Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Thouhts on Things Left..

I left high school in the tenth grade.
If you know me; really know me, you know that this statement is true, but what you don't know, is the story.
From the time that I entered high school, left, and went on my trip to Ecuador is unknown to anyone other than me and my mother. There were a lot of people in my story at that point, but no one else knows the extent of what really happened in that time period.

Last year, my mother was leading a Christian weekend retreat, and I was asked to do a talk for the people who would be going on that particular walk. I decided to tell a major part of this story. Most of this story is that talk, and it took me weeks to even recollect everything that had happened.

Believe me when I say, that what I have been through, is not the worst set of events a person could go through. I have an amazing, loving, supportive family. I have run into the loving arms of Jesus Christ during this time, and I have some of the best memories of my life in this time.. But it was also very bad. There was a lot of pain, self-hatred, and refusal to see a light in any of my circumstances. My story is not perfect, and I have neglected to tell this part of it, because it was so painful, I repressed it. I often forget how bad it really was until I look at my memories and see journals, pictures, and relics that remind me of how dark my past could be.

So this is my story, the part no one really knows..

I can't quite remember my first day of high school. But I remember that time in general.. I had a wonderful best friend that I'd known since Kindergarten, and a new best friend named Sam that I met freshman year of high school. I was beautiful in the way that a flower is before its opened. I held onto my innocence even though I didn't think I did. I dressed somewhat slutty but in all honesty,  dressed how everyone dressed. Mainly, because my mother told me not to and she was public enemy number one then, so I did whatever she told me not to. I was beautiful; but I wasn't pretty..

I had one boyfriend in the seventh grade, but we all know those aren't real relationships. I was much too focused on volleyball. Freshman year, I really liked to look at boys (still do) but whenever I really got to know a boy, he reminded me of my brother, my father, or he was just an idiot. I was too involved in trying to make my friends back that I had lost touch with when I transferred to Belen for middle school.When I came back to Los Lunas High, I found myself quickly outcasted from the friend group I had left behind before middle school. They all were very serious about sports, scholarships, and college. I, having decided to transfer back two weeks before classes started, was in a world wind of emotions, hormones, and trying to fit back into what had seemed like a distant world that I had left behind. My first day, many of my old "friends" called me a traitor for going to play volleyball for the rival district (really, it was middle school). Nonetheless, I started to have feelings of being an outcast. The time I had spent on volleyball, the rest of the girls my age had been getting to know boys, going on dates, and in my first few days in high school I quickly realized that boys were where I could find some sort of friendships. Besides, all of the girls who had boys hanging around them had girls wanting to be their friends simply because they were being noticed.

Without noticing, I had physically developed a body in middle school. My stomach chub had traveled north to my tatas (for lack of a better word; I feel uncomfortable with the word breasts), and south to my butt. I was always on the bigger side, and boys in my grade have never really noticed me, but older guys were. Juniors and seniors started messaging me on MySpace and Facebook saying how I was beautiful and I should show more of me off. So I did. It did not progress. One day, I was a 15 year old girl, the next day, I had full makeup, hair done, ripped jeans, and a way too low top for anyone but an escort. Of course I kept those clothes out of sight from my mother. I was popular, I thought. So many guys friend requested me and a few girls. None of the girls wanted to be friends, they just seemed to be there, always noticing what I was doing with who, but never saying anything.. Soon, I was turning guys down simply because I now could have unrealistic standards of guys and I could turn it back on them how women have been treated for years (sorry, that's a rant). I was picking and choosing who I would like and I had a friend request from a junior who, for the lack of a better term, I will refer to him as Destruction (not to give anything away)..

