Thursday, August 30

Birthday post

twenty three years old!
okay, let's be honest. there's nothing exciting about being twenty three.
But at twenty-three, I can look forward to some big, beautiful and exciting days ahead, and I can also look back on some fun and meaningful things that I've learned to value and love.
So, let's cliche this birthday out, and look at twenty three things in life that I love.

1- Big, beautiful windows that let the light in.
2- A child's wide, deep and endlessly innocent eyes.
3- Morning yoga.
4- Hammocks.
5- Warm blankets that completely engulf you.
6- Singing! I love to sing - there is just something so freeing and beautiful about releasing a joyful sound with all your heart.
7- Pretty and interesting old things.
8- Expansive views and unbelievable scenery. To see the ocean, the Grand Canyon, the greatest of mountains or the furthest reaching of plains gives a person a feeling of awe that cannot be undone.
9- Fireflies... they're almost otherworldly, aren't they?
10- Fellowship. I've often underappreciated this aspect of the church, but after feeling the family atmosphere of the Christians in India, I feel I learned to understand it. With all the wonderful people in my life who love me so well, I've learned to realize how rich and deep is the true fellowship that surrounds me.
11- Watermelons!
12- People who are challenging, intelligent, intentional, and adventurous.
13- Photography - I love the way the camera, if appreciated and correctly used, can so perfectly sum up a moment. Weddings are not lost, trips are memorable, children remain young, and love always blossoms; because of the intensity, profoundness, and expansive evocative feel of one photograph.
14- Simplicity.
15- Billy balls, thistles, and succulents, in all their different prettiness.
16- Motorcycles: I often feel that I am never more ME than when I am riding one. It's freedom, it's adventure, it's thrills and open air and sensory overload. It's everything at your fingertips.
17- Pure and unsullied beauty. (it's everywhere. find it)
18- Indian Chai.
19- Creatively crafted gifts and surprises. I like it when i have the stroke of brilliance to think of one - that perfect way to love someone right when it's needed - and i love to receive them :)
20- Seeing things. Doing things. Living.
21- Sunrises.
22- Andrew Quinn. This man I met two years ago has taught me to love without condition, and give expecting nothing in return. He reminds me about the worth of each individual person you meet, and the  depth of invaluable story invested in antiquity. He has helped me learn relational compromise and the value of being still, and has shown me graciousness and compassion on countless occasions. He loves me when I'm me, and that's a big deal.
23- India. I love this culture-filled land, and the way it makes me feel at home. I love the cows and the precious people, and the chai and the traffic. India holds my heart.

Happy Birthday to me!
Here's to two years abroad, and whatever follows.

Sunday, August 26

it's come together. it's time. it's beautiful.


I just received my first month's payment to cover my travel expenses.
it's real, everyone.
I can't tell you how special this is to my heart; how long I have waited to see that first credit to my bank account. And now, as I live inside of this day, as mundane and as normally as I always have, there is change that is coming to be. Today feels the same as every day this summer, but today is not the same. Today, my greatest adventure begins in one week.

, I look at my room and belongings, and I think how much I love all the things I'm bringing to India! I love how selective I've had to be, and how that has resulted in me owning only the things that are most important to me. It makes everything more meaningful, and more true to who I am. It lets me know that I can live simply and be happy. It helps me not to be defined by stuff, but to be reminded by stuff of experiences and loves. It helps me to remember that we buy things to help us out, not to prove ourselves to other people. It makes me feel free to know that everything i need to live fits in two suitcases. It's easy to be imprisoned by materialism; but i'm not. I'm thankful. It's beautiful.

Today I remember important confirmations of my heart's Indian desires:
The pastor of my home church telling me of the leadership's ten-year-old prayers for individuals from our youth to go to the children of China and India.
The individuals who have given selflessly and encouraged me deeply.
The conversation I had just last week with the Zeller family, letting me know that this is a time when I could be greatly needed; that right now my friends in India need encouragement, that this month is an important and pivotal time. I bought my ticket long ago - but now is when i'm ready, and now is when i'm needed.
It's hard to believe.
It's beautiful -  It's beautiful!

I'm moved to tears:
Today, it's time. and it's beautiful.

Monday, August 6

Like Never Before

Sing like Never Before, o my soul.

I recently heard this lyric in a worship service, and it struck me as very important in this amazing new stage in my life. I've been to India before, and before that, I'd been on numerous short term trips. This is just the same old thing, right?
I was struck when I heard those lyrics with the reality that this is so much more. I am not the person that I was - I'm always changing - and there's no way I should take that for granted.
I have more to give now than I've ever had, more discipline, more joy, more passion, more wisdom. I'm confident that I won't stop growing in any of these any time soon, but right now, I'm filled with the knowledge that never before have I had this much potential, drive, or steady contentment.
That makes me someone I've never been before.
That gives me opportunities I'd never have had before.
That means I can sing like never before.
I've never had this specific perspective, this particular depth of insight - and the truth is, no one has.
I hope to bring to India humility, service, graciousness, and quietude;
and I hope with my life to sing like I have never sung before.

All adoration and allegiance to the One who never gives up on making me more the woman He wants me to be; to the One who makes all things new.

[India in 25 short days!]