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False quote of the day.

“The truth frightens people because it isn’t stable. It shifts every day.” -Alice Hoffman, The Museum of Extraordinary Things

This quote is only one of the many problems I have with this book. I found the cadence and writing in this novel to be beautiful. The descriptions are perfect and the plot and characters are interesting. However, the book has left me with an uneasy feeling in my stomach, which can be mostly attributed to this idea this quote portrays.  

This quote outlines the book well because truth is nonexistent in it. The facts change, the realities change, and every feeling is misguided. Now, the arguement can be made that these qualities make up an excellent novel as the reader will always be surprised when the real story is revealed, but with this story the real story is more troubling than the disturbing one portrayed. 

This quote, which describes the plot accurately, is false because truth does not change. It is perhaps the only constant in this world, which is what makes it the most valuable and sought attribute in a person. The idea that truth changes or shifts every day is a dangerous idea that leads us to believe false realities and mistrust the actual realities that exist before us. Yes, people lie and hide the truth, but that is a separate issue. A lie does not change the truth, it mearly disguises it and keeps you from discovering truth. This quote, however, allows for lies to become truth and truth to become lies, which, in reality, is impossible and dangerous. 

This idea about truth is the cause for much of the misguided hate in our society, because we believe all our ideas to be true instead of forming our minds to find real truth. This is a dangerous practice and if we are to survive this strange time in our world, we must stop believing in our false personal truths and seek out the truth that actually exists. 

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Women, we deserve more. 

 

In our uncertain and tense time in America right now, we seem to be under attack in every aspect of our lives, and one primary group under attack is women.

Today feminism is rising at an exponentially fast rate—if you aren’t a feminist, you are wrong—allegedly. I, however, disagree with the popular feminist agenda, not because I’m anti-woman or even anti-feminism, but because I don’t think it’s good enough. I think it brings woman down to a lower level of dignity, instead of elevating us to be the best version of ourselves.

In the past few weeks I have seen who the heroes of womanhood are portrayed to be, and I have to say it’s completely unacceptable. We have people like Amy Schumer, who can’t go two sentences without saying something vulgar, we have woman like Lady Gaga, who dressed up like a Nazi at a political rally, and we have people like Lena Dunham, who bragged in her memoir about molesting her little sister, and who made a video with her father supporting the extinction of straight white men. Seriously? These women are supposed to embody the feminist movement? I don’t think so. The sad thing is, we expect this from Hollywood because it is an immoral cesspool—we expect it, but we don’t need to accept them as our heroes. We deserve more.

The problem we have today is that this pseudo feminism has spread from Hollywood, to our everyday culture, and, most importantly, to our government. The people meant to keep us safe and guide us by the direction of the Constitution have been infected by this horrid wave of new feminism that teaches our women the only way we will succeed is if we are cold, heartless, and angry…which is exactly opposite of our nature as women.

We deserve more than this, and more importantly we deserve better heroes than Hillary Clinton, the most corrupt political figure the United States has ever seen.

Every time I would hear people praise Hillary or express delight that she would be the first woman president, I would feel physically ill—this was not the woman I wanted representing my country or my gender.

Hillary has a history of corruption. She is the only first lady fingerprinted by the FBI because she has been under investigation multiple times, she has been careless with classified information, she covered up for her husband’s sex scandals and bullied the victims into silence, she has used charity funds for her own benefit, and she has been quoted saying she “admire[s] Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision…” Yes, Margaret Sanger, the woman who claimed, “colored people are like human weeds and need to be exterminated.” Margaret Sanger, the woman who believed in making an ultimate race and said, “we want a world freer, happier, cleaner—we want a race of thoroughbreds.” Yes, that woman, Hillary is in awe of the woman who was willing to exterminate millions to gain a perfect race…hmm, remind you of anyone?

How on earth can we show Hillary Clinton to our daughters, sisters, nieces, and friends, and say this is the woman you should strive to be? It’s absurd.

I would love for our country to have a woman president. I hope one day I will vote for a woman president, but not her, not like this. I want to look at our first woman president and know she exemplifies all that it means to be a human and a woman—not someone who has illegally climbed her way to the top– not someone who is under FBI investigation for treason.

