What Are Some Special Trips of Mine?

I have had such a fortunate life. Now, I want to share some of the best trips about my life and will share a bit of what makes them special.

  1. New York- In the picture below, it is in the year 2006 and I was 12 at the time. That trip consisted of just mom and me. That was a huge part of why the trip was meaningful to me. During this trip, my mom took me to see Wicked on Broadway. I don’t have many vivid memories of seeing Wicked, but I do remember that the song, Popular, was my favorite song from the musical. While I don’t have vivid memories of seeing Wicked, the impact clearly shows. Wicked sparked my love for musicals and it was how I started to understand complexity in musicals. It also was the beginning of understanding emotions as well and Elphaba became such a meaningful musical character in my life.

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2. Next up is Alaska. This was a trip that I went on in the year, 2011. I went with my extended family. We went through a group called Tauck Bridges. We got to explore nature a lot of times. It consisted of several hikes and a “glacier and whale” tour. I got to meet husky dogs. I even went panning for gold. This trip was basically a cruise, but instead of traveling by cruise ship, we traveled by bus.

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3. Costa Rica happened in 2014. I studied abroad for two weeks. Costa Rica like Alaska is another beautiful place to visit. I ended up staying with a host mom. The place we stayed at was Atenas. One special part was when we visited Monteverde.

Monteverde is a rain forest preserve. We hiked a lot when we were there. When we hiked the first time, it was fun being out in nature. The second round, I went on the canopy tour and at first, I didn’t know if I wanted to do it, but I decided to go on the canopy tour. The canopy tour is a zip-line above the canopy. Sometimes I got stuck in the middle, which was scary at times and a guide had to come get back and sometimes I had to go down with one.

We spent some time in the capitol of Costa Rica, which is San Jose. One time we spent the day exploring the place. Another day, we went to see a play, which was hard to understand since it was all in Spanish. But I was able to pick up on the fact that the show was comedy. Another thing we all did was visit a coffee plantation. Everything we did in Costa Rica was culture related.

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4. The same year, 2014, I went on another special trip. In December, I went on a plane by myself to spend a week with my grandma in St. Louis. That was one special trip and one very special part was seeing Annie. Annie was my favorite musical before seeing Wicked. I think I loved Annie so much as a kid due to Annie’s optimism and her relationship to Sandy.

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5. The most recent special trip I went on was England. Our church choir was in residence at Bristol Cathedral so England was a pilgrimage. The fact that the trip was a pilgrimage was a big reason why the trip was so meaningful. That year was 2015 in July and the pilgrimage began on the 31st. But the best part of the trip had nothing to do with the pilgrimage, but connected in some way.

The day before on July 30th, mom gave me a special treat. She actually took me to see Les Mis in London on the West End. It was my dream to see Les Mis in London. It was where the show truly began. At this performance, I had an understudy as Valjean. The cast I saw was brilliant and so was Adam Bayjou. I always get nervous when I hear I have understudies, but Adam has been the best Valjean I ever saw. In this cast, I finally felt for Javert due to how Jeremy Secomb portrayed him. The revolve was very effective and it helped with time change and was quite useful at the barricade. This production did make me cry and laugh and feel several emotions like I expected. Mom and I sat nine rows back from the stage.

Literally after hearing one note at this performance, I knew it was more than expected and I was speechless after both act I and act II and was one of the first ones to stand up at the end. That was how good the cast was. The entire cast was brilliant from ensemble to leads. Mom took me to the stage door afterwards and I met Adam and he signed my playbill. I think things came full circle with Les Mis because the West End is London’s version of Broadway. It came full circle because I saw Wicked on Broadway with my mom. Due to loving Wicked and Les Mis equally, it was quite fitting I saw one on Broadway and one in the West End.

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Les Mis was in a lot of ways connected to the pilgrimage. Les Mis is Valjean’s spiritual journey and the Bristol Pilgrimage was my spiritual journey. We went to three castles, which were Berkeley, Windsor, and Chepstow. We visited TinTern Abbey, Stonehenge. I saw ten church services at four different places. We saw them at WestMinster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Salisbuy Cathedral, and Bristol Cathedral.

At the last service at Bristol Cathedral, I truly knew how transforming the trip was. It was during the anthem and I actually cried and that that reaction was how I knew how transforming the trip was. Stonehenge was the mountain-top moment of the pilgrimage. But the best part of the pilgrimage was not one of the places we visited. it  It was actually the fellowship that was formed between all 72 pilgrims.

