Friday, April 26, 2013

Publishing Plans

Something not a whole lot of people know about me, is that I am an avid writer. Two years ago I started writing a 255 paged story called, "Visionary." I finished it 9 months ago in Utah, on our drive to Oklahoma.

Since then I have been adding to and taking away, trying to make it better. I have several other stories written about halfway, that are each well over 100 pages. But "Visionary" and one other piece I am working on called, "Summer's Rain" are by far the best work I have done. I am very excited about having them made into books in the future.

"Visionary" is the one story I have completed. I have been looking hard into finding a good editor. I found one that I LOVE who wants to do the editing, and who is also very connected to the world of publishing agencies.

However, nothing good comes for free. In fact, I am looking at having to invest close to $2000 on the story. That is what has been preventing me from accomplishing this dream of mine.

I have had two friends and my mom read the story, and they all liked it. I asked my writing professor if he would look at it over the summer, give me some constructive criticism over whether or not the story is worth sinking a bunch of money into. He told me he would be glad to check it out some time this summer.

If he thinks it's worth it, then I will put forth all my effort into getting the story into bookstores within the next year.

But while I'm waiting, my thought wheels have not stopped spinning, and I think I have come up with an exciting way to raise the funds needed.

While I was raising funds for Uganda, I was posting different stories of my experiences in missions, and I have had several people tell me they loved all the stories I share. This gave me the idea, and over the past several weeks I have been writing bunches of short stories from my time in missions.

When I get back to the USA, I will add in my Uganda stories. Then I will self-publish a small soft back book on Amazon.com, called "Memories from the Missions Field." I will sell it at a low price, and try to sell a bunch...hopefully enough to afford the costs to get my other book professionally published.

It's over...sorta.

It's hard to believe I have been living in Tulsa for almost 9 months. Next week is finals week, and then my first year at Oral Roberts University will be over. In just two more years I will be a licensed social worker.

May 5 we will have 6 days of missions prep called, "Ropes". Then 1 free day, and then May 12 I will be flying off to Uganda.

When I was moving away from Oregon, some people told me I didn't have what it takes to move away from my parents. They said I would give up and be moved back by Christmas. I will admit I was nervous. The longest I had ever been away from home was 3 weeks. Now I have been living on my own 9 months, and in that time I have been able to accomplish a life long dream of going to Africa (by the way, I just got all my vaccines last week).

Since I was a little girl, I wanted nothing more than to get out and change the world. Now I am doing it! There is so much that I have done, so much I have seen, and so much I have learned. So many experiences I never would have had if I had stayed in Oregon.

I will be able to use the internet briefly once a week in Uganda, and will try to post some updates then. But last week I got a special treat in the mail, from my Oregon pal Melody, that will be very helpful. She sent me a travel journal that she had been holding onto for two years, which God told her to give to me. I plan on writing down every tid bit through out the day in that journal, and I will have a whole bunch to write in the blog when I return to the USA.

June 12 I return, and will be living on campus, and taking a few summer classes. Then come August, I will be starting internships for my degree. This week I met my next year's roommate. She is very laid back, talkative, and adventurous, just as I am, and I could see us becoming good friends....and possibly having some fun adventure together. I have confirmed I am coming to Oregon in December, partly because I could not get out of jury duty. (Kinda sorta hoping I end up being on a high profile jury case.) I am looking at possibly publishing two books within the next year, and my friend is helping me to get a better job so I can try raising some of the funds for that venture.

Yes indeed, lots of fun stories to come very soon!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Color Run

Oh where do I begin, to talk about the most fun run on earth? I guess I will start from the beginning.

I first heard of the Color Run some time last year. I thought it sounded really cool, and decided some day I wanted to try and participate in it.
Lucky for me, just a few months later, in February, my friend Tiffany told me she was trying to get a team together to do it.

Ever since then I have been so pumped to do it.

Fast forward to Tax Day 4/15, the Boston Marathon was bombed by Russian Muslim radicalists. This was 5 days before the Color Run and I was so mad at those stupid terrorists, and thinking they were now going to cancel the Color Run, because at that time we didn't know who or why of the Boston attack.



Thursday, 3 days later, I was relieved to know the Run would not be cancelled. We went to pick up our event shirts and runner numbers. This was when it finally hit Tiffany and I the horrible twist of fate, when we were asked our team name (which we named back in February) and got dirty looks from every one in the room when we replied, "TnT Dynamite."

