To the Point

honest thoughts about life, people, God, and doing what's right–>

Rant: episode 2 September 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — GreenGirlZA @ 2:23 pm

Two in one day! Lions and tigers and bears! But seriously.

Here’s the thing. You know what you want out of life. I don’t mean your occupation or that you have the next 73 years planned out in perfect detail. If you do, cool, tell the rest of us your secret. But if you’re like me, you at least know what you want out of life; you know, do you want friends, do you want to be happy, that kind of thing.

Well…I hate to break it to you (because I hate to break it to myself – I am so in your boat), but you’re the only one who can do anything about that/ Your entire life, your future, your dreams, everything is in your hands. If you say left, the bus goes left. It isn’t going to argue with you because it sees something better on the right. It’s up to you.

So make your life. Don’t waste time. make every second the best second of your life, because in five seconds you may run out of time. Make everything the best it can be, make your time serve you the best it can, and really and truly suck the freaking marrow out of life. Because life is all you have, and eventually, you won’t even have that. It doesn’t help to sit around feeling sorry for yourself (although I’m all for wallowing once in a while, as long as you move on) and wishing. Only you can make your wishes come true. I know, sign me up for Hallmark, I’m sorry for my cliche and cheesy material, but it’s good advice. Methinks the Disney company wasn’t so far off.

>>africanstardust

 

Rant: episode 1

Filed under: Ethics,grrr,News,save our souls — GreenGirlZA @ 2:04 pm
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I’m not normally one for writing/reading blogs that exist solely for the purpose of letting your mind explode on the virtual world, but once in a while you’ve got to step out of your own shoes.

I am seriously angry at imperialism. And white superiority complexes that are, by the way, on a rampage, and have been since…well, since racism has existed, which has probably existed since there were different races, and that’s where I stop and a historian/geologist/person picks up. But my goodness, we are a pretty package. Hey guys, let’s go over to this continent and bring our guns and alcohol and non-existent morals and let’s just – heck – let’s just invade. And ooo, look, little Johnny Esquire over here has an idea. Yes, Johnny, what is it? “Well, I was thinking,” (he says with feverishly excited eyes) “that after we invade, we can get mad at the people who live there for being there before we were!” Yeeeees! Johnny, that is just brilliant.

And hey, while we’re at it, let’s also try to impose our ideas on them and tell them that their culture is worthless, that they don’t know anything, and that they’re stupid. Yeah. That sounds like fun. Let’s force them to stop speaking their own language and make them dress like us. And then let’s spread rumors about them and make their lives hell on earth. And let’s make them promises that we know we’re not going to keep, and let’s kill half of them and let the other half rot in the slums.

The curse, or maybe blessing, of wanting to be a sociologist is that all these things come to light, and before you know it you’re one of those freaks in the protest parades, with war paint on your face and holding a sign begging imperialists to stop. Just stop. because we go in, and when we’ve made a sufficient mess of things on the pretense that we’re freedom fighters or human rights activists, we promptly withdraw and let the country go on in shambles, because you know what? It probably won’t recover in decades and centuries what it took us single years to destroy.

>>africanstardust

 

Redefined >> August 10, 2009

Filed under: Books,Ethics,News — GreenGirlZA @ 8:00 pm
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RedefinedThe world of Christians is an interesting one. I’m sure other religions face many of the same issues. If a Christian is “too spiritual” by the non-Christian world, they are usually considered too conservative by other Christians. If the rest of the world thinks a Christian is a nutcase, then other Christians usually say they’re too forceful.And if a Christian never says anything, the rest of the world and other Christians consider them to be hypocrites.

Here’s the deal, though…and we seem to have forgotten this. To a certain extent, we (Christians) can fit in with the rest of the world. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you have to pull a “John the Baptist” and scream at people while biting off a locust’s head. You don’t have to be a freak in that sense; it’s not in the manual. But in reality, we are freaks. We’re living under different laws than the rest of the world; we’re serving a different master. To any skeptics or critics reading this, let me save you some time. No, I am not saying Christians are better than other people, I am not saying we don’t have to obey earthly laws or that we’re above them. That’s my little disclaimer haha.

My point is, Jesus never said everyone has to stand up on a soap box and yell at people to repent. But guys, the fact is that there will come a point when you will have to make a public decision, take a public stand, and most likely face some sort of persecution. To a point we are a part of the world and do the same things. I listen to my iPod, read, and eat pizza, not to mention my coffee addiction and obsession with office supplies. But there are times, aside from the way I live my life every day, when I have to say outright that I am a Christian, I stand for Christ, I belong to Him, and I serve Him alone. I made a decision once to follow Him always and to live for Him, and that’s what I do. That’s my number one goal in life. Of course I fail at it sometimes, but you know, to really fail at something is harder than succeeding, because to fail you have to fail every single day, all day. The point of my life is to serve Christ, always.

