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.