I know it’s despairing—we came so close to having the glass ceiling shattered only to watch a vulgar billionaire hold it up. It’s disheartening knowing that many people do not see women as equals. Those people, however, those small minded fools who think woman are not as powerful or equal as men, will never change their opinion, no matter what. Even if women swept the presidency and the senate, they would still stay closed up in their tiny alpha-male minds and nothing, I repeat, nothing would change them. We, as women, do not owe these people anything, we do, however, owe ourselves to stand with the dignity we know we possess. This dignity does not lie in idolizing a political criminal.

People have been mourning over what they will tell their daughters over this election cycle, and to that I have one plea: please tell them they deserve more than Secretary Clinton—she’s a criminal and has not earned you or your daughters respect. Instead, look for something greater. When you daughter asks you why a woman lost in the presidency, tell her the truth: she wasn’t good enough for you—however, there are many women who are. Instead of crying about women never succeeding, we should look to those who have succeeded, all while maintaining their dignity and elevating the their own lives an the lives of those around them.

There are many women who have achieved greatness, but if you need some ideas, here are nine women who blow Hillary Clinton out of the water.

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  1. Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, winning it at only 17. She grew up in Taliban occupied part of Pakistan. In 2009, at the young age of 11, Malala started writing anonymous articles about the truth of Taliban occupation, and her pleas for the education of women in Pakistan. In 2012, after her work had been acknowledged, Malala was attacked by a Taliban gunman in 2012, and was close to death, but miraculously survived. Later, in 2013, 2014, and 2015, she was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.” She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, and still works as an activist for female education.

“Do not wait for someone else to come and speak for you. It’s you who can change the world.”

  1. Emma Watson

Along with being the awesome Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies, Emma Watson spends most of her time as an activist for gender equality. Emma doesn’t stop going when she finds something worth fighting for. In 2014 she became the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. Her main project is the HeForShe campaign, which calls for men to help the fight for equality among the genders.

“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.”

  1. Leah Darrow

Leah Darrow appeared in the 3rd season of America’s Next Top Model, and after tried her career as a model in New York City. She soon found the modeling lifestyle was ruining her soul and she was sure she deserved more. She fled from the modeling career and has now devoted her life to showing women they were made for greatness and helping them see their dignity and worth.

“We shouldn’t shy away from the world, but know who we are when we go into it.”

  1. Serena Williams

Serena Williams has proved hard work and dedication pay off. Serena is, without a single doubt, one of the best athletes in the world. She has dominated tennis and redefined the way the sport is played. Not only has she controlled the field in women’s tennis, she is the most decorated tennis player of all-time, male or female. She is humble and gracious, yet plays with a force to be reckoned with—she is truly the best athlete for young players to exemplify.

“It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to, has power over you, if you allow it.”

  1. Megyn Kelley

Whether you agree with her politically or not, it is hard to deny that Megyn Kelly has done some amazing things in her professional career. She is succeeding in a profession mostly dominated by men. She has proven that gender doesn’t matter when it comes to pulling ahead, and she has done it all with class and determination. While Megyn doesn’t let her gender get in the way of success, she also does not allow it to be belittled. Whenever a case of gender inequality surfaces, she handles it professionally, yet she defends women when defense is needed. In her career she has had to deal with men looking down on her, but she has broken down those barriers and shown the world how hard she can fight.

“If you work in a male-dominated industry, don’t waste time worrying about the fact that you work in a male-dominated industry.”

  1. Immaculee Ilibagiza

Immaculee Ilibagiza is one of the most amazing human beings in the world. She is a native of Rwanda and endured and survived the Rwandan Genocide by living in a 3×4 bathroom with seven other women for 91 days. Today, she speaks all over the world about forgiveness and healing.

“The love of a single heart can make a world of difference.”

  1. Maya Angelou

The late Maya Angelou was an author and civil rights activist. She wrote memoirs and poems centralized around racism, family life, women, and identity. She worked with Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement and was a renowned speaker for most of her life. President Barak Obama awarded Angelou with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Angelou died on May 28, 2014 at the age of 86.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

  1. Mary Barra

Mary Barra is an inspiration to businesswomen everywhere. In 2014 she became the first female CEO of General Moters Company, one of the largest auto companies in the world. Barra’s first job at General Motors was when she was 18 and she worked her way up to the top. In 2014 she was on the cover of Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and in 2015 she was number one on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list, and has been listed in the top ten of Forbes most powerful women.

