Travel.

travel

If I could give you just one piece of advice, it would be to travel.
If I could tell you one thing, beyond the story of Jesus and His great love for you, it would be to get out of your comfort zone.
It would be to go. Beyond where you’ve been. To places you’ve only heard of. To places you’ve only dreamed of. The ones you first saw in that third grade textbook.
I would tell you to leave. Leave where you’re comfortable. Take that first tiny step. Go ahead. Right now.
Leave your job. Leave your home. Leave your city.
Give up your comfort. Spend all your money. Abandon your lifestyle. Live in a tent under the stars. If that’s what it takes.
Get away. Watch your feet land on a new piece of earth, a thousand miles away or just down the street.
Let your mind spin and your head hurt and the tears flow.
Let your assumptions shatter as you meet the contradictions of your whole way of thinking, your entire way of life.
Travel. Next door or to the next continent. But do it. Now.
Tell your story. Ask people what makes them who they are.
And when you ask, listen. Really listen.
Put the iPhone away. The world will wait. Your life is more than the Instagrammed pictures you’re known for. The person in front of you has a story, and they want to share it right here and now. It could change your life, if you’re listening.
Open your ears. Open your eyes. Breathe in, and recognize who you are. Recognize who they are. A creation of the One who only makes perfection. A product of sin. A product of love.
Travel. To know what makes you feel alive. To strip away your comfort. The things that keep you where you are. The things that keep you from clarity.
Travel. To know love. To know life. To know that America isn’t all there is. But to know that America isn’t all bad either. Travel to understand your blessings. Travel to understand your God.
Travel far and wide. Get real and see life get messy. Travel where you want to go. Travel where you’d rather stay away from. But whatever you do, travel. 

–Hallie

Back to the Third World

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How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Isaiah 52:7

After a full week of exams and papers and then Hannah’s graduation today, we’re headed to Belize tomorrow. I feel so unprepared for this trip mentally, but so ready to spend some intentional time with Jesus and His people.

Pray this week for doors to open. For kids without parents to feel love. For police men and women to feel appreciated. For American eyes to be open. And for all of our focus to be on the only thing that matters: Jesus.

Also, I got to be a tiny part of another trip that’s going to be happening over break! Be praying for two Mississippi girls, Kristin and Leah, as they travel to Rafiki (my African home)!! They leave on the 15th (tomorrow!) and will be at the village for three weeks! Pray for safety in travel and health while they’re there. Pray that they get to love on those kiddos and the full-time staff at Rafiki well. Pray that God works in mighty ways in their hearts as He always does when we go outside of our comfort zone and into His awesome world! Pray that being away from home for Christmas will be a blessing and not a hindrance to experiencing all that God has for them.

Love first and always,
Hallie.

A New Job.

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I quit my job last Tuesday.
(I was going to quit the Friday before, but it was the first day the whole semester my boss wasn’t there. I hope that wasn’t God trying to tell me something. Because I quit anyway.)

It was a lot more difficult than I had imagined.
You see that I was going to quit Friday but didn’t until Tuesday.
Monday came and went without quitting too.
I was nervous. Because I’ve never quit a job before. And it was a good job.

But I got offered a new job.
One that fit my particular gifts and abilities at the moment.
One that I just didn’t want to turn down.
A job that will let me help people and be involved in a writing community.
A job that I’ll probably hate some days because of the way it challenges me.
A job that will only last a semester.

And I think that’s why I almost didn’t quit my first job.
Because I had only been there less than two semesters.
And I don’t want to seem flaky. Or ungrateful.
But it wasn’t exactly me.

And in this new job, I’ll be working with words. Tutoring in the Writing Center.
And it will challenge, yes definitely.
Sitting in the back of the library helping people to write all day.
Some people who hate to write. And some who are better than I am.

And today I turned in a “Philosophy of Tutoring”.
A fancy-schmanzy paper that basically says “I think writing is important“.
A project done for the class that allowed me this opportunity.

And in that Philosophy, I said that
“In our sessions, we could be sitting next to the next Hemingway, encouraging the next Eudora Welty, spurring on the creative spirit of a potential Dr. Seuss.”
And I believe it. Because so many people don’t write because they don’t know how. So many hate it because it brings out their own insufficiencies.
But just as many write because someone has taught them. Because someone has understood that it’s hard, but it’s good.
And I’m excited about the challenge.
Because some people are in college because “that’s what they’re supposed to do”. And some only take writing classes because it’s part of the core. And some hate those writing classes like they’re the chicken pox. And some only come to the Writing Center because it’s a requirement of their sports team.
And that’s okay. Perfectly a-okay.

But I hope, in my dreamy twenty-one year-old way, that I really am even just a small part of someone’s rhetorical story.
That someone will look back years from now and say,
“The Writing Center helped me. She helped me. She encouraged me to be more than I thought I was, but all that I was capable of.”
And I know that’s a lofty dream that’ll get lost in a full semester of my own papers and projects (and an upcoming graduation!).
But I’m here for one more semester. So let’s make it count.

If you need me, I’ll be in the Writing Center.
(Well, at least come January. The next few weeks are filled with Hannah’s graduation, a trip to Belize!, Christmas!!, family and friends!)

–Hallie

2012.

2012.
You have been a year. You have been a weird year.


You have entwined into my being a true understanding that if it’s not eternal, it’s not of much worth.
You have taught me the power of patience.
You have taught me to live and love life in situations that I don’t love.
You have taught me to be wrong, oh so wrong, and to admit it graciously and repetitively.
You have taught me to speak. Boldly.
You have taught me fearlessness in the midst of great fear.
You have taught me to get out of situations that aren’t right. To chase ones that are. To let go. To let God.
You have once again reminded me how powerful He is.
You have changed me in ways I didn’t want to be changed.
You have grown me beyond where I wanted to grow.
Made me accept and forgive beyond what I was willing.
You have shown me joy. Of children and adults.
You have shown me love. Beyond my wildest dreams.
You have loved me well. In conversations and in actions.
You have taught me to sit back. To let go. To give up.
You have reminded me of Mary. So many times.
Giving up all the craziness of life to do what was “better”. Even when that made no sense to anyone but me.

You have taught me how to fail.
I have lost a school-wide election, ended a relationship, and have no real plans after May.
You taught me to lose. That it isn’t about being the best. That it’s more about love than I’d like to imagine.
Plans are made perfect in the last moment so we can learn to depend on God in each one.
You have taught me that being like Christ is always better than being right.
You have taught me to cling to Jesus. With everything I am.
You have surprised me over and over again and reminded me just how much more I still have to learn.

You have been a year.
A year of growth and dealing with the pains of not yet being “there”, but being good with whatever “there” is today.
Thanks 2012. I owe you.

–Hallie