Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sugar Seems Sweet, but True Love is Sweeter

This is one of those Bible verses we turn to constantly. Popular and oft-repeated, I fear it is a verse we too often take out of context and for granted, in a sense. It just sounds so good. God has plans for us, plans for us to prosper and not be harmed, we have hope, we have a future.

I'm not saying these things aren't true, for the most certainly are. God absolutely has a plan for us, prosperous, hopeful, loving, merciful, good plans. The thing to remember is ... they're His plans, not ours. Not ours.

I fear it is all to easy to read this verse and interpret it to mean "I will live a wealthy, comfortable, happy, easy, fun-filled life." So when the trials come, we whip out this verse and say, "God! What the heck? You promised I would prosper! You promised no harm! You promised a hope and a future! What's going on?"

See, it's so easy to get caught up in the world's definitions. Worldly happy often includes money, nice belongings, good health, and a generally comfy life. It's so easy to think this is what God is promising, that when He says He has plans to prosper us, He means a prosperous job that results in money for a nice car, beautiful home, and designer jeans.

No, no, no. See, God doesn't care about those things. Whether in designer jeans or Goodwill's finest, God cares about the heart. When God says He will prosper us, He doesn't mean in material goods. A prosperous life is one that serves God wholeheartedly, sharing His love and goodness, His grace and mercy, being disciples, as His Word calls us to do.

And no, God does not harm us, but this does not form a crystalline shield that blocks us from all troubles and trials. We will see trials, we will experience pain, not by God's hand, but because the fact of the matter is that we live in a sinful, broken, painful world. We are not exempt, we are not shielded from the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And without trials, without pain, there would be no healing, there would be no forgiveness, and there would be no growth.

God does not promise us a cushioned life. God promises us a good life. Good by His standards, not our own. Our future is in Him, looking towards Heaven. For we are not of this world, this is not our home. We have hope for Heaven, hope for healing, hope for the lost and broken. We have hope because we have been found, loved, and saved. We have hope because we know Jesus.

That is what this verse is about. It's not promising we will always live in a big, beautiful, warm home with fine clothes and food. We could be homeless, living beneath a cardboard box, with the rain pouring down on our heads, stomach growling with lack of food, and this verse would still hold strong. Prosperous is about our hearts, living a life that is full and growing in God, and prosperous in our walk with God as we show others who He is and how He loves them. God doesn't promise we won't get hurt, but He promises He won't harm us. This doesn't mean He'll stop all the pain and suffering, for through these trials we grow and learn how greatly we need Him and how wonderfully He provides for our needs. He promises hope in Him and hope for a future in His Kingdom, our true home.

It's the sweetest love, the greatest gift, our freedom in Jesus. Plans, prosperous and hopeful, not in our terms, but God's. Always good, for He is good.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Grasping at Straws, Fearing to Fall

It pushes and pulls, back and forth, a feeling of never being good enough and at the same time feeling fully confident and complete in Christ, a balance that can't seem to be found, teetering on a sharp blade, not enough weight on either end to pull it down.

And I do. I do feel fully confident in Christ. I know He has made me who I am, given me passions and goals for a reason. I know He has a plan and I'm pumped to live the life He wants for me. I'm excited to hopefully intern for Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) and IJM (International Justice Mission) after college. I'm beyond excited to adopt kids from around the world. I want to work with organizations that fight injustice, primarily human trafficking. I want to change lives, and most of all I want to tell people about Jesus, to share the Love that has changed my life. I know Jesus wants me to do these things, and I'm thrilled to be living and to continue living this life in Him.

But I'm still afraid.

I'm not afraid of death or not having enough money. I'm not afraid plans won't go my way. I am a bit afraid of heights, snakes, insects, spiders, and intense pain. Until recently, these would have been the "greatest fears" I identified when asked.

Sometimes when I write in my journal, words just come. As I write my thoughts, feelings I didn't even know I had are suddenly released and I discover emotions and thoughts I hadn't yet identified or surfaced. So as I was writing, I finally realized and recognized my greatest fear.


Not just failing a test, people not liking me, wearing the wrong thing, or getting fired from a job. Ultimate failure.