3 days after a bombing at another running event, it was way too soon to be making jokes about it....and Tiffany and I are both VERY sarcastic people... but we had not intended for such a sick reference!

Once we assured them that we had named our team months ago, everyone in the room had a good laugh at the irony.

Saturday we were running late, and Tiffany still had to pick her brother up from Walmart. When we raced there, her brother ran up to the car as it was still moving, and hopped in through the open window. It was a pretty awesome moment, even
if he did cut his arm in the process.

When we got to the event, there were white shirts everywhere, and everyone was hooting and laughing. It was such an upbeat and happy environment.

They handed us small packets filled with the color dust, I and my friend Jessica took turns throwing it at each other as we waited for the race to start. A few times we missed each other and the color landed on a stranger. I got embarrassed and apologized, then the person would laugh and say, "That's what we're here for!" Then they would throw their color on me.

The run got started, and they released a good chunk of people every 10 minutes. It took about 30 minutes for it to be our turn to go.

Once it was our turn, there were stations of different colors along the route, and every step was taken in anticipation of the next color station.

At one station my buddy Jessica threw her hands in the air and hollered, "Woohoo!" In doing so she
accidentally got a shot of blue blasted straight into her mouth.

Jessica said the taste was awful but the experience was worth it.

That is what I would say about the entire run. It was worth it. As it's said, life is not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away. The Color Run was meaningless fun that made my weekend awesome, getting as messy as I can just for the fun of it.

The run cost $35 and it's some of the best money I have ever spent.
I loved the color run and hope to do it again in the future.


Bike blues, Uganda prep, busy weekend, and more


Last week a group of friends went out with me to help me find a "good" bike. Walking to work has been getting more tiring as the days have been getting warmer, and so I wanted to find a quicker and easier means of transportation.

We found a girly purple mountain bike that I thought suited me well.

I was excited to buy a flowered basket to add the perfect touch of girly-girlness.

But things went very badly two days later.

I decided to take my bike out for a ride on my favorite nature trail. I made it all the way down to my usual stop on the trail and kept going...much further than I go when walking, when the handles began to move. The brakes were resting above my hands. I awkwardly tried to ride it back to school, when the handle completely came off the connecting bar. 

videoThen it got even worse, when the chain fell off. A whopping 2 hours later, I arrived back on campus, missed class, and had to turn my writing assignment for that class in late.

By Saturday I found a friend who had the tools and knowledge to fix all the bikes problems. And I found a new appreciation for properly functioning products.

Saturday Team Uganda went out with ORU Outreach to put on a community fun day in South Tulsa. It was so fun to show the community that Christianity can be fun. We had dance competitions, games, nail and face painting and more.

Wednesday Team Uganda went to a home in Tulsa and met the missionaries who started the churches we will be visiting in Africa.

There was an intense lightning storm going on while we were there. I was sitting facing the window. It was night, and I could not see anything outside, except when the lightning flashed, and made the backyard look like daylight. I could see the grass was green and the fence was brown. I was once again filled with awe and wonder with the Oklahoma weather.

And to top it all off, when we got back to campus I had my first tornado evacuation.....but I'll save that story for another post.

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Memories of the Boston Massacre 4/15

I made this blog so that I could one day look back and smile at all my memories made in college.
Today is a day I will remember, so I am really writing to my future self today.
I remember when I was 16, reading back in my journal to the day of 9/11 and getting goosebumps as I read what my 10 year old self comprehended of it.

videoToday I sat at the last 10 minutes of Spanish class in Tulsa, Oklahoma.I had a non-stop crazy busy weekend, which resulted in me being sick Monday. I have 5 classes on Mondays, but I only went to 1, and I only went to that one because there was a quiz.

I was thinking how much I did not want to be there. My head and throat hurt, I had my laptop open, and facebook up, when I saw a post by the Tulsa news, "Explosion at Boston Marathon."

Just as I was trying to scan the internet to find out what happened, a classmate next to me said to me, "There's been a terrorist attack in Boston."

Class got out, and I went to back to my dorm. There my facebook page was flaring up with remarks about the "explosion". Everyone was talking about the explosion. One person mentioned it being a bombing, but I was still confused thinking it must have been some kind of firework accident.

I turned on my television and was swarmed by footage of white smoke, screaming people, and I learned there were two bombs, and a third undetonated bomb was found.

