"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August, Syria, Ramadan, Somalia, Zach, Juan, World Travel, Fear

First off...happy August!  I really cannot believe it's the eighth month of the year and Christmas will be here before we know it!   While growing up, I recall people talking about life going so fast once you were out of high school. At the time, I was stuck in chemistry and physics classes that crawled by so I didn't believe them. But, boy, do I now!

The tenth of this month marks two and a half years since our last day in Damascus. My heart has been aching over what the government continues to do there.  The day before Ramadan, they decided to be even more cruel if you can believe it. I cannot even imagine that Syria is the same place I traveled to and loved. Which, in a way, it isn't.  The people then feared their government and all was calm.  Today, while they may still have this fear, many have chosen to speak out in spite of it.  With hopes for a better, freer future.  I admire their courage.

Secondly, I hope my friends observing Ramadan have a beneficial month as you reflect on God and what He has blessed you with yet others in the world lack.   Some of them your brothers and sisters in faith. Like Somalia.  Ugh, again heartache seeing those starving people on television and Wafa's blog posts.  Heartbreaking.

Thirdly, today is the third and Zach is three months old!  My dad reminded me that his grandfather would have been 111 years old today as he was born August 3, 1900. 

Fourthly, my brother in law's brother has been visiting the area for the last few days.  Juan is from Venezuela and it's his first trip to the USA. He doesn't speak much English, but thankfully Will is great at both languages and can translate.  Really, smiles and hugs don't need any translating and Juan is a fun-loving, pleasant, loving 18 year old.  I've enjoyed seeing him while he's been in North Carolina. Will hasn't seen his little brother since Juan was about 8....younger than Michael!  Can you imagine? Of course he's talked to his family and seen Juan via Skype, but still. It's so cute seeing Juan and Will together. They have similar facial expressions and even walk the same! 

Lastly, I have two questions for you.

1.   I just finished a book about a family who took a year to travel around the world. They visited about 40 cities concentrating on southern Europe, South Africa, India, Cambodia, Laos and Australia.  They avoided South America, the Middle East (except for Turkey), most of northern Europe, Russia and most of the USA since they are from California.  I was curious if you could take off for a trip around the world for a year, what are the places you would most definitely want to visit?

2.  I keep seeing how much fear drives the news. I've been hanging out at my parents' house recently and while feeding my baby nephew, I'll sometimes watch CNN to see what's happening in the world. For days last week, you would have thought the world was coming to an end if Congress failed to extend the debt ceiling.  As if the USA keeps the world going and if we defaulted, life as we know it would come to and end, aliens would invade and we'd all be their slaves. (I think Amber's post influenced that last bit..sorry.)

I've read articles about the Norway terrorist and see how often fear drives people to do evil things. They fear Muslims. They fear immigrants. They fear the end of civilization as we know it.  They fear the extinction of white people. Why so much fear?

That got me to wondering what YOU fear. Do you fear the same things? If so, why?  I think we all have our own personal fears so who is brave enough to share some of them?  And how do you deal with your fear?  Do you feed it by listening to even more doomsday news stories (or preachers!) or do you handle it by denial - what exactly?  What are your fear-busting remedies?   Any recommendations?

Or maybe you think it's a good thing to fear because it keeps up from getting too complacent?  What are your thoughts on fear? Healthy? Good in moderation? 

Do share...unless you are too scared!  ;-)


Wafa' said...

I have a hate/love feelings towards August, it's a holiday so it's lovable but very hot so not lovable, it's burning here, very very hot "sigh".

Watching what's happening in Syria and how no one is talking in the Arab world and only condemning in the rest of the world makes one so sick.
I wonder how are we upsetting every thing holy and drear on this Earth by ignoring our own brothers and sisters in humanity !! Syria is dying and that loser is still losing it. I wonder doesn't he have a TV to watch and see how are things turning for Mubarak and how did thing went out for Saddam !! Don't thy have mind to think off ?
What's going on with them !!
And now Somalia, they only need 800 million dollar, can't a billionaire give it to them and help them. It's a win/win situation, people will live and he/she will always be remembered as being the man/woman who help the world. And Allah/God will reward him/her greatly and if they don't believe in that then Karma will be so great for them. I wish i had that money and the power to help them :(

will complete the rest in another comment, i would feel so bad talking about anything else after Somalia and Syria :(

Wafa' said...