Destruction was tall, very muscular, and had a smile that seemed to physically warm me up. I had seen him around school and he seemed to always have some guys, but more girls surrounding him. For the longest time he seemed like he was a contact high. Anyone who was near him seemed to be in a certain state of joy and I was no exception. We started talking, then texting and everything was great. He had a car, he was funny, smart, and I wanted to be his girl. I wanted all of the girls to not only be my friend, but to see me as they saw him. I wanted everyone to get high off of seeing me and have joy, simply because I walked into the room.. At first it was empowering to talk to him. He questioned everything and made me want to be smart like that, and wonder about everything, not just accept things. For a long time actually it was perfect. It was some of the best conversation I have ever had, with someone I practically worshiped, and I felt like I was achieving the world. After a few months of perfect, I had started to hear about this thing "emo" kids were doing. I refer to it as the monster, because it is.. When classmates would do it, they were proud. There were groups in the hallways that would all hang out and pull up their sleeves and show them as if they were badges of honor.. The first experience I had with cutting, was in 6th grade. There was a girl in my class who started to wear wrist braces, and pretty soon she was meeting with the counselor. One day she pulled off the braces and there were so many little lines that I could not figure out why someone would do that to themselves. Back in high school, I didn't necessarily think the cutting was weird, but why they were showing it off, where were the counselors? Where was someone to stop them from accidentally killing themselves? Nonetheless, it didn't really distract me. I was set on Destruction.. Pretty soon, our conversations went more into more explicit content; actually, almost immediately it became explicit. I knew what talking dirty was but he made me nervous. I really liked him but I did stall hanging out at his house because I knew what he wanted. I knew my stalling would not work forever, but after about two days of saying I was busy after school he started to get mad. It was extremely subtle at first, in fact, you wouldn't hear it if you weren't listening for it, and I wasn't..

At first, when I would bring up a topic of thought I had been working on, it was like it was a shallow topic, or I had not put enough thought into it to bring it to him. I had stopped bringing up topics to discuss in hopes that it would draw out a conversation from him, but nothing. I had started to wonder if I wasn't as smart, or as good as making conversation, or worst of all; I wasn't beautiful anymore..

Out of every sin, I relate to vanity the most. I have not been prideful because through all of this, I had felt there was nothing in me to be proud of. Vanity though, I identified with vanity. I always took great care of my appearance because once I started, I had friends. Sure, they were only boys who wanted to hang out after school, but those counted. And sure, most girls had grown to hate me because I was the girl they didn't want their boyfriends being around. I felt like I had friends though. I might not have been happy, but I had long big hair (thanks to extensions), lots of makeup, and clothes that made me look older, and got heads turned. To me, the happiness was on its way. I just had to wait, I guess..

After the conversations with Destruction had lingered a lot, my defenses were weakening, and I knew I had to come up with something to keep him busy. I knew girls who when they didn't want to do anything with a guy, they would send pictures (I'll let you use your imagination). I needed to come with a new distraction, and I thought hey, this will buy me some more time. So, yeah.. At the time, I called it "doing what you have to do.." I started to feel cheap, and not only because of the pictures, but I knew his friends were seeing them. He was the serpent to me.. I look back and I would not put myself in that situation ever again, but I did. His friends would text me saying its okay with him if we were to do stuff too. He started to say things like "we're not married, you can do what you want, just like I can." What?! I didn't want anyone else, didn't he know that?? I was so confused, but something about him kept drawing me back in. I don't even think it was him, I think it was me, I was my own serpent. Maybe it was me, maybe it was Satan in my life. I don't know. I just could not turn away from the guy. I had started talking to other guys and sometimes, his friends. I think I wanted to make him jealous, so I would hang myself all over his friends, so he would fight for me and get me back, but I was wrong. It was like a marketing tactic. He pushed me to the point where I was stepping out of the unofficial relationship we had created, so he was free to as well, since I had done it first. I felt like a mouse always cornered or running from a huge cat that somehow, never seemed to eat me. I slowly started to become depressed in the mix of Destruction, other boys, trying to live my life at home somewhat, and trying to stay okay in school. The second semester of my freshman year I started out okay grade wise, I had some friends that took Tylenol because they said it helped them sleep and between my body needing at least 6 Pamperin before I can get cramp relief and my inability to fall asleep, I worked my way up to taking between 8-18 Tylenol a night most nights. I was unable to focus in class because I had grown so tired of not sleeping so I started sleeping or just going into a state of almost comatose in my classes. Needless to say, my grades plummeted. I was carrying around a container of about 200 Tylenol at all times and yet none of my teachers seemed to have any idea as to why I was unable to not fail my classes. Soon my parents were getting called to meetings where it was my teachers, my mom, me, and a counselor. I was forced to stay awake so I would inevitably end up on a cussing streak about how f*****g stupid it was that I was in this b******t meeting. They should just f*****g fail my f*****g looser a*s out of school because even my friends know how I could just go strip and I would make more f******g money than staying in a f*****g b******t wack a*s backwards place like Los f*****g Lunas High..