“Do every job you’re in like you’re going to do it for the rest of your life, and demonstrate that ownership of it.”

  1. Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is a global symbol of sacrificial love and generosity. Mother Teresa became a nun at the age of 27 and began her service in Calcutta as a teacher. During her time there she saw her true calling was to serve the poor. In 1950 she received permission to start the Missionaries of Charity, a religious order made specifically to help the poor in Calcutta. Her order started with 13 sisters, but has now grown to over 4,000 sisters and hundreds of charity houses worldwide. Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, and she has been honored by political and religious leaders worldwide. Mother Teresa died in 1997. Since then she has been connected to multiple miracles, which lead to her canonization to sainthood in the Catholic Church.

“Do think for people not because of who they are or what they can do in return, but because of who you are.”

 

These nine women come from different background, have different political and religious views, and have different vocations and talents, yet all of them show the power women have to succeed. We may not have a woman president right now, and we may not have one for a long time, but that doesn’t really matter—our gender is strong and valuable, and we have the drive to change the world and make it a better place for all.

BR: The Carnelian Legacy

17453523.jpgThe Carnelian Legacy by Cheryl Koevoet

Rating:★ ★ ★

Favorite Line: “Never forget that it is by choice that the ordinary person decides to live a life that is extraordinary.”

Summary:

The Carnelian Legacy by Cheryl Koevoet follows the adventures of a Marisa MacCullum as she is thrown into a world unknown after her own has fallen apart.

On the evening of her father’s funeral, Marisa takes her horse for a ride in the Oregon countryside to clear her head and settle her nerves. While riding, a strange occurrence sends her horse into panic and her to the ground, where she hits her head and is knocked unconscious.

Marisa wakes to two strange men staring down at her and speaking a language totally unknown. She soon finds out that not only did she get knocked out, but she also got knocked into an entirely different realm and is no longer on Earth.

Unsure of what to do, Marisa takes advantage of the men’s hospitality and she tags along on their journey, which she soon discovers is one of utmost importance regarding the politics of this new country.

Marisa soon becomes more involved with this adventure and gets caught up in tense situations, all while trying to adjust to living in a new world, and also trying to find a way to return home.

Review:

This book was better than I expected. I didn’t have the highest expectations because I’m not the biggest fan of the Young Adult genre, and this one was clearly that, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with what I got from The Carnelian Legacy. While the story didn’t take total control over me, I did find myself not wanting to put it down at times, especially toward the end. It is exciting and adventurous, and has quite a few plot twists to keep you engaged.

This book follows the classic guidelines for a good YA novel: unexpected heroine, fun sidekick, charming, yet secretive hero, monsters, royalty, romance, betrayal, etc. It really hits them all—which is ultimately good, because that is exactly what many YA readers are looking for and expecting.

I enjoyed the characters, especially the main three, Darian, Marisa, and Arrie, however I did find them very predictable at times. I was hoping for a little more character development, but the author did give us enough to build upon and create a solid image of these three in our minds. I’ll be honest, at times I found myself completely annoyed with Marisa—she was whiney, she overreacted to little things, and she read way to far into things that were not that big of a deal. However, when I reflected on this, I realized that I was probably all of those things when I was 17/18 and it made me less annoyed with her behavior—but I did have to remind myself of that several times in the book.

The plot was fantastic. It was set up nicely and flows easily throughout the book—not once did I find myself confused about what was going on. I don’t want to go into what worked and what didn’t for me, because that would probably ruin the book for everyone, but I did think the plot was very exciting.

My biggest critique of this book is actually the use of the God figure in it. I don’t mind that a God figure was used, but what I minded was how quickly she took on the God of the new country. Now, to be clear, it wasn’t a different God as our own, but it did have a different name, and Marisa uses it almost immediately upon learning it in this new land. I had a hard time with this because if I went to a new world and they told me God was called Garon (which it is in the book), I would still pray to God, not Garon, so I was a little perturbed that she took on this new name right away—it just didn’t seem natural to me.

I give this book 3 ½ stars because I did think it was good, and I do want to read the other books in this series, but I didn’t think it was fantastic.

I would recommend this book to people who are looking for a fun YA novel, because it really is that and I don’t think you will be disappointed.

