Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Half the Sky

Towanda! A familiar phrase of women empowerment from the film "Fried Green Tomatoes" (great movie but not funny as my tongan friends can attest to). Well today I used that phrase as I finished a powerful book on the oppression of women world wide called "Half the Sky". The authors write bluntly about the stories of women they encountered world wide who face challenges unfathomable to me and my cushy life style. It is not a happy read either but a hopeful, enlightening, and most importantly an empowering read.  It addresses issues of maternal mortality, human trafficking, sexual violence, and gender discrimination. It also talks about what tools need to be implemented to combat these, what seem impossible tasks to tackle, through education, family planning, microfinance, etc!

To be honest it was overwhelming reading this book, going through stages of guilt, and helplessness.I just wanted to jump on a plane and go help people somewhere! The problems are so complex and need creative and cultural sensitive solutions. They won't solve everything but there are solutions. It was an eye opening  read though and maybe I am not going to save the world right now but I can make small contributions. For me that starts with the here and now of people around me whom I fail to care for enough. We need to help each other. (plug for visiting teaching really)

The book also gave me so many ideas of how I can help humanity and how any one can overcome their circumstances. We are not limited in our potential. In many places through out the world women are neglected, unequal, or merely seen as sexual playthings, but Women are powerful assets to society and the contributions they make can change it for the better. And they do by overcoming the most dire of circumstances!

 I would bore you with more insights but just go read the book it will change your life and maybe you will help change thousands of other women's lives because it made you want to act.  If you think you aren't going to read it then at least consider on some things you can do to help right now!

Websites to check out:\

Sponsor a girl or woman through Plan international, or Women for Women international.

Sign up for email updates on about women's issues at

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Eat more chocolate?

Yes go ahead and indulge in that chocolate bar you have hiding in the back of your cupboard! I just finished this book called "The Chocolate Therapist: A user's guide to the extraordinary health benefits of chocolate" by Julie Pech. I've never been much of a chocolate fan but I think its because I was not eating the right chocolate, and now I am a chocolate snob. Chocolate can be healthy but usually only if you look at what is really being put in your chocolate. Some top tips in buying good chocolate include seeing if sugar or cocoa is the first ingredient. Obviously you want cocoa to be the first. Also make sure  they keep the good cocoa butter fat in it and not the hydrogenated oils. Also you don't want the fake vanillin stuff you want the A game in your chocolate so look for vanilla.

It is true that dark chocolate is the best because it has the most cocoa in it and provides all the wonderful antioxidants that chocolate can provide. I know you are thinking I can't give up my milk chocolate or go to the dark side, but you can do both! Chocolate has different percentages telling you how dark it is so if you are not a dark fan go with a 30-40% but above 55% is really the best. Also I learned that I was just not eating my chocolate correctly. You need to savor it, smell it, and slowly let it melt in your mouth and really indulge in that piece of chocolate. Also if you need help going to the dark side start milky and gradually up the percentages. I think the highest I've gone is 88% and have really enjoyed it without the dirt taste.

Some fun facts: the louder the snap of a chocolate bar the higher quality it is. There is only 5-30 mg of caffeine in chocolate which is less than a cup of decaf. There are endless benefits from eating chocolate because of all the antioxidants, good fats, vitamins (lots of magnesium) and increased serotonin when one enjoys some chocolate!

Because I am concerned for your health, please go be adventurous and try some gourmet or crazy chocolate :) My favorite so far was the cherry chillies! Not a huge fan of the lavender blueberry though.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hello Seattle

 As excited as I was to be back on land and welcomed back to Utah with fireworks, I still had the itch for some adventure. I also felt like I needed some actual vacation time and to be somewhere exceptionally green. Choice of destination: Seattle, WA. I was able to go visit my friend Brittany (from school and the ship) and my roomie Darcy. My first day there I was able to go on a hike amongst all the beautiful pine trees that were incredibly tall and thick! Lots of the hikes we went on looked like something out of a fairy tale and was just the kind of environment I needed after staring at the inside of a ship for so long. We had some really pretty days there but I also got to experience the rainy, cloudy typical days of Seattle. Of course we had to make a little trip over the border over to Victoria, Canada. We took a little ferry over because we just missed being on a ship ya know! We went to visit our friend John who we met on the ship during quarantine.

Mustering is something we are pro at now!

In front of the beautiful parliament in Victoria. There was a little band of children who were playing on the steps when we got there, it was perfect. I loved all the French inspired architecture and everyone was very friendly. Definitely a quaint little city but still really fun, with lots of hidden treasures.