I know Destruction didn't care about my education. I know he probably never cared about me at all. But for some reason, when I had out of the blue rebelled against my education in a school system that we both thought was b******t, it wasn't okay. I guess it was too much noise or something and soon, he was noticeably mean to me. There is something known as gas lighting which basically, someone turns on the light in the room, and when you ask if they did it, they say the light didn't turn on. It is a way to make someone feel, and eventually go crazy. That was what I did. Destruction made backhanded comments like "maybe you would feel better if you were dead." Somewhere along the line, I thought of the kids proud of their cuts, and there I was on my bathroom floor, with a pink bandanna wrapped around my arm because I thought I was going to bleed out. You know how they say people do a drug once and then they're hooked, well that's psychological. At least for me cutting was a drug. It hurt and stung and lingered, but it was sweet. Somehow, walking through school with arms covered felt like I had a secret.. Showing your body, weather through pictures or in person, you start to feel like you have no secrets. Like everyone sees your life and where you once saw fun time with family, it had been scribbled over and on the slate of who you are people had written "lame" and it suddenly felt like a bad thing and like everything that had made me smile was now worthless.. It wasn't long until I had somehow exposed that I had been cutting myself to Destruction.. I was stupid, he called me stupid. He asked why I wanted to die but never listened to me saying I didn't. He had decided that I was worthless, and for some reason, he still stuck around.. At this point it was summer and I had started to get away from people from school and had started to feel like maybe hope was real, though I was still cutting daily through the summer. Often, on particularly bad days, I would carve certain things into my arms.. "F**K UP," "WHORE." Some days I would heat up a bobby pin and burn my arms if I wanted to feel an exponential amount of pain. The pain was always worse the next few days. Some times I regretted it, but I always went back for more. I had decided that I was going to die before 18. There was no way I would live past 18, there just wasn't. I had become a party girl. I didn't really like to drink, but when I did drink, guys liked me. I'm not naive enough to think they really liked me, but it did fill a void I was feeling. Once school started again, my parents had an idea that I was harming myself, but they didn't know how bad it had gotten. I had become so secretive that no one was allowed to know everything about me. No one was allowed to know most things about me. At the end of that summer I went on a youth group mission trip to the Navajo Nation and for those 8 days, I did not cut myself. 8 days. A stream popped up in the wilderness..

Once sophomore year started, the Tylenol was worse than ever. I started off the semester failing, and a week before Thanksgiving, that was how I left school. My parents had finally pulled me out. I was so happy to sleep. I don't remember the first two days of being out of school. But I remember when I finally came to, I arose to a panic attack. Destruction was going to leave me if I wasn't there. I would be alone. I couldn't think of the last time I'd been alone. I would kill myself. I didn't want to, but everyone said I was so messed up that I would kill myself because I was that  bad off.. I spent the next weeks crying, panicking, cutting, throwing up, not eating, trying to ensure Destruction would not leave me, and every now and then, sleeping. My mother had been taking me to several counselors and everyone of them was nice. But I hated them. You see, things had happened to me when I was younger. I went to a couple parties in middle school and at one particular party, I had been sexually assaulted. It was violent, and mean, and I still have trouble saying it out loud sometimes. I spoke of that. I told them everything in school and they al told me that they were so sorry. "F***k your sorry." Was always my reply. I had never lost my moral respect for my elders, but really; I don't care if someone is sorry. I can't do anything with a sorry. If they said they were sorry, I would not see them again. Finally, we found a lady in Belen who never said she was sorry. She had fancy terms like depression, obsessive and compulsive, self-harm, bulimia, treatment, recovery, future.

