Wrapping Things Up

As the fall semester of my sophomore year comes to an end and I will be finished with my digital and online media course, it’s time to take a moment and look back to what I have learned this semester, how it has affected me, and evaluate my progress. These assignments have taught me a lot about social media tools, writing styles, and working on the web. However, they have also ended up teaching me a lot about myself. If it weren’t for this course I never would have been able to picture myself blogging, much less sharing personal thoughts and stories with the whole world, but I’ve surprisingly grown to love it. By organizing my thoughts, beliefs, and experiences and transitioning them into words integrated into this site, I have come to undersDSC_0437tand my faith better, my family better, and grasp a little of why I am the way I am. It’ refreshing.

Like I said previously, there were many tools to learn and incorporate into these posts. One of the most useful tools was learning how to write in a manner that was casual enough to be stylish and easy to read, but also grammatically correct and professional. I learned how to interview people and display their answers artfully, I was taught to evaluate other peoples work and discuss it, attach links and media to my writing, along with the skills of editing photos and videos. I don’t believe that there were any aspects of the criteria that were useless. In my future occupations of outreach, advertisement, and working with people, these skills will definitely be beneficial. For instance, now I’m capable of promoting an organization or company that I’m involved with through the internet and social media  and improve their outreach.

On this website I am able to see the statistics of which blog posts were more popular than the others, how many views there were, and how people came upon my blog. The statistics showed that my first week of blogging was my most popular with my very first post “Here Comes Trouble!” receiving 184 views. That’s so awesome! I think it was the most popular because it was my very first post, I posted it on Facebook, and I have many of the St. Mark’s parishioners as friends on Facebook. My guess is that seeing the word “trouble” in the preacher’s daughter’s title might have made people curious.

All in all, I was mostly surprised that my blog received any views at all and I especially wasn’t expecting the reaction and support I got from the people I know. Almost all of my views were from people on Facebook. I just want to say thank you for taking time out to read my blog and for giving me great feedback. I’ve learned a lot and I think my readers have learned a little more about me and my life as a preacher’s daughter as well. It’s been fun!

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From Another Perspective

Throughout this blog, I have talked about MY perspectives of MY church back home, MY family, MY experiences, and MY faith. But there are so many other stories and perspectives to be heard; important, eye-opening stories that should be told about other people’s experiences growing up, and for the sake of parallelism in this blog,  growing up in a church environment.

Joey Chapman, drummer boy poster child with hair worthy of a Pantene commercial and one of my best friends, gives his point of view of growing up attending and be involved at St. Martha’s Catholic Church. joe.pngSitting next to me at one of our local San Marcos coffee shops, Joey conveys that at first, church was pushed on him by his parents. However, after he began attending youth group and participating in the events, his attitude towards church started to mold into something he enjoyed rather than something that was forced. He describes that being surrounded by encouraging peers with beliefs and perspectives similar to his own inspired him to pursue his faith further. He was actively involved with events, retreats, missions, and said he enjoyed participating in the activities.

Growing up in a church environment is different for everybody and affects everyone in unique ways. Sometimes the way one is affected is in an underlying manner that isn’t obvious in conscious ways of thinking but has an affect regardless. Joey described that through growing up in a church community, new understandings of morals and what is right and wrong became something he considered when making important life decisions. However, growing up and staying involved with the church can be tricky sometimes. As we age, our interests grow, more friends are made, jobs are necessary and Sundays are great for catching up on sleep and homework. As Joey grew up his parents stopped pressuring his participation with the church and his relationships in the youth group began to burn out. After moving to college, Joey says he has completely stopped attending services.

Along with aging, gaining responsibilities, and craving sleep, part of growing up is forming new ideas and beliefs. I believe change is an important aspect on one’s life and in Joey’s life, his view of Christianity has changed over the years. He says that he doesn’t put much thought into religious teachings anymore and has a strong influence from one of his older brothers of not following a particular religion but rather reading the Word and seeking the “truth”. Joey states that if he were to pursue a higher being, it would be through a means other than Christianity. However, he says he tries to remain open to other belief and perspectives.

 

Blessing of the Animals

When people think of preachers and churches blessing something, usually they think of people blessing other people. They are indeed correct. However, at my church, St. Mark’s Episcopal, we not only pray blessings for people but for animals as well. After all, we’re all God’s creatures and all wonderfully made and loved by Him.

Once a year, many churches invite their parishioners to bring their animals on the grounds and be apart of a service to bless these loved creatures. These are some of my favorite services because I’ve always felt like God made a special place in my heart for animals. I absolutely adore them.  In the service we pray that these animals have love-filled, joyful, lives and that those pets that have passed on are happily in animal heaven being loved on my God Himself.

