Summer Summer Summer

Here I am sitting in my little room eating chocolate lava cake and homemade ice cream.....Life is just too hard! But these are my last few hours in luxury. Come 7:00 o'clock, Camp David of the Ozarks officially owns my entire summer. (well, almost, anyways)
Am I excited? Of course I am. I love it at Camp. Camp was pretty much the saving grace that kept me from drowning last year. If I had thought of blogging earlier, you would probably have been sick with my gushing of how wonderful it is, and how fun it is, and how close to God I was, and how fun the people were...etc. etc. etc. is the catch.
I'm exhausted.
There is nothing else to it. It's been a stressful year with most of the stress piling on these last few months and I just don't feel like doing this now.
I know I will change my mind when I get there, with all of the awesome people and the excitement of doing something important. I am going to have an absolute blast this summer. And I love what CDO stands for, and what they do.
It's not like a church camp that rich little kids attend just to find their boyfriend or girlfriend of the week. It's a real ministry towards kids who really need it and it feels good to be doing something missions related again.
I am the first to admit that if I stayed home this summer I would be running around doing a million and one stupid things to entertain myself, not making a difference anywhere. So I am ready for Camp.
I am just going to miss my family alot. Believe it or not, I really like them (most of them anyways!)

So this is the last time I am going to be on for a while. I'll try to get you some up-dates over the weekend. So....Gypsy out.


                                                                My Shelby and I

 Tess decided that since Shelby and I looked "fancy" that she would wear her pretty dress and high heels too
                                                      All of we formal goers and the little one

                             Momma did my hair....and made it look wonderful. Now that takes skill!
The back of my head is ridiculous (for those of you who don't understand that quote, I am truly sorry)

Yesterday and Today

So yesterday was the Lebanon Spring Formal, put on by the very large and quite amazing Lebanon homeschool group. Since we have wonderful friends up there (we being Austin and I)and since we poor little homeschooled children have no opportunities to dress up all fancy for prom or homecoming, we decided to go.
I am not a primping girl who likes to dress up. Cargo pants and a t-shirt are my best friend. It takes me five minutes to get ready in the morning. But when I put on that pretty little green dress and those pretty little pearls and mom put my hair up with a pretty little flower....I liked it. It's a good feeling, feeling beautiful and elegant. It doesn't happen that often. Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those girls who is always whining about how "ugly" I am. I honestly never think about it. I don't think, "Gee golly am I gorgeous" and I don't think "Oh I'm so hideous" when I look in the mirror. I just think, "Hey look, it's me."
Anyways, back to the whole dance thing. We took Shelby with us (for those of you who don't know her, she's my American best friend.)
We went to this park where we took pictures with all those beautiful people who I have grown to love. It's amazing how far I have come from that girl who hated everything and everyone in America. Now I stood in a group of these wonderful, fun, loving people who share a mutual passion for God's world and I felt like I fit in with them.
We all took pictures together and for the poor girls in the light dresses and shawls, it was freezing. It is not supposed to be this cold in May. The guys, however, were fine in their suits and tuxes. But we got our revenge on them when we got the the dance though.
It was an English Country Dance, which basically means we danced old Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice dances. It sounds geeky but it is so much fun. I've gotten addicted to it. We have one in Rolla every month. It's funny, because dancing these dances can make even the most uncoordinated oafs (like myself) look graceful.
It was so hot in the building and with all of the skipping and whirling and twirling, I warmed up quickly.
So I wasn't asked to dance at one point, and I thought it was a dance I didn't particularly like so I sat down only to hear them announce the Virginia Reel. Ok...that is my absolute second favorite! So I got up and searched for someone. All of my male friends were dancing. So I went to the doorway where all of the silly boys were standing against the wall, looking all cool, and forced one of them, Zech, to dance with me.
The Virginia Reel is *so* much fun if you dance with the right person, and Zech was definitely the right person! There are always these really serious chaps who feel like they are Mr. Darcy or something and say things like "Might I maintain eye contact with you throughout the dance?" or "I must lead you off of the dance floor, Miss."
They're no fun. Zech was fun. And tall. I am always taller than everyone.
The dance didn't end until 11:00 then we went to Sonic and left for home at midnight. Didn't get home till one. It was so worth it though. It was the perfect night. I am so glad to have that opportunity and the moment I get pictures, they'll go up.

