toes !!!!

mmmm i’m so lucky to live (most of the time) by an ocean. it’s crazy how much that big blue thing makes you think.

in southern california the water is a little chilly, so sometimes all i can do is just put my toes in.

whenever i put my toes in, i get to thinking. i think about the millions of toes that are standing on the ocean’s outskirts. all over the world.

with each of those toes comes set of

problems,

achievements,

sins,

sorrows,

regrets,

likes,

dislikes,

& different worldviews.

 

but the water kisses them all and washes over all of ’em. no matter whose toes, whose problems, whose sins, whose worries, whose achievements.

no matter who.

 

always remember,

jesus is the water

& he loves ur toes !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

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loud & bold love affair.

the other night luke and i were sitting on the beach watching the most beautiful orange and blue sunset, listening to one wave crash after another.

a big swell was breaking so the waves were loud and bold.

 

we were talking about life, and all the ways God is working around us.

i told him of something i heard when i was younger about the ocean.

…i think it was the start of my ocean love affair.

it was a quote that said:

“Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.”

no matter how many times we tell God we don’t need him, or don’t want him, he pursues us.

endlessly.

the waves crashing on the shore, kissing it loudly and boldly every three seconds reminds me of this amazing characteristic of our loving God.

He constantly pursues and loves us loudly and boldly.

He refuses to stop – to stop loving us, to stop kissing us, to stop pursuing us.

& it’s our job to do this back.

to become the waves, one day…to the people around us.

 

thankful for a boy i can talk to about this sort of stuff and who encourages me so well.

thankful for a God that hides hints of his never ending love for us all over this earth.

now go find them.

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the new years resolution.

when i think about new years resolutions my mind goes one million places all at once – from being more fit and skinnier (duh) to traveling more places to making new friends to trying new things etc.

 

but then i’m always snapped back by one thing i heard in church a few years ago that has stuck with me since…

 

it was the last sunday of 2014

 

the pastor said that goals are good – but in a year from now none of the goals you’ve accomplished will matter if you’re relationship with Jesus hasn’t changed. 

 

that made me think…..

 

i’d never really thought of that being my new years goal – to grow closer with Jesus – which is sad because it’s definitely the most important and quite frankly the only one that matters.

 

in january the gym is flooded – but how cool would that be if the church was flooded. and instead of the gym getting less and less crowed every time you went (bc people loose sight of their goals and get lazy) the church was more packed every sunday. and you could contribute to that.

 

goals  are good and push us to grow within ourselves, but how sad would it be if on january 1st 2017 we were skinner, with a larger friend group but had taken no steps forward in our relationship with Jesus and in the communities around us?

 

so i encourage you to keep your focus on the real goal – for the betterment of his kingdom. one day you’re gonna be in front of him.

 

my goal is that he will say “well done my GOOD and FAITHFUL SERVANT”

& this starts today. now. so GO.

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waves.

things I never thought I’d miss…………..

 .
PEANUTBUTTER. at&tsigninthecornerofmyphone. ICE. theword”yall”. DEPARTMENTSTORES. waitersthatspeakenglish. UBER. southernaccents. CHEESEBURGERS. blueimessages. MYCHURCH. spotify. MYCAR. drivingmyself. FRIENDS. mydoggies.
 .
things I miss more than ever………………
BOATROCKINGMETOSLEEP. seeingtheoceaneverymoment. SMILES. hearingmyneighborsscreambcofthethinwalls. SOTERO:MYCABINSTEWARD. sassmooties. PACIFICOCEANSUNSETS. circuittraining. NOPHONES. mytinytwinbed. STAIRS. isolation. WEEKENDTRIPSTONEWCOUNTIRES. nointernet. SEAMAIL. thewashingtonpost. SASHOLES.
 .
anyways, USA it is good to be back.
thanks for having me, world.
 .
it was a good time on the water.
.
the ocean to me is like the earth’s HEARTBEAT…..
slow, steady, sometimes beats fast and wild. it’s full of adrenalin & peace, chaos & rhythm.
it’s amazing to be in tune with the heart beat of the world – beating up and down – you’re connected. it makes you feel alive, connected to the creator & aware that you are finite, small, but full of so much more.
 .
yes we are a drop in the ocean, a blip in history.
but we are loved infinitely, by the one that controls all heartbeats. we’re all in sync, reflecting the creator.
 .
the sea connects us all – to the past – to the future – to humanity throughout time. it’s changing yet always the same. it has been here before us and will inevitably be after. beating. up & down, up & down – slow wave rolls. never ending. with a far away unfathomable beginning.
 .
our job is to ride them. ride the waves. listen to the heartbeat. go where it takes us.
your destination is better than you can imagine. imagine that.
so go out there.
get lost.
the world is at your finger tips.
go.
xo.
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TEMPORARY HOME.