For this to make sense, let me explain my deepest desire. When I die and go to Heaven, I so greatly want to hear, "well done, my good and faithful servant." It feels almost prideful, in a way, to even dare to hope for those words. How could I, sinful mess that I am, ever live a good and faithful enough life to merit these words? Only though the grace and mercy of Jesus, that's for sure. And while I do not expect to hear these words, I can most certainly strive for it, like one can strive for the perfection they will never fully obtain.

That being my greatest desire, my greatest fear is to get to Heaven and instead hear, "you failed. You didn't work hard enough. You didn't do everything the right way. I'm disappointed in you."

Disappointing God, that's my greatest fear.

I know I can never be perfect. I know I can never be sinless. I know I can never be "good enough" to "earn" my way into Heaven. I know God's love is a beautiful free gift that I can never do enough "good works" or be a "good little Christian" long enough to "deserve." I love that it's a free gift. I love that it is despite my failures and my sins and my faults. It is the most beautiful, whole, unmeasurable love imaginable.

But I'm still afraid of disappointing God.

I know He'll love me no matter what. But I want Him to be proud of me. I don't want to get to Heaven and hear that I read the signs wrong, I walked along the wrong part of the path, that even though I prayed and gave and loved and tried so hard to do His will, I didn't do enough, I didn't work hard enough, I failed.

Fear of failure and disappointing others has always been one of my greatest struggles. I just hate disappointing people. I don't want anyone to be upset with me. I work as hard as I possibly can and then keep working to get good grades, be a good leader, be a good sister, be a good friend. I don't want to disappoint. I set high expectations for myself and then try to reach even higher. I can, to an extent, control that. I can measure if I did well enough or worked hard enough with my grades, relationships, etc.

But I can't measure, I can't even know, if I'm doing well enough for God. I know what I feel called to do. I know what I am passionate about. I know I love Jesus and I know He loves me. I know there's nothing more I can do then give Him my whole life and follow His ways, repent of my sins, pray for strength, and give up my own will.

But I'm still afraid of disappointing Him.

Friday, March 23, 2012

"Say You're Sorry."

It's often easy to forget. To forget that I'm broken, sinful, flawed. To forget that without God, I am nothing. To forget that daily I need to repent of my sins. That daily I need to ask forgiveness. That daily I need to take off my heavy burden of pride and sin and pick up His cloak of humility and righteousness.

Even that concept seems too much, though. Righteousness. God hears and answers the prayers of a righteous man. I feel as though I can never be righteous, though. It seems like too perfect a goal to achieve. Like I can strive for it, like perfection, but it can never be truly reached until Heaven. And who am I to call myself “good” or “righteous?”

That seems prideful. And pride is my greatest sin, my greatest struggle. It's so easy to get sucked into a trap of thinking I'm better. I have a better relationship with God. I feel called to do things, I've heard His voice, I haven't committed many of the “big sins.”

But wait. No. There are no “big sins.” For we all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. No matter what we've done, said, or even thought, we've all fallen. No one is perfect. No one is flawless. No one is whole.

Sometimes I think I focus so much on the love, the beautiful, wonderful, matchless, free love of Jesus, that I fail to think about the “messy parts.” Who wants to think about the not as pretty moments, the parts that aren't so nice and clean and happy?

It's nice to focus on love, grace, and mercy, forgiveness and goodness. But there's a whole other side to this that I know I frequently fail to think about as often as I should. I forget to think about my own sin as often as I ought. And most of all, I forget about repentance and confessions.

My prayers primarily revolve around thanks, praying for family members, friends, my own walk with God/my struggles, and general just talking to Jesus about whatever is going on in my life. I just don't think about asking for forgiveness for sin, unless I have done something really big. I find myself often thinking that I don't really sin that often, what would I have to repent for?

I read or heard someone saying that if they were praying and they had nothing to repent for, then they were concerned.

I should be really concerned, then.

Because I am a sinful person. I am in need of forgiveness daily. I need to repent daily. I need to recognize my sins, my failures, my faults, and then ask forgiveness of them.

It's good to recognize one's own sin and weakness, and the resulting salvation in Christ.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Grand Canyon Haiku

We all wrote haiku's as we walked along the Grand Canyon ridge path. Here's mine.

