Mr. Fox is in the Building

“Mr. Fox is in the building…” It’s a code one of my previous schools used for lockdowns. Looking back, it wasn’t the most discrete code, but all of the students knew what it meant. We had a real lockdown at one of my schools and I don’t really remember it being scary. There had been a situation blocks away with someone in a hotel. They’d kept us afterschool though, and I remember parents everyone, showing up and wondering where the heck their kids were.

It’s really different to be a staff member during lockdowns now, rather than a student. I’m the one making sure the door is locked and the blinds closed. I’m the last one to the designated spot.

A week ago today was the Parkland shooting in Florida. It was the biggest school shooting since Sandy Hook. Since then, the media has predictably and figuratively exploded. Everyone is talking about it. There’s at least one conversation about it each day at work, and more at home. Since yesterday alone, there have been 2 districts within 100 miles that have reported threats. At least 1 additional district had a lockdown today that was reportedly not a drill. Police presence on campuses has increased. More doors have been locked. Name tags are required of staff. Students are watching their words and asking what they should do if they see a threat on social media. Class debates on gun control are a daily staple. Classes are never left unsupervised. And some students are certainly being handled as fragile. Less conversations happen around them and everyone is more wary.

Blame is thrown every which way. Of course, with my background in Sociology and having taken criminology, terrorism, and specifically studied school shootings, a lot of staff and students come to ask me questions. “What’s different with this one?” “Do they know the motive?” “Where?” “How old was the shooter?” Having kept up on the news articles and other reports, I’m usually able to give answers to a lot of these questions, particularly what’s different. I’ve spent the time analyzing statistics on the topic. I’ve ran the tests myself to look for significance and understand what the common shooter, and the shooting “looks like.”

What I struggle with is the speculation and redundancy of “solutions” and blame. I wish I had a word analysis of frequent use in articles, media, speech and news following instances such as this. If we did, I think a lot of the common words (besides the obvious shooting, shooter, school, etc.) would include: Gun control, violence, video games, motive, here, my kid(s), they should be in trouble too, why didn’t they…, what if, why, liberals, conservatives, republicans, Columbine and (insert whomever is currently President or FBI director here).

A lot of times, I keep my mouth shut tight while these conversations go on. I know that if I get involved, I will get frustrated and have difficulty explaining in simple Facebook-layman’s terms the statistics and other things I have studied. I also like to take the time for the event to cool down so that I can formulate my thoughts, hence the reason this post hasn’t come out sooner, even with a previous shooting. Additionally, I always find it incredibly useful for controversial situations to focus on supporting the argument opposite my opinion. This allows me to see the strengths and weaknesses of both sides and gain understanding of where everyone else is coming from. Altogether, I feel I’m able to come up with some decent arguments for either side that I like to use to counter conversations with. Let it be known that each of the articles I will cite in this post will be scholarly peer-reviewed articles with actual studies unless otherwise stated.

For the argument of “video games cause/bring/encourage violence” (one of my favorites to counter) I’d like to bring to the table the article, Video Games and Youth Violence: A Prospective Analysis in Adolescents by Christopher J. Ferguson (2011) which findings conclude that both violent video games and television are insignificant in comparison with crime (not just shootings, but all violent crime among teens). The sample size for this article was 300 youth. Not enough for you? Here’s another: Violent video game effects on aggression, empathy, and prosocial behavior in Eastern and Western countries: A meta-analytic review. by Craig A. Anderson (et. al). This study additionally found very limited correlation. The samples that did have a correspondence were few and far between. There was no differentiation between males and females, which I would say is another big part of this argument, that males are more subject to video games to lead to violence than females. This study says differently. There are countless other articles studying the same thing with different samples and different focuses that have resulted in very similar findings. So tell me again how video games and/or television is the cause of violence? And why is your personal experience better than a study of hundreds of randomly selected teens? Oh, I didn’t realize it was you yourself that feels more violent when you play video games…carry on then….

