What is going on?!

So, my friend Devin Malone is leaving for his mission. Above is him there. Definition of Devin? Quiet, deep-voiced, cynical, funny on accident, generally poor at extroverting himself but remarkably wonderful, fun, and genuine. Haha, but Devin is great and I've really enjoyed getting to know him better even just over the past year. Isn't it interesting how the older we get so much stays the same and so much changes? There are still people I have to sit next to in English class that say weird things and stare too much. But then there are the annoying friends I can choose to not have because when one is an adult, who they spend time with is 1000% in their power . . . especially when it's extra effort. I was surprised how willing Devin and I were to make the "hang out time" effort, even though we weren't THAT close in high school. I'd say we're closer now than we were then is what's interesting, even though I don't see him every day as I did then.

But anywho, I'd like to bring up an experience which took place at the "opportunity to speak" party for Devin, just this afternoon. There is a girl, for the sake of the story we'll call her Tracy, and Tracy is NOT one of my favorite people on this planet Earth. I never use the word hate because I think it's the cruelest thing a person can say, but if I were to make a list of the first nominee to be the recipient of such words should I choose to use them, she would be it. I know that sounds harsh but allow me to explain myself: Tracy has a BIG problem with "two-facedness." Now anyone who knows me well knows that my biggest issue is hypocrisy. I am not a judgemental person, I choose to accept people for who they want to be as long as they are honest and straightforward about it. Well, Tracy has a great gift for not doing that. She can turn herself into whoever she wants to be at the moment--there are some people who I know have only seen happy and good Tracy, and then there are others who have only seen crazy mean Tracy. Well, in high school, my group of friends and I got great helpings of crazy mean Tracy. Her boyfriend for quite a while was someone who is still one of my very best friends--due to this, I tried to be nice to her, but whenever he was able to con her into coming along to play with us, she did not socialize with us, continuously asking him when they could leave, etc. etc. In short, I feel she only chose to be nice to those she thought were "at her level." And apparently, we were NOT cool enough for her. The reason I know this is because I saw happy cool Tracy with people she thought were popular or great enough to deserve to see happy cool Tracy. There are many stories I could tell as to how my opinion of her continued to decline, but I will spare you the boring details. Well toward the end of high school my good friend and she broke up and I have not seen her since. And I had no desire to. In the last three months I have seen Tracy nearly five times! At, can you imagine? The mission farewells of my friends! The ones she ignored, snubbed, never spoke to, now she is showing up and is pretending to be a part of our group. My theory: many of her friends have left on their missions (she didn't have many girlfriends, either--hmm . . . coincidence?) and she has alienated many others, so . . . here she comes to us, the group of people that were always known in high school to be weird and crazy but nice to everyone and way fun. We EPITOMIZED what it means to be a "drama kid" in LDS terms. Why is it that there are some people we want so badly to be in our lives more and can never seem to schedule time with and others we pray to never see again who constantly reappear in our lives uninvited?! It is very frustrating. And thus, I conclude my prose of Tracy.

The Bug

I always know when it starts to haunt me again.

A Change of Heart

I never understood the world's obsession with African Art before. It was so primitive and caveman-like to me in style. I didn't get it. My thought process was, "Duh, isn't the point of art to force society to transcend above the carnal? Think beyond the body and simplicities of life and grasp the abstract?" This is a good point, I think. And it's in my opinion still that some art is intended to do that. But how naive I was to believe it was the ONLY purpose of art. Art is also to celebrate the simple, carnal, human! What a fool I could be to think the only important things in life are complex and distant--intangible. The everyday, the physical, the realistic . . . that's important too. Now my love for African art is ridiculous. Not only do I have strong opinions about what it means, but it also just makes me miss this land I love so much. These may be nondescript African artists I found from who knows where, but just viewing these images makes me tear in missing what I left behind. Some of them are almost photographs of people I saw. I left a part of my heart in Uganda. Margaret mentioned in her blog she left part of her heart in New York (sorry to share, Margie, but you got me to thinkin') and my comment to her surprised myself. One of those things you don't realize you believe until you say it, you know? I thought, "I think part of our purpose for being here is to find the places over this beautiful Mother Earth God has created which mean the most to us. We should find those places where we leave a part of our heart on purpose so that when we die, we die having our love speckled all over the globe." Check. I found one. I'll keep looking. Let you know how the next one goes.

LOOK! >>>>>

So I have this HORRIBLE fear. . . it's that no one ever notices my side bars and the things I put there because I actually have a lot of pride in my side bars and it hurts me to imagine no one is benefitting from my sidebar updates. So, shortly and sweetly said, check 'em out. I am a DANG good sidebarrer.


Dictionary definition:
1. excess in eating or drinking.
2. greedy or excessive indulgence.

MY definition:
1. taking more than one needs.
2. using more than one needs.
3. refusing to return what one takes to use.

The LITERAL definition:
1. In Los Angeles, there are fewer people than there are automobiles.
2. Only 67% of people in Southern American states recycle on a "semi-regular" basis. The highest percentage is in the Northeast--86%.
3. The median household income in the United States is $48,201.00. In Costa Rica, it is $2,595.00. In India, $1,724.00.

How much do we use versus how much we need? Including myself, Americans could do some work.


I had this thought and I think from here on it shall certainly serve as a great motivator for the rest of my days.
This day has come and gone and I have done nothing to contribute something good and selfless to the world. I have helped no one that needed it. I have done nothing to forget myself. I did not dirty my fingernails, I did not tire my ears, I did not weary my feet, none of this in the name of mankind. What a worthless day.