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So all of these trips were quite special. All of these trips had some sort of impact on my life. New York was impactful due to seeing Wicked on Broadway and I think that was a big reason why it has been the most meaningful musical of my life growing up. One trip was the best extended family trip I ever been on and was inedible spending time in nature. One trip made me learn about culture in Costa Rica and made me see nature in a new perspective especially due to a canopy tour. The last one was important to my spiritual journey and my journey with Les Mis.

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The Beauty of Life

Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful

-Unknown

Life is beautiful in so many ways. Life is not perfect, but that is part of what makes life beautiful. Everyone goes through these tough times, but those are times that can help us grow as people. Life is like this gigantic roller coaster with twists and turns and ups and downs and filled with so many emotions. Life is really beautiful now especially because we are in the middle of Christmas season. My life has been filled with many wonderful memories and tonight I will create another. I am seeing Nutcracker and at this production, I cannot wait to see all of the new costumes.

Without the bad times in life, how will we know what the good times in life are. The two are interconnected and rely on each other. It can be hard to understand the messiness and chaos of life at times. I know life is beautiful and I do the best I can to live in the moment. Living in the moment is very difficult. There is so much to life. There are ways you can make life even more beautiful. You can just spend time out in nature to really see the beauty of life. You can make the most of every situation and just spend some time off the computer. You can color if you want or you can just try something new. I may be young, but I understand the beauty of life. Life is what you make of it and is worth it even when the dark times hit.

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Business of Life

Life is very difficult, but so beautiful and wonderful. Even though life is fragile, it is so worth it even if our time on earth is so short. It doesn’t seem like life is short, but it really is. Life is so fragile because there are times when we are going to enter a period of darkness and during those times, it can feel like there is no hope. But in reality, there is always hope even in some very painful times in our life. Life is chaotic because you never know where it will lead you.

Life is like a gigantic roller coaster. There are so many twists and turns. Things happen in life that we have no control over. We need to know how to handle periods of darkness. There are many healthy ways to heal and thrive during those moments. One simple way is just to be out in nature. Even music has a wonderful way  of healing. Just coloring or reading can allow you to cope. The same goes for writing and I believe this blog has helped me cope with the stress of college.

The chaotic nature of life also comes from time management. As a college student, I understand how important time management is. It can be hard to balance the academics with all of the social aspects. I love to learn, but at the same time I can dislike studying at times. I spent a good chunk of this semester writing a gigantic paper in Sociological Theory. The social aspect of college is just as important as the academics. I have been able to volunteer with my club, hike, and even nights of arts and crafts. Even hanging out with friends is very important. I try to stay ahead of the game in order to find time to do all of the social aspects. College is one of the best parts of my life and my school has a wonderful community.

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Take a Hike

 

 

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things that you do not know.

-Jeremiah 33:3

One of the most important things in life is to develop a relationship with God. We need to learn how to call out to him in the midst of our troubles. We even call out in times where we do not feel broken.

Hiking is a beautiful way to be surrounded by God’s creation. As you hike, you can feel the wind, hear the birds and the sound of waterfalls or creeks. You can feel a sense of peace and comfort and makes you forget about the troubles of life. It helps clear your mind and is a place where you can truly live in the moment. When you are surrounded by nature, you easily can call out to God and ask him for answers. God tells you wonderful things and because nature is His creation, you easily can reflect on your life and tell God that life is beautiful and so it creation. One of the most special places on a hike is the view. You can look out and you can tell that creation is endless. You can truly reflect in places like that. The last time I hiked, our hike ended at a place filled with big rocks to sit on near a creek. It may not have been a view, but because you are surrounded by rocks along with a creek, you are surrounded by more nature then a view alone.

I am aware that reading scripture can help you develop a strong relationship with God, but sometimes all it takes is go outside and spend time out in God’s creation. Usually when I see sunlight shining through clouds, I always stop and look at it because it is a wonderful sign form God saying that life and creation and beautiful and it is truly a thin place. Another place where creation is wonderful is after rain and you see a wonderful rainbow, but is more unique when you actually see two. A sign telling me that I am at the right place is seeing the beautiful sunsets, which are quite unique. There are so many wonderful colors and are just something special. Life is beautiful and fragile, but is worth every single moment.

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Hiking at South Mountain

Hiking is a wonderful way to develop your spirituality. Today, I ended up hiking at South Mountain with my school. College is so stressful and hiking gives you the wonderful opportunity to recharge and take a break. Hiking allows you to develop your spirituality because it connects you to God’s creation. In a lot of way life is similar to a hike.