For the argument of “it’s this idiot generation that spends their time eating tide pods. It was different in my day.” With this idea, I’m not going to go out and say that kids are smart, however I am going to say that you probably weren’t much smarter in your day. One thing I will agree is different: stress and the way mental health is handled. I’m not going to focus on that a ton right now, but I personally believe that stress levels have changed. Students, particularly teens have an immense amount of school work and pressure placed upon them. It’s often said that Generation Z (current elementary-high school students) are the ribbon generation, where everyone gets something for their participation. That had to come to be somehow, and who is it that is giving those ribbons? Who is pushing their children to win and putting that pressure on? Blue participant ribbons aren’t enough for many people, and we push student to do more. They are drowning in life and in school work and in the mere controversy on every topic surrounding them every day. This is not to say that this all hasn’t existed previously, however it is amplified by ever present social media and communication. With this argument, I hear a lot of “kids brought guns to school when I was a kid and no one did anything then.” My article to help with this point is not a scholarly approved, however I believe the purpose will be served the same with a mere Wikipedia article, focusing in on the dates of school shootings. The first one listed is in the year 1764. Take a moment to think about that. The United States was founded in 1776. Over a decade earlier IN WHAT BECAME THE UNITED STATES, there was a school shooting. 10 people died (more than just guns were used). Jumping ahead past several instances, into 1900-1910 there are 17 schools shootings. In a single decade. This continues on. There are 479 reported shootings listed on this page. There were shootings when you were in school, no matter your age. You may not have heard of them, but during this time, news was very local or very world based. It was not until the 1980’s into the 1990’s where broadcasting became more available and constant. 1980 was the year of the first 24 hour news broadcast and at that point, it was boring. This is why media began spinning stories. They were bored. Their viewers were bored. They wanted money. Now we have constant news from hundreds of sources. You are certain to know within hours, if not minutes of an event’s happening. This has it’s pros and cons, but again, that’s another post.

Moving onto our beloved topic of gun control. It is really difficult to take something away from people that already have it, particularly when that something is a given freedom. But let’s play with that idea. Take away guns. What happens next? Suddenly there is no way to hurt people? I always like to tie this idea into motive. Motive is never a clear idea because there are so many factors that influence everything we do. However one thing is common, and that is that events like this take place to create chaos, pain and confusion. Attacks work because they do that. The media, again, helps in this by spinning stories and spouting off even more things. If you take away guns, violence and attacks do not go away. In an article by James Alan Fox and Monica J. DeLateur in 2013 titled Mass Shootings in America, analysis found that enforcing more gun control would have limited results in prevention of mass murder. There have been a number of situations, including terrorism situations in recent years where guns were not needed to create chaos. Other weapons like knives, can create this same chaos. Sure, there aren’t as many deaths, but this still induces fear. Another common one is driving vehicles into things. For this reason, most government buildings have really large flower pots outside them, and it’s not for decoration. Those are blockades to protect. This problem will not go away with guns being taken away. If this situation were to play out and cause guns to become illegal, the underground sales would initially skyrocket and likely level off later on. In addition to that, grandparent laws would prevent current gun owners from losing their guns. That’s the same thing that keeps people in prison even if a law is altered in a way that would have made their crime legal or less of a punishment. So then we decide not to take away guns. Then what happens? Nothing really changes….unless, there is another solution. But what is it?

This brings me to motive, my least favorite question to be asked when incidents occur. Every single time though, someone inquires, “Do they know/have the motive?” No is the answer. It’s always the answer. Even if there was a note from the attacker, deliberately laying out the motive, there will still be questions. You are asking to know the cause of the effect when it is much more complicated. Why do you do anything that you do? It’s a complicated collaboration of influences from a variety of sources, values, beliefs, peers, learned and observed behavior, and so, so much more. No one and nothing is without influence, both conscious and subconscious. You may not even know what is motivating you to do whatever it is you do. This is where I like to turn my attention away from the media and away from the attacker. I like to look at those in the community/area/school. A student may commit an act of violence like this, but why, did the other kids in their class not act in the same way. Sometimes in order to best understand why a behavior happens in some, you have to look at why it doesn’t happen in others. What is causing these other kids to not act out violently? Is it their beliefs? Their friends? Love? Family? Goals? What is it? I don’t think that there is a clear answer to this question either. There is no one answer and as far as I know, it hasn’t been studied in depth (likely due to sensitivity around students within the premise of what the study would include). What is it that motivates people to act in accordance with the boundaries of comfortable society and maybe more importantly, should they?

