september 8th 

do emotions or logic make you tick? what do you first notice about people?


who or what do you first think about when you first open your eyes and take that conscious inhale in the morning? 

why do you stay up at night?

do you really believe that God has a plan laid out for you and you can’t mess it up? 

have you ever watched a plant grow and bear fruit and die and learned lessons from it?

have you ever sat under a tree and felt it’s comfort?

have you ever felt music while on a beach and you *desperately* wanted to run with complete abandon and dance, no matter who was there? did you regret later that you didn’t do it?

does a tomato smell red to you too? 

have you ever had so many thoughts and questions and FEELINGS and the desire to yell and also hide and shrink and grow and stomp in a dance and cry without caring, to go and run fast and dodge blows and feel adrenaline all AT ONCE rushing through your body so hard and overwhelmingly, that you simply sit there and listen to the person talking to you and shake? Or stare out the car window like nothing is actually happening?

do you like small talk or big talk? 

are you content with just feeling? or do you crave intensity? 

do you actually want to KNOW what people are thinking and how they process things and what their response is to different situations? what type of food they like? And why? 

what does their grandparents house smell like?

Mine smells like old wood and their laundry detergent and antique furniture and my grandpa’s hugs. 

how long can you spend with your grandparents before you get tired or they stop talking? 

did they pass down things to you? I inherited my grandpa’s love of writing (he was a Seattle Times reporter), my grandma’s love of gardening, good food, and collecting cardboard boxes so you have just the right box for whatever needs it. 

do you sit up late at night and look through your photo roll on your phone and relive every memory and choice there and come up with questions and curiosity?  

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lately 

Life 
Goes 

On.
It’s been awhile since I was here last…What has been going on lately? My life has turned around in ways I didn’t expect a few months ago, but it is good and how life is. Sometimes you need a push to get onto the right track, and first you’re tripping, but  then you hit your stride and enjoy it after awhile. I got a pretty hefty shove, but those are needed sometimes, and I’m enjoying the challenges and stepping closer to God. 

     A piece of what’s been happening lately? Realizations, lessons, reminders, ponderings…

    • If you ask me what my favorite _____ is, I’ll probably tell you three or so favorites in that category that I have. I don’t have many things that are simply one specific favorite. I never realized that until this week. 

    • Headphones are amazing. I completely forgot about their existence, and how much more intense listening to music through them is. It’s glorious.

     • Pain will nudge you closer to God. Often times when I get comfortable in His blessings, and when life is going well, I forget that I’m puny and not in control at all in any way. Enter pain and reality checks, and switching the focus to where it’s supposed to be. I’m grateful God is patient and that He cares enough to give us opportunities to get our focus right again. 

    • You’re afraid of what you judge. 

     • Catering leftovers are still amazing, sunsets remind me of people in how they’re each different and beautiful in their own way, and manchengo cheese is thoughtful and has a beautiful texture. 

    • As Christians, we’re free from fear. We’re told not to worry, be anxious, or to fret, or to be concerned, or whatever other word you use in place of worrying. Literally told to NOT do that. To live in fear is a choice, and conveys that you don’t trust God. We. don’t. have. to. pick. up. fear. God is bigger. We can’t change anything, when it comes down to it, so why not trust and lift your face to God, rather than clenching your fists and fretting. Easier said than done, but I think worth working towards. 

    • Francis Chan. His words are a blessing. Go listen to some. The end. 

     • Gardening is amazing, satisfying, makes me think of long term planning AND short time planning, builds a surprising amount of muscle, discipline, management, nurturing… and you get food from it!! No downside. Go make yo’self a garden. It’s a metaphor of so many aspects of life. I love how often it’s in the Bible. 

    • You can have amazing gifts, but if you don’t use them, they’re useless. Hone your skills, improve, don’t be lackadaisical, keep growing. 

    • White tea is delicious. Pear flavored white tea is not, but pretty much any other flavor is. 