in the words of carrie underwood …. “this is our temporary home”.

 

in the past three months i have had more temporary homes than you can imagine.

in rome my home was an apartment

in croatia my home was a huge house shared with 25 people.

in greece my home was 2 different hotel rooms.

in spain my home was a youth hostel.

in morocco my home was a hotel room.

in senegal my home was a ship.

in brazil my home was a roof top condo.

and in between each of these my home has been a ship, that 599 of my best friends live on.

….all of these temporary homes hold memories that i will have forever.

 

 

but have you ever thought bigger picture?

that this world is actually just our temporary home.

this world is not our home, but just a stop on where we’re going.

every place is just a stop on this grand adventure…

and our destination is our dad’s house….

who just happens to be the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE.

… guess that’s kind of cool!

the amazing thing about the fact that this world is our temporary home is that

pain is temporary,

hurt is temporary,

fear is temporary,

evil things of this world are temporary,

our problems are temporary,

but jesus ISN’T and his love ISN’T.

 

 

wherever you go, jesus has been before.

he knows all your “stops”

he knows all your “temporary homes”.

and he’s already preparing your permanent home upstairs with him.

he is your home among all of the temporary ones.

run home to him.

in everything, everyday, anytime. he is home and he is always home.

 

 

so just remember,

don’t take life too serious.

keep perspective.

know this isn’t where we are meant to be.

but there is so much more in store.

 

 

so, happy day after thanksgiving …. we have so much to be thankful for !!

XORALPH.

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crossing the ATLANTIC.

crossing the atlantic …. another check on the bucket list…. but so much more than that !!

crossing the atlantic is amazing because you don’t see land for 7 days. it’s you and those around you, and that’s all you’ve got. it’s hot, windy, and absolutely gorgeous. it also makes you thankful for the land you live on.

neptune day is the day we cross the equator – the tradition is to get fish guts poured on you, kiss a fish, shave your head and then you are officially moved from being a shellback to a pollywog … yes i’m just as confused as you, but neptune day is something unforgettable and the southern oceans are just as amazing.

 

but the thing i could not stop thinking every time i looked out to see the sky kissing the ocean as far as i could see with no land in sight was Francis Chan’s analogy in his book “Crazy Love” (if you haven’t read it…. get it now… game changer!!).

he says … “Not being able to fully understand God is frustrating but it is ridiculous for us to think we have the right to limit God to something we are capable of comprehending. What a stunted, insignificant God that would be! If my mind is the size of a soda can and God is the size of all the oceans, it would be stupid for me to say He is only the small amount of water I can scoop into my little can. God is so much bigger, so far beyond our time-encased, air/food/sleep-dependent lives.”

…he is comparing the vast ocean to the unimaginably vast knowledge of God. then he compares a coke can filled with ocean water to the knowledge we are given… he is saying that it is crazy for us to confine God to our knowledge because he is so so so much bigger….and crossing the atlantic makes you realize just how many coke cans could be filled …. mind.boggling. yet so comforting.

