13 December 2010

no te preocupes

If I was ever concerned that maybe I'd never find anyone to date, my fears have been assuaged tonight--I now know that if I show up at Betos at 9pm and pull into the drive thru, there will be an older Mexican man ordering inside who will blow kisses at me and then disappear only to suddenly reappear next to my open car window. He will not be deterred by my obvious shock, but will shake and kiss my hand, tell me repeatedly how beautiful I am and think my name is Candy. So I'm pretty much set.

And if that doesn't work out, there's always the Israeli man selling hand lotion (ie, hitting on women) at the mall.


11 December 2010

Casas de carton

Yesterday my heart was broken as I watched a story of a young boy living in El Salvador during the civil war (in the 1980s). The movie "Innocent Voices" was based on the actual experiences of writer Oscar Torres and is one of the most beautiful depictions of family, childhood and war that I have seen. I was again reminded of the terrible reality of war and especially of its devastating impact on families and children, which effects linger on for generations--as we can see in El Salvador with the terrible gang violence that has taken hold in the country.

Luckily, there was more than simply a message of despair in the film. Perhaps one of the most poignant moments was when the Catholic priest, after having been brutally beaten by the El Salvadorean soldiers, held mass in the street and preached a message of love and faith to his congregation and all who could hear:

"The word of God should be heard by those who have not found grace within themselves. What is grace? Grace is the presence of the divine in every one of our actions. The skeptics say, 'If God existed, there would be no war.' And I respond, 'If humanity would obey the word of God, then there would be no war!' Because God has given humanity the privilege to live in grace, or on the contrary, to provoke disgrace. I assure you, when one lives in the grace of God, war does not exist. Nevertheless, there are those who ignore their own divine nature and they satisfy themselves by robbing, humiliating and killing their own kind..."

To me this is such a beautiful expression of our responsibility. Each of us must live according to our divine nature. We must act with grace and love and treat each other with care. If we want to be blessed with peace, we must first live peacefully. We must demonstrate in our actions the grace of God and our devotion to him, rather than to our own wants and our own prejudices and hatreds and grudges. Oh how I wish we would live that way!

This song was a song of the rebel army in the civil war in El Salvador, prohibited by the national army. It is gorgeous.

Here is the English translation:

How sad the rain sounds
On the cardboard roofs
How sadly my people live
In the cardboard houses.

The worker comes descending,
Almost dragging his feet
Under the weight of his suffering.
Look how much is the suffering!
Look how much the suffering weighs!
He leaves his pregnant wife above
The city is below,
And he loses himself in its tangle.

Today is the same as yesterday
In this world without tomorrow.

How sad, the rain is heard
On the cardboard roofs.
How sadly my people live
In the cardboard houses.

Children the color of my land
With the same scars,
Millionaires of worms, and
therefore, how sadly the children live.

How happily the dogs live
In the home of the exploiters.
You won't believe it,
But there are schools for dogs
And they give them education
So they don't bite the newsboys
But the boss
For years, so many years,
has been biting the laborer.

How sad, the rain is heard
On the cardboard roofs.
How far away, hope passes
In the cardboard houses.

This Christmas season, may we remember, and live, the glorious song of the angels at our Savior's birth:
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men."
Luke 2:14

04 December 2010

You've gotta see this!

HIV/AIDS is a treatable and preventable disease that effects millions of people across the world. Africa has been hit especially hard by this epidemic. The Lazarus Effect is a documentary about how access to free Antiretroviral drugs are changing the face of the fight against HIV/AIDS and saving the lives of millions of people. This is amazing!

03 November 2010

monster in my bed

In the middle of the night, when I'm sleeping in my bed, warm and curled up against the cold, darkness all around me, there is a sudden loud noise followed by loud voices and raucous laughter and stomping feet and music playing and dice being shaken in a plastic cup. That's when it happens. The monster appears. Angry Kendal comes out.

I'm usually a nice person. usually. But there is something about being woken up in the night that seems to unleash the nastiest side of my personality.

Even if i am only fuming to myself, cursing to the darkness around me, now unable to sleep with the various stimuli from around the house, each sleep disruptor appears in my mind as a demon, stealing from me my greatest and, now, most illusive desire. Oh precious sleep! And evil sleep snatchers!

