Saturday, March 31, 2012

Study Break

I recently read an interview about Joy Williams of the band The Civil Wars. I've been a fan of their music since this past summer when I listened to a few of their songs in our apartment in Vienna. At the time, I had no idea that Joy Williams was Joy Williams, former CCM singer. So when I saw this interview, I was immediately interested. Williams said something very profound about her journey as a Christian and something that I resonated with right away, "I know now that so much of life is really broken, and there is beauty and strength in that acknowledgement."

I think that brokenness is the most beautiful part of a person's walk in life. It shows that we are vulnerable and small and not as strong as we would like to think we are. When we recognize that, we realize that we aren't as in control as we thought and that it's time for us to let go.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Focus

I have ADD. That is nothing shocking to those of you who know me. It takes a lot for me to sit down and concentrate on something, especially lately. This week is Reading Week. That means they've given us an entire week to catch up on reading, researching for papers, and other work. What have I done? Two exercises for Theological German (we have 6 total + a quiz on Tuesday). The rest of the time has been spent catching up on sleep, Hulu, and partnership for Germany. We've also gotten two emails from BFA this week, both about housing. One was about teachers who were leaving that were selling items to new staff and the other was letting me know there might be a potential one-bedroom, very affordable, apartment for me in Kandern. How am I supposed to concentrate on schoolwork when those two exciting pieces of news are thrown at me?!

Tonight I'm going to Starbucks with Melissa to work on nothing but German and reading for my Cultural Perspectives class. Melissa is pretty good about concentrating and focusing so maybe being in the same vicinity with her will help me to get my mind on the here and now. It's just hard, you know, to be present here when my mind is already 2,000 miles away on another continent.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Truth About Reading Week...

For all of my seminarian friends, I thought you might appreciate this little break down of what I think Reading Week consists of...

Monday - sleep in, catch up on Hulu, go out to celebrate the start of Reading Week (note: this can also be done on Saturday and/or Sunday nights)

Tuesday - sleep in, think you might go to the library after lunch, then your friend tells you about a new show that you should watch so instead you decide to go the library after dinner. After dinner, you figure it's been a nothing day anyway, so you should just continue to slack. Maybe read a chapter or two before you go to bed. But really, who are you kidding?

Wednesday - sleep in. Ok, today you must make it to the library. You gather all your books up to head over when you hear your Skype ring and it's your friend who's been backpacking Europe and you hardly ever get to talk. So you Skype til lunch and then bring your book bag with you to lunch so that you will go to the library. At lunch a friend suggests you go and study at Starbucks and you figure you can do reading there. You get to Starbucks, order your drink, ultimately get into a conversation with your company that lasts at least a half hour. By then you realize you haven't checked Facebook all day and so you update your status to read "Studying at Starbucks. I love Reading Week!" And since you're on Facebook, you might as well play a game of Words With Friends. Except you haven't played in a few days and you have 10 games going at once, so it takes a little longer than expected. Your friend sitting next to you then decides to show you this "hilarious" video on YouTube that "you have to see!" Next thing you know, it's time to head back to campus for dinner and you haven't opened one book.

Thursday - sleep in. You make it to the library and the book you need is on Reserve and of course that other guy in your class has already checked it out for the next two hours. You decide to come back later and instead go back to your room and do work there. You then find that list of errands you told yourself you would run at the beginning of Reading Week. So it's off to Target and Trader Joe's and you might as well stop at the mall since you're already that close. By the time you get back to campus and the library, five other people have checked out that book on Reserve and you decide you'll come back tomorrow. You went by Red Box anyway and got the newest released movie that you've been wanting to see.

Friday - sleep in. First thing's first. You have to go on Rotten Tomatoes to see what rating that movie got that you watched last night because it was horrible and you should have checked it before you got it. Rotten Tomatoes leads you to IMDB and you start to look up the actors in the movie, which then leads you to Wikipedia to read their bios in more depth. By now it's lunch and you have already planned to spend the afternoon in the library. Except now your friends have decided to go off campus and see if Cap'n Dusty's is open for ice cream. What the heck. You'll just go when you get back. It's Friday and it's been a long week. Never mind the fact that you haven't cracked open one book. You get back after having ice cream only to be reminded the library closes at 5 on Fridays and it's 5:30. So tomorrow it's an all day study session.