OK, back to part two of the comment, sorry to fill up your mailbox :D

Now to answer your two questions:
i answer number 1 in Facebook and here is # 2 :
most of my fears are personal, i mean i don't fear things that is related to Earth for example, unless i witnessed doomsday then i guess that would be scary.
I am fear "pain" mostly. knowing that this thing or that will cause me pain will terrorize me, but nothing scares me like the pain i have with my period, i think that's why i wont be able to have no pain period cuz the anticipation is always there.
I also fears being "hit", it's humiliated and painful. i was hit a lot when i was a kid till my late teen years and it continued till my early twenties, so the memory is still there.
I guess i feel being poor again, not that i am rich now but at least don't need others which leads me to fear of being fired and the fear of what would happen to my mother and sister after me.
i should write a post about that i guess, i am taking your whole space, lol

Lat said...

And thank you Susanne for being kind and considerate to share your thoughts with us this Ramadan.You are in my prayers.

What do I fear? I guess about everything that impacts me,my family,country and even the world.Cuz what happens outside is pretty relevant to us as it affects us too.All of us are connected in some ways and so bearing in mind that our thoughts and deeds have an impact on others,which does not necessarily materialize the way we want it to be,keeps me in check of my fear.Because I feel it's natural to fear and more to let it go.When we do that,we are a better human being.But of course I know letting go isn't easy.All of us do want to hold on to something consciously or otherwise.It takes courage and time and lots of divine love to 'lose' yourself.Hope you can figure out what i'm saying here :) I've been reading on kabbala,so what do you expect!haha! So much of concealed mysteries!

Amber said...

1. Places I would visit if I had a year off? In no particular order: England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Australia and Japan. Maybe New Zealand.

2. Fear. Well, I worry about the US economy, but who wouldn't? I work, I have bills to pay. If the economy takes a dive, it would be problematic for me to say the least. I don't think we're going to implode, but if we do, I'll adapt as best I can. *shrug* I'm not afraid of Muslims any more than I'm afraid of everyone else on the planet. *laugh* Are they some scary people who identify as Muslim who I'd be afraid of or 'concerned about'? Sure. There're people who identify as Christian who I feel the same way about. And Jewish and...etc. etc. So I certainly don't look at any rising Muslim population and freak out about it. I don't worry about immigrants either. The 'extinction of the white people'. Eh. I see the statistics and it doesn't really make me *afraid* or anything. I think, eventually, we'll pretty much all run together anyway - there're fewer and fewer barriers between interracial couples of any stripe.

What am I afraid of?

Spiders. :D

I don't know, really. I guess I'm not afraid of giant, apocalyptic doomsday type things. There's not a damn thing I could do about them anyway. So maybe, if all the doomsday people are right, the world ends or it goes to hell. If it ends, it ends and I'm dead anyway. If it goes to pot, maybe I live, maybe I don't. I guess I'd just get by as best I could (and probably be afraid of the immediate threats at that point) and if I wind up dying then that's the way it is.

sanil said...

Your family updates are cute. :) I can't imagine not seeing my sister for that long! It must be nice for them to get to spend time together again.

1. I would want to visit Greece (especially Delphi), England, Scotland, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Germany, China, and Japan. I don't know any of those areas enough to be more specific, but I've always been curious about the countries and have some interest in them.

2. I'm afraid of not being able to afford school and my other bills. Sadly, I mostly deal with that by pushing it out of my mind...and then it gets even worse when I remember it again. Oops. I'm working on it, though.

observant observer said...

Hi Susan,
it's fun here that people shared what they have in mind about places to go and what they're afraid of. I would love to share mine as well:
1. I'd love to travel to (not in particular order either): Turkey, Egypt, the Holy Land, Marrakech (don't know the right spell, but it seems to be very exotic), Greece, South Africa, India and perhaps Australia. I've been to some parts of Europe, so I don't have any curiosity anymore about that land, except if someone would like to pay me to get there....hahahahaaaaa
2. What am I afraid of? Well, to be honest, a doctor have once told me that I was diagnosed to have a panic disorder. So maybe you can guess what kind of suffer that I might have been trough, my body will sometimes over reacts to any kind of discomfort, thinking that I might have some sickness that has not been well diagnosed by doctor. I keep telling myself that I'm actually alright, eventually I got over all those "diabolical" situation by insisting mind, a very hard battle!