While trying to gather all the information as to what had happened, my roommate came in the room with a big smile on her face. I greeted her with, "Have you heard yet?" as I gestured to the tv.


Her smile went down and she looked at me confused, "No, what?"
I told her there had been 2 bombings and a third attempted.

Now we both sit here, staring at the television. Watching and waiting for more information. Wondering is all I can do. I wonder who is responsible? Why did they do this? Are we going to war? Is it over yet?
For months now I have been ecstatic about participating in the Color Run. It is finally happening....this Saturday. Will it be cancelled?

Mostly what fills my mind is how much our world needs saving. Just four months ago I sat here glued to the tv learning about 26 people murdered at an elementary school. Now this. What has gone wrong with the world?!
Current reports say 2 dead, 23 injured. The who, what, when, where, and how are sure to be answered in the hours to come.


To my future self, these were my thought in the first 4 hours after the bombings.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Blog Name Change

I changed the name of my blog. I hope it didn't mess things up for followers.
With all the happenings, and each day teaching me new lessons, I thought "Becoming Anna" was a cooler and more suitable name for this.

I can see a lot of how I have changed since moving to Tulsa, and I have seen so many of my life long dreams come true through moving to Tulsa. I am not yet who I am going to be. But this life is making me.

Monday, April 8, 2013

It's official!

It's officially official! Today was the deadline for the 100% payment and I reached 110%. Good example of "giving it your 110 percent". Ha ha.
I wrote a blog similar to this one back when fundraising started, but want to share my story again. This is a letter I mailed out as a thank you to people who donated,  but I'm posting here again to share online as a thank you to the people who donated which I did not have a mailing address.




Thank you!
Thank you so much for donating to my Uganda fund! I wanted to share my story with you to let you know more of the long journey that has led up to this trip.
~My Story~
Sitting on my aunt and uncle's floor, at four years old, I heard the telephone ring. My aunt turned the television on and left the room to answer the phone. This simple action changed my life. When my aunt returned, she found me in tears, terrified by the "monsters" I saw on TV.

What I didn't understand was that I had not seen frightening monsters, but an ad to help feed starving children in Africa. My aunt explained to me that in other nations there is no money to buy food, and kids get so hungry, that they end up looking like the images I saw, skin and bone. That's when she told me about missionaries. My little world was turned upside down. I never forgot that day, and I knew from that day on that someday I would go to Africa as a missionary.

Throughout the rest of my childhood, I always felt a sense I was born to be great. My life had a purpose; I was a girl with a mission. Through all hardship endured, I told myself that someday in Africa, I would look back on all this and smile because it only made me stronger.

A lot of bumps and bruises, and some downright crashing and burning through the years; no matter what living situation I was in, or what belief I put my faith in, the one thing that remained true is that I wanted to go to Africa more than any other wish in my life.

First, second, third, and fourth grade I would listen intensely to every missionary who visited my church, and waited anxiously for our church’s missions teams to return so I could ask them all about their trips. In fifth grade I decided someday I wanted to be a missionary nurse in Africa.

Even as I struggled with my faith, and abandoned my belief in God, I never gave up on my dream of going to Africa.



Summer before high school, I got my heart right with God, and felt stronger than ever that my calling was to be a missionary, and to be a missionary in Africa.

By sophomore year I started traveling the world with whatever opportunity arrived, all with the belief it was prepping me for Africa. Mexico, Spain, Kamiah Nez Perce, and Peru; North America, South America, and Europe; all amazing and irreplaceable experiences and all visited before graduating high school.



Junior year of high school, I found an amazing school in Oklahoma, that I wanted so badly to go to. When the money was not there for it, I hoped for a scholarship. When I was disqualified for the scholarship because I was ten points below the SAT requirements, I took it as a sign that I was not meant to go there at that time in my life. However soon, I completely gave up on the dream of going to Oral Roberts University.

I started my first year of community college and I faced a crisis. I failed all of my nursing classes. It was a soul crushing defeat. I knew I was not meant to be a nurse, although that had been the plan since 5th grade. Then began the quest to figure out what it would take to get to Africa. Things were not working out with everything I tried.

Finally I thought I should just quit college and go.

The day I decided to quit college, was the day before I saw the video about the fatal flaws in the child welfare system.  By the time I had seen this video, I already knew child abuse prevention was something I felt passionately about, but it was while watching this video that God was able to open my eyes and see that I needed to find a career I was good at and interested in, instead of just doing whatever it took to get to Africa.

