Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

happy thanksgiving!

today has been spent...
watching the macy's parade on tv
(love me those broadway performances!)
eating TONS of amazing food
drinking yorkshire tea (thank you, joshua and lizzie)
playing card games
reading by the fire
watching football
learning to correctly throw a football
eating more food

and giving THANKS. :)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

i traded my sketchers for heels.

you remember the movie, never been kissed, how drew barrymore goes back to her high school as an undercover reporter and gets a second chance at learning high school lessons? my experience is nothing like that. however, today i was a substitute teacher at my middle school and worked alongside the same teachers i had studied under ten years ago. this is an incredibly eye opening experience – to see that even teachers swear during their lunch period, are nicer when they don’t have to discipline pre-teen boys, and at the end of the day – they’re rushing to their cars like we always rushed to the buses.

our town's middle school has now seen FOUR lindemann children, i introduced myself to a teacher as part of a town-dynasty at one point during the day. the last of our dynasty will graduate this coming june and the lindemann name will only be a memory to the teachers and staff of the middle school. ”so much has happened since i roamed those halls during my awkward years,” i thought to myself as i walked by the picture of my graduating class: the class of 2000, “it feels like a different lifetime.” i walked by my locker (third from the left in the eighth grade hallway) and a feeling of nostalgia came over me – but not one strong enough to make me feel like I’m thirteen again. no, i’ve since grown up. now i am the one wearing heals that firmly walk the tile floors, with determination in my step and knowledge in my mind. i am the one who can look up the answers in the teachers’ book when i cannot remember how to figure out that math problem (what is the purpose of stem-and-leaf graphs ANYWAY?). and i am the one who tears up a little at the end of reading the pigman because i now know what it feels like to lose someone close. even furthermore, i am the one who no longer takes the comment: “you’re my favorite substitute!” as a compliment – because it means i haven’t disciplined well enough.

though i woke up this morning preparing to teach the future of america, i came out learning more than i expected to. isn’t that what school is all about?

Monday, September 07, 2009

why i love this town #3

in wolfburg, germany, they have two moons.
one is the real moon, and the other moon looks like this in the daytime:

welcome to autostadt. :)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


my computer is going through an identity crisis. yesterday google was in polish and today it's in german. i'm in berlin! i'm sitting in the lounge of a hostel called the "sleep cheap hostel" (yes, no joke) and i'm simply amazing and in awe of the fantastic adventures of these past few days ... actually, MONTH. i'll write more later about how i got here to berlin, but let's just say for now that it involved missing our train TWICE in poznon, poland and meeting some incredible friends along the way. in some ways, it's a blessing to be so dependent on other people because we've made some really good friends just because they speak english and can help us communicate.

today we want to see the berlin wall. so we did a google seach of where it is and were directed to a list of all of the pieces of the wall - south africa, france, california, chicago, maine, washington d.c., new york.... um, i'm sorry - i thought the wall was in BERLIN!? we'll ask someone later.

the woman who owns this hostel is polish and the woman at the bistro this morning is actually from wrocław - and was THRILLED when we said that is where we were coming from, and then spoke to her somewhat in polish. i love polish, i really do. actually i miss it very much already being here in germany. that and i speak such little german that it's even hard to be POLITE. oh well, more makings for more adventure.

more stories to come!

Monday, August 17, 2009

kocham cię, Jagoda.

silently i got into the car. i didn’t know where we were going, exactly, or what we would see when we got there. i didn’t know what we would do when we got there or how i would feel or what we would say. conversation was light as kasia began the drive to the cemetery: we talked about what we had done that weekend. catching up from a day of not seeing each other is a wonderful difference than trying to catch up from a year of absence. our friendship is growing.

as we drive, i think about how i am feeling at the moment: nervous and not sure what to expect. agnieszka’s words from yesterday resound in my mind: “it is good to not know what to expect. this is not natural. this is not how it should be.” the car pulls right into an alley way, near local gardens. kasia drives on the dirt road and pulls into a parking spot in front of the cemetery gate.

as we get out of the car, kasia is even quieter than i. “you don’t have to stay long, if you don’t want to,” i suggest gently. she has been here before, and i will likely need more time than her. “i know. but i need to do this too.” kasia’s determination and presence are exactly what i need in this moment: i am not alone.

before the entrance, there is a vendor selling candles and flowers. “i didn’t think about this,”i notice, “i did not ask about polish customs for this sort of thing!” luckily, kasia reads my mind and instructs me that we should buy candles. there are many beautiful ones to choose from, and kasia and i both agree on the heart-shaped red one. it’s describes our friend perfectly. for a moment, i wonder what the significance is of the candles and then i think that if it is polish tradition, nothing else matters because that is what our friend would have wanted us to do. We each buy one and the man hands us matches to go with them. i hold the blue bag with the red candles in my hand and we slowly cross the threshold into the cemetery.

as i walk past the tomb stones, candles, flowers, and other visitors, i annotate every moment in my mind, as if my mind is linked to some external computer that can record each moment, each thought for documentation. my words and my thoughts are profound, though manufactured. somehow, telling the story in my mind is helping me stay one step removed – as if i’m merely an author rather than the participant.

“i’m not exactly sure where it is…” kasia says quietly. i trust her instinct as we walk slowly on the gravel walkway. suddenly, i see it: a solitary wooden cross between engraved head stones. on the cross is a white marker, beneath a silver crucifix, saying exactly what i don’t want to see: “Jagoda Pachota.” i stop and cannot move. i look at the wooden box on which rests flowers, statues, and candles. “it’s… beautiful…” is all i can muster.

the blue bag with the red candles is still in my hand and i cannot take another step forward. kasia steps in and does what i cannot do – she takes from me the candles and matches, lights them, hands one to me, and we both place them at the foot of the wooden marker. there is a bench to sit on, but kasia and i choose to stand there, silently. words have no meaning right now, there is only the stark reality that our dear friend, our dear sister, is gone.

