In Your Language

Monday, March 31, 2014

Are you Walking Dead?

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Who is more dead, the characters who are zombies or 

the ones who let people die?

[One thing that stood out to me as I have watched this TV series is that the two doctors (albeit one was a veterinarian) both had faith in science and value of life. Despite the fact that they were two very valuable people amongst the many, they were willing to put their lives on the line to spare the condition of their souls.

Hershel risked his life over and over again in the prison episodes especially with the people who were closest to death and closest to turning. Dr. Porter was willing to put the Washington D.C. mission on the back-burner because he couldn't live with himself after "saving the world" if he let Glenn and Tara die in the tunnel (Season 4, Episode 15).  

That change in agenda made me feel relieved that there was still humanity in the  survivors; that life wasn't merely about staying alive and doing whatever necessary to survive. It showed that there was still a vestige of conscience in that God forsaken wreckage.]

The show really made me consider what it means to be human and how we decide which deadly behavior is more abhorrent: the zombies insatiable hunger for flesh or the survivors that would kill to survive. Is survival really enough reason to become so primal and lose touch with social propriety?

It also surprised me that Daryl, the former deep-woods hard-knocks type of person with the messed up family life, could find it hard to adjust to moving around with the bandits that remind me of his brother (Merle). It bothered Daryl, the societal outcast before the zombie fiasco, that people could "claim" things so preposterous as something he tracked and killed by his own wits. Now that is saying something, in my humble opinion.

As the show goes on there seems to be little difference between the people who are walking dead with healthy flesh and the ones who are festering in a reanimated existence.  But is this so far from the reality of the world we're living in? In many places in the world, people have  sanctions to be that ruthless. Similarly, people who look unassuming and innocent can be just as vicious as the rough and tumble drug lords.

It's easy to claim our foothold on humanity when our lives are so sheltered. But, if our ethics were challenged often and in extreme ways- would we really say we are spotless? I know this series is meant to be gruesome but I'd like to see more redeeming qualities weaved into the plot-line. I think the only good death is when we choose what we're dying for. A good death puts us on the redeemed path for eternity, like that of Hershel's.

Even if the last character standing killed the other humans, they would be loved by the Lord Almighty. They would be one prayer, one decision away from redeeming their soul. Perhaps that is the point: when all else is gone- we still have God. If God were cast in the series finale, he would throw himself (faultless, with no blood on his hands) at the zombies to save the remaining people. That is His gift to us. Hallelujah.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

The blessing of self care FOR the good of the masses.

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Self-denying doesn't help anyone...

The only reason why I came to this conclusion is because I, Meredith, was a former self denying person. Come on- I have it in-grained in me due to being adopted. The less impact I can make in a space (size, attention, financially, involvement) the better as my former self. Receiving anything was quite uncomfortable to me as I felt like a charity case or unworthy. No one smacked me up the side the head like they should have.

Since I never got the rude awakening of a slap, it occurred to my by accident. You could say, perhaps, that I'm a slow person. I'm slow to change my habits as I thrive on routine. But anyhow- recently I took on a new hobby of aquaponics and fish keeping. It is small scale, but it is very grounding to me. I also devoted more time to this blog in writing and in concept. I've taken up piano again- my old best friend. Fortunately for me,  (by the help of the most amazing husband in the world) I was able to get some alone time. I was given the space and opportunity to "check out" so I could "check back in" that much stronger.

I noticed that as I spent more time nurturing myself creatively, that I was much more productive and resilient. I enjoyed my family more. I'd venture to say that my husband has even seen a difference in me; and I think he likes the energized me much better than when I was overly self-denying. I never realized how much denying myself was putting everyone else on edge despite the fact that I thought I was being a better wife and mother by doing so.

 I've been in a creative mode for I'd say most of March. And I've never felt so fulfilled. I used to discount myself creatively speaking to where I rarely did anything fun or relaxing. I'd even say I have the energy to try to be witty. Yeah- with a baby, that IS saying something. Perhaps everyone else started to respect me more because I was treating myself better. Go figure- we are the examples to others of how to be treated by the way we treat ourselves.