    • I haven’t been writing much at all this summer bc of distractions and not prioritizing it, so I’m rediscovering/creating my voice, and it’s squashed in between my factual writing style and my more whimsical poetic style, it’s like puberty for writing. Blarg. It’s humerous and odd and awkward,  but just a season, so it’s been cracking me up. 

    So there you go, my neglected followers, little random updates. 

-me 

10:47 9/18

L E A R N I N G

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it’s almost Autumn. The rains came back today, giving us more rain in a few hours than we’ve had in the past few months. Everything is more green but also dying at the same time.  I watched a sweet baby who pronounces my name “dracie”, and I love it, watching children can be really refreshing. A few trees are starting to change color and drop their leaves.  I’ve had a weird dread of this autumn since the first sunny days of the spring. Which was odd, because I normally like the changing seasons. I get the whole seasonal depression/vitamin D deficiency during the “cloudy” season here in WA, so maybe it’s that. It’s getting cold again too, and that’s never a thing I completely relish, as I’m almost always cold already.

L E A R N I N G

I hate seeing things die. Even if it’s needed and will be more beautiful later. In past years I’ve liked seeing the changes, but this year I’m really disliking it. Watching the trees change their colors and then drop their leaves, going to sleep. Retiring into the depths of their trunks and roots. I miss my trees. I miss the green. I miss the sunrays.

But it will all come again later. That much I’m certain, because we aren’t in Narnia. I’ll get to see the tree grow buds, unfurl them, watch the blossoms come out again, and that makes my heart happy.  Seasons are weird. They are strange. They aren’t all my most favorite. But they are necessary, and they have purpose.

L E A R N I N G

To hold my precious things with open hands, to hold them out to God and give them to Him, and trust that His plan is better than mine. Because it is! He is the creator of the universe who has intentionally created us down to the smallest detail, and who sees us. Who hears us. Who loves us so deeply. He isn’t angry at me, I don’t have to face His wrath. I haven’t figured out how to properly explain how my heart feels at that truth.

He has a purpose and a plan for everything in our lives, and I’m so grateful for that. Free falling to trust Him is easier if you’re keeping Him in your primary focus. He is wholly good.

L E A R N I N G

He is just. Growing up, I always took ‘just’ in the punishment sense, in that if you deserve to be punished, then you can bet you will be.  But it also means that when He makes promises to us, He’s going to carry out those promises. And you can completely count on it. He rewards, He makes promises to us, and we’re allowed to claim those promises and tell Him we’re looking for His rewards. He loves to reward, God is a generous God. It’s like giving a little kid who you love a present, and you get that really happy feeling at seeing their delight. I believe that’s how God may be. He wants us to want His gifts.

L E A R N I N G

Who I am, again. Finding Gracie. Grace. Elisabeth. Reading old journals and notebooks of mine. I hate cliches, unless I’ve had that moment where the cliche comes real to me.  I love sushi. I love hiking. I don’t like strong coffee. I love plants, notebooks, cozy blankets, watching stars and sunsets from mountains. I like mornings, I like late nights, I’m just not a “waking up” person.  I really don’t like arrogance in people. I really admire gratitude. I’m more like my dad than I realized I am, but still very much an INFP. I crave purpose and direction.

I love the color orange, and also blue. I will people watch whenever I can, and I’ll notice your eyes first, and then what your presence feels like. I collect different sized cardboard boxes so that I have just the right size for the purpose, apparently I inherited that habit from my grandma. I’m empathetic, it’s a blessing but also weird at times. I don’t really worry about what people think of me unless they’re a select few in my close circle, and even then I’m aware that people aren’t always going to get you, and it’s PERFECTLY ok if they don’t. You do you and listen to God. Put your focus in the right place. I love yoga, enjoy running if someone will force me to do it, and can now do three consecutive pull ups, which is three more than I could do last week.

I love growth. I admire trees a lot. I’m learning where God wants me to go in life.

He is good, so it is good, I’m not sure what I’m doing, but I’m content.

conviction

Awhile ago I realized that I didn’t have any huge sin standing out to me in my life.

