january things

well, it’s a new year, a new january, new things, and so far they’ve been pretty great.

These first few weeks have been full of new faces, learning new routines, aching wrists, earlyish mornings, yummy foods, adventures, late night talks, long walks, snapchat filters, laughs and after work cuddles, kombucha and kitchen floors, smelling like massage lotion and not being able to open things (thank you to my friends who open my grapefruits for me!), little sisters coming into my bed at 3 in the morning because they wanted to snuggle more, more Bible reading and getting into habits and routines that I’ve been working at.

I started two new jobs; one making use of my massage therapy license at a spa in Everett, and the second is nannying a sweet baby that’s a 90 second walk from my house. 🙂

Those have both been great, it’s been fun to work in massage again, nurturing and relaxing people through touch, watching stressed faces melt into smiles… it’s always funny to me, because halfway through the massage I have people flip from their stomachs onto their back, and I see their faces, and they look like an entirely different person than when they first got on the table… it’s caused quite a few double takes on my part.

also nannying. it feels like playing house, which makes me think of childhood and also the future all at once…

the future has always been a little daunting to me. Exciting, but daunting. I was always the kid that never wanted to grow up (but also wanted to get married, so I’m not sure what I was thinking.), who swore to myself I was too scared of driving to learn (turns out I love driving) and Peter Pan was one of my heroes. Turn out, God knows best and I’ve learned that He stands behind me and holds my hands like I hold a toddlers hands when they learn to walk.

The future could be scary. I could fret about it. I could fret about my future love dying, last hugs. I could dwell on thinking that I’ll be the last to die out of my loved ones. I could fret about being alone. I could fret about my siblings getting hurt. I could worry about everyone’s emotional health. Or, I could pray about it. God is trustworthy and has a plan.

The future could be joyful. I could find my person and raise our family and have pancakes on Sunday mornings and look at the stars and have big tickle fights. I could have many roadtrips and adventures with friends. I could have nights with people I love spent sitting on the kitchen floor with the lights off, talking about life and family and many other random topics. I could have sweet snuggles with little loved ones. There are far too many happy things to look foward to, it’s not even worth fretting about the bad ‘could be’s’.

It’s been a season of happy hearts, and it’s only the beginning of the year.

 

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.

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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

 

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. 

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.

to love 

yet I have been called to love in ALL things;

the little as well as the big,

the mediocre and the grand,

the nice people as well as the annoying ones. 

Everyday, in all things, let me do it with love.  

 

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. 

first frost

We had our first frost the other day, and I was estatic. Frost holds a huge place in my heart through childhood memories, beauty, and a fictional character I wrote who embodies it. Just thought it was an event worth making note of.  

 

don’t wait, don’t hold back 

Why should I have to wait until a relationship to love with joyful abandon? Why should I be waiting at all? Why do I hold back?

I realized that this has been a mentality I’ve had lately; to just live, to hold your love in, to be guarded in your expressions of caring. Or at least, loving from a teacup. Little teacup pours of love on all my friends and family when I should be turning over the barrels and dredging my heart to get all of the love out and to the people around me. Because I have access to Christ’s love. And that love, unlike mine, cannot run dry. I can take and take and take from it, and He will give and give and give, and it’ll fill me up, and then I can shower it on others. I have been called to do everything from Love, and this life isn’t long enough to not do so.