I Believe in the Power of the AHA, by Mikaela Miller

The patient sat on a piece of plywood resting on two school desks, hand exposed through sterile blue sheeting. The surgeon leaned over, allowing the sunlight streaming through the barred window to be his guide as he carefully pulled a scalpel through the skin around the man’s knuckle. The man stared calmly off into the light, willing his stomach to settle, but there was a certain look of relief and thrill in his eyes. Today was the day that a piece of shrapnel that had made its home inside his thumb for 8 years would finally be removed. There was a resounding ding as the sliver hit the bucket, and the man glanced down and expelled a sigh.

Fast forward a few hours and we are packing up for the day, passing boxes of prescriptions, glasses, and linens towards the bus assembly line style. The man reappears, a huge grin consuming his face despite the pain that is slowly overcoming him from the fading anesthesia. “Gracias, gracias” are the words falling, falling from his mouth when the ‘aha!’ moment strikes.

This is what I want to do. This is who I want to forever serve.

For a girl that had dreamed of doing anything but medicine, this was a huge revelation. It came exactly two weeks before I checked “Biology — Pre-Med” on my first college application, and long after that life-changing trip, I am still wearing the pre-med badge and dreaming of the day that I can return and be the life-changer.

………………………………………………………..

TIB Mikaela Miller

Mikaela Miller is a junior Biology major, minoring in Mathematics and Chemistry, on the Pre-Medicine track. Originally from Chandler, Arizona with roots in Seattle, Washington and a new home in Fort Worth, Texas, she hopes to find a little piece of “home” across the nations through travel and medical mission work. 

 

I Believe in Having Vision, by Brian Niebuhr

I believe in having vision.

I must first clarify that what I am saying is not that I don’t believe in the glasses, contacts, and vision impaired population and also am in no way attempting to promote vision correction as a way of boosting my beliefs. What I believe in is vision past the big E on the eye chart. A vision from the mind, for a plan, and with a purpose.

The first step, as with any first step, is dreaming up the goal, that ultimate vision that is going to invigorate involvement, instigate choices, and carry through challenges. And I believe with that first step comes action. The first step puts the vision into action. Like the swimmer who desperately wants to smash that big record to bits starts with buying that first pair of goggles, or the runner with his first pair of spikes, or the lawyer with that first Law and Order: SVU episode (a debatable first step). I believe that having a clear vision provides the goal and that the surface of a vision dictates the first step.

The second step, however, digs into the meat of the vision as it establishes the direction—it is where the vision dictates the path. This is where vision for a plan comes in. I believe each activity, each class, and each step should be guided by vision, by purpose. Without a vision behind that practice plan, that time delegation among many commitments, and that second step, each consecutive step loses its direction in the absence of purpose.

Vision supplies this purpose.

And a strong, clear vision with direction helps keep the mind focused on the end goal rather than getting hung up on minute failures. Vision keeps the eyes on the destination and less on the swerves in the road.

I believe in having a vision because having a vision helps me to believe. To believe in my goals, my plan, and my purpose in every responsibility I take on. And, luckily, the vision I believe in does not require the use of corrective lenses.

……………………………………………………………………

TIB Brian NiebhurBrian is from Fort Wayne, Indiana and this is his first year at Texas Christian University. He is majoring in Biochemistry on the Pre-Medicine track

I Believe Everything Happens for a Reason by Regina Andonie

Out of all people, why me? The question I would always ask my doctors. A moment of silence would always come after my question. As I begin changing my lifestyle into a healthier one, my symptoms get worst every time, pain increases and doctors have not solutions for it.

I believe everything happens for a reason. As we all know it, life is like a puzzle. We see our own life as a mess most of the time.  Just take a moment to close your eyes, take a deep breathe and picture yourself in the future. Where do you see yourself a couple of years from now?

As no one ever was able to answer my one question, I began to see these “problems” as challenges. From that moment on, I understood that challenges will always appear on the road, some will be bigger than others, and some will be more challenging than others. However, every challenge has a purpose and that purpose is to make us stronger and lead us to the road of success.

What if we fail? The question most of us fear. I believe failure is the best part of it. Actually, it is the first and most important step to success. Behind failures come learned lessons and strengthened weaknesses that will prepare us for greater challenges.