“seriously?! you’ve got to be kidding me. this cannot be real.” the situation seems too strange. surely, i will see my young friend this week at camp! we will share a room and reminisce about this past year and we will hike and play games and talk long into the night. her english will have improved even more and we will talk about her university exams and hopes and dreams for the future. i read the dates below her name: “22.11.1988 – 06.09.2008.” this is real. not even twenty years old and life was taken from her. not only was life taken from her, but life was burned from her. this is hard for me to grasp – as only part of the details of her death have been recently recounted to me. these details i cannot and don’t want to imagine.

“i will wait for you,” kasia’s words break my thoughts. she quietly walks away and i finally sit down on this lonely bench, conveniently placed directly in front of the grave. i wonder how many times her mother and father have sat at this same bench? i wonder who has placed these candles and flowers and statues? i am reminded: i am not alone in my grief. after months of processing the death of my dear friend from the other side of the world, i now sit before the very tomb where she is buried. i weep. i weep hard. at first i am embarrassed as people walk by on their evening stroll – for the sun is just setting and it is a lovely evening to stroll through a cemetery. then i am reminded of Jesus as he weeps for his friend lazarus. “oh, see how He loved him,” the onlookers observed. my love for Jagoda was deeper than i knew and deeper than i can ever understand.

through my tears, i thought of the lessons i have learned from such a dear young woman and i think of how i can endure the upcoming camp without her by my side. i realize that i hurt so terribly because i loved so much. this will not stop me from loving, i vow. i will love each of my campers this year, because i do not know how much time they, or i, have left on this earth.

i could not leave that bench. for once, i was near her. i was near those who loved her and near those that grieved her death more than i. the truth and the reality was before me and i did not want to leave it. not now, not for good. if i sat by her grave, sometime there would still be a connection. then i looked down at my little red heart: just as the flame would burn in that red heart, so my memories and love for Jagoda would be in my heart. the love she had, the passion she had for the world, i will take and pass on. with a sense of purpose and meaning, i stood up from the bench and knelt down before the grave marker. with my hand on the corner of the wooden platform i whispered the words, “kocham cię, Jagoda. i love you.”

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

the kaufland adventure.

i walk slowly into the kaufland, glancing first down at my list and then at the people around me and the piles of fruit stacked in crates to my right. “i think i will need a cart afterall,” i think to myself. i walk toward the shopping carts (or, “trolleys” if you’re british) and remember – i need one złoty (a coin) to place into the „meter” in order to use the trolley. i open my change purse and pulled out a 20 cent euro piece and click it into the meter. success! the trolley comes off of the one in front of it and i am on my way to grocery shop in poland.

in the past, i’ve gone into stores to buy certain things ineeded or just to look around. but this is my first time shopping for food to cook in my flat (british for “apartment”) – food to live off of. actually, this is my first time shopping for myself to cook in a full kitchen of my own. and i’m in a foreign country. great – not only can i not understand what anything says, but i might not know how to cook it even if i did. i look down again at my list. i have written: “mleko, herbata, chleb, sok…” these words i know: “milk, tea, bread, juice…” i walk up and down the aisles looking at all that is around me. “before ileave,” i think to myself, “i want to try and cook a real polish meal.” now, that may be being too optimistic, but i relax and merely survey my surroundings for the time being.

pasta! I find pasta (“makaron”) – this doesn’t even need directions to cook. now, i just need to find the sauce (“sos”) to go with it. as i am looking at the pasta, a woman comes up to me and we joke about how many boxes of rice there are to choose from. at least, that’s what i think we were laughing about.

i find the bread and the jam (dżem), and just next to it is the tea! tea! something i can understand! i put in my cart the ol’ familiar, liptons, just for a taste of home. i admire the fact that i can get a box of tea for the equivalent of 1 dollar and then i remember that i’m working off of złoty right now, and i should stop dividing by three every number i see, it’s really giving me a headache.

next, i get a little creative. i find a packet to make chocolate pudding. “this shouldn’t be too hard,” “i think, “all i need is milk!” i throw a packet into my trolley. where to find the milk? in america, it would be on the side by the wall because it is in the refrigerator. i know enough not to look in the refrigerator, and i find boxes of milk piled near the center aisle. now i get a little overwhelmed. i realize just what people mean when they come from foreign countries into the states and are overwhelmed by the food choices – because not only are there a lot of choices, but it’s all in a different language! i locate the milk that is on sale (i can tell it is on sale because of the bright yellow tag and the word that ends in an “!” – at least, i hope that’s what it means) and i find one with 1.5 percent fat, thought it is labeled “1,5” because commas and periods are opposites here when it comes to numbers. next to the milk is polish ramen. you better believe i grabbed a pack. or two.

now you’ll really be impressed. i found a packet of spices and on the back shows a picture of the spices with thin noodles. “i’ve seen these noodles just a few aisles back!” i grab a pack of spices and a bag of noodles – only 3zł or 1$ – but i said i’d stop doing that. this should make for a good step toward making polish food.

i pushed my cart toward the cash register and greeting the attendant with a polite, “dzien dobre” as i stacked my items on the conveyor belt. i reached for the money i recently took from the atm and handed it to her as i loaded my items into my large purse (except for the milk, i carried the milk). i received the change and nodded saying, “dzenkuje, dowedzenja” (i hope i can say it better than i can spell it!). walking out of the store with my bag full of victory, i felt accomplished. all this for just 27 zł. go ahead, divide by three.

next feat? trying to get a cell phone. i am thankful for the large mall just around the corner (ah, the modern conveniences of eastern europe!) and the young workers who speak english. oh and also, I forgot to buy yogurt.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

the autobahn adventure.

my plane arrived in berlin an hour and a half early - YES, early. i waited around the airport, watching people and praying that the Lord would lead anke right too me because i forgot to set a meeting point! he answered prayer and she found me waiting outside my gate. we lugged my things to her car and began the journey home.

