day 8 // headed home ✈️

What a morning.

Goal: 6:30am wake up, 7:00am finish packing up, 7:30 van pack up, 8:00am airport.

We’ve been just a tad shambly with being on time in the mornings, but today was a beautiful exception, complete with divine intervention.

As we packed up the van [ahead of schedule!] a woman pulled up next to our van, asking for directions to the nursing home, so she could see her brother. She had tried a day before but had gotten lost that time. Our priest helped her out and sent her on her way.

As she drove off, a homeless man with the biggest smile on his face wearing a sparkly green hat [he’s ready for St. Patrick’s before any of us!] rode up to the driver’s side of our van. He asked if we had any food, and we dispelled our peanuts and granola bars. His face lit up, and he asked if he could do anything for us for a spot of cash. Laura told him he could wash our windows, and he went right to work, making the windows and mirrors the cleanest they’d ever been on our entire trip. We left him with an envelope of cash from our donation plate collection from campus, prayed for him, and wished him well.

Thanks to that “sneaky” grace of God, which, I think, urged us to slow down and take the opportunity to serve, we pulled out of the parking lot right on time.

Like the smoothest[ish] of clockwork we got to the airport, we checked in, went through security, and gathered in the boarding area for some last minute snacks, pictures, and fellowship. We got to talking to a man waiting there to board who said he taught special ed in a school in Rockport. He showed us pictures of Harvey damage on his phone, and recounted the story of the Blue Shack, a concrete structure housing a storm chaser who rode out the hurricane as it hit, documenting it all on Twitter which ultimately became a pseudo Twitter sensation. The documentation was grabbed up and the sentiment put on T-shirts by a man in Michigan, who sold around 17,000 shirts in the first 3 hours of the hurricane on Amazon and then promptly donated all proceeds to the area. Absolutely incredible.

It seems like everywhere we went, there were people with stories. Everywhere we went, these beautiful people engaged with us with fiery, ambitious and hopeful eyes, wanting to tell us about what they’d lived through, and more importantly, how they’ve made it, and how they are continuing to make it, on the other side. Through their stories we can see their self-empowerment, their strength, their love, and the gracious vulnerability with which they’ve accepted our desire to help in any way we can.

I write, now, ten thousand feet in the air, strapped in and packed up, surrounded by the faces of my mission team shining with God’s glory, all heavy and full-hearted. The people of Corpus Christi, the people of Rockport, the people of Port A all swill through my thoughts, their smiles and hospitality emblazoned on my heart. Filling me with utmost gratitude is the magnitude with which I got to know my teammates, both from my university and not, their gifts, their wisdoms, their personalities, their hearts.

This was the first real hard-core outreach we’ve performed as a campus ministry. I’d be lying if I said I knew to the full extent what we were getting into, the extent to which I would need to settle into a role of leadership, the extent to which I would expand my heart and mind on this mission. This spring break has been nothing short of a gift, and I’m so thankful that I got to experience it– at this time, in this place, with these people.

But as I think about the abundance of blessings that we’ve received and encountered on this trip, I’m reminded of the bounty of blessings back home, and hit with the gravity of Dana’s earlier words: “it’s all just stuff,” and none of that “stuff” compares with the gift of the people, the places, the relationships in my life.

I’m left wondering what it would be like to lose every*thing* in a storm, the courage I’d need to even begin thinking about rebuilding, the immediate shift of priorities. But through these people, spending time with them and hearing them, I feel like I’ve seen that strength. They’re so strong, and recovery is possible. Slowly but surely, it’s possible.

With God’s grace, anything is.


day 7 // service + surprises

Another early morning, this time a bit bittersweet.

We headed out this morning for the last time to Port Aransas, where our groups swapped places. Instead of tackling house demo/refurbishment we helped to clean up the church grounds, removing copious amounts of STINGING NETTLE, the irritating weed that was everywhere and stung and itches so badly even if you just barely brush against it.

The other group was sent out to help install insulation in a house with some other volunteers.

Since we were working during the church’s preschool hours, we got to converse with the children outside on the playground, who were fascinated with us and our gardening tools.


Shortly after we broke for lunch, our last packed meal of the week. As we were cleaning up, Amy came over to us and said something none of us expected: “Y’all should take the afternoon off and go to the beach. It would really bring me a lot of joy. Y’all have been working so hard all week, you need to get down to the beach.”

