Sunday, July 31, 2011


Tonight, I decided to leave my spot on the couch and go to my parent's small group. I love this group of people, I just don't normally go on Sunday nights because it is technically an adult small group. They were gracious enough to let me join in on their study tonight.

They're going through the book of Matthew, and tonight the primary topic of study was compassion. My mom, being an English teacher, brought up the question of what the true definition of compassion is. This also started a discussion on compassion versus sympathy and empathy. I like words, so I looked into these definitions and concepts a little more in detail.


Noun: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. 


Noun: Feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune.


Noun: Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others

So basically, empathy is understanding someone's situation. If you have a grandparent with cancer, I can empathize with you because my Pawpaw has cancer. 
Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone. If your parents are going through a divorce, I can feel sympathy 
for your situation, but I can't truly understand because that's never happened to me.
Compassion seems way harder to pinpoint to me. The definition is also identical to that of sympathy. I feel like compassion is a feeling that is much harder to feel and therefore grasp. God feels compassion for   us, but it is not sympathy, it is empathy. God understand completely everything that life throws at us. The bible uses the word compassion specifically.

When searching compassion, I was often redirected to the idea of Jesus as our shepherd.  He has compassion on all of His sheep, including those that are lost and ran astray. 
I can conclude biblically from this that God is compassionate to all, regardless of any outside factors. As the children's song says, "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world."

Jesus is compassionate, therefore we should be compassionate. Exactly what this means, I'm not exactly sure, but I do know I need to work on compassion towards others. We all do.

"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things." -Mark 6:34

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Three Way Comparison: Why the Harry Potter Series is Superior

SPOILER ALERT: This post will contain spoilers for the following 3 books series: Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight (not that there's much to spoil there). If you read something the spoils any of these books, I don't want to hear it. I warned you.

First off, the is all completely my opinion. I'm open to thoughts, comments, and other people's opinions if you so desire.

Okay, I'm a HUGE Harry Potter fan. Yes, I'm a little biased. But I do read a lot, so I feel like I have a little room to make some comparisons here. I'm choosing to compare these 3 books series because I recently read The Hunger Games series (which I highly recommend and would urge people who haven't read the books yet to not read any further) and as I read, I found aspects of those books that seemed as blatantly similar to things is Harry Potter and Twilight that it bothered me. So, there comparisons came about.

Dianna's Required Elements for a Good Book:
-excellent character development
-a clear protagonist and antagonist
-detailed and clear plot
-a unique and interesting main character

-decent character development, get to know the Cullens, Bella, Charlie, Jacob, and select other character pretty well
-protagonist: Bella, antagonist: Mean vampires? Edward because he was mean and left Bella? Jake because he tries to break up Edward and Bella? The Volturi? Any other non vegetarian vampires? Werewolves? Everyone who's not a Cullen?
-Bella Swan could literally be any teenage girl her age. She is pretty plain and boring. The only thing that makes her interesting is Edward.
1 out of 4 elements

The Hunger Games
-great character development for a good number of characters, including main characters, District 12 occupants, other tributes, Capitol citizen involved in the main plot; this book gets the reader feeling much closer to many characters in 3 books than even Harry Potter did in it's first 3 books
-protagonist: Katniss, antagonist: the Capitol, mainly President Snow
-very clear cut plot, the end of nearly every chapter has the reader dying to keep reading and find out what happens next; constant action and events occurring
-Katniss Everdeen is unique to any other character I've ever encountered. She is fierce, powerful, intense, harsh, yet loving and compassionate. She is extremely unlikeable, but this doesn't hurt the books in any way. She uses people so that she can keep her family and close friends safe. She doesn't want to start a revolution but she hates the way she lives under Capitol. I call her the "anti-Bella" because the last thing she's worried about from day to day is which guy she's going to end up with.
4 out of 4 elements

Harry Potter
-absolutely amazing character development, get to know so many characters in so many different ways, know Harry extremely well despite the fact this book isn't written in first person (like Twilight and THG); two words: Severus Snape
-protagonist: Harry, antagonist: Lord Voldemort and his posse
-plot is so detailed I can't even begin to describe, everytime I reread the books I pick up on something new that connects
-Harry Potter is a unique and interesting character. He is selfless to the point that I don't believe anyone is actually like that, but it's a results of the circumstances of his life. When it comes right down to it, he would have died from day one if it could have saved everyone else, even people he's not close to. He is as loyal as a person can be. His history makes him interesting when he's introduced, but as the books progress, his personality development is a huge reason why he had the ability to kill Lord Voldemort.
4 out of 4 elements

I know I hate on Twilight a lot, but the writing is actually pretty good. Stephanie Meyer is a gifted writer, but let's be honest, these books were basically a dragged out love story, a love triangle, an oops baby, and a lot of building up to a battle that NEVER EVEN HAPPENED.

