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The Year That Was Part 2

10 Jan

Continued from my last post…

Feeling very ready for a change of scenery, an adventure, less distractions, inspiration and some time alone with God, I left for a two month road trip across the US of A on Monday, June 7, 201o. Why a road trip across the States? Good question. I don’t have a perfectly articulate answer as to why other than this idea was placed on my heart and the more I thought and prayed about it, the more it just kind of fit. And for other reasons that I can’t explain, I was fascinated with the idea of the Southern US and wanted to experience for myself what it was like. (Which, by the way, was all I’d hoped it would be and more. The South is lovely and somewhere I want to go back and spend more time). I won’t get into all the details of the trip (if you want to read about it, check out my archive for the months of June-August), but I will say that it turned out the be one of the best things that I’ve ever done. And to think, I almost bailed just three shorts days in. Even now, when I think back on what I did, I’m still amazed that it happened. There were times when I was spooked, lonely, lost, overwhelmed and unsure, but God had me covered in grace and protection the entire time and is the only reason that I was able to do this. The trip was good for me in so many ways – I gained a better understanding of who I am in Christ by being stretched beyond comfort zones and forced to rely solely on Him, I learned more about who Christ is, I met wonderful people, I saw amazing things and I felt a refreshed sense of creativity and inspiration. And I experienced an adventure that was fun, challenging, random, scary, insightful, lonely, enriching and soulful all at once. Something my soul had been craving for a long time!

While away, my grandpa (my mom’s dad) unexpectedly passed away. I was in Charlotte, North Carolina at the time I heard the news, staying with a couple that I just met. The day before I arrived in Charlotte, I emailed them asking if it would be okay if I stayed with them for a night – I had never met them and they had no idea who I was (other than a distant connection) – but they said yes. We became fast friends and I ended up staying for five nights. And what a blessing that turned out to be. When my grandpa died, rather than being alone seeing the sights in Asheville, NC (per my original plan), I was surrounded by compassionate, supportive and wonderful people. In the midst of sadness, it was amazing to see how God knew exactly what was going to happen and ordained a situation to meet exactly what I was going to need in that moment, under those circumstance. This couple and their friends will always have a special place in my heart and I am so grateful to them for giving me a place stay, food to eat, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen and some really great laughs during a tough time. It was during this time that I really began to understand what true hospitality and community is and has become something that I strive to foster in my life…. authentic, transparent, welcoming, accepting community.

Upon arriving home from my trip, I had five quick days at home to unpack, catch up with as many people as possible and then repack for my move to the Sunshine Coast for three months to work as a temporary office manager for my aunt and uncle’s company. I decided during the trip to make the move and at the time I was really looking forward to it because I thought it would be a great chance to debrief everything that happened during my time away and build momentum off of the renewed sense of creativity and inspiration I gained. But instead, it turned out to be a really challenging time… a bit of an isolated island experience. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time living with my aunt and uncle and two younger cousins and was really grateful for their warm hospitality and opportunity to get to know them all better, but it was a tough time for me. I was coming off such a spiritual and emotional high and naively assumed that it would continue once I was back on more familiar territory. I thought I’d write some books, work towards big dreams and figure out exactly what my next steps would be. It didn’t quite go that way.

In hindsight, those three months were good for me. One of my greatest weaknesses, patience, was tested and grew – albeit it, incrementally. I learned what it’s like to go away for awhile and return only to find out that there is a transition process looming and needs to be gone through in order for the feelings of not belonging to subside. In doing so, I gained a better understanding, if only a glimpse, of what several friends have endured in moving away for work and then having to readjust when they’ve moved back a few years later. Perspective… it’s a funny thing. But not ‘ha ha’ funny.

My stint on the Sunshine Coast was nearing its end and the awareness that I had squandered away nearly three months without a clue of what I was going to do next struck me in a big way. Guilt from time wasted set in, anxiety for the future took over and  feelings of inadequacy showed their ugly face. Oh me of little faith. But God had something up His sleeve. A few weeks prior to moving back home from the coast, I got a message from a former colleague asking me if I wanted to take on a big writing and editing project. Honestly, the timing could not have been more perfect and the project, more exciting. It was the first time since arriving home from my trip that I was genuinely excited about something. You see, I’ve been toying with the idea of becoming a writer for at least a year, but lacked the courage and confidence to step out and do it. This project was the step I needed, and God put it right in front of my feet, all I had to do was inch forward onto the path laid out before me.

This marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life and brings me to where I am right now. I’m officially calling myself a freelance writer and editor and, although cautiously and gradually, have been trying to build my client base over the past few months. It’s exciting and freaking scary at the same time. I make my own hours, work from wherever I want and am accountable to myself. That might sound wonderful and yes, at times it really is, but going from having my time dictated by someone else to being completely governed by myself is quite the adjustment and requires a level of discipline that I haven’t quite figured out yet. It’s a work in progress. But to be doing something that I truly enjoy is refreshing and fulfilling and I’m so thankful for how God has provided in this way.

Christmas was good, although being the first Christmas without grampa, a noticeable void was felt that was filled with sad moments, joyful memories and a few tears. One thing that I’ve become increasingly aware of over this past year is that I’m truly blessed with a wonderful family. I’ve always known this, but the reality of it just kind of hit me this year. Sadly, not everyone is blessed with a great family and it’s something that I’ve taken for granted, but I’m unbelievably thankful for them… even when we make each other mad.

All in all, 2010 was a year of heartache and joy, love and loss, transformation and change. In the past, I have not responded well to change, but God has lovingly forced it on me and I’m learning to just let it happen… it’s simply easier that way (and I use the word ‘easy’ loosely). I think I’ve learned a lot this year. But it’s funny, in learning, I realize that there is not an arrival point for this. In other words, I will never learn everything. If learning was a cup, it would never be possible to fill it. I know that may sound pessimistic, but it comes from a realistic place – a place that is allowed to not know everything, to not have all the answers, that doesn’t have all the proverbial ducks in a row or even knows what’s going to happen tomorrow. Maybe this place sounds stressful to you, but this is a place that has eluded me for quite some time and I’m finally able to find a varying degree of rest and peace here and face (and hopefully enjoy) the moment that’s right in front of me because that is what I’m given.

If you made it all the way through this, I’m impressed and thank you for reading. I’m excited for a new year. I know that a new year is just another flip of a calendar page, but there is something about it – it’s almost like the flip from December to January represents the opportunity to start from a clean slate. It’s interesting, I have no idea what this year holds, sure I have my hopes and have jotted down a list of goals/resolutions, but I go into this year with an open heart and mind to wherever God leads. And just pray that when He does, I’m listening and follow suit.

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The Year That Was Part 1

4 Jan

Happy New Year everyone! I suppose at January 4th, 2011  I’m a bit behind on a yearly review post, regardless, that is what this post is going to be. It’s a good thing that I started journaling about two years ago so I have something to refer to or otherwise I’d have a tough time remembering everything that occurred over the past 12 months.

[Several minutes later]

Well I just did a quick scan of my journals over the past year. As it turns out, I didn’t actually journal as much as I thought. I started strong in January and February – probably because it was a resolution of mine from the previous year – and then it dwindled off in the following months. This probably coincides with the deep rut I found myself in during the dog days of winter and heading into spring. My journaling picked up again though between June and August because that’s when I went on my two month road trip through the US of A that saw me hit 23 different states (yes, I just counted them out on my fingers) and was awesome (more on this later). Journal entries continued to go strong for the few months following my return from the trip, but died down again towards the end of the year, bringing me to now.

Rather than provide a play-by-play of the events of my year, I think I’ll stick to some of the highlights… and low-lights. Because really, we wouldn’t know what the highs are without experiencing the lows.

The year started out tough. My little heart was still in recovery mode from heartache and was flooded with painful emotions and spinning from unanswered questions. On January 1, 2010, I wrote a prayer to God. I prayed that my relationship with Christ grow deeper, wider and stronger. That the wounds of past hurts would close and leave behind scars that would become a beautiful part of who I am, hurting less with each passing day. I prayed for inspiration. I prayed for moments with Christ in which His Spirit would overcome me and that I’d hear His voice and see His face. I prayed for transformation of my heart.

While some of these prayers are still a work in progress and always will be I think (and hope), I can honestly say that these prayers have been answered over this past year. Maybe not always in the way that I wanted or thought was best, but answered nonetheless. Although it’s been difficult to see along the way, going back and reading my sad words and painful feelings is a reminder of how far God’s brought me over these past 12 months. I think one of the most important things I’ve learned this year is that I can’t base my faith and relationship with Christ on experiences alone – those moments when I feel His presence or have tangible encounters with the Holy Spirit. It’s in learning this that my relationship with Christ has grown more solid and my trust in Him, more true…. though still so imperfect.

