It’s not a thing of the past.

It’s been a while…

…its been TOO long.

I have thought the blog needed some love.

 

The new school year has started.  To our friends, the Poland trip is a thing of hte past.  But to us, our Poland family, its still alive and well in each of us today. 

I have greatly missed the company of my Poland family since the ending of last semester.  I have missed the community we shared and the bond that we had.  And I was suprised to feel that same bond and emotion when we were reunited this past week.  If this next thought even makes sence… I was glad to feel the sorrow again. [okay… let me explain that one… we were presenting our Pledge of Resistence to a group after this years Freshman Convocation cerimony, and I began to cry.  I was filled with sorrow.  But the gladness… that comes from the fact that I have not forgotten what I have seen and what I have felt and experienced.  The trip to Poland may have been an event of the past, but its definitally still felt in the present!]

I am overly excited for the freshman that get to travel to Africa this next Spring.  I am hoping that they will be insprired as we were inspired.  I am praying they will experience the change within themselves that went on with us.  I know that they are going to come back next spring ready to change the world!  And I can’t wait to meet them and share in that same feeling.  The Army of Resistance will have new family members!  We will have new faces, and new hearts, and new ideas.  We get to grow- and we get to see them grow!

 

So what exactally am I trying to say here?  That we were not, are not, and will not stand idly by.  And that we are excited to welcome the new members of the Readership Ambassador family in the next few months!

Published in: on November 13, 2008 at 2:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

a step into my textbook

this is a blog that i started some time ago…. some info is a little out dated… like I went to houston in April. Sorry for any confusion!…..

There are moments in my life when I wonder if I am really reaching out to others. 

As apart of this journey, we have been inspired [and I guess semi-required] to make presentations.  I flew home to Houston this past weekend to do just that.  I spoke with a 5th grade class of about 70-80 students Thursday morning, to a group of 10 family and friends Thursday night, and a range of students during 5 class periods at my high school Friday.  And it wasnt until I recieved the bag a thank you letters from the 5th graders that I really felt that I had reached out to these children.  I was excited to hear that the students had so many questions for me.  A few of the students wrote apologies in their thank yous for asking so many questions.  I thought the questions were great, especially coming from 5th graders.  They were really able to relate what had gone on to what they see within their school.  That gossip and bullying and people thinking they were better than others- was really what the root of it all was.   

 A thought that I have had while making presentations here in the Amarillo area…. When we show the picture of the gate to the entrance to Auschwitz… “work makes free,” i have commented a few times [while trying to explain what it felt like] that it was like I had stepping into my textbook.  so many times we read our educational material, and just kind of place it outside of our world.  But we WERE THERE!  We did walk under that gate and into the camp.  We lived a chapter of a textbook.  Everything we learned that day could be found in a textbook- but we weren’t sitting in a classroom, being lectured to.  We were walking the barbed wire side walks- we were touching the glass which housed the hair and the shoes.  We were in the barracks.  We were walking the ground- so holy.

Little did we know- we were being changed.  We were becoming the people we are today- and I think that we are still changing- from this experiene. 

This is what we have experienced.  Lets look ahead into the future: every year, the readership program will advance [become better than it was the year before- getting kinks out and all that].  So- we have filled this blog with our words this year…. just think what will come of this program… in 10 years!  This university has the best yet to come.  Its going to be gorious, and I hope to be apart of it!
~Mandi

Published in: on May 20, 2008 at 1:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

change.

We have been home for eleven days now. 

That’s eleven chances for us to make a difference.  Eleven chances for us to wake up and decide that the injustice that happens, right here, on our own university, has got to stop.  Much like the little bubble Eva has talked about, we are a bonded group- a family.  Together we are strong.  A triple braided cord is not easily broken…

Every day that I have been back, my mind wanders back to the days of walking through Auschwitz.  The night of the culture walk.  The endless time spent traveling.  The nights we stayed up talking, bonding, and growing.  The fort, the Kabab’s, the inside jokes.  Those memories are a precious gift.  But not a gift to be kept to myself.  Its a gift that will keep on giving.  There are 23 students with a new passion, a new desire.  We are going to band together.  We are going to make a stand.  We are going to grow our Army of Resistance!  But this is going to take work.  We are going to have to expand our comfort zone [not step out of them].  We are going to have to hold each other accountable. 

We are going to want to be change.

And seek change.

And then be change.