Rocks rusty and burnt
Green river runs far below
Vastness awe inspires

I'm not really a great writer of haiku. But there it is!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


If that's a real word, I will be sincerely disappointed.

"Good morning," I cheerfully greeted someone as I jogged past. "It is a good morning," the elderly gentleman replied with a smile. And it was, it really was. Brilliant blue sky, finally cleared of the bizarre Arizona snow that froze our fingers for the first few days we were here, and the red rocks and mountain-esque structures before me. Three yellow hot air balloons floated in the early morning sky. Quite random, but non the less welcome as I jogged up and down the hilly street.

It was a good morning. Crisp, clean, cool, and calm (can you tell I'm a huge fan of alliteration yet?)

Thinking back on yesterday and my minor tragedy, it's still okay, and it's still a good day, and yesterday was still a great day. The first half of it did admittedly suck, but it was still okay.

Thinking about it, I should be freaking out. If I was being "normal Katy," I would be freaking out. But "normal Katy" has been changing in the past few months. Usually, midterms and finals are the utter bane of my existence. There's just so much to do, and so much pressure to get really good grades on the tests so I maintain a really good GPA, keep my scholarships, and continue attending DU. My mind races down this path of "what if's" and soon I've failed out of school and am living in a cardboard box under a bridge, or worse...my parent's basement. But this past round of (brutal) finals, I was fine. I didn't freak out at all, except maybe for a few minutes once or twice, but not my normal two weeks of major stress and utter misery. And yes, I may be slightly exaggerating at the moment. Regardless, in the past few months I began praying for peace, and I was granted it.

I feel the same way about my camera. I should be freaking out. I may not be able tot afford to fix it, I've possibly lost one of my primary artistic expressions, as well as a form of income through  my photography for the Clarion. But I know it's gonna be okay. I feel like I have this irrational sense of calm and peace, that the "rational" thing to do would be to be super upset about this, but I'm not. I know, really really know, everything will be okay. God will provide, in whatever way He sees best, and that way will be the best way. It's really great, this trusting fully in God thing. Giving Him everything and trusting Him 100% with my life. He will provide, and I'm super excited to see how He does it!

Peace Out.

(From yesterday, Tuesday, March 20)

“Just a thing, just a thing, just a thing.” Those were the words I repeated, and continue to repeat, to myself, over and over and over. But it's hard to convince yourself, when something you hold so dear has just been killed, or at least quite maimed.

Curse those slippery stairs. Curse the melting snow. And most of all, curse my stupid clumsiness that caused me to fall. I could go on forever lamenting the causes, but no matter how long I decide to complain, it doesn't matter. It happened, I slipped, I fell, I landed on my poor camera, and I broke him, I broke dear Henry's beautiful lens, and probably the rest of him, too.

It was really very tragic. That may sound like an exaggeration, but my camera is my friend, the way I express myself, the lens through which I see and experience the world, the way I document my life, and often my feelings and emotions as well.

And he's hurt, broken. Not beyond repair, or at least the lens isn't, but possibly beyond my budget's version of repair.

It was all too much. The camera was already causing me grief because poor Henry is a bit old and no longer functioning properly. My phone isn't working, my other camera isn't on best behavior, and my bank account steadily decreases. When I fell and cracked my lens, it was the 50lb brick that broke this camel's back. A few tears may have been shed, whether they were real or supposed, you'll never know.

But I had to remind myself … “it's just a thing.”

Yes, photography is one of my passions. Yes, it is my primary form of artistic expression. Yes, I am mildly devastated, but, it's just a thing.

So now I must look at this from the grand scheme of things. This is not the end of the world. Though for a few moments, staring at shattered shards of the huge eye of my camera, it felt as though everything were crashing down around me, it wasn't. It isn't. It's not.

It's just a camera. It's just a lens. It's just a bad moment, a dip in the line graph of my life.

And what does this give me? What is the good? What's the “bright side?”

I get to trust. The second-best part of having Jesus in my life (the first being His love), is being able to lay my life fully in His hands and trust Him 100% with everything. And guess what? That includes my camera.