The frustration only builds as I continue in sleeplessness. Every sound is magnified. Every laugh becomes a derisive, mocking noise intended solely to disturb me. Every footstep is purposefully louder than necessary as the devious walker scoffs at my plight. Even the usually lovely sound of music, the strumming of a guitar, is a piercing, twanging intrusion entering my ears no matter how desperately I try not to hear it.

There is no logic in my thinking. No reason to be furious at each roommate or guest conversing about the house. But the ability to react and act rationally seems not to wake with the rest of my mind. I am an emotional bubble just waiting to burst. Panic. Furry. An irrational desire to tell everyone and everything to stop and be quiet and let me SLEEP FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE!!! takes over all other senses.

I am an insomniac. I have been since... probably birth. I remember long nights as a child, willing myself to fall asleep, bored and alone, tired and frustrated, but unable to reach that lovely destination of dreams. I remember asking my mom to stay with me until I fell asleep, and then, when she fell asleep first (as she always did), trying not to move or make noise in case I woke her up. I remember the frustration, once I was old enough to go to school, knowing that I would wake up in the morning exhausted, my mom pulling me out of bed despite all resistance, and sending me off to school half asleep, but unable to do anything about it. No matter how hard I tried, sleep did not come. For years. And years and years and years.

There were all kinds of suggestions:
Count sheep or clouds or dogs or cats or . . . .
Repeat in your head "I can't fall asleep" over and over, until you finally do.
Try to think through a movie from beginning to end and don't think about anything else.
Play this soothing music to lull yourself to sleep.
Clear your mind before you get into bed.
Write down all your thoughts and put them away before you try to sleep.
Etc. etc. etc.

By the time I got to high school I'd created a methodology. I stayed up with everyone in my house until they all fell asleep. Then I'd watch TV. I'd read a book. I'd boil some tea and sip and wait. Until finally my eyes started to droop. Until I couldn't keep them open any longer. Until I was falling asleep without a struggle. Effortless. Then I'd quickly flip off the light and slip into rest.


Sometime in high school, though, I started falling asleep without such a process. I would be so tired. I was exhausted. Every day. It was still just as hard to get up in the morning, but I would stay up working on homework and reading or getting home late from swim meets, and I realized, I wasn't having my same old problem. I wasn't lying awake for hours before falling asleep. There were occasional nights when I was still haunted by restlessness. Days here or there when I would have to pull out the tea pot and my book. But they were rare.

That's the way I am now. For the most part. I sleep fairly normally. And insomnia is not a common issue.

But I'm a light sleeper. And I get woken up easily.And that's usually when the attacks hit me now--trying to fall back to sleep. Once I'm awake, I'm awake.

So I know when I come out of my room, disheveled and raving, I probably seem like a monster, inappropriately angry at the innocent (but noisy) victims of my rage. But you have to understand. Sleep is precious. And if you mess with mine, you are crossing a line. Whatever you are in the daylight--friend, roommate, complete stranger--as soon as you disturb my rest, you become the enemy.

At least until I fall asleep.

20 October 2010

real life.

The basics of what I've learned about International Development over the past 5 years in the words of Nicholas Kristof:

"it’s complicated."
"a noble experiment"
"entrepreneurs fail sometimes"
"good intentions and hard work aren’t enough"
"Helping people is hard."
"it will be only an incremental improvement. In the real world, that’s usually how progress arrives (with screams of vexation along the way)."

sometimes, that's kind of discouraging.

on the other hand...

Kristof also tells us that these aren't such bad things. I'm inspired by his article, "D.I.Y. Foreign Aid Revolution" and the incredible entrepreneurs he describes. Proof that all of us can play a role in development and have an influence for change in the world.

yes, the difference that one person makes is often small--"a drop in the bucket"--but each drop counts (for proof of this concept, visit the TippingBucket). not all of us will become leaders of international organizations or spend out lives building and living in orphanages or creating innovative ways to tackle the unspoken barriers women face in participating fully in society or regularly raising thousands of dollars for the most vulnerable populations in the world. some of us may not even be able to travel abroad. but we are all capable of doing something. and we are all capable of doing more than we are.

