You are better than who you think you are.

This is so important. Please remember that not only should you be kind to those around you, you need to be kind to yourself as well. Whatever flaws you think you may have, others might not even notice them at all, or even appreciate you more because of these so-called “flaws”. Accept yourself. And love yourself.

– Karen

Some Sacrifices Are Worth It

If there was a dire emergency and my family was clearly in danger’s way, I would do whatever I could to ensure their safety, even if it meant putting myself in danger. If there was only enough ice cream for one person left in the box, I would give it to my brother. Some sacrifices are easy to make when you truly love the person or people you are making them for. Even though the sacrifices you make for your loved ones may not always benefit yourself, you still make them because you would rather have the short end of the stick than your loved ones.

That is exactly how I think Ma Joad felt when she told everyone to pack up their things from the Weedpatch government camp and move to a less accommodating housing area in order for the family to get work.  Although she was the one to make the family move, I think leaving the government camp really pained Ma. This camp was the first place since their journey west that was like some sort of home to Ma; It was the only thing that hasn’t disappointed her in California. Despite the luxuries that the camp offered, Ma knew they had to leave to find work elsewhere. As much as it pained her to do so, she forced the family to move out because it was for their own good.

For the love of a family member, sacrifices are made all the time, just like in the Disney classic, Little Mermaid. King Triton sacrifices his power as ruler in order to save his beloved daughter, Ariel from being harmed by the evil Ursula. He is willing to give up being king of the ocean in order for his daughter to survive. A huge a heavily weighted sacrifice, but I’m sure it wasn’t a very hard decision.

Walt-Disney-Books-Ursula-King-Triton-walt-disney-characters-34296593-2936-2357Some sacrifices are worth it because you are doing it for those you love. For your love and compassion for the person overrides your fear. I think that is one of the most beautiful things about society. You could be faced with you difficult choices, but when you chose to sacrifice for those you love, you are demonstrating true love.

-Kim

The Power of Love

Love comes in many different forms and sizes.  But what the heck do I know?  I’m just a 16 year-old, pubescent, teenager who only uses the word “love” when talking about fattening, delicious, scrumptious food.  Oh the sheer beauty of a heart-warming yet unhealthy hambu– alright let’s get back on track Nick, FOCUS AND REWARD YOURSELF WITH FOOD LATER.

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To sum up, I don’t really know what love is.  So what gives me the right to give advice regarding life, love and everything in between?   In this process of blog posts, I’m learning more about myself as well as others through personal experiences as well as just growing up in general.  I don’t know what life is all about, nor do I know how it feels to be truly heartbroken, but I do know what it takes to be the considerate, loving, caring, selfless person that is needed in society.

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For these reasons, I greatly appreciate Grapes of Wrath since one of its main, recurring themes in the story is the theme of love and unity.  Throughout the novel, we see characters go out of their own way to help strangers they don’t even know of.  For example, Ivy and Sairy Wilson and the Joads team up and create a symbiotic relationship to depend on each other although they barely even know each other.  Another example could be of how the Joads, specifically Ma and the rest of the elders, decide to allow ex-preacher Jim Casy to join their caravan to California with the knowledge that their group is too crowded.  In addition, without even knowing who was at the door, Ma was willing to serve them food and have them come inside and eat.

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These characteristics are what we need to better ourselves individually as well as to better the community around us.  The power that love can do to us is infinite.  Love can defeat all evils.  But most of all, love can cure.  In everyday life, remember to be considerate of others that are close to you and put their needs before yours.  But before putting them before you, you must learn to love yourself above all.  When you learn to love yourself, you learn how to love others.  Be that selfless person that everyone needs in their lives.  Be the difference that we all strive to be.

#justkeepswimming

– Nick

I Got Your Back We Can Do This

I’ve been really into Childish Gambino’s music lately.  His emotions.  His beats.  His lyrics.  There is meaning behind every single word he puts in his rap.  Gambino’s songs are not only moving, but they make you think about yourself  as well as your surroundings.  In summary, they are reality checks.

In an up and coming song of his, 3005, Childish Gambino professes his love to his significant other.  He discusses all the toils and hardships that he would go through and how much love he would give to her.  He would pass up hanging out with his friends, he would throw parties for her, he would stay with her forever.  Childish, you’re so deep and mature.