Maybe you’re a Christian living entirely surrounded by Christians and never have contact with non-Christians. If you are, you should get out more and read Mark 16:15-19. But if you’re not, you’ve most likely already faced some kind of persecution. It doesn’t always come in the form of an angry mob with pitchforks, although that happens. It’s more like people being irritated with you for no apparent reason, losing friends because you’re a Christian, or people thinking you’re some kind of stuck-up religious freak.

Well…drum roll…we are religious freaks. Actually, we’re just freaks. Whether you’re dressed in camel hair and eating insects or a normal, down to earth college kid, the very fact that you have chosen to follow Christ makes you, in this world, a freak. You believe in someone you can’t see or hear every day, someone who had crazy ideas and told people to make other people believe these ideas, someone who stirred up so much trouble that he got himself killed and encouraged other people to live how he’d lived. But you know that He’s real. You know that He loves you. You know that He rose again from the grave after defeating sin and death. You know that He is the creator of the universe, the One who knit you together in your mother’s womb and knew all of your thoughts and comings and goings before you were born, the One who knows every day of your life and who is crazy about you.

So hang in there. Yes, it’s tough, but God knows. Yes, it’s hard when people hate on you and turn on you, but God knows. When you first met Jesus…that day, or maybe night, that you first saw His face and saw His love for you…that day that you made the choice to abandon everything else and follow Him, He made a covenant with you, and He is always there. Even the night is not night to Him, and when He comes, darkness itself trembles at His voice. He will bless you for your faithfulness and for the commitment you made to Him.

We are new creations, saved and made new by Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, defeated death and sin and the grave, and rose again three days later, victorious and majestic. Don’t lose hope.

>>africanstar

 

HIV AIDS August 6, 2009

Filed under: Ethics,News — GreenGirlZA @ 12:42 pm
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HIV AIDSInformation, quotation, and pictures are courtesy of JoinRed.com. This blog is in no way affiliated with (RED) and all opinions expressed, unless otherwise noted, are the views of the author and not necessarily of (RED).

HIV AIDS is a deadly incurable disease. The HIV virus itself is potentially harmless; in other words, just because you have HIV doesn’t mean you have AIDS. But once the HIV virus is in your body, you are at serious risk to have the virus aggravated, and getting AIDS.

HIV AND AIDS pose an enormous hurdle to economic development in Africa. Typically, the disease affects people in the most productive years of their lives. So, men and women who need to support their families can no longer do so, or worse, they die. In fact, an estimated 12.1 million African children under the age of 18 have lost at least one parent to HIV and AIDS. The result is families left severely handicapped by the disease, or in the worst case, households led by children. Children left without parents must fend for themselves.”

However, although AIDS is not entirely curable, there is a very successful treatment that can not only improve quality of health but can extend an AIDS victim’s life. And for people who have the HIV virus but don’t have AIDS yet, the treatment can prevent the development of the disease. It’s called “antiretroviral therapy,” and it’s incredibly easy to use: all you need is a glass of water and two pills a day. It’s not painful, expensive, intrusive, or traumatic in any way. Once people start using it, they have to keep drinking the pills every day for the rest of their lives, but the point is that they will have a life.

Even though the treatment is not expensive (about 40¢ – USA currency – a day), it’s still too much for most AIDS victims to afford. So (RED) has set up a program through which people who actually have money can make donations to help spread the treatment, as well as educate people about AIDS; what it is, how it can be treated, and how to prevent the spread of AIDS.

To help out, you can either click here to make a money donation directly into the Global Fund, or you can go here to buy products from brands like Apple, Converse, Windows, Starbucks, and Gap; a portion of the money is sent to (RED), who then sends 100% of the recieved money to the Global Fund. Products like iPods, Starbucks coffee, and special edition Converse shoes are available. $13 is the cost of one month’s treatment for one person; do the math. You can make a difference.

>>africanstardust

 

The World of Publishing July 31, 2009

PublishingI realized that some people might wonder about my links on the sidebar, since they seem somewhat random.

I have been writing seriously for around 6 years now, and for about 5 1/2 of those years I was waaayyy uninformed. As in, I thought that you have to pay a literary agent up front, that you can query most publishers without having an agent, and that “query” means “send the whole manuscript.” I didn’t take writing courses or classes, I thought poetry could be written however I wanted it, and that self-publishing was a good way to start a career as a writer.

Boy, was I wrong. I fairly recently discovered that literary agents – who, by the way, are much more human than people might think they are – don’t charge up front fees if they’re legit, they really do love the work they represent, and some of them even write blogs.

