Where have I BEEN?

It feels like it's been a long time since I last posted. I've been traveling so much this summer, for work and for play, and I haven't found the time to catch up and let everyone know where I've been. As much as I want to spend time in New Orleans this summer, I'm finding that this may be my most active, hectic season yet. Ramping up to my 10 month service-oriented excursion abroad in the Philippines, I've spent the last three weeks going from state to state and country to country, living out of a duffle bag and then downsizing to a simple backpack.

Notably, two weeks ago I went on a mission trip with St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian to the Dominican Republic. We spent seven days working with the people of the Iglesia Evangelica Dominicana, readying a building for seminary students and surveying the locals about health and wellness in their families and communities. I am honored and proud to have served alongside the people of the IED church and helped improve their communities' physical and spiritual longevity. Additionally, I am so grateful for the folks who took time out of their busy schedules to go on the trip. I'm beginning to understand just how difficult it is to "make time," as a semi-adult, amidst the sea of worldly responsibilities that keep a person from doing what they'd like or what they're called to do. Here's one of my my favorite pictures from the trip, taken in Buenos Aires Church in Santo Domingo.

Last weekend, my mother's side of the family reunited for a traditional Mountain Man Rendezvous in northern Pennsylvania. My grandparents hosted this family reunion on their beautiful property nearly every year, beginning in the early 2000's. My immediate family started attending the shindig, only 4 or so hours from our original home outside of Philadelphia, in the summer of 2010. This summer's Rendezvous was the first in four years, though hopefully not the last, as rumored. 

The family is far more spread out, nowadays. I've got cousins in Virginia, Georgia, and Hawaii. Heck, my brothers, parents, and I alone are in Orlando, FL; New Orleans, LA; Boulder, CO; and Wake Forest, NC (soon!). But we all started somewhere in Pennsylvania. And it's not long before I'm in Leyte! A half the world away... 

So for obvious reasons, Pop-Pop and Gramma "up the mountains" believed that the family reunion was very important to put on this year. It's an awesome event, with camping and tent-decorating, athletic competitions, and roasting weenies and s'mores on the campfire, to name just a few activities. While most of the games are really for the young ones, there were hardly any young ones to go around this year! "The kids" are all in their late teens and 20's, in college or working, not eating as many of Gramma's cookies as we used to, but that doesn't mean that we're not still "the kids." Old habits fade slow and that's not a bad thing. 

It's so comforting to know that we have a loving support system at home, in the motherland, that's always safe. I was talking with my Pop-pop when we first arrived, observing more than asking, that everything was the same. He said that people liked to have a place to come back to that doesn't change much, especially when the world around it changes so rapidly. At least in my case, he's absolutely right, but that's not surprising. 

In other news, during my travels, I got to hold multiple babies. In the DR, our translator and pastor of the IED church's daughter was constantly being passed from person to person, which proved to be the way to socialize a child. She was incredibly calm. My cousin also just had a baby, who couldn't help but be loved by everyone at the reunion, so much so that his mom hardly had to hold him. The waiting list to hangout with him was so long, I never really signed myself up. By chance or luck, I got to hold him twice, and man, is he cute! I'll just leave these here... 

What more could you ask for?

Peace and Grace,


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