She Stood in Front of a Room

13226690_857414189742_3629267896197706555_nby Mallory Huber

She stood in front of a room of mostly familiar faces as she explained to them the journey that God has brought her on in a single month. “Fairy tales are real, not in that they show you the existence of dragons but in that they show you your dragons can be defeated.” Her words echo in my soul even 9 days later as I try to encapsulate a trip of experience and beauty into sufficient words. The picture of her fruit tree resonates in my heart as I attempt to explain the depth of what she has learned and how much deeper she can and will go.

She stood in front of a room with her art project, a tree with a trunk of blue and top of pink. Each fruit different but meaningful. A lemon, hanging next to the strawberry, representing “Light” as this past month she has learned that to bring her fears into the light and to understand them is a good thing because everyone has fears and to know them is a part of the healing process. Pumpkins next to cherries, and apples next to watermelons, each exemplifying her healing process.

She stood in front of a room as an act of defiance against her past and that which tries to keep her bound. She stood there as an act of redemption. The first girl to enter the program, known as “A.” Perhaps more than just because her name starts with an “A.” Perhaps because she is first, but more will come after her. She is alpha pointing to the true Alpha and Omega, who has and will truly bring redemption to her.

She stood in front of a room at HD, and she let me partake in the beginnings of a new ritual for them. A ritual that time does not get to control. Yes, it was this celebration of a graduation of one month down, but time will not dictate when the journey is ended. Healing and redemption and the great Author of the Faith will dictate this.

She stood in front of a room as a symbol of the journey. She stood as a symbol that seemingly began with 7 years of prayer. This journey started many years ago with a vision and prayer, and she stands as fruition of that. No, time does not get to dictate. He is only a supporting character in this story. Each lady who walks through that door will be there because it is a part of her story of healing, stories written by One who perfects and orders time itself. She stood in front of a room, and all I could do was be in awe.

Mallory is a dear friend, and I’m so grateful she visited, sharing both her silliness and her wisdom.  Referenced here was her participation in HD’s first Celebration Week.

Adventurous, Not Dangerous

When I die, I want this video playing on my holographic tombstone.

Hahahahaa, I imagine that very few people will find this as hilarious as I do, but one of those people is Mallory, my amazing friend who shares my dumb sense of humor.  I’m so glad she visited and agreed that THIS was the best way to document our adventures.

Enjoy 2 minutes and 20 seconds of the dumbest jokes in the history of idiocy!

Sam Gamgee the Loyal and Me (Guest Post)

by Mallory Huber

In 2014 as a naive 26 year old, I took on the task of reading The Lord of the Rings for the first time in my life; and my world was rocked. I knew immediately that I had to marathon the movies and that I had to research and that I had to learn Elvish and that I had to figure out the personality types of each character. I imagine that people read The Lord of the Rings, and they spend years of their life thinking about which character they would be if transported into the story. They enter the world in their mind and frolick to and fro throughout Middle Earth as a part of the Fellowship, striking down Balrogs or dropping rings in flaming pits. Surprisingly I’ve actually spent zero time thinking about it. I know exactly who I would be. 

Sam Gamgee, my friends. I am Sam Gamgee.

greyhavens13I’m not a crier. I understand some people are and that they can’t make it through Hallmark commercials without balling their eyes out. I tend to keep my tears tucked away for a rainy day. And I was rather proud of myself for making it through my first LOTR marathon without crying. That is until the very last part. (If you haven’t seen the movies, you may just want to stop now because I will be ruining it for you.) The very last scene of The Return of the King is where Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin escort Bilbo to the shores because he has been offered invitation to the Grey Havens to be with the elves. They say their goodbyes as our four hobbits all stand by in sorrow and sadness. Gandalf says, “Here at the last on the shores of the sea comes the end of our friendship. I will not say, ‘Do not weep’ for not all tears are an evil.” (Oh my gosh. Stop. So beautiful.) As he turns to leave, he looks back once more to say, “It is time, Frodo.”

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The Story of a Friendship: Mallory and Tricia

76975_697022309930_7605879_nMallory and I both lived in Senegal at the same time, working for the same organization though in different cities.  She knew the girls I was working with, so occasionally we would all meet and hang out in the capital city of Dakar.  I got food poisoning from a sushi restaurant one weekend, and when I suggested she sleep in a different room because I would be vomiting all night, she said, “Nah, it’s fine,” and fell asleep.  Her chill reaction immediately made me want to be her friend.  Continue reading

Bizarre Celebrations with My Fatick Family

Nearly five years ago, I created this dance video while I was living in Senegal.  Today, I am traveling to Tennessee to visit a whole bunch of people who lent their groove thangs to the making of this work of art.

There’s so much I love about this video.  There are, of course, my hilarious and beautiful friends awkwardly dancing in restaurants, grocery stores, and on rooftops.  There are the “oh no, how do I fill this space?” moments where I single-handedly address the camera.  But mostly, I love how so much of my Senegal experience is captured in these tiny moments.

That’s the school room where Liz and I taught English and practiced the Kochibama skit with high school students.  That’s the rooftop where we sang hymns until the sun set and I couldn’t see anyone’s faces.  Those are the birthday decorations for Liz and Kim’s combined birthday party, hosted in the guest house in Dakar where I once had horrifying food sickness.  That’s my tiny bed with the mosquito netting I used regularly after hearing about a lizard snuggling into someone’s pillow.  Those are the pictures of friends I brought, assuming I would be paralyzed by home-sickness, only to find a new family in Fatick.

My Fatick family.  I shared life with them for five months, and that could have been the end.  But I love them, and five years later, I never want to stop hanging out with them.


My Brief Obsession with Soccer

I’ve never been very into televised sports (Olympics obviously exempted), but in the summer of 2014, the stars aligned and I became intensely invested in the World Cup.  That was the summer that Liz and Mallory and I were having a Senegal reunion, and I was annoyed by how often our text planning devolved into the two of them talking about soccer.  In a desperate attempt to fit in, I agreed to watch the USA vs. Portugal match.  I knew a girl I follow on tumblr was fanatical about “her son” Christiano Ronaldo, so I rooted for Portugal.  Although they lost, I was hooked on the game.

It was a perfect setup.  Liz was the soccer aficionado who could explain offside rules and eloquently describe the beauty of the long choreography that led to a goal.  Mallory was the man appreciator who responded “YESSS” to my texts of “take off your shirt!!”  I was particularly in love with Ronaldo (albeit briefly because of Portugal’s loss) and Mesut Ozil, who someone described as a big-eyed orphan boy, and my heart was gone.  Continue reading

“Romance” in Senegal

At a grocery store in Dakar, the Senegalese man bagging my boxes of cereal asked, “Your name?”

“Tricia,” I answered.  He stared at me.  “Uh, you can pronounce it Tree-see-a.”

“Tree-see-a!” he exclaimed.  “My name is Kuba.”

“Kuba?  Nice to meet you.”

“I enjoy you,” he said.

“Thanks.”  That was weird, I thought, but kind of nice.

“I love you,” Kuba said.

My brain short-circuited, so I fell back on the French phrase I’d been told was good for any situation.  “…Ce va?”

Kuba wouldn’t be distracted.  “Do you love me?”

“I just met you!” I said.  I grabbed my bags and walked as quickly as possible out of the store.  Continue reading