Moving on. It was early in the year when feelings of restlessness crept in leaving a constant feeling of discontent. And by the end of February, they were in full force. This is around the time when I made the decision to go away for a bit and how I ended up driving through the States for two months. But winter wasn’t all doom and gloom. We actually had one of the nicest BC winters that I can recall and Vancouver was host to the 2010 Winter Olympics. During these few weeks, Vancouver was the place to be and there was a tangible buzz everywhere you went. It was so cool to be right in the thick of it all. And witnessing Sidney Crosby score in overtime to win Canada the gold medal over the US in the final hockey game with literally thousands of people at Live City in Yaletown was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience! I’ve never felt more patriotic than I did during those two weeks. The feeling of patriotism has since worn off, it’s a bit tiring being that patriotic. Is that how Americans feel all the time?

One thing I almost forgot… I started taking piano lessons again in January. I took up to grade 5 Royal Conservatory when I was younger but then quit for basketball (still can’t believe I did that – I could’ve done both), but I’d been itching to play again so I called up my former teacher and asked her if she’d have me as a student again. She said yes. So every Monday up until I left for my road trip, I went to piano lessons and absolutely loved it! It was during this time that I really began to understand the discipline it takes to hone a skill. Yes, I partially learned this lesson during my basketball glory days, but to be honest, too often I was guilty of relying on my natural ability. But with piano, I wanted to be great at it and realized the amount of work that it takes to become great at something. Update: I’m still not great at piano, but I’m getting better.

In spring, I took a week off of work, got on an airplane and went to visit friends in Phoenix and Oklahoma. It’s funny, whenever I refer to these friends, I say that one lives in Phoenix (a city) and the other lives in Oklahoma (a state) – I think it’s because if I said Yukon, no one would know that this is a city in Oklahoma whereas most people know that Oklahoma is a state in the US. Anyways, it was great to see friends and I got to take them both to a Needtobreathe (my favourite band) concert. It just so happened that Needtobreathe were playing in Tulsa, OK and then in Tuscon, AZ a few nights later so it worked out quite perfectly. There is nothing quite like seeing your favourite band play live… especially when the live show is SO much better than anything recorded.

This brings me to the month leading up to my road trip. Months of planning went into my two month trek across the states, which considering, I should have been far better prepared. I was a rookie traveller though. Any traveling I’d ever done had been with a team in which everything was planned and executed for us and all I had to do was show up with my basketball shoes and uniform and at times, even that was a stretch. Other traveling includes two family vacations to all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Dominican… again, all that was required of me was to get up in time to catch the airplane and be fun. But the most important preparation for this trip was what was going on in my heart and soul… and I knew God was taking care of that.

In preparation for my trip, in April 2010, I quit my job as Assistant Marketing Manager at Relevention Marketing. I didn’t have to, but I felt that in order for this trip to fulfill its purpose, this was something I needed to do. My last day of work was June 3rd, 2010 and on June 7, 2010, I left for what would turn out to be quite an amazing experience.

Halfway through writing this, I decided to turn this post into two parts, so this is to be continued… (hopefully by this weekend).

Day 20 – keep on keepin’ on

11 Sep

I don’t know about you, but today felt like the first official day of Fall. There was this coolness in the air that rather than disappearing into the clouds come mid-morning, lingered on throughout the day notifying everyone that those long summer days may just be gone for the season. And then it rained. Once the rain came all I wanted to do was cuddle up in my bed, the couch or any other cozy place I could find to read, write and watch tv (not all at once of course). And that’s exactly what I did bringing me to where I am at this moment – very sleepy. (I really need to start writing these blogs earlier in the day).

So tonight I’m simply going to post two pictures taken on a bridge over a river somewhere between Lynchburg, Virginia and Natural Bridge, Virginia. I like what they have to say.

sometimes, that's all we can do

truth

And a quote, because as we’ve established, I like quotes.

