The Road goes ever on and on, / Down from the door where it began. / Now far ahead the Road has gone, / And I must follow, if I can, / Pursuing it with eager feet, / Until it joins some larger way / Where many paths and errands meet. / And whither then? I cannot say. - Bilbo, The Fellowship of the Ring

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I Am Not a Sexual Object

I am furious. I have been boiling over in anger for months. I am tired of being treated like a sexual object. I'm tired of being blatantly stared at, called at, and sexually harassed simply because I am a woman. Every single day I live here is a struggle because of the harassment I face on the street. It's the same for all women, whether Moroccan or foreign, black or white, western or African. We walk out of our doors, and suddenly we are not people, we are walking symbols of sex. We are inferior because of our gender and we are commodities because of our bodies.

Some men seem to think they have the right to talk to me, whether I want to or not. Some men think they have the right to have my cell phone number. Some men think they have the right to cat call me and say vulgar things to me. Some men think they have the right to take me out. Some men think they have the right to use my body. All because I am a woman.

Every time I step foot on the street I am blatantly stared at. Men say things as I walk by. "Bonsoir", "Ca va?", "Salut", "Hello", "Zwina", "Gazelle", "Tuta", and when I ignore them, they just repeat it again and again, louder, irritated that I won't look at them. "You speak English?", "Where are you going?", "Why so fast?". I am solicited for my number by men I've never seen before. I'm solicited to get into the car with men I've never seen before. A man in Marrakech last weekend commented on my friend's and my breasts directly to our faces.

I'm sick of it. It's demoralizing. It makes me feel like shit. Comments from random strangers should not affect me, but after seven months, they start taking their toll. After a while, being treated like a commodity makes me feel like a commodity. But more than anything, I just feel angry. I'm angry because I'm powerless. I can't make it stop. I can't make these men understand how hurtful and degrading and sexist and inhumane their words and actions are. It doesn't matter if I ignore them, tell them to go away, or yell obscenities at them (I've done all three). It doesn't change. It's ingrained in the culture.

Not all men in Morocco here are like this. There are good, kind men here who treat women with respect. This is also not restricted to Morocco, or Arab or Muslim countries for that matter. This kind of harassment happens all over the world in under developed countries such as Mexico, India, and south east Asia. I think it tends to be related to education levels. I try to remind myself that it's not just Morocco.

I watched the trailer for Nefarious today, a documentary about sex slavery (I can't wait to watch it). The attitude at the root of sexual slavery is the same attitude at the root of sexual harassment. Harassing a woman on the street, treating her as if she is an object, is no different than participating in the buying and selling of woman as sex slaves. The woman is treated as a commodity for men to play with in both instances.

It's not only women who are objectified. How often have you seen a black person and instead of seeing a person just like yourself, all you see is "black"? How often have you seen a woman in a headscarf and instead of seeing a person just like yourself, all you see is "Muslim"? How often have you seen two gay guys, and instead of seeing two people just like yourself, all you see is "gay"? How often have you seen a prisoner, and instead of seeing a person just like yourself, all you see is "prisoner"? We are all people made in the image of God, and we are all sinners.

I am not inferior to men. I am not a commodity. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I cannot explain the fury I feel when I'm made to feel otherwise. I'm trying to channel my rage into constructive outlets, hence this blog post. Please, please. Think about how you objectify people and stop doing it. If you objectify people in your mind, that will undoubtedly translate into how you treat them. I've spent seven months being treated as a sexual object, and it sure isn't fun.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I guess it's time to weigh in on the whole KONY2012 thing. I am so, so amazed at how this campaign is spreading like wild fire. I think it's absolutely wonderful that so many people are talking about this and I honestly never thought that this issue, which has been so near and dear to my heart for the past three years, would get such widespread attention.

I have found a lot of the criticism of KONY2012 to be very frustratingly simplistic and misguided. I could probably write 50 pages reacting to all the articles and statuses I've seen going around facebook; some good, some bad, and some terribly ignorant.

I love Invisible Children, but as I have learned and grown more over the past three years since getting involved with them, my opinions on do-gooding, international aid, TOMS, and advocacy have changed a lot. When I saw my first IC film, I was heartbroken and enraged. I spent weeks, actually probably months, judging everyone around me for spending money on TVs and clothes and jewelry and entertainment and eating out when there are kids in central Africa who are being kidnapped, forced to fight, raped, murdered, and misplaced. I thought we should all stop what we were doing and save those kids.