It is these enlightening blogs, like Miss Snark, Janet Reid’s blogs, and BookEnds, LLC that have taught me a LOT about the world of publishing. And instead of being totally discouraging, I actually feel for the first time since I’ve started writing that I can actually become a published author, if my stuff is good enough. And I can always improve, so if I work hard, one day it will be good enough. No question.

If you are a writer, I highly suggest that you read this blogs, and more. These agents really should be paid for all the valuable advice they’ve given to “nitwits (Miss Snark)” like us.

>>africanstardust

 

Don’t Just Stand There July 29, 2009

Filed under: Ethics,News — GreenGirlZA @ 12:32 pm
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StandWhen life gets hard and we feel like we’re getting more than we signed up for, obviously the first reflex is to feel sorry for ourselves. Given, usually there are extremely good reasons to feel sorry for ourselves – the roof fell on my head, a fat cat fell on my head, a fat cat threw up on my carpet, then fell on my head – but if we’re being honest, things could always get worse.

Well…not to be overly cliché, but life is hard, and the sooner we realize that and move on, the better. Things are always going to happen, bad things. You might even die tomorrow, or worse – your favorite TV show might not come on at its regular time. But (to quote my hero, Timon) there’s nothing we can do to change it, so why worry?

A better use of time would be to do something about the things we can change. I can’t change the fact that I moved accross an ocean from a country I’d lived in for ten years, where all my friends were, to a country I wanted to go to but don’t have friends (or Starbucks). But I’m here now, and while I have all this loverly free time not being taken up by friends, I can use it for something else that might mean a lot to somebody else.

We are in this world for a reason. if you don’t believe in God and Jesus and that you have a higher purpose, fine (well, not really, but that’s a different post altogether), but you can’t ignore the fact that you’re on this planet, you have talents and gifts and probably money, and there are people around you who need it. I’m not saying you should sell all your stuff and join a convent (unless you want to), but is it that hard to give $5 a month to charity? Or to give an hour a week of your time to volunteering?

And helping out isn’t just working in a hospital without getting paid. If that’s not your thing you can plant trees, teach kids how to read and write, get into horse therapy for autistic kids, or whatever else you can do. If you can write, write. If you can sing, sing. There’s loads of opportunities for every one of us to do something. You’re a part of this world, and it’s given you a lot – give something back. Yes, yes, “how dare you be corny,” I’m sorry, I apologize, yadda yadda…just do something, okay?

>>africanstardust

 

culture snobs July 28, 2009

SharpiesIf you saw a black man with white paint on his face, with no clothes on, holding a spear and a shield, I bet your automatic reaction would be to think something along the lines of “oooo look, a primitive African savage!” I can say this because that’s my first reaction, too.

I also bet you wouldnt expect this guy to be a teenager in a normal public high school in a civilized country, with white and black friends, who usully wears jeans and Billabong shirts. He might even be your future doctor.

The thing is, we judge other cultures by our own, and that just doesn’t work. It’s not valid to say “In England we wear clothes all the time – well, most of us – and live in houses with walls, floors, and ceilings, so you should, too. And if you don’t you’re uncivilized.”

Maybe I’m being a total idiot here, but I have a serious problem with how textbooks define civilization. In AP World History, and other history classes, one of the major themes from the start is: What defines a civilization? And then the textbook goes on to explain, in a very stiff, look-at-me-I’m-an-arrogant-genius way exactly what civilization entails. According to them, African societies were just that – “societies.” Not civilizations. But, and please correct me if I’m wrong here, they are largely basing their definition of a civilization on Western ideas, wealth, and influence.

A group of ten Bushmen who live in the wilderness and wear loincloths are just as much a valid “civilization” as the United States of America. And, if I can go even farther, what is so fantastic about civilization, anyway? “Civilized” societies have higher crime rates, less respect for fellow human beings, more isolation, more suicides, more pollution, and more general unhappiness than “uncivilized” groups. In an ‘uncivilized” society, there is a basic equality and an eye-for-an-eye mentality. People respect each other, respect their heritage, and have a better life quality. They are healthier, happier, and die healthy at an older age. No, they don’t have computes or electricity or blogs, but they live.

I know we can’t change how our “civilizations” work, and that wasn’t the point of this post (in fact that whole thing was somewhat of a tangent) but I am saying we need to respect other cultures and societies. We may not understand them, we may think we have better ways of doing things, but we have to respect that for them, their way of doing things is the best way of all. Isn’t that what we all think after all? And in my opinion, people from other, more “primitive” cultures generally have a better argument.

Thoughts? Ever seen an extreme culture snob?