I don’t have all the answers; I don’t even have most of them. I can’t say what the solution is to stop things like this. Perhaps there’s an underlying problem/theme altogether that we are missing; something that is broken and has to be fixed. I can say that I don’t think situations like this will decrease. With each one, it triggers another set of discussions and situations. Sometimes the tipping point for one person is for another to act. I don’t enjoy watching all of this unfold in the world, but it is our reality and we have to learn to either accept or change that.

Be sweet, parakeet.

❤ Annee


A Glitch in the Matrix

For a long while I’ve had a fascination/obsession with parallel worlds and time travel. Give me a book about either and I will be more than happy to read it and day dream about the theories it gives. I don’t know exactly where this whole thing started—maybe when I first saw The Time Traveler’s Wife or read The Time Machine. I honestly have no clue (the reason for me not knowing may actually be provided later—see Berensta(e)in bears). I’ve watched several documentaries on all of this and while I by no means claim to be an expert, I at least understand the basics. First though, I have always had the question as to whether it should be parallel worlds or universes. (If you can answer that for me, please do).

I first learned about how parallel worlds could be real in my Foundations Science class. I could never find the video again but it basically showed how the way the molecules/atoms/whatever moved should have been predictable but it wasn’t and some of them disappeared. I’m doing a poor job of explaining. There’s many different theories and ideas of parallel worlds. For example, some believe that because our universe is infinite, there are other parts of infinity that have worlds like ours. This is my least favorite idea. Then there’s the idea that there’s a multiverse, that in some sense our world is overlayed with others. This is where the whole “glitch in the matrix” idea comes from. Sometimes our world interferes with others and that’s why strange things sometimes happen or you might see something repeating (In the Matrix, a cat walks by and then another right after). This is also part of the explanation of deja vu (deja vu and alter-vu both often related to parallel worlds). I like this whole idea a little bit more. My favorite and the most logical explanation to me stems from the video I had watched about the way atoms are involved. It’s the idea that every time something could be one way or another, the universe splits into two (or) more universes for every possible decision and outcome. This is where the comment of “In a parallel universe I went left instead of right” come from. One of the most amazing books dealing with this sort of stuff that I’ve read went along with this theory and just one of the choices that could have been made and what happened when a girl switched worlds with one of the parallel ones. A lot to take in, right?

A popular idea you probably know about that goes along with this last theory (but in reality, probably all of them somehow) is Schrodinger’s Cat. The idea is that there is a cat in some sort of box with a vial of poison. If at any instant, the poison so much as touches the cat, the cat will die. But at any moment, because the box is sealed and we are not able to see through, we do not know whether the cat is dead or alive. So in that moment, the cat is both dead AND alive (read the whole situation here).This creates the idea of superposition, which if parallel worlds of this last idea are to be considered, we are in a way, each always in our own infinite number of superpositions. Say, if perhaps there are only two worlds, parallel to each other and there is only one difference between them, that being that we are dead or alive, we are in a superposition. Who is to say then, which world is real? As with the number of licks to the center of a tootsie pop, the world may never know (hahahahaha but which world???? Haha I’m funny).

Another popular idea of this is the Mandela Effect. This term has been coined to explain when you feel positive something happened, but all evidence shows otherwise. Maybe you were completely certain that someone told you something one day, although it didn’t really happen until the day after. (Read this). There’s a whole bunch of ideas like this that you too may be convinced something happened another way. This seemingly is explained by parallel worlds. Perhaps it was that in the world you were in, things did happen the way you remembered, but then somehow you were shifted to another world in which that single event was the only difference, hence leaving you with a different memory than the rest of the world. A lot of the things I’ve seen about the Mandela effect seem to be centered around large/traumatic/dramatic events that cause a spike in emotions (certainly an explanation you may be more willing to accept).