 

*I recieved this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange to a fair and unbiased review.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

W, X, Y, and Z

My nephew Joseph asked me to teach him a little Dutch by making him a Dutch Alfabet. The easiest way for me to do this for him is through my blog. These are written for him, but hopefully anyone else reading this can learn a little Dutch! 

W is for Wagon.

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Wagon in Dutch means car.

In the Netherlands, the people try very hard to protect our environment, and one way they do this is by limiting the amount of time in a car. Instead, the Dutch tend to take public transportation, or more commonly, bikes.

When they do drive cars, however, they almost always drive a manual transmission car because these cars use gasoline that is not as harmful to the environment they are trying to preserve.

 

X is for nothing.

X is probably the most uncommon letter in the Dutch language and the only words that would start with X are words taken from other languages, such as x-ray or xylophone.

Y is also for practically nothing.

Y is another very uncommon letter and is usually, if not always, replaced with “ij”. One common and delicious word that starts with these two letters is “ijs” meaning ice. And by ice, they usually always mean ice cream 🙂

 

Z is for Zomer.

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My last Dutch word to give you is zomer, which means summer. I moved to the Netherlands in the summer and it is a beautiful season to be there. It rains a lot but when it’s not, everything is green and alive. The country is full of animals and there are endless activities are festivals to go to because the Dutch love to have a good time!

S and T

My nephew Joseph asked me to teach him a little Dutch by making him a Dutch Alfabet. The easiest way for me to do this for him is through my blog. These are written for him, but hopefully anyone else reading this can learn a little Dutch!

S is for Sinterklaas

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Sinterklaas is the Dutch for Saint Nicholas. In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas’ feast day is bigger than Christmas. Sinterklaas comes on a boat in late November and stays until December 6th, his feast day.

The feast day is celebrated usually with a parade, where Sinterklaas rides through town on a white horse, assisted by his Zwarte Piets, who represent a boy who Saint Nicholas saved from the Roman Soldiers.

Sinterklaas gives children chocolate letters. pepernoten and kruidnoten, which are both a traditional candy that taste almost like gingerbread.

Saint Nicholas’ feast day is full of games, songs, and celebration. But make sure you are good, because at the end of the day Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Piets gather all the bad children and send them to Spain! Yikes!

 

T is for Tulp

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Tulp is the most popular flower in the Netherlands, the Tulip.

Although tulips are originally from Turkey, The Netherlands known worldwide for their large tulip fields and tulip festivals. The most famous tulip garden is located just south of Amsterdam called Keukenhof, which holds over 7-million flower bulbs.

Tulip season goes from late March to the middle of May. This makes Spring the best time for tourists to visit Holland!

365 Days of Joy: Week 15

I’ve decided to do 365 days of joy this year (inspired by the wonderful Raquel Kato, author of the Story of a Rose blog).  Some posts my be long, some may be only a sentence, but the important thing is finding joy in your everyday life, because there are so many things to be joyful about, and I tend to forget that. I’ll be posting one every week, and hopefully, along with joy, I can gain a little consistency in my life. 😉  So here we go, week 15!

true secret

4.9.15

Started the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. My friend Bailey Barry recommend it to me, and I’m excited to see if the book lives up to all the hype.

4.10.15

70 degree weather…yep, I’ll take it! Picking flowers, playing ring-around-the-rosey, and taking long walks in the village, makes for a perfect time with the kids.

4.11.15

I got the greatest birthday gift in the mail today from Marissa Lueger! She sent me three bags of popcorn, dental floss, and all three Anne of Green Gables movies! Now this may seem like a random gift but it is really just perfect. Marissa and I have known each other since 2009 and we became friends right away, but we didn’t really become GREAT friends until we shared a room my sophomore year of college, her junior year. Since then, I have grown to admire her more and more every day–she is truly a spectacular friend and person. Well, we recently discovered our mutual love for Anne of Green Gables, however, I love the movie and she loves the book, but nevertheless, we are Kindred Spirits at heart and she is Anne and I’m Diana 🙂

anne

4.12.15

The Schutterij in town had an event to determine the new King for the season. The event consisted of all the members shooting at a wooden “bird” and the last one to shoot it down is named the king. There is also an honorary King from the village who is not apart of the Schutterij. It’s just another fun tradition I’ve been able to experience while living over here!

4.13.15

Mary comes so soon! Monday I cleaned and read up on London preparing for her visit!

