Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Micah Bournes - Who Broke Africa?

My latest read has been a book called Pursuing Justice. It was written by a Bend local, which makes me happy (Bend pride!). This book started speaking to me when I read the title. Pursuing Justice: The Call to Live and Die for Bigger Things. I liked the sound of that.

It has been a great read so far, but there was one thing that really stood out to me. In-between the chapters are "interlude" segments. These are small poems, messages, or illustrations that support the theme of the book. 

Who Broke Africa. It was so beautiful on paper I had could't resist looking it up and finding a video of the author performing live. Please watch. 

"Now, look, I'm not saying we're better off than Africa,
but maybe it's presumptuous to assume we are."
-Micah Bournes

With Love, 

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Books

In my mind, books are held at a very large value. I respect them, they are to be treated in an almost reverent manner. They are my constant companions, and one of the few things I own that I actually take a great amount of pride in. I would never hesitate to say that the people I've come across during my lifetime are the biggest factor of shaping me into who I am. I also wouldn't hesitate to say that the books I've read come at a very close second.

There are people who have inspired my journey, and gently pushed me to pursue a life that made a difference in other peoples lives (thank you Mommy), but a book was the tool used to make up my mind on where I wanted to go. Granted, it was a book about a person, but the words on the page, written about someone I admire, changed me into who I am. That book enabled me to set my life goals, and to read about someone who I could look up to.

All that being said, it will not be practical for me to take my personal library with me to Minnesota. Having to live in a confined space (such as a dorm room), makes an avid believer of paper and ink realize the reasonable functionality of a Kindle (as much as I hate to admit it).

Even so, I have been mentally compiling a small list of books that I will be taking with me. I don't care if I can get the ebook version, it's not the same thing. Not when you've felt every page between your fingers, you've scanned every letter of every chapter, and you know where the big red stain on page 132 came from (ketchup and books don't mix). These books are my friends, they are my supporters, they make me think, laugh, cry, and inspire me to be me. I draw courage simply by looking at their covers, holding them in my hands is therapeutic. 

If I can help it, these books will never leave my retinue. 

Audrey Hepburn: An Elegant Spirit 
The biography of Audrey Hepburn, written by her son Sean Ferrer. The subtitle of this book is perfect, I don't think there was ever a more "elegant spirit" then Audrey Hepburn. I read this book in one day. Granted, that's not hard, there were a lot of pictures and it's not super long, but I got it from the library and proceeded to read for the next 5 hours. I didn't want to put it down. This woman inspires me in so many ways, and you can feel the love her son had for her in the words he wrote. I have since read many other books and articles on Audrey Hepburn, and not one has contradicted the character Sean wrote his Mother to be. You know that question, "if you could have dinner with one famous person, who would it be?" My answer is Audrey Hepburn. 

Chasing Chaos: My Decade in and out of Humanitarian Aid
This is the memoir (which has probably become one of my favorite genres of all time) of Jessica Alexander. As the title of the book states, she is in and out of the humanitarian aid scene for 10 years and this book highlights the hardships and struggles, as well as the bright and meaningful moments that kept her moving forward. I loved this book because of how real Jessica's struggle was. She laid it out for the reader. Humanitarian aid isn't all rainbows and saving babies. It sucks. It hurts. It doesn't just push you to your breaking point, it pushes you beyond that and then expects you to stand up again and keep going. I love this woman. I adore her story. She's like a Mom telling a small child to "sit on your butt" in the chair. I know you want to stand, spread your arms and pretend you're flying, but let's get real, that's going to hurt like hell when you eventually fall. 

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnrable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. 
If you're into the whole TED Talk scene, you may be familiar with the name Brene Brown. She wrote Daring Greatly, and I don't think I have ever underlined more passages in a book then in this one. The core of what she's saying can be summed up in this quote, "Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgement and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnrability, this is daring greatly." With this she challenges you to change society, by changing your attitude. 

To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One Story
I need to read this book again. It's so adorably perfect that I feel like I should read it at least once a year. Written by Casey Scieszka and illustrated by Steven Weinberg, the couple tells the story of how they met, fell in love, and went on a wild adventure. Their story is fascinating and Steven's illustrations are some of the cutest I've seen. If you just went by the pictures you would probably assume it was a children's book. Adventure, romance, cute illustrations, what more could you ask for?

Preemptive Love: Pursuing Peace One Heart at a Time
Okay, so I actually almost forgot to add this book to the list, because it has been a little while since I've read it, BUT I can't believe I almost forgot to add this book to this list. The thing is, there has never been a book that I've read that's made me think, "YES! THIS IS WHAT IS ON MY HEART!" This book did. It pretty much sums up the concept of "love first, ask questions later." Following the story of Jeremy Courtney (the author) and his family as they give up everything to live in Iraq and help children in need of medical attention. This book blew my mind.

I'm sure I'll come up with a couple more "can't live withouts" before I leave. (Maybe I am Malala, which I just bought but haven't read yet?)  This pretty much sums it up. These and a couple of my favorite fiction books, such as my Charles Dickens, Sherlock Holmes, and Ted DekKer collections.