Saturday - sleep in. Today's the day you have to get work done! That paper is due on Monday morning and you've had all week to work on it. But hey, what are Reading Week's for, anyway?

Monday, March 26, 2012

6 Weeks Left

And so I'm making them all count.  I am exhausted after a weekend of relentless fun! It started at midnight on Thursday (or Friday? I never know how to do that) when some of us went and saw the midnight showing of The Hunger Games. I LOVED it! I am a huge fan of the book series and thought the movie did exceptionally well basing it on the books. Apparently, we all have to wait until November of 2013 to see part 2. I hope my future friends in Germany are avid fans as well ;)

On Friday, Melissa and I indulged in some retail therapy at H&M. I was ecstatic to know I'd shrunk a size and had to take back the Large dress and get a Medium!! I then met up with Brie and her friends from Germany, Anna & Nikolas. We went out to Salem Beer Works and I felt like I'd known them both for years! Saturday was Steph's bridal shower hosted by yours truly, Lyndsay, & Caroline. I finally was given a little time to rest before Saturday night's event, which was Brittanie's birthday at Minglewood.

Yesterday, I went into the city with Brie, Anna, & Nikolas and we went to Brie's church in Cambridge and then walked around Harvard and Harvard Square until it was time for the Celtics game. Caroline & the Baruchs met up with us there and we had a great time watching Boston win (please note: this does not mean I am a Celtics fan now and I hope that Miami creams them next weekend!).

Obviously, this morning I'm pretty beat from all the fun had, but I'm taking it easy today and catching up on reading and relaxing. Enjoy pics from the weekend:








Friday, March 23, 2012

Hope

A week from tomorrow is the deadline for my 50% challenge for #everylittlebithelps. My mom recently did a fundraiser with Premier Designs and so far has helped me get to almost $1100 a month! I'm learning with this fundraising process where my hope lies. It can't lie in you who are praying and partnering, it has to lie in Him. This is something I'm really starting to think about, what I put my hope in. And then it reminds me that what I put my hope in, that's what I'm trying to put my identity in. I'm ashamed to say that more than half the time, I'm not putting my hope in who I should be putting my hope into. I'm defining my worth by the worries of the day and how much I don't have. At the end of the day, it shouldn't be about how much I do or don't have, but what God is going to provide. And I know he's going to provide it in due time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Not My Timetable

What if we could choose for things to happen on our timetable? What if we didn't need faith at all? What if I could somehow magically make all of my support come in before the halfway deadline? Well, I wouldn't need to trust in God at all. And inevitably, I'd screw something up.

I know there are those of you who are waiting on different things. Jobs, marriage, your own children, bad circumstances to turn around. I also know how hard it is to wait and think that something is wrong because it's not coming together like we'd planned. Honestly, I never saw myself being single in my 30s when I was younger. But looking back, I wouldn't change anything because I've grown so much in my faith because of different life situations that have happened to me.

Waiting isn't fun, especially when you're impatient. But knowing that it's all going to come together eventually does make it somewhat easier.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

"I am a servant in Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." St. Patrick

Friday, March 16, 2012

Transitioning Out

Ever heard of this before? If you've ever experienced a big move, you have.

I know I'm starting this process and have known it for the last few weeks. A part of me is in Germany, a part of me is here in Mass and so there's a lot of mixed emotions going on.

Being already an overly sensitive person, I can feel myself somewhat sinking into a sensitive nature about things. Friends talking about classes they want to take over the summer or fall semester and knowing I won't be here for either. Birthday celebrations I know I'll miss. The prospect of not walking in graduation next year is very probable. So I'm sad for all of those things.

Yet, there's also the excitement building of moving to an area of the world that I have considered to be "home" the last 10 years of my life. Seeing friends I haven't seen in almost four years, moving back into a culture that I love, and getting to work with TCKs and MKs for at least the next five years...yes, I'm definitely ready.

So there's this pull to feel one way one day and another way the next. It's confusing and hard to really explain but it's definitely something I would ask you to pray about for me. I want to leave here well and know that I did what I could while I was at seminary and that it prepared me for what lies ahead.