I had never met someone who could lump those words with future and have it make sense, but she did. I didn't necessarily believe her in the beginning, but it still made sense. She told me I didn't have to stop cutting, I just needed to make sure I didn't cut too deep. She didn't tell me I had to eat with my parents, she said I could eat peas with soy sauce because it was the only thing that made me not want to throw up (seriously, every meal, for like 8 months was peas and soy sauce). She didn't make me leave Destruction, she simply pointed out the negatives in him almost as fast as he was pointing out the negatives in me. I've never been possessed (praise Jesus) however, I felt like that was what it was feeling like. I felt like the 12 year old girl, lying there before the sexual assault happened. I was innocent and I could still hold my mom without feeling dirty. I was inside of myself, but the bad in me, the bad I felt like I couldn't fight was always trying to pull my under. Destruction lived up to his name. After about another year of treatment, he left me for good. I thought about killing myself, but I didn't. I started reading through the bible and I felt the need to actually do something so I went to Ecuador to orphanages and held babies who knew no mother. Who knew nothing of a family. I was their family for a while. When I turned 18 I cut, cried, and slept for about 2 weeks. I was sure I would be dead and I wanted to equal parts shove it in Destruction's face, and die. But I didn't. Old friends have said I am a cockroach. I do not die. I am not a cockroach, but I am a survivor. I have lived to tell my tale and I am telling it through scarred wrists, a million broken hearts, and a life of recovery. I have lived and died what feels like a thousand times. I am still here. I didn't go under. Satan did not win my soul.

Peace to you friends,

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Letter to the "Greatest Generations"..

I'll never forget that day..
Filing into the auditorium at Los Lunas High School, wearing my black shirt (I always wore black), skinny jeans, and undoubtedly flip flops with my short black died hair, cat eye makeup, and probably on my phone. Most likely texting an upperclassmen that I shouldn't have been because I knew he had a girlfriend but I (of course) thought he was the one.
That day in that Freshman assembly I realized it.. I found what I was meant to do...

An organization known as Invisible Children came to my school that day, and showed us a video about the situation of child soldiers in Central East African Countries but back then it was just Uganda. I watched the entire video, and by the time I got home, I had tears in my eyes, I raced to my parents computer, and I googled everything I could on Central East Africa, the Lord's Resistance Army, and Invisible Children.

I was hooked..
I remember in one of those classes where the teacher would put on some DVD about some kid who got on drugs, and the way that when they took that first hit of heroin, or that first line of cocaine, they were hooked. That was me. I don't know what it was, but before I'd have to say that I was like a shell of a person trying so hard to emulate what I was supposed to be. I remember my dad talking about all the girls he had dated in high school, I remember my mom talking about her first job in high school and the lessons she had learned from working so young.

And then there was me.. I was turned down from every job I applied for in high school, I was pretty, but I was never the girl every guy wanted to date, looking back now, high school really wasn't that horrible, I just didn't seem to fit into any sort of mold my parents had seemed to fit into so easily.

After that day, my life went on normally, I still had the same friends, I still texted the same boys, and I still kept along the same path that would eventually lead me to self-harm, overdosing on pills, alcohol, and leaving school.
But through that one day in the school auditorium, I found what it was that I was meant to do.. but if I had been raised in the so called "Greatest Generations" I couldn't have done what I am called to...

You see, in the "Greatest Generations," I would have been wrong...

The reason there are so many children self-harming today (along with others) is because we hear about it now. I know when I ask my mom about girls who got pregnant or had break-downs, the town didn't rally around them, or try to help, they were cast away, sent to an aunt in the country, or a relative out of state to deal with their horrible ways. Many children who just needed a little something extra were numbed with shock therapy, and never were the same again.

Beyond that, I would never have heard of Invisible Children, or the LRA, or Central East Africa, or any of that back then. That just wasn't a woman's place. By now I would have been married or at least looking for a mate, while making a home, raising a family, and doing the "woman's work."

Up until about the 1970's in most of America, if one decided to become a missionary (of course only a man could), then his family would pack his things up in a coffin because that was the belief. If you were a missionary, it was a death sentence. Not only would I have been stopped and thought of as out of my mind for wanting that death sentence, I could never make my mother pack all of my things in a coffin and assume she would never see me again.. That's cruel. So what do you do? Break your family's hearts, or break God's?