Now, I know it's not that simple. Now I know that when the west tries to save Africa and sends T-shirts and food and guns and bad ideas we end up doing much more harm than good. We destroy local economies, we implicitly concede that westerners are better at helping Africa than Africans are, and we spread the idea that Africa is one big impoverished dessert full of helpless and starving people (it's not).

It feels good to "help". Especially in America, where our culture is so materialistic and we're so addicted to our jobs and time is money. Charity has turned into another form of entertainment. We "help" others because it makes us feel better. We buy bracelets, we put up posters, and we wear cool t-shirts and shoes that make us look hipster.

I am just as guilty of all this as anyone else. But thank God, that isn't the end. I am 100% for do-gooding, for advocacy, for wronging rights and fighting for justice. The key is to work and advocate in a way that actually helps, rather than harms, and sometimes that's counter intuitive. What Africa needs isn't more westerners, more aid programs, or more money. Africa needs Africans to stand up and demand justice. Africa needs Africans who will fight corruption, find innovative ways to improve infrastructure and economic growth, and address the roots of the problems.

But I can also attest to the power of the idea that a bunch of young people can change the world. Invisible Children is only partly about stopping Joseph Kony. Even if IC never succeeds in stopping Kony (God forbid), it will still have been a success. IC has done so much in the lives of so many young people. They have helped us take our focus off of ourselves, and MTV, and The Bachelor, and opened our eyes to the world around us. I know so many people who have dedicated their lives to social justice because of Invisible Children. IC completely changed how I view the world and my priorities and goals. Sometimes their campaigns are simplistic, and sometimes I disagree with their tactics, but the good work that IC does extends far beyond central Africa.

Not all westerners in Africa are bad (obviously). Were it not for Invisible Children, I believe that almost no one would know about the LRA and Kony, and (almost) no one would be trying to stop them. Because of the work of IC over the years, our country has united to show leadership in the fight for justice and helping stop the LRA.

I am just as thankful for how IC changed the course of my life (I don't care how corny that sounds, it's true) as I am for what they do to raise awareness in the U.S., improve education in Uganda, and stop Kony. I'm not saying that it doesn't matter what IC does in Africa because they're doing good things at home - it does matter what they do in Africa, and I believe they're doing good things. I want Invisible Children to keep showing films and keep changing lives, and I hope I can share what I've learned with those who are just learning about IC and are passionate about getting involved.

Lastly, I'm not going to address all the points that critiques have been raising about KONY2012, but I do want to bring up one in particular. First, I've seen a lot of people posting on facebook about how you shouldn't give money to IC because they spend so much on filming and not enough in central Africa. That's B.S. Invisible Children does do work on the ground in Uganda and central Africa, but they also do awareness work in the U.S., and that's as much a part of their mission as the ground work is. If they didn't make these films, this wouldn't even be an issue because no one would know who Joseph Kony is or the terrible things he does. If you don't like how IC spends it's money, that's fine. Honestly, they have a lot of money and there are many more organizations out there doing good work who need money more than IC does. I happen to have a major, major crush on an organization I've done a lot of work with called Resolve, and if you're looking for somewhere to drop your money, it should be there. They have a cosponsor program if you want to give monthly. I know all the people who work there, I've stayed in their houses, eaten their food, and they are like family to me. You should give them your money :). Also, eXile International and Freedom in Creation do really great work in central Africa and are headed by really great people.

All in all, even though I sometimes have reservations about Invisible Children, I strongly support what they do and what they stand for. If you're complaining that the Kony2012 campaign is too simplistic, get online and educate yourself. It's that easy. You can read this, or look around the Resolve and IC websites.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Christmas Vacation

In the past five weeks I've been in five different countries (not counting Morocco), but mostly Germany, Austria, and Egypt. I had a month of vacation between semesters, and I didn't waste my time. And funny enough, the past month outside of Morocco was the best time I've had since coming to Morocco, mainly because I was with family.

Vacation Part I: Rabat -> Kandern, Germany.