Not gonna lie, we really did not know what to do with this request. Our first thought was “oh no, we couldn’t possibly…we’ve got all this work to finish” working and finish our jobs. But then she hit us with the “it would make my heart so happy” statement and we realized that to refuse might break her heart a tiny bit so…we took her up on her offer and headed over to Port Aransas Beach.

Upon pulling up, we saw some temporary tent shelters along the beach, housing those who were still displaced by the hurricane, yet another reality check and glimpse of the lasting impact of Harvey.

We practically exploded out of the van and ran down to the water, where we sunk our feet into the Gulf of Mexico and scoured the shore for sea shells.

It was overcast but very a cool temperature, and the sand was so finely ground… it was heaven for the feet.

It was then that I realized I find peace at the beach. Amidst the roaring of the waves and the examination of the tiny clamshells spread eagled like butterfly wings on the shore I can get lost in my thoughts, my experiences and my blessings.


We had to leave eventually, and I asked my friend and mission partner Marissa [who is from San Antonio and vacationed regularly on Port A] how she can bear to leave this lovely tropical paradise and head to the blustery, blocked in city in the middle of the Shenandoah mountains twice a year. She said that it was difficult every time.

We made a pit stop at Deep Sea Headquarters for some souvenir shopping [the store smelled like fish but there was some purty fantastic and memorable merch which I may or may not have purchased ;D]

We headed back to the church to change and pack up a bit, and then headed out for dinner at Snoopy’s, a local fave for seafood. We received word that our priest’s college roommate, whom she hadn’t seen for 25 years, was making the drive from her home 4 hours away to join us for dinner. Needless to say she was over the moon.

After our bellies were full of fried fish, we made the move for dessert at Scoopy’s, the ice cream place right next door, but not before we were approached by a woman who offered us free ice cream vouchers and some really touching stories about the hurricane in August.

She told us about trying to get to her family, how the police pretty much blocked off the areas amongst the flooding, and the craziest way the hurricane left some things completely untouched, like when the hurricane tore the exterior of a liquor store completely off but left a solitary rack of hard liquor standing unscathed. She mentioned that amidst the destruction of the storm no one had the audacity to remove any of the bottles, despite the place being deserted and practically up for grabs. “It just affects you in a sort of way, the storms. It changes you,” she said.

Her family beckoned her away with their car honking, and we said goodbye and thanked her for talking with us.

We made sure to sign the Hurricane Harvey wall; what an amazing sight to see so many names and uplifting messages.

We topped off our meal with some Dessert Olympics– a game our priest used to play where everyone claims/orders a different dessert, which is then passed around the table and rated by each taster on a scale of 1 to 10. The ratings of each dessert are averaged, and the winner is chosen that way.

My dessert, one of the house specialties titled the Chocolate Barnacle tied for first place [I guess all that Olympic training paid off (;].

As we were leaving the restaurant, our attention was jerked toward a large table of people, all huddling around a seated elderly man who appeared to be having a stroke. Someone called 911, our priest secretly laid hands on him, and we got out of the small dining room and prayed for him outside. We heard sirens shortly and hoped everything would be okay. Just another moment of thankfulness– for first responders, for family, for having a priest present.

On the way back to the church [for the last time *sniff, sniff*] we reflected on the week. I thought about all of the wonderful people we met, the families that all needed something different but for the same reasons, the hope in their eyes despite their current situations.

All of the little signs of healing, bits of encouragement, and tokens of kindness and hospitality over the past week culminated into a realization tonight that, in the cases of some people we visited over this trip, it was a gracious vulnerability for these people to let strangers like us into their lives to clean up a bit of a dark place.

We had to head right to sleep, in order to get to the airport for our flight at 8am. Bittersweet indeed, but this week has offered us an abundance of blessings and experiences that I cannot wait to bring home in my heart with me.


day 6 // restoration

I’m not even bothered by the fact we woke up super early today, because this is the first thing we saw:

We packed up and shipped out, bound for Port Aransas. The closer we got, the more prevalent the damage was. Even though it’s been almost 7 months since Harvey, recovery is still quite in full swing.

There were gaping holes in buildings, homes, and stores, roofs torn off, some awaiting repair, and overturned items scattered and out of place. Pitted against an overcast sky, the wreckage looked utterly dismal.