John is really into horses and we got to meet some of them!

With our friend John in front of where they filmed X-men

We met his partner Paul too, both were so kind and treated us like Princesses the entire time showing us around and being hosts to us.

I look like a pioneer here. On a hike where we didn't get much farther than the ranger station because of the freezing cold fog.

Beautiful, clear view of crescent lake, but do not be deceived we could not see a thing once we got to top of "storm king" Mt.

Chasing waterfalls.

Sending our friends back on the ship a little message in a bottle

Sticking my gum on the gum wall in downtown seattle

Space needle and Olympic park.

Something I saw on one of our runs one day.

There is this troll underneath the Aurora bridge in Seattle that even grabbed a car off the road in its hand!

At the flower garden with Darcy

Ever seen the film "10 things I hate about you"? Well this is the Stadium High School where they filmed part of it! 

We went on several hikes, which unfortunately ended up in a very foggy view. When we hiked with the Miamaids on their campout I was afraid the same thing would happen again for our group, especially because it was the first hike ever for a lot of the girls. The hike itself was probably one of the most gorgeous hikes I've ever been on walking along a stream and intermittent waterfalls, which then turned into a rocky cliff with wild flowers everywhere. A lot of the girls had a hard time carrying their gear so Britt and I loaded up like pack mules, but thankfully we had prepared our quads with our previous hikes and ship stairs! The night we spent up there was the coldest hiking experience ever as well. The next morning they wanted to hike up to the top before it became clouded over. As we hiked up the last half mile the view was starting to become foggy and I had a really bad attitude. Thinking to myself this is so dumb we are hiking up here we are not going to be able to see a thing when we get up there. When we got to the top though there was a different view I hadn't anticipated we would see in another direction. The was a vast mountain range, unfortunately my phone had died so I have no 3x5 so you will just have to imagine it. Once I got there I thought ok touche God, I get it, I had a certain expectation, my view was limited, and I complained the whole time but really He was leading to me somewhere even better than I had imagined. I believe that is continually what He is trying to do for me. Helping me love the climb and the experiences along the way and come to realize His full potential for me because it is so much more than I have envisioned for myself. 

I am trying to trust in God as I keep climbing and waiting for things to happen... learning patience more and more everyday!


I am back on US soil and have had time to reflect and think about my experiences on the ship and the amazing people I met there. It really was the people that got me through it all. I realized I desperately need sunshine in my life to survive. Although the politics, the lack of leadership skills, illogical scheduling, etc made it a very difficult mission to feel like you were doing something worth while and helpful a lot of great things happened on and off the ship. I just unfortunately didn't really get to be a part of a lot of it. My contributions were very small and maybe insignificant but I know I was suppose to be there. And I am thankful for all the patients I did have the chance to interact with and help out in a small way. I learned that even if a situation is corrupt or not what you expected you don't have to give into it and that you can be there for whatever reason it is that you came for. A sincere desire to help. I've learned that quick judgements of people are useless and only define who you really are when you judge others. We all just need to be loved and understood, which can be really hard to do sometimes. I learned that sometimes even though you want to help so much all you can do is cry with a patient and pray that they will be ok. There is so much hardship in this world but when we reach out to one another there can be joy even if for a brief moment. I learned A LOT about injustice and how we may suffer through that but God still wins because Christ somehow conquered all of that, which is just incredible to me. He forgives so easily while I just complain all of the time. I learned that Nephi and others( the brother of Jared sailing for 344 days!!!) who sailed the seas for many days were saints because they never complained!
The ship scavenger hunt I planned for the new people to learn their way around

Sometimes mormons go wild

Our morale helo flight!!! Highlight of the trip
 Working hard in the scullery

Dance parties in ICU 1

Can't get much more American than that!

My short outing in PI

Happy Canada Day

 Cas REC crew and some "family fotos!"

Mess decks!

Sharing a room with 300 other women

My rack

Top bunk buds

Francisco one of my favorite corpsmen

Looking snazzy to man the rails

Strutting our stuff in the Pways

Our favorite Aussie Scottie!

My personal body guard in Subic Aaron. (kind of like in the film with Whitney Houston in it ya know)

Party in ward 12

oh yeah

Love the stereotypical tattoo

Don't worry we made the most of our experience too by having dance parties in ICU 1, jamming on the Ukeleles in the chapel, Canada day, Playing games in Casrec, writing songs about the mercy, and flirting with boys (What?! Yes I had to survive somehow ;).