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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dreaming Big

This quarter {yes, my school is on the quarter system or fast track as I like to call it} I am taking classes that all involve international business, or the international world. I now have friends all over the world or at least people that I could get in contact with all over the world. I think globally on a daily basis. It no longer blows my mind the amount of people that are in the world. I should rephrase that in to that I am not surprised by the numbers. Then again with perspective, think of all the people that you don’t know. How many people around the world don’t know the major world leaders, or celebrities or…Jesus?
We talk about religion in the United States…a lot. We usually debate it more than we reasonably talk about it. It is safe to say that almost every person in the United States has heard the name Jesus. It could be through church, the street corner preacher, or even {sad to say} swearing. People have heard and they have a choice to respond. But other places in the world, it’s not so certain. There are people that have never heard ‘Jesus’ uttered. They don’t have the choice to decide how they will respond, because they have never heard the message.
I’m thinking about the world, thinking about unreached people groups, and how small I am in the grand scheme of things. How helpless I am to make direct effects. It is my dream that people would have the ability to choose to follow Jesus or not. But they need to be given that ability to choose. God is bigger than my little dream. He can change hearts without the person hearing the name Jesus. And that blows my mind more than the amount of people that live in the world. I am going to be praying that people would be given that choice, and that they would be reached, no matter how that comes about.
I don’t usually use this blog as a soap box, and I don’t want it to be a place to speak at someone. But I do want to use it as a place to share what I am thinking about. These are things that I am thinking about. I go to a university where people I meet on a regular basis don’t believe the same or agree with me. So, feel free to comment. Feel free to share. Be respectful.
What is your dream? {There are no limits; it can be big or simple to accomplish.}

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I got you

There are so many things that I feel that I could share, and they would let you into the thoughts and the things that have been shaping my life these last few days. 1 day can make a difference. Isn’t that amazing? 1 day can change everything. Well, this isn’t about 1 day changing it all, but it is about a particular professor I have. She is amazing woman and just by being in her class, in her presence I have learned about her and learned about myself. She has a catch phrase she uses, and she repeats it throughout our discussions. “I got you”. I know it’s not correct grammar {and we all know that I am not the queen of grammar. All improper placed commas and periods are on purpose today}, but the meaning is the same. “I am going to make sure that you aren’t left out of the loop. I am going to make sure that when you work hard, you see why and you see where it got you. I am going to protect you and carry you when you need it.”
How many times in the last few weeks has God repeated in my ear “I got you”? How many times have I asked him for wisdom and confidence and boldness and his whisper in my ear is; “I got you”.
The other day I got a package in the mail. It was my late Christmas gift from a very sweet friend. {and I know she is going to read this…} One of her gifts to me was a book about being the beloved daughter of God and what that means and his promises through that. And another gift was a frame with the words “I love you because…” with a place to write in white board marker below.
God is telling me “I love you because… I got you. You are mine. And I have given these blessing to you because you are my daughter. You are important and I have prepared great things for you. I got you.”

What is He telling you?

Saturday, January 21, 2012


She let out a yell that was a mix between excitement and a war cry. It was a shriek at the top of her lungs. Everyone in the circle stood there for a minute and then we all recovered and stared at her. The little huddle groups all around the room turned and looked to see what had happened. To make sure that everything was alright. My friend Matt turned to me and asked “, Have you ever gotten reaction like that when you say your studied abroad?” “Nope, can’t say that I have.” And yes, this was all because I said that I just got back from studying in Torino, Italy.
I don’t think that we always realize the little things that make an impact on us. All I did was to mention a place and there was immediate reaction to a commonality this girl and I had. Whenever I hear Italian I get the biggest grin on my face {but it’s common now, I look like a kid in a candy store whenever I recognize someone that is speaking a different language}. It’s amazing that things can change our outlook and even our reactions after what to me seems like such a short time.
I was in Italy for 4 months. In international abroad, learn a new culture and way of life time, that’s nothing. In travel time that’s a long time. And in the college quarter system it’s a lifetime. After 3 weeks in Italy, I was no longer taking Italian for 3 hours every day but rather for 2.5 hours 3 days a week. I had not done much traveling, but I was learning new things. I had eaten pizza 3 times and cooked for at least 2 nights worth of meals. Here, in 3 weeks I have: taken many quizzes, done 3 cases in classes, chosen what project groups I will be working with the rest of the quarter, had a long weekend, done 3 interviews, 2 job fairs and I know the dates of every week until the quarter ends. Life is planned out for the next 8 weeks. I haven’t necessarily learned more in 3 weeks, but I have been busier. I have gotten less sleep {and I’ve drunk the same amount of coffee as 3 weeks in Italy}. But…my mindset is totally different. My perspective has changed. And I am so thankful, that I can see life from a different lens.

What is something that changed your outlook?