when we first connected, i did not feel tired! after all, it was only four in the morning - not bad for a recent college graduate. ;-) plus, i'm here in a new culture talking with a dear friend i haven't seen since may. but once we began to talk and catch up, a wave of sleepiness overwhelmed me. "lean your seat back and get some rest now," anke suggested. i did just that - put my sweatshirt behind my head as a pillow and leaned my seat back as anke put on some worship music. not five minutes after i closed my eyes, our car slowed down and started to chug along. "our gas tank says we have one quarter..." anke says softly. i sit up in my seat as anke pulls the car into the shoulder of the autobahn. "we're either out of gas or something is wrong with the engine - and i just got this car YESTERDAY!" despite the confusion, anke was very calm! we reminded ourselves that everything is an adventure. "now we get out and walk." walk?! "to the phone, just up ahead!" confused, i followed, leaving the car with it's emergency lights on, to a orange phone about 1.5 km ahead. anke stood on her tiptoes and pressed a button and a woman's voice came over an intercom! anke reported her problem and the woman gave instructions and said the "yellow angels" (german AAA) will be there soon. we walked back to the car, set the orange warning triangle .5 km behind the vehicle, and donned the orange vest, as instructed. and in true AAA fashion, we waited for the yellow angel car for about thirty minutes. our "angel" looked at our car, and postulated that it was in fact low on fuel. he attached a strong cord and towed us to the nearest shell - where we filled up (on gas and ice cream), turned the key, and the engine now worked! we began the second have of our journey on the autobahn, and as soon as my ice cream was done, i was able to take a short nap. : )

Monday, August 03, 2009

the schedule!

i'm packing again. you know how i feel about packing. ;-)

by popular demand, here is my schedule for the upcoming month:

tuesday, august 4th (7pm)
-- depart JFK for berlin!
wednesday, august 5th (10am) -- arrive in berlin! meet up with anke and stay with her in her hometown.
thursday, august 6th -- sightsee in berlin!
friday, august 7th -- train ride to wrocław.
saturday, august 8th to friday, august 14th -- camping south of kraków with agnieszka and family!
saturday, august 15th to monday, august 17th -- spend time with friends in the city!
tuesday, august 18th to wednesday, august 26th -- wrocław language school english camp!
thursday, august 27th to monday, august 31th -- spend time with friends in the city!
tuesday, september 1st to friday, september 3th -- explore berlin with rebecca and stephen!
friday, september 4th -- fly home to JFK!

don't worry, there's sleep scheduled in there somewhere. i'm excited and a little nervous for the time that things aren't exactly planned out... spontainaity is something that i always want but never have the cuts to actually do. so i planned myself some time to live spontaneously. : )

here i go!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

polska next week!

am i really leaving for europe in less than a week? i have this cycle that plagues me - i get really excited about traveling until about the week before when i get really nervous. and there's something unique about this time - that i feel like i'm finally starting to settle into being at home and i'm getting ready to leave again. this time, when i come back everything will be completely different: eric will be back at college, the two other kids will be back in school, and summer (as far as the school calendar goes) will be over.

but my summer is far from over, with so many more adventures on the horizon. i'm having a hard time combining all of my worlds in my mind - i used to have my PBU world and my Connecticut world. now there's a world out in michigan and a world in poland and little "worlds" all around the states, actually! i have friends in ohio, oregon, new york, new jersey, massachusets - and sometimes these worlds collide! it struck me while i was in michigan this past month, i can't categorize people by their places anymore - life is so transitory, it seems.

and i keep thinking about jagoda. as i get ready to pack for poland, i think of what she wore and what she taught me of the polish culture and language. a part of me expects to see her at camp. i expect that she'll get there and i will give her a huge hug and we'll stay up late at night talking about futbol or heaven. i expect that we'll dance together, hike together, and each ice cream (polish: "lody") together. none of that will happen with her. instead, i will sit by her graveside and i will weep. i will weep with sadness for the young life that was lost and i will weep with thanksgiving that the Lord allowed me to be a part of her short life.

i will be intentional with my other relationships while i am there. i will give to the lives of the girls at the camp and i will make the most of each moment, Lord willing. this is a huge challenge and often feels hard for me, but it drives me to my knees and my heart to surrender.

Friday, July 24, 2009

new blog site!

i'm working on a new blog - this one is to track my journey through partner development and into the world of missions. this new blog will be linked from other SEND sites directing people curious about their role in missions to take part in my journey. right now, i'm going to keep up both blogs - though i'm not sure yet how they will differ in content.

so check out my new blog, and maybe you can help me come up with a more creative title : )

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

100th blog post, a time for reflection.

i'm in, it's official, i'm a missionary.

my friend krisi knows just how to encourage me. just now, she got me ABSOLUTELY beaming (and knew that i was beaming - over the phone, she's just that good). she reminded me, a week into being home and support raising, that I DID IT. i'm here! i worked hard on applications, i worked hard to finish school, and i'm here - on the other side as a missionary. all this by the grace of God.

but it's been a longer road then that.

when i was looking at colleges in 2003, i swore off bible schools. "no way," i thought, "i want to go to a liberal arts college." guess where i ended up going? philadelphia BIBLICAL university (i think the "university" threw me off and i didn't entirely realize it was a bible college!) well when i came back from my first missions trip (australia, 2003), i decided i was done with the whole missions thing. i did my time, i had the experience, and i even had a few t-shirts. it wasn't until fall of 2004 when i started pbu that God started to slowly creep the idea of missions into my mind. my two best friends were missionary kids. my suitemate was a missionary kid. my professors had been missionaries. worse still - the churches in the area AND my university had these things called "mission conferences" when we heard from missionaries, prayed for missionaries, and gave to missionaries. crazy concept for a girl who grew up thinking missionaries were all old people who lived in african villages. the idea intrigued me, but i wouldn't jump on this bandwagon mindlessly. i had friends who did not have easy times growing up in a different culture, and even harder times adjusting to this one. languages are not simple to learn, money does not come out of nowhere, and besides - what can i do?