"One must always be careful of books 
and what is inside them, for words 
have the power to change us." 
-Cassandra Clare
With Love,

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The List

Okay, so, I'm one of those people who likes to act like I have a plan months in advance, but in reality, I'm always just as rushed and panicked as anyone else at crunch time. Actually, I almost always have a plan, a great plan... It's following through with the plan and making sure the steps actually happen that I fail (miserably) at.

Anyway, I have a plan, for this whole college thing. I've been thinking ahead, for when I move half way across the country (totally excited about that, not freaking out at all btw). It involves a casual process of beginning my packing/prepping now. I don't leave till after Christmas, and some people would say I'm kind of rushing things. "Sit back, relax, you've got four months." 

Hahahahaaha, oh yeah, four months, plenty of time..... NO.

Let me put it this way. On a typical work week, I have.... No days off. Yeah, that sounds about right. I do tend to have one or two short days, four or five hour shifts. Four months roughly translates to 112 days. That's 2,688 hours. Take away 896 for the 8 hours of sleep I'm supposed to get every night (lol), and I have 1,792 hours. Take away the estimated 48 hours of work I do in a week and I'm down to 1,024 hours. That's about 43 days (rounded up) before I leave. I'm willing to bet that at least one day a week I will be distracted by friend/family events. Well, sure I need to pack, but so and so really wants to go see that movie and hey, so do I. Not to mention, I haven 't been to my grandparents in months... That's got to happen at least a couple times before I go. 

27 days. Let's get real, when I say one day a week I really mean two (I love my people, what can I say). Also, in about two weeks one of my besties from out of state is going to come stay with me. While she's here I foresee myself getting nothing done (aside from having mega amounts of fun that is) so that's 7 more days I won't have. 

4 days to pack up and take off. Woooooooot. Yeah, I'm starting now. Plus, if I get as much done now as I possibly can, when it comes down to the week of Christmas and my last days here, I can take some extra time to chill.... Right.... Right guys? 

All that to say, I sat down last night and read over some very helpful "what no one tells you about packing for freshman year" articles and compiled a list of things to buy starting now. 

-  good winter/work boots. Waterproof and not too ugly, I know I shouldn't be worrying about fashion, but they're boots and I am female. Plus I don't want them to be too heavy. I hate bulky shoes they make me feel like I have weights on my feet.

- a good winter coat. Every time I tell someone that I'm moving toMinnesota, they all say the same thing, "bring a good coat!" Today, when I was at the park with the kids, I ran into a lady from Minnesota. I told her I would be moving there in January and she laughed... Then proceeded to tell me about good coat brands. She told me about one and followed up with, "it's really warm, you can stand outside for a good 20 minutes without getting cold!" .... 20 minutes? I have 20 minutes outside before I lose a life. This to a girl who lives outdoors. Yay. 

- heated blanket. I hate being cold. I love my bed. Two things that should never EVER mix is being cold while I'm in my bed. Just no. Of course I'll bring lots of other blankets too, but this is for when I'm already under a pile of 10 and can still feel the chill in my toes because I was outside for 21 minutes. 

- twin size sheets. My bed is a double, gonna need some sheets to fit the dorm mattress. Yvonne Estelle's Sferra Milo's sheet set, obvi. 

- earplugs. I'm a light sleeper, breath too close and you will disturb my slumber. Not the best fit for dorm life. 

- shower caddy ... Cause duh 

- rug. This one is kind of optional. Rugs are cool, they add a homie feel but they don't really take up any extra space. 

- "Tide to Go" pen, or any kind of easy on the spot stain remover. I don't want my style to turn from "grunge" to "gross." 

- Clorox wipes and febreeze. Yay, dorms! 

- power strip

- cheapo printer and some ink. Yes, they have printers on campus, but I kind of feel like this will be a cheaper option in the long run. Another optional item though. 

So far that's all I've got. Not too overwhelming, but only if I can start now, that way I won't be spending all the money in one go. Obviously this isn't all I'll be bringing, just the things I don't already own. 

Any suggestions? Advice? I know there are stores in Minnesota (Mall of America, woot) but I want to have as much of it as possible beforehand. The less I have to worry about when I get there, the better.

With Love,

Saturday, August 15, 2015

In the mean time...

So, roughly five months before this kid packs her bags, takes one last glorious Oregonian hike (at least for awhile), waves goodbye to friends and family, and takes off for the land of 10,000 lakes. I rounded it up to five months to save my sanity, because, yes, I am completely freaking out.

Five months left in Central Oregon. What do I do? 

Well, obviously the main answer to that question would be, save money. In order to save money, I have to make it. Thus, I work two jobs. I work in sales, and I'm a nanny. 

Sales is a lot of fun. You hate people most days, and just when you think you're nearing the point of throat punching the next person to literally ignore the overly friendly words coming out of your mouth, someone always walks in to make you believe in humanity again. Sometimes it comes in the form of a grandma shopping for the granddaughter she's raising after having six kids of her own, telling you her story and giving you book suggestions because you make her think of "my Ellie." Sometimes it comes in the form of a five year old kid telling you you're awesome. Either way, humanity always seems to pull through in the end. Plus, my coworkers are awesome. 

