Saturday, September 22, 2012



Walking up to my apartment last week, after a long day, 
I quietly asked God for a surprise. He is so good. 

He has been showering me with community and provision, ever since I arrived in Boulder.

My life is very very blessed.

Still, settling in an unfamiliar place after months of traveling has it's challenges. 
I was feeling them.

So, I asked Him to surprise me. 


Grandma Judy was driving down from Bellingham with the rest of my furniture.
I'd been camping out in my home since I'd moved here.
I was excited to sleep in my very own bed.

She was driving straight through to Colorado from Washington.

That evening, on Facebook, I saw this check-in:
Bonnie Brennan Hollingsworth is with Judith Knudson in Baker City, OR

NO WAY! The surprise I asked for!

E-mailed Mom.
Her response:

Not gonna lie, I was moping around for most of the morning.
Went for a run, still couldn't shake it off.

Excited anticipation to dashed hope.
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick"
It's true.


Grandma pulled in around 4PM. I tried to be happy to see her, 
but when I checked the cab for any possible sign of mom, my heart sank.
She saw it. I confessed that I hoped she would be bringing mom along, too.

"Oh, sweetie, she wanted to come. She really did."


Grandma flew into the house and started to laugh at me.
"You're just so cute when you're upset!"
"Mmmm. That was not the correct response, Grandma."

Grandma bursts into a hysterical fit of laughter.
I bursts into tired tears. 
"Oh, Rachael, we are going to have such fun, tonight!"
"Umm...are we?"

I turned to walk out of the bedroom and 
my MOTHER leaps from behind the kitchen counter.

"SURPRISE!" sunflower in hand.

More tears. Big hugs. 

My family is sneaky and good at surprises.


They arrived during a freak rainstorm week.
Brought the Bellingham weather with them, I suppose.

Went spent hours at LEAF.
Vegetarian restaurant. Falafel. Flourless chocolate cake.

For some reason, the three of us had two bottles of wine.

Things were said. 
Hilarious things.
Some of them will not be shared here.

"You aren't going to the bathroom, you are going to Narnia."
"God gave me this kind of family because I can handle it."

-Grandma Judy

We stayed at a funky little bed and breakfast in downtown.
Special treat.

Mom brought sandalwood bath salts. 
She knows me the best.

Mom and I are more like friends than anything else.
We looked at all the strange paintings and artifacts and made jokes about how creepy they were.
We had our own room and giggled until late at night and probably annoyed all the other guests.


Breakfasting then back to the apartment.

Mom is a wizard. We got everything into the house and unpacked in an afternoon.
She also organized the ENTIRE kitchen (keeping my left-handed preferences in mind)

Went to the Nepali restaurant that everyone's told me about.

Their milk tea tastes like the real deal.
As if some old old Granny is out back stirring a caldron of it.

In the last year I'd slept in:

Swedish ski cabins, Norwegian churches, 
Spanish hostels, German hotels, Irish buses, 
Swiss attics, Nepali basements, my Father's basement, 
living room floors in Latvia, airport floors in the UAE. 

Mom's couch, half a dozen strangers couches, 
the back of my car, the back of YWAM Norway's car, 
Danish spare rooms, Megan's spare room, 
in ice caves, on Viking graves. 

In the Tetons, in the Alps, in the Himalayas, in the Rockies. 
On Orcas island, on Mel√ły island, on Vancouver island. 
Under mountains, under the Northern lights, under the midnight sun. 

It had been 379 days since I've slept in my very own bed. 

It was a good night.

Cold and foggy.
Drove out to the Denver airport and said goodbye to Mom.
She had to fly back and go to work in the evening.

Drives non-stop from Washington, 
in Colorado for 36 hours, 
and moves everything into my house?
Unbelievable. She's incredible.

I'm so undeservedly blessed by her.

Upon returning home, I immediately starting hunting for plane tickets.


"Mom, I was SO sad when I believed you were coming, and then you weren't!"
"Let that be a lesson to you, then. NEVER, EVER to give up hope!"


God has been teaching me to always expect good things from His hand.
Yet, another lesson in trusting those expectations.

Thanks, Papa.

Cider: A farm story

An invitation. 
Jacob's Springs Farm.

 Hot afternoon. Cider pressing. Fellowship.

Warm wind.
Wasps dodging between our sweet cider smelling hands. 

Apple peeling. Apple coring. Apple pressing. Apple tasting. 

We perched on overturned milk crates, slicing endless mounds of jewel bright fruit.
Andre told us the story of the farm's name.

Tales of blessing. Talks of Jesus.

Barefooted babies. Tall grasses.

Chickens. Geese. Bearded goats. 

Cider on my skirt.
Cider between sticky fingers and toes.
Cider on the corner of my smile.

Crickets. A thousand bright stars. 

Cider grilled shrimp. Cider syrup and avocado salad. Bounty. 

The lumpy, lopsided orange moon smiled down on us in the most approving of ways.

Andre does amazing things in Zambia.
Check it out:

The Miserable, Majestic Migration.

August 2012

Moving to Colorado.

First day: Bellingham to Pullman

Drove through to Eastern Washington and spent the evening with friends.
Brooke and Phil Aasen. Futon. Smoothies. Stories.
Warm hospitality.

Second day: Pullman to Bozeman

Up at dawn with a supposed allergy attack.
If only it were allergies. 
Hello, debilitating flu.

Apparently non-stop traveling drains your immune system the same way it does your gas tank. 

Made it to Missoula where I stumbled into the health food store for a cure.
I regret I wasn't able to enjoy the drive through Montana, at all.

Several hours before Bozeman I had to pull over and sleep.
Hospital parking lot. Open mouth. Headache. 
Swollen eyes. Sore throat. Runny nose.
Fever. 98 degrees out.

Miraculously, I made it to Bozeman without fainting/smashing my car into the hillside.

Collins, from Bellingham, had set me up with a place to sleep for that evening.
My host was absolutely delightful, I really wish I could've stayed awake to become friends.
She gave me the spare room and a box of Mucinex.

Day Three: Bozeman to Tetons

Sickest day, yet. 
Didn't keep me from Yellowstone.
Even if I did hobble from geyser to geyser, gasping for breath.

Have to say, it was most fascinating sick day I've ever had.

Although, I'd much rather have stayed in bed.
Felt like I was playing hooky from school or something.

I had no idea where I was going to sleep, that night.
Normally, it wouldn't have worried me. I can sleep almost anywhere. 
But not when feverishly and confusedly wandering around Wyoming.

Between the legions of tourists and the limited cell service, 
it was looking like I'd have to sleep in the driver's seat.

I hit the Tetons.

Full campground.
Full campground.
Full campground.

Until I got to the lake.
"Do you still have space?"
"Just you? Are you a tent?"
"Yes, sir!"
"Well, then! I have three spots left, lucky you!"


Set up camp.
Scenic drive before bed.

Safe sleeping spot.

Sunset and mosquitoes.

Day Four: Tetons to Boulder

Woke up in my tent under a forest in the Tetons. 
Drove ten hours through the high desert.
Crossed over the continental divide seven times.
Kicked my flu in the face with ginger and zinc.

Arrived in Colorado. 

Moved in. Half unpacked.
Built shelter.

Got back in the car and drove to Heidi's house.

Greeted by a bunch of lovely folks, cello, mandolin, and didgeridoo. 
I was given hugs, wine, and the ukulele. 

Best. Welcome. Ever.

A year of traveling finally come to an end.
It's good to be home.