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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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

delayed apologies…

Dear friends,

I am so sorry for the abrupt break I’ve taken in my postings! My life just got too busy and I was having a hard time with my grades, school, work, family, and blogging, so blogging got dropped for awhile so I can function in these other places.  I don’t anticipate being able to write these Lent postings daily, but I’ll check in once a week at the very least.

Life has been great but busy this past week! I’ve been having great success in praying mindfully and giving up a bad habit, which feels good. I also feel quite more content, have gotten better at massage, can do yoga poses that I wasn’t able to before, or I’ve progressed in them, which is super happy for me. 🙂 I completely cleaned out my room (and got rid of THREE black garbage bags worth of stuff out of there!), went to Pike Place market (I’m planning a post on that), have read books, done homework, done a little bit of creative writing, and have had quite a few good talks with my family or friends.

I’m completely blown away with how many blessings  I’ve been given and resources I have available. So so thankful.

It’s been sinking in what’s happening in my life. I’ll (Lord willing) be a Licensed Massage Practitioner at age 19, working in a paid internship for one of the most knowledgeable LMP’s I know. Hopefully this week I’ll be getting a blog going for all of my massage happenings, I’ll keep all of you updated once I do.

Just filled with happiness and hope and gratefulness tonight.

Love,

me

 

examination

Day 3 of Lent:

examination -noun

1.a detailed inspection or investigation.

Scrutiny, inspection, perusal, study, investigation, consideration, analysis, appraisal, evaluation. To look into.

Today I’m examining just why I’m choosing to observe Lent. No one in my family is doing this with me, and as far as I know, neither are my friends. I’m also not catholic.

I’m taking away indulgences for these 40 days leading to Resurrection Day so that I can be more fully aware of my blessings, so that I can see these things that I take for granted. So that I can be more mindful and fully celebrate my Savior’s rising from the grave. So that I can concentrate on going deeper in my prayer and spiritual life without the distractions of social media, which is a greater distraction than I’d like to admit.

Lent is a challenge of self-discipline in my rather indulgent world, seeing if I can stay strong and resist these delicacies and privileges, while growing stronger and heading deeper in my spiritual life.

As far as picking my word/phrase to study during Lent, I’m still praying about it. I’ve had several blow through my mind but none have stuck as of yet.

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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moment #1

•MOMENTS•
I sit perched on the cart container railings outside of world market, savoring dark chocolate with pieces of strawberries and Himalayan pink salt scattered throughout it. I have my shopping beside me, pretty new clothes to wear and a new notebook to fill with colors.
I have decided that this is going to be my year of love and the arts.

This year I’m going to learn how to water color. I’m going to learn how to make really good sourdough and kombucha. I’m going to improve my writing and learn as much as I can about massage and understanding how the body works. I’m going to appreciate the little things and love on my loved ones. Do small things with great love, that is my goal this year. I want to write out my beliefs and why I believe them, and then in ten years I’ll look back and see if and how they’ve changed.

January was a time of thinking up what I wanted to do this year, making my choices and getting rid of ones that I didn’t like. February is my time to make them real and begin them.

Mom and the kids roll up in the car, and my reverie ends.

storms

Rain

falls

down. 

It trickles through my hair

running fingers down my face

it joins forces with my tears. 

Thunder

claps

loud. 

I cry out in my anger 

yelling to the sky

it roars back and we battle. 

Lightning 

strikes

fast. 

And so does jealousy, heartache, fear.  Igniting my emotional triggers in a flash. 

Clouds

roll

away. 

and so does my grief

leaving me empty but

cleansed through the storm.