[Slight interruption in programming for my “did that really happens.” First off, I believe that some of this has to be explained by things that happened before we came to this earth or beyond the veil. For example, I’ve met people that I was sure I had known but seemingly never met before in my life. I also can’t remember meeting many of my friends, it simply seems that I’ve known them forever. I also have memories of conversations I had with people that actually never happened but I swore they really did and I didn’t imagine them. Another thing was a video by Connor Franta that my friends and I all swore to exist but when we went to find it, we couldn’t. Maybe it had been deleted?].

The main thing that I remember differently hadn’t occurred to me until today when it was brought to my attention. Remember that kids show/books about the family of bears? The Berenstein Bears. Or was it the Berenstain Bears? I remember the first spelling, with an E. But if you google the books or show, it’s with an A. I swear it wasn’t like this. (Read here). One quote from this article that stood out,

“At some point between the years 1986 and 2011, someone traveled back in time and inadvertently altered the timeline of human history so that the Berenstein Bears somehow became the Berenstain Bears,” he wrote. “This is why everyone remembers the name incorrectly; it was Berenstein when we were kids, but at some point when we weren’t paying attention, someone went back in time and rippled our life experience ever so slightly.”

Interesting, huh? Whether it be a common misconception, time travel, a mishap of parallel worlds or whatever, it’s interesting to think about.

There’s also some ideas out there about how mirrors reflect into parallel worlds. [Inserting comment about two mirrors facing each other and how they seemingly go on forever when in reality the image can only continue as far as light does. Also they cannot reflect infinitely because in order to have that, there must exist an infinite amount of time (which perhaps there is due to superposition)] I know there’s some books out there about this as well.

That’s pretty much all I know I guess. I might add to this post later, but I’d be super interested to hear what you remember or don’t remember happening.

See ya in space, basket case!

❤ Annee


It’s Not a Game

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

My last post was all serious and this one is going to be as well. For years, basically since the 2008 election, I’ve looked forward to the time I could vote. When John McCain and Barack Obama went head to head in the election, my school did well to keep us informed. Then again, with Romney and Obama in 2012, I was informed by my seminary teacher and history teacher. We threw our planned lessons to the dogs and had discussions on the current events, making our opinions known. When it comes to opinions, I have a lot of them. But because I don’t like contention, I’m more likely to stay quiet when the people I’m with bring them up. In my school classes though, my words come out and I defend my position. This is what happened during both of those elections and happens in a lot of my sociology and history classes. The world I live in is important to me, even if I don’t voice my opinion all the time.

Now that I’m old enough to vote, I’ve been paying attention to the world of politics again so that I can figure out who I’m going to vote for. Back at the beginning of the year, I had a roommate who was very vocal and pushy about her political opinions and kept me well informed about what was happening. I talked to my parents about who they would vote for and why and was surprised to find that I disagreed with them. I found myself leaning in favor towards O’Malley.

With the election growing closer and the news stations blaring in the background, I know that I need to start making decisions about who I will vote for. About who I support. Because even the electoral college is the one making the decision in the end, I need to be able to defend my beliefs. So tonight I decided to research the candidates. I didn’t read every single thing on every one of their pages, but at surface level it was easy to see that I don’t agree with any of them. There’s very few that I find things that I do agree with. I-side-with tells me who I supposedly agree with, but even then it’s one or two questions. There’s gotta be something better. I want something better for my world and for my children. If anything, I want people to know what I believe even though the world doesn’t agree. It’s important for people to know that I stand for something different. So here’s what I believe based on the questions and topics given by I-Side-With. (Note: I am skipping some questions but ask me if you have a specific one for me to answer).