“Dear Child of God, in our world it is often hard to remember that God loves you just as you are. God loves you not because you are good. No, God loves you period. God loves us not because we are lovable. No, we are lovable precisely because God loves us. It is marvelous when you come to understand that you are accepted for who you are, apart from any achievement. It is so liberating.” – Desmond Tutu, 2004 (God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time)

PS: If you haven’t done so already, I’d really appreciate if you read my post from yesterday. It’s about a really wonderful non-profit organization that is quite dear to me.

Day 16 – journey to the answers

7 Sep

“I would like to beg you…. as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday, far into the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” (Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet)

I think one of the most challenging things we are asked to do in living a life for Christ is to be faithfully still when answers are not being revealed. When the ratio of questions to answers is so lopsided that it seems impossible to ever reach a balance, unresolvedness in the heart can sometimes feel like reading a book with no end. Endless. As humans, I think our tendency is to want to know what the outcome will be regardless of the situation. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to make those tough decisions or face the heart-wrenching pain if we knew what the other side would bring? Or that there was even an end in sight. A tangible goal. However, I can’t help but think that this would be quite boring and utterly unfulfilling. We are dynamic beings that were made to be constantly stretched, tested and faced with uncomfortable, sometimes almost unbearable, circumstances. It’s in this that our faith, regardless of what it’s in, flourishes and our character, deepen. It’s in living the questions of our heart that we allow ourselves to be open to the journey to the answers.

Day 10 – what’s in a name

1 Sep

The name of my blog is not something that I just stumbled upon. When I decided to go on my road trip, I wanted to come up with a name for a blog that truly embodied the purpose of my journey. It took about two months of tossing around different ideas for names before I decided on ‘the road to my soul.’ So why this name?

In the months leading up to my decision to put aside life as I knew it to go on the trip, my soul was feeling like a grape that had been left out in the sun for far too long. Dried up and shriveled… and not in the delicious raisin kind of way. Once the vision of this trip settled on my heart and began to saturate every part of me, I quickly discovered the multiple layers of reasons for going. All of which, in one way or another, had the same theme – to gain a better understanding of who I am in Christ. To discover my soul.

The soul of a person is essentially what makes a person. At the very core, it’s the image of Christ that we were made in, and I was longing for a deeper awareness of my soul, in Him. For reasons that I can’t really logically explain, I decided a road trip across the States was the ideal way to begin this journey to my soul. And so came the name, ‘the road to my soul.’ It’s both literal and metaphorical.

While my trip got the ball rolling, the journey on the road to my soul continues. What I’ve discovered is that the journey to one’s soul does not have a final destination – it’s a lifelong chase to get closer to the One who made us. A chase that I hope and pray I stay on.

nostalgia

22 Aug

Since being home from my trip I have yet to wash my car, which has become affectionately known as ‘Bugle.’ Don’t ask me why, but early on in the trip my youngest sister bestowed this name upon my car and it has stuck. It’s not for a lack of needing it that I haven’t given Bugle a good wash, but rather a sense of nostalgia that has stopped me from doing it. Bugle hasn’t been cleaned since my stop in Phoenix, meaning it is cloaked in the dust, dirt, grime and bugs from the road of each place I visited between AZ and arriving back home in BC and everywhere in between. It might sound silly, but the layers of dirt caked on the body, the sand that crept into the nooks of the door frames, the brake dust lining my front rims and the assortment of bugs baked to nose of good old Bugle are a sweet reminder to me of this adventure that is quickly seeming like it happened a long time ago. And Bugle seems like more than a car now – he’s kind of become a good, reliable friend that has seen me through some of the most transforming experiences of my life.

But after weeks of putting it off, I finally took Bugle to the car wash today for a well deserved cleaning. I probably would have put it off a bit longer, but somewhere along the way I managed to get grease on the bottom of the driver’s side body which I brushed up against with my left leg pretty much every time I got out of the car leaving a black streak either on my leg or my pants, depending on what I was wearing. I had stained enough pairs of pants so I decided enough is enough and put an end to it. So I took Bugle to one of those loonie car washes and cleaned him as well as possible in $4 worth of time. Some of those bugs though have been basking in the hot summer sun for almost two months now and proved to be quite difficult to scrub off, so I left them. I think they look good… it’s kind of like my car has freckles.

Anyways, since I am on the topic of nostalgia, I figured I’d share a few of my ‘favourites’ from my journey.

Favourite city I visited:

Charleston, South Carolina. Located in the southeast of South Carolina on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Charleston is where the Civil War originated back in 1861. With its storied history, rich culture, subtropic climate, lovely beaches and stunning architecture, Charleston charmed me and won my heart immediately.

this is pretty much what all streets in Charleston look like

I just like this picture

this row of homes on East Bay St is known as Rainbow Row for the bright colours they are painted with... it's one of the most photographed areas in Charleston

right across the street from this picture are big, beautiful antebellum homes

this is the oldest active plantation in the US and this home is where part of The Notebook was filmed

Favourite ‘I can’t believe I did that’ moment:

With North Carolina my next stop and still no place to stay, I emailed a perfect stranger and asked if I could stay with her and her husband and toddler in Charlotte, North Carolina for a night. They were completely wonderful and we became fast friends and I ended up staying for five nights.

Favourite ‘I still need my parents’ moment:

At the home I stayed at in Savannah, Georgia, I encountered a bit of a cockroach crisis when I found one on the nightstand next to the bed, another on the window, another creeping in and out of the room under the door and yet another crawling out from under my bed. Me, not having many experiences with cockroaches, panicked. Huddled in the middle of the bed where I thought I was the safest, I called home and with my voice hushed (as not to wake the rest of the house which also included a couple traveling from Australia) yet slightly hysteric, I asked my dad for a variety of things including him to come to Savannah to kill them or to send me a bed net. Perhaps a bit dramatic. He tried to reason with me saying that mom looked up cockroaches online and they don’t bite or sting and can’t fly. However, the roach on the window with the wings and the one that made its way up to my nightstand were a dead giveaway that he was b.s.ing me just to try and calm me down. It was sweet of him for trying.

Funny story, the lovely woman whose home it was that I was staying in, emailed me a week or so later just to say hi and to tell me that her husband had discovered the reason for the roaches. You see, they have this little bird that flew into their home one day that they adopted as a pet and the cockroaches were attracted to the food in the bird’s cage that just so happened to be right next to the room I was staying in. They have since taken cockroach proofing action.

Favourite house:

Natchez, Mississippi is the oldest town on the Mississippi River and like most of the south, its history is rich and architecture, beautiful. I saw many impressive homes in the five weeks I spent in the south, but my favourite was the Longwood Home in Natchez, not because I thought it was the most beautiful, although it was, but because of the unique story of the home. This home is a six story, 30,000 square foot  mansion built in the shape of an octagon. It’s Italian-style architecture was considered quite innovative during that time period as the wealthy were growing tired of the typical greek-revival antebellum style homes (I can’t imagine how anyone could ever tire of this type of home… I think they are simply lovely). The exterior of the home is completely finished, however only the first level (the basement) of the inside of the home was completely finished when the Civil War broke out and all the workers dropped what they were doing to flee. The family ended up moving into the home and living in the basement which was not originally intended to be the living quarters of the home. When the husband of this family passed away from yellow fever, the head slave of the home (an African American), when he was given the choice of freedom, opted to stay and help the widowed wife raise her children. What was especially moving about this story is that there was a painting of this African American man amongst the other paintings of family members. This is quite significant for an era when African Americans were not held in the same regard in the south as caucasians.

the driveway leading up to this impressive mansion

an upward view of the remaining five floors of this unfinished home... each story of the octagon getting narrower as it goes up.

these are the original materials and tools left by the builders when they fled once the Civil War started

a backyard view of the stunning Longwood Home in Natchez, Mississippi

These are only a few favourites amongst many, but ones that came to mind as I was writing this. On a side note, I am going to try a new challenge. Starting tomorrow, I am going to try to post a blog of some sort everyday for a month. If I actually want to explore the notion of being a writer someday, I need to be more disciplined about it, so I figured this might be a good place to start. We’ll see how it goes.

the road to my soul part 2

11 Aug

It’s official, my two month road trip across the States came to an end last Tuesday when I arrived home just before 9pm. After the Canadian border guard practically welcomed me back to my country with open arms (seriously, the nicest, easiest border guy ever!), I arrived at my parent’s house to find Canadian flag markers lining the driveway (in case I forgot where I lived and what nationality I am) and a nice ‘Woohhooo…. Hi :)’ note on the front door, which I barely had a chance to read before the door was flung open by my very anxious and excited parents. I have to admit, even at the fairly adult age of 27, I still get excited to see my parents after not seeing them for awhile.