So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to trust. Because Jesus will provide. I don't know exactly how yet. I mean it would be absolutely lovely to open up my mailbox when I get back from Arizona and find a lovely new camera in my mail-slot. Or pray over my camera and the lens be miraculously fixed. Or find $600 on the ground or in the mail. All these things would be wonderful. And while Jesus is more than capable of any of them, I don't know how He will provide. Maybe it will be in one of these ways, maybe it will be far less direct. But I know He will provide, because He always does. He just doesn't do it my way, because my way is not the best. He does it His way, because He knows best. And I trust Him. Yes, yes I do.

So I'm really not that down. I feel like I should be, but at the same time I feel like I shouldn't, and I'm not. I hate that my camera is no longer functional, but Katherine is lending me hers for the remainder of the trip, so I'll still be able to document the happy moments and beauty of the Grand Canyon (tomorrow!!). It's gonna be okay, because it's just a thing. Jesus is good, Jesus is best.

But I'm still a little sad.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Blurb Book!

Here's a link to my blurb book from my photo portfolio class. Titled Restored, it is my final project from the class. Check it out!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tell-Tale Heart

Basically I love the band He Is We. The chorus of this song, "suddenly closing my eyes, hands up for the very first time, I'm closing my eyes," was on repeat in my brain. Of course, the natural response and only cure to this was to listen to the song over, and over, and over, and over again, which I did.

Standing in the mirror and, 
Try to imagine
Forever, what does it look like? 
Facing my greatest endeavor

Suddenly closing my eyes
Hands up for the very first time
I'm closing my eyes

Tell me I don't give up
 Tell me there's someone out there
Give me a pure love
Give me a forever that we both can share

Show me it's okay
Show me it's all right
That I'm far from crazy for living by faith and not by sight

Will he be proud of
All of the things I've done
My mistakes, the things that I, regret
Wishing I could forget, 
My heart breaks

Suddenly closing my eyes
Hands up for the very first time
I'm closing my eyes

Tell me don't give up
Tell me there's someone out there
Give me a pure love
Give me a forever that we both can share
Show me it's okay
Show me it's all right
That I'm far from crazy

For living by faith and not by sight
Eyes can only see so far
Tired of wishing on all these stars
So I close my eyes and pray
Nothing comes to mind so I let my heart say;

Tell me don't give up
Tell me there's someone out there
Give me a pure love
Give me a forever that we both can share

Show me it's okay
Show me it's all right
That I'm far from crazy
For living by faith and not by sight

Tell me don't give up
Tell me there's someone out there
Give me a pure love
Give me a forever that we both can share

Show me it's okay
Show me it's all right
That I'm far from crazy 
For living by faith and not by sight

Give me a love
Give me a love
Give me a pure love
Give me a love
Give me a love
A pure love

(Listen to the song here)

As the chorus played a repeated soundtrack to my day, I figured I should look up the lyrics to better appreciate the song (and make sure I was singing along with the right words). My love for the song grew even greater. 

As far as I am aware, He Is We is a secular band, but the lyrics to this song felt so relevant to my relationship with God. My relationship with Jesus is all about trusting that everything is okay, everything is all right, it's about closing my eyes, holding my hands wide open, and never giving up. It's about living by faith, not by sight. 

It's about pure love, the purest of loves. We all seek it our whole lives, looking under rocks and through bushes for the perfect someone, filling the voids in our life with everything we can throw in. But it's like a giant black hole in our soul, nothing we toss in will fill it, like a vacuum they're sucked away, leaving us starving for more like someone with a tapeworm. Jesus, only Jesus, can fill us, and fill us overflowing with the purest, deepest, most beautiful of all loves, greater than we could ever have dreamed of or hoped for. Matchless, priceless, exquisite, His love. 

