Tuesday, December 27, 2011


As this year creeps to a close, my mind turns naturally to the past year. This year has been quite a whirlwind. I want to share some things I learned and experienced this year. (These will be out of order, but put as they come to me.)

New York, New York! This year, my family had a huge change. My dad started a job in NYC. It has been totally different. He started in September, and it's been a blast. Still, having him gone in the City all week has been kinda weird. But we've had a ton of fun going back and forth, and I'm a total pro on the train now. :)

Maddie's journey and baptism!
This year, I met a wonderful girl who was investigating the Church. We became great friends, and I'm grateful for her friendship. She had quite a journey, and I was so excited to see her finally baptized by Anthony in December. I love you, Maddie!

Concerts, musicals, and more concerts! This year, I went to my first concert - Owl City (with Matt Kearney). Then it went crazy. I followed that up with "Night of Joy" at WDW, seeing many bands, including Jeremy Camp and Newsboys. Then, I saw Owl City yet again, and was introduced to Days Difference at that show. I LOVE THEM. In the musical sphere, I saw Les Miserables national tour and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and The Lion King on Broadway. I went to The Hit at the Hale in Orem with BYU. I also got to see Poolesville's Suessical the Musical, Shakepeare Troupe's Midsummer Night's Dream (Excellent), and the Junior and Gaithersburg Troupe shows. :) So fun.

Shady Grove Academy- All I Need to Say. This year was the last half of the first school year of SGA. It has been so amazing. We have an awesome group of kids, great teachers, totally fun classes that are a whole mess of work. I've learned so much. With SGA in 2011, I've studied US history, US government, chemistry, journalism, American literature, European history, European literature, Spanish, algebra II, human geography, environmental science, knitting, sewing, and baking. I've taken part in 5 AP classes, and gotten good scores on the 2 AP exams I took in the spring. I also took the US history SAT subject test and received a VERY satisfying score. I've gone to Philly, the Federal Reserve Board :), and the water quality testing lab. I've collected data at the cemetery. I've had all manner of chemicals in my garage. I've had kids do dissections in my basement. I've participated in a tavern debate about whether or not to ratify the Constitution, the trial of Louis XIV, an Enlightenment Salon, the trial of Nathaniel Bacon. I've played countless games on Bubbabrain. I've spent time with some wonderful kids. I've learned so much about life and the world.

SHOWS! I got to be a part of so many amazing shows this year. I already wrote a post a mile long about Little Women, but I'll give it a shout out: BEST SENIOR TROUPE SHOW EVER. I also was able to be a part of Dance Intensive, an auditioned dance troupe, with a focus on modern dance for the 2010-2011 season. THAT was a blast. We had 8 of the best kids I've ever met. Our numbers were a blast. (Especially the 13 minute one.) I was also a part of an Irish step class (soft shoe), a Broadway choir, and an amazing Advanced Tap class with an insane teacher who I love to pieces. I also went to Theatre Camp yet again, and was a part of Crazy for You (for the second time). This time I had Irene for a scene - which was an adventure. I learned so much about myself through  that experience. I'm grateful for that.

I don't have a picture for this, but I learned so much about myself in general. I had some really high highs, and some really low lows. I got kicked in the face, but I always had those amazing experiences to balance it out. This year, I loved with more than I ever thought possible, and I can honestly say I know I was loved in return. I actually learned better what that word means. I lost things, and people, I valued. I saw people move on, I welcomed people in. I was a helping hand, and for one of the first times, I let others help me too. I was taught. I felt the hand of the Lord. I'm so, SO grateful for all I've learned in 2011. I hope and pray that 2012 will be another year of growth, that I will be able to take the hits as they come, and that I will be able to recognize the blessings and lessons. I love my Heavenly Father. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I love my family, my friends. I love my teachers and leaders. I love you!

Blessings to you and yours for 2012,

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Overpopulation - a Thought.

I'm taking two classes this year that are actually very similar: AP Environmental Science and AP Human Geography. APES is an applied science, focusing on how we USE biology, chemistry, and geology in our interactions with the environment. AP HuG is not as much physical geography, but where people are in relation to each other, the study of culture and the impact it has on our use of land/resources and interactions with one another. I'm not normally a science person, but I am a government person. I am LOVING these classes! I basically am learning the science behind the policy issues we hear about all the time, like poverty, pollution, water use, energy, language, religion, terrorism, and population. It's SO COOL! (And it makes learning about biogeochemical cycles more bearable. Seriously, "bio"-"geo"-"chemical"... That includes EVERYTHING! Geez.) What I'm thinking about right now is a sensitive issue, as we just reached another mile stone- 7,000,000,000. Yup. I'm talking about population growth.

Here's a cool video by National Geographic about Baby 7 Billion.

Now, you all know I'm a pro-lifer, but I'm also a skeptic. I can't take information at face value. There is more to the story. (That's another reason why I love history.) Malthus' theory of population growth is no different. Thomas Malthus was alive at the time of English Industrial Revolution, and he saw the growing difference between the rich and poor. He also saw cities that were crowded and DIRTY. The death rate was falling while the birth rate was remaining high. His thought was that it would continue that way until there was not enough food for everyone on earth. Well, he was right to be concerned, but here is a video of the Demographic Transition Model. Malthus was alive in Stage 2 Britain. Today, most developed countries are in Stage 4/Stage 5. Malthus took a good guess, but he wasn't as good of a fortune-teller as he thought the world would be out of food by 1890.

Here is a video by the Population Research Institute about our global growth rate. They've got one of these good news/bad news deals. Good news: we are not going to run out of resources due to OVERpopulation. Bad news: in 25 years, our population with peak, and by the end of the century, we will be to losing 1 billion people every 20 YEARS! Wow! With individuals living longer lives AND our growth rate shrinking, we cannot afford to lose the most valuable resource - human lives. We will end up with more adults that are unable to work than young people able to support them.

If our world CAN support all of us, then why is there hunger? Again, the PRI made a great video about both hunger and poverty. I hope that we can try our best to solve REAL problems, not imagined ones. Can we please build infrastructure and reduce conflicts to insure the access of food? Can we not give government handouts, but provide job training to those in poverty? The "Overpopulation Theory" is a form of eugenics - "There needs to be less of YOU so there can be more FOR me."

This also gets into the issue of women's rights. Does she have the right to have children? Does she have the right to have girl babies? Does she have the right to be here at all? But I'll save this discussion for another post. (Now you're all dying to know where I'm going with this, aren't you?)

We've got a lot of problems on this world, but overpopulation isn't one of them. But, greed, abortion, war, and lack of mature discussion are.

Think about it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


(By Sarah Sheets – 7/2/11)