After much thinking and praying and hoping and worrying, it looks like I'll be heading to Peru in August. It was actually a pretty crazy turn of events that caused this. After receiving the phone call from AFM canceling Turkey, I applied to go to a few other places. Out of desperation, really. I can't believe that I was scared that God wasn't going to take care of me. But He exceeded my expectations - like He always does. So God got me a graphic design/project promotion position for Touch of Love in Peru. I couldn't be more stoked. It's like He knew where I really needed to be.

I got my shots last week. All 5 of them. Yellow Fever, Typhoid Fever, Polio, Hepatitis A, and Tetanus. I don't mind getting shots at all. But getting 5 at once was a rather painful exp
erience. Especially 2 days later when I couldn't raise my arms at all.

I found this picture of a nativ
e Peruvian woman. Probably the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. I love the face paint and the necklaces.

I also can't wait to see Machu Picchu.

Next year is going to be crazy, to say the least. But I'm ready.

Now I just have to raise $4000. Any takers?


Curl up and dye

I was recently driving around Chattanooga and saw a sign for a salon. It really grabbed my attention because its name was Curl Up & Dye. Really? I thought it was morbidly hilarious, but really? I want to go in there some day and ask what kind of business they get. Or just go in and see what kind of business they get.

"I need a haircut."

"Oh, just go Curl Up & Dye."



My name is Hope

A lot of interesting things have happened to me in the recent weeks. For one, I've finished up my second year of college. All the projects were turned in and critiqued, exams were taken, and grades were posted. It was crunch time. And now it's over. Once the 'Submit' button is pressed, there's no going back. I've noticed that my ideas about getting good grades have changed. Maybe it's because I haven't been getting straight A's. But I'm okay with that. I know I should always do my best - and maybe I did slack a little bit more. But when I look back on the nights that I chose to do something fun over doing homework, I realize that I wouldn't want to trade those nights in for anything. The memories that I made on those nights are irreplaceable. If I would've just stuck to the books, I would've never gotten to climb a water-tower for a midnight tea party, go to the Yellow Deli, talk about life, play catch phrase, vandalize Macey and Danika's door, have dance parties with my roommate, or Modern Family marathons. All of those things wouldn't have existed. And a big fat shiny A might have taken their place. Safe and sound on my report card. But what's an A if you have no friends? Or no memories to revel in?

Traveling home is always an adventure for me. Actually, just traveling in general. It's probably because I have an awful habit of being late. Last Wednesday was funny though, because I purposed in my heart that I was not going to be late. I was going to make my flight. I was going to be early. Oh, what a funny thing to dream. So after rushing around getting everything packed up, and enjoying a grease-filled breakfast at the Waffle House (Thanks, Nick!), I headed to good ol' Groome Transportation (recently renamed Groin Transportation by my dad) to catch the 11:00 shuttle to Atlanta. Note: My flight wasn't until 3:00. Didn't end up leaving the house until 10:41. Got to Groin at 11:03. They had already left. Not to fear! I would just catch the 12:00 shuttle and then just have a little more of a rush in the airport. Nothing I love more than a good run down the terminal. To make a long story short, I missed my flight. The line was long. Luckily there was one going out 3 hours later. No big deal. I'd just sit and people watch for a couple hours. Get some lunch (which was gross), and then get home. My poor parents. They have just come to accept that being late and missing flights and forgetting wallets and getting dreads and drinking out of the orange juice carton is just a part of who I am. Thank goodness they have to love me no matter what.

And now for the exciting part. As I was sitting in the Atlanta airport awaiting my flight to Denver. An old man asked if he could sit by me. I obliged and then he very quickly proceeded to tell me that my toenails weren't painted very well. I couldn't help but laugh out loud at the audacity of this little old man. I told him that the reason my nails were painted was because I was trying to cover up a bruise under my toenail that started as a result of much abuse from continuous soccer and rock climbing. He thought this was very funny. We then shared a laugh as he continued to ask me questions and tease me about my nail polish. We ended up talking for about two hours about pretty much everything. I found out he was from Quebec. He had a cool accent and French words would periodically slip into the conversation. We moved on from talking about my gross toes to his company to graphic design to how women were more in touch with feelings than men were. I told him about my family. He told me about his. He told me about the 'good ol' days' in Canada. We talked about politics. I told him that I didn't really care.

Then the conversation became a little more serious. He started asking me about what I believed. I told him that I believed in God and a Savior. I asked him if he did too. Yes and No, he said. He said he believed in the good of human nature but also that humans had an evil side. He then continued asking me how I could believe in a God of love if there is so much death in the world. It hit me. He had the same question that so many people have. Isn't that the question that everyone wants answered? How could God allow such suffering. He told me that it made more sense for him to believe that God just didn't exist. I don't know why, but his comments brought tears to my eyes. As I started wiping them away, I told him that I believed in a God of love. I told him that I believed in a controversy taking place in the universe between good and evil. Jesus and Satan. He then asked me a question that I will never forget for as long as I live. Who's winning now? Who's winning now? As the question sunk in, I began to understand his point of view. All he could see was all the war. All the killing. All the terrorists, abortions, child soldiers, sex trafficking, domestic violence, homelessness, poverty. My thoughts were all mixed up. I told him the battle has already been won and that one day Satan will be put in his place and that everything will be made right. God hates the suffering even more than we do. He just kept asking me, Who's winning now? It does seem like Satan is winning now. Then the tears came. I thought of all of the millions of people just like him who wanted so badly to believe, but couldn't see past all of the bad. He felt bad for making me cry. I told him that it wasn't him, it was my allergies. Which was partly true.

Then his eyes got a twinkle and he said something that surprised me. Hope, he said. You have hope. He began telling me about a poem that he had read about the three daughters of God. Love, Charity, and Hope. In the poem Hope is the youngest and most beautiful daughter. And for the rest of the conversation he called me Hope. He never even asked my name. He was convinced that it was Hope.

I'm sure my angel probably nudged me to look at my phone when I did. I had become so consumed by the conversation that I had completely lost track of time. 5:38. My flight was supposed to board at 5:39. I ran off, barely getting his name. Ronal. I was the last person on the plane. I guess I just have to stay consistent with my traveling style. Very back row of the plane. I collapsed in my seat. Exhausted and yet strangely rejuvenated. The guy next to me snored the whole way to Denver. I'm sure I followed suit.

My name is Hope. Thank you, Ronal.