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I’m listening to this and I’m thinking about love in general.  I understand how hard it is to keep up relationships  and effort that needs to be given to your teammate in love.  I try to be as realistic as possible when I think of relationships even though my heart tells me otherwise.  I create all these scenarios of how perfect my wife/girlfriend will be.  As much as I want our relationship to be perfect, I know that it won’t be.  I’m not a love guru, but I do know that my special someone will be there with me through everything.  My low times.  My good times.  ‘Til 3005.

Gatsby always loved Daisy and he never stopped.  His whole life was wrapped around her even though they barely even talked to each other anymore.  In essence, Gatsby wanted to go to the past where he and Daisy were once lovers.  He was, as Childish put it, “just scared of the future.”  He was afraid of moving on without Daisy and accepting a future world where she wasn’t in his life.  He wanted things to be perfect as he threw lavish parties just to try and see her.  Even though Gatsby had “a house full of homies, ” he felt “so the opposite.”  Life was bleak without Daisy.   He wanted to be with her forever.  ‘Til 30o5.

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Gatsby’s dreams were unrealistic.  In the end, as much as he wanted his dreams to become reality,  Gatsby “lost all hope of a happy ending” as Childish would say.  Daisy was out of reach.

To whom this may concern, love is kind but can also be brutal at the same time.  You must understand that if you get hurt from a tough break-up or separation, it’s all in the process of learning.  Don’t beat yourself up about it because you shouldn’t be down in the dumps.  If anything, you have learned more about yourself and who you really are as a person.  Use it as your fuel, your drive, your vision of a better tomorrow.  Don’t try and look towards the past.  As beautiful as it sounds, moving forward is only another step closer to finding that someone.  Strive to meet that person who will be there for you and will  roll with you through the punches. ‘Til 3005.

– Nick

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Is it worth it to love someone who doesn’t love you back?

“If someone doesn’t love you back, move on!” 

Those are the wise words my English teacher said to my class after we finished reading The Great Gatsby. Much of the story surrounds Jay Gatsby and his obsessive, unconditional love for his former sweetheart who ended up marrying someone else, Daisy Buchanan. However, Daisy ultimately does not love Gatsby as much as he wanted her to.

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I’m not entirely sure if I agree with my teacher’s words of advice, though, and I’m pretty sure Gatsby would definitely not agree. Is it really a bad thing to love someone if they do not love you back?

Wealthy and powerful Jay Gatsby used to be poor James Gatz, son of some “unsuccessful farm people”. His love for Daisy greatly motivated him to go from rags to riches, since he he felt that he could not provide for Daisy before because he was a poor soldier while Daisy had been born into a rich family. It seemed like everything Gatsby did in the story was for Daisy. He made a fortune so he could take care of her. He bought his house to be across from her.

Gatsby was even willing to take the blame for hitting a woman, Myrtle, with his car to protect Daisy, even though just hours earlier she had said that she didn’t just love Gatsby, she loved him and her husband, Tom Buchanan. This decision ultimately led to him getting killed by Myrtle’s husband. However, I believe that Gatsby loved Daisy so much that he would still have done anything for her even if she did not return his love at all.

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Gatsby’s character reminds me of my favorite character from  Les Misérables, Eponine Thénardier. Unfortunately, I’ve only seen the movie, but it was a fantastic movie nonetheless. In the film, Eponine was in love with Marius, but he was smitten with Cosette. However, she was still willing to take a bullet for him, resulting in her dying in his arms. She knew that she would never be able to take Cosette’s place in his heart, yet she still found the courage to die in place of Marius.

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Eponine and Gatsby are similar in that they were both willing to do whatever it takes to protect the person they love, regardless of anything and anybody else. They were perfectly happy to be hurt, if it meant keeping their loved one from being hurt.

To some, it may seem as though Gatsby and Eponine are too naive, willing to sacrifice so much for someone who could not do the same for them. However, I don’t think it was dumb or stupid of them to do so, because Eponine truly cared for Marius, and Gatsby for Daisy. Eponine was depicted dying a happy death, knowing that Marius was alive. Although it was not explicitly mentioned in the book, I do believe that Gatsby would have chosen to die if it meant that Daisy would not have to.  If they have that much love to give, who has the right to say that they are wrong to do so?