Well, concerning religion, I know that we must not fear the Muslims, but apparently it sometimes hard to not acknowledging the fear that we have hear in Indonesia, some churches have been burnt down during this ramadhan season, some Muslims have volunteer on inspecting churches to see whether they have construction permit or any necessary permit. It's funny when building mosques, they don't need to get the legal permit from any governmental body, but when it comes to churches, it'll take years even decades to get permission from government, from the surrounding society etc etc.

That attitude must have come from fear I supposed, fear of the competition as if religion has to do with selling of how many you can get to convert or prevent to convert, etc etc.

Well, at the end of those fears, I still think that God must be the sovereign power....He'll come as the answer I believe.

äмän ♥ said...

NIce blog :) looking farward to

Susanne said...

Wafa', oh, August is very hot here as well so I can relate. Maybe we aren't quite as hot as you, but it's humid so..it makes me grateful for air conditioning! :) The kids here usually start back to school in mid-to-late August. That's not all over the US as some are a bit earlier and some a bit later, but in my area. My mom is a teacher and she goes back on Wednesday. Her students start probably the following Wednesday, the 17th.

Thank you for your passionate thoughts on Syria and Somalia. I understand your desire to help. I wish I were capable as well. It's heartbreaking. I am glad some countries are finally condemning Assad's government for their cruelty. I know my Syrian friends are disgusted with the silence of the Arab League, however, it seems the tide is turning with your king now recalling the ambassador. And I think today's news said Bahrain was also.

Poor Somalians. :(

I really appreciate your willingness to share what you fear. I'm similar in that most of my fears are personal rather than doomsday scenarios related to world events. I am so so so so so sorry you've had to endure people hitting you. :( Lord willing, you will always have your job and a way to provide for yourself and buy books! :) Thank you again for your comments. Really enjoyed them and I'm glad you shared so freely.

Lat, thank you for sharing what you fear and connecting it to outside things. Yes, I see what you mean and it's true that outside things impact us. Or they can. Usually I don't fear those things, however, as much as personal ones. Hmmm. Maybe I should! :)

Amber, oh, those sound like great places to visit! Thanks to Samer, I've seen lots of photos of Germany and it's a beautiful country. Rains a lot, but I guess that's why it's so pretty! :)

Thanks for sharing what you fear and don't fear. Really loved that! I see the whole world blending in the past and also in the future so I, too, don't worry about the extinction of The Whites. Ha! Really, that doesn't matter. Who cares what people look like - blue or brown eyes - doesn't make someone into a good human being. What's inside counts more, right? :)

Oh, spiders! Hmmm, you sound like my brother! Ha!

Susanne said...

Sanil, thanks! Yeah, we had a good time visiting Juan and I'm really happy Will was able to see his brother again. They seemed to have a really great 12 day visit!

I really enjoyed your answers though I'm sorry you worry about affording school. That's completely understandable!

Great to see you again. Missed you! ;)

Observant, you are always welcome to share your answers. I really enjoyed reading where you'd like to visit. What parts of Europe have you been to and how did you like it?

I can relate to your panic disorder. Well, not exactly, but what you said made sense. I tend to fear certain things and often have to assure myself everything is fine. I think our brains can be the most problematic in some instances and we just have to convince it that all is OK. Or at least that's what I have to do! :)

Yes, I can see why you would fear certain Muslims in your area. I hear of things like that from many Muslim-majority countries though, thankfully, not all. And I think it's just a minority of them, but still. I am always so sad to hear what Christians have to endure and pray for y'all to have good reactions so that God will be glorified by your lives. Really, people who endure religious persecutions and keep their Christlike examples are among my heroes. I know it must not be easy at all!

Aman, thank you! :)

I appreciate everyone's replies. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Enjoyed 'em all!

Amber said...


Is this the same brother you were discussing aliens and history with? If so, I like the way he thinks!

Susanne said...

Yes! :)

Amber said...

I'd keep him then! He's brilliant! :D

Susanne said...

So I have you as my Lil' Sis and him as my Lil' Brother. OK,you both are keepers. :) And I'll take care of the spiders when I'm around. I'm not afraid of them.


Amber said...

I appreciate the offer, but I kill my own spiders! HIIIIIIIIYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! *smash* What many mistake for a scream when I spot a spider is actually a battle cry! :D

Susanne said...


Oh, that gave a whole new meaning to Rebel Yell for me! :D Love it!

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Becky said...

