Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My own world

I am

Reading, walking, thinking...
Skype dates, good food, new town, new people,
healing, discovery, company

studying, trying, understanding..

questions, answers, waiting..

learning, loving, feeling, laughing, crying..


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Technicolour yawn

Friday night, culture shock reared it’s vicious head. A vulgar state of the soul, yet inevitable. I walked through the park, admiring all the lovely, crunchy, colourful leaved, with that childlike desire to crunch them, throw them, and dive into a large pile. However, it hit me, it would look rather odd and silly if I did this alone, and it hit me: No one here to do this with. Loneliness unveiled herself to me, taunting me. I went to play the church piano, to help cope, but the tears flowed down. I cried, prayed and played for five hours, until I realized the time was 10:30. I left, went home, cried more, and beat my mattress. Finishing “Horton hears a who” helped enormously.
Skipping ahead to today: I was dreading it. I didn’t want to go to church, specifically to a “Thanksgiving” service. However, God answered my prayer:

The mall has Christmas decorations out, already.

I enjoyed the testimonies given at church

I am thankful for Jarka continually translating for me.

Getting to know Josh better. My compassion leans towards him as a fellow American.

A lady from church told Slavo I look like a fairy, I took it as a compliment 

Slavo catching me after church: My attempts to be more honest (Including, Slavo’s public decloration” Oh it was you who had Diarrhea” .Nice).
I found out about the future vision for Narnia, the grammar school, for the church, the land, the cottage ect.. I confessed my desire for another native speaker, found out it could be a possibility, confessed my “lonely state”, was then invited to dinner with the Polohatsi,
Politics lesson, Sign language, and good fellowship and fun. I also found out the full story on Slavo’s side, on my hiring process, which was interesting, and I feel blessed. It helped to hear that too, from a Native’s mouth.My boss's mouth. Ok, from another human being.

Best highlights: Natik giving his pre-presentation (for my English class) with “I have to go to the bathroom” inserted. Yes child, please do that during class tomorrow...

Signing at dinner.

Timko: “But God wont understand Natik’s English prayer.It's not good enough. He should pray in Slovak"

Timko: What’s a flamingo? Natik: It’s a dumb, pink ostrich that swims in water

The boys playing their instruments and Timmy’s meerkat collection

Hearing the expression “Technicolour yawn” in reference to throwing up

Explaining what a “wifebeater” is

And as always, Timmy's wide, half toothless smile, accompainied by a lisp. It doesn't get much more precious than that.

Ahh, how I love spending time with families. Especially this one. It is exactly what I needed.I'm realizing that even though I'm away from my family, and will not be apart of a family here, God will still provide moments, and oppertunities, during my lonliest times. Friendships in the making. With the big and the small. I am learning that I cannot expect encouragment, and I cannot place that expectation on anyone, however, when it does come, I am so thankful. Missionary life is teaching me so much, and that the only true encouragment comes the Lord. Spending time in prayer before school this week, has helped tremendously.

Thanks again, for reading this. It's a rather clumsy post, and I have much more exciting things to say, but I'll wait for another day..

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October 8, 2007

The story told: 23 years ago , a young couple in Texas was expecting their first child and neither had parents around to help them. They were alone in this, and some elderly friends of theirs, a couple by the name of Roy and Rhea Leach came to visit. They had known the couple from church. Roy had a brother, Don, and Rhea had a sister, Donna. (The two brothers were married to the two sisters, if you can follow that). Don and Donna had heard that this young couple had no parents to help, so they and their daughter Marilyn went to the hospital to see this new baby girl. The details, I am unsure of, but this older couple decided to “adopt” the younger couple, and this little girl. The young couple were my parents, and I was the new baby.
According to my parents, they went to doctor’s appointments, babysat and did all things that parents do to help with their child with the first new baby. They were always Papa and Grandma Donna and Aunt Marilyn for as long as I can recall. I really do not remember when I found out we weren’t related I just remember being surprised. I think of my grandfather, and I think of a most loving, self-sacrificing man. Probably the most I’ve ever met. Every Christmas, every birthday , my grandparents were there. I went swimming in their pool every summer. Papa was always taking me to the park. I remember him giving me rides in his wheelbarrow, that was my favourite. We went to carnivals, parades, and to the food lion together. I loved going to the food lion with papa, another favourite memory. My grandparents were a constant part of my life. I begged mom to let me spend the night at their house, and I also nagged her on making them my legal guardians. (I was an odd child, in that most children are not concerned about having legal guardians).
I almost never saw papa apart from Grandma Donna. She was his sweetheart, and he her honey. They constantly held hands, and loved until death did them part. They did everything together and everything for each other. My grandparents marriage was a beautiful picture of what a marriage ought to be.
Four years ago, my papa was received at the gates of heaven. I’m not sure what the gates of heaven actually entail, but I know and believe that there is something of the sort because the Bible has written of it. What do I know of these things? Not much outside of what the Bible mentions. Will there be harps? Choirs? Literal mansions as the ones we think of? It is all so mysterious still, but I take comfort in knowing that it is good. It is the best thing we can hope for. To spend an eternity with God, which that alone, tells me it must be good.
Papa’s faith is what inspires me most. I did not really appreciate until after he was gone. Of course, I knew they were Christians and I sat with them in church many Sundays. But later I learned that Papa would pull out his prayer list daily and go through everyone on the list. He sought out service to others, and memorized the written word. He was a spiritual giant in my eyes. I remember papa catching him with his Bible in his lap often. I think of him often, and how seriously he took his faith.
I cannot write much more, as tears still come to my eyes, which do not seem to stop. My mother even wrote a story, (which I will post if I can get her to send it) about us. I recall it involving that food lion maybe? And a little toy rabbit he gave me, which I continued to call “beady eyed bear”. He even got a little bed for it, and cut a cloth blanket out for it. My favourite game was finding the bear. He used hide in their house and I would search up and down for that little animal. However, one day papa hid it so well, he couldn’t even find it. It turned up just a few years ago when my Aunt cleaned out the house. Such sweet memories.
One day, we shall meet again. I look foward to that day. I can reminisce and enjoy the memories which were made in the 19 years we spent together. I smile, and hope in the eternity we will enjoy together in the presence of Jesus. Then, we part no more