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Which, at first glance, may appear as a good thing. In reality, personally, it mean that I had become complacent in searching my heart to seeing what I had been doing and cultivating that would cause God grief. There was no growth.

There’s a verse about praying for God to reveal the secret sins one commits, (Psalm 19:12, “Who can know all of his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.” my paraphrase.) that come to mind quite a bit during that period,

so I prayed about that.

And that week had the full extent of what a selfish human being I am shown to me, how unacceptable that is, and how great and undeserved God’s grace is. It’s a beautiful thing. I am so small and He is so B I G and great and wonderful.

I encourage you to ask that question of God, it’s quite eye opening.

justice, the present, and earthen vessels

Today I woke up feeling burdened and off and not knowing why. Later I reasoned that part of it was due to talks the night before, and flashback emotions from other talks beforehand. The other part of me felt like I was mourning something, and I don’t know what or why. I just felt odd for a good portion of the day. I think part of it is just having a bunch of words and thoughts that I need to get out through writing.

Talking helps sometimes, but often I like to see my thoughts, and that helps me sort them out and process them. So what’s been in my mind these past few days? [This is in Gracie rambling thought format, if it doesn’t make sense that’s probably why]

God is Just. Wow. If something needs to be done, He’ll do it. If He makes a promise, He’ll keep it. If He says He’ll bless you, He will. If He says there will be consequences, there will be. If he says anything at all, He will follow up and carry out on what He said. Always. Every time. Being an inconsistent human, this blows my mind. He is so faithful, and knows exactly what is needed in every scenario, taking into consideration future and past implications. Therefore, if/when you sin, He says there will be consequences. You know there will be. The same for blessings. He always does what He says. Garden of Eden, bam, sin entered the world, and the curse came as He said.

We are living in a world that is steps removed from the original, a shadow, in a world that is under a curse, not what it should be, with people made in the image of God whose hearts have black streams of sin running through them. It’s like a fairytale, but it’s reality, not just a fable.

It was made beautiful, whole, He called it good. Perfection made by the master Artist. There were eyebrows and fresh water and purity. Animals with no fear, the total absence of evil, harmony, bodies that worked exactly how they were created to, sunlight streaming through branches and waterfalls to walk under and fresh fruit to bite into with juice running down your chin.


Enter

temptation,

weakness,

the Fall.

Enter death, separation, twisted souls, sickness, cancers and pain and angry tears and alcoholism, perversion of good and holy things, spiritual darkness, these evil, convoluted things that just show that this world is broken, and not as it should be, and there is absolutely no way for us to fix it, or to fix ourselves. Us with our broken, twisted, pleading, snarling hearts. Lost and bewildered, simultaneously wanting to wallow in the dregs of our sins, but also at the same time having that faint flicker that is terrified of what we’re doing and hoping hoping hoping that this isn’t all there is to life. That this isn’t how it’s supposed to be, that this isn’t all there is.

And it’s not.

Enter my Savior.

Taking my pain,

crucifixion,

redemption,

undeserved.

Because He loves me. And He actively want to know me. And me to know Him, and what He’s done for me. The God that made everything, who uses the world as a footstool and created atoms and fish and the Milky Way and galaxies and gasses and air and who knows what fire actually is and put together the Bombardier Beetle and the Okapi and volcanoes and knows the exact number of hairs on every single head of all 7.5 billion people on this Earth, who already knows what I’m thinking before I even think it, wants to hear me say it to Him.   [And you too. Just talk to Him. You don’t have to talk Christianese or grandly to speak to God.]

He doesn’t want to just read my mind, He wants me to talk to Him. To learn from Him, to tell Him whats going on in my life and to ask Him to show me His hand in life, He can do so many things, and I believe that He wants to show us that. We don’t pray big enough.

Do I think He’s too busy to hear me or to listen to me? No. To think that feels like limiting God to me. I’m pretty sure He can handle His creation.

This Love. My mind can’t wrap itself around it. I’m humbled. And grateful. So so grateful. Nothing like trying to comprehend the incomprehensible to put life back into perspective.

