"And the greatest of these is love."

Above all things, love one another.

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just like mary.

church camps are in full swing, and i’m involved in a lot of the planning and coordination. i’m trying my best not to be busy with much serving, but to remember to sit at His feet. 

it’s hard. sometimes everything just seems so stressful and overwhelming, and i forget what the purpose of all these ‘duties’ are—for younger people to get to know, see, and love Christ, and know, see, and love the church. for Him to win their hearts.

i’ll write more later. i have so much to say about vision week and realizations about who i am, but……for now, let me do mountain top stuff.

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Nerdy, clever and heartbreaking all at the same time.

i have so much to write and say and type, but for right now, have some fantastic sherlock fangirling. my little brother LOVES this show (like…L-O-V-E-S it), and very little else could make me happier.

(Source: darlingbenny, via benedict--cumberbatch)

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almost the end

I’m typing this up on my phone in zurich, sunburnt this red brown color my skin turns in summer, after an afternoon spent baking and jumping into the limmat river. I have three more days of this easy happy summertime with David in europe, and im just so grateful for it all. For the money and time and friends that have hosted us. For the easygoing nature of my life that let me take off responsibility free. For the beautiful weather. For the big brother role model best friend who traveled with me. For being.happy and alive :).

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Sometimes you’re 23 and standing in the kitchen of your house making breakfast and brewing coffee and listening to music that for some reason is really getting to your heart. You’re just standing there thinking about going to work and picking up your dry cleaning. And also more exciting things like books you’re reading and trips you plan on taking and relationships that are springing into existence. Or fading from your memory, which is far less exciting. And suddenly you just don’t feel at home in your skin or in your house and you just want home but “Mom’s” probably wouldn’t feel like home anymore either. There used to be the comfort of a number in your phone and ears that listened everyday and arms that were never for anyone else. But just to calm you down when you started feeling trapped in a five-minute period where nostalgia is too much and thoughts of this person you are feel foreign. When you realize that you’ll never be this young again but this is the first time you’ve ever been this old. When you can’t remember how you got from sixteen to here and all the same feel like sixteen is just as much of a stranger to you now. The song is over. The coffee’s done. You’re going to breathe in and out. You’re going to be fine in about five minutes.
The Winter of the Air (via thespiritofstairs)

(via thespiritofstairs)

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berlin and subways.

i’ve discovered a weird thing about myself: one of my favorite parts of traveling is figuring out the local public transportation system. 

i think it started in philly, since i definitely never used public transit when i lived in ohio. i started venturing off penn campus in my sophomore year (ashamedly not my freshman year. i was too wee and frightened of a midwest suburban lass to expand my horizons.). by junior year, i was working off campus on occasion, traveling to explore the city, and discovering the new excitements at my fingertips with the bus and metro system. 

things only got better in nyc. when i interned there, my job at the USAO provided me with an unlimited metro swipe card. 

i went everywhere with that thing, or at least it felt like it. harlem evenings at sunset on my own, just to walk in the footsteps of aretha franklin or brush my fingers along the sides of the cotton club. late night excursions to theaters to see the harry potter premiere and stars. i traveled up and down manhattan, through brooklyn’s beautiful streets, down the imposing skyscrapers of wall street, through times square—i loved it. this flimsy little yellow card opened so much to me. 

and i guess that’s why i love it so much here in europe. public transportation is everywhere, and i’m adoring the process of figuring out each city’s system. it’s like a puzzle, a challenge—figure out how to travel around. figure out how to move quickly and conveniently from place to place. figure out how to open this city like a book, read it from cover to cover, see what secrets and treasures it holds in corners and crannies. it’s like each time i get the system down, my world expands a bit—centimeters on the map, sprawling tendrils curling towards the edges of city limits. 

i’m writing this one in particular because berlin was the hardest one yet. i mean, everything’s written in german. i don’t speak german. there are lots of colors and squigglies intertwining and twisting in languages i don’t understand. 

but i figured it out. 

i got it.

and berlin feels like it’s at my fingertips. 