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thank you again Sara Groves..

I was about to give up and that's no lie
cardinal landed outside my window
threw his head back and sang a song
so beautiful it made me cry

took me back to a childhood tree
full of birds and dreams

from this one place I can't see very far
in this one moment I'm square in the dark
these are the things I will trust in my heart
you can see something else
something else

I don't know what's making me so afraid
tiny cloud over my head
heavy and grey with a hint of dread
I don't like to feel this way

take me back to a window seat
with clouds beneath my feet

from this one place I can't see very far
in this one moment I'm square in the dark
these are the things I will trust in my heart
you can see something else
something else

From this one place-Sara Groves

Have you got a pet? Or the time...

Slovakian life is busy..

And pardon the title, I am teaching British English, so that's my grammar lesson for the day..

Not to excuse myself. This morning of choas ended with My bosses letting me "relax" this afternoon and tomorrow. I wont' go into details, but my ever understanding roommate took me to Slavo and Martina's office and I told them about my culture shock some, stress, and a few other things and they were very understanding. It's amaazing what happens when your honest about your feeings. I am not always good about that, especially with people I don't know well.

So thanks to their compassion, and Emily's empathy, having "been there" as a newcommer, I am now able to lock away in the computer room, away from students, faculty and just catch up with emails, and this blog. I try to glance at and a quick sweep of facebook mini-feed each day as well as read the emials sent to me, but reponse is hard.

I am still experiencing some culture shock, as much as I hate to admit it. It's incredibly difficult sometimes. yesterday, there was no one to translate the faculty meeting which lasted an over two hours. That wears on you. Granted, I am learning the language, but it does not come overnight. On this blog, I will be honest about missionary life. It's not always pretty. We are not superheroes of the faith by any means. Missoinary life is not perfect, and it can be messy. I've broken several cultural norms unawares, struggle with the language, I get frustrated, and I've had moments where I just long to see someone familar, to be at home with my family, to have coffee with a close friend, someone to laugh at Dwight Shrute with..(Hulu nor Nbc. com works here by the way..) well, you get it right? Sometimes I feel like a child. After spending the last nearly three years of my life in Chicago, America's third largest city, living an independent life, I now feel needy. Needing a translator, needing soemone to assist to the store or on the bus because there are different ways of doing things..

Missionary life requires great sacrifice, as I am learning. However, with it comes great joy. When you finally beging to understand even the smallest of phrases and words, when you can go to a grocery store and converse in their language, when you hear a worship song that you know in your first langauge, when a friendship is made, when a student tells you that English is her favourite's the beginning of what is to come. I am enjoying the Bible study that I'm attending at church. Even thought it's translated, I feel welcomed. Last weekend some of the girls invited me to a cave with them, and I highly enjoyed it. I thank God that I am here. I really do. It takes time, and effort, but I know I am called to be here. Forgive this unsystematic, rather raw read. It's been a long past two days, full of joy and tears for various reasons. Pray as I continue to learn, to lay down and surrender. Thanks for the prayers everyone. You have no idea how precious they are.

Here is the latest email I sent..two weeks ago. Sorry blog world..

Greetings! 9/18/11

I cannot believe I have been here in Slovakia for a little over one month. Time never slows regardless of where in the world one is located. This email will be a longer one, so brace yourself. If you do not read all of it, I will not take offense ;)

Where to begin..

