Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I just thought you should know...

For those of you who are new readers to my blog...and if you have never met me, then I feel like you should know something about me. I am in love with brown people. I absolutely LOVE Polynesians, all islanders in general and basically anyone colored. Here and here are just small samples of my obsession. Trying to deny the fact that I am white, and a myriad of other things. For quite some time, I have always wanted to marry brown. This is for multiple reasons, mostly because I want my children to be brown. (I am always so selfless...looking out for the future generations.) But I just love that culture and how important family is etc. Obviously, we all know that I will marry for love and if my husband happens to be white....I will learn to deal with it! ;)

Aaaanyway, on to the purpose of this post. Most of you have known this fact about me for quite some time. If we have ever been friends, or talked in person, you probably know of my love for everything brown. But what some of you might not know, is that before this dream (to marry brown and live on the islands) I had a different one. And it was this: marry a bull rider. Actually, just be engaged to one because he would quit right after he placed first at the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) because I would not be able to handle the stress of actually having a bull riding husband. We have the movie 8 Seconds to thank for that! After me and my ex-famous bull rider got married, we would have beautiful children and all of my daughters would be rodeo princesses. My sons could choose to do any other rodeo event they chose. Preferably something not dangerous, so they could stick to roping, tie down roping..or if they are really careful I guess they could saddle bronc ride. I had planned to live in Browse, which is Exit 30, right off of I-15, on the way from Cedar to St. George. (It is really a beautiful town...with absolutely NOTHING but grazing land...I would have to take the 'No Services' sign off of the exit) We would have horses for the girls barrel racing and so much land. My house, with my wrap around porch, would be absolutely stunning. Bri and Cali actually said once they would live there with me! It was going to be perfect. In case you are not catching on, I love EVERYTHING country. I love rodeos, I love the music, I love the get up, I love my boots and I love, love, LOVE cowboys!

Somehow through the years, my dream changed itself into brown...but I have yet to find a brown cowboy. I am fine, most of the time, with my the dream switching about my ideal future. Unless I ever go to a rodeo, or a country concert, or a county fair etc. Which seems to happen frequently during the summer. Last night, my dearest friend Teresa and her father took my to the Mark Wills and Mark Chesnutt concert at the Scera Theater. Most of you are going to read those names and have NO idea who I am talking about. That is an issue! No matter how hard I try to convert people to country, and they always love it, there is no way to ingrain in them the love for traditional country music I  need those people in my life to have. George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, Alabama, Merle Haggard and so many others that deserve to be appreciated! The concert was AMAZING! We were on row 2, TWO, and it was phenomenal. From Don't Laugh at Me and I Do (Cherish You), to 19 Something...Both Wills and Chesnutt were amazing. In the words of the ninety year old lady behind me, "Isn't this the best darn honky tonk you have ever heard?!" I would have to agree with her. Right before Wills left the stage, Teresa and I got a picture WITH him. He bent down and got in it AND THEN, threw me his pick!! It was epic.

"I'm fat. I'm thin. I'm short. I'm tall. I'm deaf. I'm blind. Hey aren't we all?"
"But it's a little too late, she's a little too gone. She's a little too right, I'm a little too wrong."
Then they sang together in the encore, and it was wonderful! They sang a Merle song and it was perfect!  I loved everything about this whole evening. It was amazing and I was wearing my new boots, that I love! :)

Moral of this post? I have no idea. I love country music, first of all. I love country concerts and they complete me. As for my future? How do I compromise?! Apparently I need two husbands?... just kiddin!

P.S. Go watch the videos of the the links I gave you. They are real great!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I love...

Intramural Softball... Yes, I made everyone take the team photo like this...just like in the days of Park and Rec. I told them we had to take individual their batting stance, with their mit etc. They would not have it! :)

Hiking the 'Y' with my besties. It was Star's first time! Big day for this claimed Cougar/BYU lover!

My ladies at the Key Office. They make the 8 hour days go by so much faster...and more enjoyable!