The Hunger Games book have a very interesting concept and a lot of unique characters, but Suzanne Collins has obviously read and stolen ideas from HP and Twilight. She compares President Snow to a snake so often that I feel like Voldemort is back again. The Katniss, Peeta, Gale love triangle has such a Bella, Edward, Jacob feel that I'm afraid one of them is going to turn into a werewolf. There's even a scene when Katniss is half asleep and hears Gale and Peeta discussing her, just like that scene in the tent when Jacob and Edward talk about Bella as she drifts off. Don't get me wrong, I really really liked these books. I just have my issues with them.

Harry Potter. The books with characters and plot and details that fit together is such an intricate way that I'm simply amazed the JK Rowling planned it all out so accurately. Not only that, she created this magical world from nothing. There are not enough words to describe how much I love these books. I'm truly blown away at how detailed the plot is. Let's not forget these are children's books. The writing level is less than that of THG and Twilight, but they're supposed to be that way. I don't feel like the HP phenomenon will go away anytime soon. I'm not saying there are no flaws in the books, but the good far outshines the bad.

But once again, I'm biased.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Fresh Start

Well, I've decided to start a blog. The amount of social networking sites I have running is getting to be pretty ridiculous, but this one will be different. This will be about me, about my experiences, about my life.

It's been a different kind of 2 weeks. I heard news on Saturday the 9th that Carson wasn't doing well and they recommended hospice arrangements be made. I went to the beach with Andrew's family that Monday with every intention of going to see Carson when I got home on Thursday afternoon. What I thought would be weeks turned into days. Carson passed that Tuesday morning into a much better place. I came home on Thursday to his celebration of life. Carson lived a much older person's life. I am so happy that he's in a better place and no longer hurts, but I can't pretend that this hasn't been hard. This is the first death that I've truly been affected by. I know that I'll see him again one day, so it's not goodbye, it's see you later.

I'll insert a paragraph about Harry Potter, because I did go straight to Tuscaloosa to the midnight premiere of the last Harry Potter movie right after Carson's celebration. This is something I had been looking forward to for months (me being an obsessive HP fan). The end of Harry Potter was like the end of a chapter in my life. I recommend the movie, by the way.

Anyways, moving on.

Tuesday at 8am was the official time that all upperclassmen at Auburn could get in to AU Access to change their schedules. I was online at 7:55, waiting. After much anger at the internet, wifi connection, and Auburn's website, I discovered my major hadn't been changed over and I couldn't register for my required communication disorders classes for my first semester in the major. To shorten this story, I made phone calls, sent a lot of emails, and soon discovered I had to take a class from 3:30-4:45 on Tuesday/Thursday, which is the exact time the Auburn Marching Band practices.

I know this seems like a no-brainer decision. It also seems like not a big deal. But I want to be in the AUMB so so much. I was cut last year and in turn didn't get to go the the iron bowl, national championship game, etc. This was the first major disappointment I've ever been through in my life. I was so ready to try out for band again and be a part of this great organization. Needless to say, finding out that there is no possible way for me to be in band and this amazing major I worked so hard to get into was devastating.

My freshman year of college was not an easy one. I had all these plans that didn't happen and it really hit me hard. I wanted to start over and do everything I meant to this past year, starting with marching band.

Obviously, I haven't been asking God what I need to do. Band does not seem to be in His plan for me. Making the decision between my major (my entire future, basically) and the extra curricular I've loved for the past 8 years of my life was one that was not easy to face. I did know almost instantly what I would choose if I couldn't find a way to make both work.

I chose my major. I chose the program I was accepted into earlier this summer, the one I had worked all last year researching and getting good grades so I could get into. I will miss band and still long to be out on the field as I sit once again in the student section at football games. But I know I've made the right decision.

I believe God is forcing me to put my trust in him. I need a fresh start, and I believe God is giving me one. These last 2 weeks have been God's way of opening my eyes and seeing that I can't do everything on my own. I'm not Him. I'm just me, powerless perfectionist Dianna who tries to control everything. Well, it's time to give control back to where it belongs.

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." -1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)