I am not against the "Greatest Generations," I just disagree that they were the greatest.. I don't believe that I could have ever lived a better, more authentic life serving God than I can right now. Today...

I thank you (old people), for your sacrifices. I thank the soldiers for defending us against the Nazi ideals. I thank those who fought in Vietnam for fighting simply for all of the things that I will miss when I leave this country behind. I thank all of the brave women before me who fought for me to be the equal to every man that stands beside me. I thank the missionaries for making a path for this very imperfect generation to serve our God with "the least of these.." I thank everyone who has had a hand in the technology revolution, so that way when I'm in the middle of nowhere Africa, or the jungles of South America, I can still talk to my family. And mostly, I thank God for seeing the value and authenticity in my generation, and for not killing us all, cause let's face it, He's God, He can do what he wants.

Thank you for reading this, and for the sacrifices you are making for the next generation.

Peace to you,

Thursday, March 26, 2015

To The People (Pt. 3)..

Holy crap.. Sorry.

Today has been an amazing day of hard work and realities paying off. Today I got to go to the school and get my cap and gown with my Phi Theta Kappa regalia, AND my honors cord. I am so excited to be able to walk across a line, and have people see that I am smart enough to finish something!

Also, tonight I got an email from YWAM Perth, and I have been accepted to the January 2016 Compassion DTS.
Basically, a DTS (Discipleship Training School) is a 6 month course, 3 months in Australia, 3 in a third world country I'm hoping somewhere Central East Africa, doing mission work. The Compassion DTS is focused on serving the poorest of the poor, and dealing with things that most run from which in my brief travels, I have realized that is one of my favorite things to do. Places where people run out, I like to go in. God has drawn me to them.

But anyways, enough about me, I wanted to write this to thank people. I call these letters "To The People," and they are an open letter thanking those whom I want to thank. I feel some thanks is over due; soo.. here ya go!! (:

To Marlow and Pastor David who believed in me enough to write several recomendation letters for me to go to Haiti, Ecuador, and now Australia, Your time and words whatever they may have been are not taken lightly. Thank you for believing in me enough to tell others of it.

To my parents who love me, support me, and deal with my deciding to go, then to stay, then to go a million times over thank you.  I love you.

To my church, PMUMC; you have believed in me enough to support me, pray for me, and love me through me being me, and you have never walked away. For that, I am forever grateful, and I can never repay y'all for what you've done for me. You have seen me with scars on my wrists and barely able to stay awake, and you have seen me come back from other countries filled by God's love. The grace you guys eminate, and the love you share with anyone who will take it is nothing short of Christs love himself. Thank you. I love you.

To my entire family, who has pushed me, and loved me the entire way to where I am, and has given me the courage to take on the injustices in this world and simply love people for who they are has caused me to go, and to not be afraid. None of this would have happened without y'all. Thank you, I love you.

To Pastor Dave (Bubba) Seeing you Saturday, and having you always be an encouragement to me has meant the world to me. You were the one who allowed me to take the front of the church for a Sunday, and allow me the time and space to tell my story, and to say what God had layed on my heart meant everything to me. You were the first person I ever felt like saw potential in me for something better than just going about my life here like I'm not missing something. You are the reason I am not afraid to be bold, and to be passionate, and to stand up for what I believe. I still read the bible you gave me, and you can bet it's going with me wherever I go! Thank you, I love you.

To Loryn and Lakota; thank you for being some of the best friends I could have asked for. You girls are so sweet, and I will never forget the times we have had. I have no idea how I am going to go 6 months without you guys! I am going to loose it!

To Taylor and Jordan, thank you for being so great and understanding why I can't go to Highlands with you guys next Fall (since I am kinda writing this before I tell y'all.) You guys are amazing, and I am going to miss you so much while I am gone! Thank you, I love you.

To Schick and Dr. Melzer, Thank you guys for believing enough in me to talk to me, and to help me while in your classes. You guys rock and I hope you teach forever so everyone can have a class with you. Thank you.

I know there are tons of others I need to thank, and this is for sure not the last of these so stay tuned!!

Peace to you tonight,

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Dropping Out and Dropping In..