Hiking takes endurance and strength. Hiking can be so challenging at times, but at the same time very peaceful. We waked alongside a creek and came across a couple of waterfalls. Just hearing the sound of the water was very peaceful and calming. In hiking, you have to decide how to get around the obstacles. There are sometimes roots to climb over or several steps or rocks to step on. You need to decide what is the right path and how to stay safe. Being out in nature helps me relax and forget about the stresses of college and life.

Life takes endurance because it so challenging, but very worth it. Life takes a lot of strength especially during dark times. During life, you have to make decisions when an obstacle gets in your way. You have to stay on the path that God has given and not try to hit a fork in the road and completely start heading the wrong way.

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Highlights of this Summer

I have had a wonderful summer. Below is a list of highlights.

  1. Outing to Asheville
  2. Les Mis Party
  3. Vacation to Florida
  4. Crowders
  5. Newsies
  6. Reading Don Quixote

I am so glad I attended a Les Mis party. As many know, I am a huge Les Mis fan and also obsessed with it. It was a night of Karaoke and the house was decorated with things relating to the musical. Some things in the house were labeled with either lyrics from the music or quotes from the book. I really loved the Karaoke because it was fun singing the songs that I love and show my passion to others.

Hiking to Crowders was quite special. I have always been a mountain and nature person. There is something spiritual about hiking. Even though hiking can be difficult, it still helps develop your spirituality.Also, hiking is so worth it in the end because the view is a wonderful sight. You can look out and really see how amazing God’s creation is. No matter what, you are alway surrounded by nature.

The same weekend I went to Crowders, I also got to see the Disney musical, Newsies. Newsies is about the real-life paper boy strike of 1899. These boys are underdogs who stand up for what they believe in and treat each other like family. Most of them are underdogs and have difficult lives. The main character is Jack Kelly, who leads the strike and falls in love with Katherine. He has a special relationship with Crutchie and Crutchie has a bad leg and due to that has to walk with a crutch. Despite the disability, that doesn’t stop him from enjoying life and in a lot of ways, he is the heart of the Newsies. This show had a lot of mind-blowing choreography. They were doing flips, jumping over each other, sliding under each other, and high jumps. I even loved the storyline especially because it is based off of a true story. I even loved the songs and I loved them so much that I want to own the soundtrack. My favorite song was “Seize the Day”, the title song. This show was happy and I am hoping that most musicals remain that way. In my interpretation of musicals now, most musicals are happy.

Another highlight of this summer was reading the classic, Don Quixote. I decided to try to finish the book by the end of the summer. I finished it in July and it was so worth it. I enjoyed the book especially because I love the characters of Sancho Panza and Don Quixote and their relationship. Yes, reading it was quite a challenge because the plot was so complex and the language was difficult. It also was around nine hundred pages and what gave me the courage to finish the book was that I set a goal for myself of when I wanted to finish it.

The Poetry of List-Making

“Be still and know that I am God”

This is from Psalm 46 verse 10.

This is hard line of scripture to understand. It takes a while to understand who God is. You never see him, but yet you can feel his presence. Having God in my life is such a blessing because He helps me become who I am. God created us in his image and formed all creation. He has this amazing capacity full of love, forgiveness, compassion, and redemption. I may be spiritually strong, but I still feel like I am still getting to know God. I feel like there are always ways to get to know God better.

I have my ways to connect to him. I love listening and singing to contemporary Christian music. The connection is the strongest when I am singing Christian music because I feel like I am filled with the Holy Spirit. Christian music is full of so much inspiration, spirit, and emotion.

Another way I can connect to Christ is through nature itself. The best place where I can feel God’s presence in nature is the mountains. That is why I love hiking so much. Going up the view, you are surrounded by God’s creation and along the way you can hear animals and sometimes a brook, creek, or waterfall. Once you reach the top, you can look at the view and you feel impressed by all that God has created. Sometimes it feels like you can look beyond what you can see.

Volunteering is another way I am able to connect to God. I feel as if I am called to give back to those living in poverty and homelessness. My spirit always seems to lead me in the direction of nonprofit. I know that I meant to work in nonprofit. When I volunteer, I get something out of it when I see the looks on the people’s faces that I am helping. To know that I have left an impact on someone else’s life is all that really matters.

So, what are ways that you connect to God?