On a random note, I've left you with a picture of a map of Germany. Just in case some of you are still confused as to where I'll be, I'm in the southwest corner of the country, right above Basel, Switzerland.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's the Simple Things

It reached 67 degrees today in Massachusetts. After it snowed 2 days ago, I was beginning to wonder when Spring would really come. I think it's safe to say that that day has come! Lee and I decided to go over to Singing Beach in Manchester. It was gorgeous outside and just really peaceful. We sat in the sand and people & dog watched, listening to the waves. Lee made a comment that it was nice to get away and not think about anything. I agreed.

It really is the simple things in life when you can take a breath and sit back and enjoy that moment for what it's worth.

Here's to enjoying life!

Monday, March 12, 2012

I Normally Share This, but...

I like writing. When I was a little girl, I used to write stories all the time. I was obsessed with Little House on the Prairie and The Baby-sitters Club series, so most of my ideas at the time came from that.

Sometimes, when I'm stressed or contemplative, I'll jot down ideas for stories or simply just thoughts. The other night, a scenario was laid on my heart. I've probably had the roughest few months of my life lately with just some things going on internally. My heart has been damaged in the process, but I was thinking the other day, "Wow...I really don't know how I would've made it without Him!"

So, I typed this out and sent it to a few friends and family members. I was told I should get it published. I don't know about that, but I felt that I should at least share it with you who are praying and partnering with me. I don't know if you'll find it cheesy or relate to it at all, but hey, we're all sharing in this journey together of partnership and it's only fair that you get to be privy to some of my deepest thoughts.

Enjoy. Or don't. But at least read it ;)

A girl was given a porcelain heart made especially for her by her loving father. Upon receiving it, he told her, "Child, be careful with this. It's very fragile and you can't play with it or else it will break. If it breaks, you could hurt yourself from the glass."  But he knew she was going to play with it anyway, because she was a very stubborn girl.

For a few days, the girl placed the heart on her bookshelf and just looked at it, tempted to take it off and throw it in the air to see what would happen. But she remembered the words of her dad and didn't want to disappoint him.  One day, curiosity got the best of her. Some of her friends had received the same kind of heart from their dads and they played with it everyday. The hearts had chipped and some of the paint had worn off, but they seemed to be fine with it. The girl took the heart off the shelf and threw it in the air, catching it in her hands. It didn't break. It didn't chip. It was fine.

"Well, maybe dad was wrong," the girl thought. "It seems to be perfectly fine to play with it!" 

Soon, she became less careful. She didn't protect it like her father had asked. "He just doesn't want me to have any fun," the girl scoffed. "He made this for me just so I could stare at it all day? How boring!"

She threw it in the air again, hoping to catch it like she had on the first day. But her eyes became distracted for a split second as it flew in the air. She looked away from it and missed catching it as it broke into a million pieces on the floor. A few pieces of the porcelain cut into her arms as it shattered. The girl looked at the mess around her. She remembered her father's words, "...it's very fragile and you can't play with it or else it will break. If it breaks, you could hurt yourself from the glass..."

Tears streamed down her face from the pain of the cuts in her arm and the guilt she felt from disappointing her father. She couldn't hide what she'd done. He'd know that she had disobeyed him. The evidence was all over her room.

With a guilt ridden conscience, she went to her father. One look at her and he knew what had happened. He opened his arms and she ran into them.

"Daddy, I'm so sorry! I know you told me not to play with that but it was so tempting! And all of my friends played with theirs and they didn't get hurt! Look, my arms are so cut up and my fragile heart is destroyed!" She wept into his arms as he held her and let her cry.

"Come on. I'll help you clean up the mess," her father went back with her to her bedroom and carefully began to sweep the shards of porcelain into his hands. The girl watched as he placed them into a plastic bag. He then washed her arms off with antiseptic and she cringed as the dabs of alcohol pierced her cuts. 

"It hurts, Daddy," she cried.

"I know. It will hurt for a while. But I promise it will go away," he assured her.

"When? When will the hurt go away?" 

Her father looked at her, love in his eyes. "It will take time. But I promise, it will heal and I'll make you a new heart."

