Bridesmaids of the Year

26 May

Over the weekend, I went to Jim Thorpe with friends to go white-water rafting.  I am by no means adventurous and this was HUGE for me.  My best friend on the other hand is an adrenaline junkie and the bridesmaids decided this would be an appropriate bachelorette outing for her adventurous self.

Oh boy.

It started off amazing — there’s nothing more therapeutic then being in the heart of nature.  The water was calm, the sun was out, and there was a smooth breeze.

No complaints.

Shortly after, it went down-hill.  Real quick.  There was a four boat pile-up, in which our boat was one of them and everyone in our boat got tossed into the water.  Let me disclaimer that I can’t swim (I know!) .. and even with a life vest, I couldn’t get my body above water because the current kept pulling me under.  I was stuck under the boat.  In those brief moments, a few things come to mind..

I’m going to die.

God, I’m not sure if I’m ready for this.

My dad’s going to kick my ass.

God, if I need to die this way, so be it.. but please help.

A guy in a nearby boat stretched out his oar and I held it for dear life in order to keep the water from pushing me under.  My answer to prayer it seems.  I looked around immediately to see if the other girls were alright.  I saw that everyone was safe and rescued and I breathed a sigh of relief.  I stayed on a nearby rock and wouldn’t move.  When you experience something so frightening, all you can do at that moment is process the shock.  I kept hearing people scream my name to jump in the boat and I refused.  I couldn’t move.  Eventually, I snapped out of it and attempted to get into the nearby boat.

During the close-to-5-hours on the Lehigh River, our boat tipped over again and every girl was ready for dry land.

My body is literally covered in black and blue bruises — from my feet (which makes it hard to walk) to my back to my arms.  I’ve got some nasty shiners on my legs that completely disgusted my co-workers this morning.. haha.. I like to call them battle scars at this point!  Being slammed into rocks at high speeds is never easy on the body, so I’ve been on pain medications for the past couple days.  I’m hoping the bruises go down dramatically by the time of my best friend’s wedding or it won’t be a pleasant sight to behold.

All that to say, we get the ‘bridesmaids of the year award’!  I love my best friend and I’m grateful for her life, but I will never ever EVER go on any white-water rafting expeditions in the near future.  I’m fine not being an adrenaline junkie.  I’m even more grateful that God saw it fit to let me live through that chaos.

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..before the adventure

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..after the crazy day, we decided to clean ourselves up and go out to dinner (we earned our drinks that night!)

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Bridesmaids (tanned and still recovering from the daytime events)

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We love you Grace and can’t wait to walk down that aisle with you.  Admit it, you have the BEST-est bridesmaids ever.  No more crazy life bucket-list adventures!

Week One: New Faces

23 May

IMG_3454After a loaded first week of all things legislation.. getting to wrap it up over drinks and grub with these two was great.  Our conversations are always so random, yet so full.  I love that I never feel outnumbered either, being the only girl in the trio.. although, the dynamics are nothing short of hilarious when you combine a “right-wing”, a “left-wing”, and a “confused-wing” .. such good people.

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Today was our official photo day — my cheeks ached by the end of the morning.  It should be interesting to see the professional proofs once they come in, these were just a couple taken via phone.
They wanted us to take a photo located at our representative’s chair and Martina White is my newest representative from back at home.  She’s the youngest Republican female elected in a predominantly Democratic region.  I’m definitely looking forward to connecting with her about her journey and her plans to enhance Northeast Philadelphia.

IMG_3483The other fellows, both legislative fellows and archive fellows.

This week has been a lot of adjusting and absorbing — of both personalities and information.  I absolutely love that we all have such unique backgrounds – english, history, pre-med, poly. sci., and public health.  It leads to diversity and a lot of brilliance in one room, honestly.  To many, many more weeks ahead and the chaos of budget season..

Cheers!

First Day Blessings

19 May

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I didn’t sleep a lick on Sunday night, so ignore my seriously puffy eyes

My first day at the House was amazing.

I have an incredible team and honestly, I’m pretty blessed.  I cannot wait to work alongside them and grow leaps and bounds.  They are creative, brilliant and passionate.

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The older man photographing my I.D. had me cracking up.  The coordinator of the program told me that this photo was true to form of who I was.. ‘ball of energy, wit and laughter’.  Wait till he sees me in the mornings… (welp!)

There are a couple representatives I have been eye-balling for a while due to the work they do for human trafficking in PA.  I cannot wait to connect with them in a couple weeks!  So many questions..

They’re not even ready for the madness that occurs in my head.

I can’t say I am half of the time either..

At times like these, I’m grateful that the Lord one-ups my plans for my good and His glory.  Tons of uncharted territory and room to create a presence for years to come.  Here’s to a summer full of moments and memories..

Choosing to be brave, for Him.