Please read Kristof's article.
Then read his blog.
Then take a cue from this inspiring family.
(and so many other sources. . . new suggestions are always welcome, by the way!)

Then see where this all takes you. What changes can you make in your daily life that will help you consume fewer precious resources? How can you adjust your spending so you avoid purchasing conflict materials or products that support unjust practices? How can you contribute (monetarily or otherwise) to causes that are truly important to you? How do you decide what those causes are? WHERE DO YOU FIT IN?

These are questions that I am trying to ask myself. Everyday. For me they're hard questions. Some of them might take me years to fully answer. Maybe even a lifetime.

But this much I know:
The world needs change--at home and abroad.
And it's up to us to make that happen.

Welcome to reality.
I hope you're ready to get on board...
the world needs you.

and i mean that.

battle royal

last night i found myself kneeling on the kitchen counter, screaming at the top of my lungs, while one of my roommates, who had jumped up on the opposite counter, was holding a blanket as a shield and another stood armed with a cardboard box in front of the refrigerator.

that's when the hilarity of the moment struck.

our house has been living in fear of a tiny, brown, furry, scurrying creature for the past two weeks or so. from the first spotting of the mouse, our house has been in disarray, with the occasional sighting sending the house into an uproar--when I saw the mouse in my room, i tore it apart trying to eliminate any possibility of a hiding place; my roommates and friends spotted the rodent and destroyed two rooms trying unsuccessfully to trap it; and after last night, my roommate made up an extra bed in my room, concerned for her safety alone with this vermin roving the house.

we've been "going to get" mouse traps since day one. it hasn't happened yet.

i don't know what the others are thinking, but for me its s mixture of emotions:
hope that the mouse might just leave of its own accord
fear of finding a bug-eyed mouse corpse squished in a trap (and also disgust at this thought)
sympathy for the poor little thing... i mean, i want it to leave, but i don't necessarily want it to DIE.

i was thinking about this mouse dilemma last night as my roommate put sheets on the extra bed so she could temporarily move into my room (for safety against this miniature monster--which, for the record, i completely understand and appreciate). it seemed so sad that the mouse should have to die, and yet so idealistic the idea that perhaps if we wait it out the little mouse might just decide to move out.

and i remembered my freshman english class, when we had to write the ending to a story that had pitted a prisoner against a lion as a spectacle for some barbaric crowd. we didn't know who would win, but each student had to draw his or her own conclusion. i thought of several. there were various ways to end the scene-the heroic underdog defeating a terrifying beast; the mistreated lion winning his freedom and pride in a brave battle; a young princess popping into the plot and saving the prisoner with her unprecedented valor and strength. but none of these endings were satisfactory as long as either the lion or the man had to die. so i concocted an elaborate scheme in which they both survived and even became friends, of sorts--i've forgotten most of the details...

now i wish i could conclude the tale of mouse vs. the Brown house in a similar fashion. i wish we could spare this worthy creature but also free ourselves of its discomforting presence. i wish mice and people could lived in peace together (and that mice didn't carry diseases and eat your food and leave behind unbecoming surprises).

but i've also become more realistic in the past ten years, and i can accept the reality that it is time to get a trap for our rodent friend.

maybe we can try a live trap first...

13 October 2010

you'd better believe it.

last night i watched a film called 'amreeka.'

it made me laugh
it made me cry
it made me think

one of my favorite lines from the film:
"It sucks here." (Fadi, son)
"Everywhere sucks." (Muna, mother)

this struck me as true...

maybe it's because i was thinking from the point of view of a palestinian mother and her teenage son coming to the united states from the west bank during the invasion of iraq. because from their point of view there was nothing to go home to and because in america they were treated as outsiders at best and terrorists at worst. because i can't imagine what it would be like to flee your country where you feel like a "prisoner" and come to another country with nothing but hope only to be treated like an outcast. because i know that there are people here who feel that way. because there are people everywhere who feel like they have nowhere to go. nowhere to call home. no solutions to the problems that tumble down upon them day by day.

but what i loved most is that they made it. in some ways. this mother and her son. their family. they found a way to survive. to be happy. they supported each other and they made the best of things.

sometimes i feel like "everywhere sucks." maybe not for me--and i know i am so blessed for that, even though sometimes things suck for me too. sometimes things suck for everyone. but for some people this is a reality of life. every day. all the time. and it's overwhelming even to imagine what that must feel like.

the thing is, everywhere can be beautiful too. everywhere has something to offer. everywhere can foster love. everywhere can be seen for the good. and people can persevere through so much more than i can even comprehend.

sometimes the world seems so dauntingly messed up. there are problems in every part of the world and there is no way to escape that reality. but humans are pretty strong. and when we support and love each other, we can make it through all kinds of suckiness.

i love that.