4.14.15

I finally wrote my first book review on my blog! I’ve been wanting to start this for a while, but I never got around to it. I didn’t do it like a regular review, but I picked my top favorite quotes and talked about how I thought they impacted the book and why they stuck out to me. If you want to check it out, you can find it by clicking here!

4.15.15

MARY IS HERE!!!!! I’M SO EXCITED!!! Funny story, I thought she was arriving at 9:40 a.m. but really she got in at 9:40 p.m. ….thankfully, I figured it out before I had to spend 12 hours in the Brussels airport.

MARYHERE

annnd, that’s my week! Next week will be full of London and Mary!! Get excited!

Adventure time!

 

No safe paths

I’M GOING ON AN ADVENTURE!

I’m sitting in the airport, with Birkenstocks on my feet and passport in hand, and I feel like I’m standing on the Edge of the Wild, about to jump into a strange, unknown world (of course, it’s just the Netherlands, and I’m being extremely dramatic about the whole situation).

Nevertheless, I’m off for a year, not really knowing what I’m getting myself into, but full of insane nervous excitement.

I will be starting a travel blog, and I’ll send out the link when I write my first post on it and add my first set of photos. Right now my travel blog name is “Lost in Nether Netherlands” (because let’s be honest, I’m most likely going to be lost most of the time), but if anyone has any better suggestions, send them my way.

Ok, they are calling us for boarding. Pray for me!

P.S. I hope you like my new layout for my blog. If you don’t–I’m sorry.

PAX EX

“Remember all the people you used to be”

we all change

 

This past weekend I reached the goal I’ve been striving for since fall of 2009—graduating from Benedictine College with a Bachelor of Arts degree. This moment was extremely surreal for me—at the same moment it felt like I’ve been waiting my whole life to graduate and that I was a freshman again, just waiting to have a college experience.

Sitting in that gymnasium, trying to stop my hands from shaking and sweating, I thought back to who I was as a freshman, and I couldn’t help but laugh. I entered BC the same way I left it, terrified out of my mind, but ready to step into a world unknown, however, that version of myself is no longer a mirror image of who I am today, and for that I am extremely thankful.

Freshman year I had dreams of greatness…well, limited greatness, I should say. My greatness then could be defined in a stereotypical sentence of college success: get good grades, get involved in everything possible on campus, study abroad, finish in four years with a double major, find a job that sets me on track for my dream career, get married, have kids. Sounds pretty simple, right?

This was the path I KNEW I was supposed to take when I entered college. Everything was set in motion to follow that path of greatness I invented for myself, but I left out a simple, yet vital, detail in my plans: God.

This was MY plan, this was MY life, and this was how it was going to happen.

I remember Christmas break of my freshman year, a family friend was asking about college and I told him all about how great it was and what I was going to do in my next four years. When I was done he laughed and said, “Maddie makes plans and God laughs.”

At the time I thought that was such a jerk thing to say, how dare he tell me my dreams aren’t going to happen! But now I realize he wasn’t trying to crush my dreams, he was just trying to remind me who really holds my life in His hands.

I did not achieve all the things in my goals freshman year, and that’s okay. Not achieving those goals does not mean I failed–it means I found different dreams–dreams that were actually meant for me.

“We’re all different people all through our lives”

I’ve changed all through my life and I’ve been a different person in many sections of my life. Some of those sections I’m glad I never have to repeat and some I wish had lasted longer than they did. But all these sections, good or bad, have formed me into the person I am today.

All of those sections have given me something that I have carried on into the next section. I have to always remember who I was in the previous versions of  myself, because I was that person for a reason, whether it was wrong or right, and unless I understand that reason and remember my actions, I will never be able to improve upon my last section and work toward the best-version-of-myself.

The quote above comes from the BBC show “Doctor Who” and as the good Doctor always does, he says it best again when he says:

“Life is a pile of good things and bad things.

The good things don’t always soften the bad things,

but vise versa,

the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things,

or make them unimportant.”

 

The version of me today is still a dreamer of greatness, but my vision has changed a bit. I know now my life does not follow my “path of greatness” but God’s path of greatness for me. I still believe I can do extraordinary things. I still believe that I will make an impact on this world. Now, however, these beliefs have a different origin. I believe all these things because I know God has created my life like a painter creates a masterpiece, every brush stroke has a purpose and that purpose many not be revealed until the masterpiece is finished.

