That’s me flying over the Parque del Amor!

Paragliding off the cliffs and over the Pacific Ocean in Peru was definitely one of the most simultaneously exhilarating and serene things I have ever done. Floating hundreds of feet in the air, legs dangling and ponytail bobbing with the wind, and observing the busyness of life on land from such a removed perspective was surreal.

The beautiful teal sea quietly lapping a comforting heart song below and the crisp temperatures I love so much underscored an absolute serenity that transcended understanding. I marveled that not a single moment over the course of the flight, including take-off and landing, held even a beat of anxiety or fear. No stomach flips or internal panic. No paranoia or conditioned happiness. Just freedom.

It has been a really difficult year. There has been death and disease and distance and discouragement. I have clawed my way through ministry frustrations, physical trauma, deep dark loneliness, and whole lot of spiritual static. In many ways, it feels like Paraguay has ravaged a bit of my soul and I am surprised to be here at this end of the yearlong tunnel.

But having said that, I am also emerging from a week of sheer and utter grace. I spent an unexpected six days in Peru submerged in a glorious deluge of love and amazing lightness. A community of a jolly old friend and divinely appointed new ones not only welcomed me with a warm familiarity, but they also poured laughter, normalcy, validation, healing, and restoration into a weary heart.

Today marks exactly one year in Paraguay. The second half awaits and only God knows what it holds. A week ago, I probably would have dragged my feet across the threshold of twelve more months of Paraguayan unknown. But there is a peace that pervades with contentment, confidence, and generous unconditional love. And I claim so much freedom–from the past, from my insecurities, from my future fears–from that.

Be free, Lo. Paraguay Year Two is yours for the living and keeping.

I am actually throwing up a shaka not an awkward hitchhiker’s thumb.

Getting hooked up.

Ruuuuuuun!

Up, up, up, and away!

(We definitely had a good laugh about the foreground of this pic. Oy.)

So amazing.

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Lima Diaries: Lima Loves Lo.

September 15, 2012

The good life.

Before and after I arrived in Peru, I heard many less than positive opinions regarding the city of Lima. The dismal weather, a thick smog layer, and its lack of interesting draws as compared to other Peruvian cities were just some of the noted drawbacks.

What those individuals did not understand was that I was coming from Paraguay.

I’ve been giddily reveling in the gloomy overcast days, nippy with the occasional sharp wind, and breathing deep the air that smells to me not of pollution but of delicious sea salt. I have been celebrating spicy hot aji sauce accompanying every meal already vibrant with flavor. And I actually went into such reverse culture shock upon touring the grocery store here, that my friend G had to quickly usher me home on the first day. So. Many. Available. Products!!!

I have also been staying in a house that is, by my current standards, qualifying of luxury vacation digs (and free of uninvited guests like mice, lizards, and cockroaches), and I have been surrounded all week by fun-loving young adults my age who are neither all dating each other nor married (and with no children to boot).

Additionally, since G is here, I’ve had the privilege of just following him around all week. It is so relaxing not worrying about where we need to go or how to get there. And though we have been taking every mode of wild Latin American public transportation possible, I have not had a single moment of feeling unsafe, tense, or paranoid.

Most significantly, there is a BEACH here! Miles of coastline caressed by the faithful lapping of the blue Pacific and surfers everywhere. It is like a vacation paradise and a warm hug from home all rolled into one sweet week of familiar comforts and sheer relief. Lima has been good to me.