Doing my first "Link up" with Casey. No endorsement, just love what she writes!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Got to get Daddy in there too! I haven’t written for awhile. Not because I don’t want to, but because I’m prioritizing. And truth is that school comes before blogging. And adjusting {going through culture shock} comes before blogging. It’s hard to adjust back into life here. Things are so much faster.
I love life here in San Luis Obispo. I love the people, and meeting the ‘new’ freshmen. I love the energy on campus. And I love the feeling that even if things aren’t familiar, they are still safe. At least that’s my perspective.
I’m writing, because I haven’t given up on this little blog. But I’m going to have to make some changes. I’m going to have to learn some new things to make it how I want it. But…{there is always a but} I need time to adjust. I need to rest. I need time to breathe.

This last weekend I got away and spent time with my family. {missed you Emma!} I was able to see my grandparents also, since I’d missed them at Thanksgiving and Christmas. My brother had a volleyball tournament and I loved watching him play. He makes me smile at his passion for playing, and playing well. He is so fun to watch when he is having a good time. So here are a few {blurry} shots of my brother playing some volleyball.

Have you ever been through culture shock? I cherish the time spent with my family. What are you cherishing today?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reliving Christmas Day

If you haven’t read about Christmas Eve scroll down and read that. Then this will make more sense. This will wait…

Christmas day dawned in Italy and we slept in again. Can you blame us when we walked home from Mass? After arriving we did a little skype session with some family members {ok, not my family members but I met Megan and Brenda’s!}. Christmas we went for a walk to the Pantheon because we were hoping to go in. They did not adhere to their hours so I didn’t get to see inside. Well that’s not true; I took a peek through the door.
We took lots of pictures {which I don’t currently have in my possession} because the lighting was excellent! And then we kept walking. We ended up by the Trevi fountain and enjoying the sunshine.

On our way back to the flat we had lunch at a trattoria, or small family run restaurant. It was so delicious. We enjoyed bruchetta and penne alla vodka. Yum! After our walk we had some down time to relax and enjoy the day.

It wasn’t long before we went on our “night walk” which we started at 4.45pm because that was when it was getting dark. We combined a path I had and good ol’ Rick Steve’s “heart of Rome walk”. Along the way we saw a fountain that was a face that looked like it was spitting at you and ran into a carnival. The carnival was set up in the piazza that they used to flood in the summer and use to act out naval battles.

We ended at the Spanish steps. Before this we took our time going past the Trevi fountain. Can you say crowded? It was fun though. I got to take a picture for an older Italian couple. They were so cute together! We also got gelato at the most famous gelato shop in Rome. They were busy and it was so cold outside! {we are so crazy and silly!}

After getting back to the flat we ate dinner which was Pho. It was a multi cultural day! I got to skype with my family and then we went for a last gelato run. My last gelato run in Italy I am sad to say. And yes you read correctly, I had gelato twice on Christmas. I joke {but am somewhat serious} when I say that it was my Christmas gift to myself.
I really truly am almost done with my adventures in Italy. We have 2 more episodes…the half day in Rome and getting home. Can you stick with me? How is 2012 treating ya’ll?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Birthday Celebrations

Today has been my brother’s birthday {I have had trouble finding time to sit and write this}.

He turned 18 and if I’m being honest I’m a little resistant to him growing up.

I love it and also have a hard time with him being “a man.”

Rory, you will always be my little brother even though you are taller than me. You will always be able to tease me, because in the end I know how much you love and care. It's just your way of showing me. It has been such a pleasure to grow up with you and watch you grow into a man of God. I love you so much and I hope you always know that. I am so excited to introduce you to the hot spots of San Luis Obispo and share life’s adventures.

Praying for many blessings and adventures this next year of your life…

I love you!

Your big little sister

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Reliving Christmas Eve

Our Christmas Eve day was amazing. We took our time getting ready and got up a little later because we were preparing for the late night and long day ahead. When we finally left the apartment we headed to the metro and the Vatican where we had been the night before.
We made our tour of the Vatican museum. The Catholic Church is considered a culture or people group and they have enormous wealth. The museum had statues and famous paintings. You could tell if they were created before the pope of modesty or after by the tactfully placed fig leaf. I think it was more distracting than doing its job. I love art museums
We saved the best for last. The Sistine chapel. Make an in awe face and you will know what it felt like to walk in. Have you been there? It is worth it! I love that I can appreciate the art and the huge sacrifice and effort it took to paint that ceiling. What a legacy that Michelangelo left. It also helped that I have knowledge of the Bible to fully understand the panels and sequence. I love that it wasn’t perfect.