The masterpiece is being painted every day, I just have to have faith that His steady hand will not let me down. If I have this faith, believe me, the finished product, His masterpiece for me, will be breathtaking. It will be greater than anything I could have ever dreamed.

What Would Be Ugly in a Garden…

Ugly in a Garden

You know all those Buzzfeed quizzes that everyone takes and shares on Facebook when they finally get the result they are proud of? Yeah?….well, I love those thing–they are so incredibly amusing and are a great way to waste time and put off homework. However, they are completely ridiculous. I mean, how can my favorite song (out of a list of songs I only moderately like), combined with my favorite movie and ice cream, tell me what character of FRIENDS I am based off my personality? They don’t even know me! (I got Charlie, by the way, and I don’t even know who that is…Kate Hollman, help me out!). However, as ridiculous as they are, they usually seem to have pretty accurate descriptions about why you relate to the result they gave you–It’s actually kind of freaky.

Anyway, the reason I’m talking about Buzzfeed is because I recently took one quiz that really caught my attention: “Which Biblical Heroine are you?” First of all, it caught my attention because it’s not the type of quiz you would expect to see on a popular social media website, and secondly it got my attention because I was curious to see what type of questions they would ask and how they would describe whoever I got as my result, so I took it.

The questions had nothing to do with anything biblical or religious or spiritual–they were just the normal questions: pick a flower, how do you unwind, pick a Disney movie–you know, real deep stuff. Well, I ended up getting Rahab. If you don’t know Rahab, I’ll tell her story in a bit, but she was, as my fellow Raven Mark Powell put it, a “dirty girl turned heroine.”

Now, I just want to put this out there–I don’t know what message I’m supposed to be getting from the universe, but I find it a little ridiculous that so far in my life I have been connected to 2 Biblical women: Mary Magdalene (whom I was named after) and now Rahab. Two women who were mainly known for their, um…well let’s just say they were known for their “unconservative” lifestyles.

Lucky for me their stories didn’t end with their shamed reputation, but rather with their new glorified beings.

I have to admit, I knew Rahab was a women mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments, but I couldn’t really remember why she was important, so I did some digging and found out she was a pretty cool chick.

Rahab lived in Jericho during the time Joshua and his people were wandering the desert, waiting to enter the promised land. Now, Jericho and the Israelites didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye, so when Joshua sent spies into the city, they were going into pretty dangerous territory. In this account (told in Joshua chapter 2) the King of Jericho found out about the spies and sent men to kill them. The men took refuge in Rahab’s house, who in turn lied to the King’s men and sent them in the wrong direction. In doing so she risked her own safety to save the lives of Joshua’s men. In thanksgiving for her bravery and her sacrifice, Joshua’s men promised to spare her and her family when they destroyed Jericho.

So, clearly she is pretty awesome. Without her help, the plan to take over Jericho may not have gone the way it needed to and the lives of the men would have been taken–she really saved the day. BUT WAIT, THERE IS MORE!!! This is what is so cool about the Bible, there is always more to the story (oh and the fact that it is the inspired Word of God is pretty groovy too.)

See, God’s plan for Rahab didn’t end at Jericho, that was only the beginning. Rahab is mentioned three more times in the Bible, and all those three times are in the New Testament.

The last two times are in Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25 and they talk about her actions and her obedience to the Lord by helping the spies, but the main part I want to focus on this the first time she is mentioned in the New Testament, which is Matthew 1:5. This part of Matthew is when he is going through the genealogy of Jesus, starting at Abraham and following the line through Solomon to David and then to Jesus.

Since I am obsessed with the past, I find genealogies extremely interesting and exciting. This one is already exciting because it is the genealogy of Jesus, but what also makes it interesting is that it includes women–five women, in fact–which would have been very odd and rare at the time Matthew was writing it. These five women are: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba (referenced as the “wife of Uriah”) and Mary.

Now, it makes sense why Mary is included, after all she is the sinless mother of the Lord, but what about the other 4? I mean, why would Matthew include the Harlot of Jericho in the same context as Jesus Christ?

If her role had ended at Jericho, I think it would be hard to imagine that Matthew would include her, but he did–he distinctly wrote “and Sal’mon, the father of Boaz by Rahab”–he didn’t have to include the mother, because the father was already there–so clearly there is something else going on here.

