Holidays apart
Nov24

Holidays apart

By Sarah Sattelberg This Christmas will mark the third Christmas out of four that my husband, Ryan, has been deployed. Some people might think this would make me resent the Army or the war in Iraq, but it makes me proud of what his absence stands for. I do not wish to wallow in the self pity that being without the one you love can bring on. I want to revel in the true meaning of the holidays. Christmas is not only the birth of our Savior but a time to reflect on the beauty of family and friends near or far. Holidays become a habit for most Americans; it is something they do the same time every year. We just go through the motions with little thought. Celebrating the holidays seems like our God-given right. The holidays for me are no longer just something I do out of habit, but something I am inexplicably grateful for. Every Christmas, birthday, or New Year’s that my husband and I spend together feels like a gift from God. The reality of war is he might never make it home to see another Christmas. So I cherish every time he does make it home. Since the war in Iraq began, 4,356 American soldiers have been killed. Sixty-seven soldiers were killed in Afghanistan in October alone. Holidays for the families of fallen soldiers are no longer habits but an obstacle in the grieving process. Every holiday marks the anniversary of the last one they spent with their fallen hero. I will spend Christmas not alone but with friends who are the closest things to family without being genetically linked. Our friendships have been forged on long deployments, and we all now have a bond that can never be broken. We will put on our brave faces and try to make the best out of a crappy situation. We will celebrate but not wholeheartedly because half our hearts are missing. We will not open all of the presents, but keep them wrapped until our husbands and wives return in January at the end of this rotation. Our spouses will celebrate as best they can in a place like Iraq. Their dining facility Christmas dinner will leave something to be desired. They will open the boxes filled with festive Christmas items, baked goods and presents we have sent them. They will read the thank you letters that children and strangers have mailed. They will soldier on and pretend it’s not that big of a deal being deployed on Christmas. I won’t pretend this is easy. Holidays are the most difficult time for families and deployed...

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Living the American dream

By Marisol Escobar Immigration is a highly debated topic. Many U.S. citizens strongly oppose any reform to legalize immigrant status. In a time like this, it’s extremely intimidating to express that you are for immigrant rights without being scorned by others. As the daughter of immigrants, I’m truly grateful for immigrant amnesty. The reform was passed in 1986 when I was just a baby. Thanks to former President Ronald Reagan, my parents were able to become legal residents. I cannot imagine them living with fear and little rights. They now live a life of peace and freedom. My parents are hard working people. They did not even finish middle school, but taught me things far more valuable than what you learn in school. Everything that was given to me was with their love and dedication. They worked from the bottom and moved their way up. They never asked the government for help when they were illegal immigrants. They never went to the doctor or asked for food stamps. Their outlook on life was to do things with honesty. My mother even put her life at risk to live a better life. She was robbed at gun point while trying to make it to the U.S. Their path to the American dream wasn’t easy; they overcame many obstacles. Growing up we would take trips to Mexico. Every Christmas we would travel 18 hours by vehicle. About 10 hours into the trip, we would always pass through the state of San Luis Potosi. One of my most vivid memories as a child was seeing children and women along the side of the road begging for food, money and clothes. We would stop along the road and give them what we could. As my sisters and I got back into the car, my parents would remind us how fortunate we were. My last trip to Mexico was about two years ago, and we passed through the same state. I saw a woman running with a baby in her arms because a car had stopped to give her help. My heart sank. I immediately became overwhelmed with tears in my eyes. I could not imagine living a life of poverty and desperation. Until you have walked in other people’s shoes, it is hard to even begin to imagine what they truly go through. The problem with Mexico is their government. For many years the citizens dealt with a dishonest government. There has been an influx of illegal immigrants in recent years. In order for that to stop, the government needs to fix its system. They should create more jobs and make it a...

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The ‘X’ in Xmas stands for Christ
Nov24

The ‘X’ in Xmas stands for Christ

By Artie Phillips Most people have heard the classic tale of the little girl who notices a sign in a department store that proclaims “Happy Xmas!” The little girl turns to her father and asks, “Daddy, did they cross Christ out of Christmas?” The father thinks for a moment and then sadly nods his head and says, “Yes, sweetie, I guess they did,” before leading her on to finish their holiday shopping. It seems pretty common every year around this time to hear people proclaiming abbreviating Christmas as Xmas is blasphemy and an affront to Christ and Christianity. It’s natural to hear preachers declare that “you can’t ‘X’ out Christ.” At first glance, the argument that calling the holiday Xmas is degrading to religion seems reasonable, but is it really? Perhaps a little history lesson is in order to clear any resentment from what should be a festive holiday air. Let’s begin by opening our Bibles, shall we? For most people, the language in which the Bible is written is their native tongue, and that is because the common person cannot read Greek. However, it is the language that the New Testament was written in. Greek was the most standard, universal language of the first century. The name, Christ, as it is written in Greek begins with the letter X. This letter –chi, as it is pronounced in Greek – literally stood for Christ in many early publications written in Greek. This fun little fact throws a small wrench into the current argument: How do you “X” out Christ when that is the first letter of his name? Now it’s time to pull out the big guns. In 1436, Johannes Gutenberg popularized the first printing press with moveable type in Europe. In the early days of printing, all typesetting was done by hand, and the process was tedious and expensive. It became the norm to abbreviate words that were commonly used in documents in order to save time and money. According to Dennis Bratcher, who works for The Voice – a biblical and theological resource and research group – the church itself began to use the symbol X to stand for Christ. As the abbreviation took hold, X came to stand for Christ in all early publications, with Xmas being the accepted way to write Christmas. There is no secret plot to erase Christ from Christmas by replacing him with an X. The only thing the symbol X is for is to save space. It still means Christmas. If the church is still looking for someone to blame for the “blasphemy” of the season, they don’t have to look...