Slovakia is considered to be on the borders of central/Eastern Europe. Slovakia’s capital is Bratislava, and I reside three hours away in Banska Bystrica (Banska Bistritsa). Bystrica is located in the mountains (hills as they call them, but after living in Texas and Chicago, they look like mountains to me). Bystrica is one of the bigger cities, but is still smaller than Dallas or Chicago. They scenery is beautiful, and its nice to look around and see “green”. There is a “British Walmart” called Tesco, and few local grocery stores in regards to food. The western influence has brought in a shopping mall, which contrasts the “Square” which was built long before the mall. The square has many shops, restaurants and is the center of Bystrica. There is a small castle, many cathedrals, a cemetery, and giant clock tower which can be heard a mile and half away, because I hear it at home, a mile and half away. I enjoy taking walks through the square. Sometimes you may find street instrumentalists, tourists, and random festivals. They have already had two that I know of in the past month.
The culture here is an interesting mix. The west has already begun its way in, but the east still holds some influence. Slovakia is a former communist country and it much of that still has a hold on the culture here. The younger generation is not much affected, but anyone usually older than 50 struggles. The government still operates in communist form. Everything requires paperwork, they take their time, they change their minds, and everything has to have specific notarized stamp. (They love their stamps here) Post-communism shines in almost anything. For example most buildings are painted in pastel colours both inside and out (including my office at school, It’s a bright peach). No colors were allowed during communism, so now they want everything to look like Easter. The older ladies all have purple, blue, maroon or pink hair because hair-dying was also not allowed. During communism, everyone was required to lean German or Russian and was expected to speak it. Churches were regulated, and like all communist countries, controlled by their government. Everyone here is grateful to be a free nation, but the communist weight still lingers. Just two years ago, Slovakia joined the European union and switched from the crown to the Euro.
The language spoken here is Slovak, which is similar to Russian and that has proved beneficial to me. They are both members of the family of Slavic languages and I have discovered many similarities. Some words are the exact same, some have different endings and of course some are entirely different. For example “kniga” is Russian for book but “Kinha” is the Slovak word. Thankfully Slovak has a much simpler alphabet which reads phonetically unlike the Cyrillic Alphabet, which took me forever to learn. However, I sometimes do confuse the two languages and I still respond in Russian sometimes, but most of the time they understand me. I love language learning and hope to get a firm grasp on Slovak soon.
Adjusting has been easy in some ways, hard in others. Getting paid in Euros is new, and credit cards are not common here. I have never had this many coins in my pocket before..the Euro is full of coins. This is a very last minute culture, so my type-A personality has had to be flexible with last minute memos, and scheduling changes. Of course language barrier is never easy, and being the “new kid” anywhere is always hard. However, being in Ukraine for a few months has helped, so honestly, some differences do not even occur to me. Living in Chicago for almost three years has also helped. For example, I am used to walking everywhere and bringing bags to sack my groceries. Certain things do not phase me.
The Food here is pretty similar to Ukrainian food, minus the borsch. Lots of bread and potatoes. Many dairy products, and soups. The chocolate of course is excellent and I like the tradition of drinking tea and coffee after a meal. The food isn’t too much of a change for me, but it is a little more expensive and gluten free is a new thing. Celiacs is not common here yet, but its on the rise I suppose. I enjoy the many fruits and vegetables 
Another interesting fact is that there is no separation between church and state here. For example, pastors are paid by the government like anyone else and the school I teach is “Christian” but considered a public state school, also government funded. The country is predominately Catholic, and many of my students come from that background or non-religious families. Most churches here are Catholic, and many of the holidays are Catholic, but I attend what is close to a First Evangelical Free Church, Emily attends a Baptist church, and there is a Lutheran church, seventh day-Adventist and an Apostolic church in the city. There are still many aspects about the culture I have yet to learn, but I still enjoy the learning process 

I work at an Elementary school, with the best ESL program in the city. If you want to look at it, here is the school’s website: *******. I am the youngest faculty member, because most people my age are still in school. The European school system differs from the American. You cannot get a job without a master’s here, and “high school” is very similar to our undergrad system. I am always still amazed at language learning here. These kids not only take English, but are offered Spanish and Russian, and do have to choose one by the 5th grade in addition to continuing English, which is taught from the first grade on, not optional. This is the school’s first year with a 6th grade class, and each year the school adds on a grade until they reach the 8th. I am really enjoying teaching so far. I was intimidated at the thought of teaching 4-6, because for the past 4 years or so I have consistently worked with little guys, but pre-teens seemed scary. However, my students and I have connected pretty well. My kids speak English pretty well. The 4th graders are crazy still, and kids are kids but so far I haven’t had any major issues  . They are at a funny age though, the 4th and 5th graders are still at “we can’t intermix in fear of contracting cooties” and the 6th graders are somewhat like that, but some are discovering their hormones and that maybe cooties don’t exist after all..Honestly, it is somewhat amusing to watch. I have “lunch duty” once a week with the kids and I asked them to teach me some Slovak and I had an entire crowd around me last week. They really are sweet, and I am enjoying getting to know them. I have even spent some time with the little kids, and their English is not quite as good, but they are quite fun. The first graders especially, are still so new to school, and they hold hands and are easily awed. One little boy knows very random words in English which surprises us all, and likes to go around pretending he is a car during the day. He will pause to tell you something in English and the go about attending his “car duties. “ One of my 5th grade students asked me where I was from, and I told him Texas, and he said “Ooo! Sombrero! You have?”.
I currently teach 18 hours a week and will soon add on a faculty ESL class. Many of them have been requesting it and once I get settled into my required teaching hours, I will develop a curriculum for the teachers. In addition to teaching English, I also co-teach four classes with a Slovak teachers, to develop bi-lingual education. I teach Art and a sociology/ethics class. . I did not ask to teach these, as I feel qualified for neither but since I’m co-teaching it shouldn’t be too bad. For 5th and 6th grade,it is interesting, but not too difficult. Honestly, the art class will probably be the biggest challenge, due to my non-artistic abilities. The other class is actually pretty interesting so far but we’ll see how 5th graders handle decision making, problem solving and the outcome of their decisions based on how they choose a solution..they get to grasp ideas such as “individualism” and “utilitarianism” in their second language…as 10-11 year olds. Coming soon we will start working on the winter Musical, but its one step at a time for now.
Being a full time teacher is fun, and I wasn’t sure what to expect coming in, but I am enjoying it. Its hard, but its worth it. I anticipate the upcoming school year and I know challenges will arise (they already have) but I stand back and thank God for calling me to this.