Mainly I fear that the fear and the hate will take over. That instead of people growing more open-minded and accepting of each other, we'll grow more pre-judiced, closed-minded and self-righteous.

Becky said...

Hehe, I saw you and Amber both got hit by the Indian mail-order-bride guy! I better watch out :P

Amanda Kline said...

I love the ending to your post about fear and in fact a sermon from a visiting pastor just spoke about this subject at a recent church service.

So I could comment about different world issues and the economy - but really I think that the press brings this to the for front to make us has fear. We have and we always will have financial problems. We have and we always will have radicalists and pain in the world. These are things that we personally can not control. We can positively influence the best way possible - but ultimately we do not live in a Utopian world. Although that would be pretty cool!

So I am going to be egocentric and comment on myself. I will admit that I am a very anxiety driven person that has many OCD tendencies.

Fear 1-
Well, maybe my feet in general is a fear - I hate clipping my toenails (but do it). I have never had a pedicure. I do not find someone rubbing my feet relaxing. And I must wear shoes or socks at all times.

Fear 2-
Anxiety about school starting. Like am I a good enough teacher? I am experience a great deal of personal uneasiness with the month of August. I thought that with my son being born in this month, it would give me something to look forward to. But with his birthday just passed - the first day of school for both teachers & students gallops closer. I do not know why though. I love teaching and I love my students. I have been doing it for 10 years and have very few complaints. But still. I am going to blame my uneasiness of schedule change because I also have a difficulty at the beginning of summer when the school year ends. By Labor Day with 2 weeks of school under my belt, I'll feel better.

Fear 3-
My son. Well not so much him but everything around him. Like am I doing my best? The biggest anxiety lately is school. Like he starts kindergarten in about 2 weeks - but he just turned 5 so he will be the youngest in his class. I don't know the school because it is brand new as well as the teacher or any of his classmates. I just have to keep praying on this one.

Fear 4-
Buying clothes. I am a horrible shopper and never knows what fits, what looks right, and I have no styles. Basically for a while I was just wearing whatever was clean. I have recently lost about 20 lbs and I am apart of a fitness program within my school - so shopping for clothes has become even harder. Why is it I can school supply shop easier than clothing.

Fear 5-
Texture of food. Yup, jello gives me the creeps.

And I'll stop right here.

Please visit me at:

Susanne said...

Portrait, thank you! I appreciate your stopping by.

Becky, that's a good one! Hmmm

Amanda, welcome and thank you for taking the time to answer so thoroughly about your fears. I enjoyed learning those things about you. I can understand your textural issues with Jello! :)

The Sanity Inspector said...

If I could travel around the world, I would like to spend several months in London with a guidebook to its literary landmarks. I'd also like to go back to Mount Constitution, at the top of Orcas Island in the San Juans, Puget Sound. No photos or videos on the net do the view justice.

As for the news, I just keep reminding myself that there are other people in the world than politicians, entertainers and criminals.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susanne!

I want to visit:

The Maldives, China, Turkey, Iran, London, San Diego, New Zealand, and Singapore!

What I fear... Ignorance.

Susanne said...

The Sanity Inspector, thanks for sharing where you'd like to travel. Yeah, pictures just don't things justice. I agree. :)

Nice to see you. Thanks for dropping by.

Hello Sarah, good to see you as well. Thanks for sharing where you'd like to travel. I hope you get to visit so you can tell us about those place! I'm reading books on various travels and maybe one day will read one you wrote? :)

jaraad said...

My number one place I want to visit is England. I have so much love for this place even though I have never been there before. My second place to visit is Ireland.
Thanks for the Ramadan wishes.
I am a little bit selfish when it comes to fear. I am more worried about not having a job more than what is going on the world. With this horrible economy having a job might be all what one is asking for.

Susanne said...

Jaraad, thanks for chiming in! I hope one day you will be able to travel to England since you love it so much!

Oh, fearing for your job is very understandable and doesn't seem selfish at all!

Family Travellers said...

I stumbled across your blog and am very impressed with the thought that goes into your posts. It's a blog I'll continue to follow. As to your question about where we'd travel, our family has done a couple 2 month trips, one through parts of Europe and one through parts of Asia. I think if we were to do a year long trip, we'd really want to go to some places we haven't been before: New Zealand, mainland China, northern and southern Thailand, Dubai, Jordan, Qatar, Israel, Spain, South Africa, and all over South America. Might be a challenging to put a plan together that included all those countries.

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