 

now i’m burnt, salty, almost have dreads (yes my shaved head grew back …. hahaha) & thankful for the land we made it to. i’m in rio de janeiro brazil and loving it – could be my favorite place yet ! it’s morning here and i’m sitting on the balcony looking out over the beach and the busy roads of rio, listening to some tunes  … wishing life could pause for a second or two … my heart is so so happy.

 

anyways thanks for reading my thoughts …

happy friday !!!!

 

xoralph.

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life is crazy!

life right now is so crazy.
… crazy new
… crazy different
… crazy fun
… crazy real
… crazy small
… crazy tiring
… crazy awesome
… crazy cool
… crazy weird
… crazy eye opening
… crazy amazing
… crazy surreal
_
crazy new: the thought “what country am i in” comes to mind about 5 times day… followed by “dang God, you are so cool” about 100 times.
 _
crazy different: it takes me at least 10 seconds to remember what language to say “thank you”, “hello” and “yes” in.
 _
crazy fun: i wake up every morning on the ocean, look outside, and pray that it will be sunny and the seas will be smooth.
 _
crazy real: we were planning to go to istanbul and all had our turkish visas ready. but  days before we were scheduled to enter we changed plans and instead went to croatia due to unrest in turkey.  four days later we got news of a suicide bomber that killed about 100 people. this hit home because that could have easily been us, any of us. and the mood on the ship was a bit different that day, sad for those families and friends that were affected by this tragedy, and thankful that we were all kept safe.
 _
crazy small: i have met so many new, amazingly different people from around the world. my friends are from every state in america and multiple countries around the world. so cool to have a bed to sleep in –in just about every city i could imagine.
 _
crazy tiring: i  have visited 6 countries in the last 6 weeks, with little down time, i mean class time. 🙂
 _
crazy awesome: in barcelona they don’t go out until way past midnight, and i am not kidding when i say you go home when you see the sun rising above the ocean. so awesome to actually experience.
 _
crazy cool: the stories i hear about friend’s adventures are wild, intriguing, inspiring, and encouraging. my friends have jumped out of airplanes, stayed with locals on their couches, slept under trees in rome, gone to the hospital, been arrested, saved people’s lives, played games on the first olympic stadium, got engaged, ate weird animals… and so much more.
 _
crazy weird: i meet someone, shake their hand, ask their name, forget their name, and end up sleeping next to them in the middle of the mountains in croatia. and yes this happens often.
_
crazy eye opening: in morocco we saw 10 older people sitting in the middle of dirt roads down an alley, eating pealla out of a huge bowl with their hands, all dirty and looking like that might be their only meal for the day. i look over to my friend and say, “ah, that makes my heart hurt a little bit” … and he says “that’s good, that’s how it’s supposed to make you feel”.
 _
crazy amazing: the conversations are real. they are authentic. they are filled with laughs and memories that i will treasure forever-ever !!!!!
 _
crazy surreal: because as I’m writing this i am in morocco, looking at my friend kevin, who is also is from texas. we are hearing what sounds like gun shots, but we think are fireworks, and we are looking at one another in panic/amusement. we can also see the green laser that points toward mecca, and can hear the call to prayer that is currently taking place. now that is some craziness.
 _
… and i’m crazy crazy thankful for every moment of this crazy journey!!!!
i hope your days are crazy….. crazy whatever !!!!!
xo ralph
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15 you only know when you live on a boat!

  1. 15 foot waves are nothing to be worried about, in fact they are only a 4 on a scale from 1 to 10….
  2. but don’t fear, you are never more than 5 feet away from a barf bag at anytime!!!
  3. ice is as valuable and as rare as gold.
  4. all homework is done while simultaneously tanning your back.
  5. when running on the treadmill you must hold on for dear life. You never know when the next wave will hit.
  6. not seeing land for days on end is very normal.
  7. seamail is the new email.
  8. you walk up more flights of stairs in a day than you have in your entire life combined.
  9. when shaving your legs you must hold on.
  10. you charge your phone once a week max.
  11. pasta is n.e.v.e.r.e.n.d.i.n.g.
  12. playing mafia or cards is the night life.
  13. dolphins will sometimes join you for lunch.
  14. saying y’all is a foreign language.
  15. snack time is the best time.

all in all….life on a boat rocks.

no phones, no wifi, & no familiar faces seems scary…. but on the ship the air is fresh & the people are really real.

so, cheers to life… on a boat…. or wherever you may be ….

xx ralph.