I am adjusting decently here. I like it here, however culture shock is still inevitable and still wearing off. I have had moments where I wish I could run out to coffee with a close friend, but I know deep relationships take time. I miss my family, and wish they could be here with me, but I am beginning to make relationships with the faculty at school as well as people from my church. My roommate Emily has been a huge help also. She is from Texas as well, and has lived in Slovakia for four years now. Many people here have been very kind and helped me as I get settled in to my flat and start school. We have most things we need in our flat, minus an extra bed. I was on the couch until this weekend, and Emily graciously offered to switch with me. I figure until we get another bed we can alternate. Part of missionary life  I am still working on getting my Visa, which has been rather painful. The foreign police here still run with communist mindset. They ask for something, you give it, they its “and now this, and this...” They don’t like to tell you everything upfront. My first work permit was rejected due to the notarized stamp on my diploma not being the correct color stamp, and I had to have another copy sent from the states. They stamp and notarize everything here, and there is much paperwork required. I will spare you the details of that, but I now have my work visa but am waiting on my permission to stay. It should be here within the next 2-3 weeks, but please pray if you think about it! I have until mid-November to get it, otherwise I go to Croatia or Ukraine for a bit then get to come back however, in the middle of the semester I’d rather not.

Ok, if you read this letter, you may now wipe the sweat off your brow..It was long and tedious I’m sure! This will be the only letter with such length, you have my word. I just have so much I wish to tell you all, and I wish I could put everyone on plane and take you out to coffee with me! Please pray for my visa to be completed soon, and that I will continue to adjust and build relationships. There are a few ministry opportunities at my church I am praying about but I am trying to evade the fallacy of jumping in too quickly. I still trying to work out my school schedule, which is different day-to-day and adjust to teaching first. However, I do wish to be involved in church ministry and I am excited about what the Lord is doing right now within the church here. Thank you all for your prayers and support. Please keep me posted on your lives as well!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Final Countdown

Not much time to really blog, but I feel like trying. I have been spending two weeks in Texas prior to leaving for Slovakia. I haven't really had much time to think and process, but I confess that I have not really made time for it either. Everyday is filled with people, tasks and some relaxation when time allots. I love it. I did enjoy my tuesday of just sitting at home reading, purposefully taking the day "off". I have not done that since Christmas break.

Texas is a sweltering sauna in its current state. 110 degree heat, never dipping below 95 even at night. It is not only miserable but it makes me nervous for the people here. They are about to break a record of 40 something days of 110+ degree heat with no rain. Drought is in sight. I went to visit my family in the country today and they farm for a living. Times are rough. Mercy with rain is being asked for.

Today I had to miss a very special wedding, that of my former roomates Dawn Scheler, now Dawn Reigel. I tried so hard to go, but the flights were horrible, for someone leaving the states in 5 days. I couldn't do it. Im so sorry I couldnt attend, but will this only be a taste of life to come? I think of how much I will be missing out on while in Europe. The thought makes me cringe with sadness. It is a sacrifice.

I was also in a car accident yesterday, irrelevant to anything else, but it just sucked. Im ok, minus soreness all over and the wicked slashes on the back of my right leg. I think Im getting those checked before I leave..infection is not welcome right now, (or ever). There are many emotions related to this, but Ill leave it here.

I feel like this is a rather somber post. I am very excited about next week, so many new things, anxiety (especially regarding my visa..come on paperwork..) I am in a kind of funk, finding myself trapped. I cant enjoy the outdoors, because the heat will kill you, literally. I've even tried swimming in the mornings, but that usually lasts all of 20 minutes due to excess thirst and merciless sun. We keep the lights off during the day, and don't use any electricy minus the air and ocasional TV and computer. Lights out everyone. I tried to walk the dogs in the evenings, but even they tire out fast. I look forward to cool air, no more driving a car, being outside and starting my new job. I will miss it here so much. My Country, my home..and it will all change while Im gone. I dont do well with change. At all. Sometimes I ask myself why Im doing this, but I know God has called me and with faith I will go. Faith. Lots of faith. Everything is moving too quickly. So much has changed in the last few months and I am ready for the next page to turn. Some things I wish I could erase or change, but the past will remain as is and the future is yet to unfold. I am very blessed to have the friends, family and support that I do. I really do. Only 2.5 days left in Texas, my last day in the states to be spent in Chicago. I can't wait. I have enjoyed the freedom here, no work, just people and the too many books I bought from half-priced books. I truly have a problem, I am an addict to books. I am trying to read about 7 right now, because my precious books cannot all travel with me. I am basically married to them. (After all, to graduate from moody isnt it a requirement to married to something? sorry, I just had to throw that in..I really am pro marriage)

I'll stop with the sass..but it is nice to be arround single friends here. I am very happy for my married friends though, and one day, whenever it be, I will settle down and do the same, but now is not my time. I have a world to travel and a gospel to spread. I will miss moody though. It does seem odd to not be preparing for another semester, well, I am but as a teacher this time. Many memories there, a very precous time in my life. If I think about it too much, Ill get sad.