I spent Christmas with my sister, brother-in-law, and his sister and her husband who live in Kandern. It was a really great week. The first thing I did when I got to their house was eat bacon. Then I slept a lot and laid around in my pajamas enjoying a heated house. For the first time in a month and a half, I wasn't freezing inside the house! That was a very, very nice feeling. That week we ate a lot, played a lot of games, went hiking, and took a day trip to Christmas markets in France.

We took a hike on Christmas day and saw little beautiful things like this

and big beautiful things like this.

A Christmas market in France

Vacation Part II: Kandern -> Salzburg -> Munich

Salzburg was amazing. It's one of my favorite cities now. It was small, beautiful, tasteful, and romantic. It wasn't crazy and busy and over the top touristy like a lot of big European cities are. It was a really nice place to spend a few days. It was so, so beautiful. It wasn't just the city, with the incredible old architecture and the castle and the river running right through it, it was also the backdrop of picturesque mountains which surround Salzburg in every direction. And the best part was that I got to see a bunch of the places where the Sound of Music was filmed! We also went skiing one day outside of the city, but let's just say the slopes were a little too hard for some of us.

Me and my amazing sis in Salzburg

A couple dancing to live music

The gazebo from the Sound of Music


On the way to Munich we went to Cinderella's castle, which is also the castle that the Disney castle is based on. We didn't go inside, but it was pretty cool to see it.

Cinderella's castle!

Munich was really nice. My favorite part about it was that there were dogs everywhere: on the street, in stores, and in restaurants, places you would never see a dog in the U.S. They were all well behaved and wonderful. I'm getting a dog as soon as I possibly can. I didn't take any pictures in Munich because I was tired of lugging around my big camera and huge lenses with me everywhere by this time. But we went to some museums, ate good food, walked around a lot, saw a couple movies, and did other touristy things.

Oh, and I should clarify before I go on: I ate more pork on this vacation than I ever have in a two week period. I think I had meat that wasn't pork maybe two or three times the whole trip. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I don't remember what this was called but it was in Munich and it was pretty.

Vacation Part III: Munich -> Cairo

I hadn't exactly planned what I was going to do after Europe, but I realized I didn't want to spend two weeks alone in Morocco, so my wonderful parents bought me a ticket to stay with Kristen and Robert in Cairo for the remaining two weeks of my vacation. I had to fly back to Casablanca and fly to Cairo from there, and the six hours I spent in Morocco made me so glad I didn't have to go back for two more weeks. I bought a salad at the airport, and then after hunting for a fork for about five minutes, was informed that there were none. So I ate the salad with my hands. Then I walked back and forth between the two terminals about three times because I was really tired and started out looking for Terminal 2, but then forgot which terminal I was looking for and thought I must be looking for Terminal 1 because I couldn't find Terminal 2. But no, I needed Terminal 2, and the lady at the Royal Air Maroc thought I was crazy because I came back and asked her the same exact question I had asked 15 minutes earlier. This whole time I was sweating profusely because I was lugging around my huge, stuffed, extremely heavy packpacking pack, my stuffed, heavy school backpack, and my camera case. Moral of this little story, in case you ever fly out of Casablanca, Terminal 2 is really hard to find. Just follow the yellow line on the floor. Anyway, six hours later, at 1am, I finally was on my flight to Cairo. I had already eaten dinner and all I wanted to do was sleep, but the flight attendant was not ok with that. She kept waking me up and insisting I eat. Oh, Morocco. I love you but sometimes I hate you.

Cairo sure isn't Europe, but it was wonderful to be in Kristen and Robert's nice big apartment, have a full kitchen stocked with American ingredients, and cook, sleep, watch movies, and take stand up showers to my heart's content. The best part was Stella, their dog. Stella and I had a two week love affair and leaving her was very, very hard. She was a street dog that they saved, and she is the most precious ball of white and orange and brown fur that ever was.

You can't get any cuter than this

One of my favorites

Stella and I

I've been back at school in Rabat for the past week. It's back to an ovenless kitchen, curtainless showers, and a heaterless house. But it's really great to be back with my host family and in my own room. I bought a beautiful houseplant for the room this weekend and put up all the posters I had bought last semester but never got around to putting up. It's a lot more homey now. My baby sister is as cute as ever. God is good. The end.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

you make beautiful things

Sometimes I just need to remember the little, beautiful things in life.