We arrived at Trinity by the Sea Church in Port Aransas early [woo!] and took in the area. The church was so beautiful– exactly how I would imagine a sea-side church to look. The sanctuary took my breath away, with vibrant stained glass windows, needlepoint kneeled to match, and my favorite– a hand crafted, hanging shell-mobile, made by Amy, the woman who welcomed us to the church. The shells hung in the center of the ceiling, reflecting the lights overhead, each inscribed with the name of a parishioner.

Amy took us around, and told us about the effects of the hurricane in the area. She told us also that she used to work at a nursing home in Rockport, but the building was destroyed so she lost her job. “I decided I had to come volunteer. They asked me to come back to Rockport but I just can’t– I keep telling them ‘one more year!’ I’ve been here ever since.”

She pointed out the features of the church, and explained that, miraculously, the church sustained little damage in the storm.

She then directed us to the community center, where we got our job assignments, moar coffee [!!!] and pets/love/scratches from a dog named Joe. We headed over to our assigned site, where we had to move debris to the curb, and remove brush and fencing. It took a row of women to pull a stubborn metal fence free but we did it [how appropriate for international women’s day💪🏼].

We took a break go lunch and were handed another piece of scripture by our priest:

“May the God of hope fill you with all the joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with the hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

~Romans 15:13

It’s crazy because even among the desolation and destruction there are signs of hope everywhere. This church. These people. Their stories.

Everyone we have talked to has been so positive, so vibrant, so resilient. In the parish hall of Trinity By the Sea, there were papers displaying the scope of the affected areas, as well as an interesting graphic I’ve never seen before:

We got back to our worksite and cut down broken trees, tore out rotted [stubborn as heck] fence posts [we had some fun kicking the heck out of them] and cleared away more debris, later with the help of some power tools. 😎 A neighboring guy saw us ladies working and graciously bestowed SNACKS upon us!

When we were digging up debris, we even found a who-knows-how old flamingo Tervis cup, sturdy and still in tact. We felt it warranted a Tweet to @Tervis by one of our teammates:


But anyway!

During our snack break, the owners of the home that our team was working on [the other half of us were back at Trinity cleaning up outside there] were telling us about how a giant trampoline from neighbors streets away ended up on their roof during the storm. And then they talked about how only one side of their house got the major brunt of them storm, with most of the other side of the house went mostly untouched. Crazy stuff.

Some before and after photos:

On our way home, we rode the FERRY from Port A to the highway towards Corpus. I’ve only been on one ferry in my life, but let me say Texas does it big. We were allowed to get out as it was moving so we could look for dolphins!

We then went back to the church to shower and change because our priest’s friends were so graciously cooking for us at their place, a wonderful dinner of Texas STEAK and salmon and baked potatoes and salad… it was so good we got the meat sweats. (;

We all had no trouble getting to sleep. Our last day of work is tomorrow but we’re all pumped and ready to go, feeling blessed to have had such a full week of wonderful work under our belts.


day 5 // cleaning up

Waking up was hard today.

Not only does it seem like we are getting up earlier and earlier [as we adjust to the ever-so-slight-time difference], but today the soreness really kicked in.

We got everything packed up, breakfast, and headed back out the Rockport house for the last time. Today the weather was BRILLIANT, a pretty constant 60 degrees with blue skies, so it was perfect for the outdoor work we did.

We basically sorted and cleaned up all of the stuff that had been dislocated and strewn over the property by the wind and got rid of the waterlogged, moldy wood/tools/scraps.



When we arrived at the site, the woman was there to let us in and was telling us about things to do in Texas, since we only had a half day of work today. She recommended several places to eat, visiting Goliad, the wildlife reserve, Fulton Mansion, among other places to spend the rest of the day.

We broke for lunch, and then cleaned up our tools and took them back to the church that we borrowed them from. We then hit the road towards the Aransas Wildlife Refuge.

We stopped first at an alligator viewing dock, where an alligator practically posed for us, swimming up as we walked up.

We then made our way to a viewing tower that overlooked a waterlogged area/marshy land housing whooping cranes.

We made a fast Sonic pitstop on the way back to the church homestead, because we needed to prep a dish to bring to the potluck the Church of the Good Shepherd was having. The weather continued to stay stellar throughout our fellowship. It turns out that the potluck preceded a presentation [put on by the church] that offered helpful information and legal advice for writing your will.

Considering we were on a mission trip, in a foreign state no less, we opted not to stay for the program. But we did stay for the food! And the lovely conversation with the parishioners, of course.