This love is just so incredible, because I am so unworthy. Because every day I fail, and repent, only to fall again. But I'm forgiven, every time. Not just that, not only am I forgiven each time I fail, I am still loved. Loved with the most unfailing, sacrificial love ever known. I do nothing to deserve it. Better yet, I can do nothing, which means it is truly a free love, a gift, for me. Love that is beautiful, love that is forever. We all want someone to give us a pure love, a forever love, deeper than any valley, higher than any mountain, vaster than the galaxies above, beyond, and around us. And I have it. I have that love. I know what it is like to be unconditionally loved. I know that no matter what I do, I will still be loved. That's the best thing I've ever heard.
That's why I love this song, it speaks so perfectly about Jesus' love. No giving up, because there is someone out there. There is a pure love, meant for everyone who desires it. Everything is okay, and the best life is one lived by faith, not by sight. The moment I started actually giving everything to God, my life got exponentially better. Not because all my questions were answered, not because I was suddenly privy to some mysterious insight about the direction or purpose of my life that I so deeply desired, but because I gave up wanting, needing to know. I gave up my burning desire to have the rest of my life traced out in front of me, and I just trusted. I folded up the map I was trying to draw. Instead of shoving it in a box and placing it deep in the corners of my closet to be glanced at in years to come, I sealed it up with wax, held it out, and placed it in Jesus' outstretched hands. I gave up the need to know, the desire to have a plan, and said "I do." I do whatever you want. I go wherever you want. I say, write, draw, what you want. Whatever, wherever, whoever.

"Show me it's okay, show me it's all right, that I'm far from crazy for living by faith and not by sight."

But I mess up. I forget to be faithful. I fail all the time. And I wonder, will He be proud? So many mistakes, so many moments I regret. And my heart does break. Living along with the song, I revisit those moments and wish they could be undone. Wish I could have said, done, thought, differently. I'm so, so undeserving. So, so unworthy. 
Close eyes, open hands up, and admit it. Admit failure, admit shame, admit sin. Let it go, open up hands and stop holding onto the past. Let go. There's hope. Future. Pure love. Living by faith, not by sight. Pure love, the purest love. Mine.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Bear With Me

I know, I know, this is all I've posted about in my past three posts. Well, let's make it a fourth. I can be biased on my own blog, after all.

So without further ado, here are a few articles/blogs to check out to learn a bit more and make this an actual movement, not just a bandwagon...

Kony Victims and the Kony 2012 Video

Today Show Interviews Kony 2012 Creator Jason Russel on YouTube Effort to Find Warlord Joseph Kony

Invisible Children, Twitter & Not For Sale Founders Debate Social Media

Critiques (Invisible Children's Response)

We Have a Problem: Cynicism 

Kony 2012: Invisible Children and 7 Other Charities Fighting for Child Soldiers 

Child Abductee Featured in Kony 2012 Defends Film's Maker Against Criticism

Huffington Post bloggers have been writing up a storm about this. Check out the Washington Post, New York Times (it made the front page), and Invisible Children's website. The blogger for Visible Children on Tumblr has also been posting criticism of the campaign and Invisible Children.

So read up, be educated before making a decision or judgement.

And realistically, the point of this is to make a difference. Just being critical of Invisible Children does nothing. If you don't like Invisible Children, okay. Make sure you do your research and then find an organization you do care about. I understand that there is a lot of debate/controversy/discussion about Invisible Children and the Kony2012 campaign, whether the organization's money goes to the right place, etc. That's gonna happen with anything like this. But my opinion is that whether one agrees with Invisible or not, injustice should be fought one way or another. The great thing about the Kony 2012 movement is that awareness for the injustice in Africa is being raised, there is an increase in knowledge about the atrocities committed. That is a good thing, and it is due to the efforts of Invisible Children. There's always more that can be done, though, but just criticizing what Invisible Children is doing and focusing on their proposed faults does nothing, helps no one, and doesn't stop the injustice and violence going on in Africa. Bashing the campaign does nothing.

Changing the world takes more than a few Tweets, Facebook posts, posters, or t-shirts. "Be the change you want to see in the world," said Gandhi. So be the change! Find an organization you do agree with and support, whether that be Invisible Children or not, and then help make a difference.


I understand being critical, I understand having questions, I understand there are multiple sides to the Kony campaign and some people care more for arguments than justice.

And asking questions is good, getting all the sides and researching where your money and time and efforts are going is good, but this is just insensitive...

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Time for Katy to rant for a little bit.

Sometimes, America just frustrates me beyond belief.