Everyday, the girl would go to her father, a pained look on her face. "Daddy, it still hurts. These cuts sting so bad!"

"I know, daughter. Remember, it will take time. But I'm here and you can tell me anytime it hurts,"

Time passed. The cuts slowly began to disappear and even though there were a few scars, the pain had long left. The girl examined her scars everyday, hoping for the day when she wouldn't have to look at them anymore. Hoping when they healed completely, they would disappear.

One day, the father came into his daughter's room. She was looking at the empty spot where her porcelain heart used to be, wishing she had just left it there. It was so pretty and she missed it's glow in her room.

"I have a surprise for you," her father interrupted her thoughts. "Look. I've made you a new heart."

He held in his hands a brand new, porcelain heart, this one even more beautiful than the last. 

"Daddy, it's so beautiful! I promise this time I won't play with it! I will leave it on the shelf just like you told me to!" she carefully took it out of his hands and put it on her bookshelf.  She looked up at her father and asked, "Daddy, these scars. Are they ever going to go away? It doesn't hurt anymore, but it's just painful to look at."

"No, they probably won't ever go away," her father kissed the top of her head. "But when people ask you how you got them, you can tell them what happened. And who knows? Maybe they will have the same kind of scars and will need to hear that someone else had a broken heart, too."

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Another Fun-Filled Weekend

Friday night Brie, Caroline, Yukari, and I went to another Veritas event. This time it was at MIT. Talk about feeling out of one's league! The debate was between two Christians and two atheists on technology's impact on the world. It was really interesting to hear the two sides of the argument. Afterwards, we went and grabbed a bite at a pub called The Mind of Science, where the menu looks like this:

Last night, a few of us went down to Hingham on the South Shore of Boston to eat at Wahlburger's. If you're a New Kids on the Block fan or Mark Wahlberg fan, you know the connection. Donnie & Mark own the restaurant with their brother, Paul, who is a chef. The burgers were out of this world amazing and I got to meet Paul Wahlberg!!! I also scored a free t-shirt because I "Liked" their Facebook page and tagged a picture of the manager and me. I'm not such a fan of the pic of me and Paul, but I had to put it on here because HELLO it's the closest I've ever come to meeting a Wahlberg!  All in all, another great weekend :)


















Friday, March 9, 2012

Even in the Little Things, He's Just Good

Excitement for...

1. I reached my goal of being not just at 30% today, but over it!!! THANK YOU ALL FOR PRAYING! You guys are seriously awesome :)

2. Yesterday, we got our 3rd German quiz back in Theological German. I was sure I'd failed b/c I had hardly looked at the material b/c I'd been studying for another exam. I told my professor on Tuesday, "You can count this as my lowest quiz grade" b/c we get the lowest one dropped. Well, I came in yesterday and the first thing my prof said to me was, "Ok Miss "I Think I Failed"...you got a 108!" Seriously, no idea how that happened.

3. Today in my Understanding Learners class, the prof brought in Merci Chocolates. Merci's are quite popular in Europe and over the summer, we always either gave them to people as a gift or were given them. They are SO yum!!

These blessings, whether big or small, are even more proof to me of just how good God is to me.

Even in the little things, like chocolate.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ein Latte Macchiato, Bitte

Which means "A latte macchiato, please."

This is what I'm talking about:

I can't seem to find them in the States or if I do, it's just not the same. But if you asked Brie and any of my other Vienna intern friends, they'd tell you this was by far my favorite drink in the world. And it's one of many things I'm looking forward to when I return to Germany.

Yesterday, my partnership grew by almost 5%. My goal this week was to get to 30% by the end of this week and then 50% by the end of the month. I can't express to you how excited this makes me and how every time I see my statement, the reality of what is to come is made even more real to me.

Pretty soon, I'll be able to post a picture of me holding the above drink. And I hope before long, some of you reading this will get to experience that pleasure with me :).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Starbucks & Partnership

What do they have in common?

A lot, actually.

Let's say you're like me and go to Starbucks at least twice a week. On average, you're spending probably $8. And that's just if you get a tall, regular coffee, right? Or let's say you're not as crazy about Starbucks as others and you may just go about 3x a month. You order a regular, tall coffee every visit and that's without the additional flavor. That equals to $10 a month, give or take.