There was an older woman named Susie sitting at our table who shared stories from a hurricane/tropical storm back in 1939 that decimated Long Beach. She then recalled finding out about the escalation of Harvey from category 1 to category 4 while getting her hair cut in a salon.

The stories all shared the same threads– friends and family making it out safe, everyone coming together to help those whose homes had been literally flattened. It really did give a great perspective. Natural disaster has a way of bringing people together…I wish sometimes we could get to the end result sans disaster, but like Susie so endearingly said: “it changes you. It really makes you thankful, and you end up knowing that if you can get through that…you can get through anything.”

We caught a glimpse of a gorgeous sunset and wrapped up the night with a contemplative bout of Compline, and then I practically passed out because I was dead tired and my elbow hurt, but we also had to be up early up the next morning.

It was a lovely day of weather, work, people, and fellowship. We have plans to visit a church in Port A [Port Aransas] tomorrow, as they need some help re-painting and re-flooring the church.

I can’t wait.


day 4 // tearing down

Today we were roused by the crack of dawn alarms of the Baylor students and rumbles of thunder.

One look out the window and it was clear that it would be raining for quite awhile. We got dressed, breakfasted, and packed our stuff in the car nonetheless.

Before leaving the church parking lot, our priest handed out strips of paper with a verse on them, which we were supposed to keep in our thoughts throughout the day. Kind of like a food for thought. They read :

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.

Don’t assume you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil!

~Proverbs 3:5-7

It’s funny because I can honestly say that lately, there’s been piles of things on my worry-radar, things that are not necessarily in my control, things that I’m not quite clear on… but it’s just one of those things that you just have to sit back with patience and have faith that things will work out in a very specific way, for a specific purpose. Take this week, for example. There were a lot of things that needed to fall in place before this trip, but the way things worked out made me think that, with reflection, work, contemplation, hope, and faith, things will take care of themselves.

It was still raining when we got to the worksite, but we were glad to be relieved of the hot sun. We were on track to finish de-insulating the walls and bring the rest of the wet drywall down. By the end of the afternoon, we bagged up 50 battings of moldy insulation, a hundred some odd pounds of wallboard, ceiling, and ceiling insulation, all to a Disney playlist on Spotify.

[before and after^]

Partway through the workday, the rain slowed, and the woman who owns the house came by for a bit and talked with us. She commended us on our drastic progress and paused with us, telling us more about the hurricane the day of.

“It really puts things into perspective. No one was hurt, no animals were hurt… you’re left with what’s important.” She looked around at her wind-torn backyard and continued “…because at the end of the day, it’s all just stuff.” She then joked “it certainly makes you more conscious and smart about what you buy!”

I couldn’t comprehend it, really. One night, being in your house and then one night it’s all, quite literally, torn to shambles and scattered to the wind. My heart was happy with the fact that we could alleviate just a bit of her stress.

It’s also a bit paradoxical because there are some times, like with her house, that it has to get worse before it can get better. Sure, tearing down walls [both literal and figurative] can be a bit painful, but it’s necessary at times for growth, for renewal, for hope.

By the time we were finished with our work hours, we walked downstairs to find the lower floor cleaned up, the kitchen almost back to normal [minus the obvious lack of ceiling], like we were able to put back if not just a small, piece of every day life.

After spending some more time with the chickens and the donkey, we finished packing up our tools, accompanied by a gradually emerging sun.

A musical drive home later, we got back to the church and moved to prepare dinner, this fabulous pesto chicken, green beans, baked potato, and salad [if you couldn’t tell I really love food so this inclusion of detail is rather necessary].

After dinner, we headed to the common area for some relaxing floor yoga, conducted again by one of the other mission leaders, followed by our nightly Compline. Let me just say that I love the combination of physical relaxation directly followed by spiritual relaxation.

We ended the night with yet another late night stroll on the beach [I honestly could never get enough of those¿¿]. The water was still so warm, and it was great to put our feet in again.

We’ve got another day of work planned for tomorrow, followed by some last sightseeing in the downtown and a visit to the nature reserve. Every day I wake up here it seems, I’m reminded of my blessings, the goodness of this life.


day 3 // hurricane relief.

What a day.

The morning comprised of waking up, eating a quick breakfast, packing lunches, and filling up the am for our first day of work at the site in Rockport, an area that bore a lot of the brunt of Hurricane Harvey.

Before hitting Rockport [about a 30 min drive away], we stopped at a nearby church, St. Peter’s By The Sea where we were treated to the warm hospitality of the staff there [SO many doughnuts omg], signed some waivers, and gathered our tools/protection for the workday ahead.