Mindy Gledhill in concert and partying with my favorite family members! Cal came down and we got to hang out with her ALL evening! I considered myself very blessed...she even painted my nails for me! :)

When friends get married and wear wooden placcards at their reception...This is Claire and she, is hands down the coolest person I know.(Yes, you can all be jealous of Ken's ridiculously brown face...I know I am!)

And last, but certainly not least....

My 4 (FOUR) pound box of Grape Nuts. I crave these. All. The. Time. Maybe I am addicted? Did you even know they came in a box this big? Well, if you didn't, you can get it at Costco. I love that place. Hopefully when I am pregnant, and have weird cravings, it is for Grape Nuts. What a healthy thing to crave!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Careful What You Wish For

In the words of the rocker 
(who should NOT have been eliminated in the 4th round from the end on AI...or Sanjaya...ridiculous)
Chris Daughtry, 
"Be careful what you wish for cause you just might get it all. You just might get it all." 

A few Sundays ago I was sitting in Relief Society remembering how much more I seemed to get out of the lessons when I was the one teaching them. Just due to the preparation and comments made etc. When I first got called to be a Relief Society teacher, I had just turned 19 and was trying to teach a Relief Society full of returned missionaries. I was more than a little terrified. Wondering what on earth I could teach them after they had all just returned from serving the Lord for 18 months and were SURELY 100% more knowledgeable about every Gospel concept than I was. Well, turns out, I got scared spitless every time I had to teach for the 12 months I had the calling, until the last two times I taught, I decided I really enjoyed it....and BAM! I got released. I knew I should not have admitted to myself I enjoyed it so much. Well, since then I have had numerous other callings in Church and enjoyed them, but sometimes found myself wishing I could just teach one lesson. 

Last week one of the members of the Relief Society Presidency called and asked if I could teach the next Sunday, I told them very sadly that I would be out of town but would absolutely LOVE to teach any other Sunday. This was my chance to just teach once, get it out of my system, and be content with being on the Stake Activities committee. Right?! Psych! Had an interview with the Bishop last week and guess what? Yep, I was called to serve as a Relief Society teacher.

Just sayin' careful. God works in mysterious ways...and will just randomly respond positively to the silent "wishes" slash prayers, you make during Church. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

One Year

The tiniest things trigger it...
-The smell of the Cherry Blossom Wild Bamboo body wash that is currently in my shower.
-When it gets even slightly humid in Provo...(which is rare, I know).
-When I clean out my closet and see my Tevas.
-White, v-neck tees and spandex.
-Eating angel hair pasta.
-Seeing beautiful black children around town.
-Walking by rancid smelling dumpsters.
-Oregano and silver.
-Playing Nertz.
-Standing fans.
-Hearing Michael Jackson.
-Drawing with chalk.
-Peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
We looked so good when we started out...not for long! :)
'It' being the memories and the longing to be back in Kpando village with my kids. And then sometimes, I do really dumb things, like looking through ALL my pictures. Don't worry, there are just like 3,000 of them or something. I end up crying, laughing, and then crying again when I do it. Then I will read through all my emails and be reminded about the little moments that made this the experience of a lifetime.

One year ago today I returned home from the best and hardest experience of my life. I was changed for the better and will never again be the person I was before I went to Ghana. How has it already been 365 days?! I don't understand it either. 

From the first email I wrote home, "After trying to connect to the internet for the last 20 minutes (no exaggeration in any way!) I finally was able to connect to gmail and actually be able to write. This is exciting. I AM IN AFRICA and I am safe!!!!  Getting here was SO long. I slept about 20 minutes in like 36 hours. I was feeling dang good when I got here... not! ;) As I sit here, in the 100% humidity, I am sweating out of every pore on my entire body and did not even know it was possible! Sweet right?! I have already learned so much in this mere 24 hours that I have been here. My children are absolutely beautiful. I have 19 of them and I am already completely in love with all of them. They pretty much have us all wrapped around their fingers. It is day 2...good luck leaving in 27 days Kendra. They range from 16 to 2 and there are two sets of twins. If you thought African's were hard to tell apart before...try telling apart African twins!"