So, I'm a nanny. I watch two kids, three days a week. Obviously, I'm not going to tell you their names (cause let's get real, this is the internet and you're probably just a weirdo anyway), but I will call them Why and Hi. 

Why, is three. I have chosen this nickname for her because, well, she's three and apparently "why" is your favorite word at this age. She seems to say it enough anyway. Some days it tests my patience and I say things like, "why do you think" in response (I mean, even when you're three you know why your baby brother gets mad after you sit on him, come on). Other days, I love it. I could explain the whys of life for hours to that kid. She's a sweetheart who has an endless supply of curiosity, and a brain smart enough to understand the answers. 

Hi, is one. I chose his nickname because, well, he's one and hi is the only word he knows how to say. He is able to say that one word pretty adorably though, so we'll forgive him. He's the chilliest baby I have ever cared for. He goes down for naps with a smile on his face, and he wakes up from them with a smile on his face. Seriously, how does he do that? He can turn anything into a toy and be completely content as long as he knows where you are at all times, and has something entertaining to watch, such as big sister running around trying to keep up with all the boys at the park.

When I'm not working I've been trying to enjoy one last Central Oregon summer. I've found myself not only cherishing the moments I have with all the dear people in my life, but also moments when I'm alone. Even the air here (when not filled with smoke from forest fires) has a way of making your entire life feel like an adventure novel, and you're just the young main character, waiting for your story to explode into 20 something chapters that make you want to hold on tight to whatever happens to be within reach. I sit by the river, or on my best friends back porch, or I walk one of my favorite trails, and I breath. 

I breath because I'm alive, and while I may not be where I was expecting to be at this point in my life, I will still live each moment to the fullest.

With Love,

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


It's taken me awhile to write this post. For several reasons. The first and always the most obvious, I have been busy, as usual. I feel like I barely have time to breath, let alone find a little spot of wifi to update the rest of the world on how busy I am.

The second was because I didn't want to. 

In my last, and first post, I informed the internet world that I would be attending Bethany Global University this Fall. This is no longer the case. 

While still planning to attend BCOM, I have had to reset my arrival date. As of right now I am looking to start 2016 Winter term. 


The easiest answer to give is a lack of finances. While I could have looked into several loan options and made it work, I wanted to take a few extra months to set some more money aside.  This is what I tell people when they want the brief answer. 

To get a little more in-depth though, there was more to it than money. I felt the need to wait. While I'm still trying to figure out where this feeling came from, it was there, and it was very present. I felt no peace when I thought about leaving at that time. In fact, I would have been leaving any day now. I took long walks. I prayed. I ran. I slept on it. I walked some more.  


That was all I heard. 

I don't know why. I don't know if it was the right choice. I don't know if it was the wrong one. Either way, my goal is still set. My mission still stands. The timeline has simply taken a small remodel.

With Love,

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

My Mission

In 1992, Audrey Hepburn traveled to Somalia to do some humanitarian work. It would be the last trip she would take, before her death three months later.
"I have seen famine in Ethiopia and Bangladesh, but I have seen nothing like this - so much worse than I could possibly have imagined. I wasn't prepared for this. It's so hard to talk about because it's unspeakable." 
These were her words upon her return, and they struck my heart. I had always known that I wanted to travel the world, and share what little I, as a single woman, have to offer, but the world was a big place, and trying to figure out where I was headed and how I was going to get there, was holding me back more than I realized. Until I read those words.

I read Audrey Hepburn: A Beautiful Spirit, in one day. I picked it up from the library, not knowing it would change my life within the next couple of hours. I picked it up thinking to myself that it would be a light read, not something I would devour from cover to cover.

By the end of that day I knew that Audrey Hepburn had accomplished something in her life, that I can only dream about doing in mine. In her 63 years, she touched so many lives for the better, simply by living her life in a fashion that expressed love for human kind.

So, my life took an unexpected turn. While I always knew I wanted to do something different, it had never had such a direct path. Something to strive for. I knew I wanted to continue Hepburns work in Somalia, now I just had to figure out how.

Enter Bethany Global University. After three months of spending countless amounts of time on Google, and looking up various schooling options, this was the one that stuck out to me in an unforgettable way. October of 2014, my Mom and I flew to Minnesota to visit the school, and meet the people. We both loved it.

I will be attending BGU starting Fall 2015, to earn my bachelor of arts in theology and intercultural missions, with a minor in early childhood education. The schools program will have me in the dorms In Minnesota for two years (no I don't like the cold, no I'm not prepared), followed by a 16 month internship overseas.

My mission is to go to Somalia. My passion is for children. My religion is to love. Please follow me on my journey. Please pray that my God would give me the courage I need to succeed. Also, my least favorite request, while my acting skills are obviously not as well rounded as those of Audrey Hepburn, I must seek funding for my mission from other resources. If you have some extra dollars, please consider providing financial support. Any donations will go directly to school bills.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

With Love,