i had a desire to go to africa. south africa, actually - they speak english and have lions. i also had a desire to go to india. my differences from them felt like the difference paul might have felt going to the gentiles. if he could do it, so could i. well i ended up in europe and when i first learned "how great Thou art" in polish, i absolutely hated the language. too many consonants, not enough vowels, and how on earth am i supposed to make these sounds? i was excited for germany and prague, but poland - eh, i could take it or leave it. well take it i did, and i ended up falling in love with the country and language. actually, hearing polish is one of the things i miss most when i come back to the states. give me those crazy sounds and consonants any day.

i never understood the concept of "church planting." with my missions class in college, we visited a missions agency near campus that specialized in church planting. i decided that i would never join that organization. i thought, "why can't we just go and make disciples? why do we need to plant churches?" (i guess i didn't play out the whole scenario in my mind - once you make disciples, then you need a place for them to gather!) well guess what SEND's focus is on? you guessed it, church planting.

if i was going to be a missionary, i should live overseas. that's how it's done, right? being in america is like the launchpad with people just itching to get out on the field. i can't sit still for too long. yet i see how God prepared me for this one. remember that suitmate? her dad works in SEND's international office in michigan. yes, he works in the united states. and yes, he's a missionary. i did not understand this at first. and he, what? he raisies support? to live in the states? i guess you're sensing the theme by now. and yes, i am a missionary working in the united states and raising my support.

it's bigger than that, though - i'm doing something that fits me perfectly. planting churches may not be my thing right now, but i'm mobilizing other people to plant churches. i'm gathering the workers to go out to the field, plant the seeds, and reap the harvest. i'm doing something i do best - connecting people. so "what can i do?"? God had it in mind all along. He knew exactly where He wanted me and exactly what He was preparing me for. and HE is the one that changes my heart along the way so that today i can sit here and know without a shadow of a doubt that it was the Lord God who had brought me to this place and has called me into His service and that He will provide for me.

i also never really wanted to go to east asia. i guess you can imagine where i'll be going if my life continues on this track. i also went through a time in my life when i didn't want to have kids. but there's never been a time that i haven't wanted to get married - so i guess we're just going to have to wait and see how God works that one out.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

i'm IN!

i am officially appointed to SEND for full time service as a MOBILIZER!
let the games begin! :D

(my name badge!)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

update from a "COPer"

psychological evaluation: check.
language acquisition test: check.
bible exam: check.
prayer card photo shoot: check.
chapel testimony presentation: check.

personel interview: SATURDAY, 10am.
this is when eight members of the personel committee meet with me for about an hour. i present why i want to go into missions, and then they can ask me ANY question they want to. i've been prepared for a few questions they may ask, but i am still a little nervous and actually a little excited too. so saturday, by 3pm, i should know the official decision.

today the international director met with us to introduce the six core values of SEND (dependency, integrity, servanthood, belonging, urgency, and unity in diversity) and to go over the Spiritual Covenant we will sign upon introduction into the organization. looking over that covenant and talking about the values, it finally hit me that this is a BIG DEAL. this is not just some short term assignment or work, what i am doing right now is preparation for the rest of my life (more immediately, the next 4-5 years). but most importantly, i know that right now, i am exactly where God wants me. earlier in the week, i wondered and prayed about going to poland for a term before mobilization - God very clearly shut that door for me right now, and even renewed my excitement for mobilizing. this also made me realize that i am only taking the next step in front of me right now - my life is going to be a crazy adventure from here on out, and i would have it no other way.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

journey: SEND

i almost wrote the title as, "destination: send," but then i realized that this is not a destination at all, it's a journey. and i need to keep reminding myself of that. these past few days, my friend krisi and i contemplated this thought while we moved her and her husband to columbus, ohio. we took each day as it came even though we didn't know what to expect, who we would see, or what the weather would do. the destination was not ohio, but it was just part of the journey. and let me tell you - that made the eight hour car ride a lot better.

so we worked our tails of moving the tv, the couch, the mattress (through a narrow stairway), the washing machine, and all of the books and other necessary living items (though books are always at the top of MY list). it was hot, we were a mess at the end of the day, but it was such a good time. and productive too! then yesterday i got a tour of ohio state university and downtown "cbus." the biggest university in the states is MUCH different from PBU. the gym alone had 8 basketball courts and a suspended walking track. there were so many cool buildings and of course, the babyducks (the lack of a space is intentional, that's how krisi's husband pronounced it). i met some of krisi's awesome friends in ohio and i got to spend some time at timmy horton's. seriously, what could be better? oh - we ate thai food.

this morning i got on a greyhound at 6:45am and began my journey up to farmington hills. i met some great conversations in the bus ride and during the layover in detroit. it's so interesting that i sit on the bus wanting to sleep and read and yet the Lord always has other plans.

so now i'm at SEND, now sitting in the dining area to access the internet. it's going to be a long two weeks and i'm actually glad for that. i want to soak everything in and pray A LOT. can you please pray for me too? please pray for wisdom, guidance, strength, and that i would truly seek GOD during these two weeks.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

musical moving day!

i woke up this morning to the melody and fragrance of light rain and a calm breeze. my air mattress, being slightly deflated, felt like a hammock. i woke up at rest. this does not happen too often.

today, is musical moving day. krisi is on her way over to get me on her way to picking up another friend at the airpirt. then we'll head to her current apartment, crank the music, and party while we pack. it's the only way to go.

these past couple of days have been relatively restful ones. i've managed to continue to make my way through Lost with a mere six episodes left until the next season premere in january 2010, i think i have time. yesterday i also was able to sit and journal for a while, the first time i have written so much since graduating.

tonight's the packing party, tomorrow we leave for ohio! and tonight i sleep on a four inch memory foam. goodbye hammock, hello cloud.