Social Issues: This is really important to me. I’m going into Sociology after all. Let’s start with the beginning. Pro-life. There’s so many parents that ache to have children and are unable to. I know many of them. They would love to have children. So give them one or don’t get pregnant in the first place. Same-sex marriage. I don’t support it. I’ve been taught and wholeheartedly believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe in that 1950’s American dream. Leave it up to the state or whatever, but don’t shove it in my face. The Bishops in my church are able to wed people in matrimony and currently can be fined if they refuse someone (even same sex) that service. I don’t agree with that and think that that should ever happen. I want same-sex marriage left out of my church. Death penalty is a hard one for me, so I’m going to take a raincheck and explain that on another day. Assisted Suicide however, I do support. I don’t think that someone should have to suffer through different medications and trying to survive a term of suffering longer since they will likely die anyways. As far as gender equality, I agree that women should have the same opportunities and consequences as men, end of story.

Environmental Issues: This area is less important to me. Not because I don’t care about the environment, but rather I feel like there shouldn’t be questions about it. I feel like everyone in the world should simply be doing their best to take care of the environment. Climate change is going to happen. I don’t believe that we can truly prevent it. We need to do our best to use renewable energy sources.

Economic Issues: Minimum wage should be decided by state—a higher national minimum wage will cause inflation. I had been thinking that welfare recipients should be tested for drugs but I’ve changed my mind and don’t think that anymore. National debt needs to be reduced—partially through military spending—but we also really just need to cut back on spending. [interuption because in the room I’m sitting in, someone is currently on speakerphone discussing politics (YELLING) and I can’t handle this. On one line, the man is for Trump and his argument for Trump is to degrade Clinton. I will not support someone degrading another human]. I don’t know about taxes but I think that it should be up to each state.

Domestic Policy: Yay! I find this area of importance and interest to me. Restriction on purchasing a gun: yes. Training and/or proof of training about guns should be required to purchase a gun. Be safe ❤ Yes! Legalize drugs! Why? Look at prohibition for example. Prohibition of alcohol caused so much fighting and underground problems. All of the problems that occurred with prohibition are the same that occurred with the legalization of alcohol, except that it was illegal then and there was more violence. Now though, drugs is the problem. If we legalize them, I truly believe that we can cease the war on drugs and decrease the everlasting violence on the US/Mexico border and underground in the US.

Healthcare: I really don’t know what to say about this category. I agree with medical marijuana. I think everyone needs health insurance, but I don’t think it should be free for everyone.

Education issues: What we have isn’t working. I’ve talked about that in many of my other posts and I stand by it. For sho’ no free college tuition. That stuff needs to be earned. Common core is currently crap. It’s a good idea in theory but needs to be changed.

Foreign Policy: Accept the refugees, don’t put up borders and don’t get super involved in other peoples business. No war on ISIS and no citizenship for illegal immigrants. However, for their children they can recieve citizenship IF they were born in the US and apply for citizenship. Really though, basis is we need to stay out of other country’s crap. We have so much debt of our own, we need to take care of ourselves. Put on our own life vest before helping others.

Criminal Issues: Body cameras aren’t a bad idea for police officers, particularly if issues continue to arise. I approve of solitary confinement.

So I guess that’s about it unless someone has questions. Some of these other questions and things I have more opinions on but they aren’t as important to me as the things I talked about. I’m just so sad about what our country and world are coming to and I wish it could change for the better. For now though, I’ll just sit here and root for the second coming to happen 😉 Kidding. It matters. This election is not a game. This election is not a race. It’s not all fun and games. This is a matter of life and death for our country.

Teach the Children

There’s a Christmas story popular among the general Christian public today about Santa Claus coming to a Father and giving him a number of objects, each a symbol, explaining to him what they mean and telling him to teach the children. The idea of the story is basically to inspire people to teach their children about the true meaning of Christmas and Christ’s birth. In my last post, I talked about some of the future relationships that I’ll have, including being a mother. There’s responsiblities given to parents to teach their children truths.