08 October 2010

rise and shine

Dear brain,

For the past week or so i haven't been able to pull myself out of bed on time. Over and over again i press the snooze or turn off my alarm and then proceed to slip back into my dreams.

Speaking of dreams, does anyone else consistently have strange, even creepy dreams. Mine are full of the normal characters from my life--friends, roommates, co-workers--but we are always in some obsurd situation in which nonsensical things are constantly happening. For instance, last night several people from my office were in my dream. I can't remember most of the dream, but at the end we were all trying to escape from something (or someone--which may have been revealed earlier in the dream... or not). We were in this open courtyard and tons of people were there--mostly i didn't know them, but they were families and individuals all trying to escape--and this older lady was drawing pictures in chalk all over the courtyard. I thought she was on our side. I thought her pictures were going to save us (it made sense in the dream). But then I realized she was drawing voodoo symbols and trapping us all. I was terrified and started alerting other and....

just then I realized it was 10 minutes after i should have already been at work
and i had to jump out of bed and abandon my dreams to oblivion.

c'est la vie.

06 October 2010

lets fly away

I'm ready to go back.

Cusco, Peru
August 2008

04 October 2010


today the wind blew up with the sound of a tempest raging over the city, threatening to tear roofs from buildings and uproot trees and as i watched the trees bending and bowing under the ghastly strength of the wind and listened to the storm blast around outside, blowing open the door and seeming strong enough to sweep any unfortunate pedestrian off her destabilized feet, suddenly sirens and horns began to call as ambulances went whirring by and i was filled with a sudden anxiety creeping up to make me imagine scenes of destruction and woe--tornadoes raged across Provo and torrential rains left our city soggy beneath the deep flood waters that would grow higher and higher and i wasn't scared at all, but excited. and of course i never thought we'd have such adventures, but i wished they would come, masochistically or "savagely," perhaps. and i thought maybe my childhood enjoyment of Mary Poppins blowing in on a storm clinging to her ever handy umbrella or Dorothy being whisked away to Oz in a funnel of dust and debris has fostered in me romantic ideas of such natural phenomena. But then, perhaps storms are always romantic. and mysterious. and opptunities for adventure and an almost magical separation from reality. . .

so now, sitting at my desk watching the dark sky cloud with dust and seeing leaves shaking and scattering from the trees, i felt akin to G.K. Chesterton and his optimistic views of such things. if i'm crazy, at least i'm not alone!

"I feel an almost savage envy on hearing that London has been flooded in my absence, while I am in the mere country. My own Battersea has been, I understand, particularly favoured as a meeting of the waters. Battersea was already, as I need hardly say, the most beautiful of human localities. Now that it has the additional splendour of great sheets of water, there must be something quite incomparable in the landscape (or waterscape) of my own romantic town. Battersea must be a vision of Venice. The boat that brought the meat from the butcher’s must have shot along those lanes of rippling silver with the strange smoothness of the gondola. The greengrocer who brought cabbages to the corner of the Latchmere Road must have leant upon the oar with the unearthly grace of the gondolier. There is nothing so perfectly poetical as an island; and when a district is flooded it becomes an archipelago.

"Some consider such romantic views of flood or fire slightly lacking in reality. But really this romantic view of such inconveniences is quite as practical as the other. The true optimist who sees in such things an opportunity for enjoyment is quite as logical and much more sensible than the ordinary “Indignant Ratepayer” who sees in them an opportunity for grumbling."

from On Running After One's Hat by G.K. Chesterton
read this essay on Quotidiana.org

21 September 2010


Here's something interesting. yet again, a message about the value of educating women-- an essential element of development for any nation. (here and here are links to what I've blogged on this issue in the past)

a few facts (i know i may be repeating myself.. but that's okay.):

educated women generally make better use of health services and have a better understanding of hygiene, nutrition and parenting.

educated women as mothers help reduce infant mortality in children under 5 (by 10% for every additional year of schooling).

educated women reduce the fertility rate by making informed decisions and using reliable practices in family planning.

educated women are less likely to contract HIV/AIDS and thus less likely to pass the disease to children

educated women receive better wages and increase productivity in their employment.

educated women promote higher levels of education for their children. . . and their children's children and so on and so forth....

the benefits just keep on coming.