I grew up in an animal loving household where I was taught to always treat animals with love and respect. My family has taken in squirrels, birds, mice, and have always had dogs. The hardest thing about owning a pet is unfortunately, they don’t live as long as we do and we often have to say goodbye to these animals that have stolen our hearts with their slobbery mouths and constant barking before we are ready to.

This morning I had to say goodbye to the best dog a girl could have asked for. Toby Norman Hardie was adopted from the Humane Society as a puppy and taken into our home. Never did we suspect that this little mutt of a dog would have such a huge impact on our whole family. He was so loved; whether that was shown by feeding him scraps underneath the table, dragging his resisting body into bed with us, or taking him on joy rides around the block just to see his face light up with excitement.

This is where The Blessing of the Animals service become so comforting. After something like this, its hard not to be upset at God for taking a wonderful pet and friend out of your life so suddenly. This is where I’m grateful for the kind of dad and priest my father is. He explains in such certainty to me that Toby was blessed and loved not only by our family, but God as well and that without a doubt there is a “doggy heaven” that he is now happily residing in. This is the only aspect of this situation that gives me some peace. I will forever carry the belief of this heaven and faithful love. Rest in Peace Toby Norman Hardie. We all loved you so much.

This slideshow is a short and sweet story of Toby’s life.

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Preachin’ on Paris

The Bible is a pretty good guide for preaching. Dad’s pretty lucky to have that thing, although I suppose that’s what our religion is based upon in the first place. I guess what I’m saying it that the Bible is chalk full of lessons, teachings, parables, advice, and instruction on how to live in our faith. It’s a long book, but it lays things out pretty well. So what happens when something comes up that the Bible…doesn’t exactly cover? How does Dad explain the unexplainable?

When tragedy takes place, something a lot of people say is, “Everything happens for a reason.” Does hearing that ever help? Nope. Sure doesn’t. Nobody wants to believe that any good thing could come or any reasoning could make sense when catastrophe hits. Maybe waking up late will keep you from being in a wreck. Maybe being in a wreck would prevent you from catching a flight. Maybe missing a flight would mean you didn’t perish with all those who crashed into the Twin Towers on September 11th. What was the reason for that, though?
It’s hard to find a reason for terrorism. It’s hard to explain why there is murder and evil. I find myself typing and backspacing over and over again even trying to write about it. So who do I go to? Dad. Who does everyone in our congregation go to? Dad. He has to make sense of it. It’s his responsibility to explain different outlooks, what other religions and religious extremist groups believe IMG_1321and stand for, and how our Christian duties call us to respond. (Lately it’s been on the religion of Islam, it’s pillars, and how ISIS’s radical and militaristic approach is so different from that of the peaceful, solemn Muslim people.) Somehow he’s strong enough to do that. That’s what I admire him for and am proud of him for this Sunday. Dad explains and makes sense of the unexplainable.

Hardie Holidays

As the holidays are just around the corner, stories are told of presents we have received in past years, crazy family members causing scenes, and unique traditions among families. Some see Christmas as Jesus’ birthday, others view it as a time for families to come together and share their love for one another through giving, and many combine the two views and celebrate both. As you would assume, the Hardie household celebrates both views but because of my father’s priestly duties, things are a bit different.

Christmas Eve consists of family time at my grandmother’s house with my cousins on my mother’s side, a game of football that involves a ridiculous amount of whining (therefore called the “Whine Bowl”), an early evening Christmas Eve service at the church with the entire family, tamales and chili IMG_4782back at my grandmother’s house, and back to church for the late evening candlelight service that just my mother, siblings, and I go to. Afterwards, we wait for my dad to come home to open our one Christmas Eve present (which is always a surprise and coincidentally always pajamas). It’s kind of a lot to fit into one night but family time in my household sometimes means church time as well.

Christmas morning usually consists of multiple stop’s and go’s. We all wake up early before my dad’s early morning service to sleepily wish each other Merry Christmas while gripping our coffee mugs and opening our stockings. Afterwards, we eat a delicious breakfast in celebratioIMG_4896n and see my dad off. It’s not until mid-afternoon that he will return and we can open our presents. Although this was frustrating at a young age, I’ve come to love this routine. Because of it, my family is able to spread out our Christmas day and enjoy it casually with each other. Holiday traditions are different for every family, but because of my father’s occupation, our traditions are especially unique compared to those of my friends.

Being Involved

Being involved in mission trips, youth retreats and other ministries is something that is extremely rewarding and if you give it the chance to be, perspective and life altering. Haviblog 4ng the chance to take time out of your own life to try and better someone else’s is a uniquely special experience. The memories from these days, trips, and weekends are some that I will always hold dear and close to me; there are few as special as them.