Ok, it is 11:26, why am I awake? Its time to read. A few chapters from each book. A few good novels, a Dorothy Sayers mystery, add some Sproul and Schaeffer, topped off with some philosophy and call it a night. Its a good way to end.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A more detailed update

Summer school has ended, so now I have more time to give a detailed update. I am officially a college graduate now that I have completed my two final courses at Moody! It feels slightly anti-climatic, but I am finished nonetheless. I have three weeks left in Chicago. This summer is going by much too fast for me. I leave in one month to Slovakia, August 10th to be exact. I will be flying up from Dallas to Chicago that morning, spend a few hours here and fly out of O’Hare around 10 P.M . I have one stop in Warsaw, and then Vienna where I will be picked up and driven to Banska Bystica, my soon to be home. I have housing worked out there, and possibly a roommate, the other American English Teacher, Emily. I am very excited, but just now beginning to process and say my goodbyes. I thank everyone who has been supportive and praying for me during this time. I have much to finish up before I leave Chicago! I look forward to spending time with my family in Texas. In the next few weeks, I will be finding replacements for my babysitting jobs, still working some, going through my storage unit, selling and packing, visiting friends and having visitors come here. My cousin from San Antonio is coming up and my best friend from High School is coming at the end of the month! I feel like life is in a whirlwind, and will probably feel that way for a while now. I am ecstatic about moving to Europe, but many emotions go with that. Moving to a place where I know no one, learning a new language, starting a full-time teaching position, attending a new church that has to be translated, its seems like a lot. I am excited, and I know it will be stretching. I have a little over three weeks to get used to life, and begin lesson planning and jump right into faculty meetings. The rollercoaster will soon slow down!

My biggest prayer request as of now is getting my diploma from Moody. I need it soon to send over a notarized copy to the school for my work visa. Paper work can take a while. I am also praying that my background check makes it over there soon as well. Getting this visa seems to be the only complication at the moment. Overall, thank you everyone for your support thus far!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Today might win an award for being the slowest day ever..

I am grateful to be working, but I prefer to nanny over HR office. The office just sits. Not many applications coming through and the phones aren't really ringing.

I like getting paid to play with Nurf guns, and baseballs. Writing funny stories, making up songs...thats where it is.

Only one month left of that. Well, for a year. Maybe not completely, ESL with Children does give opportunity for creativity. Probably not the nurf guns though..

I purchase the plane ticket next week. Sorting my things begins this weekend.
2 pages left then I am finished with Moody.

Kids are here for camp. Memories. *chills* I think back and wonder if I really was that obnoxious as a teen. yikes.

Allergies on the rise.

I want to take a nap..but after this I go babysit. Its worth it.

I want to run some laps around this building. That would be socially inappropriate..I'd be the "norm breaker". Thats just unprofessional.

Tip: Apply for the job. You cannot get it because "God told you to apply." we need an app.

I am shot. brain dead.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Copy Machine versus Harry Potter

Finally. Should be starting my paper..but Im still mad.
I held up a good fight with the library copy machine..a 40 minute one.

I grew weary..

Today has been productive though, in a good way. The past two weeks have been busy with no end in sight. I began the day with my final hermeneutics lecture, in starbucks, with my professor paying for my coffee. Shout out to Ernest Gray. Its been an awesome ride. I then walked downtown to get my background check and fingerprints sent off for my Visa. I did my grocery shopping, ate lunch, ran some more errands, and was feeling pretty good about myself until the copy machine episode.

I am now watching Harry Potter, and taking a mental break. Its the fourth movie, and Im at the part where fourteen year old Harry and Ron are trying to ask out girls to the ball. Hilarious.

I find myself comparing Moody to Hogwarts..probably not a good comparison. Can you imagine us using the word "rubbish" on our profs? Who would represent Harry and He-who-must-not-be-named? It is amusing really, in my head. Maybe its me and the downstairs copy machine...that seems very anti-climatic..and extraordinarily dull.

Logistics can be frightfully tiring. I feel like a true grownup. I booked my first rental car and hotel for next weekend's wedding extravaganza, and there is still much to be done in regards to the big move.

One month plus a half, is my time left in America. So weird. Yet so enthralling.

My plane ticket is now being paid for. That is the latest news I have on that. I am very grateful. Very grateful. I am thankful that God continues to lay out everything before me, and grant me the most undeserving of blessings.

Two weeks left of school. Psalms class, plus Faith's wedding intertwined with work and friends.

I need to find my planner..Im not in panic mode yet..

Oh dear, my movie is freezing..I must check to see what is the matter with it..

Actually, I should get started on my paper...

Harry Potter month

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Transition. Next Chapter..turning the page..