I have a dear long time friend who is stuck in a cycle of beating himself up. Sadly, he was in a marriage where this behavior enabled the emotional and physical abuse by his wife. Of course this is an extreme example, but at what point are we going to smarten up to this concept? How much of the oppression is done TO US and how much of it are we ENABLING?

So that is my question to you. I'm not calling you to arms. But I am challenging you to nurture yourself and see how your experience of your life changes... how the people around you change their interactions with you. It does matter. There are certain things that only we can do for ourselves. The rest, Almighty God can handle. 

The truth speaks for itself: self care blesses those around you. Do something every day for a little while that helps you connect with the essence of who you are. God wants us to love ourselves as well as others. We can only give love from the overflow of love we have for ourselves and from the Lord Above. Loving yourself won't solve your problems but it will make your life meaningful.

Self care creates an overflow of care that we can use to bless our family and friends. Care to join me? How do you nurture yourself? Please comment below. Blessings to you~

Saturday, March 29, 2014

How accomodating should we be? [educationally speaking]

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Originally, you probably clicked on this article thinking that I was talking about social graces, but hopefully by the image above you'll understand my frame of reference for "accomodations." I.D.E.A. is a law that outlines ideological ways of providing education and a classroom that will help kids with a wide range of "disabilities" to be as close to grade level as possible. Much of that education is sought through identifying disabilities, writing up an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that includes accommodations and modifications that are appropriate for each student. 

Many IEPs account for Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy during the school day. Accomodations might be like "student has no time restriction to complete test" or "test can be read aloud to student" whereas modifications would be to reduce work or change the work from being rote (writing) to pictoral (visual). Many times these legal statements in the IEP are enough to hoist children to their educational potential. Hurray for the goal.

Wait, what does this have to do with you, Meredith?

I am not an IDEA specialist or licensed teacher. But special education has been a part of my life at different junctures of my life, and since 2010. Being adopted from Korea at four and a half, I had challenges learning English. I also had trouble pronouncing English words and so I was put in Speech Therapy. If you listen to my videos you will notice that the "speech pathologist" (as if I had something "wrong" with my Korean accent to begin with) erased all evidence of my first language. 

When I moved to Colorado upon marrying a teacher, I got a job at the school he taught at in the Special Education Department as a paraprofessional. Despite the fact that I lacked licensure, I was the frontline person who help the high schoolers navigate their lessons for Mathematics and Sciences. Many of these kids were pushed on me to do the teaching and I gladly did it. 

Paraprofessionals are also supplied for special education students through IDEA. I was supposed to learn all of the IEPs but I had not input into them. That was a faulty system inofitself. I absolutely loved my job with the teenagers. They blew me away. I got to know them as people, I asked them how they were doing. In many ways, I was the only one they could talk to about their frustrations and sometimes I was the first food they had all day (I would share my snacks).

I also spent some time as a "one on one paraprofessional" with an autistic young man. He was in the band and a good student.  He was highly sensitive to sensory stimulation and had a history of streaking in the hallways. Once his medication was tweaked, he no longer had the compulsion to do so. I was in awe of his different reality. I wondered what went on in his mind.

Then when I divorced, I got a job at a martial arts school. I participated in facilitating many classes that included special needs children. I saw kids with Tourettes and Autism grow with this sort of physical, regulating therapy. One woman I got in touch with from Focus on the Family specializes in regulatory therapy for attachment challenged children who suffered much trauma. She confirmed with me that jumping had a great regulatory function that resets the brain for optimal functioning. You can find her here.

And now, I have a son who has a learning disability but much potential. I live day in and day out with challenging myself to think outside the box and how to tailor our home to the needs of my very unique children. I think back to his experience with a one-on-one para who did a dis-service to him by doing his work FOR him. He has much space to cover in his academic life and it's apparent to me and the rest of his education team that his previous accommodations are not the right fit for him.

Since we've recently had a triennial IEP meeting, it's been on my mind whether or not these accommodations are actually hurting him and other students in the long run. Children with disabilities already have a longer learning curve once they age out of the IDEA system. Is it wise to build up their lives with so many accommodations that won't translate into their future life (that is hopefully independent and self sufficient and gainfully employed)?