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Vampire, werewolf love triangle heats up
Nov24

Vampire, werewolf love triangle heats up

By Emily Keahey In the supernatural world that Bella (Kristen Stewart) desperately wants to become a part of, she finds herself in more danger than ever. In a race against time, Bella must fight for all she loves, as she tries to escape past enemies Based on the second book in Stephanie Meyers’ series The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which was released Nov. 20, exceeds expectations as an exciting romantic thriller. Taylor Lautner, who plays Jacob, said, “I think the wonderful thing about this movie is that it has a little bit of everything. It has romance, it has a lot more action, it has suspense and it is a thriller. I think this movie is for everyone and everyone would enjoy it.” After Edward (Robert Pattinson) saves Bella from the crazed vampire James in the last movie, the forbidden love between the vampire and human couple continues in this sequel. The two share a perfect summer together and seem completely infatuated with one another, but after her disastrous 18th birthday party Edward deserts her, claiming to no longer love her. Brokenhearted and depressed, Bella numbly trudges through her senior year of high school, finding solace in the reckless behavior she promised Edward she’d stay away from. With the help of her childhood friend Jacob, small glimpses of happiness return to her life. A sudden change in Jacob’s behavior leads Bella to learn the Edward’s family aren’t the only ones keeping secrets. The Quileute legends about werewolves are actually true, and Jacob is one of them Director Chris Weitz said, “The teen-romance aspect of the first movie grows up a bit. There is the break-up, and it becomes a bit more adult. There are more difficulties to deal with, and in comes Taylor (Jacob) who is Bella’s best friend but wants to be more, so there is intrigue.” Bella is caught in the middle of this love triangle. She must choose whether to stay with her best friend, who promised never to hurt her or save the one she loves from committing suicide. Twi-hard fans have quickly chosen sides, either team Edward or team Jacob. It is actually hard for the normal moviegoer not to do the same, when swept up in the movie. Sophomore nursing major, Anna Maniscalco said, “I am team Edward. He is the one Bella cannot live without. They complete each other and can barely survive without the other. On the other hand, Jacob is a great guy. He is sweet and always there, but it isn’t the same kind of love that Bella and Edward share. If Edward wasn’t there I would say OK,...

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A thrifty Christmas
Nov24

A thrifty Christmas

By Aja Bradford The holiday season is quickly approaching and thoughts of gift giving are on many students’ minds. They are setting budgets, giving less expensive gifts and making gifts to help ease the strain on their already stressed pockets. Senior psychology major Lexi Thompson said, “Hours have been cut due to budget at my job, and I have had to rethink my plan about presents this year. I have set a strict budget and will only pay with cash. I don’t think it’s about how much you spend on a person. I think it is more about the sincere thought that is behind the gift itself.” Junior education major Justin Moreno said, “I’m not even giving purchased gifts this year.” He plans to donate his time in the names of his loved ones. “I will give each person a hand made card explaining their gift … me volunteering two hours of my time to any charity of their choice.” Junior psychology major Amanda Clemmons said, “My family has a tradition that we set a spending limit and only shop for one person. We have a great time keeping the secret of who has who. I try to figure who has me, but I can never find out.” Retailers Toys R Us, JC Penny, and Sears hope to encourage early deal seekers by offering Black Friday sales before the traditional bargain shopping day. Senior psychology major Cherith Jones said, “I have a new baby niece and can’t wait to buy her Christmas presents. I didn’t realize how expensive baby toys are, but I have been stalking the sales ads and found some amazing deals. I got a great musical tummy play mat for 50 percent off its original price.” First year graduate student Matt Litaker said, “We are not exchanging gifts at all this year.” “The economy has been tough on my family …, and we are looking forward to celebrating our family staying strong and together during these hard times. Spending time with my mother in the kitchen is my favorite part of the holiday season. She is the one who let me experiment in the kitchen and ate whatever I created.” Students use their discounts at local stores to help bring down the cost of items. Others shop on campus and find unique gifts for loved ones. Freshman Christian studies major Shawn Cain said, “I am the first to go to college in my family, and everyone is pretty excited. “I am stuffing personalized purple and gold Christmas stockings with UMHB stuff that I have purchased from the book store,” he said. “My mom collects mugs, my...

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