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london calling……. !!!

IMG_0576-1

ahhh… this is crazy…i’m on the plane to LONDON right now…ahhhh!

feeling EXCITED for what the future holds & NERVOUS for the unknown. feeling FREE to explore the world but CLAUSTROPHOBIC in the fact that I’m trapped in this airplane for the next 8 hours lol. feeling HAPPY to meet some of my life time best friends, but SAD to have left some behind. feeling ANXIOUS to begin college, but CONFIDENT in the fact that my strength is found in Him.

aka… i’m a melting pot of emotions… ha!

 

also… for all you who are headed off to college in the next few years…don’t stress. YOU’ve got things in store that you cannot even DREAM!!!!

…for me, pepperdine was the dream. starting in august was expected. but oh no, God had something BIGGER and BETTER up his sleeve. i got spring admission to pepperdine, and my mind went to plan B, change schools. then…. i waited…. a friend … who was a stranger at the time… told me the same thing happened to her. then she told me to not do anything for a week, but to pray about it constantly. i did, & a week later i emailed semester at sea….. and here i am now…. on a plane, about to board the floating university.

crazy cool how life works. love it, and it’ll love you right back.

 

so so excited for my biggest adventure yet.

i’ve heard that life begins at the end of your comfort zone…. so let’s do this thiiiinngggg @life. (fist bump emoji).

peace and blessings and sending lots of love from LONDON!

xoxoxo ralph.

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alone, but not lonely

ok so two things many of you don’t know about me…

  1. i HATE being alone
  2. i’m doing a semester at sea !!

(ok so how do these two things go together…i’ll explain….)

 

so since i am going on Semester at Sea, i start school later than all my friends and my sister… about three weeks later.

that to me is terrifying – me, alone, no sister, no friends, in austin, just me….sounds a little like my worst nightmare.

it has only been a week of being alone but i can already see why this is a part of my journey.  even through just this past week i have realized that God is using this time of being alone to draw me closer to him.  not having your best friend ten minutes away makes you rely on the presence of Jesus, and this has been so true for me in the past few days.  i’m seeing him more as a loving friend and father than just a distant God…. and trust me, nothing compares to His embrace.  …pretty cool that what seems terrifying can be the best thing for you.

 

so what have i learned….

-i have gotten in the habit of starting everyday by reading my “jesus calling”

it takes about 30 seconds each morning and starts your conversation with jesus. i challenge you to try it.

-i have prayed more in the past few days than i have in awhile. it’s because i have lots of free time and lots of people that i miss.  i just start by saying “hey Jesus…thank him for all he has done for me…then pray for friends, my family, relationships, and what the future holds, etc…end with “love you Jesus, thanks for all you do”…amen” … nothin’ special but it sure is a game changer.

-lastly my favorite way to worship the creator is by singing. and trust me, i’m tone deaf, but if you turn the volume up really loud no one will hear you !!

…this is a playlist of my current favorite worship songs that tug on my heart…hope they do the same to you !!

where i belong – cory asbury

you are more – tenth avenue north

messiah / you’re beautiful – phil wickham

divine romance – phil wickham

set a fire – cody davenport

oceans – hillsong united

jesus paid it all – kristian stanfill

fearless – travis ryan

relentless – hillsong united

how he loves – david crowder band

your love never fails – jesus culture

give me your eyes – brandon heath

fill me up – united pursuit

take me there – trip lee

forever reign – hillsong

jesus is better – aaron ivey. austin stone

amazing grace – chris tomlin

vapor – the liturgists

this is living now – hillsong

hey, happy wednesday & remember HIS gates swing open WIDE. xoxoxoxoxo

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