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ridiculously happy in holland.



hahahahahahahahahaha. amsterdam.

we’re not staying in a hostel this time, we’re staying with a church friend/friend of david’s from lab. she’s currently dating david’s roommate. they met (her and david’s roommate) while she was in buffalo in a study abroad program. 

she’s FANTASTIC and really fun and really funny and super generous and nice and interesting. she didn’t become a Christian until about a year ago, and her story is fascinating. 

but anyway, we had so much fun with her. i’m super tired so i’m going to make this sparknotes style:
-watching the world cup game in holland
-playing on the beach, spinning circles in the waves, tossing a frisbee in the wind
-falling asleep pictures
-canal rides 
-museum picture imitation
-david eating five stacks of spare ribs and half of my steak
-going to hillsong amsterdam, which was super interesting
-eating at a locally owned cute little hole in the wall fresh flowered wooden tabled bright little dutch bakery
-special movie nights
-open air balcony, full moon brightness
-rembrandt at night
-david in a dress
-laughlaughlaughs, all day and all night long
-the red light district. it was memorable, in a tragic way.

i want to write about it later. 

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london, brilliantly.

"and i asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep." —k.vonnegut

this trip has been so wonderfully strange. 
the last time i went to europe, i was 17 years old and emotional and naive. it was my first time traveling out of country on my own. i had never had alcohol before. i never had had a boyfriend. i equate those twenty eight days with a sort of awakening, like i finally grew up and experienced life. because of that connection, europe’s come to be an analogy for truly living—for excitement, wildness, drunk happy hazes in parks with friends and boys. 

i love knowing that i’ve grown up. that’s not what it’s like anymore, and i’m beautifully alright with that. 

now, europe’s come to be this pleasant and enlightening experience. i like traveling. i like tour guides and museumes. i like seeing history and learning new things about new people in new places. but it’s not…overwhelming. it’s not more emotion and experience than i can handle. it’s much…..calmer. 

like for instance, london.

beautiful place. gorgeous city. i absolutely love it.

but my highlights weren’t the thudding of my heart when that one boy spoke to me in the gardens, or the way i drank too much at the club and felt giddy, hazy, dizzy. 

here were my highlights:

1) figuring out the tube. it’s not that hard, but i felt very accomplished nonetheless. those months of public transportation in philly and NYC paid off. 
2) walking around, following emily like a lost puppy, and then suddenly stumbling across big ben, looking up and seeing it looming vast and elegant and timeless above me. 
3) watching the sunrise over the waters as i rode a ferry into england. the land crept up in the corner of the window, just suddenly popped up and appeared. the sky was soft blue grey dawn, the sun rising gently behind clouds, and then there was land, and i felt so happy and content watching it all happen. 
4) walking across the london bridge at evening, feeling the wind in my hair and my fingertips getting cold as my tired legs carried me across the thames.
5) seeing shakespeare’s globe—reading macbeth in the morning at the kitchen table of my hostel, softly following the melody of his words. 
6) watching wicked. holy fricking moly, watching wicked. sitting down the theater with mediocre expectations and exhaustion in my ankles, and then instead feeling captivated by the story—by the glories of those actresses’ voices, filling the whole room with power and feeling, making the hairs on my arms stand on end. forgetting i was in a room watching a show because i was so enraptured. mouthing along the lines to ‘defying gravity’—in context this time—and understanding why independence, rebellion, self-definition, non-conformity, individual thought are so important to me. seeing humans create art and music and something beautiful, and being able to partake in that creation, revel and delight in how we can connect with each other. 
7) the controlled chaos of regent’s park—just nicely organized enough to be beautiful, but unkempt enough to be realistic. i think that’s why i like london so much. it’s not perfectly manicured and coiffed—it’s a bit wild, a bit too strong, a bit untamed. and i like untamed. 
8) riding my bike behind my brother to travel. at one point we sped down a hill so fast that my heart was racing, the pedals circulating too quickly for my feet to keep up, and i simply glided, exhilarated, all the way down this stretch of london road in the greenery and sunshine. 
9) drinking a beer outside while it poured rain above me. there was a this creaky worn down ugly plastic rivulet roof above my head, and i could feel the spray of the raindrops on my arms. so beautiful. 
10) right now. sitting in the middle bunk of a hostel in london, just finishing kurt vonnegut’s first chapter of slaughterhouse five. pausing in between pages to revel in his mastery. feeling insignificant and incomparable to his genius. doubting my ability to ever write something worthwhile, something poignant like him. appreciating his satire and irony and wit. feeling like a part of my brain is coming alive after months and months of deadness and exhaustion—remembering how much i love to read, how i’ve always loved to read

feeling a particular quote strike me enough somewhere deep down in my soul, quivering, to put it at the top of this post about london. 

and realizing that somewhere, somehow, sometime along the lines, i’ve grown up quite a lot. 

this europe trip is strange and different, but beautiful. 

(also, in case you couldn’t tell, i’ve absolutely adored london.)