 

 

772 words so far, what else is on the brain?

2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Sitting on the rug yesterday I found verses that I haven’t read in a long time,

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Holy smokes guys, sanctification. The struggle isn’t pointless, it’s a lesson. It’s for a moment in the grand scheme, we’re continually being renewed as we’re actively walking with Him, whether we realize it or not, as we can’t see things so far ahead. Refer to Ecclesiastes 3:11.

Also verse 7: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”

This makes sense. Anything “good” that I have ever done, was definitely not this despicable little heart that wants to hide away from people and take take take without giving. I have a very selfish heart. And that has been painfully revealed to me more and more recently…. big families and mothers are very good at revealing areas that need to be sanctified. 😉 By ourselves, we are silly little shells made of dust, who can do nothing. Just that, an earthen vessel. But God works through us… Wow.

 

And what else? Living in the here and now. I like to dream. I like to think ahead and look at the future and where I will be. I also tend to get tunnel vision and so focused on one thing I forget to look at the big picture. But I’m not in Spring 2018, I’m right here in Spring 2017. I’m living at home with my wonderful crazy family, with two great jobs, my person is 25 minutes away from me, with many many many blessings all around me in my life, and many transitions and learning curves. The future can worry about itself- I have to research massage zoning laws and sleep deprivation effects and food budgeting and what my Lord is trying to teach me right now. There’s always something.

You have to really be intentional and rejoice in where you are at each season, living each moment as intentionally as you can, because who knows how many seconds you have left? The moment may be hard, but someday you’ll look back maybe and understand why that had to happen in order to get you where you are today. Also attitude. Happiness is a learned habit. It is a choice, and no one else is responsible for your happiness. If you dump the responsibility of keeping you happy on someone, you will crush them. It’s all on you. Choose the joy. Write down things you’re grateful for. Gratitude is a great mood booster and perspective giver. Notice all of the little things. Make it a game.


Life is a really odd thing. It’s so short.

1,288 words.

That went much longer than I expected it to, and I feel better. If you’re still here, I thank you for your time and attention.

Blessings,

me

Peru- pt. 1

Yesterday I got home from Peru.

It feels super weird to write that….it actually happened. I was there and now am home. I’m so grateful to have been able to go on this trip, I learned a lot and saw a lot, prayed a lot and laughed and cried and talked and played and listened. I am thankful and my heart is full.

I’m trying to find words to put down so that I can share this with you, but there’s so much and proving to be more difficult than I had anticipated, so bear with me as I section it out.I don’t want to forget things, so some of these posts might be novels… consider yourself warned..

After over 14 hours of travel, we arrived in Cusco, Peru. The elevation there is over 11,000 feet, so when we got off the plane some of us felt like we had stepped off of a boat, the ground felt shaky. There were also lots of very chapped lips and headaches and nosebleeds over the first week or so as our bodies adjusted.


There was culture shock! Spanish was being spoken everywhere, the weather would change from thunderstorms to sunshine rapidly, there were very few trees (this PNWesterner was a bit taken aback by that), household habits were different… but it was all interesting and good.

We met our host and his family, the missionary and his family, learned about drinking coca tea for elevation sickness, and a while after went to the church for service. This was the church we would be working at for the time we were here, so it was fun to see, and I was surprised by the friendliness and joy of everyone there. In my journal it says that I had wished I studied Spanish more, and I had that thought quite often through the entire time.


Later we had the devotional and meeting for the night, talking about being purposeful and intentional. James 1 says to count it all joy WHEN we have various trials, not if. So when these trials come, let us be purposeful to rejoice. Let us have purposeful prayer. Let us examine these purposeful trials. Because honestly, God already knows what’s going to happen and has a plan. In every aspect.

The end.

There’s no need to fret about it, just listen to Him and see what He’s trying to teach you.

Afterwards we explored Cusco a bit, there are soooo many stairs, legs for days. We saw a beautiful cathedral, so much intricate artwork, but it’s so empty and hopeless at the same time.