As I am still in my journey of understanding myself and getting to know my own body, I realize how beautiful life is and try to look at the bright side of everything. What I mean is, the problem is there and will always be there. The only option is learning how to live with it, but that depends on how you want to deal with it. Look at it as something positive, as a challenge that God has put in your life and take it slowly. At the end, it will always make sense and see all the puzzle pieces put together.

During that moment, challenges may sound irrational and unnecessary. Once you overcome them and look back at them, you will finally understand the reason behind it, you will then realize that every piece of the puzzle is coming together.

You are the only person who can build your own story and it all depends on how you want to write it. Therefore, I challenge you from now on to completely change your mind about how you see real life and just think about the present, which will make the story of your past and define your future. At the end, you will be able to think back, and see how everything perfectly fits together, just like a puzzle.

………………………………………………………………………….

TIB Regina Andonie

I am Regina Andonie, current sophomore at Texas Christian University majoring in Interior Design with a minor in Lighting. 

I Believe in Kindness, by Tobi Carter

I believe in kindness.

I went to visit my grandfather the week before he died, not realizing that he was about to pass away. I knew he had stage 4 lung cancer and I knew he was fighting hard. But no one ever knows when someone else is going to pass away.

It was one of those days that cancer patients look forward to – a day where he got out of bed. We went for a slow walk around his neighborhood so he could get some fresh air. I’m not the closest to my grandfather but he always taught me kindness, even through his actions.

We were walking down the street when a car zoomed by and, like a scene from the movies, splashed water all over my dying grandfather. I expected him to get angry (he was a grouchy old man) but instead, he sighed and said, “Well.”

“Pops?” I asked to make sure he was okay.

Unprompted, he said, “You know, usually I would get mad. But one thing I’ve been taught throughout my time with cancer is niceness. People didn’t realize I was given only three months to live and would get angry at me because I was distracted.”

My grandfather left me alone with my thoughts for a bit until he said, “Always be kind. You never know what people are going through.”

I believe in kindness because you never truly know someone’s story. They could be going through hell but still have a smile on his or her face.

……………………………………………..

TIB Tobi Carter

Tobi Carter is a junior journalism major with an anthropology minor. She hopes to work for a publication such as National Geographic. She’s a part of Eta Iota Sigma sorority, TCU 360, the Women’s Club Volleyball Team, and the Adventure Trip Program with TCU. Tobi’s originally from Lewisville, Texas but is happy to make Fort Worth her new home.

TCU Disciples Believe!

Last week was the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  Disciples of all ages were gathered in Columbus OH to worship, serve, dream, build community and to be the church in the world together!  We shared our TCU Disciples Believe blog and book (if you would like a copy of the book email believe@tcu.edu).  We also gained more contributions to our This I Believe at TCU photo project!  Check out the pictures here.  If you see someone you know, share this picture with them!

Remember….beliefs matter!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I Believe in Gratitude, by Rev. Angela Kaufman

I am one of those people….the person with the “life is good” sticker on the back of her car, the one who’s coffee mug says “half full” and who’s currently wearing a shirt that says “happy camper”. I’m the one who sings the “rise and shine “ song from church camp first thing in the morning – much to the chagrin of my wonderful not-so-morning person husband and my half-asleep kids. I’m the person who in our house reminds us before meals to offer up one thing we’re thankful for from the day, and the one who even on my crankiest, most exasperated, most frustrating days finds myself most days hitting my “reboot button”.  I’m like this on the outside because on the inside I believe in gratitude.  I believe in gratitude not because life is always easy or good, but rather because in fact life is often difficult, hard, and even exhausting….and yet is beautiful nonetheless.

This belief was made very real to me at a young age as I grew up with both the “beautiful and the messiness of life” in my own house. One on hand, I was the product of one hard-working, steadfast parent who taught me by example the virtues of commitment and responsibility, faith and friendship. My dad taught me how to fix my own car and just about anything else, how to value a life of learning and appreciate a good book, and most importantly what it meant to live a life committed to God and to the church. But the other side of the coin was very different, and through the anger and volatility of my mom I gained a different set of life-skills.  I learned as a youth how to quietly sneak out the house at night to find peace, how to make friends with people who had spare couches and how to navigate the landmines of an unstable parent. I learned like many others do, how to talk around public conversations that would reveal that I lived with someone whose illness robbed her of her mind and whose anger shut the door to her heart. And while it’s made for a difficult story in certain chapters, that rocky path taught me that life can be just as beautiful in the valley as in the mountains. It showed me how to give thanks on the days when it rains as well as those when the sun shines.

