"Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured" -Pres. Hinckley

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dare to Dream!

(my little sis skydiving!)

"there are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into another"
douglas h. everett

I absolutely LOVE this quote. It is so true! My friend always tells me how I live in a "dream world". Even though this isn't necessarily a GOOD thing, but i'm happy to admit that I do. There is something so rewarding about working so hard for something you really want and finally achieving it.

Before I went to Africa I have to admit, I was so stressed with being able to afford it.. in fact, a few months before I left was the first time that I've had to ask my parents for money. I didn't know how it was all going to work out, but I made sure to pay my tithing and worked my butt off. With the help of so many friends and family, and huge hearts of so many around me, I was able to fundraise the entire trip. It was seriously such a miracle. There would be times when I would open up my scriptures and someone left a "secret" note with $100 donation. I felt so blessed and will forever be so grateful for everyone who helped me be able to get to Africa and live one of my biggest dreams.

But I've come to learn that if there is something you are really passionate about, or really want to do NOTHING should be stopping you. Not money, not fear, nothing! The hardest part is making the decision to DO IT... once your focus is on the "why" part of what you want to do, the "how" falls into place.

While I was on a bus ride in the middle of Africa on dirt roads and passing small villages, I thought to myself "I finally am living my dream, but when I get home, then what?" And I had to think of my next dream. My good friend told me to write down a bucket list of 100 things... which, if you've tried you realize that you have to RACK your brains out for 100 things to put on paper.

Here's a few on my list:
-Fly in a hot-air balloon
-Go Scuba diving
-Skydiving (a given)
-Fly in a helicopter
-Visit a castle in England
-Go on a road trip with no destination
-Learn how to play the harmonica in a hamick (just because)
-Swim with a dolphin
-Be a dental hygienist that travels to 3rd world countries

the list goes on.

My grandpa turned 80 this past year and decided to go paragliding! I love that and hope when I'm that old I'll still have it in me to turn dreams into reality!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Never the same

I've been putting off writing on my blog for awhile now. I have tried to start many different posts and they always end up in "drafts" because I can't finish them. I don't feel like I am full of inspiration, or life-changing quotes since I've been back from Africa. In fact, I feel more of a loss of words and my mind feels blank. Almost like there is too much to say, how can I even start?

People ask me "So, how was Africa?".... I can only answer in one word because if I really told them how it was it would take me days to explain how amazing it really was. "good" or "amazing" just don't answer the question truthfully.

All that I know is the lessons I've learned from living in Africa have changed me forever. I can't really describe it... other then that I feel that I "fit in" way better with hundreds of people who don't have my skin color, than just one person that does. My home isn't where there are hot showers, air conditioning, and a pantry full of food... My home is where you walk down the dirt road and have little school girls running to hug you yelling "Aubra" while you hop a boda boda to get to the market to find the power out while snacking on soft crackers.

Since being home my mom asked me "How have I changed?" Part of me had a hard time answering that question. My whole life and perspective has changed since being back.... for instance:

1. I have a button to roll down my car window automatically??
2. I have buyers remorse before I even think about buying something.
3. I cancel hair appointments because I have a hard time spending money to get pampered.
4. I watch my left overs extra long as they go down the disposal...feeling guilty.
5. I say "Thank you my friend" and some people ask "Do I know you?" when I talk to them because I was too friendly. (heaven forbid)
6. I'm intimidated by white people.
7. I hold my sister's babies and think how lucky they are to have a home and new clothes.
8. I think how smooth the roads are and grateful for the painted lines.
9. I say mounTain and buTTon... my Utah accent is shot!
10. I still pray for my food that there won't be any "worms, bugs, or bacteria"

Even though these are just little things, I am so grateful for the chance I got to go over there. Working as a volunteer is amazing because even though you are there to help other people... in the end they're the ones that change your life forever.

I've had a pretty bad guilt trip since being home. Who am I to be so lucky to live in America? Why do I get to have a mansion house and a screen that turns on with a click of a button? But at the same time... even though I might have a lot of "things", those amazing people have more than most of us. They have more happiness that some people have never seen before. They have hardly anything and yet know how to truly be happy. They live the law of love. It takes years, sometimes decades for people to learn about love, and these people live it every day. They literally scrape for anything they have... and yet are so willing to give ALL they have. Probably the most selfless people in the world.

So if I take anything from my experience, I've learned that I'm selfish and want to be like the people I was able to work with. I've also learned that the Lord is really with you every step of every day when you are serving his people. I learned very quickly while I was there that He loves those people just as much as he does me. He is very aware of what they have to live with, what they have to go through, how many meals they've missed, and how they have to survive. It made my problems seem like nothing.

While I was there, a big "dent" in my life seemed to scar over. I had mentioned earlier in my blog about calling off a wedding. I can honestly say that instead of thinking of that trial I went through every single day... it is replaced by the beautiful kids I got to be with every single day. My mind forgets the heartache of my own troubles and remembers those that have changed my life forever. I feel like that is one of the biggest blessings I could've probably been given. I know that the Lord is with us no matter what kind of "conditions" we go through.

One of the Sundays I was there we sang this...

In every condition, -- in sickness, in health,
In poverty's vale, or abounding in wealth,
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea, --
The Lord, the Almighty, they strength e'er shall be

I've gained a testimony that this is true. He was my strength in Africa and will always continue to be right by me as well as in front of me. I will forever be so grateful for my Africa experience.

I will never be the same.