Food for Thought, by Karenne Koessler

Being born in a third world country opens your eyes in ways the first world doesn’t. I believe in the value food. A meal may seem like a common part of your day here in the states, but in the Dominican Republic, every piece of food is a reason to be thankful.

My mother worked as an adoption lawyer during my early childhood. She always took my sister and I along on trips to meet with parents looking to offer their kids a better life. I was about six years old when I met Patricia, a girl my age, who was getting ready to move across the ocean to meet her new mother. I walked up to her while she played in the dirt. Keeping herself entertained with sticks and rocks. She smiled at me and invited me to join her. Her clothes may have been ripped, and she may not have remembered when her last meal was, but still, she smiled.

After a few hours of conversation and review, my mom finalized the adoption and Patricia, with nothing but the clothes on her back, hopped in the car, waved goodbye to her father, and drove back to the capital with us. That afternoon she feasted, after filling her plate with my family’s home cooking, she cleared every bit of mofongo, rice, beans, chicken, carne de res, and yucca off of it. Patricia thanked my mother and grandparents, for allowing her the blessing of her first healthy meal and for welcoming her into their home, she also made sure to ask for seconds.

I never leave food on my plate. I rarely toss out portions of a meal, and I never take my health for granted. We didn’t always have a full fridge, and the food wasn’t always rich in flavor, but a meal was better than none, and my sister and parents and I, all learned that lesson at a very young age.

I cringe at the sight of food in the garbage.

I always try to encourage my friends to serve themselves a realistic portion and empty their plates. My leftovers will never reach someone impoverished across the ocean, but it might make the homeless man down the street smile. I understand the pain of hunger and I, more than anything, respect those who are not as fortunate as I. I strongly believe no one has the right to dispose of a meal. I’m not sure if I’ve grown stubborn because of my family’s constant reminders to always clear my plate, but I know that there is someone out there who would do anything to eat the food I carelessly tossed out.

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koessler-photoKarenne was born in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, and almost immediately migrated across the globe.  In 2005, she and her family moved from their hometown i Nancy, France, to Miami, Florida. She is currently a double major at TCU studying mechanical engineering and writing.

I Believe a Home is More than Just Walls, By Celia Thomason

I believe that a home can be anywhere. By the time I was 12 years old I had already lived in 7 different homes. But what is a home really? The definition of home is the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household. But when I think of the word home, I never think of the permanent residence, instead I think of the people in the home or the memories the walls have seen.

I have many places that I call home: my house in Huntsville, AL; my church in Madison, AL; Camp Lakey Gap at Christmount in Black Mountain, NC; Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX; Camp Hargis (the church camp where I grew up – by the way I was born there too) in Chelsea, AL; and the list can go on until I have listed all the places where the people I love live or where the memories of those people were made.

I believe that a home is all about who is there with you in those places. I think of my home in Huntsville because of my mom, dad and sister. I think of my church because of the people who fill the sanctuary. At Lakey Gap I think of all of the campers and counselors I have met the last three summers. At TCU I think of the people I met in my service organization, my best friend and the people in my Education Program. At Hargis I think of climbing to the cross on senior night with the other graduates or playing pranks on the boys.

I may have lived in over 10 homes in my 22 years but I expect to have well over 1,000 homes by the end of my life because of the people who have or will touch my heart. I will always carry them and that special place with me when I go on to find a new home over the years.

Thank you to all of those people who have made simple walls or spaces more than just concrete  and dry wall.  You have made my heart a traveling home with unlimited space. Because of you I know I can always make a home anywhere.

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GA TIB BOOK Celia ThomasonCelia Thomason will graduate from Texas Christian University in May 2016 with a degree in Early Childhood Education. While at TCU Celia became heavily involved in Alpha Phi Omega, a national community service organization. Celia has also spent the past three summers in Black Mountain, North Carolina at Christmount’s Camp Lakey Gap, a camp for individuals with autism. This summer Celia is working with Disciples Peace Fellowship as a Peace Intern traveling to different CYF conferences around the country.

I Believe in Mountains

Author: Maddie Kincade, TCU Student, Fall 2014

I grew up in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. I can’t consider myself a mountain kid because my house was barely at the foot of the hills that are before the mountains even start but I spent enough Sunday evenings up at Grandma’s for dinner to feel significantly small against giant rocks that had to have been created by God.

18 years of my life were spent seeing those mountains every day, so obviously I took them for granted. Since my move to Texas almost 3 years ago, I don’t hesitate when asked if I will be moving back. The answer is yes. How could I not? I cry every time I fly into the Denver International Airport and see the Denver skyline standing tall in front of those snowcapped monsters. I am home.

To this day, “purple mountain majesty” is my favorite color in the Crayola Crayon box. When asked what I want to do on my trips home, my list always consists of hiking or skiing or one of my mom’s infamous “Mystery Mountain Drives” and it’s always with my best friends or family that I want to do those with. Giant rocks formed from some science-y process that I will never be able to explain have given my life meaning. They remind me that the world is bigger than the challenges I have faced in my short 20 years on this earth. If you’ve ever climbed a fourteener, you know that the mountains themselves can teach you perseverance. They represent the family that has held me up and sent me halfway across the country to accomplish things I could never have dreamt up for myself (like climbing that fourteener). Just as the rock face of Mount Elbert (the tallest mountain in Colorado) has been shaped by the wind and the snow and the rain, I too can defy anything. Rocks. ROCKS. They’re just rocks. But they’re my rocks. My home. I have never been out of the country but I don’t feel envy because my roots grow through stone.

It was by the mountains I was created. Who I am, what I stand for, what I love; all things that I decided while breathing mountain air or discussing life with my dad over a campfire or while at sleep-away camp. I believe in the mountains because they are my roots, just as everyone has some one or some thing or some where that they came from. These are so important. Mine just happen to be rocks.