So today wasn't that interesting compared to yesterday. I had a headache and a small fever so I wasn't in the best mood ever. But there is one thing I feel like I need to share about today.
There was a soldier named Bradley Melton who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan and he was a resident of Rolla. His body was brought home today, and the entire town came out to line the streets and wave flags to honor his return. As the procession passed I saw a veteran with tears in his eyes and a hand over his heart, I saw a man in military fatigues saluting, and I remembered why I am proud of the flag that was being waved all along the highway. I am not always proud of what America stands for but I am always proud of who stands for America and I feel blessed to have uncles and grandfathers who serve and have served this country because they have the utmost sense of honor and duty. I am honored to be protected by them and I respect each and every one of them. And I think everyone should feel that way.
Did you know that there are men and women from a church- A CHURCH!- coming down to protest the funeral on Tuesday??? They are saying that God killed him because he hates soldiers and that this man is going to Hell. I hate that...I HATE that! How could they be so cruel as to say such evil things at the funeral of a man who died serving them?! And in the name of Christ! If you ask me which one reflects our Savior- the One who served us and died for us- more, it would be this soldier and *not* those horrible, despicable "Christians".
It makes me so angry that people would be so inconsiderate to put a family who is already in agony through any more pain. If they do show up, I have half a mind to join those bikers who guard the funeral from protestors. 
I just don't understand the hatred and the brokenness of this world. This day has been an emotional one in many ways. 
My last words for the day....Rest in peace, Bradley Melton. I am thankful for your service. I am sorry that others do not appreciate it....Forgive them for they know not what they do.

Another Day in "Paradise"

I feel the need to write something. I started writing about the fact that today is a bad day and I really want to go home and how I want to hold on to the pain because I want to hold on to the African essence of me, etc. But then I decided that I didn't want to be that pathetic blogger who is always whining and sobbing over things. No one wants to read that all of the time. So this is what you get today.
                              My Wish List
#1- I wish I was technologically savvy. I hate having *no* idea what I am doing.
#2- I wish my eyes were greener.
#3- I want a wombat and an elephant, and a peacock.
#4- I really want to get published
#5- It's my dream to play Eponine on Broadway...or at least somewhere.
#6- I want to travel everywhere.
#7- I wish I could work for National Geographic
#8- since 7 won't really work out, I want to be a photojournalist with a mission. I want to show the "modern world" the real world.
#10- I want to have coffee with Tolkein, Lewis, Poe and Barbara Streissand
#11- I want coffee in general
#12- I wish I had an Irish accent. Or a man with an Irish accent.
#13- I want to learn how to fly a plane. Or at least have a man who can fly a plane. ;)
#14- I wish I could eat anything and lose weight in the process.
#15- I really want attieke right now. >_<
#16- I wish I could end poverty, find a cure for AIDS and cancer and heck, even stop Global Warming while I am at it.
#17- I wish American churches weren't so political and corporate.
#18- I wish I had a *really* nice camera
#19- I wish I spoke fluent Gaelic.
#20- I wish I could time travel
#21- I wish I could dance better
#22- I wish I could play piano and/or cello...I'd settle for guitar
#23- I wish advanced math and science were not mandatory for education
#24- I want to fly
#25- I want to be a mermaid or a faery...or an elf. At least for a day. Or two. Or a month.
#26- I wish I had a million and one dollars to spend at Hobby Lobby, World Market and Borders.
#27- I wish I could stop wishing.
#28- And lastly....I really really really want to go to the beach. I want to sit on the warm sand and watch the sun rise over the waters as the waves sing to me.
I was planning on posting some of my favorite pictures I took at WAMR (West African Missionary Retreat) two years ago, of the beach...but do to the lack of technological savvy I so wish for, I can't make it work and it's 12:00 at night. Why is it I always end up posting the day after I start writing??

Oprah.....Among Other Things

So, weird thing. I was watching Oprah the other day. Yes....Oprah. I was cleaning my Gram's microwave, which happened to be near the kitchen dooorway, which happened to be in direct view of the TV upon which Oprah happened to be. Yes, I will admit, I chuckled a bit at the way she gave that throaty yell when she introduced someone, and I laughed at the way her eyelids have gotten so droopy that she needs two forklifts to hold them up. But Oprah gave me one of those "Oh my gosh, life is speeding by" shocks. You know what I mean?
I knew this was Oprah's last season, but I didn't know that she was retiring this wednesday!!
I grew up watching her on that tempermental mini DVD player in the school room with mom while she graded. It was the little slice of pop culture we got once a month or so in the mail and it was a time I had with my mom....back when life was so simple. So simple that the biggest crisis of the month was that Moussa was going to his village for two weeks and I'd just have to live without my best friend for awhile.