Why?  Because we were changed. 
~Mandi

Published in: on April 2, 2008 at 6:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

million miles a minute

My mind is racing a million miles a minute!  I have SO much to do in the next 15 hours to get ready for the trip of a lifetime.  Tests, quizzes, packing, last minute runs to Wal-mart.  I guess its all apart of the experience.  I guess it all apart of being in college!!Its good to hear from family, friends, and faculty that there are going to be many people praying for us as we embark on this journey.  And I am glad to be going on this trip with the friends that I have.  I would not be able to make this kind of emotional trip without the support of those going with me!Like Kendra said yesterday…”Man, we have this much fun in class, imagine how its going to be once we are actually there!”  And that is SO true.  I look forward to hanging out with the close friends that I have made, as well as getting to know the ones I haven’t spent much time with yet!  We will each have a different story to share, and I am SO excited to see how we are all impacted by this impeccable journey. I can’t wait to see where this journey will lead in the future. -ALMiller

Published in: on March 12, 2008 at 8:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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1000 words

I have been told that a picture of worth 1000 words. Photobucket

Last week, we had a WT Professor come in to talk about taking pictures while we are gone.  That has gotten me thinking…  a picture is worth 1000 words.  Sure, this is true when you vacation to Hawaii, or visit the ranch for the weekend.  This is also very true of the goofy pictures you take with all your best friends in a cramped photo-booth.  But a photo of a concentration camp…  the gas chambers… its seems that the pictures we take on those days- will be worth 1000 words and millions of lives.  Going to tour an old concentration camp isn’t a usual “tourist” spot.  It’s not a usual family vacation. 

A friend was talking with me.  They said “wouldn’t you rather be hitting the ski lifts, or the beach for spring break?”  But I really wouldn’t.  I am taking a part in history.  I am taking part in finding my “response in responsibility” [Elie Wiesel]. So my Houston friends might be working on their tans, and my Canyon friends might be hitting slopes… but I am witnessing history with 19 of the coolest WT students! 

 So back to the photos… one thought this professor brought to my attention was to not take people out of their natural habitat when taking a photo.  We shouldn’t ask people to pose a certain way.  We shouldn’t try and change how they have placed themselves.  This would be contaminating their culture.  We should just take what we have- and photo around it. 

I hope to bring back photos worthy of the emotion we will each experience while on this incredible journey!

-ALMiller

Published in: on March 1, 2008 at 10:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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a traveler

We take on many roles in our lives. Some roles are forever. Some are only temporary. We don’t ask for all our roles. Some we acquire. Some we earn.

I am a student, a friend, a Christian, an aunt. I have been a co-worker, a teacher, a brides-made. I will be a wife, a graduate [eventually…], and in 39 days… a traveler!

In our class this week, we learned a little bit about the Polish culture. I feel inadequate to soon be in the midst of a population so rich in culture and history. I have learned the basics of American and Texan history throughout my education, but I do not carry the sense of pride in my country’s past as the Poles do. I can not wait to have a chance to learn about the lives of those we will be living near. In my “quick guide to POLAND” book, I learned that Poles are outwardly expressive [which means I should have no problem fitting in]. The Poles are also big into lunch time [my favorite part of the day!!]. They often will serve 3-4 course meals… maybe we will bring this tradition back with us?!

To become this traveler, I am going to have to be a learner, a group participant, an observer, a note taker, a positive representation of my university, and an ambassador.

I can’t wait to embark on this new adventure, and develop new roles in the future! [who knows… I may become a world traveler, post Poland that is!!]

-ALMiller

Published in: on February 1, 2008 at 3:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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first thoughts…

“…I am glad Janelle is interviewing with me… I hope I can answer all of the questions right… oh- Dr. Lowery-Hart is speaking…. and then we have our interview…. goodness, I am SO nervous…. we are all going to Poland…. I wonder what they are going to ask us…. my IDS teacher is here!…. oh- wait- did he REALLY say we were going to Poland?!… WOW!… I don’t know what to say…. no one is saying anything…. I am speechless…”

This is just about what was going through my mind when they told us that we were not actually in a second interview, but that we had been chosen to be WT Readership Ambassadors. 

I had never understood the concept of “its a dream come true” or the feeling of being “speechless” yet I felt them both at that exact moment.  My mind was racing.  [Am I really going to Poland? How cold is it there?  I have to get a passport?…No, I GET to get a passport! That’s a long plane ride! I can’t wait to call my mom! Whats the time difference?]

My only fear about all this right now is that I am a little afraid of flying over water, but I am sure that my nerves will calm down over time.

I am excited to get to see all of the places that we have heard about for so long in person. We have learned about the concentration camps in school for some time, but to actually go there and walk where Elie Wiesel had once walked is going to change how what we think about WWII and everything had gone on then. 

I am interested in seeing where this adventure will lead me.  I expect to gain knowledge, experience, and friendships.  And I feel that being here, just a few day into our time together, that I am going to make lots of friends. 

~excited about what is to come; 

ALMiller 

Published in: on November 12, 2007 at 5:02 am  Leave a Comment