With the publicity about Kony, sharing of the film about him, and general cry for justice, there have also been negative comments, questions, and feedback, as is generally true with anything of this sort.

Many of the questions and arguments are valid, Invisible Children addresses them in a response on their website. I understand these things, and I think people on both sides of the issue should be open to questions and new information. What I cannot deal with, however, is the incredibly self-focused America-is-the-best-and-only-important-country-in-the-universe attitude. I understand skepticism about the campaign, Invisible Children, or if this will work. Saying America's economic issues are more important than thousands of children being abducted and forced to be child soldiers, thousands of Africans being brutally killed, countries and homes ripped apart...that is not understandable in the least.

As I was performing my normal procrastination through Facebook stalking, I came upon this post:

Let me just say, I got so pissed. I would like to think it was a righteous, founded anger. I simply cannot understand how people can be so blind, so self-focused, so uncaring. Yes, the internet has had some dumb fads, particularly the broom one (which is legitimate. I've seen photos on the internet of people balancing their brooms. I don't understand the fascination). But "Konying"? Really?

This is not a stupid "fad." Yes, it is a video that has gone viral, but it is something with substance, something with meaning! It's not about whether or not you can balance yourself on objects (planking), or swallow a spoonful of cinnamon (ew/ow). This is about human rights, this is about fighting for people who cannot fight for themselves.

As a general rule, I don't get into Facebook battles. Periodically, however, if I feel passionate enough and have lots to say, I enter into the fray.  Needless to say, this upset me enough to add my two (may I venture to value it at three?) cents:

"Even the poorest people in the United States are far richer than many of the people in third world countries. I agree the issues in the US should be fixed, but injustices like those of child soldiers and slaves in Africa are far more tragic. If we can do something, we should, and making sure people know about what this man does is essential. Yes, it should have been publicized a long time ago and stopped then, but it wasn't. That doesn't mean we shouldn't take a stand now. The US is important, but it's not the most important. And since we have money and resources here, we should use those to help countries with no resources, no human rights, and no one to fight for their right to liberty, freedom, and justice. Everyone deserves to be free, and no child, or adult, should be forced to kill, no one should be forced to have sex against their will, ever, no matter what country they are in."

Mostly, it doesn't anger me, it just deeply saddens me. No, this was not the worst or most self-centered/America-centered Facebook post ever, but I am still sad that people feel the US is so much more important than anywhere else in the world. Even the homeless have better lives than many in third-world countries. I'm not trying to downplay their suffering, not in the least. I cannot imagine having no home, little food, and being in the cold all the time. I enjoy as much food as I want, water, a shower, clothes, a wonderful education, and far more that I most certainly take for granted. Even still, the homeless in America typically have access to a homeless shelter, often at least someone is willing to stop and give them some money or food. It's possible to survive is what I'm getting at. These countries...not so much. They have nothing, no one, violence all around.

There are many people at my church in St. Louis who have come to the United States as refugees from the Congo. A man came to my church once and told us part of his story. He was hiding in a bush from attacks by a warring tribe (I think) and actually watched his entire family be killed. He saw it. His whole family. Before his very eyes. Killed. I cannot even begin to imagine. The thought of anyone in my family dying brings me to tears, to actually watch them die would be far more horrific.

This is the sort of thing that happens in other countries. The United States' financial and economic difficulties, that's like a grain of salt in the cup of sugar. There are far, far worse things happening. If we can make a difference, we should. And we can make a difference. So don't let the Kony 2012 campaign be merely a "fad." This is important, nothing like owling, planking, or tebowing. This matters. So do something. Be the change. Don't let America be known as a nation that thinks it is better than any other country. Everyone has a right to justice, no one should live in fear. No one should be forced into slavery, whether its through sex, forced labor, or forced to be a soldier. Everyone has a right to freedom, everyone.

Kony 2012

It was 12:00 on a Monday afternoon. Sitting at my desk at work, I had a few hours to do homework, or not. I chose the latter. A friend had just posted a blog about his trip to Uganda, in it he included a link to a new film by Invisible Children. Being interested in human rights and issues of injustice around the world, I decided watching the 30-minute film was a far better use of my time than studying for a bio final. Boy, was I right (pats self on back).