After All by Katie Sue Sullivan

Sometimes I want to cry.
For no reason at all.
Or for good reason.
Tears, after all, are used to abuse.

Sometimes I want to give butterfly kisses.
To show the butterflies we can have fun too.
Or to imitate the flutter I wish I had.
Kisses, after all, can flutter whenever they like.

Sometimes I want to learn about someone great.
To instill hope for mankind.
Or to instill fear of mankind’s power.
Greatness, after all, has many forms.

Sometimes I want her to let me hang on.
To simply prove to me she can.
Or to prove to her I wanted to.
Hanging on, after all, can take all it has to give.

Sometimes I want to laugh.
To enjoy God’s ability to tease.
Or to keep myself from crying for good reason.
Laughter, after all, knows its own motive.

Sometimes I want to be curious.
For the sake of the cat that couldn’t.
Or for my own.
Curiosity, after all, can be a very ignorant state.

Sometimes I want nothing.
For the sake of not wanting.
Or for the sake of wanting the void of something.
Nothing, after all, is not necessarily a bad thing.

*What do you think it means? I wrote it and have no idea. It just felt right.

Something Has Changed Within Me . . . :)

If there's one thing which is impossible to describe, it is the person I have become in such a short time. The old saying goes, "People don't change overnight," which I still believe is true . . . in 99% of the cases. Because even though six weeks still isn't overnight, it's pretty damn fast. I am now convinced that each person has something sometime at least once in their life that will take who they were, chew that person up, and poop out someone else entirely. Uganda definitely chewed up Katie Sue Sullivan and pooped out me. The amazing part about this experience that I had is that I'm not different because "I saw such shocking things," or "I found out about suffering in a way I never had," or something like that. I feel every American loves their drama and most of the people I tell about it want it to be all about the drama and heartbreak I saw, which I'm not saying I didn't see, but that's not the point. What changed me was that I met people I loved on a deeper more unique level than I had ever known before. In loving me they gave me a part of my soul I didn't know was missing and in leaving them another part of my soul died in a way I had never expected.
One program HELP International had set up while I was there was called PWD-"Persons with Disabilities." It was all about teaching mothers how to teach their disabled children, setting up volunteers in Uganda to visit these children and give them outside friendship and love from their families, and most importantly we, the HELP volunteers, were to love them ourselves on a personal level. One little girl's name was Jenny. She was shy and sweet, with one bad arm, a mental disability we never identified by a name, and she loved to play catch. Her other arm was stronger than one would have guessed. My experience with her went as follows:
-The first day I met Jenny she was unsure of me--afraid of my touch and suspicious of me when I looked into her eyes. We played catch for the entire two hours the meeting was and when it was time to go, she wasn't ready to.
-For a few more weeks it went that same way. In addition to being shy and very sweet, Jenny also proved to be a mama's girl. Occassionally she would just need her few minutes, five to ten, to sit by her mother while I played with other kids, and when she was content and done, she would return to where we played, I would notice after a few moments, and we would proceed as before.
-Week four. It's a very busy day at the PWD meeting--many of the volunteers seem to be missing or there have just been a number of children who showed up which normally don't, but either way I am running to keep up with these energetic kids. I get distracted several times from Jenny and my own normal routine of catch, but she is a patient girl. However when one distraction is just taking too long for her, Jenny, the girl who tenses at the touch of my hand, and challenges me with her eyes, takes MY hand and guides me over to where we play. I nearly cried I was so overwhelmed with emotion because I knew what that meant: Jenny trusted me.
-Week seven. It's my last week at PWDs. And I only have a few days more of being in Uganda period. My emotions were running high as it were and until then I had never cried or lost control, but nothing could have prepared me for that day. Jenny had shown signs of a more mischievous spirit underneath through the weeks; every now and again we would share in an unspoken joke, or she proved to do something completely unexpected and funny at the strangest times. And this day, my last day, Jenny showed me her true self. She spoke to me. Jenny never spoke a word to anyone over the past weeks, not once, and that day for whatever reason, Jenny couldn't stop telling me about all sorts of things. I've never wanted to speak Luganda so bad . . . I wanted to know each word she was sharing with me, but the fact that she WAS sharing proved to be the miracle. That day she also sang songs to me and with me, jumped all around the room, danced, spoke some more. There were even a number of ten minutes or so when we took a rest and Jenny sat and merely held my hand, talking and singing her heart out. Even now I can't write this without sobbign and staining my face with salty tears, but it is only because I nver felt such a gift before in my life. Who am I to have the love and trust of this beautiful daughter of our Heavenly Father? Who am I to be worthy to hold her hand and hear her voice sing light happy songs?
*I admit that now I have struggled at times with this odd feeling of almost . . . self-loathing. Allow me to explain I am not one to lack in self-worth, self-esteem, or self-confidence, but this is a unique kind of disdain in that I hate I am not where I felt more at home than I ever have. I feel horrible and disappointed with myself that I'm not where I feel, but logically know is not true, I should be. In my soul, I should be with Jenny still--loving her, serving her, I've never done something more worthwhile in my life. But I also know that my path is to be here for a reason and there will always be someone to be with Jenny. That's why God gives us mothers and sisters and more friends, like I was to Jenny, to his children. Jenny is fine. I know that. Heavenly Father will see to it. And yet, at the risk of sounding naive and cliche, I feel deeply in my heart that He wanted Jenny and I to meet, we were supposed to meet . . . so I would humble myself and remind myself how to love and be loved in the purest of ways. Jenny was... IS my friend. And I miss her terribly.