Ok, Here’s the story:

I knew my last semester of college was upon me, and being the plan ahead, choleric type I am, I began to figure out the next step. My plans have changed slightly throughout this year and I decided to take a year off to work while taking time to apply to seminary. I began searching for a full-time job back in February. I had a few interviews here and there for full-time nanny jobs in Chicago, applications out and waiting to see what was next. Around March I inquired on a teaching position for an elementary school in Slovakia that I had discovered through Moody. I gave them a little info on myself and then told them I am not interested in overseas work at this time. Well, time has passed. I have had two people tell me they want to hire me, but need me to begin in the beginning of June. Summer school cut right in. Very frustrating. I knew I needed to be in Summer school, that way I would be guaranteed to finish my degree but needless to say, I was disappointed. Well, literally about two weeks ago, the school contacted me again. I assumed they filled their position because they took their posting off of Moody’s career webpage, but they asked if I had changed my mind. I pondered it, and thought it would be worth a shot. I skyped an interview, which I thought went terrible in my mind, sent my full resume in and waited. Monday morning, an offer came. Shocking. Whirlwind. Head spinning still.. The best part: I had one week to decide. I have been in a spin all week. Being the Skeptic I am, I thought it was too good to be true. I began asking question upon question, and in the past few days have uncovered much:

Its paid, not a lot, but enough to live on. Teacher’s salary, but sufficient.
They help me with housing, and I will have roommates.
I have been in contact with my new future American co-worker, and she has lived in Slovakia for four years as a missionary, and has been very helpful this week. Bonus: she is from Texas 
I have also been in contact with the American couple who has been teaching there for two years, they have also been extremely helpful and I look forward to meeting them this fall.
Two American families from ywam? (Spelling check..) are around
The school is associated with a church and there is a youth group I can be help out with.
I will have health insurance.
They know what Celiacs is.
My visa is being paid for, possibly my plane ticket.
Slovakia is next to Ukraine, so visits will come 
I am living in Europe.
I will teach 4-6 six grade ESL
Vacations exist.
Did I mention I will be living in Europe for a year?

The downsides are, only having 2 months left in Chicago and trying to figure out a trip to Texas. I will miss Chicago dearly, and all my friends in family scattered between Texas and Chicago. But, I am not going to ramble about that right now. I do realize that there will be challenges, and time of discouragement to come. I have been rationalizing this and not trying to over romanticize this idea. Many prayers, and tears have been in this process. I am very excited about this opportunity. I have sought counsel from my parents, church and a few select others and this seems to be God’s will. I am still in utter bewilderment, and I still feel like I am in a dream. Surreal. I cannot believe God has presented this to me. I could not have come up with this on my own. His ways surely are higher than mine and his plans very different. I am leaving comfortable Chicago to go actually use my degree (which is very exciting!) to go learn a new culture, new language and new ministry. Holding things loosely still, but I am anticipating the next few months. Well, I have a million things to do it seems, and I could elaborate so much more. God is so wonderful, and I am very thrilled about this. More details to come soon. I will be sending out letters and such and if anyone wants to contact me please do!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Less than 24.

24 More hours,
or less
Waiting is hard.
This decision is hard.
This decision is big.
Many prayers.
Many tears.
God works in the oddest of ways.
His timing is way off from mine,
but His is perfect.
I must trust this.
I think I know the answer, but
patience requires me to wait.
Thank you blog,
for hearing me out.
Thank you Jesus for carrying me through,
Thank you for this week,
for having to decide,
making me be a grown up
and not choosing the easy way out with an automatic "no"
This has been a trying week,
And then some.
Exciting, frightning, wonderful, terrifying,
all at once.
Too good to be true,
but it is true.
This is really happening,
This could be..
Oh yes.
Tears of joy, agony, stress and pain,
so much to take in at once,
all questions to be answered,
what is left?
To give an answer..
And tomorrow,
I shall.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Just say it. Speak.

Speak. Say it. Say it loud.
Be heard. Let your voice be heard.
You have voice. You have a voice.
Scream. Scream aloud.
Be heard. You, be heard.
Let the world hear you.
You have been repressed,
for that, I am sorry.
They were wrong.
Now I tell you otherwise.
You have been given a voice.
Use it.
Its ok, Im telling you.
It is ok.
I will listen.
Its OK,I promise

Word to the Wise.

I went out, intentionally leaving my umbrella at home thinking "I will surely be back before that forecasted rain".


That is what I get for ignoring the forecasting and leaving behind my rain resitent covering because it was "too heavy". I ended up with a decent amount of wet from a nearly two-mile walk.

I also got to chat with one of closest friends tonight, Breana. I love this girl to the max. You know that person you can call anytime you feel like it? She's that person. We've been friends since our freshman year of high school. We have recieved write-ups together (oh gym class, our first meet) for skipping classes, I think I recall serving a detention once together for a different class..(probably tardies or who knows what), joined the history club with our favorite teacher Mr. Clemmons (best class ever..seroiusly, this man made me fall in love with history in his ever-so creative methods...Making jokes of ourselves in front of the tennis team after-school as we gave our hand at the sport..and blaring our music and dancing in our parked cars in the parking lots..taco bells runs..Shoe-polish wars..getting pulled over..laughter and tears..oh the list could go on. I think a blgo post dedicated to this girl is in the near future.