One of my favorite bloggers once said, “a crisis shakes things up until we are forced to hold on to only what matters most.” For me, what’s left when the crisis, the loss or the grief of our lives has taken hold and shook everything else off? Gratitude. Gratitude for a God who loves us as beautiful and worthy people filled with promise. Gratitude for family and friends who help us live life with humor, love, grace and second chances. Gratitude for the chance to start each morning anew.  I believe in gratitude, and that deep, authentic, sincere gratitude is the product of an imperfect, messy, and beautiful life. It’s birthed out of hope and from it comes joy, and perhaps most importantly, it’s a mobilizer. It calls us not just to sit still and admire the view, but to realize that with every new morning comes the responsibility to care for others, to serve a world in need and give thanks to a God who loves us and reminds us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And with that in mind, nothing can keep me from singing, even if it is early in the morning.

……………………………

angela-kaufmanRev. Angela Kaufman serves as the Minister to the University and more recently also as the University’s Church Relations Officer, supporting connections between the church and the campus. She received her bachelors from TCU and her Masters of Divinity from the University of Chicago. Angie has been or is currently active on the boards of the Tarrant Area Food Bank, National Assoc. of College & University Chaplains, University of Chicago Disciples Divinity House, the TCU Wesley Foundation and the General Board for the church.  She is the lucky other-half to her wonderful partner in crime and IT genius Jack and co-parent to two amazing, adventurous boys and a husky-shepherd mix named Bailey.

I Believe in Something, by Hannah Canterbury

I believe in something and I am not quite sure how to put that something into words, to fully encompass what that something is but throughout my life and especially in this past semester of college, I have been challenged on many occasions to define and verbalize what I believe. I have been asked what values and ethics I hold true and how they will influence my future career and life. The majority of the time the questions do not end there. I am asked to dive deeper into where I gained those beliefs, how I choose them and probably the biggest question, why do i believe in this something?

These questions and conversations are challenging but so important. Through these conversations not only am I, the individual challenged to look deeper into myself but I am asked to respect and ask questions of others beliefs; that is not always the most comfortable thing to do. I don’t want to say the wrong thing or end up with a question I can’t answer. But as I have been continually faced with these conversations I have thought more about the purpose of believing in something.

I believe in something, I believe in something because something gives my life meaning, it gives my life purpose and gives me a daily drive to strive for my goals and aspirations.

Everyone believes in something, whether it is rubbing a horned frogs nose for some extra luck on a test or belief in a religion or faith that dates back thousand of years. Those beliefs give an individual what they need in their life, and in a specific moment.

Knowing this has provided me with great comfort and allowed me to respect others beliefs despite how foreign they may seem to me. I think it is still vital to ask questions of ourselves and our beliefs and start conversations with others about our own and theirs, building those conversations on the foundation that everyone believes in something. I may not have all the answers to why I believe that something, I may be stumped and challenged when faced with deeper questions but those questions have allowed my beliefs to strengthen and transform.

I believe in something, and that something guides my heart and my mind to do what I feel is best and the understanding of “something” allows me to respect and appreciate others.

………………………………

Canterbury, HannahHannah Canterbury is a senior social work major and religion minor. She is currently the President of Disciples on Campus and is actively involved with the religious and spiritual life office of TCU. She is also the Social Justice chair for the Student of Social Work Association. After her senior year she hopes to attend graduate school for social work and pursue a career in mental health.

I Believe in Honoring Those Who Stand For What is Right, by Jennifer Carr

As a girl, my father, a former football player, would tell stories of the glory days of Southwest Conference football from the early 1950’s in Texas.  Dad would get a far away look in his eye and speak of an era that is gone by.  It has taken me the past 40 years to understand why he was so nostalgic.