"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." - Kahlil Gibran

The beauty of this earth is a reflection of the One who is always good, even when bad things happen.

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
- Habakkuk 3:17-18

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Anyone who has known me in the past two years knows that I love Invisible Children and strongly believe in their mission to stop the longest running war in Africa. For the past 25 years, the LRA has been kidnapping children, brainwashing them, forcing them to kill their family in some instances, and enlisting them in the rebel army ranks. The LRA terrorizes innocent civilians in four different central African nations with impunity.

Invisible Children has told the world about these atrocities and has gotten millions of young people excited about stopping injustice in central Africa. I would probably be on a very different path in life were it not for Invisible Children. I have made so many wonderful friends and have had some incredible experiences because of IC and the work I have done in support of their mission.

So when I criticize this organization, it’s not because I don’t deeply believe in their cause. But as I have been putting more and more thought into the images and sound bytes and methodologies that I see encouraged by IC, I have been wondering if the effects are always productive.

What provoked this post is one of the publicity stunts that Invisible Children is currently promoting. An IC employee, Timmy Harris, is locking himself in a cage until 2 million dollars are raised for the Protection Plan. He’s making a sacrifice for something he believes in, and that’s great. Now, I don’t like how much emphasis IC has been putting on the amount of money they raise for the Protection Plan, but I can definitely respect someone with a different opinion about that (and that’s more of an over arching ideological problem about Western organizations doing development in Africa). The money part is not my main problem with what this guy is doing. What I don’t like is that the tagline for this stunt is #FreeTimmy.

For those who don’t know, #Free_____ hash tags are currently trending on twitter for all the bloggers and activists who are being or have been unjustly arrested and held in Arab countries (particularly Egypt and Syria). These jailed activists represent the struggle for justice and accountability and democracy in the Arab world. They have been beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted and tried in illegitimate military courts. These are the activists who have been jailed, not killed. Those who have been killed in uprisings since last December number in the tens of thousands.

The #FreeTimmy hash tag trivializes the significance of the #FreeAlaa, #FreeMaikel, #FreeRazan, and #FreeMona hash tags. I know that Timmy is raising money to stop injustice in central Africa. But he should not be comparing himself to those who are being held against their will, tortured, and sexually assaulted, regardless of what he is raising money for. Terrible atrocities are ongoing in both Arab countries and central Africa. But these are two different situations. What Timmy Harris is experiencing is much, much different from what Alaa Abd El-Fatah, Maikel Nabil, Razan Ghazzawi, and Mona Eltahawy have experienced or are experiencing. Invisible Children and Timmy Harris should find another tagline for this campaign that is both catchy and respectful.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I should've learned Spanish

A couple months ago I booked a flight with six other girls to Madrid over the Moroccan Independence Day holiday weekend, and it ended up being the best girls weekend I've had in quite a while. The saga began when my compatriots (Gretchen, Megan, Brittany, Ana, Emily, Elise) and I left Rabat at 5:30 am Friday morning to get to the airport in Casablanca by 7 to make our 9 am flight to Madrid (EasyJet, $120!! I love budget airlines). I'm not a morning person so the whole way there I was just sleepy and bored, but as soon as I stepped outside of the metro from the airport and into Spanish air I realized something that made me really happy: "I'm not in Morocco!!"

Getting a break from Morocco was much needed. It was so, so, so nice to to be in a western country, where I was free from the restrictions and differences of Morocco. The first time we went walking down the street from our apartment, we counted four different Starbucks on our way. Halleluja!! I don't really even miss Starbucks in Morocco, but it made me so happy just to see something so American that I don't have access to here. And oh, how I've missed chai tea! It never tasted so good as it did then. Starbucks already had all their holiday drinks out, and that Peppermint Mocha was a nice change of pace. It was so wonderful to see Christmas decorations up, to walk on well maintained sidewalks, to see trashcans every fifteen feet (what a novelty!), to not have to worry about how I dress, to not be stared at, to eat bacon and pork (!!!!!!!!), to be able to go out at night with absolutely no fears of harassment, to take a long, hot shower in a tub with a glass door and a holder for the shower nozzle. But maybe the most wonderful part of it was staying in an apartment with some of my favorite girls from the program, with the complete freedom and privacy that we all miss so much and don't have with our home stay families.