Monday, June 15, 2009

on the road again!

getting ready to leave tomorrow for my whirlwind of a three weeks!

here's the schedule:

june 16th - arrive trenton, nj
lunch with tricia
back to carrie's house!
june 16th - june 17th - hang out with carrie!
june 18th - arrive at the hotel nasse ;-)
june 19th - help the nasses move to OHIO!
june 21st - wake up at the butt crack of dawn to take the bus to michigan
june 21st - july 3rd - candidate orientation at SEND International!

then july 3rd will start that crazy roadtrip on home to connecticut. it will surely be an awesome three weeks. i'm so excited to catch up with friends and get to know new people and see new places. i'm also really looking forward to spending a lot of alone time with God - on the bus, the train, or in my mornings. i realize that i am so much more consistant when i have a structured day (spending time alone with God is something i need to work on when my days are unstructured as they have been). i'm anticipating learning A LOT about myself and about my future ministry over the next few weeks as well. i really want to keep YOU all updated as it goes, so i'm going to do my best to be more consitant with updating this blog! so please stay tunes, leave comments or random thoughts of your own - i'm always love hearing from you.

right now, i'm up working on packing (have i ever mentioned that i don't like packing?), and working on some assignments SEND gave me, and my wonderful sister is making me a smoothie of some sorts - she said, "you're going to love it so much you're just going to want to know what's in it!" so far all i know is - we have no milk, she threw away the expired yogurt, and she asked me if the cherries were still good. so we'll see!

Friday, May 29, 2009

home again.

last week i...

watched 17 episodes of lost.
drove HUNDREDS of miles.
caught up on a season of american idol in a night.
slept in 4 different places in 6 days.
lived from my car for a week.
hiked up a mountain by myself.

and the week before that i graduated from pbu! : )

now i'm back in connecticut spending time with family and friends (i've been to starbucks twice this week) and *trying* to unpack. i'm also back to reading for fun again (current read: fahrenheit 451, by ray bradbury) and watching lost (i'm catching up fast!). it's been a good week. i am also loving being back around the trinity community. yesterday i went to a woman's bible study and i am so excited to spend time with and learn from women older than me and to be a part of such a wonderful group of believers.

being "graduated" hasn't really hit me yet. i get excited when i think about actually HAVING my degrees, and i get sad when i think about nothing ever being the same in my pbu community. but i think part of me still expects that i'll go back there in the fall. it's just summer break, right?

in other news, i just purchased with some of my graduation money a round trip PLANE TICKET TO BERLIN in august! i'm going to berlin on august 4th and will stay there with a friend for a few days and then take a bus to wrocław. there i'll visit with friends and work at the english camp (august 18 - 28th). i'm really excited! i think this will be a good time for me to spend time with people, and also to process these past five years - AWAY from my home and my culture - and to pray about what's coming next in my life.

for graduation pictures - click HERE!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

i hope to dance.

i hate packing. figuring out where everything needs to go in order to find it again is not a task i've mastered yet. i have, however, figured out a system to label my boxes so i know what is in them. so the box i have next to me says this on it: "tea, mugs, food, picture, coasters." the box on top of it has a similar mismatch of items: more mugs, tea, my jar for change that april gave me when she graduated, my can of strawberry tea that i bought in bosnia, and a wall hanging i purchased in disneyworld last christmas. my goal is to do a little at a time so that it is not all overwhelming at once. recently, i've been packing until i my heart realizes what my head is doing - i'm packing to leave pbu. not for break. not for summer. forever. every shirt that goes into a suitcase and every mug that gets carefully wrapped and placed in a box is one step closer to being an alumni.

all week long i've been beaming. a friend told me today that i look lighter and less stressed. it's true. but there is something different that weighs on my heart now. and i haven't been thinking much about it lately. i've been busy getting ready for what's coming next - sending emails, filling out an application, making travel plans. but today i stopped.

i knew i'd have to. i could feel it coming. it all started with a tim mcgraw song (don't most moments like this begin with a country song?):

"you beautiful baby from the outside in,
chase your dreams but always know the road
that'll lead you home again
go on, take on this whole world
but to me you know you'll always be my baby girl."

and even as i write this now, my tears are warm on my face. i think of that look in my daddy's eyes that i'll see on saturday when i come up to him and give him the biggest hug with my diploma in one hand as i hold on tight to him with the other. i think about all that is before me and i think about how much has happened over these past five years. i am thankful, incredibly thankful. after saturday so much changes. the part of me that wants to figure everything out is so scared. i have been asking the Lord to change my heart so that it would rest in him rather than scrambling for control. i need to let go. please pray that i'll let go.

as i sat on my bedroom floor crying as the playlist went through more songs: "don't forget to remember me," "what hurts the most," and "bless the broken road," i wondered if i have a limit of tears that i'll cry these next few months. and as i think about it now, i know that those tears will be sprinkled in the excitement and the adventure that is before me. there will be both. and there is joy in both.

the next song that came on the playlist was one that was perfect for the moment:

"i hope you never fear those mountains in the distance.
never settle for the path of least resistance.
living might mean taking chances,
but they're worth taking.
lovin' might be a mistake
but it's worth making.
don't let some hell bent heart
leave you bitter.
when you come close to selling out
give the heavens above
more than just a passing glance.

and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,
i hope you dance."

Monday, May 04, 2009

last day of grad class.

today was my last day of graduate classes. the reality of it hasn't sunk in yet, and i don't expect it to for another few weeks at least. i have one more paper due on thursday (a final for advanced psychopathology) which will probably kick my butt, but other than that i am rejoicing over the major projects and assignments being over! yet what is so unreal is the loss of fellowship, the loss of my community that i have lived in and grown in and LOVED for the past two years. today i came to the conclusion that it may not feel real right now, and it may not sink in for a few weeks, and that's okay. when it does, and when it hurts, i'll cry and i'll let it hurt. but now, i am thankful and amazed that i SURVIVED and that i'm DONE.

i feel free. my heart feels free. i have grown so much over the past two years - and it has been the Lord's work! i am excited to see where He will take me now in the future, when my time is not bound by syllabi and set reflective assignments.

all i can do right now is smile. it's not an overly expressive smile; it's a simple satisfied smile. it's a thankful smile.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

the summer road trip revealed.