For this next part I had to dig up some old theology notes from my Synoptic Gospels class I took a few semesters ago, but thankfully I had Dr. Zia for this class and he made sure we knew our stuff, so I was able to recall it quite quickly.

Dr. Zia presented us with three main theories of why the 4 other women were included.

  1. They were included because they were sinners and the human Biblical author (Matthew) wanted to show that even sinners are included in God’s salvation.
  2. They were included because they were all foreigners and Matthew wanted to show that the salvation of Christ belonged to all people of all nations.
  3. They were included because they were all initiators of a course of events that are essential to the salvation of mankind.

Well, as nice as No. 1 sounds, it can be thrown out very quickly because while Tamar, Rahab and Bathsheba could have been easily seen as “sinners”, Ruth was not. She is one of the few women in the Bible who is described with the same language as the “Godly wife”in Proverbs–she is essentially perfect. Also, the sin of Bathsheba is questionable because it is unknown whether or not she was willing to enter into relations with David. So, theory No. 1 is taken out of the running.

Theory No. 2 is true in the sense that Christianity is not limited to one race or culture, but is meant for the whole world. If this genealogy was found in Proverbs or one of the other Wisdom literature books, this theory would hold up because the Wisdom literature books have a strong emphasis on the unity and the international aspect of God’s salvation. Matthew, however, did not write the genealogy to show the universality of salvation–he wrote it to show that Jesus is God. And so, theory No. 2 is out of the running. At least for this particular instance.

And so we are left with theory No. 3, the initiative taken by the women in an event that was essential to salvation.

  • Tamar took the initiative to keep the tribe of Judah alive by producing an heir through undesirable measures (relations with her father-in-law)
  • Rahab took the initiative to lie to the King’s men and hide the spies.
  • Ruth took the initiative to marry Boaz (son of Rahab, remember!) who was the great grandfather of David
  • Bathsheba took the initiative to beg David to make their son, Solomon, the heir to the throne, even though he was not the eldest.

All these actions helped keep the path through the tribe of Judah open and lead us to “Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who was called Christ.” (Matt. 1:16)    *It may be important to note that while May did not initiate her mission, she did freely accept it.

All of these women would have been viewed as heroines to the Jewish people because without them the line of Judah, which was ultimately the line of David, would have been broken.

Isn’t the Bible so cool??

I guess the point I’m trying to make through all of this is that it doesn’t matter who you are or what choices you have made in the past, God still has a beautiful and glorious role for you to play in His plan for worldwide Salvation.

“What would be ugly in a garden, constitutes beauty in a mountain.”

What we see on earth is only the smallest portion of the eternity that God sees. We only see the garden and He is the mountain. We may only see our ugly sin that we have committed in our lives and that gives us the idea that we are not good enough or worthy enough for God’s love and forgiveness. But just remember, God took a harlot and used her to help Him clear the path for His Son to enter into the world. And if you didn’t know, a harlot is about as bad as you can get for a woman in the Bible. All throughout the Wisdom literature (and I’m sure other places in the Bible), the Biblical authors warn people to stay away from sin and harlots. So if God can take a woman who is identified solely by her sin and turn her into a heroine, imagine what He can do with you.

God made us to be the best version of ourselves, and the only way to do that is by allowing him to work in us to achieve our greatness. Matthew Kelly, in his book “Rediscovering Catholicism”, wrote that “In any moment that you choose to be all you can be–you are holy…but as quickly as this holiness can be found, it can be lost, because in any moment that you choose to be less than the-best-version-of-yourself, you become unholy.”

So strive for that holiness, friends, because God has great plans for you!

*Oh and for anyone who is interested, this is the description Buzzfeed gave about Rahab

“Quick-witted, feisty, and fun-loving, you make absolutely no apologies for yourself or your life. You do what you want and look out for yourself as you make your way through the world. You have remarkable self-persevation instincts and take whatever life throws at you with a devil-may-care grin. Ambitious and driven, you know what you want and you’re not afraid to go after it. People aren’t really your “thing,” but you have a close circle of family friends that you love more than anything. You’re confidant, smart, streetwise, and successful and you’re going to leave your mark on the world.”