There was one tale that made an indelible impression on me.  To me it seemed to celebrate honor and integrity, and was proof that the Team, the Coach, and the University held those same ideals.  It was about TCU.

In October of 1954, TCU played the University of Oklahoma in a game that the Horned Frogs were not supposed to have any chance of winning.  A Brite Divinity student named Johnny Crouch was Captain of the TCU team, and had been selected the 1952 – 54 All-Time Letterman.

The TCU boys took an overnight train to Norman, Oklahoma sleeping on the train so the Athletic Department would not have to pay for a hotel.   Arriving the next morning at a railroad track siding across from the field house, they had to haul their gear to the stadium.

According to the Quarterback of the TCU team, Chuck Curtis, “We held the lead until the end of the game, and then late in the 4th quarter I threw a pass to Johnny Crouch in the end zone that would have given the Frogs a victory.”  A touchdown was signaled and the points were put onto the scoreboard, however Johnny went to the referee and said “Sir, I did not catch that ball, it hit the ground first.”

Astonished at the young players’ honesty, the official went to the sidelines and approached Coach Abe Martin.  “Coach Martin, your team captain says he didn’t catch it.  I’ve already signaled, what should we do?” Without hesitation, Martin was said to have replied, “If Johnny Crouch says he didn’t catch it, then he didn’t catch it.”

The points were removed from the scoreboard, and Oklahoma went on to win the game 21-16.

The following week Sports Illustrated wrote, “The most genuinely amazing development in college sports this week prevented rather than instituted an upset.”

With football championships worth their weight in gold, it would be difficult to turn away from a big victory for any collegiate team.  It might even mean a dismissal for any coach who allowed that to occur.  Abe Martin wasn’t just any coach.  Martin was known to be a fatherly figure whose players adored him, they lived and died to win for him, knowing that he stood for doing the right thing, no matter the cost.

It says something about the climate at TCU that Johnny Crouch wasn’t criticized for his simple act of honesty; instead he was awarded a great honor as the Most Valuable Player of the Year and given the 1954 Rogers Trophy for his outstanding leadership and athleticism.

I believe that we at TCU continue to honor those who stand for the right, the good, and the best in humanity.  It is a legacy that lives throughout this campus and this University, and it is what makes me proud to be a small part of what happens here.

………………………………………….
GA TIB BOOK Jennifer Carr

Jennifer Carr is a vocal instructor at TCU’s School of Music.  She received her Masters degree at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where she studied Voice with Susan Clickner. She was a fellowship recipient to the Aspen Music Festival, performing with the Aspen Choral Institute and Aspen Opera Theater. While living in New York City, Jennifer sang with the Opera Orchestra of New York in Carnegie Hall, New York Choral Artists, Regina Opera Theater, NY Gilbert & Sullivan Players, and the New York Opera Forum. Ms. Carr made her Lincoln Center debut under the direction of Zubin Mehta with the NY Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Carr is an active singer, vocal coach, accompanist, and choral director. She resides in Fort Worth, TX.

I Believe in My Sister’s Jesus, by Rev. Ryan Motter

Just one year before “The Facebook” came to TCU, many students used an online service called “Xanga,” (pronounced Zayn-gah with an inflection of irony and a hint of regret).  Xanga was an “open journal” blogging site, a place where millennial angst could spill out for all to see.  As a Freshman living in Clark Hall, I used Xanga for two reasons: first, so that my mom and sister could have print evidence that I was still alive and, second, so that I did not have to confront social anxiety and make new friends.

Xanga became the space where new ideas related to my major, Religion, played out.  Just a month into school, I wrote: “How do we know that we’re Christian?”  Mid-semester, the words were different:  “What if God is fallible?”  Then, at the start of my second semester, it was just flat out: “I don’t believe in Jesus.  Got no issues with God.  Just Jesus.”

That last one sent my sister, Kate, into a tailspin.  She lashed back with comments about how she didn’t know me and that Jesus believed in me even if I didn’t believe in him.  Back home, the church that I had grown up in, the same one in which Kate was still growing, had descended into terrible conflict.  What had been a source of faithful strength in my youth became, in Kate’s youth, a place where followers of Jesus acted as embittered hypocrites.  For her brother to move from “church camp all-star” to “deserter of the faith,” was betrayal to Kate.  When I stopped attending church at the end of my first semester, that betrayal became real to both of us.