(Btw — it’s Election Day, and I’m off.. so go and vote!)

Remaining Philly Photos

15 May

I came across this photo from the semester and I am missing these two..

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My partners in crime.
Many late nights have been spent at the library, the grocery store, at coffee shops and pubs with these two..
Our library dynamics are pretty funny — Henry refuses to sit on the same floor of the library with us because we apparently are ‘distracting’ and every once in a while he’ll grace us with his presence. Melody and I refuse to sit too near each other for the same reason. Different tables, but they’re connected. Haha – we’re all near each other, but not. Silly complex.
See you both in a couple months so we can do this all over again.. 

– – –

Few remaining photos from my time in Philly this week…

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Love you Anita .. and our sleepy faces!

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Barnes and Noble with family

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Grace’s bridal dress fitting with her family .. her second-to-last fitting.
Wowza .. time flew!!
June 13th is right around the corner.. she will be the most beautiful bride, ever.

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Clearly, little Mia was not having it.
She refused to look at the camera when Jess was snapping away.
Poor thing.. little people problems  *smiles*

#PhillyStrong

14 May

Being in Philly when the Amtrak derailment occurred was such a heavy moment.
There is something about the people in Philadelphia, when tragedy strikes.. the community gathers together and chooses to not be defeated.

People left their homes at night and rushed to the scene of the accident.. and remained there over night.. staying, waiting, and praying..

My heart breaks for those who lost their loved ones.. for those who will struggle with healing and coping from the aftermath for the rest of their lives.. and I wish I could be there with each and every person and embrace them and never let go…

I don’t understand the Sovereignty of God in these trials but I know He is near to the brokenhearted.. so I will continue to trust that He loves the hurting much more than we ever could.

I will pray for the people in Philadelphia and remind myself that in these heartaches, God is near and very aware of the pain.  He will rebuild from the ashes because He is faithful.

I am so proud of my city and the people in it.  No matter where the Lord leads me in the future, you will always have my heart.  You have taught me to love and live and laugh.  I have never experienced devotion and loyalty as much as I have in the walls of this city.  You give me a passion for justice and reason to fight for hope.  You are not forgotten.  We will pray that the Lord continues to raise good, kind and passionate men and women who will fight for your cause and create policies to protect your people.

To the best city in the whole wide world… I am forever in your debt

#Phillystrong

Gracene

11 May

One month till this beauty gets married..

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 Getting some downtime with the bride-to-be.. missed her like something awful over the past few months.  Our times are always too short.. but oh so sweet.. 

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Latter-end of the uber short trip to Philly..
We decided to pamper ourselves and got manicures and pedicures.
Feeling like a girl again (let’s say it’s been a very, very long time) *smiles*

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What personal space?  My poor friends..
(haha .. story of my life!)

Life in May

10 May

Life over the past couple weeks…

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During finals week, sometimes you get so fidgety spending 12 hours straight sitting in the same spot at the library and you begin to get haaangry, sleepy, and whiny, so your friend brings over a bean bag so you can be a big barefooted goober and take a 15 min. break to laugh at nothing.. and everything.
Thanks Henry, you’re the best-est buddy. Ever.

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Having dinner at this Chinese restaurant in Harrisburg after Tuesday night class.  Yanbing showed us an ‘authentic’ restaurant.  He walked into the room and said some ‘secret code’ in Mandarin (pretty much) and he received a completely different menu than the rest of us.  I’m taking him to every Chinese place I go to now..
Me: “Yanbing, can you show a little more enthusiasm about being with us, crack a smile or something!”
Yanbing: “I don’t know how to smile”
(What a trooper, right?  Estrogen overload I’m sure.. haha)

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Take 2.
Yanbing: “Okay, I smile”
And how sleep deprived do we all look?!

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My friend Sheena and I spent an entire afternoon at this lovely new winery in Perry County after church last Sunday.  The drive there was awesome and scenic as well.  They have the best Niagra.  I seriously can’t wait to go back.. the view of the mountains as your backdrop is unreal.

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Spent Mothers Day with this fierce, witty, intelligent, creative, and loving mom.

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Seeing my sweet niece and nephew after months.  They’ve gotten so big, so quickly.  My heart’s overwhelmed.  #auntymoment

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My dainty princess child, Amelia Madhuri 

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One of my highlights today was seeing one of my besties.  I haven’t seen Jenny since last year and she’s one of the very few people in my life that I consistently make time to talk to during the week.  My sanity check, honestly.
I’m beyond grateful for your life and your friendship, Jenn.  Your joy is contagious and your outlook on life is always hopeful.  Doing life with you makes me not want to run away from the fears of life and love, cause you help me stay still and speak Truth into all the lies.  You suffer well and I am so much better for knowing you.  I love you girl.

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