The next morning was spent working at the church, cleaning and organizing, and we got quite a bit done, which felt great.


Afterwards we got into a bus and drove to where our first VBS location is in a village called Tambomachay (TAM-boe-ma-chai), just to see the work being done there and to meet any kids who were around. We prayed over the area, awkwardly hung around for a few minutes, made friends with a tethered lamb and dogs (that we apparently aren’t supposed to pet because of germs and such) then the kids started coming. We exchanged names in stumbling Spanish and they played hand clapping games, which some of us joined in on, which then led to us showing them Quack-Dilly-O-So, which then led to us all playing Duck Duck Goose, which here was called Pato Pato Oveja (Duck Duck Sheep). Not sure how we got sheep, but whatever works… When they got tired of that some of the girls were trying to talk to me, saying  what sounded like “chapas”, and eventually we figured out that meant tunnel tag, so we played that for a good long time. Funny how much you can communicate even with a language barrier. I showed them how to make birdcalls with your hands, tried to talk a little with my meager spanish vocab, and they giggled at it quite a bit.


We were with this group of kids for 4 days, and they were the ones that were hardest for me to leave. They were so hungry for hugs, touch, love, to be listened to. We had tickle parties and snuggle piles and big hugs and they’d all pile into my lap or hold onto my back or arms so I could swing them around, they’d tap on my face and make funny noises and braid my hair and sit on my feet and hold my hand and show me things they found. So much laughter and love for and with them. Later in the week we’d do crafts and sing and dance with them, I learned quite a few more words through asking them (“que es…?”) and they’d laugh when I mispronounced it, and tell me the right pronunciation. I showed them how to blow kisses and they showed me hand clapping games.


It hit me how big God’s love is with them.

He loves me at home in Washington, and everyone there. Then I travel down thousands of miles to Peru, and still He loves me and everyone else there as well. And all the people that are in the surrounding countries, continents, the entire world.


He loves each one of us infinitely and perfectly, and there are so many people… That is so much love. It blew my mind. And with that thought, we are to love people as well. And how are we to love them? The goal is to love through His love, in agape. And what does that look like? That’s going to be a future post here…

The largest thing that frustrated me was that I didn’t know Spanish (which was my fault) , so I couldn’t directly talk with them. We had translators, and they were a HUGE blessing and I was so grateful for them, but when you talk with a kid it’s best if you can talk directly to them, having a middle man changes things. There were tears at the final goodbye, and maybe someday I’ll come back and have learned the language and will be able to talk with them.


The takeaways that I had by day two of the trip were:

-God’s love is huge, I had felt a part of it, and I wanted to share it.

-prayer is so so powerful and so underutilized.

-I take so much for granted. Pretty much everything. It makes one grateful.

-I am not to show partiality in anything I do or to anyone I interact with. This came from a devotional led by a teammate, and sparked a lot of thought. Anything I do I should be doing as to the Lord, whether the job is large or small, gets noticed and recognition or not, whether the person is rich or poor, friendly or intimidating. I am not the one who is supposed to judge. That’s God’s job. I’m just a hand.

Thus ends part 1 of the Peru adventure, more to come later.

Save

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there was a girl 

Once upon a time, there was a girl who kind of didn’t like herself. She was very pale (therefore she could see almost all of her veins), very long limbed (and having long limbs while lacking coordination isn’t a great combination), her face was odd, her laugh and voice she thought were irritating, her nose had a bump at the bridge, she had a widows peak, and she thought differently and looked at things differently, and would say things that left people looking at her kind of oddly, which she was self conscious about. As she grew older though, she started to like all of those things; she grew into her limbs and liked her pale skin. The other things she sometimes didn’t like, until one day she had the thought that God had made her exactly how He thought she should be made, and He said it was good. He doesn’t made mistakes, and that quieted her heart and she became much more ok with all of her quirks. Saying that she didn’t like this or that part of herself was in essence telling God He messed up on her and that she didn’t like His artwork. 