I prayed and told God, that I would stop trying to get to Africa, and just try to become who I was supposed to be, but that I trusted God to still help my dream of Africa to come true some day.

The day I learned to fully surrender myself, including my hopes and dreams, to God, was the day everything started to fall into place. I changed majors, again, to social work, and I began to love my classes, then I loved my internship, and I gained incredible experiences.

One day I woke up with a challenge from God, to try again with ORU. I tried again and I got a scholarship to the university I loved. I am now in my second semester at the awesome school.

At four I grasped onto a dream. At nineteen I learned to give it up to do what God was calling, and now at twenty two, he has lead me down the road and has placed the opportunity to go to Africa right in front of me.

This is my lifelong story of getting to Africa, and now I am almost there. May 12 to June 12 I will finally be walking on African soil, and I have your support to thank for making this possible. I hope you have enjoyed reading my story, and better appreciate your decision to donate. 
 

Much appreciation 
-Anna  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Groovy

The other day my friend Zach said he wanted to make a comeback of the word "groovy". I thought this was the coolest idea, and a cause I wanted to support.

All week I have taken it as a personal challenge to use the word at least once in every conversation I have.

The more I used it, the more I wondered if I was using it correctly. There's nothing like embarrassing yourself by using a word incorrectly. Like a time I told my mom about me and a guy trying to arrange a date, and she was horrified because I told her that he and I were trying to "hook up".

So I have done some research of the word "groovy" I will now use the meanings of groovy, to describe all the outfits I bought last night to wear in Africa.
"Groovy" 
1. Exciting: First of all, it's so groovy that I am going to Uganda in just 1 month!
 

2. Enjoyable: This white top is very groovy in it's comfortableness. Not the most stylish, but I think it's pretty cute. It's light weight and loose, made for relaxation.                                                                          
3. Very pleasing: Along with the groovy enjoyable top, is a orange and white flowered skirt which has a real "Africa missionary" look to it, I am so excited to see how this outfit looks while wandering the Ugandan plains and with children near me.
  


4. Fashionable: I was feeling very groovy in this outfit. With a nice shape, good colors, and how it looked on me. I think this will be a good Sunday dress




5. Wonderful: I was so happy with the shirt because it is simple yet stylish...oh I forgot, it's groovy! It could go as a top with any outfit I choose and look good with it all
6. Attractive: Finally my favorite picture. My favorite top with my favorite skirt. Again, I am so excited to see how this outfit matches the African surroundings.  
   So there is a sneak peek at my new groovy Africa apparel! More sightings of these outfits are to come in.... 1 MONTH!!




Monday, April 1, 2013

`Tis the season.... for a true mid-western experience.

`Tis the season! The season for flying cows, red shoes, and the yellow brick road. Yes, that's right, it's tornado season here in Oklahoma!
Last night we had a lightning storm that was unlike any storm I have ever seen. I am told it is quite normal for Oklahoma. The weatherman called it a Super Cell Storm.

The sky was calm and star-filled, with only a few clouds in between the horizon, and yet for a good 60-90 minutes the night sky was filled with bright explosions. It looked almost like a firework show to me.
I was filled with "oooh"s and "awe"s for the entire duration.
When I first moved to Tulsa, I was so afraid to experience my first tornado.But in October, when there was a tornado "watch" (meaning be prepared for the chance of a storm escalating to a tornado) that got my nerves wired but never turned into anything....I found myself rather disappointed. I didn't even get to hear a siren, or have to go to the tornado shelter.

Ever since that day, I've been somewhat wishing for one. The locals would scold me and tell me to eat my words, because they know tornadoes can bring damage and injury, so I try to be politically correct and say, "I want to have a tornado "warning" where the sirens blare and I have to go to the shelter but don't need an actual tornado."

After my fascination with last night's storm, today my friend asked me how many times I have gone storm chasing in my life. I looked at him puzzled and said, "Um, never?"
He proceeded to inform me that I have not truly lived in the mid west until I have gone storm chasing. It is something every one has done at least once. The adventurer in me squealed, "Let's go now!"

I failed to acknowledge the fact today is beautiful, sunny, warm, and calm; missing the fact that storm chasing kinda requires a storm, ha ha.

So it is a plan, and one that I very much am looking forward to. Next time there is a bad storm (preferably involving torndadoes) I shall get the true mid-western experience of going storm chasing!

In the mean time, here are some of my favorite pictures from last night's storm: