Sunday, July 26, 2009

growing up

I am currently sitting in the fort built by my cousins and I on my front lawn. It's a nice place to blog. It's a nice place to think. I've been doing alot of that today. Thinking, reflecting, realizing. I guess it all started when i woke up this morning thinking i was in Wilson 209, Wenham, MA. i had a dream about Gordon last night which made me really excited for school. Thinking: school is a few weeks away. my new life is a few weeks away. in a matter of days my life will be radically changed forever. that's alot to think about. Reflecting: God is good to me. I have been so blessed. blessed to grow up with a loving family. blessed to grow up a bike ride away from the ocean. blessed to grow up at Calvary Chapel. blessed to meet amazing people who love the Lord. this may not be grammatically correct but you get the general idea. i have been blessed. Realizing: i am growing up. i am a legal adult now. i'll be seeing friends graduating college, getting married, having children. i cant believe that i am at this age already. my Bompa came over today and was telling my parents about his recent trip to Florida where he witnessed his friend pass away. he is at that age. someday i will be. it reminds me of the message of ecclesiastes: life is a vapor. but that's the cool thing about God. before i knew God, before i had a relationship with Him, my life was a vapor - it was meaningless. but God gives me purpose. He fills me with hope. he gives me worth and value and meaning. why? i am so undeserving. we are so undeserving. so unworthy. so why? because He loves us. because He created us. how lucky are we? 
i had a nice day with my cousins today. like i said, we built a fort and i decided this is where i wanted to write to you guys. the littlest one came to join me about half way through and upon discovering the joys of photobooth she requested we make a video. it seems as if she had been thinking about what she was going to say for awhile so i thought i would share it with you guys:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

left my heart in England, and my shoes in Scotland

I don't think I've ever been more ready (or happy) to come home from a trip. It was an amazing experience/opportunity, but i am truly happy to be home. Some of my favorite things:
 Ireland - 

isn't it lovely? to be honest, i didn't like ireland very much. yes, the country was beautiful (obviously), but that's about it. It seemed that everywhere we went we saw the same thing over and over again. It would be a very nice place for a photo tour, but Ireland just isn't my cup of tea. However, I've been thinking: does my spiritual walk at the time of visitation affect the way i look at a country? My answer: of course. You see, God opens our eyes to see His magnificent creation in a whole new light when we talk with, spent time with, and focus on Him. I must confess that this was not the case in Ireland. It was strange - i was deliberately avoiding Him for no reason! i was just being dumb and i've come to realize when i live in the world rather than in God, i become overly self-conscious, paranoid, and depressed. It's like I've lost myself. And that's kinda cool in a weird way because then i realize that my identity is in Christ, and Him alone. Sorry for the tangent =].

Scotland-  unfortunately, my camera battery basically 
exploded the night before we left for scotland so i have no pictures on my own camera of scotland. this is extremely sad because scotland was my most favorite place. especially edinburgh! ohh if i could only share edinburgh with you. i just cant even describe how much i loved edinburgh. There was this little coffee shop called "The Elephant House" which i fell in love with. If i lived in Edinburgh, i would go there everyday and just read. Drink my vanilla latte and read. If i had to leave my favorite pair of shoes(the red ones displayed in my display picture up there) in any country, I'm glad it was scotland. It's like a little piece of me is still there haha. I think one of my most favorite times in Scotland was at this little town that Queen Victoria had called one of the most beautiful places. It was a warm day (unusual for Scotland) and my friends and i had just finished lunch (cream tea for me!) when we decided to go explore and find a nice piece of grass to lay down. Our tour guide had told us of a lake that was beautiful to walk around so we decided to find it, and what we discovered was more than beautiful. It was designed by God. We just stayed there for hours until it was time to leave and it was so peaceful. God is so good. 

England- well what can i say about England? i love this 
country, and my love for London grew on this trip. typically i don't like London very much at all, i prefer Devon, how
ever i grew very fond of it this trip. perhaps it's because i got to see more of London? I don't know, but my favorite part is the Big Ben side. Oh!!! Before we even got to London, we went to York and Bath and it was wonderful! Cool story a
bout York: soooo, the past four years (up until a few months ago) I've been planning on living in York next year and attending calvary Chapel Bible College. Well, God had something else planned, as He so often does. So being in York was interesting. It was weird driving through it and thinking about how i almost lived here, and it was kinda funny. It was as if i was trying to make myself sad that I;m not moving there, but God's peace about Gordon is so overwhelming that there was no room to be sad. And try as i might I couldn't be sad. I greatly enjoyed York (though we were there for a very short time). Bath was amazing as well. For those of you who don't know, I am a Jane Austen fan so it was awesome visiting the Pump room like Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey and seeing the street where Anne Elliot runs after Frederick at the end of Persuasion. It was wonderful! If you ever go to England i highly recommend Bath. I
 also celebrated my 18th birthday while in England which was special. On my birthday we visited Shakespeare's birthplace, Anne Hathaway's cottage (gardens=wonderful), and the city of Oxford. England is one of my favorite places and God is so good. I know that He has a
 plan, and wherever it may be, it is good. "For He Himself is our peace" Eph. 2:14

Belgium- I am part Flemish. Verschueren is a flemish word meaning "of the cutters". Belgium is divided by two langauges: French and Flemish. According to my Bompa, we don't speak to the French side. Fortunately for my brother and I, we don't speak French, so technically, we weren't speaking to the the "French side" in Brussels. We spent a day there and a day in Brugge (the flemish side). In Brussels, we went to the European Union headquarters where we were supposed to be briefed on what the EU is, how it operates, etc. etc. but it kind of turned into a q&a/debate thing with an ex-patriot turned Belgian citizen. It was interesting...In Brugge, we shopped all day=]. My brother and i spent most of the day together shopping for family and friends. It was nice spending that time with him. We got some french fries with mayo because that is a Belgian delicacy and we were ordered to try it by our Bompa. I spilt the mayo on my toms =[. But i made 
up for it by splitting a Belgian waffle with my brother, complete with vanilla ice cream, whip cream, and (my favorite) nutella.  it was a wonderful day. when we were leaving Belgium, we stopped in the city of Antwerp to visit the Rubens museum. This stop was really special because my Bompa grew up in Antwerp. It's known for it's diamond industry which was very interesting to me because, as aforementioned, Verschueren means "of the cutters"....diamond cutters! My great grandpa and grand? uncle were both diamond cutters, that was our family trade, so it was really cool to be there surrounded by that kind of history. it was really special=].

The Netherlands- 
Amsterdam: Bikes! Bikes were everywhere!! i love love love bikes, and when i say bikes were everywhere, i mean they were everywhere. they have this rally cool system in Amsterdam where you slide your credit card, pick up the bike, ride it wherever you need to, and then 
someone else can come by and do the same thing while you grab another bike. I don't know if i 
explained it very well, but its excellent! The city is built around canals so there are alot of houseboats and normal boats. It is soooo cool. Beware: if you ever go to Amsterdam and enjoy going out for coffee like me, do not go to a "coffee shop". go to a "cafe". "Coffee shops" in Amsterdam sell weed. No bueno. But besides that i really enjoyed this city. we went to the Rembrandt museum which was Awesome and to the Anne Frank museum where i actually got to go into the attic where the Frank's and a few other families hid for two years during WWII. It was sobering and eye-opening and an experience. I wont go into my feelings on this because it's much too long, but all i will say is that we need Jesus.

Holland: the sun was shining in Holland! Oh it was wonderful to see the sunshine again! The sky was so blue and the grass was so was a wonderful 
way to end the trip. In Holland we visited a cheese/clog making factory. The clog part was interesting and it was a fun and quirky little factory. we also went to the seaside where i spent more time with my brother shopping. It really was the perfect end to a trip like this. The day was relaxing, and beautiful and i had a marvelous time. I'm glad to be home.