I think Philip Stevens, a senior fellow at International Policy Network, makes an important point when he says, "Education is not much good if the health facilities and infrastructure don’t exist. If a country is massively misgoverned, like Sierra Leone, no amount of education is going to put bread on the table for children.”

Education is essential.
Education for women is imperative.
But international development and poverty reduction require systematic change in every aspect of policy, infrastructure, governance, etc.

Yet, there is hope. and for every girl who is educated, we get a little closer to the kind of world that I want to live in!

data and quotes taken from "Educating Women Saves Children, Study Finds." Sept 16, 2010 in the New York Times.
Also see facts from the World Bank on this issue.

15 September 2010

moving on

yesterday BYU sent me an email congratulating me on my graduation and requesting that I:

"Please do not call Brigham Young University at this time,
as your diploma has already been mailed."

and I thought

Dear BYU,
I wasn't planning on calling.
I'm afraid you'll ask me for money (specifically the $20.10 "gift" you emailed/called me about at least 4 times before graduation).
The thing is, I don't have any right now.
Do you take IOUs?


14 September 2010

story collector

for the longest time i wanted to tell stories
i wanted to create characters and plots and themes and symbols and distill them all into words and phrases that could contain the meanings and the sensations and the emotions i conceived in those tales

but then sometimes i wonder
maybe story telling isn't what i do best

maybe rather than the transmitter i am the receptacle.
not the teller, but the told.

and maybe that's why i will sit for hours and listen to (or read or watch) the stories
of friends and family and acquaintances and strangers
maybe that's why sometimes, not knowing why,
i take on the emotions of those others
and i cry when a heart breaks
and laugh at their silliness
and joy in their content
and feel a little closer
to understanding

or a little further away

because sometimes the stories don't make sense
and i can't make them fit into the world i perceive
or the experiences of my life
so limited
that i can only try to imagine what it would be to
lose a grandson to cancer
or watch soldiers die around me
or hunger for food and shelter and warmth
or make the decision to leave the one i love, without wanting to or knowing how

and sometimes i can't imagine
i can't understand

so i listen to the stories i'm told
and hope that with each one i grow closer to seeing
the world and the lives of people, truly,
and to growing space in my heart
to comprehend
and all the things that happen here.

and maybe i will understand enough to tell the stories
and share with others those things i have heard
with grace and beauty


07 September 2010

back to the same old ways...

i may not be a student, but I can still enjoy the perks

this week at international cinema:
  1. to kill a mockingbird
  2. il postino
i'm pretty excited... and I don't have homework to get in the way!

03 September 2010

Inside out

Dear Home Intruders,

How strange the difference of a location can make. The difference of a few feet. The difference between the sides of a door. But the difference, my not-quite-friends, is essential.

It's the difference between harmless insect and evil destroyer of my domestic serenity.

You can see the problem here.

Perhaps you are simply confused. Of course, I might be too were I in your position. I confess, it is rather unusual for someone who does not want you to visit to lure you in with tempting treats and alluring dwellings which seem to call for you to occupy their unused space. This is not my doing; and I believe the temptation is less an invitation than an oversight on the part of my roommates, who have left the tantalizing surprises.

Certainly the day old, half eaten pizza hardening on the living room table appears to be begging for a visitation of flies. As does the soggy burrito remains sitting in the kitchen sink, complete with empty plastic containers for salsa, drowning in two inches of cold, murky water. And it has already attracted your more minute, bacterial friends, I can be sure. Perhaps that strange smell I encountered on entering my house at lunch was just the last straw for decay loving grubs, too enticing to pass up. But, while I don't know what it is or where it is coming from, I can tell you with certainty said scent is not meant to draw you in. None of it is, really.