Anyway..I tell Breana pretty much everything I can think of. She knows me quite well, to say the least, and tonight I got to talk to her on the phone about my emotional semester. One thing that came up, was wisdom. I was reminded of how wisdom is gained. It is gained through study, asking and experience, most of all. For example, my story of the unbrella taught me to never ignore the warnings of the weather forcast again if I am walking a long distance. I think the greatest wisdom is gained through experience. Godly wisdome does not come easy, it comes with a price. Making mistakes and humilty are one form as well as suffering. I personally think they go hand-in-hand. If we think about it, as we grow older we experience more and learn more. One may ask the ever-fun epistemological question "Well how do you know?" (its not really obnoxious, only if asked in sarcasm or if the asker is really dense on the subject) Much of the time we can answer based on the fact that we have been there. "Been there, done that" as some say. We learn from our mistakes, we learn from circumstances given to us. Its not easy. Its not easy nor encouraging to feel the shame from a blundering move we've made or something said without thought or care. However, we do remember it, and we (hopefully as we gain wisdom), do not repeat the same mistake. This semester I can say I have gained wisdom yet again, in the areas of friendship and relationships. A never ending journey which I will not reach the end of while on this earth. Through trial and error I learned what to be as a friend, and what not to be. A friend loves at all times, and a friend truly doth stick closer than a brother, if he is a true friend. Of course I will disappoint, and so will they but the foundations and principles remain the same. I should surround myself with other wise friends, who challenge me, spiritually encourage me, emotionally support me, build up, and dare to confront. That is one of the hardest tasks to carry out. Always. A wise friend asks the hard questions and confronts the concerns and wrongs. Had it done to me, and Ive had to do it this semester. Oh it hurts, both ways. I agonize over confrontation. It gives me ulcers. However, if I am to remain a true friend, I must accept and give out. I despise it, but conflict will continue to arise, especially in ministry. Wisdom is much needed in relaionships..
I gratefully enjoy being reminded of the words penned in Proverbs regarding wisdom. Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord. Revernece and worship for Him are the first step in advancing in wisdom. We are told to not keep companions of fools but surround ourselves with the wise. We are told ot listen to instruction and advice. Do not follow your own path, but the Lord's. Don't make hasty decisons.Wisdom brings life.

Gaining wisdom and discernment is not easy. I like asking questions and learning from those who have walked before me. I really love learning, truly.(Confessions of an acadamic nerd) And I ask questions to all my professors outside of class (true story, class seems to intimidate me to much..too many humans in one room to hear me speak and choke up on my words because I fear crowds and large groups.) I also like learning of people. Who are you and whats your story? (The fidiest in me emerges). People have stories all given to them, and I like to know more.I also like to know details. I ask questions that may make people squirm..the naturally skeptic self reveals itself constantly it seems..I question many a thing, which seems to drive some mad, but I cannot take everything at face vulue and be satisfied. It is as if my ears are trained and ready for red flags. Everyone's favorite classic killjoy, may I be. I never mean for a person to doubt himself or such, or offend anyone ever, but It I like to understand people's presuppositions as well as help them understand their own. I am not always skilled at that, but it comes about in varoius ways. Outside of asking, I have been crushed and perplexed, at a loss of understanding many a time. Right now, what does August behold for me? Where do I go? I need wisdom. All the time. I have rabbit-trailed several times in this post. That is what happens when a million thoughts all at once gather together for the midnight cry.

Wisdom. So much to be learned of you and from you. I ask the Lord for it, and gain it in ways unexpected. Oh that I may know the depths of widsom from heaven, and to carry that all the days of my life. Wisdom, may it never leave my side as it carries me along in santification. Wisdom, a precious gift gained through anguish, distress and affliction. As the writhing soul cries out in utter desperation to be rescused from its tormenter and afflicter, may it remember a reward ending in wisdom. To agony: you will be replaced by a holy knowledge and understanding. Perception and good judement gained. Torment and anguish replaced by prudence and discernment. I express gratitude to the Lord for this great gift. That we by nature, fools leading fools, may now be granted godly wisdom, is that not such a blessed thought?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Inertwined: Celiacs, depression, and food.

Today is one of those days, one of those days I really much watch myself. That, sounds like I need a babysitter.

I have struggled with depression since I was in Junior high, severely. To think back on those suicidal days gives me chills. Its a bondage, it really is. Its a constant battle at times. A daily fight. To be in a moment, screaming out to God to take your life and end the horrific pain and torture felt at the given time, then waking up the next day, thinking it was all a dream. It feels like a split personality. I go through spells or "episodes", depending on the occasion. A spell is an extensive period of time perhaps a few months or so, where every other days is up and down, like a roller coaster. Onsets can be triggered by circumstances, and in some cases sin. For example, hardships, difficult circumstances ect.. those can lead up to a spell. Also, laziness, (spending time with TV versus the Bible), lack of fellowship in the church, or for some people, more explicit sins (drunkenness ect) can cause a spell. An onset is more of a trip for me. Its like I snap. I hate the onsets. Its like a monster emerging from me. One minute I am fine, then the next Im ready for the kill. From testing and experimentation, those have been triggered mostly by food. Who would have thunk it? Gluten. I was diagnosed as gluten/dairy intolerant 2.5 years ago. The worst was trying to remove the gluten. Mood swings were terrible. Trying to figure out what products contained gluten, was a nightmare. Physical pain goes hand in hand with auto-immune diseases, but the mental part was about equal. I felt so unstable. Thankfully, I have got this diet nailed by now. Who knew that this protein was causing a chemical imbalance and altering my hormones?