-I don’t know how they got all that from the Gospel of Matthew, but I guess I’ll take it. 🙂

#ThankYouDad

my father didn't tell me how to live

So…I’m obsessed with the Olympics. Really, it’s not good for me to be at my apartment if I have any homework because it doesn’t get done—I just watch the Olympics…all the time. Good thing midterms are coming up, I’ll be super prepared.

Anyway, because I have spent long hours watching the Olympics I have seen every single “Thank You Mom” commercial there is to see. I’m pretty sure every company who is advertising in the Olympics has this slogan in some way, shape or form. These commercials are pretty awesome. The P&G ones definitely bring me to tears. They are a beautiful and a wonderful example, of just a fraction, of what mothers do for us (which is a lot, if you didn’t know). Mothers are like a whole different species of a super human and they deserve to have recognition, not just at the Olympics, but every day—because they are awesome. But here is my question, why aren’t Dad’s getting any love? Why don’t they ever get love?

It’s not just the Olympics. When watching TV the majority of Dads are portrayed as either deadbeats or idiots (or both). Not all shows are like this, obviously, but it is really hard to find a dad who is a solid man and father. Where are they? Where are the heads of the households?

We don’t respect fatherhood as a culture, and it shows. And because of this lack of value, the art and beauty of true fatherhood is dying—and it doesn’t seem to be getting better.

Luckily, it’s not lost yet and there are still so many wonderful examples of true fatherhood.

I was so extremely blessed to have a great and wonderful dad who lived in a way that showed his children how to live good and true lives with a purpose. There are also so many fathers who have impacted my life: friend’s dads, dads friends, my uncles, my grandparents, and I also have the greatest brother-in-law, who is a great example of what a father should be—so, needless to say, I have been blessed with some great men in my life.

This is why the lack of coverage for solid dad’s makes me upset. We need to show the world that great fathers exist and that all men who are lucky enough to be dads should strive to be examples of true fatherhood.

And so, while I don’t speak for everyone, and this won’t be seen by everyone, I would like to do my part to thank my dad for all that he’s done in my own #ThankYouDad segment, and recognize the beauty of fatherhood.

Thank You Dad

1. Thank you Dad for reading to your kids every night. This practice instilled within me a love for reading and learning that I hold with me still.

2. Thank you Dad for making your daughters wear skirts to Sunday Mass, and never budging on this. This rule helped me understand the importance of what is happening when I enter into Mass and it always reminds me that no matter what I do in a week, Holy Mass will always be the most important.

3. Thank you Dad for teaching me not to mock the other players of another team. I remember one particular instance—Minnesota vs. Maine, NCAA championship hockey game, 2002. Gophers were about to break their 23-year drought without a championship. Very exciting time in the Maher household. I remember the camera flashed over to Maine’s goalie and I made some smart comment about him. My Dad quickly corrected me and told me there is no reason to ridicule someone because of their misfortune. This one moment taught me that all people deserve respect, even if you despise them—like the Green Bay Packers or North Dakota.

4. Thank you Dad for playing classical music on the drive to Church every Sunday. This showed me how much beauty there can be in the lack of words and that sometimes saying nothing is more powerful than saying everything.

5. Thank you Dad for coming to all my event when I was younger (games, plays, concerts). Even if I wasn’t the best at what I was doing (clearly hypothetical), you still came to everything and told me you were proud of me. I can never express how much that meant to me.

6. Thank you Dad for telling me, at a very young age, to be proud of being Irish. Then and now this sense of identity has made me proud of who I am and who my family is.

7. Thank you Dad for not bringing work home with you. This showed me that family is more important than money.

8. Thank you Dad for making me go through the “Sean Maher dish washer loading tutorial.” This taught me that a little organization can go a long way. (I still need to work on perfecting this lesson–not exactly my area of expertise.)

9. Thank you Dad for doing puzzles with me at 3 a.m. (and other times of the day). Sometimes life is in jumbles and a mess and when you look at it, you think that there is no way it is going to work out. But through hard work, patience and dedication it does work out and it is beautiful.

10. Thank you dad for getting me a ring on my 16th birthday. You told me that it was to remind me that I am worth the highest form of love that is possible, and I should never settle for less.

This is just my short list of what I would like to thank my dad for everything that he did for me.

Clearly, I was spoiled. Not with possessions, but with quality time and attention. This type of love deserves to be recognized and I pray that we can return to a time when all children experience this beautiful fatherly love.