We were given a bit of a status update regarding the area, and we learned that there was an estimated 3.2 million square feet of hurricane debris.

…Which sent my mind to our car ride over to the church. As we zoomed along the highway in our twelve seater van, Queen blasting from the backseat, our attention was jerked quickly from the road and to the sides and the medians, which harbored ginormous, hundred-foot long heaps of hurricane debris.

It was probably that moment, observing those monstrous piles of trash up against the overcast sky where it sunk in: this is where it gets real. This is why we’re here.

Walking in to St. Peter’s was a mixture of oddness and hope. It was a brand new church [evident by the rush of new-wood/new-paint smell] amidst the remaining wreckage from the hurricane. The architecture was very open, very simple. I love rooms that are 50% or more window [which is what the sanctuary seemed to be].

Once we gathered all of our things, we hopped back in the van to head to the worksite, which we later found out belonged to a woman who has, since Hurricane Harvey hit, spent every day taking care of the animals/livestock of her loved ones and neighbors, cleaning up the debris, dealing with family in the hospital, and helping her family and friends put their lives back together. Needless to say, she’s spent so much of her time giving and doing for others that she has left her home, which was ruined by the hurricane, by the wayside for the most part. One of the sweetest, most humble peoples I’ve ever met, this veterinarian has practically given her life to her community, so the fact that we’re able to pop in for a week and help restore her house is a real blessing.

The water damage was evident in all parts of the house, even the upstairs. We worked the whole afternoon on bringing down the drywall [have you ever felt the insane amount of powerful, “hell yeah” feelings that come with lobbing a sledgehammer at a wall that buckled under your might? Yeah. It’s great.] and removing the insulation [which is not pink cotton candy, btw].

We took a lunch break and some subsequent water breaks, during one of which we found a DONKEY wandering behind this woman’s house [she already had multiple chicken coops behind her house, filled with rogue chickens laying their eggs everywhere, it was great]. We named him Jesus and he was very friendly, allowing us to pet him and fuss over him unnecessarily. He was very thiccc and looked well fed, but we still wondered where he came from.

We made significant progress both upstairs and downstairs, and when we ran out of bags for debris away, we had to stop to clean up and save our work for tomorrow.

On our way home from the work site, we made a much needed pit stop at the Gulf of Mexico at the Rockport Family Beach. The water was so warm, so shallow, so delightfully teal. When we arrived at the beach, however, the guy manning the desk to pay a per-car fee told us to be careful as there was still debris in the water [another somber reminder that, even months later, there are still environmental repercussions from the hurricane]. It’s true what they say– after a major hurricane, nothing is really ever the same, and recovery honestly can take anywhere from 5-7 years [or even 7-10 years. I mean, look at Hurricane Katrina affected areas– they’re just now starting to reach a point of near complete restoration].

We arrived back at the church homestead hot, sore, and exhausted. We all showered right away and prepped for dinner. It was our turn [our priest and I] to cook dinner, and we made tacos followed with Bluebell ice cream [which is, by the way, some of the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten. 13/10, would recommend!!!].

Dinner and dessert was followed by a lovely yoga session led by one of the other mission trip leaders, and followed by a meditative bout of Compline, followed by some delightful fellowship with members from the other groups, an episode of Friends and then and uncontrollable bout of drowsiness that begged our bodies to sleep [we had to be up at 7:30am the next morning anyway].

It was such a productive day, filled with eye-opening moments that made me count my blessings, realize my purpose, realize our purpose. The cool thing?

We get to do it all again tomorrow.


day 2 // Good Shepherd + gardens

I woke up at 8am without an alarm [a blessing within itself!].

The light poured into our room and one look out of the open blinds took my breath away. The church service we were supposed to attend started at 10:30am, so I took my time getting ready.

We gathered for breakfast in our light, airy, 80’s vibe “chill” kitchen [our hard-core, industrial kitchen used for feeing tons of people was down a couple of floors] where we feasted on cereal, milk, grapes, Greek yogurt, and coffee [praise the Lord].

After breakfast we walked from our church to the Episcopal one across the street- Church of the Good Shepherd. Normally, I start my Sundays singing at the church right off campus, so it was nice to have a break and be in the congregation for once. Approaching the church, I couldn’t help but gasp softly— if there’s anything I absolutely love about this trip so far, it’s the gorgeous architecture. It’s so tropical with a bit of Spanish influence, with touches of modernity, depending on the building.