After that, my sister and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on much about Jesus.  As our home church disintegrated, Kate became involved in Young Life.  The Jesus she came to know became vastly different than the Jesus, historical, theological and ethical, that I was coming to know through my coursework.

Slowly, Jesus and I found each other again, for the first time.  In my Junior year, I returned to a church because there was a hole in my heart that nothing else could fill.  I heard sermons from a minister who used both her bible and her brain, and she helped me to know an intimately personal Jesus who had intellectual integrity.  I sang in a church choir that was forgiving of my angst and gentle with my spirit.  My coursework in Religion encouraged me to be less critical and more generous, both to the material and myself.

In the summer after graduating from TCU, Jesus brought Kate and me back together.  She and I began to talk about this man who we had come to know separately.  She practiced the hospitality of Jesus that her Young Life groups instilled in her, and I found the vulnerability of Jesus I’d learned through doubt and grace.

Together we discovered that we believed in each other’s Jesus.  We still do.

……………………….

GA TIB BOOK Ryan MotterRev. Ryan Motter, ’07, is a minister at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Smithville, Missouri.  After his time at TCU, Ryan earned his Master of Divinity degree at Vanderbilt University Divinity School and was ordained to Christian Ministry.  He and his wife Rev. Suzanne Kerr Motter, ’00, MDIV ‘04, are expecting their first child, a baby girl, in November.  They can’t wait for her to meet their fur child Jeff, a female Yellow Lab Mix named in honor of two of Ryan’s TCU roommates. 

I Believe in Youth Ministry, by Rev. Aaron Todd

When I was preparing to graduate from Brite Divinity School during the Summer of 2009 I found myself sensing a nudging to explore other areas of congregational ministry outside of the field of Youth Ministry.  This was a scary proposition as I was, at the time, serving an amazing congregation with an even-more-amazing youth group.  But as my time at Brite was coming to a close, I began to sense that it was time to “spread my wings” and go on to other “bigger” things.

Five years later, after two stints as a senior pastor, I made the decision to return to my “roots” and re-engage the crazy, holy madness that is Youth Ministry.  For myself, for my spirit, for my ministry, and for God’s Kingdom, this was the best decision I have ever made.  Youth Ministry is what I am called to do, and for me there is no more sacred work than to journey alongside teenagers during those crazy, unpredictable, beautiful years of middle school and high school.

This is where I belong.  And the truth is, of course, that I have always known this to be true.

My initial call to ministry came while on a mission trip during my junior year of high school.  It was a call that was reaffirmed while serving as a counselor during a week of church camp.

The most holy communion experience I have ever participated in occurred on the floor at 7:00am with elements of orange juice and glazed donuts.

The most in depth theological discussions I have ever witnessed have sprung out of seemingly innocuous comments uttered during youth group gatherings.

I believe in Youth Ministry.  I believe in late nights and early mornings.  I believe in silliness and play. I believe in laughter and spontaneity. I believe in that a trip to the coffee shop can yield the same holiness as a trip to the monastery. I believe in messy rooms.  I believe in intentional prayer.   I believe in the sacred art of holy listening. I believe in silence.  I believe in creating.  I believe in teaching and in learning. I believe in sacred community. I believe in relationships.

When I say I believe in Youth Ministry what I am saying is that I believe in the youth of our churches and our communities.  I believe that our youth are not only capable of leading the Church, but they are capable to transforming the world (and are, in fact, already doing both these things).  However, our young people will only live into the fullness of who they were created to be if they are made a priority by the Church and it’s leadership. The boundless potential that abides within the souls of the youth whom I am blessed to serve is what helps to stir my spirit and what drives me forward in ministry.

My Youth inspire me to be a better pastor, Christian, and human being and for the gift of being permitted to journey alongside them I will be forever grateful.

………………………….

GA TIB BOOK Aaron ToddRev. Aaron Todd serves as the Minister for Education at First Christian Church-Midwest City, OK . He is married to Debra, who is also a Disciples pastor, and together they have a 3 year old son named Zach and a precious baby boy named Josh. In addition to their human children, they have a 5 year old dog named Amos (named after the prophet).