So now she was ok with herself, but she had friends who didn’t like themselves. And this made her sad, because she could see their smiles and their individual hearts, and the way their eyes crinkled when they laughed and how their lip twitched and their eyes get sparkly when they’re about to make mischief. And they’re beautiful in many senses of the word. People are art. 

But often times people don’t like their own art and want to look like another piece. 

more new roads

Two weeks ago, we sat in a movie theater parking lot at 2 in the morning and threw out an idea for a road trip. Two weeks later, we made this wonderful idea happen. We traveled from Marysville, WA all the way down to Crater Lake, Oregon.This was the first road trip we had ever all taken together, out of state, and without the rest of our families. Such excitement.

We crossed bridges, looked at fog, doodled on paper and skin, got coffee and looked at art shops, got soaking wet on a foggy beach.

We found jellyfish drying on the beach (i refrained from touching the mesmerizing globs),I skipped and ran around because the ocean is a beautiful thing and i’m young and alive and for once didn’t get that cold, and a friend adventured with me and made sure I didn’t accidentally die or get swept away.The others held the valuables and got drenched and laughed and wrote in the sand and we walked the wrong way up a stream and jumped over the waves. We wrung salt water out of our socks and poured coffee onto our faces instead of our mouths because the cold numbed our face and hands.

We snuggled up in blankets and drove to the sunshine, booping noses (that kept on happening through the whole two days), taking turns napping and exploring each others music tastes.

We pitched our camp and looked at views off the side of the road (and a llama in a parking lot. I wanted to pet it, but alas, not that day.) Inside jokes were formed, we explored crater lake in the dark (couldn’t see the view, but we could feel it), took personality tests and discussed those, laughed at weirdly named streets, and made a campfire. Later we went out to the stars and there were so. many. My mind was blown a little bit, and we were all giddy and overwhelmed. Stargazing is funny; one moment everyone is completely serious and talking about life and struggles and God and eternity and physics, and the next everyone is madly giggling and mispronouncing words or sleeping.

The next morning was lazy, a yummy breakfast, I journaled, we talked over shared teabags and coffee and looked at the wasps that had found us and a friendly chipmunk.

After the food, we packed up and drove to Crater Lake, and this time there was light so we could see the view, and it was so lovely. I love that God is an artist and also lets us see His work.

Funky colored lichens… 🙂

After thoroughly touring the lake, we drove home. A long ride, but those are my favorites. I’ve always gotten a little sad whenever we reach destinations, because there’s something special about sitting in a metal wheeled box with people for hours at a time, exploring new (or familiar) places and sights and foods and other sensory things. I’d try to describe the ride home more, but it was giggles and sneaking pictures and naps and heads out the window and tickle wars (which resulted in squeaking) and shoulder rubs and listening to new music (I heard Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time) and jeep-beeping, and thinking about it all my heart gets full. Saying goodbye and dropping everyone off was hard, but I’m grateful to have people so great that make good byes so sad.

Photo credit to who it’s due, and I’m not exactly sure who’s is who’s. 

to ground

I hate falling.
From a cliff.
In my dreams.
At the fair.
Into sin.
To uncertainty.
I love feeling solid structure beneath me, whether a physical or emotional assurance. Grounded. Secure. Why I have such an abhorrence I’m not sure, maybe subconscious remembers reaching for a lying branch, falling far, waking up bruised and hanging by my knees who knows how much later. Or maybe it remembers the dirty feeling of falling morally, of missing the mark. That isn’t a bad fear, per se, I should strive to stay strong. It’s the fear that I have of myself (in a sense) that is wrong.
But such is life as a flawed being, falling (whether physically or otherwise) so what should I do with this fear?
I can either dwell in it, entangling myself until I’m a hyperventilating paralyzed mess, a rabbit with wide eyes afraid to move.
Or, I can find my grounding. I can sink my heels deep into my Savior and know that He’s got this. I can cling to His mane when the fears come running toward me, and know that His net is close below when I fall.
He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own. There is no reason for me to replay these fears.

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