First, Mrs. Anderson climbed to the top of the slide. Then I followed. As I neared the top, I began to have trouble climbing the slide. My feet began slipping off the ladder.

“Help me, Mrs. Anderson, help me!” I cried out.

She leaned to help me. Our combined weight flipped the slide over onto its side. I felt like a tree as the lumberjack calls “timber!” I screamed. She laughed. We tumbled onto the floor and rolled about on top of each other.

While most people use “laugh out loud” (LOL) or “rolling on the floor laughing” (ROTFL) as figures of speech, that night, I literally rolled on the floor, laughing. Mrs. Anderson never let me forget that night. She told everyone she knew about it and whenever I see her she exclaims, “Help me, Mrs. Anderson, help me!” We learned that slide cometh before a fall.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Have a Great Day!