When we stepped in, I felt an odd sense of familiarity in conjunction with reverent awe— the arches and the high ceilings accented with rustic light fixtures melted into towering walls with gorgeous stained glass windows. We were a bit early, but that was perfect for taking in the space.

The service started and I was surprised [pleasantly!] with the amount of Franz Schubert used, and also with the placement of the altar. It was right up against the frontmost wall of the church, leaving no room for the officiant(s) to stand behind it. Our priest explained the theology behind it; she said that with the altar at the front of the church, it allowed for all of the action [prayers, sacraments, etc.] to be “sent forward”.

The service was lovely, and afterwards we met/took pictures with the pastors and staff of the church and got an opportunity to look around.

On our way back to our homestead we bumped into the additional mission group joining us from a neighboring college. Some introductions later and then we were off again to the H. E. Butts to do our shopping for the week.

Perhaps my favorite part of the day, however, was our trip to the Botanical Gardens in Corpus. What an astounding variety of plants, the likes of which I’ve never seen before.

We went inside a reptile room for a few minutes [we couldn’t be in there too long because a child was having their birthday party there and they wanted to make sure all the animals were in there cages and whatnot]. I saw a tarantula, I held a snake, and got bitten by a parrot! We saw a yellow bellied turtle who couldn’t stop smiling, a Komodo dragon a green [!!!💚] iguana, and tortoises!!

We could not escape the plethora of vibrant-feathered birds in the rest of the gardens [a lot of them temperamental McCaws].

We ventured further into and beyond the greenhouse, where I was confronted with the most orchids I’ve ever seen in one area, complete with the biggest orchid I’ve ever seen [bigger than my hand…!!!

We then saw some cacti, more birds, and a couch made out of mosaic and stone. Time passes really quickly when you’re surrounded by plants and animals, and before we knew it we had to head back to make dinner and meet the other other group from Baylor who was also staying with us.

We split up the week’s cooking responsibilities amongst teams, and feasted on spaghetti with chicken cutlets and salad, good fuel in anticipation for the day ahead.

Later our priest had to pick up some water coolers, so we filled our time with another night beach visit. The water was more agitated than last night, and a bit colder, on account of the increased wind speeds. We ventured out onto a dock near the sea wall and felt the bay’s spray against our faces as we looked up to a clear sky displaying Orion and the Big Dipper.

We finished off the night with some Cards Against Humanity with our new friends and cherished the last hours of rest before the work week ahead.

The first two days feel so surreal— the weather is SO much better [temperature-wise] than back home, we were blessed with such well-equipped living accommodations. What a beautiful start to the week.

That being said, I can’t wait to get working tomorrow.


day 1 // planes, palms, and presbyterians

It’s hard to believe that 16 ish hours or so ago, I was waking up in a potato* [❤🥔 *see previous post] with no power, blustery winds and no coffee.

My roommate and her dad dropped me off ever so graciously at the airport, where I met the rest of my mission team.

We made the trek through Security and through the food lines before our flight.

All in all, there were two stops before we got into Corpus Christi: one in Chicago and one in Houston. Filled with peanuts, ginger ale, copious amounts of nodding off, and great flight attendant humour [to be expected, because we flew Southwest…. but there were announcements like “we are celebrating an important birthday today– please join me in wishing happy birthday to a man who just turned 99 and this is his first flight– the pilot!” and “please be cautious when you open the overhead compartments because shift happens…!” or “We accept all forms of payment such as cash, credit cards, jewels… unfortunately, we will not accept your children.”]

There were some rough patches of turbulence, but not bad at all. 2 legs out of the three I had a window seat and MAN. Let me tell you that’s probably my favorite thing about flying. Not only do you get to see the landscape shrink and come into focus with takeoff/landing, but you get to rest against it and feel the warmth of the sun radiating through the thick glass. Wonderful. Oh, and some great photo opportunities of course.

When we finally landed in Corpus, we got our bags and then headed to the place to get the rental car– a bright white 12 seater van which has lovingly revived the name “VANterbury”. Ha.

Stepping out into the warm Texas breeze was heavenly. It was around 70 degrees, a bit cloudy, and humid enough to mess up our hair and make us feel damp.