I'm not posing the question to say anything categorically . But it doesn't hurt to reassess and reappraise situations as time goes on. I know from my own life, I had no street smarts and all book smarts. I was at a huge disadvantage once I hit college and emerged into the work place. For a person of much promise (going to an Ivy League university), I lacked the "transitional" training that would have prepared me to be on my own. My life had been so focused on education that I neglected to learn about socializing, money managing and everything else that goes into leaving childhood behind. I had so much trouble despite the fact I was a fairly gifted child.

I guess that is fallacy of our default mind to only think in the present tense. If we involved our future in our every day thoughts and decisions, perhaps we would pave smoother roads for ourselves. To no fault of my own, I went into the real world unprepared and I paid for it immensely. I know that with God's help I will do my best to prepare my own kids for living on their own. 

How do you weigh in with the accommodation dilemma? Please leave your two cents...

Friday, March 28, 2014

Poor Karl Marx

Religion is:

"the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods" (Oxford Dictionary Online).

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"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world...It's opium of the people" (Marx 1844/1964).

I find this quotation does not capture what "belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power" is defined by the Oxford Dictionary. I do not equate my worship to be a sigh which implies that I have no other recourse and that I hate my life. There are plenty of religious people who worship joyously and voluntarily. In fact, for Christians, the relationship with God is absolutely of our free will. It takes our decision and invitation for God to work in our lives.

If Marx is implying that being under a superhuman controlling power is the same as being an "oppressed creature," I'd say that if a creature is oppressed it's not by the higher power but by their own choices and the rest of humanity. Hitler oppressed, Alexander the Great pillaged the oppressed, the Egyptian pharaohs enslaved people; yet they were humans that set out to replace the God or gods.  Humans have grasped oppression just fine without divine intervention.

The only point that I agree with is that we live in a generally heartless world because of idols and people trying to be Gods. Anyone with eyes or a grasp of language can pick up on the perverse behavior that fills our world. Let me be an example, I was born out of wedlock. I have a long lost sister that I cannot know details about. I don't know who my biological father is or looks like. And that's just from the first 4.5 years of my life.

I don't believe that he's speaking truth when he says that every non-religious person in the world thinks that religious people are sighing and moaning. I see that the opposite is true. Some non-religious people feel like they have a handicap of the subjective experience of connecting with that which is outside of us, and bigger than us. The same way I feel handicapped in the humor category- it just escapes me.

I think that believing has nothing to do with knowing. The same way Bill Nye claimed that all he wanted was proof in order to believe. What was apparent to me was that he was putting too much "belief" in his science. Even the author of my sociology book mentions that science and law cannot enlighten us on the existence of God; the purpose of life; the afterlife; and about morality (Henslin, 2011, pp. 368-9).

From God's perspective, he gave Karl Marx a brilliant mind but Marx went ahead an used it against him. Same thing with Bill Nye, God gave him the brilliant mind and the social notoriety but he has used those things to denounce that he even exists. Many people have a problem with things that are subjective and relate religion to be in that realm. In the next breath though, they will use their subjective emotions to validate their behavior. It is a hard battle to pick because either we give stock to the subjective as a whole, or we are called to reject our own human emotions and capacity to have relationships.

We could look at religious people as seeing this subjective connection (if you will) with the Higher Power as a gift. Some people take for granted that we can even construct such an idea to connect with that which is beyond us in comparison to the ape or the ant. We are the only creatures that are pre-installed with the ability to worship.

People who struggle to make that mental "leap of faith" into religion often struggle with attribution errors; such as "if it goes right, it's to my credit; if things go wrong, it's "their fault" or "the universe is against me." In that respect, we give ourselves and others too much credit. We're either a god (all of the time, all knowing, all powerful, all wise) or we're not at any time or any circumstance a god. We do not get to pick and choose our proprieties any more than a tree.