While I write this I am listening to a fabulous new song called Budapest by George Ezra. I strongly recomend it for everyone to listen to. It just makes me want to dance and remember all the places I've been so far in my life. (:

Okay, so now that I got my advertizing out of the way, down to the nitty gritty.

I guess the best way to say this is to take you back to Spring semester of my freshman year of high school in about early February. I just got with my first boyfriend, and when I say that I mean my first real boyfriend. We went out on dates, to dinner, and did a lot of things over the course of our twisted relationship that I am not very proud of. Pretty soon he started to be really mean, and everyone who I had become friends with for him started to hate me and he started to tell me not to hang out with my friends, and not to play volleyball, and to die my hair black, and wear more makeup and the strangest thing was that I did.

He introduced me to my worst enemy one day telling me that when I get upset I need to get alone and by cutting myself I would feel better and it was a bad idea to tell anyone how I felt. When I felt fat, he showed me how to make myself throw up. When I couldn't sleep, he would get me pills to make me sleep but I was too stupid to monitor them myself so I could only have Tylenol and Pamprin which I started taking daily by the dozen.

By the end of my freshman year I was literally scarred and burnt out and I needed anything but to go to school where I would sleep through my classes, take F's, and face everyone who couldn't stand me. The week before Thanksgiving my parents pulled me out and I underwent a year of therapy, treatment, counseling, doctors appointments, and church in an effort for my family to try to bring me back to my life. Needless to say I came back to God. In fact, I fell in love with God. Over those three years of homeschooling I had my parents and one friend who stood by my side. I found a church home, and through a mission trip to the Navajo Nation in 2010, I found a heart burried inside of me for everyone in the world.

I fell in love with sunsets, and sunrises. I fell in love with not just food, but cuisine. I didn't fall in love with any certain person, but every face I see on the street, and the way a smile makes someones face seem lighter. I fell in love with the way people give themselves to what they care about. I fell in love with the way Haitian farmers put their all into their work. I fell in love with the way Tias in the Ecuadorian oprhanages care for the children, and refuse to turn a blind eye to their cries like I have trying to forge a different way through the world than the path of mission work God has laid in my path. I fell in love with my Father.

Latley, I have felt so insignificant. I have been feeling like my future is ten thousand years away and I cannot feel it. I need to feel God the way I know I was made to.

When I went to Ecuador, I wanted to go, get my feet wet, and hate it so I could come back, finish school, and get a life but God threw me in and by the grace and fury of God I swam. I always believed I would sink in whatever I do, and I always have until it came to mission work. I swim. And I carry others in a way that is humble, but nonetheless is amazing and I love that about myself.

I am finishing my Associates Degree this year and I am taking a year off. I will be doing something called a Discipleship Training School.

It is three month lecture on various topics that affect missions and working in that field, and three months on a trip. I have a very dear friend who just finished her lecture phase and will spend her three months in  South Africa, and India.  Needless to say I am stoked. I cannot wait, and now I just wait. It's not ideal but I've never known God to be ideal. God pulled me to him through me quitting highschool, seeking treatment, mission trips, and loving on the least of these brothers.

In this calling I now live, and in this calling I wish to die (not soon).

Peace to you,

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Third-World Tips..

So I have been thinking latley about what it's been like to travel the world.
Deciding to move your future to a place you have never been is sort of like parenting: there is no handbook.
I didn't really know how hard physically just going to places like hot Haiti and elevation-sickness Ecuador would be, just being there.
I am sure Rwanda will have it's vast array of challenges for me no doubt; so I had a thought.
Others out there on the internet land, and possibly some people I may know may some day want to somewhat of the same thing.
And I can now say with personal experience; traveling the third world is a completly different situation than the first!
And for those of you who are family and friends who will someday make the much appreciated journey to Africa for my wedding (it could happen!) I thought it would be nice for you guys to have some simple tips that will save you alot of time, energy, money, and pain while you are on your adventure! (:
So here we go!