I watched the video and promptly shared it with friends on Facebook. As with videos I have reposted to Facebook before, I didn't expect ti to go far. Often people "don't have time" for a 5-minute video about modern-day slavery, I didn't think many would have the time for a half-hour film about child soldiers. This time, I was so wrong, and I'm so glad I was!

Literally an hour later, when I re-visited Facebook, this video was popping up all over my newsfeed. A few hours later, it had pretty much gone viral.

If you haven't heard of Joseph Kony and Kony 2012 by now you must not be on Facebook, Twitter, or on any other social media site. If this is the case, you can visit the Invisible Children website and watch the film. Here's a brief summary, to get you up to date...

Joseph Kony is the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), originally based in Uganda. Though he moved out of Uganda in 2006, he still active in other African countries. And what does he do? Why is this man so evil? He is a kidnapper, an enslaver, a murderer. Kidnapping young African children, he forces them into his army, indoctrinating them through the most horrible forms of violence, turning them into killing machines. Kony and the LRA have abducted over 30,000 children in northern Uganda. Invisible Children has a complete history of the LRA on their website.

Over the summer I read A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. I read it while in the car to Florida, and I assure you the car ride was punctuated with many tears. It's real-life, far more tragic than the movies.

So two or three days ago Invisible Children released their video about Joseph Kony. The 30-minute film begs people to make Kony famous, because if people know the atrocities he has committed, then he will be stopped. Obama issued 100 soldiers to Uganda to find Kony in October because of a huge outcry by the Invisible Children community. If momentum is lost, there won't be any reason to keep those troops there, send more, or continue in the search to bring Kony to trial. That is why it is so important to share this video, make Kony's name known, and show that we care.

I think it is incredible to see how quickly this video has become viral. #Kony2012, #stopkony, #Uganda, #InvisibleChildren, and the like have been trending on Twitter. When I scroll through my newsfeed on Facebook I can't go more than five updates without seeing something relating to Kony. It's been said nothing and no one can become famous overnight, Invisible Children proved that false. Kony literally became famous overnight. Seeing so much passion about this issue, so much outcry for justice to be served, is amazing. Invisible Children has made videos before, but none have become as famous as this. The question is, can we keep it going?

This is important. When thousands of children live in fear, cramped in alleys and basements and dark places to hide, in terror that they will be abducted and forced to become a soldier, something is wrong. When children don't have food, water, shelter, or freedom, something is wrong. When anyone is without these things, these basic rights that we take for granted, something is desperately flawed.

The world is full of good and the world is full of evil. That will never change. But that doesn't mean we can't fight for good, fight for peace, fight for justice, for freedom! If we can make a difference, we should. And we can. Sharing videos on Facebook and Twitter doesn't seem like much, but its better than nothing.

So here's what you can do:

First, watch the film.

Then, get on Twitter. If you don't have an account, now is a great time to make one! Invisible Children has identified 27 "culture-makers" ad 27 "policy makers" who you can tweet. The idea is that these people help create culture, through their music, acting, humanitarian work, athleticism, and political actions. If these people speak out, they can truly have an influence on what the government does, and make a difference. You can message these individuals directly, both through Twitter and Facebook.

Get the kit. Money goes to Invisible Children, and you can raise awareness by your apparel, stickers to adorn your computer or water bottle, and posters to display. If people don't already know, they will ask, and you can spread the truth about Joseph Kony, the LRA, and the work Invisible Children are doing.

Everyone has a right to be free. No one, child or adult, should be forced into any form of slavery, whether it be sexual, forced labor, or as a soldier. We can be part of the fight for justice, the fight for freedom, the fight for what is right. So join in, make Kony famous, to bring him to trial and bring justice to Africa.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

And then.

Bare branches
By whipping winds of winter
With cold air arrives
Sprinkling of snow
Dusting branches like
Powered sugar on
Mom's warm brownies
Reminiscent of 
Warmth, welcome home
So far away now
Starkly beautiful
Lightly covered
Soft blanket of
Yet never truly
Gently dancing
With wind
Whispering through winter
"The sun will come out