– Karen

Book Review: The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Hello world! I’m back again with another book review about a very moving novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. I picked up this book because I remember someone telling me about how they were reading this book and thought it was a great read, so I decided to give it a try. And a great read it is. This book is fairly short, 196 pages, but I wished it was longer- you don’t find me saying that about books often! I finished this book in one day, and once I finished, I wished I could read it for the first time over and over again. It was one of those books where you want to finish it, but you don’t want it to end.

The novel is about an elderly man named Eddie who dies trying to save a young girl from an accident at a seaside amusement park. When he goes up into heaven, he meets five people that have affected his life on earth and that help him figure the meaning of his life.

Throughout this novel, I’m going to be quite frank and say that many tears were shed. Despite some heartbreaking scenes, this book is filled with insight on life and things that people should now while living. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone really because no matter how old you are, it doesn’t hurt to learn new things about life.

All together, this was an amazing read and I really hope you all take the time to read this book, if you haven’t already, and enjoy as much as I did.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book are:

“There are no random acts. We are all connected. You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind.”

“Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really loosing it. You’re passing it on to someone else.”

“Holding anger is poison. It eats you from the inside. We think hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us, but hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.”

“Each affects the other and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one.”

One of the most powerful messages this book taught me was that everything we do, affects someone else and that in turn affects someone else. After reading this, I came to realize that no matter what you do, big or small, you have an opportunity to make or maybe break someone’s day. A small act of kindness, and maybe that act of kindness will motivate that person to do something nice for someone else. You may not know it, but you have the chance to really brighten someone’s day just by doing something simple for them. If you were to do something mean or hurtful towards someone, that person could become upset, and maybe say something they don’t mean, which in turn might hurt someone else. The point of this is that be careful with what you say or do because it will affect others. I think it would be wonderful if everyone could take time out of their day to do something because it would make the world a much better place.

-Kim

Know Your Roots

Weekly, our class writes morphemes;  which are basically Latin root verbs.  They are the smallest units in language that are the foundation of certain words.  For example, “lig” means to “to choose, to collect,” or “to gather.”  Just the other night I thought to myself that without morphemes, there would be no basis in language.  There would not be any foundation and the language that we know now would be very different.  Consequently, this idea is relatable to family.

Very much like morphemes, I would be torn without my base, my foundation that I look towards for help.  Family, is the foundation to our lives.  Our grandparents, and our grandparents’ grandparents, and our ancestors after that, all make up our family roots.  They all makeup and help create who we are, as individuals, today.

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My family, for example, is very tight-knit and we are all independent in our own lives but we are still bound together by blood.  We still care for each other very much and we love one another no matter what.  Being the youngest of my family, I have 3 older siblings who have helped shape and influence me to be the teen I am today.  Since my parents were absorbed with work and tending to things around the house when I was a child, my 3 brothers and sisters were the ones who acted as my second set of parents.  The reason why I try to be hard-working, social, and active in the community is because of them.  I strive each day, to be more and more like them and to be, in a sense, honorable and to be a mature and respectful member of society as well as school.  But I know and hope, that my direct as well as extended family will have my back and be with me through thick and thin.

But, some bases may not be as strong.  Some roots may be parched and have been dehydrated for a very long time.  I don’t know personally, but I understand that many families around the world are torn, or are not as close as they could be.  Sometimes it may be because of bitter hate, members have no time for each other, a traumatic event has occurred between members, or simply because they fell out of touch.  No matter the case, these family members should know that family is valuable.  They may not know it now, but family is a strong bond that can’t ever be harmed or broken by any outside forces.

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What should these people do to revive these family roots?  Water these roots.  Do whatever you can to revive your bonds with lost siblings or parents.  What if you or your sibling were to suddenly die tomorrow?  Would you want your bond to be weak by the time you’re gone?  Or do you want it to be the strongest as possible to know that at all costs, in the real life, or the next, that you are BOUND to family wherever and whenever.

So friends and family, the point that I really want to emphasize is that love one another with all your heart.  Family is a strong element in everyday life that is an extremely hard thing to be taken away.  If your bonds with family can never be repaired or patched up, create a new base.  Have friends that are as thick as thieves and can be considered your family be in your foundation.  Know your roots.  But above all, know yourself.

– Nick