Dorothy's Third-World Travel Tips:

Tip 1: Bring your cell phone. I know people do it no matter what, and I know some people are like "but it won't work" and a lot of the times, it won't. But most places like guesthouses have wifi, and if you did like I did in Haiti and stay at the house of the person running the mission, they will have some sort of wifi. A lot even the Port-Au-Prince airport had wifi, so it is all of the world. And yes, there is wifi in Rwanda.

Tip 2: Bring at least two pairs of stretchy knee-length shorts. Take it from personal experience: the rest of the world, isn't so comfortable. No A/C, fans that only run while the Haitian "current" is working (which isn't often), and the world is a hot place!! Chafing exists!! I only brought one pair of yoga pants for the night I had to stay in Ft. Lauderdale, and after like two days, I got my little midical scissors, and chopped those babies up to knee-length and wore those under my skirts instead of my typical mid-thigh length shorts. Trust me! You will thank me when you go to countries where you have to wear skirts/dresses.

Tip 3: Bring a battery power fan with EXTRA BATTERIES!!!. I had a trooper fan in Haiti! It was one of those little ones that had the three foam blades and was like my little slice of heaven when I had time to fan myself. I will never forget sitting on the front porch the SECOND DAY of my trip with everyone and my fan ran out of juice of the second set of batteries. I was pretty sure God was calling me home! BRING BATTERIES!!! I cannot stress it enough!!

Tip 4: (This one's for the weenies like me) If you are terrible at swallowing pills, bring Clif Bars. They are so easy because you can take a bite, chew it up, then stick the pill in your mouth and it will go down first try! Plus, they fill you up without bloating and distress. In Haiti, we had to climb a very steep hill to the school every morning, and with food, it felt like you were going to throw up in the mix of humidity, heat, and just flat out discomfort. And I will add one more little tip to this, ALWAYS ET WITH YOUR MALARIA PILLS. Just, please, don't risk it. They really do make you sick.

Tip 5: Bring your own mosquito net. They are always a good thing if you are in a danger area, and even if someone says you don't have to have one, you should use one. Not only have I had them keep out mosquitos, but I've had them keep out spiders, all bugs, rats, lizzards, frogs.. Yeah, they're good!

Tip 6: Just go! Don't look into too many statistics, don't let yourself talk you out of going. I won't say it's not as bad as you think it will be, because fankly, it's usually worse than you thought it would be, but you are always stronger than you think. And who are you there for?! I have never met anyone traveling the third-world just because they need a vacation.

Tip 7: Don't be an elephant. There's a proverb about how an elephant and a rat were friends, and the rat was having a party, and so the elephant goes and dances all night and has so much fun, but in the end, the elephant can't find his friend the rat, because he has squished him. Don't squish the people there. I think to nothing bad or intentional, but we in America tend to assume they is what the world wants to be like. I have met alot of people who would like to come to America to go to school, but I have yet to meet someone who wants to leave their world and come to ours. To most, this isn't real. It's not even a fairy-tale, it's just not a possibility. Go and live life as a Haitian, or a Rwandan, or as someone who is just a citizen of wherever you are. You are gonna stand out like a sort thumb, but it is the best thing you can do for yourself while you are there.

Tip 8: Embrace the culture (and the food). Usually, the food you will eat is amazing!! And it is local, fresh, and made with care because for someone, it is a chance to cook for someone from a different world. And when they tell you what it is, don't freak out. When we were in Ecuador, I was drinking this apple drink and it was really good, then about 3/4 way through it they told me that what it was, was the old women in the amazon would sit around and chew up apples then spit them out, and that was what it was. And it is pretty much always concidered a sigh of disrespect to leave food, or not finish what you are given. So suck it up! We all have had to do it! Don't whine, don't complain, just be a big kid and eat it!

Tip 9: Take lots of pictures! And keep them!!

Tip 10: Have fun. Embrace the trip and help. Whenever you are so tired you think you can't keep going, take a breath and go. Because it will soon end, and you will come back to America and wish you would have done more. I promise, just do everything you can. Take every opportunity, drop every fear.

I encourage you to travel the third-world. It is much more enjoyable than the first!! (:

Peace to you,

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Today, Is Full Circle..

