El Salvador 02 | Surfing

Monday, October 13

Yesterday a dream came true for me. I got to go surfing. It was one of the most exhilarating/best experiences of my life.

As I was watching on the shore, I thought the waves looked incredibly small, and wondered how on earth you could possibly ride such a small wave. However, when I got out there though, it was an entirely different story. Never before have I felt so small, weak, and out of control. I wasn't ever scared, but in the back of my mind I knew I was at the mercy of the waves and the current. There was this crazy moment when a wave was coming at me fast and as I went under it and felt it push me towards the shore, I couldn't do anything about it, and I felt so helpless but for some reason didn't feel afraid at all.

I am a control freak, I hate it, but I am. I want to know what my next step is before I'm even done with my current step. I struggle with enjoying where I am right now, because I'm trying to figure out exactly what I will do after the the current phase I'm in. I like to know exactly what will happen so I can prepare for it. I stress out when I feel like something isn't planned or under control. I had no idea what was happening, no idea what I would do next, and I didn't have a dire need to be in control of it. I could just relax.

When I was out in the water on that board, feeling incredibly small and out of control, I wasn't stressing. I think that was the first time this trip I wasn't thinking how I would say the next sentence in Spanish, or wondering if I'm being friendly enough or what on earth will I do when I get home. I was totally helpless but I've never felt so free or alive before.

Once we had drifted too far, so we started walking back to the shallow part and boy, that was so hard. You could take five steps and still be where you were to begin. It was slow, and painful, and we didn't make any progress.

Out there though, all I could think was if the ocean is this powerful and I am this weak and at it's mercy how much more am I weak and helpless in God's hands? If the ocean is this powerful and strong, how much more powerful and strong is God. I don't know if I can even imagine something stronger. If I'm trying to figure out what to do, and keep walking against the currents, and controlling my own direction I got tired and my efforts were futile. But when I got on the board and stood up (successfully !!!) and just rode in the direction the wave took me, I didn't have to worry about anything and it was a lot more enjoyable. How much more so when we follow God's plan, and relax and let him take us on the path we need to go.

I can't wait to go again. I'm really starting to think I was cut out for this type of life haha.

El Salvador 01 | Things I've Learned

Monday, October 6

I love it here.

I'm currently in El Salvador for seven weeks studying Spanish at a university here. And in the two weeks of studyingstudyingstudying and talking, and listening to Spanish 24/7 I've learned wayyy more then the time I stayed here for two and a half months, but boy oh boy my brain is so.dog.gone.tired.

Things I've learned:
Green is a happyhappy color.
I must have greenery everywhere in my future house.
I need to live in a place where I can have a house with walls that go up during the day.
I belong in the South. No Winters for me.
The ocean will never get old.
I'm incredibly fickle, and indecisive.
Life is wild and big and I'll never be able to do everything I want to do.
I'm not as excitable, emotional and passionate as I used to be.

I used to be a lot more emotional. Higher highs, lower lows. I could get super stoked about something and talk and talk about it and I could literally feel my face and eyes light up talking about it. I drew all.the.time. I kept an art journal, quotes resonated with me, and I was always writing down little thoughts here and there. I looked forward to trips, I told people about things I was excited about. I loved talking about the future and plans. I had plans for my designing, my blog. I had lists of posts I was dying to post. I started a few new series that I loved. However, I also cried a lot more, threw tantrums almost every day. I hated Indiana, was annoyed with most people or thought they were perfect. Extremes.

Now, I detest having people ask me what I'm going to do since I graduated and I'm sixteen and I should obviously have a plan. If I like something or do something I don't talk about it to anyone except Mom. I hide my artwork, I dread design work,  I don't draw, I don't write, I don't design, I don't blog. I wasn't even super stoked for this trip/escape from Indiana. I don't hate my friends but I don't love my friends. I haven't seen a quote on Pinterest or Tumblr that I go "woah.." about in ages. If I like something I immediately withdraw and I can feel my eyes glaze over. I haven't told any of my friends anything I've legitimately been thinking in months. Then again, I don't cry as much, or smile or laugh. I don't get super mad anymore, but I haven't felt excited or really happy in ages. Dull.

Since I got here though, I'm slowly starting to feel more alive. Slowly. I've done one drawing since I got here. Today, I wrote two whole pages of random thoughts leftover from Summer. Tonight I felt that same excitement that I used to have and I could feel my eyes brighten as I told a story over Skype of some crazy opportunity I had this afternoon. I'm taking pictures a few times a week again. I've changed my mind three times about future plans in the past two weeks. I'm actually blogging right now..

Maybe I needed a change of scenery. Maybe I'll get that spark and light up again. I sure hope so, I miss me. Who knows, you might be seeing more of me around these parts again.

Video Six | The Reality Of Chronic Illness

Sunday, August 17

In July I had the opportunity to go to Ohio for two days and meet up with Rachel. We filmed her promotional video for her book The Reality of Chronic Illness. Using her gift of writing and her phenomenal photography she hopes to bring understanding about the daily struggles she-- and many others-- goes through on a regular basis. She is planning to publish it early next year, but she needs your help to do that!

Would you please consider donating towards this good cause? No donation is too small! Every little bit helps. Oh, and did I mention? She has rewards for people who back her project? You'll get prints of some of her best photography! How cool is that?