I’ve been reading some books of real topics lately and all of them touch my heart with every page. They’ve started a spark, a flame inside me that burns with pain and love for those in the world have been hurt. I was reading today about Columbine and was brought to the attention that two of my dear friends just older than me have no idea what Columbine was. I was in shock. Not to bash these friends at all, I just can’t understand how someone in our world today can’t know about tragic events that have happened in our lifetime and shaped the world into what it is today. Every time a school shooting occurs, I hear mentions and comparisons of Columbine. How could someone not know about this event?

After learning that they didn’t know about it, I was overcome with an overwhelming feeling that I must teach my children. When I have a family of my own, my kids need to know about what went on in my lifetime, before my lifetime, and what goes on in theirs. They need to know about the good and the bad and be informed so that they can be sensitive to others. I owe it to them, and I owe it to my Heavenly Father.

I’ve always beena  seeker of knowledge, wanting to know about people and pleaces and things and learning as much as I could from books and articles and school. I learn things everywhere and I pay attention. Current events always interested me and I shed countless tears over the lost lives of strangers whose stories became important to me. There’s been so many things I’ve learned that I was appalled to not have learned earlier (Key example: About the Lithuanians in World War II held captive in Russia—Go read Between Shades of Gray if you have no idea what I’m talking about). There’s been a lot about World War II that I wasn’t taught in school that has caused me to be distrusting of the education system whom it seems would rather keep me in the dark about distasteful things my country has done than tell me the truth. I was taught about Columbine in school as well as from my parents. They made it known to me that this was an important event and that I should care. In school we learned about Rachel’s Challenge, a challenge issued by the parents of the first Columbine victim.

I want my kids to be seekers of knowledge as well. I want them to be educated about the Wars that have plagued the world, about the leaders of our country and other world leaders. I want them to know about 9/11 and Columbine and Sandy Hook and the life of Christ. I want them to know all of these things and more. I want them to look for more. I don’t want someone to mention a large event that occurred int heir lifetime to them someday and them to not know what it was. This is my responsibility. I have to teach them. And for me to teach them, I have to know more.

So if you’re reading this, I hope you too will want to learn and will decide to teach your children. They need to know.


Remember all those Dystopian and Utopian novels that have been popular in the last several years? I would venture to say that those people either didn’t teach their children, or they weren’t brave enough to do anything with the knowledge they had.

Go out. Make a difference. Care about the world. The news may be dreary and depressing, but that’s what it is. We shouldn’t stop caring just because they only talk about sad things. We need to know about our world. If we don’t, how will we change it?

Learn a lot, Camelot.

❤ Annee


“We do not doubt our mothers knew it.”—Alma 56:48

Someday, I will be your girlfriend (you, being my future boyfriend, whoever that is). You’re out there somewhere and I hope you’re preparing like I’m trying to. My Heavenly Father is probably putting you in some pretty difficult situations to refine and teach you in preparation for meeting me. I think the key parts of the words girlfriend and boyfriend are friends. More than anything, I want a best friend.I have a lot of those, actually, but none of them are you yet. I can list off ten people immediately that I call “my best friend” when referring to them. But someday I’m going to have you. I’ve talked about my rules for dating in my other post, A Safety Guide to Natural Selection and all of that still applies. I want to be a good girlfriend though, supporting and not overbearing. I want to be someone worth spending time with. For the last several months, almost year, I’ve been really missing two of my best friends. They were my texting buddies. We’d talk everyday about the most random of things but now they are both gone on missions. I miss them dearly and I plan on resuming our normal friendships when they get back, but in the mean time, I had to find something else to do. The other day I started up a page of notes on my phone full of things that would be texts to you. Now before you get the wrong idea, realize that these are things like “I learned today that snails grow their own shells.” It’s the things I pick up my phone to text you before remembering I haven’t met you yet (cue Michael Buble music). It’s the things I want to share with someone, but especially you. Somewhere, you’re there. And obviously we’re not ready yet, but I hope we are both ready when that day comes that our adventures together begin. It’s going to be great.

Somewhere out there
Beneath the pale moonlight
Someone’s thinking of me
And loving me tonight

Somewhere out there
Someone’s saying a prayer
That we’ll find one another
In that big somewhere out there.

