Two Roads.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. -Robert Frost

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fifty Shades is Abuse Frankly, it disgusts me. Society pays a price when we teach men to be turned on by women in pain. 89% of scenes in mainstream pornography today depict violence against women and this is spilling over into the mainstream media. As a result, sexual violence is on the rise in our military, in our best universities, and on the street. When we make violence sexy, it is no wonder that these are the consequences we face. These books perpetuate the rape culture that so many, especially recent, have been trying to deal with. The main character is in fact raped in the book and women are fawning over Grey as a romantic hero. It sets women's suffrage back 50 years. It is disheartening. Women cannot expect to fight for rights and then hand them back by telling men that this type of behavior is OK. It is so far from OK.
Even the BDSM culture is upset with the books, because it portrays it incorrectly. Author E.L. James has often insisted that Fifty Shades of Grey is wildly popular not because of its titillating trappings of transgression, but because it tells a simple love story for the ages. But this is a romance for a particular kind of age — a time of growing inequality. The social order is breaking up and leaving massive human wreckage in its wake. Dreams of love turn into fantasies of power – who has it and what they can do to those who don’t have it. "I’ve long struggled to define feminism, but if 50 Shades of Grey makes the cut, then feminism is dead and buried. Surely the movement is worthless if it won’t loudly reject a book about a woman’s adventures in being manhandled and used by an emotionally stunted playboy." -Matt Walsh

Saturday, May 9, 2015


So, every year on Mother's Day I post a lengthy, crazy comment about how awesome my mom is. This year for some reason there is a deeper nagging sensation. A keen sense of awareness that she is so far away. And I wish I could do more. With my mom in Uganda it makes it difficult to spoil her like I wish I could. Cards and gifts have all gotten lost in the mail process. We have a saying TIA (this is Africa) to explain away such situations. I have started writing posts about her on Twitter. She has a Twitter account, but isn't the most tech savvy. Not to mention internet in Uganda is spotty to say the least. But if she did she will have seen my #shesmyhero comments. The most recent of tweets was: Nicole Mills @NicoleMills85 · May 8 My mom has no idea how awesome she is, but she should #shesmyhero
Growing up my childhood was blessed in many ways, but not always the easiest. We struggled. She was a single parent raising twin daughters. I watched her struggle with her self worth and body image, working long hours to make ends meet. It broke my heart. We fought constantly growing up mainly due to my extreme stubbornness. But I remember we were always going on amazing adventures. We traveled constantly. We explored Mexican villages, panned for gold in the Colorado river, went horse back riding on a working farm ranch, braved the rapids...through it all I listened to my mom talk about her incredible dreams. She spoke of flying over the jungles of Africa in a black and orange plane. She never forgot to tell us we were born to dream big. I remember her saying, "if your dreams seem possible, then you aren't dreaming big enough." Most of the time she tried to not let it show, but I watched her continue to struggle; barely making ends meet. I remember always wanting to make her proud. I worked hard in school and athletics. I worked to find my place in the big wide world. When I accomplished my goals of being an Air Force Academy Prep I assumed my life was set. My perfect plan was in place. And then everything came crashing down. I was hospitalized and then medically disqualified and sent home. I felt like I had let everyone down, especially my mom and grandparents. I was suppose to do big things and I had no back-up plan in place. While my life was falling apart it seemed like those around me were progressing on the opposite path. During my short stint back at home before returning to college, the main topic of conversation in my family was my mom going to Africa. She had nothing holding her in the states anymore with my sister and I both moving onto live our adult lives. I didn't realize how serious the conversation was until then next thing I knew my mom sold and gave away most everything she had, packed two 70 lb suitcases and got on a plane. I was left in...awe. She had done it. She had really done it. Just like that. The conceptual idea of "living out one's purpose and dreams" was suddenly being done right before my eyes. I was never more proud or scared. It was the best thing that could have happened for her (other than me and my sisters :) ). Even at this point things were still a little conceptual for me with her being half a world away. Until I got an email while at college. It was from my mom basically stating that she and another woman had been abandoned in Uganda and needed a contact. They were in the North and this was 2005. The War the World Forgot was still on-going with Kony and the LRA. ( ) My mom ended up living with a local family in a three room house, with no running water, or bathrooms for the next 8 months. At the end of 2005, I was home from college and she was visiting for the holidays. I was miserable. I had not been able to produce a new dream or plan for my life. I decided to go to Africa with my mom. My reasoning was that if I didn't have a dream, I would help her build hers. I needed to be a part of something bigger than myself. My mom's dream was HUGE. I know she was shocked when I told her because I will never forget the look on her face. "Are you sure, Nikki," she asked. I answered honestly, "no." But I had made my decision. We landed in Uganda and as we got onto the bus to go to Kampala, the landscape began rolling by. The dirt was distinctively Uganda red and the sky was a clear pollution-less blue. I didn't even notice my mom looking at me, but she just very quietly said, "you love it, don't you." I nodded. I did. I was in love with Africa already and it was impossible to explain. But, now I understood. My mother's passion suddenly became tangible and real. She had a calling on her life to go to Africa and she was here. She was home. My mother's and my relationship changed forever that year. I finally had clarity that growing up the reason we butted heads so often was that we were just alike. It is always a humbling time in one's life when they reach that point in adulthood and realize their parent was right. I saw my mother in a capacity I never had the honor to before. She lit up in this world, even on the hard days and there were a lot of them (TIA). She showed me what it meant to have faith. To know that no matter the circumstances things weren't just going to be OK, they already were. I got to witness her have big vision (and then leave it to me to figure out the logistics). There isn't a Starting an African Nonprofit and Building a Village 101 handbook. We took it one day at a time. I learned how precious and fragile life is and to tell her I love her everyday. I learned there is a reason to dream big outside of one's own self because the world needs it. Not everyone is called to Africa. I am not, but it will forever hold a very special place in my life and heart. 10 years later she is still there and I have four amazing sisters added to our family circle that I wouldn't trade for the world. Living in Africa with my mother changed everything. I attribute a lot of who I am today because of the decision to help my mother build her dreams. We are still building. We will continue to build. She will continue to be my hero and never really understand the depths of how or why. She defines beauty and courage. She is the person you hear stories about, out changing the world. But that is MY mother. Being able to say that is hugely humbling. For God to have blessed my life with an example of "possible" is an honor. She is far from perfect, but I prefer it that way. Mother's Day is my favorite holiday because of the mother I have. In a way this is a vain attempt at a thank you. So, thank you mom. You are amazing. You are strong. You are powerful. You are courageous. You are beautiful. You are MY mother. I love you. #shesmyhero