Thursday, February 23, 2012

What do they think?

To me, cultural differences are one of the most interesting things.  I even think some stereotypes are interesting, ignorant or not.  I did some searching to find out what English people think of Americans.

What do they think?
The first source I found was a more educated, internet article from The New York Times.
The stereotypes mentioned were:
    -  Everyone carries guns
    -  Loud
    -  Country-bumpkins

The writer found when he visited the United States that Americans don't all cary guns, they aren't all rednecks and that they are hospitable, friendly, very polite and offer thanks for almost every service.  Another thing I thought was interesting is he said that we are very charming, but you don't always notice it as charm.  He talks about the charm in terms of friendliness.  He mentions his flight back to England.  When you sit down next to someone on an airplane, you say hi and possibly start a conversation, the English aren't much for that.  He also talks about where he plays tennis in England.  When he starts to play a game or is leaving a game, almost no acknowledgement of the other person is made.  In the United states, the is unacceptable and inconceivable.

The writer of that article mentioned something interesting about the "loud" American stereotype.  The thought is that Americans have no fear of being overheard.  He said most English assume that everyone loathes each other and just keeps it in and to open your mouth is basically to offend others.  So they talk quietly so they're not overheard.  Americans have no fear of offending others by saying just about anything because of freedom of speech.  That is why Americans generally speak louder; it's a little deeper than just being annoying and loud.

My next resource is a less educated, forum-style source.  I don't mean less educated as in dumb, but less educated meaning it's opinions of real people.

The first response talks about how we're generally looked down on for our "right wing" ideals and because of those, how poorly we deal with our poor and jobless.  He mentions our media being very skewed.  He talks about how only 1 in 10 Americans have a passport, yet claim the U.S. is the best country in the world, but know nothing of the rest of the world.  There are apparently a lot of jokes about our obesity as a nation, yet he acknowledges that England isn't far behind at all.

Here are some other stereotypes and thoughts about Americans:
    -  Ignorant and arrogant
    -  Our TV is most people's eyes into our culture and it portrays us as stupid and obese
    -  Racist
    -  Polite and friendly
    -  Cousins

Another very important factor in what they think of us is the difference between accents.

My first source is another forum-style website with some interesting thoughts and examples on spelling and pronunciation.  The first post is asking the English people on the message board to be honest about their opinions of American English based off of their interactions with Americans, not based off what the hear on TV.  He knows a lot of Englishmen who think that Americans have murdered the pure Queen's English.  He wants to know if they view us as lesser and lower social standing because of how we speak.

The first response mentions differences in pronunciation and spellings.  He gives us the following as examples:
British:        American:
colour         color
plough        plow
theatre        theater
analyse       analyze
centre         center

He also points out the difference between the British "aluminium" (al-you-min-e-um) and the American "aluminum" (ah-loo-min-uhm).

Another poster says that there is a campaign in action trying to make sure that English words aren't replaced by American.  Many people dislike that American spellings are being used instead of English.

There are many counter responses talking about how spell-check and teachers will mark your words as wrong if you use the British spellings.  We have strong rules enforcing our spelling here, so we can't just change them now.  Another person said they love the freedom that our language has linguistically.

My last source is another forum where someone asked what the English think of our accents.

The first response was full of compliments.  The person said that the southern style is: melodic, colourful and charming, the northern style is clever and refined and the Californian style is laid back and smooth.

Surprisingly, a lot love the southern accent.  But, similar to Americans, a lot of people hate it.  I love it.

A few people mentioned, that to English ears, American English sounds nasally.  They also said it's hard for them to understand a lot of our accents clearly.

One person said it is a cute accent because we smile a lot when we talk.

I just wanted to show you all what the world thought about you from an English standpoint.  I hope it was interesting and not too nerdy for you!  You really should check out the links, with the exception of the first one, they're all really short and simple responses.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I'm a huge nerd

I have spent hours, probably days of my life looking up stuff like this.  It's so interesting to me...

I love different accents and I love different phonetic sounds languages make.

Oh where to begin?  I'm like a kid in a candy store on youtube with this stuff.

So here's the thing... since you speak English, you can't fully understand or appreciate all the sounds, the rhythm and the flow of your own native tongue... crazy right?  When you hear someone speak English, all you hear are words and you're too used to the rhythm and sounds to really point out the uniqueness.  I found two videos that just use the phonetic sounds of English to show what English would sound like to someone who doesn't know the language.

This first one is a super old song that was filmed for an Italian tv show.  The first bit before the music is Italian, but when the music starts you'll hear what English sounds like to non-speakers.  You will think you hear words, and some of the sounds do kinda make words, but it's all gibberish.  Unfortunately, it's blocked from being used on blogger, so you need to go to youtube... but it's worth watching.
The crazy thing I noticed from that video is that is how many "d, g, b and j" sounds there are in English.  I always thought it was kind of a harsh language, but all the sounds are pretty soft.  The rhythm is a little jerky though.

This second one is similar, but it's spoken instead of sung.  Sorry, they for some reason do cuss a little even though it's supposed to be gibberish.  But, it's a really cool example to what it might be like if you were at a restaurant in America, and you didn't speak English, and you heard it being spoken at the table next to you.
The first time I watched this, I really thought they were speaking English but I couldn't hear it, so I kept turning up my speakers.

Next, I'm going to show you some different accents within our own language, it's beautiful how many variations there are in English alone.

This woman is just super impressive.

I saw this next video a long time ago.  I don't know why, but I think it's funny, when in reality, it's probably kinda stupid.  I am guessing he has his own web show, I had never heard of him.  But he is challenged to speak in his best American accent on some show that was trying to raise money for a charity.  His accents aren't really great, but it's kinda funny still and he has fun while doing it.  It starts about 51 seconds into the video if you wanna skip a bit of talking.

This next one shows a good example of a variation between British English and American English.  It's called the glottal stop.  A lot of times, in British English, letters just seem to disappear.  For example: the word "butter" could become "buh-er."  There are also some pretty good stereotypes in this, kinda funny.

Okay, I know I just gave you a bunch of nerdy, long, boring videos, but like I said in these posts: Why be Bilingual- parts onetwo, and three, I really think there are just so many interesting things about language.  The intricacy and beauty that languages have, even our own, is just overwhelming to me.  I might revisit this later, I'm sure I'll watch more videos soon.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Last night I took about a 45 minute walk just to think.  I needed to get out, think things through and clear my head.  I wanted to listen to something on my iPod that I knew would foster thinking, so I chose to listen to My Epic.  Every time I listen to their music, I learn something new.

Honestly, lately I've been terrified of not finding my place in the world and in God's plan when I graduate.  I'm afraid I'll have a heap of loans and no way to pay them off and no way to make the world better.  A lot of people, that I graduated high school with, aren't doing much at all, and I'm afraid I'm going to fall into that.

This song hit me, I don't know if it really helped me with that problem, maybe it did.  But, it reminded me that anything good, true and beautiful that I do, is only because of God.  I can't keep trying to do things on my own.  I mentioned it in this post with that line about my plans, being bright as a billion stars, are never really that bright at all.  Any thing that I seek out to do, will not be worthwhile unless God is behind it.  Anything good, true or beautiful I do, is not by my doing, because those are qualities God has.

Another line that struck me was the one that said "I'm tired of striving to be, who You already say that I am.  I am Yours."  That line really sums up what I'm seeking a lot, I strive to be God's child.  I already am God's child because God said so.  There is nothing I can do to earn that, it's freely given to me.  I really just need to chill and be with God.  God has me in His hands and I'm already doing His will if I'm seeking Him out, I just need to trust that everything will go well.

I know that didn't go anywhere, but those are just some thoughts I needed to write out.

Give the song a listen:

My Epic- Author

I have nothing new to say. The world is so terribly big, it keeps spinning and shaking loose all my constants and making me see that the sun has been burning too long to have not shed its light in every direction.

All I know is that beautiful in me is You... beautiful in me is You.
(All... I... know...) Every good thing, every true thing, beautiful in me is You, beautiful in me is You.
(All... I... know...) Every good thing, every true thing, beautiful in me is You, beautiful in me is You.
(All... I... know...) Every good thing, every true thing, beautiful in me is You, beautiful in me is You.

I see a thousand young men, they're all marching in time with the war on their doorsteps and their lovers behind them, and all of their glory flows back to their master, but they care not for honor, for they wear His robes.

I'm tired of striving to be, who You already say that I am. I am Yours...

Take what You need to take, say what You need to say to make me who I am meant to be, You can have it all. Take what You need to take, say what You need to say to make me who I am meant to be, You can have it all.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Music that moves

Here's the thing, I was hesitant about posting this, because I know most of you won't like this kind of music.  Screaming is an immediate turn off to a lot of people.  Honestly, that's kind of unfortunate.

Imagine the times when you were most emotional, you were either: sobbing, yelling at someone, or yelling at God.  Yelling is a very emotionally strong thing to do.  Granted, this is hardly metal or anything at all, it's mostly spoken word, with a little screaming, but you would scream too if this was something you had to experience.

Another thing that makes this music undesirable to a lot of people is the story is sad.  People don't like something if it isn't feel good.  Sorry, this isn't another generic song about love, this is a heartfelt, depressing song about some journal entries a parent made while their son was fighting cancer.

Lately, I've learned to love music that is really well thought out, that moves my heart, that makes me feel what the singer feels.  This song and a few others have moved me, almost to tears.  I love that the music does more than sound good, it makes my heart hurt and sometimes it makes my heart elated.

This song is called I See Everything and it's written by La Dispute.

The song moves me because the kid has to go through all the hard things a 7 year old shouldn't have to go through.  However, at the end, he passes away and is freed from the cancer.  His last words are "I see everything."  The parent is left, faithless and struggling and the last thing the parent says is "my eyes are closed."  What do you think the final words mean?  The ending is kind of bittersweet.  I hope you enjoyed it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Who do I think I am?

Play and read while it's playing.

In case you're wondering why I want you to listen to music, it's because I want music to match and give a feel to what I'm writing about.  Sometimes the lyrics match what I'm writing about, sometimes it's just the feel that the music has.  Enjoy!

I've been leading worship for maybe about 4 or 5 years total.  I had a long break for about a year that ended a few months ago.  I've been leading at my church youth group, I've led at my college group about 4 times and I had two churches ask me to play at them recently.

The thing is, I'm not a great musician at all.  Guitar is an instrument that you can slide by not really knowing anything about music.  Unfortunately, as I've found out, it's still really hard to slide by.

God's grace is the only thing that makes me worthy and capable of leading worship.  That is the only explanation of why someone who sometimes can't: keep rhythm, sing on key, not lose his voice during pre-worship practice and forgets chords, is leading worship.  God sees me as worthy and makes me worthy.

I always feel attacked by spiritually before leading, the enemy always reminds that I'm not worthy and that I sound awful.  So I always seek spiritual counsel.

Before worship I asked my friend to pray with me.  He did, and then proceeded to tell me something.  He told me that since everyone knows me, sees my heart, knows who I am, that it doesn't matter how I sound.  Those who know me, will connect with God regardless partly because of my relationship with them.  Those who will comment on the music probably aren't very focused on God anyway.

God will be glorified regardless of how I sound.  Let's be honest, who do I think I am, that I can get in the way of God?  That's a pretty conceited thing to think that I can somehow ruin worship and keep God's will from happening.

So worship started, and was going really great.  I was worshipping God.  About three songs in I started losing focus.  Luckily, then we had a time that we were all supposed to pray individually.  I started praying hardcore about the rest of worship, that I can worship God joyfully, stay focused on Him and that He would play through me.

After I finished my prayer, a friend walks up to the stage and hands me a note.  Keep in mind, everyone else was still playing, so it wasn't distracting or anything.

Now, I'm still getting used to this kind of stuff happening.  This is only the second time I've gotten a direct message from God.  For most of my christianhood, I went to a church where the holy spirit was restricted.  That's not the case at this church.  God speaks through people.

The note said:
Dear Landon,
With me behind you, who can stop you?
I see your service, and thank you for doing it selflessly!
In your service my light is spread.  You are my son,
and the desires of your heart are not unnoticed.
Rest in my love and my peace,

That was exactly what I needed to hear at that exact time.

God backs up my ministry, He sees what is being done as good and as being done with a good heart.

I really just wanted to keep sharing with you all how God can be super active in your life if you let Him.  You can also do really sweet things.  I wouldn't be leading worship off my own power, I am in no way good enough, but God opened that door and pushed me through it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Recent Thoughts on Worship

Play this song and read while it plays.

Psalm 100:1-5

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
   come before him with joyful songs. 

3 Know that the LORD is God.
   It is he who made us, and we are his
   we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
   and his courts with praise;
   give thanks to him and praise his name. 

5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
   his faithfulness continues through all generations.

The first time I heard this song, it was actually in a recording of a worship song.  It wasn't sung, just spoken.

I always thought it was really powerful and really describes how I feel we should approach worship.

Worship should be joyful.

Worship should be about God, the creator of all of us.

Worship should be about giving thanks and praise to God.

Worship should be an outpour of your soul.  Your soul should overflow with worship to God.

Sometimes I think "I'm just not feeling worship" or "I don't like this band or this song."  That's wrong... it isn't about me at all... I'm not worshipping myself, I'm supposed to be worshipping and giving everything to God.

As believers, your worship experience shouldn't depend on your emotions and feelings.  It should depend on how much of yourself you're willing to give up, including what you think of the band or the song.  Put aside your thoughts on the music and do what you're there to do.

If you have the opportunity to worship God, why waste it?  Take every opportunity you have to worship God joyfully.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Where to from here?

I'll be honest, life has been hard lately.  Despite what I said in this post, some days I really don't feel a reason to get out of bed.  Don't get me wrong, I love life and all its fullness.  I have hope that this will pass.

I'm in that awkward stage of life, somewhere between childhood and adulthood.  I have spent about 20 years of my life in school.  Adjusting to life outside of school is difficult, because that's all I know.

I loved the fulfillment that learning brings.  I always felt like I was bettering myself.  I know, that for the rest of my life, I will always be learning something new.

So, here is where I'm at right now.  As my other post said, everything is in God's hands.  The problem is, the places God wants me to be, I can't get to unless I do more schooling.  Now, God is all powerful, and can get me those jobs if He wants, but sometimes He makes us do the hard things.  At the moment, I might be applying to do online college courses to get a Master of the Arts in Human Services.  The school that is looking most promising is Liberty University Online.  This would only take 3 semesters and at the end I will receive a Master of the Arts in Human Services with a concentration in Marriage and Family.

This is hard thing to go forward with, because it will be more work than I've ever done in my life and it will add roughly 15,000 more dollars to my student loans debt.  The great things are: that I will have a Master's degree, I will have infinite jobs options, I will push my intellectual limits and I will have learned new things.

All of the jobs in the field I'm going into want you to have a Bachelor of the Arts in Human Services or Social Work.  Some jobs allow a Bachelor's degree plus 2 or more years of experience, and no one is willing to give me the experience.  The plus side to getting a Master's degree is that, other than experience, I'll be more qualified than a lot of other social workers in regards to education.  Also, don't forget I'm bilingual.  This could open so many doors.

The classes look super interesting:

CORE COURSES (18 hours)
HSER 500 Introduction to Human Services
COUN 502 Human Growth and Development
COUN 506 Integration of Psychology and Theology
HSER 508 Studies in Interpersonal Communications
HSER 509 Multicultural Issues in Human Services
HSER 511 Group Dynamics

COUN 5011 Counselor Professional Identity Function and Ethics
COUN 5051 Counseling Techniques and the Helping Relationship
COUN 601 Marriage and Family Counseling I
COUN 603  Premarital and Marital Counseling


This looks like a great opportunity, please just pray that I'm seeking God's will and not my own.  I know God has big plans for me and I'm just worried that I won't follow His leading.  Let me know what you think.

Friday, February 3, 2012

God of Action

My friend Geoff showed my bible study this verse last night.  I really loved it.  It definitely goes hand-in-hand with my convictions.  
Isaiah 61:1-3
1 "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, 
   because the LORD has anointed me 
   to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, 
   to proclaim freedom for the captives 
   and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a] 
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor 
   and the day of vengeance of our God, 
to comfort all who mourn, 
 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— 
to bestow on them a crown of beauty 
   instead of ashes, 
the oil of joy 
   instead of mourning, 
and a garment of praise 
   instead of a spirit of despair. 
They will be called oaks of righteousness, 
   a planting of the LORD 
   for the display of his splendor."

God calls us to action.  He calls us to love all of the broken people of the world.  So lukewarm Christians, do something.  Hateful Christians, be loving for once.  People who think all Christians are bad, please don't think that, just some are, our God wants us to be loving, caring and intent on helping the broken.

We need to do these things.

James 1:27
27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Helping those in need is true religion to God.
God is against injustices and pain in the world.  As believers, we should be also.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Not my will

As a lot of you may know, I've been on the job search lately and have had no luck.

I've put out about 40 applications.

I've come to realize more and more lately, that I am way too involved in this.  Now, that may not make sense... but if you look at the first two sentences I wrote, pay attention to who is doing the searching.

Let me explain...

So two weeks ago, I got a phone call and an email from Verizon wanting to do an interview.  I waited a day to respond just to pray about it and think about it some more.  Leney and I decided that I should just go through with it since I have nothing else to do right now.  It's not the ideal job, but it's a job.

That same day we decided to go through with it, a random guy walked up to me and told me God wants me to stop worrying about getting a job.  I don't know if all of you believe in that kind of thing.  But that stuff still happens and it's biblical.

I've never experienced that before.

That's kind of frustrating really, I am so ready to start working again, but God had something else in mind.  I took that as, if I were already planning on doing the will of the Lord, why would He say anything?  God spoke so clearly.

Yesterday at the college church group that I go to, during worship God broke me down.  The second song, physically sat me in my chair.  I have never felt physically pushed by God before.

The first verse goes:
"I can't comprehend your infinitely beautiful and perfect love.
Oh I've dreamed dreams of majesty as brilliant as a billion stars,
But they're never bright enough after all."

The first line reminds me that God loves me and is in control, but I can't always understand it.

The second two lines, really just kind of punched me in the face.

I have spent so much time, trying to do these huge awesome things.  Clearly it is all in vain, because the  big, majestic things I seek aren't nearly as big and majestic as God's plans for me.

During worship, two bible verses came to mind, and I looked them up.

Deuteronomy 8 talks about not forgetting the Lord.  The latter part of it talks about remembering that we only have what we have because God has given it to us.  I can't get a job on my own.  God has to provide it.  I can't get it on my own strength, God can.

James 1:27
"Religion that God the Father accepts as pure and faultless is this;
to look after orphans and widows in distress and to keep
oneself from being polluted by the world."

That verse says two things.  The first is that God's desire is that He wants us to follow Him by serving the hurting, innocent, poor, broken and lost.  The second part is to keep ourselves pure and out of the world.  We shouldn't waste time seeking after things of this world, rather seek after Him and to care after the hurting, innocent, poor, broken and lost.

I know big things are coming.  The verse from James is something that God has always placed on my heart.  Even when I volunteer at Social Services, my heart breaks for the single moms taking care of their kids and how they can't even feed them.  

My heart breaks for the broken.  I know that's where God is leading me, I just need to pay attention and find my strength, confidence, and hope in the Lord.