Someday I will be a fiance. Please, oh please don’t let me be a bridezilla. Remind me everyday that you love me and to be kind to those that are helping us prepare for that wonderful day. And please care, just a little bit, about our wedding. I want to make choices together since that’s what we will be doing for the rest of our eternity. If we can’t work together for a wedding, how can we possibly do anything else. Remind me to have patience. I have so many wedding ideas I’ve fallen in love with already like every other girl on the planet, but most of all I just want it to be a day I share with you. And also I want lots of dancing. And pictures. And a trillion ring. And a knee-length wedding dress. And of course a temple marriage.

If I had three wishes/ I tell you what they’d be/ If I had three wishes/ You would be all three

Someday, I will be a wife. I feel like this is what I’m least prepared for out of all of these roles. I don’t know how to be a wife. Still, I look forward to it and the way your last name will sound with my first. I’m excited for our adventures. I will apologize now for my lack of knowledge when it comes to cooking. I can follow a recipe and cook well, it’s just that I don’t cook often or make many different things. I’m going to try though and I hope you will join me. Actually, you better join me. Cooking and cleaning are going to be team efforts. Deal? Also I hope you love reading. I want to go to bookstores and not be rushed. I you to look at the books and gets just as lost in different worlds as I do. It’s magic. I hope you will preside over our household, protect me and love me always. I hope we never raise our voices and everything we do is out of love. I know it won’t be perfect but I think we can be amazing together. One more thing: kiss me everyday. And let others see it sometimes. Oh and…

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance….I hope you dance.

Someday, I will be a mother. I don’t know how many kids I will have or if they will even be mine, but I will be a mother. I pray that I will be a good one. I also pray that you will be a good father. I pray for our children. I pray for the world they will have to grow up in, likely worse than the one we had. In one of my sociology classes, I learned that the parenting structure for the lowest risk of juvenile delinquency is with the parents in equal power, the father slightly more. This better be the way it is. Parenting is a team effort. I want my children to be raised steadfast with love and in the gospel. I learned from an example once, of a man who never grounded his children. When they did something wrong, he would sit down with them, tell him he loved them and then talk about how they can fix their mistakes. I aspire to be like this. I never want to be angry with my children. They are just children. They are children of Heavenly Father that I have been given permission and responsibility to watch over. I hope we make time for family everyday: family prayers, family scriptures, family laughing and family love.

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

With all of these things, I want to be like the mothers of the stripling warriors, like Eve, like Heavenly Mother. I want to be the best that I can be and continually improving. I know I can be too. With patience and love, with teaching and learning, with honesty and integrity, and other Christlike attributes, I will become.

I see my mother kneeling with our family each day.
I hear the words she whispers as she bows her head to pray.
Her plea to the Father quiets all my fears,
And I am thankful love is spoken here.
Be sweet, parakeet!
❤ Annee

Two Sides of the Same Coin

I am confident. I am beautiful. I am talented. I am the best at a lot of things and constantly getting better at others. I perform well. I nailed a combination in ballet today and it felt great. My teacher definitely saw and was proud. My standard walks are better than a lot of people which is why Sister Reed doesn’t always have comments for me. Yesterday, I saved a bee from getting squished. It was grateful. I carry a mini disco ball in my purse because anywhere Annee goes is a party. I wear bright colors together and patterns that don’t match because only I can pull it off. I have the best collection of music, 2224 songs and counting. I can make civil war jokes to my southern friends, the worst puns and be sassy to my teachers and get away with it all. People laugh. People think I’m funny. think I’m funny. I’m a friend to everyone I meet. I don’t judge people. I’m kind. I read my scriptures every night and say my prayers every day and make them meaningful. I am a great big sister. I am patient. I am persistent. I don’t give up. I work hard. Tonight I could’ve gone to dance where I would’ve been asked to dance more than the majority of girls there because I’m a good dancer and have a lot of friends and people can see that I know how to dance. There were people there expecting me to be there. I make delicious food and give it to people struggling with things. I’ll invited them over when I know they’re having a hard day and give them treats. Nothing scares me. I’m different from everyone else with things like my favorite animal being a dinosaur and this makes me unique and worth something. I have a place here. There is a reason I am here and I want to be here.