there's so much going on. assignments to do, thinks to think about, friends to drink tea with, decisions to be made, life plans to ponder... you know, the usual. and so easily i get overwhelmed with it all and try to plan everything or get overwhelmed because i am not planning. but here's something that happened this week that reminds me that God will work all things out, i just need to be obedient. as a dear friend of mine says, "life is what happens when we're making other plans."

i've been planning on going to michigan for two weeks of SEND candidate orientation over the summer, and though i've given the "YES! i'll be there!" i hadn't yet figured out how i would get there. this week i realized, it's two months away and i have not even given a thought to airline tickets. well, there's a reason for that. God has another way of getting me there.

my dear friend from grad school and i have been talking and she happens to be moving back to ohio just a few days before my training begins. i offered to help pack things up and help move things to ohio. this week she called and asked if i would do that - we'll get to ohio the day before training and i can take a bus from her place to detroit. perfect plan! i get to hang out with my wonderful friend, do manual labor, and get to michigan cheaper than flying!

then the question lingered, how would i get back to the east coast?

yesterday that question was answered. let me introduce you to another friend, my dear becca.

becca just got back to the states from her semester in germany and we finally got a chance to catch up yesterday on the phone. i told her of my summer plans and as we examined the dates of our summers, we realized that we both needed to get back to the east coast from detroit on the same weekend. PLAN! summer road trip! becca and i have now made plans to make an event out of it and visit canada and some friends along the way back to our home.

these plans could not have worked out if i had planned them. God definitely had His hand in organizing my trip - all i did was say "yes! i'll go to michigan!" and He took care of my transportation and planning - in such a fun and adventurous (and inexpensive) way!

now i just need to find a friend who is driving out to poland... ;-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

please pray...

please pray for me these last few weeks...

for wisdom, strength, understanding, and faith.

Friday, April 17, 2009

enjoying the moment.

i'm sitting at a friend's apartment while she's gone for the weekend working on my final small group project for graduate school. i have left to write about 2 pages and 1.5 lesson plans. then it's time to edit and format before i send that bad boy to print. as i write about the ambivalance that is felt during a groups termination stage, i can't help but think about the ambivalance i feel right now.

it's nearly 70 degrees and the sun is finally WARM ON MY SKIN which makes my heart so happy. i have country music playing from my pandora and i keep drinking this fantastic strawberry kiwi juice. i'm nearing the end of my huge paper and yet i'm tired. right now, i might consider for a moment laying this paper down to go to the BEACH. but ya know what? i'm going to finish this project, and i am going to enjoy the moment! i'm resting, i'm working, i'm dreaming, and i'm excited.

my small group project is a curriculum for preparing college students for missions trips. as i'm researching, thinking, and writing about it, i am seeing over and over again the huge benefit for short term missions - especially for the student. our professor said that short term trips can be "corrective emotional experiences" (click the link, it will explain what it is). that just EXCITES me. i'd love to lead short term teams. do training. debriefing.

oh you just wait. it might just happen.

p.s. i'm going back to poland this summer. =)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

red pill or blue pill?

i wish that for this next month i was a machine.

and as the words come, i hear the counselor in me asking, "and if you were a machine, what would that accomplish for you?"

i resist my inner counselor because i want to just say the words and not think about their implications. but then i know i should dig deeper into that statement. ok, fine, i'll answer your question. if i were a machine i would not have to feel and i would never get tired. i would be able to get all of my assignments finished and in on time by working diligently for the next month without needing to take time off. taking time off is difficult for me to do when there is so much that needs to get done. but my body, mind, and heart can only do so much at one time. that's why i wish i was a machine. if i was a machine, i wouldn't have to feel the disappointment of not being able to spend time with my friends and i would not have to feel the loss that is coming next month. i would be able to set those intense emotions aside in order to accomplish what i need to do. i could just make decisions easily and not feel the pain of disappointing people around me.

my inner counselor looks at me sympathetically. "wow, it sounds like you have so much going on right now - and so much emotion with so many assignments and decisions and you're tired."

if i was not at work right now, i would cry. my inner counselor is right. she did a good job summarizing.

the inner counselor thinks of the next question to ask. "so being a machine would mean that you don't have to feel and that you could just get done what you need to get done. is there anything you would miss out on by being a machine?"

maybe i'd miss out on growth. being a machine would be a way of avoiding all this pain. it'd be like a drug. right now that sounds like of inviting. like morpheus offering neo the blue pill or the red pill. if he chose the blue pill then he could go on with life and be happy and comfortable in his ignorance. if he chose the red pill than he would be sucked into reality - and he would see and experience the pain of the real world.
he chose the red. why did he chose red? what about reality entised him? he was longing for something more.

what about me? am i going to feel? am i going to feel the pain and the tiredness of pushing myself to finish assignments and the anxiety of work that i don't know
how is going to get done. am i going to feel the longing for closer relationships and the tension of how to best spend my time? am i going to let myself feel the upcoming loss and life transition and let it ache? am i going to let myself get excited with the anticipation of an unknown future and be hopeful of a life with no lingering papers and practicums? how will i spend my last month as a college student?

my inner counselor chimes in to my questioning, "is it worth it to you to not feel? if you are a machine, you will not feel the joy either."

my knee jerk reaction is to wonder if there will be joy this month. of course there will be joy! spring is coming and this morning i woke up to the sun shining on my face and the grass being mowed outside my window! in less than two weeks dunkin donuts is giving away free iced coffee, my favorite warm weather treat! this weekend we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and in just one month i celebrate what the Lord has done in
my life over the past five years. i can find joy in the stress. it's just a little harder to see sometimes. i want to feel that joy. i want to smile at the sunshine and be in awe as i read God's word. there will be joy this month. and i don't want to miss out.