So, with all due respect, I ask you to leave my home and STAY OUT!

I have nothing against you, when you're on the other side of my door, but spiders, flies, mosquitoes (and whatever else might be crawling or flying about, yet unseen), when you cross that threshold, the only word I have for you is
and maybe pest control.


26 August 2010

why didn't anyone tell me about this before?

I found this little treasure today:
for as you may know
i love beautiful quotes

words that can capture
a thought
a feeling
a truth
just right

now that's hard to do.

24 August 2010

The Ethical Exhibitionist: From George Orwell's "Such, Such Were the Joys"

The Ethical Exhibitionist: From George Orwell's "Such, Such Were the Joys": "'No one can look back on his schooldays and say with truth that they were altogether unhappy.'"

good luck to my friends starting school within the week...
i lament that i will not be joining them.

20 August 2010

i want to go to africa


my way. please.

I would describe myself as easy going, if you asked.
I would tell you that I'm a laid back,
go with the flow,
takes-things-in-stride kinda girl.
I might even suggest that you
stop stressing!
chill out (dude)!

...but then again...
the secret truth is..
I like to get my way
and I like things done on my time table
and I get cranky when things go wrong
and I might even get mad
or cry
(and I probably don't even know why I'm crying)
but things aren't right
and it's not okay
and i can't take it!

it's only later when I realize that I've given myself way.

no matter what I tell you,
there are definitely days when it's


i hope you can handle that.

16 August 2010

shape shifters

i feel like a species evolving.
this could take some time.

12 August 2010

let's go fly a kite

take a walk through the neighborhood.
camp in the yard
run through the sprinklers
plant trees and pick flowers

and sell all our stuff.
in the name of joy!

we'll be happier--you'll see...

but don't take it from me... the experts agree :)

19 July 2010


I arrive at the office at 8am, sit at a desk, attend meetings, have a lunch hour, business cards, an office extension, name plaque and building key. I get off work at 5pm and I have vacation days.

Given the evidence, I surmise that I have officially entered the working world.


07 June 2010

the scent of summer

the sent of the creosote bush always takes me back to the rains that came in on huge black clouds slowly creeping in bringing the most glorious shocks of lightning and thunder rumbling through the hot Arizona air and pouring down thick sheets of warm rain drops that my sister and I would dance in until we were soaked to the bone and yet warm in the soothing heat of summer evenings in Tucson when the scorched sidewalks still sizzled slightly under our feet as the puddles would grow into great warm lakes splashing all around us, surrounding us in water above and below and from every side until finally we would run inside to sit at the window and watch the earth light up with bursts of white light, glaring our eyes and illuminating the trees and bushes outside bowing under powerful gust of warm air and the great bolts began to break and crack so close we could feel it through our bodies and in the shaking glass of the window panes as the earth absorbed the great resounding power of

Those are days to remember. And as a soft wind sifts in through my window screen tonight carrying the slightest hint of creosote this evening, I can't help but be glad that despite all the things that are changing around me everyday, the miracle of sweet summer rain can find me even here and now.

My wish today is that everyone might experience a monsoon summer in the desert. There's nothing like it.

And being the Jack Johnson fan that I am, I am thinking of his song Monsoon just now... so enjoy!

04 June 2010


I'm easily embarrassed. and I embarrass myself often.

Today I sat down at a computer at school with no intention whatsoever of doing something productive or in any way related to my education. Rather, I just wanted to listen to music on before my class and I've misplaced my iPod (a usual dilemma, as the girls who work in the lost and found could probably attest to, though I try to hit it up at different times of day whenever I go so no one will realize its me, again). So I sat down and put on these headphones that were sitting next to the computer conveniently. In my delight I began playing some tunes and I found this song on another blog and was happily listening along, flipping back to my emails and checking out other blogs when I removed the headphones momentarily to adjust them.

That's when I realized...

I wasn't hearing the music coming from the headphones. I was hearing the music through the headphones which was actually playing quite loudly from the computer itself. Ooops.

Face flushing with heat I quickly stopped old Billy and looked around to see how many people I had been disrupting. Then with a slightly abashed grin I pulled up my blog to document the incident at the very scene of the crime (accidentally restarting the song twice before getting the headphones properly attached to the computer... what can I say. I'm not tech savvy).