The week since being home has been pretty hectic. Part of the reason I hauled on the drive back home was because I had a new job to start which required me to move just five days after getting back to Canada. So I spent these five days visiting with my fam, cooking, playing piano, seeing as many friends as possible, cramming two months worth of sedentary time into three days of working out, unpacking, doing laundry and re-packing. Then on Sunday, I made the move to the Sunshine Coast where I will be working for three months as a scuba diving tour guide. Just kidding, I’m working as a office manager at my aunt and uncle’s commercial scuba company to cover the remainder of a maternity leave. Once I figure out that debits and credits are reversed in accounting compared to banking, I think it will be good. Plus, the Sunshine Coast is beautiful and my aunt has all these wonderful ideas of things that she is going to get me to try… kayaking, mountain biking, trail running, tennis, fence building, etc. As long as she doesn’t try and make me go tenting, I’m in. And who knows, maybe after these three months, the term ‘outdoorsy’ might not be out of the realm of possibility to be used as a word to describe me.

As for my time at home, it was really great to see friends and family and catch up on the past few months. Two months isn’t that long, but at the same time, it kind of is… it’s 1/6th of a year which seems a bit longer for me what I consider it that way. And, I changed ages while I was gone, which actually turned out to be quite significant. Typically I enjoy a good birthday party with friends and family and perhaps the odd gift, but this year, I spent my birthday completely alone. I had plans for my 27th birthday in Charleston, South Carolina, big plans, but the weather had a different idea preventing me from doing any of my plans. So what did I do? I got take out BBQ, put on my pajamas, watched The Bachelorette in bed and cried a little. After I finished feeling sorry for myself for a bit, I began to wonder what the heck I was really having a pity party for. Here I was, in this absolutely beautiful city (somewhere I chose to be on my birthday), traveling the country, with all the freedom in the world, hanging out with a God who has been revealing to me amazing things and I was feeling sorry for myself. Why? It was a really humbling moment that I’m really thankful I had… and as it turns out, I really liked my 27th birthday. Not because I wasn’t around people, but because it’s where God wanted me and I can’t really argue with that.

One common question people have asked me upon arriving home from this journey has been, “Is it what you’d hoped it would be?” In a word, yes. It’s true I went into this journey with a certain set of hopes and expectations. One thing I have really learned over the past year is that there is a big difference between hopes and expectations. Expectations immediately place a certain degree of limitation on something or someone and can leave you susceptible to being hurt and disappointed, whereas hopes allow your heart and soul to be free and alive in their dreams and desires. It was only a few days into my trip that I realized if I didn’t let go of certain expectations for this journey, I was going to be extremely disappointed and miss out big time on God’s teaching, so I did. I was surprised by how easy it was to let these expectations go as that is not usually the case for me. My hopes on the other hand, they remained and in many ways, they were definitely met. Not always in the way I expected, but in a way that was quite perfectly God. That’s not to say that the trip wasn’t without trials, fear and loneliness, because I definitely had moments with all three. But often it was in those moments that God used to teach me something that satisfied a longing in my soul or a hope in my heart.

It’s difficult to articulate exactly what I learned while I was gone, especially because it was such a solitariness journey for a good portion of it. But I do know that I experienced God in new and exciting ways and got a better glimpse of who I am in Him leaving me with a thirst to know more. I also take from this journey inspired dreams and visions. What God will do with these is yet to be seen, but I plan to continue exploring these stirrings in my soul and the passions and desires they evoke, hopefully taking steps towards where God will lead me next. I stand in awe of God’s grace and how He personalizes His relationship with each of His children to meet them where they are at. This journey has been the craziest thing I have ever done and I couldn’t be more thankful for it.

Also, I want to thank everyone who followed and supported me along the way by praying for me, feeding me a good home-cooked meal, providing me with a warm, safe place to sleep, putting me up in a hotel when I didn’t have a place to stay in the next city, having good chats, getting me hooked on this season’s Bachelorette, taking me to church, giving hugs, reading my blog, leaving comments, sending me texts, calling me during long drives, sending encouraging emails or maybe even just thinking of me from time to time. Although the trip part of this journey is over, I’m hoping and praying that it continues in my heart and soul. I will be keeping up this blog so I hope you still check in from time to time :)