I am weak. I’m not beautiful. I have no talents. I’m not good at the things I enjoy like dancing. My teachers don’t always give me tips because they don’t watch me or think there’s no hope for me improving. My clothes look stupid. Everyone pretends to like me and can’t stand me. I’m just as annoying as a  fly on a summer day. No one really wants me around them. I judge people too harshly. I gossip too much and it gets around. Everyone knows I gossip. I start rumors. I’ve almost dated so many guys. There isn’t anyone I’m meant to be with. No one would ever want me.  I’m rude and too honest with people. People laugh at me, not with me. People make fun of me, the way I talk, the way I dress, the way I act. I can’t make it through a three hour block of church. I don’t understand or focus enough when I read my scriptures. My prayers are redundant. I’m impatient. I give up so easily on everything, and I already know I won’t succeed in life. I don’t know why I’m still here. I suck at dancing. I’m not good at writing, or teaching or any of the things that I love. Nobody wants to be around me. My ideas are stupid. I weigh too much and eat too many unhealthy things. People notice and judge me for it. People can see right through me and everyone knows about my illnesses. My family thinks I’m stupid. My doctors find me annoying. I am worthless, not worth anyone’s time, money or anything else. I shouldn’t be here. I would be better off dead or not existing.

Maybe two, Kangaroo!

❤ Annee

The Most Spectacular Show On Earth

“Life goes on with fragile normalcy.” —Sara Gruen

The circus has always held a certain kind of magic for me. There’s something about the sound, the lights, the smells, the animals and the performances that enlighten my soul. I’ve been to a few circuses in my life and at one I got to ride an elephant which is definitely a highlight considering that elephants are my second favorite animal (Side note: they used to be my favorite. Even my baby blanket had elephants on it. But dinosaurs have taken over.) I just really love the circus. I love movies, books, songs, whatever when they talk about the circus. Water For Elephants is one of my favorite books and movies that I could just read/watch over and over again. The Night Circus too was amazing and I wish it could be real. If I could make one fictional place come to life it would be The Night Circus. The magic that’s in that book is so enchanting. I think one thing that gets me about circus books is that they’re always so well written and full of poetic prose.

I have a friend with whom for several years we’ve talked about running away with the circus later on when we’re older. I don’t know about him, but I’ve always legitimately considered it when we talk about it. We’d always discuss the different things we’d like to do in the circus. I always leaned towards caring for the elephants while he wanted to train the lions and tigers.

Lately though, I have been seriously considering running away with the circus.

Here’s the thing, I am going to school, have a minor and major both of which I love and will support me throughout my life. I have plans to go to Grad school and get my Masters and I have plans to have a family. I look forward to all of these things greatly and all that. But what if there’s something more. I’m the kind of person that longs for adventure. I also consider the smallest of things, such as reverse puddle jumping to be a pretty grand adventure. I like having fun in life and making ordinary things extraordinary by doing the things and saying the things no one expects to happen. When I walk through Wal Mart with my friends I like to pick up the pool noodles and whack them over the head and then run away and play hide and seek. I like to blow bubbles as I sit in class. I like to wear brightly colored clothes with strange combinations of colors or patterns just to be different. The circus would be a very grand adventure. It could be amazing, or it could suck. But it’s something I really want to experience. Even if I could just get hired on for one season. It’s something I’d love to try. I’d love to go to a circus in Europe too, just to be even more unique.

So I’ve come to the conclusion in recent weeks that if in a few years, I’m finished with school and not married still and don’t have any huge prospective opportunities appearing before me and nothing tying me down, I’ll do it. I’ll run away with the circus. That all being said, I might have totally turned in a few applications online today just to see what happens. Who knows, maybe when I wake up tomorrow, there’ll be a circus on my doorstep whisking me away. When all else fails, I’ll just join the circus.

Be benevolent, dear elephant!

❤ Annee