"so you don't want to be a machine?"

well first of all, i know i can't. that isn't going to work. realistically, it's not even an option. and although right now i might prefer it, deep down i don't really want to because shutting down from pain also shuts down from joy! i'll guess i'll stick with the stress, the loss, the anxiety, the tiredness - because it will grow me in perserverence and because i can experience the joy in the midst of it. there is joy. and i can find joy in knowing that.

thank you, inner counselor. your check will be in the mai

Friday, April 03, 2009

why i love this town #2

featured town: gorazde, bosnia.

under communism, there were only 25 cars in a city of about 80,000. the city was not built for cars. now, nearly everyone owns a car. not only do you have a city of new drivers, but you have roads that are not vehicle friendly.

how do people park their cars in a city with very few parking lots? they use anything they can - sidewalks, narrow streets, turning lanes! they're very creative.

it certainly makes driving and walking an interesting challenge!

Friday, March 27, 2009

we're back!

...and still struggling to overcome jetlag! i'm feeling a lot better today - and woke up on my own with the sun shinning on my face. i think that helps. i'm hoping for some time on sunday to sit back, drink tea, and write some stories from bosnia on here and in an email update. for now, enjoy some pictures.

our team in philadelphia airport prior to departure.

the beautiful city.

the team, exhausted, upon arrival in philadelphia on monday.
(susie is still all smiles!!)

Sunday, March 15, 2009


i am leaving for bosnia in just over an hour!

i drove back to philadelphia last night and after eating homemade pizza with a few teammates, i came back to my room to pack. i think i set a new record with packing 40 lbs in 45 minutes.

my biggest struggle right now is trying to not worry about my schoolwork. i'm having a really hard time finishing up a paper due next week and there are other assignments over me right now that i don't have time or energy to get to. i feel overwhelmed with wondering how things will all get done in time. yet, i know that God is faithful and He will give me the energy and the time to do them. but my heart still freaks out.

PLEASE PRAY for me that God would calm my heart and that i would be able to trust that He is using this time when he is taking me away from my schoolwork for good and for His purposes. pray that i would be able to be present with my team and present with those whom we serve.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

why i love this town, #1

featured town: seymour, ct

today i’m spending the afternoon at starbucks working on a paper. i approach the bar, not sure what beverage to order today. the barista notices my expression of puzzlement as i gaze upon the menu and says, “are you deciding what to order? everything up there is excellent. especially the snake latte, which is not listed.”

intrigued, i inquire further: “the snake latte?”

“well actually i just made that up. there is no snake latte.”

“you can create one! i’ll order that.” i turn to the barista at the register, “i’m going to have a snake latte. be creative!”

the barista at the bar’s face lights up as he begins to make his creative latte. i returned to my seat at my laptop and minutes later, he brings to me my very own snake latte.

i have no idea what is in it, but it sure tastes amazing. : )

bonus why I love this town: man and women drive up to starbucks, the woman gets out of the car and comes in to buy her drink. the man gets out of the car and stands by the door, sipping his cup of dunkin donuts coffee. there’s new england for ya!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

attempts at self care.

for our grief and trauma class, our professor has been encouraging us to find ways to take care of ourselves after class. she has been impressing on us the importance of self care as a regular thing so that we will not get burned out as counselors. to end class yesterday, she showed us a youtube video by louis gigleo called "how great is our God" (go HERE and watch all 5 parts) which really humbled us as he puts in perspective how small we really are. i left class completely in awe over God's hugeness (is that a word?) and yet that He still cares for US! and just amazed at how He holds all things together.

my plan for self care this weekend was to go to new jersey to visit my aunt and uncle. i wanted to sleep in a nice big bed in my own room and take a bath saturday night. sunday, the plan was for the rest of the family to come over for dinner and a movie.

right by the gas station near pbu, i got a flat tire. slightly shaken, i pulled into the gas station, parked the car, called dad, then called AAA (my first instinct when something is broken is to call dad!). long story short - AAA came, put the doughnut on, the doughnut was flat, and my friend was there and drove me down to n.j. as we were driving, i remembered how just this week i was meeting with my mentor about how i respond to crisis. i know that in stressful situations, my usual instinct is to withdraw my heart or in other situations avoid making a decision. this time i couldn't. it was neat to see God teaching me and challenging me through this minor crisis. all things considered, i felt a sense of peace. i knew that God is so much bigger than my flat tire and that He has purpose even in this. i still found it difficult to make quick decisions on the stop (just ask drew!), but i eventually learned through this that i just need to make a decision, go with it, and see what happens. if it gets redirected (i.e. pepboys was closed!) then i know to chose something else.

but i wasn't out of the woods just yet. upon arriving at my family's house, i had tea and a nice warm dinner while talking about what i learned in class with my aunt and uncle. i skipped the bath and jumped into my nice warm bed (complete with a pieszyna! - rebecca got 20 points for correcting my spelling. i get -10 for originally spelling it so bad she didn't know what it was.). i slowly woke up the next morning, and my aunt came in to tell me that a snow storm was on it's way. i needed to act fast to get a tire on my car. after a quick shower and breakfast, my uncle and i headed to langhorne to find an open tire place (eventually - sam's club!) and get the tire fixed. we then put it on the car (i now know how to change a tire!) and i drove back to their house.

we had an amazing mexican dinner with fajitas, tacos, and rice followed by watching benjamin button while all warm on the couch with many blankets. it was so wonderful to feel at home with my family. when the movie was over the snow started. i began to worry more - debating between driving through the snow that night or risking missing class the next day. in the end, i decided to leave. i packed up the car and drove off, the snow already half an inch on the driveway. two miles down the road i realized i forgot some things. i went back to get them and then started my trip again. the roads were covered in snow and i could not see more than a couple yards in front of me. i could feel the ice getting up into the bottom of my car. once getting on the highway, i realized that i was headed the wrong direction (the sign on the entrance had been covered in snow - i couldn't see "east"!). my low fuel light had just lite up, and this exit had a gas station! (not only that, but gas was 20 cents cheaper than it is by school!) i called a friend to talk things through and decided on going back to my aunt and uncles.

when i arrived at their house, i flopped on the couch. relieved to be back in the safe house, i know that if there is class tomorrow the Lord will get me there safely. i am thankful to be safe! and i am also really thankful that i am NOW going to take that bath after all - bubbles and all. tomorrow i will wake up and have a fresh cup of coffee and a homemade pączki. in spite of the stress, it seems this weekend qualifies for self care after all. with some additional life lessons thrown in the mix.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