All that said, I'm okay with the fact that Karl Marx had it (or at least, me) wrong in the context of that famous quotation. It's sad that a fool like me can refute what he says and that what he has said is "worshiped" by atheists in it's own right. I'm not trying to convert anyone. I'm not preaching. I'm just responding to the things that people feel justified to say. I just want to challenge the thoughts we default to. We can be mindful consumers of rhetoric.


Henslin, J. M. (2011). Essentials of Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach (9th Ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Thank you for reading. I hope this post inspired you to take a closer look at why you believe what you believe. Please G+ and share this post if reading it was a worthwhile 2 minutes of your day. Blessings~ Meredith

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Words with Friends (WWF) Prompt

I've decided that I've been too serious and so now, I'm going to add a series of posts based on my Words with Friends high score words.  #WWF from now on. 

I will write something fairly short and hopefully humorous about the word. If you'd like to play with me, invite me to play "Meredith Suh". 

My Korean family name is "Suh" and since "Meredith Elizabeth" was already spoken for, I just went with it. There- you know a little more about me with still a lot of mystery left.


CHEW: TW tile, 36pts

To be honest, my husband's chewing sometimes drove me batty. I think it was a sensory thing combined with my environmental history. My father had a sensory issue (at least that's how I perceive it in the present) and hated the noises I made with chewing, breathing, etc. So- now that he's so graciously passed that down to me, chewing sounds bother me at times also. I try so so hard NOT to be like my father in that way. But it's really hard.
Go figure- One day my husband and I are watching our shows at night and eating an awesome snack
(as is our routine "couple time") as usual.  But then he surprises me by saying "Wow, you're a loud chewer." LOL So- that was an eye-opener for me that someone showed me the mirror on my own pet peeve thanks to my daddy. And come to think of it, I never even thought to try to do the same to my father! haha. Lesson dispensed from my dear, beloved, handsome husband.

Here are all of my WWF posts...

#WordsWithFriends #WWFPrompt

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sofa Talk, Virtual Peptalk [3]: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin

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Well here we are again with a different couple who are on the outs. After 10 years of marriage and two kids, they've come to the conclusion that they cannot be married and parent at the same time. I feel like most of the media outlets are so blaze about celebrity breakups to the point where they almost glamorize them. We, commoners, get this is idea that divorce isn't such a big deal... maybe as long as you are a spokesperson for charity.

The truth is, divorce, period, is a serious matter. While the couple has only announced "separation," they are speaking as if they are pursuing divorce. Outwardly, they still seem to be fond of each other; but we've only seen and heard what they want us to see and hear. 
          We are, however, and always will be a family, and in many ways we are closer
          than we have ever been. We are parents first and foremost, to two incredibly 
          wonderful children and we ask for their and our space and privacy to be
          respected at this difficult time. We have always conducted our relationship 
          privately, and we hope that as we consciously uncouple and coparent, we will be 
          able to continue in the same manner. (Paltrow/Martin, Eonline, March 25, 2014)

They talk about it like they will be okay about it soon. But the truth is divorce SHOULD be devastating. It is the spiritual breaking in half of ONE person (biblically speaking). Add on top of it that they have children, Apple and Moses, who will grow up in a somewhat ordinary (speaking of divorce) but unideal situation. Things will only get harder for the kids once the parents decided to date again and possibly remarry (hopefully to each other- wink).
The Eonline article shared that they had been working hard on the relationship for a year before the decision despite the fact that they've had 10 whole years to fortify their relationship. I hope that doesn't give the public a new standard on which to base separation and divorce. According to their words, love is not enough. On that one point, I wholeheartedly agree.
This couple has kept their relationship private so I'm only going off their blog post and Eonline to base my reflection of this entombed relationship. I also want to take in account for the fact that they are celebrities and assume that they spent a bunch of time apart from each other for screen jobs and music gigs. In a large sense, Paltrow-Martin, are the stereotypical and general example of a star studded relationship.
What hit me from their words were things that were dissonant and on tone with divorce. "We are closer than we have ever been" is not the normal explanation leading to this sort of news. It begs me to ask why they don't keep working at it. Not knowing all the details, if they can report that- they have a lot more to go on than other couples, famous or not.