A half an hour or so later we arrived at the church where we would be staying– a Presbyterian Church maybe 2 blocks MAX from the bay shore. 😍

I did not, however, expect it to look like some extravagant Spanish villa populated with these gorgeous palms, a fountain, and a stellar view of the water.

We took some time to explore and unpack before we headed back out, this time to venture for food. The Texas “must-eat” of the night was WHATTABURGER, recommended to us by one of our mission members and our priest.

We all ordered and opted to sit outside– it was so gorgeous out and after being held hostage by the blustery winds and chilly temperatures back home, this was one heck of a welcoming climate. I also really liked their slightly spicy sauce! [you can buy it at the local grocery stores, apparently…?].

We left then to go hit the store [a chain called “HEB” which we promptly found out stood for H. E. Butts…. xD] to get items for breakfast in the morning, but not before getting directions there. Our priest had to pull over in a parking lot to get oriented which gave us the opportunity to jump out of the van and run down to the bay shore [we had stopped really close by a beach area]. The sand felt HEAVENLY and when I let the waves lick my feet, I was surprised to feel water warmer than I’ve ever felt on a shore before engulf my ankles. [Apparently, it’s 80 degree water year round….?!] it was fantastic. We stopped at the foot showers afterwards to get the sand off and then got back in the van.

On the way home from HEB we took a pit stop in front of a church that we had noticed was glowing bright purple when we had driven by earlier. The church itself had stunning architecture, but the statue out front was nothing short of powerful and magnificent– it was of Jesus, arms outspread standing majestically, with the inscription beneath saying “It is I“. Pretty breathtaking.

After our sightseeing detour, we headed, yet again, back to the van. On our way back, our priest pointed out a huge fire-ant hill [by stepping on it briefly to show their activity] and colouring to warn us].

Over the bay, a barely full moon was rising over the water [it was full a night or so ago, it was on the waning way down] but it was stunning.

We wrapped up the evening with much needed showers and a brief bout of cards against humanity, until we got tired [the time change did weird things for all of us.]

Plan is to wake up the next morning and go to church at the local episcopal church and then meet with the other students who will be coming down to stay with us and do mission work starting Monday.

A pretty solid first day in the Lone Star State [: 🤠🌤



I write, surrounded by flickering candles and the remnant aroma of Tippy’s Tacos. This is not how plans were supposed to work out, but boy am I glad they did.

Conquering the last of my midterms yesterday, I slept soundly last night, feeling the weight of academic responsibility melt off my shoulders.

I was, however, roused earrrrrly this morning by text messages from my home county’s alert system– public schools were closed due to unusually high wind speeds. I thought that was a bit ridiculous and wondered why my university, where us students have to walk to every single class, didn’t get a similar notification.

But whatever. I digress.

I had planned to leave school around noon with another friend, but developing stories and news from my roommate pulled me away from that plan and the next thing I knew, my roommate and I were packing our lives up,wonderfully interrupted by an email from our school’s administration congratulating us on our admission into our respective major programs.

Flooded with relief, happiness, and excitement, we hit the local Starbucks before racing down the highway, the Shenandoah mountains chasing alongside us to the right, the wind attempting to jostle us out of the fast lane with great persistence.

The new plan was to go home, drop off things I didn’t quite need for the rest of the school year, and then spend the night with my beloved roomie before she so graciously offered to drive me to the airport at the crack of ass tomorrow.

One bathroom break, Fall Out Boy album, and political cardboard sign blown abruptly into the passenger side door later, we arrived at my home where I reunited with my fam for a few hours and finished preparing for my flight.

Shortly after, a very ravenous Traci and I hit the road again, speeding towards the beloved local taco place of her growing up. We grabbed our tacos to go and drove to her house, fighting the wind yet again. Upon arriving in her neighborhood we saw countless houses, all dark.

No power. Hah.

I pulled out the flashlight gifted to me just days prior (for the mission trip) to light the room on top of all the candles. Traci and I ate tacos by candlelight, followed by the most delicious combination of chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate syrup, and Nesquick powder sprinkled on top if ever tasted. [13/10, would recommend!]

I plan to pass out on Traci’s potato [this massive beige beanbag lounge thing in her room longer than my body], despite my excitement for the next 24 hours leading into this coming week.

The wind howls beyond the walls, shaking the house and chilling the air and I can’t help but wonder what that means for our flight tomorrow. But I am ecstatic nonetheless. It’s only the first day of spring break and I can tell… it’s about to be an interesting, bumpy ride.

I can’t wait.