The museum closed in preparation as we were finishing. It was setting up the anticipation of the night for me. We stopped at a little restaurant and ate a big lunch {at 3pm} to be used as lunch and dinner. After our meal we rounded the corner and found the line for the Christmas Eve Mass. It was already quite long and it was about 4.15pm when we got in line.
Throughout the in line process we made friends with the Canadian couple behind us and the English couple behind them. And then there was an American couple behind them that had taught at the Danish Institute. In front of us were a mother and two daughters from Poland. The daughters were so sweet and talked with us about their schooling system and how excited that they were to be here for this service. In front of them was a group of the men of the cloth. We met the family and couple in front of them as well. We made lots of friends!

This networking turned out to be crucial for us getting into the building as a unit. So many people cut in line. The nuns and the older people are the worst. I hope that I do not ever feel that I am entitled to something in that way. It is amazing to me that people who call themselves Christians {and yes they claim that they are Christians, they were asked} would be willing to cheat and lie to get into the basilica for mass.

During the line process we ate snacks and switched off to go the bathroom and changed clothes. We had quite the system going on. And then it was time 4.5 hours later to be like herded cattle going through the gates to get through security and hopefully {although it seemed highly likely by our place in line} to make it to seats in the basilica.

We made it and had good seats. We sat next to our new polish friends and could see the Pope as he floated down the aisle {no, he was not a bride, but I realized it sounded like that}. The entire service I could see the Pope and his address was done so well. He had people of many nations read passages from the bible. There was French, English, Portuguese, Korean, Hungarian, Polish, Spanish and few others. The basilica was lit up even more brightly than the day before. Half the service was sung by the choir in Latin. It’s amazing how close the Latin and Italian are so I could understand most of the service.After the service ended it was already officially Christmas in Italy! We walked home through Rome’s streets and got to see all kinds of fun lights hung through the main part of town. It was a late night but what an experience!
What is something that you would give up Christmas with your family to have the opportunity to do or experience? Would you give up Christmas?

*There are no pics of me because they were taken on my friend's camera. She also has a closer picture of the Pope that I will share with you when I can.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Shell Shocked

So Rome day 2 is coming. With the lovely epic Christmas Eve service story. But this is just to tell you that I am still here. I am thinking in blogging terms as I go through my day.
This week I have been going to classes, making a new schedule and seeing old friends. My first day of school I think I had every emotion. But in a way it didn’t even matter. It was a good day. I’m still settling in and having some culture shock.
The cars are bigger, the houses and buildings shorter and everyone speaks English. I know it’s crazy that people would generally speak English!
Those are just a few of the things I think of when I ride the bus or walk down the street.

I made my first homemade cappuccino today. There were multiples. They were a hit with the roomies.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Getting Back into Writing

It’s been a little bit of a break. I hope you all don’t mind. My plan is to keep writing. I’m back in the States, but life is a little different now. I hope that you will stick around as there will always be everyday adventures.
The next few days are busy. I, like most school children around here, start school on January 3rd. Hello more school! So hang in here with me as a) we recap on Rome, b) talk about the journey to my home in the states, and c) a few observations of the first few days here. Let’s begin.
Roma. There is a feel to Rome that I wasn’t expecting that took me by surprise. It still has the Italian slow down and enjoy life mentality but it’s mixed with the fast pace of city life. Vespas screech around corners, fountains appear throughout the walk to the next destination, and little hole in the wall shops are the norm aside from the big chain retailers.

I arrived on a train where I was not guaranteed a seat {oh and they are assigned on long rides like these ones} and every stop, every door to the car I was looking over my shoulder to make sure I didn’t have to move. Thankfully I didn’t. There were people everywhere in the train station and McDonalds was the popular spot. I waited for the friends I was meeting up with and ended having a pleasant conversation with a woman from Torino! What are the odds?! And yes, it was all in Italian.
After meeting up we headed to the metro and were greeted by gypsies who were most unhelpful. {Unfortunately this fits with the stereotype that they are known for} We made it to our little flat, and it was on a piazza that had a fountain. It was the best way to present Rome. My friend Megan and I had a gelato snack while Brenda had lasagna at a restaurant at the foot of the building.
We rested up and settled in and then it was off to the Vatican to pick up tickets for Christmas Eve mass. We went in circles around the Vatican trying to find the “bronze door”. We didn’t follow our directions very well and then the door was hidden. We got in and I got my ticket! I felt like Willie Wonka and the golden ticket.

Since we were there we figured we should have a look inside and hopefully we wouldn’t be as surprised or overwhelmed the next evening. That building is such a work of art! We headed back to the flat and went in search of dinner. We found a pizza place where you order by piece or get your choice of pasta. While waiting to order and pay I met two guys that live down the street. Neither of them is Italian, one was teaching English and the other gave English tours at the Vatican museum.

The people in Rome are friendly. I mean part of it is that half of them make money off of tourism and the people. The others though are just willing to help. It’s a little different than Torino.

Next I’ll talk about the Christmas Eve Vatican experience.