Just another day in the life...

And just a suggestion to the BYU computer labs: don't leave headphones lying uselessly next to computers with the volume turned way up on the computer speakers. Unless you are trying to get funny footage for one of those hidden camera shows that is. Then you're probably on the right track. You might get more for your buck if you just followed me around for a day though!

03 June 2010


This beautiful message brightened my day today and reminded me of how very grateful I must be for the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, and his message of peace and love for every person! It truly gives me cause to REJOICE!

18 May 2010


"If the world isn't what we want it to be, then what are we trying to conserve?"
Martin Burt
(Executive Director, Fundacion Paraguaya)

Today I made the huge mistake of flipping down a channel from CNN to Fox where Glenn Beck was talking about some ridiculous thing (as usual) and charging his audience to beware because if they use the words social justice or economic justice "Your Churches are being used by Progressives as a tool in the fundamental transformation of America!" While this sounds like the paranoid rantings of a lunatic to me, it actually made me think...

What's wrong with transformation anyway?

I saw a statistic today that 74% of US citizens polled are dissatisfied with the direction our country is taking. As far as I can tell, that means Republicans and Democrats and just about everyone in between are pretty fed up with things these days. I think change is just what we need. So whatever your political views, I think most of us would agree, transformation is just about the best thing that could happen to our country and to the world.

Let's make it happen!

05 May 2010

Woman of faith

If you have ever heard of the NieNie Dialogues blog then you probably already know the amazing story of Stephanie Nielson and her survival and recovery after a near-fatal plane crash. But whether you have heard her story before or not, this video is beautiful! She is an inspiring woman and an incredible example of faith, endurance and love.

03 May 2010


Check out The Tipping Bucket!! This project is amazing and every dollar you can donate helps to make it possible. Watch this short video about the GREENHOUSE SCHOOL the Tipping Bucket it raising money to fund!

I was in Bolivia this past summer and I had the opportunity to visit some projects that had been done by the organization CHOICE Humanitarian. One of those projects was a greenhouse school like the one that The Tipping Bucket is raising money to build. Please go to the Tipping Bucket site and donate $1 today! (Or more if you can!) You can help children have a warm and learning conducive environment for school! This is a great opportunity for anyone to make a difference in the world!

Take it.

Here's a picture of my friends and me in the greenhouse school with the kids and their professor.

These are some of the plants that are growing in the Greenhouse classroom. The kids help take care of them.

My friend Doug and I with the CHOICE Humanitarian staff in Bolivia!

Visiting a woman and her daughter using water from a CHOICE Humanitarian water project--one of many they have constructed in the Altiplano. It makes so much difference in these people's lives!

So here's the deal--CHOICE Humanitarian does great work. I've seen it with my own eyes! And Tipping Bucket is helping this them get the funding to make these projects possible. YOU WANT TO BE A PART OF THIS! So, one more time, here's the website: tippingbucket.org. Donate whatever you can--$1 makes a difference!

Thank YOU!

This really means a lot to me and to a lot of amazing people in Bolivia who are hoping to give their children a brighter future!

16 April 2010

the best books

A thought for today-the importance of reading good literature. Yes. I'm an English major. What can I say?

"It is only through literature that one can put oneself in someone else's shoes and understand the other's different and contradictory sides and refrain from becoming too ruthless. Outside the sphere of literature only one aspect of individuals is revealed."
-Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

"I choose to write about my experience not because it is mine, but because it seems to me a door through which others might pass. . . I want to speak directly out of my own life into the lives of others"

- Scott Russell Sanders, "The Singular First Person"

As the summer is fast approaching, I am starting to get excited to have a bit more time for personal reading. If anyone has suggestions for me, PLEASE tell! I'm always excited to hear what other people are reading!

A few suggestions from me to you:
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
Solar Storms by Linda Hogan
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
Hunting for Hope by Scott Russell Sanders
The Famished Road by Ben Okri
Mr. Pip by Lloyd Jones
Paradise by Toni Morrison
By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
The Kite Runner (and) A Thousand Splendid Suns byKhaled Hosseini

“seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom”
Doctrine and Covenants 88:118