When I was old enough to begin attending my church’s youth group, I was highly encouraged to dive in and be involved. This was so exciting to me because I always looked to the older kids in my congregation as super cool because they got to meet up and play gablogmes, acolyte in church, and travel for mission trips. Plus my brother and sister where in youth group at the same time and I was never old enough or cool enough to hang out with them and their friends, but at youth group, they were forced to be around me!

My very first mission trip was to Juarez, Mexico. We caravanned there in vans for 12+ hours and spent our spring break there. We met up with a bunch of other church’s and were part of the process of building homes, a school, and relationships among the residents of the current mountain of cardboard boxes. This trip meant the world to me because it was my first perspective altering experienblog 5ce and I thank God for that because from that point on I was able to understand what was outside of my own little world and appreciate what I have. Our youth group had the chance to go back to Juarez one last time before the drug cartels took over and it became far too dangerous to go. Juarez, Mexico continues to have a place in my heart and prayers.

St. Mark’s and its youth group has also conducted multiple VBS’s, outreach ministries, and has been apart of many retreats. I have had the chance to be a VBS counselor numerous times, deliver food baskets, paint houses, plablog 3nt landscapes, be on staff for retreats, help lead worship multiple times, and even travel further and be apart of a mission trip to Uganda, Africa. These opportunities and experiences have helped shape the person I am today and I can only thank blog 2God, my family, and my church for that. They encouraged me, saw my love for it, and supported me spiritually and financially.

My current major in school is Public Relations. My plan is to eventually work with the public relations team for a  nonprofit organization. I want to be apart of working interpersonally with these organizations and continue with my love for ministry work to hopefully make a difference. I believe that these experiences with my church and youth group has inspired me to take this occupational path. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without the love and support I received. Being involved with my church community has changed my life and I urge anyone who hasn’t been apart of any community service or ministry work to try it.  Be involved.

I Can Relate

For this blog post, I am reviewing a blog that is similar to my own. “My Life as a Pastor’s Kid- Danielle’s Story” is a beautifully written blog post describing her upbringing as a pastor’s child and the blessings and difficult times it’s entailed. She describes how she understands being a PK has given her some great opportunities and shown her great life lessons. She tells her readers that she has “met and spoken to prolific, renowned pastors..” and that she has “attended family camps of more churches than [she] canremember and as a result have met diverse people with endless true-life stories.” However, the downside to these encounters is the demeaning feeling that she is only remembered because of her last name. I can definitely relate to this. It seems as though all I have to say when meeting someone in my diocese is my last name, Hardie, and the connection is almost always made and remembered because of that.

Another concern that she addresses is that she should would end up suppressing her feelings because of the emotional weight her father is under. Pastor’s, as most people know, conduct counseling, visit patients at hospitals frequently, unfortunately are around funerals often, and are apart of multiple other ministries. All of these ministries obviously put emotional stress on our father’s and affect their lives. I mean, they’re caring human beings, it’s only expected. Danielle obviously supports her father’s work like I do, but as I can relate again, the feeling that you should hide your feelings sometimes just because they don’t seem relevant or as important as everything else that’s going on with other people, kinda stinks.

Danielle artfully depicts her church as understanding through grace and sympathy even though most PK’s feel like they are being held to a higher standard. She calls her church her family like I do. It encourages me to see that other Pastor’s children view their church this way and are sharing their experiences with the public. It shows another, more positive perspective of growing up in the church besides the terrible stereotypical PKs. However, it is important to she and I that we give off a good impression for our family and father’s sake. Because of this, its easy to get in the habit of hiding our own sinful struggles and times of doubt. Danielle, however found her closure through  James 5:16 and explains to her readers “that where there is honesty among community, there is healing. More than being a good representative of [her] family, God desires [her] to be a good representative of Christ. That is freeing, because it means that [she is] no different than any other redeemed sinner, seeking God on a journey Home.” Reading this was completely eye opening and inspiring to me. I hadn’t really looked at it through that perspective and I appreciate that now I’m able to.pops

All in all, I really enjoyed reading through Danielle’s blog post about her experience as a pastor’s kid. It let me understand, see, and relate to someone else who has as similar family background. She is a very talented writer and her page is easily accessible and simple to maneuver around. She concludes her post by expressing that her stories about her father are inspiring to her and says, “that’s the kind of man my pastor is. A good one. That’s the kind of man my dad is. A good one. He just happens, for me, to be one and the same, and I wouldn’t change that for all the world.” Danielle, I can relate.