About the apartment: our friend Ana's family lives in Madrid, and her grandparents weren't currently using their apartment in downtown Madrid. So we got to stay in a beautiful, furnished full apartment in the best part of the city for completely free. Ana's aunt lives in the apartment directly above, and so we got to see her a lot. She and Ana's grandmother brought us so much food: pastries, bread, cured meats, tortilla (an incredible Spanish egg dish, not flour tortillas like from a taco). I felt like I was eating like royalty the whole time I was there. We were invited to a family lunch on Saturday, and it was sooo incredible. It was at this restaurant owned by an American expat, and it served some of the best American food I've ever had - you would never find food this good in the states. The meat for the hamburgers was the most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth high quality meat I've ever tasted. The onion rings were wonderfully fresh, the corn on the cob was perfect, the chili was incredible, the oreo cheesecake and brownie sunday were delicious. The restaurant had a Southern/Texas theme, so I felt especially at home. There were two TVs on, one showing a rodeo and the other a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert. Nothing made me happier than when they played Sweet Home Alabama :). That makes the second country I've been in where I've heard that song played (first was Morocco, amazingly enough). The only thing that could have made the whole experience better is if there was Alabama football on.

I was able to shop my heart out at H&M and a Mango outlet. Dresses! Boots! Short skirts and tank tops! I couldn't resist buying one adorable dress that's a little too short for Morocco. (But I'm wearing it to the Thanksgiving dinner at the American Club today, so there you go). Also, my other most favorite thing about Spain was that people are out ALL NIGHT. In Rabat, as soon as it gets dark, the harassment gets worse, and though some people go out, it's not generally accepted to be appropriate. In Spain, as soon as it gets dark, the streets get sooooo crowded and only keep getting more and more crowded. We were out until past 4 am one night and felt perfectly safe.

Madrid was probably the most beautiful city I've ever been to. There is the perfect balance of beautiful preserved historical sites and modern conveniences. There is so much to do and to see. The people are beautiful and fashionable, yet very friendly. It reminded me of Paris minus the hype and bus loads of tourists.

Oh, what else? The whole weekend was just so wonderful, and when Sunday rolled around I kept thinking how much I didn't want to go back to Morocco Monday morning. We had to get up at 4:30 that morning to make our flight and we all got about two hours of sleep, so that morning I was not at all excited to be awake or on my way back to Morocco. But once we got back to Casablanca and on the train to Rabat, I wasn't upset or depressed to be back. I felt like I was back home. As much as I can't stand certain aspects of culture here, and as hard as it is to get used to the different ways of living, I love this country. I love how inefficient everything is, I love hearing the call to prayer even when it wakes me up at 4 am, I love how cheap everything is here, and I love seeing kittens wandering around at every single cafe I frequent. I love my host family, our little apartment, and our doorman. I love everyone at AMIDEAST, I love all the classrooms and the five flights of stairs that lead up to the study abroad room, and I love seeing all the Moroccans there learning English. I probably should have learned Spanish (based on my performance in Arabic class), but Morocco is my home now, and I love this place.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Some complaining and some preaching

A poor sheet awaiting his fate.

The past couple weeks have been really hard. Initially after I got back from fall break it was so wonderful to be back in Rabat, but those feelings faded as soon as I got back into the grind of classes. I thought I had adjusted to life in Morocco weeks ago, but I’ve been feeling even more out of place and homesick than I did when I thought I was at the low point of culture shock. I miss Tuscaloosa and everyone there so much (and a few people in Huntsville, too).