"brokenness is the realization that life is too much for us, not just because there is too much pain but also because we're too selfish. brokenness is realizing He is all have. hope is realizing He is all we need. joy is realizing He is all we want." - dr. larry crabb

Sunday, February 22, 2009

the long walk.

no parking spots left in front of heritage dorm. i drive up to lot A to park my car, open the trunk, and unload my bags from the weekend to begin my treck back to heritage. with me i have my overnight bag and laundry from spending the night with carrie, my purse, and another bag of laundry and two freshly pressed collared shirts to deliver to a friend in wing one from his parents (who go to the church i attend). in the bitter cold and wind, i walk up the walkway juggling this load. i look ahead to the building and am discouraged by the distance i have still to go. i think about walking quicker or running, but with all of these bags it would be impossible. i decide to focus on the ground in front of me. i take a moment to glance at the sky and the beautiful stars. i continue to walk forward, taking one block of pavement at a time and manage to make it to the warmth of heritage hall without any item falling off of my load.

as i walk, i reflect on the phone conversation i just finished with a friend. "when i think of all that is going on with you, my head spins. if it feels like you juggling a lot, you are," she said to me. i do feel like i'm juggling a lot. there is much work to be done to finish this program. i'm balancing two "lives" of undergrad and grad. i'm in application with SEND (which is in and of itself a full time job, i've come to learn). i'm being faced with serious life-after-college decisions. i'm going to bosnia in three weeks. and i'm tired. yet as i reflected on all of this while walking to my dorm this evening, i realized - i need to keep looking at what is right in front of me. if i look all the way ahead - i am going to be so much more overwhelmed. granted, i have on the side of my desk a list of all assignments due when from now until the end of the semester. but it's written out so that i see what is of most importance. i'm learning to make priorities. and i'm learning that i, christine lindemann, am a priority. i am not my schoolwork. i am not how much i can accomplish in one afternoon. i am also not how many phone calls i have failed to return or how many emails i have to catch up on or how messy my room is. i need to care for my soul. i need to look up at the sky and admire the beauty of the stars.

now as i sit writing this, my shoulders still hurt from carrying my bags. i'm writing this to process it and to try to help myself believe it and live by it. and i wonder if instead of simply looking at the step in front of me, if there's more to this illustration. i didn't ask for help. i actually thought of it, i thought of calling security and asking for a lift. i could have called a friend and asked for a hand to help me with the bags. but i didn't. "this will get done a lot faster if i just do it," i thought. oh, i so easily do the same thing in life. and with God.

Lord, please forgive me for trying to do this on my own. please forgive me for wearing myself out because i'm not asking for help - from You and from the wonderful people you have put in my world. please help me now. please help me to ask for help - and to truly cast my cares on You. please give me faith to trust You with the decisions that need to be made and the work that needs to be done. thank you, Lord.

Monday, February 09, 2009

pbu missions week.

here at PBU it's MISSIONS WEEK! this is different from what we've done in my time here, where we have a week set aside for missions during the regular class schedule. we have special chapels (key speakers - dave and liz givens!), evening activities, and breakout sessions on thursday (they cancelled class!). tonight was international food and fun night. in a game, i was dressed as a russian woman - my clothing made out of newspapers. and for the food, i rediscovered my love for curry. OH, and peach juice! i'm really going to have to take a run down to the russian food market sometime soon.

it's going to be crazy focusing on schoolwork with all of the excitement of missions activities and some of my favorite missionaries on campus. which reminds me, i have to go and read about clinical psychological disorders...

me and a missionary "dressed" as russians.

people from all around the world...

Monday, February 02, 2009

what's the story, morning glory?

it's not the morning, and i'm far too tired to write a story. but that line popped into my head because i have not updated with a post explaining what is going on with BOSNIA or other areas of my life! and so, here it is, a life update.

BOSNIA -- i'm currently raising financial and prayer support! i'm at less than half of the money i need financially, and so if you would like to help me, please let me know! and if you have given - THANK YOU SO MUCH! we met as a team last monday with a young woman who spent 14 months in bosnia over the past couple of years. she showed us pictures and shared stories about her experiences there. it was so incredible to hear first hand and it made the trip come alive. something that was really encouraging for me to hear is the importance of SHORT TERM TEAMS. she told us that short term teams are an opportunity for the locals to make some money - by us paying them to host us in their homes and by us paying for translators - money that is hard to come by these days. also, it gives them a chance to make friends with people from around the world and tell their story. this made me really excited to stay with a host family and learn about their lives and experiences.

lisa (one of our team leaders) was asked to conduct a seminar on depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. she's going to begin preparation for this NEXT WEEK, and she has asked for prayer for her preparation. please pray for her! she will be presenting with a translator, which also adds another challenge.

CLASSES -- OH, i honestly love my classes. they are so challenging and have so much work for them, but if i budget my time well i'll do just fine and learn so much. tomorrow, i'm planning on watching a DVD about group therapy -- and we actually watch the process of a group in its different stages. then for my practicum, i need to visit therapy groups and observe them in action. for another project, i'll be writting my own small group curriculum. i'm thinking of doing something about missions and maybe college students... i'm going to brainstorm a little more on this.

LIFE -- life after graduation? who has time to think of that now! but i do need to, and i ask for PRAYER in this area too. i actually am working on an application with SEND (can you believe it?!) for a position that i will post more on later!

CURRENTLY READING -- i would like to highly recommend this book for ALL OF YOU, especially those of you in leadership positions. this is a book i'm reading for class, that i know when i finish it will have changed my life -- leading with a limp, by dan allender.

i will leave you with a quote from allender's book, one that i am reflecting on tonight:
"a limping leader understands this: i don't know if i am right, nor am i sure the path chosen is the best, but after reflection, feedback, debate, and prayer, i am choosing this path. in the process, i will seek life like water and drink death like wine" (page 74).