"We are parents first and foremost..." hits me as a strong indicator of improper priorities in their family. They should have put their marriage "first and foremost" for the well-being of their children. As much as children are "helpless," they are even more helpless when marriages crumble. Divorce has implications to the children's future marriages and even the grand-children's marriages. You could almost say "stay married for the sake of your children, your children's children and your children's children's children." If your marriage benefited more than just your present family but your future family, would you leverage your "happiness" until you could do marriage right with the one you're with?

Jimmy Evans of Marriage Today Ministries preaches that what you spend time on is your treasure. Perhaps with their fast paced famous life, they neglected to spend time with each other. Spending time together means you are treasuring that priority that also greatly benefits the children indirectly and directly through marriage modeling. They will gravitate toward what is familiar- for wrong or right.

I say all of this with the humility of a person who's been divorced. I've had to repent of incorrect thinking and behavior. I wish that I knew what I know now when I first started out dating. I've come to the realization that the more fighting we do with our inner appetites of ego, the less fighting we do in our marriages (or relationships in general). I can be okay with inner conflicts as long as I am actively working on them. The more I put a hedge between my destructive tendencies, the more I am honoring and preserving my marriage. 

For other Sofa Talk, Virtual Peptalk series posts click [2] & [1]

[My prayer for this celebrity couple is that they will use this time of separation to repair their relationship. I pray that if they do get divorced, that their future will bring them back together in remarriage. I pray that they can be one of the few celebrity marriages that publicly, not privately, beats the odds and paves the way for new thinking about marriage. I pray all of these words in His Name. Amen.]

#celebritymarriage #marriagepriorities #Paltrow-Martin #separation

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tag I'm not IT

Stop it right now. 

I'm not God. 

Would God take a picture like this?

Three instances where we might get the feeling that humans are God:
  1. Birth of our Child- The position of being a creator and bringer into the universe has parallels to what the Holy Father has done.
  2. Times of Success- At the height of our successes, we may incorrectly feel like we're eclipsing the greatness of God. For- God, by his very nature of being omnipotent and omniscient, does not fail.
  3. When we are weak and surrounded by others- we will implicitly ask those people to be "God" in our lives and turn things around for us.
Looking back on my most difficult relational times,  I've come to see that they involved me wanting, asking, begging and admonishing people for being sub-par "gods" in my life. Or the converse, that I have been a sorry excuse for a "god" in another person's life. Children are susceptible to imposing my face as God. But- did you see that goofy face at the top of this frame? Not a chance that I'm The One God. Also, people who have gone through trauma tend to silently ask others to be "god" or their saviors for them.

This relational fallacy is where I say "NOT IT" and tell my kids that they need a relationship with God BECAUSE I will fail them despite my intentions not to. They, I, we get tripped up when we are hurt or disappointed by others. But really, that should just cue us back to the mantra that "we are not God, but we need God." My love is not the "end all to be all." My wisdom is nowhere near HIS wisdom. My ability to forgive is overshadowed by his example. In short- all of the ways I am imperfect are the same ways we need to make space for God in our lives.

If nothing else, our dependence on God gives the ones we love the break they deserve. Imagine putting someone up to an impossible task and punishing them because they fail? Can you imagine how much more peace and acceptance there would be in you relationships if you asked them to be human and God to be "the God" in your life? God can handle our tears, our anger and our temper-tantrums; the very things that shake our relationships with other mere mortals. Is there not beauty in where God fits in our lives?

What can I do when I feel disappointed in others?
I'd suggest that we name the moment for what it is. "Right now I'm frustrated because I figured he could read my mind that I needed him to help me since I'm tired." Then, give the situation a neutral or situational attribution "Oh, he's not the only person who can't read my mind." And finally, act in love. Nothing combats a negative spirit with the opposite: love, peace, acceptance, grace. I think that idea is even in the Bible... (wink)

If there's any residual tension, go find a time to be alone with God. I've never regretted seeking him. He always delivers. My prayers and God's blessings to you~

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