Monday, October 29, 2012

top 3.

Oh, do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  Thou art more lovely than I ever imagined.  Thou art more enchanting than I ever dreamt.  Thou art more awe-inspiring than I ever anticipated.  To say it was the trip of a lifetime would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions.  I cannot even BEGIN to articulate the magic, the beauty, the outpouring of blessings I was quite literally overwhelming at times.  Even now, I will be looking at pictures and will find myself on the verge of tears as the reality sets in that I was actually there and I'm not looking at someone else's photos.

My 9-day tour was an absolute whirlwind with an amazing sight, smell, taste, or sound to behold around every corner.  Suffice it to say, I will not even attempt to do a thorough posting of my time.  To give you an idea of what a feat that would be, Christy (my travel buddy), took over 3,000 pictures on her camera alone (not including iPhone photos).  I have sat with my sister on two occasions and have yet to get through half of my trip.  There is so much to share and so many stories to recall--it is a daunting task to be certain.

Be that as it may, I did want to at least share my top three moments in each city.  I know this is crazy as how can one really narrow it down to three when there were like three million?  Nevertheless, I am dying to share at least a few highlights in the hope that I might have time for a more expansive post in the future.


My first highlight comes from day #3 on my trip during our time in Vatican City.  Whilst touring St. Peter's Basilica, I came across the following side room for prayer:

I made my way into the chapel, knelt at one of the pews, and poured my heart out to God.  I began claiming very specific promises for each and every family member and dear friend.  They just were flowing like a spring of water.  And let me tell you what else was flowing, tears.  I was sobbing as the presence of the Lord came over me and was so very real.  I was also sobbing as the gravity of where I was began to set in.  It was such a beautiful and intimate moment--one I was never expecting, but was so grateful for.  It definitely was one of the top moments of my trip without question.

Side note: I am so thrilled our first trip to St. Peter's was on a less-crowded Monday as the room was not open on our subsequent visit the following Saturday.  Also, I have about 800 more pictures of St. Peter's, but I'm staying true to the heart of my post which is a top three list, not an onslaught of pictures.


Highlight #2 came on our last morning in Florence.  I woke up early (before dawn) to attend mass at the Duomo before we had to catch our train.  Since we had an early train, I had to go to the 7:30am mass.  If you know me, this is pretty incredible given the fact that I do not usually rise before 7:45ish.  However, it was totally and completely God-ordained that I attend this mass.  Reason being, as I was walking on the nearly deserted cobblestone streets of Florence towards the Duomo, I came across this:


Of course, pictures do not begin to do this sunrise justice.  I cannot even tell you how amazing and magnificent this sunset coming up over the Duomo was to behold.  It was so unbelievably beautiful and so very clearly painted by God.  I felt as though He was writing me a love letter via the colors of the sky.  The moment was surreal and holy.  I am forever grateful to have experienced it with my Savior.  Praise Him from whom all blessings flow.


While there are countless highlights to be shared from my time on the Amalfi Coast, the one that stands out the most is from our day-long boat trip to Capri.  First of all, I could not even process the fact that I was on a boat skimming across the waters of the Amalfi Coast.  Second of all, I could not process the fact that the color of these waters was unlike anything I have ever beheld.  Third of all, we got to actually swim in this glorious water and I actually wasn't too scared to be in the ocean.  Win-win-win.

That's where this highlight comes from.  My third highlight was jumping off of the boat into the crisp waters of the Amalfi Coast.

If the second picture does not provide the sufficient indication of sheer joy, I don't know how else to convince you that it was bubbling over to the nth degree.  As for the picture just above, yes, the captain of the boat did hand me wine to drink whilst swimming in the ocean.

As I mentioned, every single moment could be a highlight.  It was better than perfect and I could so very clearly to see the Lord's answer to all of our prayers.  He provided in ways that we could have never expected and at times, found hard to comprehend.  His hand was on us every second and I am hard-pressed to come up with one single thing that went wrong.  We made every train, had no flight delays or connection issues, didn't experience any issues with money or bill discrepancies, all of our hotels were in the PERFECT locations--it was truly the Lord. 

I feel so undeserving of this experience, but know that none of us deserve anything so I just remain grateful for every moment and I am more than happy to share it all with you if you have about 18 hours to spare.

**As mentioned, I will try to post more, but I make no promises.


Christina Grace said...

OH MY GOSH RACHIE! My heart is totally bursting, and I am overwhelmed with joy for you! The Blessed Sacrament at St. Peter's is my ABSOLUTE favorite place in Rome AND I'm so glad you got to go to an early Mass at the Duomo. Such a gift! And it was all for YOU, straight from Jesus himself. Seeing your pictures from Capri took me back int he best possible way. Love you sooo much!

elisa said...

i just died. and then came back to life again and then, oh yeah, died again. and then revived. and i am happier than I can describe in words. Rachel, Jesus answered my exact prayers for you on this trip. I CANNOT WAIT to hear more about it in person. I CANNOT. WAIT. countdown until thanksgiving has already begun, but it is going to be in even greater force (like twice daily checks at least of how many more days until you come) now that I got this little sampling of the glory. I love you, I love Jesus, I love Italy I love this post and I love that Thanksgiving will bring us back together. Thank you thank you thank you for posting this. THANK YOU!!!!!!!! I love you!

Lianna said...

AHHHHHH! Your post brought tears to my eyes. Praise God for the amazing opportunity you had, Rachie!! I am honestly dying to hear every last detail of your trip! Love youuuuuu!

Rachie said...

FOUSINS-y'all are the best!!! i mean, let's be honest, this post was clearly for you guys. i cannot wait to tell you more about it and show you, what may prove to be, an endless stream of photos. LOVE!!!

Peter and Anne said...

Wow! What a beautiful trip! Can I have your email address again? I deleted the email you sent me a few weeks ago. Doh. I want to include you on the email for Peter's party. Thanks!