upcoming adventures

I have exactly one week until I’m taking one of the largest adventures I’ve ever had.

In one week, at this time, I will be on a plane, on my first international trip, on my first missions trip,  heading to Cusco, Peru!

It all feels pretty surreal…I signed up for this in  February, not sure if I’d make the team or not, and then a few weeks later I got the call that I made the team if I was still interested! That was an exciting day, I walked around the house making disbelieving squeaking happy noises for a good hour or so until it sank in more. 🙂 Eight months later, lots of fundraising and prayers and times seeing God working…It’s almost here. I know this trip is going to be a huge learning experience and I’m super excited for that, it has been already in a lot of ways. We had to raise about $2,200 over the eight months of prep, and the church sending us didn’t want us to pay anything out of pocket if at all possible. So I prayed a lot, and nervously sent out support letters… And was amazed. So many many people started sending in support and sweet letters and prayers, all of the love that I received from people completely blew me away. There were a few times were the numbers weren’t quite as high as they should’ve been at that point, and I’d get nervous, and talk to God about it, and every. single. time. more support would come in a day or so later. So grateful and blessed and just amazed. Also prayers, it’s funny, but you can very definitely feel when people are praying for you and I’m so grateful for people taking their time to talk to God about this trip and myself.

This whole process has been very humbling so far.

About the trip! Myself and 11 other people are flying down to Cusco, Peru, and we’ll be there for 12 days. We’re helping out one of the missionary family the church supports, in whatever way they need help. So far we’re probably looking at a VBS, construction, working with kids… and who knows what else they have for us. It’ll be good.

I love seeing new things. I love Spanish, which is the prevalent language down there. I love working with people to get to know them. I love watching God work . I love working with people and seeing God work together. I’ve never been in a different culture like this and I’m excited. I’m not nervous at all so far, that normally doesn’t happen to me until I’m on the way to places, but I’m not expecting to be nervous as much as just excited.

I’ll let you guys all know how it goes once I get back, 🙂

blessings,

me

 

My Twin 

My bestie was born today, a whole bunch of years ago that she prolly wouldn’t appreciate me sharing, so you’re going to have to wonder how old she really is for ever and ever. Mwahaha. But the number is not what this is about, it’s about the person.

She’s the Jorge to my Zorrina Rodriga Gabriella Gichino. She’s the alpaca to my Deer. The old soul to my child’s heart. The planner to my random. The vintage elegance to my homeless chic. 😉 The Grace to my Gracie. She’s the friend who I’ve probably gone through the most life stuff with, cried with, stayed up waaaaaaaay too late with, gone on adventures with, sat on the kitchen floor spinning plastic cups with late at night, cooked with, stressed with, laughed with, sang with, driven all over the place with, made inside jokes with, and I could go on and on.

What do I love about her?

1. Her smile! And her laugh! It makes me so happy. And the fact that she’s so ridiculously photogenic… Not even funny. And her hairrr… To die for.

 

 

2. Her love of beauty. I love listening to her viewpoints on beautiful things, because she notices different things than I do, so it’s really cool to hear the different perspective. ❤

3. Her responsibility and attention to detail. Honestly, she’s one of the most responsible people I’ve ever known, and she’s really good at doing the right thing even when it’s the hard thing, and it’s inspiring. She’s also great at noticing and remembering all the little details that I forget are even there, and takes care of them fabulously.

4. She makes yummy food! So. Freaking. Yummy. Although lately she’s been doing this thing called Make Super Yummy Things When Gracie Is Not Around, and posts pictures of them, and I just sit and drool in my sugar deprived little cave and try to figure out just how fast could I drive over.

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5. Her sense of adventure/adrenaline junkie. She likes roller coasters! And driving! And playing volleyball! And roadtrips! And surprising me at work! And tickling me to make me squeak! And she still loves me even  after I accidentally slam my forearm into her face…

6. Her love for her family/friends.

She has one of the coolest relationships with her family that I know of, and she’s veeeerrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyy protective of all of her people. She goes out of her way to help/show love to them, and it’s really beautiful.

7. Her loyalty.

8. Her listening ears. She’s always listened to me whenever I’m stressed or needed to rant or just talk things over, and even if she has no idea what to say back to me, or has no idea what I’m talking about, she still always manages to make me feel heard and find some sort of really great advice to give.

9. Her hard working heart. This woman is a machine. I don’t know many other people who work for as hard as she works for as long as she works. She gets stuff done in an efficient and beautiful way. And we normally have fun while we’re working, which is also great. 🙂

10. Her love for old things and crazy hats.

11. Sometimes she doesn’t like my ideas but she goes along with them anyways, and  it normally ends up being hilarious and we get good laughs out of it.

12.She shares her niece! So, a few years ago we decided that we were twins, and actually convinced people of the fact, and then she had a niece! and that niece is the cutest doll ever. And because we’re twins, that makes her niece my niece-ish. So she’s the official aunt and I’m the Auntish. It’s great.