Oprah is leaving now, and her farewell commercial just had to play "Beautiful Goodbye" by Josh Kelley.....a song that makes anyone who has said a hard goodbye want to cry. And I did. I cried....over....Oprah. But honestly, it wasn't over Oprah. Life is *flying* by and I can't make it slow down.
Last weekend a bunch of kids graduated from highschool and I went to their graduation. I love so many of them, but there was one of them there that means more to me than almost anyone in this whole world.
My big brother walked up onto the stage in a black cap and gown. I watched him stand and be recognized, I watched the video of his childhood, our childhood, and how he grew into a geeky 12 year old then finally his studly, almost 18 year old self and honestly, I bawled my eyes out (And if there is one thing I hate, it's crying in front of people)and the funniest thing is, it was his white tie that made me cry.
He asked me to help him decide what tie to get, then when we discovered (the day of graduation) that he had a stain on it, Mom and I went to get him a new one. That stupid tie made me cry. What is he going to do without me? Yeah, I tried to make it about me. I was the one who helped him make decisions. I was the one who beat the living day lights out of any kid who dared tease him. But honestly, it wasn't about how he wouldn't be alright without me. He'll be just fine....if someone can survive off of Ramen noodles and Mac and Cheese. The question is, how am I supposed to survive without him??
Austin and I....our relationship isn't like normal sibling relationships. At times, we were all we had. When we moved to Canada, we only had each other. When we moved to Africa, we only had each other. When we moved back to the US, we only had each other. My friends were his friends, his friends were my friends and we...we just enjoyed each other. We still do. Immensely.
It seems like yesterday he was letting me wear his batman flip flops as we played in the sand box at Aunt Brenda's. It seems like yesterday he was taking me lizard hunting and exploring with him....only yesterday he was teaching me how to climb the mango tree outside of our gate. Don't be fooled, he wasn't always sugar and spice. We had our spats...heck, he killed my imaginary friend with a cannon!
Now I look up and see a man where that little boy who always stole my Ariel barbie once stood.
And he's leaving me. Not this fall...but next spring. I feel like I am losing my best friend. I know it's silly. He isn't going far. Just 3 hours up the road....but he is the only one that has always, always been there for me and he is going to go away...get married....have kids...and then he won't be mine anymore. Is that selfish thinking?

Then there is the issue of me being a hypocrite. As soon as I graduate, I am out of here...hopefully to India. I don't want life to move on though. I am safe where I am now. I am absolutely terrified of going out on my own. Of moving away from the familiarity that has always been there (my family). I have gone through so much change, so much transition, but the one thing I always had was family.
My older brother with his unconditional friendship and irrepresible good humor.
My mom with her gentle wisdom and her sometimes eccentric love of life.
My little sisters who bring nothing but pure, aggravating, irritating joy to my life.
They have always been a part of everything "Emma" and I don't know if I have the courage to find out who "Emma" is without them.
But I refuse to give in to my fears! I am not going to go to a community college, hang around home waiting to get married, have kids and push papers behind a desk in Rolla, Missouri for the rest of my life because I am afraid of being scared. Dont get me wrong, it may be the life for some, just not me.
What scares me more than anything, more than moving across the world alone, more than finding my individual self instead of my family self...what scares me most is living a life of mediocrity.
I refuse to wake up one morning when I am 45 and think "What have I done to my life?"
I won't let fear get in the way of what I am supposed to be doing and the journey I am on. That's what this all is. Austin's graduation, my approaching graduation....the rest of my's a journey and I am excited to see what happens.
Life is a blank page, and I have the pen. There is no erasing, there is no going back, there is only going forward.

There you have it, my friends. Oprah, Austin, India. All in one post.
I told you....I am a complicated individual. It's 12:40, I'm exhausted. Goodnight all.

No Better Time Than The Present

Why start a blog now? Well....I don't know. Maybe it's because it's a perfect in between time. I can reminisce about old times, think about how they affected me but I can also dream about the future, muse on what I am going to do with the rest of my life. 
Maybe it's because I can talk about the way I feel, about how much I miss my home and the people who raised me and not feel like I am suffocating within the ever-shrinking borders of a rural Missouri town. I'll admit, I still feel like that sometimes. Like I'll die if I can't get free again, but then again I have my good days.
I am writing this blog to inspire, (at least I hope to inspire) some of you to think differently. To see the world through different eyes.Like Jane Evershed said
"To read is to empower, to empower is to write, to write is to influence, to influence is to change, to change is to live."
And if I don't empower or influence or change you in any way, then hopefully I at least make for some good reading.  

Those of you who don't know that I spent the past 11 years in Ivory Coast, West Africa should really not be reading this blog. Seriously, it's kind of creepy.
Those of you who do know that I was an MK in RCI, have fun getting to know me better if you even read past the first sentence.
However, if you're really interested, if you actually really want to know what I am thinking, feeling, remembering, aspiring to at random times then go ahead, keep reading. Be prepared for some random recounts of my travels and my experiences. Be prepared to read some of my spouts of poetry and spectate while I untangle the messed up jumble in my abnormal mind.
Ladies and gentleman......welcome to my world. Prepare to be either dazzled or bored to death with the wonderings and wanderings of a restless soul.