This might suck since I'm posting this from my phone in the middle of a concert at church but I need to post this before I forget it.
This concert is somewhat of a symbolic one for me.
I spent four on and off years in a relationship with a wonderful man of God I still have a hard time leaving. This man gave so much of himself to try to help me recover. He loved me, and showed me how a real man treats a woman. It's so weird to think of him as a man but that's what he is now.
I haven't listened to country music since we broke it off for good in fear of calling him. I miss him every day and I've spent the past few years fighting anger against god because he's calling me to move away from him and calling me alone.
It isn't fair. I know that. God knows that. He knows that.
This concert is a county gospel concert at my church and I have always had a weakness for cowboys. He was the first cowboy to treat me good. He was my best friend for so long..
Going to this concert I was really scared that I would immediately call him and beg for him to come back. But sitting here, I'm reminded of the day i gave my life over to Christ.
It was in this same little church in Peralta and at a country gospel concert by a band caled Desert Reign. I went up to the altar, cried, and gave up. It didn't stop my constant partying, drinking, smoking, or promiscuity; but it gave me a little glimmer of hope. It confirmed that I still believed in God and in my own 14 year old way, I knew I would eventually turn my life over to him.

I don't know when you turned your life over to Christ. I don't know if you have. One thing I do know, is that it's kind of like a circle. It's come full circle. I've come full circle.

It is worth it, and I really don't know what else to say. (:

Peace to you tonight,

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dear Future Husband..

If you do exist,

I don't mean that in a fifteen year old, "no one will ever love me" way,
I mean that in the most literal sense.

How are you? How is Africa? Where are you guys at?
I'm serious, I can't picture my life without Africa. I can't picture my future without it being in Africa.
I really do hope immensely that you guys are there, and that you love it, and you never come back to America (to live).

I hope you're handsome, I know that's shallow, but I mean come on, it's true.
How much do you love me? More importantly, how much do you love God? How much time each day do you spend to just be with him and in his presence? That's the one thing that matters to me more than Africa, or mission work, or anything else. Strip it all away, I don't care. I just want a relationship filled to the brim with God, and joy, and the love of Christ Jesus overflowing from it, to where it has to be shared with others. It's impossible to not share it.

I am having such a hard time being here. I mean, yes in America. But I almost feel ridiculous saying that. There is so much for me to explore.

I just feel stuck.

I feel stuck in my life and in myself.

God, I just want to cut my matted hair out!!  It's so annoying! I don't know why I ever thought glued-in hair extensions were a good idea!

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that having those made me feel like it was okay to love myself.

I really don't like looking back to who I was. Make-up, hair extensions, nails, and so mean. I'm ashamed..

I've had times where I was running away from Christ's call for weeks, and in the middle of the night stop running, focus so hard on him, and the next morning have makeup running down my face, fake nails half-way cut off, and hair extensions on the floor.

I should have called this blog "Confessions of a Recovering American Teenager."

I know, funny right? I really don't like the idea of America. You probably know that, and I probably spend forever talking about it but I'm going to again.

I don't understand it. I feel like after going to Ecuador and Haiti and the Navajo Nation, I don't fit into it anymore. I'm out of my original culture, and I am trying to fit into another one, the problem is that I'm still here in America while I attend college.

I went on my Emmaus walk, and it really made me realize how far God will go to "woo" me. We had so much agape love, and this fantastic meal, and a candlelight ceremony and one big thing I realized is that I deserve to love the relationship I am in.

I want someone who wants me, not because I have a pretty smile, and I am funny, but for the bigger things.
For the fact that I want to spend my life in service to others.
For my love of Africa and children.

And someone who shares that love of Africa.

I hope you love Africa, and when I leave, you still will.

I don't want you to love Africa for me, but for the fact that God has placed Africa in your heart the same way he has mine.  I believe it.

I believe you're real, and you are who God wants me to walk with and worship him in new ways together. I have a lot I could say to you.

Sometimes, I think it would be nice if this could be easy. We could meet now, and settle down here, because that is very convenient, but I don't want that. I was the difficult. I want to have a love as big as Africa, and I want to fight for you every minute.

I hope you are as happy with me as I am with you, and I hope you don't want to kill me in my sleep. (:

Have fun living YOUR and OUR dreams in Africa!(:

Peace to you tonight,