The thing with partnership that I find is that people initially think I have to have at least something like $50 a month. Well, that's nice and if someone wanted to do that, that would be fantastic. HOWEVER, I'm here to tell you that every little bit helps. Seriously. $10 a month? AWESOME. $5 a month? SUPER. $2 a month? YES that works, too!

Ok now before you say that I'm guilting you out of enjoying your Starbucks, I'm going to stop you right there. Please don't stop going to Starbucks or Dunkin or wherever you enjoy your coffee time. As an advocate of caffeine, I feel that no one should be deprived of the deliciousness of the green and white brand. All I'm saying is that partnership doesn't have to be something that breaks your bank. I only compared it with Starbs b/c it was a good analogy (thank you, Brie!).

Think about it. Pray about it. And should you feel led, you can click on that Donate link at the top right hand corner of the blog.

Now, I'm going to finish this delicious cup of Starbucks Via Columbian Roast...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Freunde, Amis, Amigas, Friends

I know I always brag on them, but here I go again. My friends at GCTS have been one of the most constant things in my life lately. Whether or not they understand this whole transition thing I've started going through and processing, they still love me unconditionally and listen to me when I just need to talk through something (verbal processor, you know!).

Last night, I was having a rough time of it. Nothing really happened. I had gone to study w/Brie at Starbucks and was fine until I left and it hit me that I would be leaving here in exactly 10 weeks. For the last year and a half, I've been used to seeing these people on a day-to-day basis. I told Sean the other day, "I don't know when I'll see you again after May!" and in his sweet, reassuring way, he said, "You'll see me again."

So anyway, last night, I came back to my room and just let it all out. Maybe it was that I hadn't cried in a while or that it suddenly hit me just how fast everything was coming, but I had a good cry on my couch. Poor Melissa came at that time to catch up and saw me in tears, but listened to me as I said, "I don't know why I'm like this right now."

No matter where I go, God always provides me with some of the sweetest people to have as friends and share life with me. I know that when I move back to Germany, I'll be reunited with old friends but that He will grant me new friends as well.

If you're reading this from GCTS, I hope you know I'm more grateful for you than you'll ever realize.

PS Sorry for getting a little sappy here. Perhaps tomorrow's post will contain some element of humor :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Boston




I complain about the weather here a lot. I complain about the driving here a lot. I complain about the lack of hospitality a lot. But at the end of the day, I know I'm going to miss living this close to Boston.

It's a great city, it really is. I love the fact that you can walk pretty much anywhere in the city, the T is one of the easiest subways to navigate, and being around all these Ivy League schools can really start rubbing off on you!

Today Brie, Joel (Anderson), and I went to Boston College to study at the library there. Because GCTS is a part of the BTI (Boston Theological Institute), we can go and study at Boston College, Boston University, & Harvard. We spent pretty much all day there and then headed over to Cambridge and met up with Joel (Geib) at a pub in Center Square for dinner. It was a small group but nice to sit back and relax and catch up. I'm gonna miss my friends here so much.

We've been going into the city a lot the last month and I feel like I'm finally taking advantage of being 30 minutes away from it. Next weekend is another Veritas forum at MIT and the next day we're hitting up Wahlburgers to check yet another thing off of my "To Do" list here.

So, yeah, as much as I do complain about New England, Boston is really a great city. And spending time there with really great people makes it even better ;)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Revelations from Gospel Transformation

Since coming back from Vienna, Brie and I have been doing a Bible study called Gospel Transformation put out by World Harvest Mission. Our chapter this morning was entitled Barriers to Believing.  Here are just a few passages I underlined. I hope it speaks to you as much as it did me. Particularly the last sentence really made Brie & I think long and hard!

"The cost for the recipient of God's grace is nothing -- and no price could be higher for arrogant people"
Dan Allender


"There are things we do as Christians  that are clearly wrong. These are acts of the flesh that are overtly sinful and disobedient"


"God views our works as acceptable and good because of Jesus"


"Whatever is not of faith is sin" (Rom 14:23)