Today, I have to still watch what I consume. I have to keep track of my emotions and remain aware of where I am each day. On days I feel prone to being depressed, I try to remove other foods such as junk food and refined sugars. This helps. I also found that exercise is my biggest outlet to bring back the balance. Releasing the endorphins helps beyond what I thought it would. Journaling and writing also prove helpful. Most importantly, is crying aloud to God and staying in the word. Only the Lord can truly listen, truly perceive and understand what it is I am going though. Only He can heal. Others can be used by Him to help heal, but He is the one who does the healing.It seems like a lot of work sometimes, but its worth it.

Just a small testimony, and encouragement for anyone who suffers in this way, or anyone who thinks its fascinating. I am rather odd. Maybe this explains alot..

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Flawed Presuppostions on Marriage.

As of late, marriage seems rather the trendy thing to do around here. I am pro-marriage, I think it's a wonderful idea. Obviously, it was created by God and He makes all things good right? I think the institution of marriage portrays God's love for us, the fact that we can learn to love another human being, the shared intimacy, how artistically a God we serve! And how benevolent of him to allow us to partake in something so wonderful and beautiful. We could never come up with this on our own. They mystery of two becoming one, the analogy of us Christians as the bride of Christ is so rich. It bewilders and perplexes me to think of a gift so grand being so theological. Marriage was created for a man and woman, to be fruitful and multiply, to love and serve one another and so much more. Marriage is a good thing, something I hope for someday.

But,should we jump on the bandwagon because its the popular christian school thing to do? I will evade the fallacy of over-generalizing by commenting that I think Christian schools are great places to find spouses, and I have seen many a wonderful marriages stem from these couples. Again, I insert another "but". I have seen the raving passions and over-romanticized relationships take their seat at Moody. Was not marriage a community effort as recorded in ancient Jewish culture? The family was heavily involved as well as the rest of the community. This was a process and quite a big deal. Marriage was not a follow up to a month of dating. A couple did not decide courtship on their own. I feel sad and heavy for those I hear of entering a marriage due to passion and dreams. Yes, dream. Dream friends, and love, but use discernment and think. Let me refute a few common presuppositions I hear:

"Well, I knew (insert name of he/she), was the one."
-Where in the Bible is "the one"? If you find it, don't hesitate to inform me.

"I Corth. 7 says if we can't wait then we should get married"
-Do you understand the context of this passage? Paul is addressing the ravaging sex the Corinthians were having because they would not commit! This is not a command to "go for it" because you can't control your hormones. The language here is descriptive, not prescriptive. Hermeneutics my friends, hermeneutics. It does matter. It doesn't take a Greek scholar to figure this out. Laziness and isegisis result from the blindness of us our deceitful hearts, wanting to take a scripture from its original context and use it to defend ourselves. We shake our heads at the liberals yet we commit the same fallacy for different reasons.

"Proverbs says he who finds a wife.."
-Again, hermeneutics. Doesn't proverbs also warn us against hasty decisions without wise counsel?

Ok, I realize my language is strong, but this is a blog-post therefore I do not apologize. I am opinionated and passionate. This post is to cause one to think, not to quickly change the mind. The idolatry of relationships is a prevalent sin among Christian colleges. Marriage is a good thing, to be taken seriously. Take your relationship under an older-wiser couple. Invite the church in, invite your family in before you tell them your getting married. What do your friends say? The church has lost the biblical view of marriage. Oh, I have so much more to say based on my observations and my own personal study as well as interviewing others on this subject. Marriage is not the goal. glorifying God is. Marriage will not make you happier or satisfy you, only Christ can.

As one who will be entering the counseling field as well as continue to study theology, this is important to me. We wonder why the divorce rates are rising among Christians, do we really take marriage seriously as should be?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tidbits, pieces, findings, snipits

"Not following a method, but integration and the Holy Spirit's guiding."

"Sometimes we are too impatient to stop and and think on the story"

"There is a usefulness in brokenness that theologies have no patience for"

"Do we really believe God is doing a new thing NOW?"

'Come to God as you are, get rid of the perfection"

-At work in my class of three year olds I saw friendship happen. Two girls giggled over a doll. They smiled. Left me, and went on to play together for the first time.How simple, how innocent a friendship was made that day.

"He's not after our comfort but our character"

"Sanctification is cooperate, not just individual"

"Some of the most painful things in life are things are hearing things we were never meant to hear"

"Those who suffer those most hate violence the most. Those who suffer the most also gain an introspect the less suffered do not have. There is wisdom in pain and insight, the ability to empathize and recognize by the look in another's eyes."

"Do we use the past to justify the future or change it?"

"Be different"

"There is a theology of tears"

"God suffers with us"

"We are to be honest before God. Completely"

A few things not to EVER say when someone is expressing themselves: (and there are more)
-Get over it.
-It'll be ok
-Don't worry....
-You'll be fine...
Your wrong to feel____.

"By telling someone they can't feel, is taking away their person-hood. We are made in the image of God. God has emotions and feels them. Who are we to think another soul in not entitled to feel the way they feel? There is a difference between feeling and acting on those feelings. It is ok to feel. Let them feel. Do not rob someone part of what is in their creation"

"Get rid of the cliches. Stop pretending. Be real."

"Listen. Listen well. Listen actively. Be intentional. Ask questions. Spend 45 minutes asking questions, dont do most of the talking. Get to know someone where they are." (This applies to apologetics as well as Christians)