Home Across the Pacific (Thailand pictures)

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Bangkok skyline

It was incredible coming back five years later to the country that had such an impact on me growing up.

I was raised to have a curious mind, to explore the beauty of language, to love cultures different than my own.

It was in this city that I found Jesus as my best friend, where I learned that family is one of the most important things you can have, where I became convinced that Thai food is undeniably the tastiest food on the planet.

I knew such a huge part of me was wrapped up in this land of traffic thicker than the humidity and blatant stares and friendlier smiles. I remember days when all I wanted was to leave. But you can never run from who you are. Missions runs through my veins and I knew I’d come back. I’d always come back.

This time it felt strangely like…home.

Home is one of those words I always stumbled over.

What is home?

I had moved so many times early in my life and I rebelled mentally about settling in the unexotic Midwest. And it wasn’t until I’d been back to Thailand twice, Kenya, Costa Rica, and finally Greece to realize that this little Midwest city that could hardly be called a city wasn’t such a bad place to come back to.

I fell in love with the smallness, the simplicity, the coffee shops, the culture. Even after my two closest friends moved several states away, I was content.

And for the first time I knew how it felt to be planted – my roots grew a little deeper. Suddenly I realized I had two beautiful places to call mine.

Friends come and go and home isn’t always where all the friends are. My people span too many continents for that.

All at once I realized that home was less about my surroundings and more about my heart. It was about the coffee shop I visited two afternoons a week, where the Americanos are strong and the baristas know my name. It was about my favorite streets and downtown memories and old houses full of character and charm and stories to tell. It was about the library brimming with the worlds and adventures that filled my childhood summers. It was about family and shady trails and quiet creeks.

It was when I became content to call my little Midwest “home” that Bangkok suddenly felt like home as well.

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Now I’m packing my suitcases and moving back to Southeast Asia, though a new part for me – a little smaller, a little more beachy, a little less familiar.

I’m less sure than ever about what the future holds and far more excited than I ever hoped to be.

New country, new people, new adventures to be had and memories to be made.

I am so looking forward to adding Indonesia to the places I call home.

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Home Across the Pacific (Thailand pictures)

Poetry Summer

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This summer has been pure poetry. Love, loss, adventure, nostalgia, magic.

I thrive on this stuff – on new faces and familiar places, hotels and humidity and memories – reliving the old and making new.

I was born on the move. I live to love and let go.

She said it right, my mom, how I leave a piece of myself wherever I go…but I also take something with me. This is why I’m always changing, shedding my skin to open new eyes.

I think about regrets, choices and words that haunted me, and I turn a fresh page. To know this – that I had loved with all of me and tried my best and that’s what made it enough – this changes everything.

To live without holding back is often painful; but I’ve learned to not hate myself for the things that make me brave.

This is freedom – to walk humid streets and find no stranger.

This is magic – to see yourself as mystery and flawed and to choose love.

This is living deep. Poetry.

Poetry Summer

When Letting Go is Tough and Hope Comes Hard

I chuckled at how I probably looked staring contemplatively out of the bus window in the middle of 40 chattering, laughing kids with the wind whipping wild my curls while some kind of chill indie techno pop or whatever blared over the speakers, but there was something about the way the afternoon sunlight blazed golden across the tall grasses in that field and I couldn’t stop staring.

I soaked up the moment soul-hungry and mentally lingered, wondering at how underrated the Midwest actually is.

There’s something magical about camp season. When you escape to a piece of no man’s land tucked somewhere in the hills of who-knows-where with spotty cell phone reception and a gazillion sweaty kids for a week to run ridiculous relay races in the blazing heat and throw water balloons at each other that are actually filled with warm chocolate milk. Such fun.

But in all seriousness it’s kind of my favorite. And I kind of cry a little every time I have to leave because there’s nothing quite like getting away from normal life for a week or two (or four) to hang out with cool people and be silly and love on Jesus to the sound of an acoustic guitar and cicadas.

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“MuKappa” campsite

The funny thing is that I had some great plans going into this summer. I was going to work this camp, get into this relationship, apply for this job, move into this apartment…it was going to be perfect. I had it all figured out – my life for the next couple years. All in the name of loving Jesus, right?

Well, something started to unravel in me. Somewhere between a few certain whiny campers and another thunderstorm and mud all over everything (because we camped out in the woods for a week and it rained the whole time and I’ve never seen so much mud in my life) and soaked sleeping bags and sleep-deprivation. Suddenly here was the end of my rope and things weren’t working out and I couldn’t do this anymore.

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chief meeting in the rain

But Father kept whispering softly to me – in quiet hammock moments, in laughter and conversation around the campfire, on muddy trails, through falling rain. It was half a week later that I stopped long enough to listen, to lean in despite my disappointment and frustrations. His words came gentle, “Silly child, trusting in your own plans. Don’t you know to put your hope in Me alone? Do you really think you know what’s best for you?”

His probing laid me open and the next few days felt a little raw. It was a gradual releasing – of my plans and stubbornness – a softening. I thought I had pliable been all along. But there I was, “my” life and “my” future in my own hands again and it’s never comfortable to peel back the fingers of a clenched fist.

It didn’t make sense to let go. Because my plans made sense. They would work out perfectly with what I wanted and how I was going to live out the things God had placed on my heart if He would just work with me…

Ha.

Yeah. Sounds rather ridiculous when you think about it that way.

So I let go. Even if it meant doing the same things I’ve been doing for the past two years and living in my parents’ basement until I’m thirty. (Okay not really, but that’s how it felt if I’m honest….And don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but you know what I mean…)

With that releasing came such a peace.

Because if I was letting go it’s because God had something better in store and I’ve walked with my Father long enough to know He never disappoints.

I packed my suitcase that Saturday morning after camp was over and the goodbyes were said, and strangely enough I found myself looking forward to getting back into the routine of my life – housework, homework, and afternoons in the office.

But I come home to a surprise I was not expecting. It explains the releasing, the heart conditioning, and the hopeful expectancy for the future.

My season in the basement is over.

I’m going to Bali.

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me in my hammock 🙂
When Letting Go is Tough and Hope Comes Hard