Annual CAMA camp selfies…

 

Fun fact, I used to be terrified of her when I was little because there’s a couple years age gap between us and so she was one of the “big kids” while I was a “little kid”, but then we both grew up a bit more, and I learned that she was actually really cool.

I could go on and on about all the things I love about her, but I’m going to stop here….

Happiest of birthdays my sweet friend! I’m grateful for your existence and for your friendship, here’s to all the future adventures! 😀 Love you lots and lots. ❤

 

open hands

 A girl once was troubled, for she held things too tight,
Day in and day out a battle she’d fight.
Clinging to poison she thought would bring joy,
Not realizing eventually it her would destroy.
‘Til one day she tired and released her tight hold,
Her neck she hung, her tears they flowed
Her knuckles grew straight and her heart lost its load.
She strove to stay soft, but her stiffness would return
(You’d think that by now this girl would have learned)
Her fears kept crawling back, grabbing her throat
The things she would lose! On her skin this they wrote:
“You can’t trust Him! He takes all away!
What even for? Clench your hands! He won’t say!”
But the girl had learned, at least this one thing;
When your heart’s filled with Him, only then can it sing.
The sadness was there, but He lifted her up,
He replaces those things she was scared to forget,
His hands quiet her fears, He drank her poison cup.
Her hands too grow soft, unclench, and tears flow
Misty eyes meet His gaze, He loves me?
Tis so.
-e.g.h

brought out

So, I’ve actually started quite a few blogs, and I literally just “refound”, if you will, one of the ones I had last year.   I still like it, so you all get to see it today. 🙂

 

Lately I’ve been thinking about beauty. I’ve been seeing posts and tweets and pins about this, and normally I don’t pay much attention to them, but as of late they caught my eye and got me thinking about this subject in more depth. I noticed that much, if not all, of what I saw labeled as beautiful was flawless, photoshopped, artificially enhanced. Altered. Which I’m not saying is bad, I love editing pictures and appreciate perfection and aesthetics.
But it made me think of beauty that normally isn’t recognized; the painful, the small, the overlooked type. The melancholy sort of beauty.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the happy beauty; the perfect symmetry of someone’s face and a flawless smile, a perfectly arranged bouquet, photoshopped eyes that are absolutely breathtaking, a textbook perfect moment, but I also love the other types of beautiful things.

The beauty of holding someone as they cry, seeing their tear stained face, and all of their emotions churning just below the surface of their reddened and moist eyes. The rawness. The realness. When someone trusts you enough to pour out all of the ugly problems and messes in their life, that is also beauty, just a different type. Little flowers growing on top of boulders. Patterns in the mud, an imperfect smile, a homely face but a beautiful soul. Crooked teeth, large noses, lips that are “too big”, different shades of skin, eyes that aren’t symmetrical. People rambling on and on about completely random things, vulnerability, shiny glints in granite, vocal and “clumsy” prayers that are completely honest and open. These are beautiful.

Weakness, there’s just something alluring about it.Watching someone break and realize that they can’t do it alone and that they need to lean on their Savior. Brokenness.
Emotional goodbyes. Sadness. Even though it stinks, it still shows you that you can care and feel, that you’re alive. Abandoned houses, broken windows, peeling paint. Imperfectly sanded objects and ripped jeans from being on your knees. Calloused hands. Graveyards with crumbling memories and strong
emotions. Scars, they show that you’ve overcome. Worn and broken books, specifically Bibles, coffee stains and taped pages. An open manifestation of grief. The moment when you honestly don’t care what people will think and worship and pray with wild abandon. The hard times that shape your story and mold you into who you are.

Missing friends, the heartache that is evidence that you care. Broken down cars by the side of the road with windows smashed in and glass glittering, fallen trees that were once majestic but are now giving back, muddy riverbeds, swamps with all of their secrets, when a fictional character dies and your heart goes through an emotional blender. Piles of leaves gathered up like old memories, chipped teacups, and gruff voices. Finding bones in the woods, cleansing tears, shattered mirrors.

I love those happy, perfect moments and people, but I also love this melancholy beauty. I like imperfection and odd things as much as I do perfection; being different makes you irreplaceable, and so often we’re told to be the same as everyone else. But rawness is intriguing. Such a mystery.  I love it. So wild and imperfect, and yet it is perfect in it’s imperfection, and I’m grateful.

almost endings and new roads

i have only 21 days until i’m in my last year of “teenagerhood”; 19.

It’s kind of scary in a way to me; I’ve always viewed 19 as that age in between childhood and formal adult-ish hood, and almost all of my friends have had something huge happen in their 19th year. I’m excited and apprehensive at the same time. On new years i sat in my room rereading journals from the past year, breathless to see 2016 and also terrified of entering this new year.  I love new adventures and doing new things, but I’m also scared of that first plunge to do so.

It’ll be good though. I’m excited for this year.