From my good friend Kailey Morin: I saw things that I am tempted to say, I wish I never saw. But it isn’t true. Because in Africa, you take the good with the bad. The bad strips you of what you thought you were, it takes off the layers you had grown from a lifetime of living. There was no remote control to change the channel. It was raw, and it made you raw. It broke you down into something you didn’t know you could be. But the good, you see,  it healed you. It showed you why the sadness is worth working through, it showed you how something raw can become something beautiful and alive. It showed you that the smallest little moment can contain more happiness in it, than the largest space of sad. So I took the good with the bad, and it stripped away everything I held, and gave me back something more than I ever could have imagined.

Another email home:
"I sometimes feel like I am on a "save the children" commercial. Its devastating and completely heartbreaking to realize we know so very little about the world in the U.S. We are so privileged. I could go on for hours, but I wont. I hate that I can't do more. Its driving me insane that I have nearly nothing to give them, but I know its a good thing I am here. At least that is what I tell myself. Just giving these children love and attention and human contact means so much to them, and its changed the person I am. Their smiles are contagious and their eagerness to learn is refreshing. They don't see their lives as miserable or hard. They see opportunity and life in everything. Its beautiful. I wish I could give them the world, instead they've changed mine. They also do not sweat..which I am very jealous of. haha They laugh at us everywhere we go."

My last email home; Back to being the Majority...
"We leave Africa in 3 days. Holy cow. I have no idea how to put into words the feelings that I have experienced over the last 4 weeks of my life. Quite certain the English language does not have them. I have never experienced more of an emotional roller coaster (a roller coaster that never goes down) and had such a constant pool of tears coming out of my eyes as I have since I began this journey. And when I say that, know that the tears were not always sad. In fact, they were most frequently tears of joy. These kids have made me feel more feelings of euphoria than anything ever before. I have never experienced so much joy and sadness, fatigue and energy, heat and…well more heat, than I have while being here. This has been the longest and shortest trip ever. I do not remember what life in America is even like, and am not bothered by that at all. I have learned so much about myself and changes that I need to make to better myself. Teaching children has taken on a whole new meaning and making the change from teaching in Africa to teaching in the states is going to be a whole different ball game. Students in America have SO much. Pencils and papers to write with and on, actual work books so you can take your homework home with you and not have to copy down every problem and instruction written in all subjects. Drinking fountains where you do not have to pay to get purified water. I have taken so many things for granted in America, never again. I decided something last night, as we were discussing our flight plans and the plans of leaving this amazing country we have come to love. I could never move to Africa. I could never accept that fact that single handedly I could not change this country. Sure, one person can make a difference…but only if every person thinks they are that person. I am so glad that I could be one of those people that hopefully is remembered down the road with fondness."

 I miss it every day. Seriously. People always talk about the physical pain a "broken heart" has caused them. Maybe, I always secretly thought they were crazy? That was, until I came home from Kpando. My heart was in physical pain from leaving my kids behind. While I was there, I stopped holding back. Holding back that I had been doing as to protect myself from such a feeling of heart ache. Then I realized how unfair that was to the children, and gave them everything I had. Was it worth it? Was it worth the pain and hurting I have since then experienced? Absolutely. From posts such a as these, you would expect that my Africa experience was just a whole lot of sadness...but it really was not. I think I was laughing hysterically for more than half the time I was there. During the delusional parts of the day, or when we would all be awake at 3:00 in the morning randomly and tell a funny joke. It was a little piece of Heaven. In all reality, it made me a more grateful person. Grateful to know that we ALL have a Father in Heaven that is completely aware of all of us. My kids in Ghana and everywhere else in the world. He knows them and loves them so much. They know it to, which is the amazing part. 

"This place is amazing, and terrifying. Heart wrenching, and heart warming to the point of tears, and tender. Sometimes it is so hard to be here. And yet, it still encompasses perfect."