Certain things about the culture here are just so hard to get used to. Yesterday I forgot I needed to get home for lunch by 12:15 since that’s when the men start overflowing from the mosque for Friday prayers and blocking the entrance to my apartment building. I decided to try to get home at 12:30 anyways, and as I walked up my street and saw rows of men already lined up on the prayer mats spanning the whole length of my apartment building, I got so incredibly angry. I had been sick the day before, so I hadn’t eaten breakfast that morning. I was hungry, hot, and tired, and all I wanted was to go home and eat lunch with my family. But Friday prayer trumps all in this dominantly Muslim country, and for those few moments I just wanted to storm through all the stupid men who were so rude to keep me from getting in or out of my house every single Friday afternoon. It wouldn’t be that hard for them to leave a path to my door so that I and all the other people in the building who don’t pray can have access to our houses. I stormed off to the grocery store which is the normal getaway for Katherine and I when this happens. I did my grocery shopping and impatiently waited for prayers to be over. When I finally could go home, I was still mad. I walked up to the door of my apartment building, and the men were leaving but they hadn’t taken away the giant prayer mats yet. I knew that walking on the mats (with shoes on) is incredibly disrespectful, and I thought for a split second about asking the men who were standing around to move it. But one, I already felt (as usual) very self conscious wading through hundreds of religious men as an obviously non Muslim foreign woman, and two, the thought of asking the men who I already had a grudge against to move the stupid mat that, in my opinion, shouldn’t have been there preventing me from going home in the first place was just too much for my ego to take. So I walked across it and got some very dirty looks and mutterings.

Some things are just hard to get used to. Like seeing sheep butchered and skinned.

Earlier this week was the Muslim holiday Eid El-Adha, which is kind of like Thanksgiving except instead of turkey you eat sheep, and instead of buying a frozen turkey at the grocery store you buy a live sheep (or, usually two) and slaughter it on your roof. So I got to experience the killing, skinning, gutting, and eating of not one, but two poor, poor sheep. I’m not a super sensitive person, so I watched it all happen (and documented it with many pictures), but I’m not going to lie - it was pretty disturbing. To see, in the span of ten minutes, a sheep go from alive and baaaing, to dying with blood spurting violently from its slit throat, to thrashing and trying to gasp for air through it’s severed sheep larynx in the few minutes it takes to die, to dead, to a giant piece of meet hanging from the ceiling by it’s back legs, is, well, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Then in the next 30 minutes I witness it’s skin being slowly cut from the body, so that it didn’t even look like a sheep. Now I’m eating parts of those sheep almost every day. Appetizing, yeah?

The bloody aftermath.

But honestly, the hardest part about Eid was that it reminded me so much of Thanksgiving and Christmas that I got really depressed thinking about how I’m going to miss celebrating those holidays at home with my family and friends. I was at my host grandparent’s house for two days with a bunch of relatives who didn’t speak English for Eid, watching sheep be killed, then eating the weirdest organs, and no one really talked to me until the afternoon of the second day when I made friends with my host cousins.

I know that a lot of people would give a lot to be where I am right now. People think I’m brave, living the dream, and having the time of my life. But I think so often how much I would love to just be in Tuscaloosa this semester, living at Jamestown, tending a little vegetable garden in the backyard and some flowers in the front yard, being on leadership in RUF and worshipping with my church family every Sunday at Riverwood. But if I was in Tuscaloosa, I would be complaining about how boring my life is, and thinking how much I want to go discover the world and do something exciting. It’s all a matter of perspective.

What I came to remember last night and this morning is that I’m not here by chance. I’m here in this city, with this program, living with this family and this roommate, at this time, for a reason. My Lord and Savior didn’t live a perfect life and die a perfect sacrificial death to redeem me so that I could just live life randomly, doing what I feel like, with no purpose. I’m here for a reason. Living in Morocco has ended up being harder than I planned, but that doesn’t mean it was a mistake. I miss my friends, my family, and my church, but the Lord is providing me with new friends, new family, and a new church. The Lord is using these experiences to teach me more about Him, to mold me more into His likeness, to make me long for Him even more, and for other reasons that I may never understand. And even when I feel like a miserable excuse for a Christian (which has been a lot lately), I can still rest assured that when God looks at me, He sees Jesus. And even though I don’t really believe this most of the time, I know that God is using me as I am, right now, in all of my shortcomings, failures, and depression for His purposes. I don’t have to be a better person for Him to use me. I don’t have to pretend that I’m not as messed up as I actually am, or try to convince other people that my life as a Christian is all nice and fuzzy. I am a very messed up person, but because of the work of Jesus, I am salt and light, right now, as I am, no exceptions.

"Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desires." - Psalm 37:4