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Also, I’ve almost finished my first moleskine journal (journal/notebook #68), and have gotten a new one to start on my birthday. That is of no importance to you readers but is simply a little fact about yours truly. 🙂 I think by writing things down, so then the thoughts are tangible and I can analyze, look at, and interpret them. Plus it’s always lovely to look back at them and see all of the memories and previous thought processes.

Turning back to the title of this post, I drove new roads this month! I got to drive down to Cannon Beach, Oregon for the first time and visit some friends. Between the 3 1/2 hour drive (new roads that I’d never driven before!!), the ocean, meeting new people, visiting with old friends, seeing new places, and the ocean and sky and beautiful Oregon coffee… my soul was quite happy.

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My apologizes for the crummy picture quality; my ipod camera is blind and my DSLR is having issues at the moment.

 

blessings,

me

my moon

Tonight I stood outside in the dark and wind, freshly washed bare feet sinking into the grass. My moon was not there because the rain clouds still lingered, and so I said a prayer and decided that I have wind and water entwined very deeply somewhere in my soul. 

lent: the journey

This year I’ve decided I want to observe Lent. It technically started yesterday, but I’m joining in today. Better late than never. From what I understand, Lent is a time of denying yourself unnecessary indulgences and reconnecting with God through that time (correct me if I’m wrong, please. )

It’s 40 days long, from February 10 to March 27, and on Sundays you have Feast days, where your fasts are broken for the day, to start again on Monday.

What am I giving up and committing  to do this Lent?

  • I’m giving up checking my social media on my mobile device, and using that time for better things.
  • I’m going to pray mindfully instead of repeated words and phrases.
  • I’m giving up sugar and rich foods totally!
  • I’m also going to do a word/bible study. I don’t know what it is yet though, still praying about that.
  • I have a personal struggle that I’m giving up for these 40 days.
  • I’m also doing a word/photo challenge specifically for Lent, I’ll be posting and blogging about it here and I’ll be striving to be faithful in that.

Keep me accountable!

Today’s photo and word is Journey.

desires

There’s a verse in the Bible that goes, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

At first, this is a super great incentive for praying just to selfishly get what you want and think that you can fool God by being spiritual to get stuff.

But then you start to look at that one part, “take delight in the Lord”, to apply it, to know Him,  and as you do that, the desires of your heart change.

You fall in love with this God of yours. You want to please Him. You want to seek Him. You want His will to be done in your life. You’re blown away by His love and goodness.

You find that the things that you thought you wanted no longer have a place in your heart, and have been replaced by something else, you want to do what God wants.

And it is good.

Praise Him.

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another

Another Christmas.

Another day waking up with a smile to hearing my siblings gasping and squealing at the sheer amount of presents beneath the tree. Waking up to smell bacon and eggs and cinnamon rolls filling the house, stumbling out of bed to sit on the couch in my pajamas, sleepy eyes.

This holiday returns again, with wrapping paper and gifts covering our floor in a mini deluge, everyone reading their new books or playing quietly with their toys, even the grumpy ones (who we still love). Christmas carols and decorations and family and tea and surprises. It’s a beautiful time of year.

Although, there is a sad side to this. The songs can be obnoxious, the people can be rude, maybe people don’t appreciate your efforts outwardly as much as you would like, and having the buildup all coming down to one day which doesn’t meet up to your huge idealistic expectations can be remarkably disappointing. Maybe everyone isn’t happy. Maybe you’re exhausted and just want to go hole up in a cave away from humanity, tinsel, and all things red and green. The christmas depression. I’ve gotten it before too. And do I have a perfect answer for this? No. I don’t.

But, what I have found out, and what I’ve been working on putting into practice, is focusing on other people instead of myself. Because isn’t that what Christmas is supposed to be about? Celebrating Christ’s birth (yes, to all homeschoolers, I know He wasn’t born in December) and instead of seeing what we can get from other people, seeing what we can give to other people.  Once you get your mind off of yourself and focus on serving others, making their day as wonderful as you can, it fills yourself up in a way as well. I love how that works. It feels way better than trying to make your own life as perfect as possible without any regard for anyone else.

anywho, there’s my thought for you today, have a wonderful Christmas.

love,

me

 

thankful

    

 I’m thankful for late night talks, friends from all over the country and world, frosty mornings, a warm fire. I’m thankful for long hugs, smiles from strangers, courtesy waves, tea in the morning. I’m thankful for my siblings and parents-my built in friends, teachers, encouragers, and comedy relief. I’m thankful for reconciliation, becoming close with old friends, and making new ones. I’m thankful for the wonderful people God has brought into my life who have shaped me into who I am. I’m thankful for people who let me listen to them, the stars, cranberries, mountains, mulled cider. Laughing til your stomach hurts, silly faces, snuggling with siblings, a worn bible. Pickles and picnics, long walks, common ground, chocolate, redeeming love, sanctification.  There is so much to be grateful for.