Sunday, October 11, 2009

You'll make me work so we can work to work it out

So I surprisingly am not dead. Just been busy with school, work and church. I have had a lot of experiences the past few months that have changed the way I see people and made me realize who I need, and who were just the time bombs in my life. I miss Spain more than words can express and half of my heart is still there with everyone. Lately I have run into an issue of prioritizing my life. I think this is partially to fill the void that Spain has left in my life and the lonliness I feel sometimes, so I make myself so busy that I can't think about it. I am not home many nights because of how many commitments I have and it is starting to affect my health. I have been praying for balance, but perhaps I need to change to praying for clarity on what needs to go. I don't want to give up anything, but it may be my only choice for sanity.

I am working to become more introspective and rely more on just me and God to think out my problems. I have had things thrown back in my face too many times and I am tired of having my mistakes brought up over and over. I am only 24 years old. I am still in college. I am ALLOWED to make mistakes and to grow. I don't have to comepletly be an adult yet. I have an amazing, incredible supportive set of parents and an equally awesome sister. I don't tell them enough what they mean to me (another thing to work on) but I know that they are always there for me. I know that I am a sensitive person, but I don't think that necessarily means that I am childish. Which usually means I do about 70% of my thinking with my heart, and the other 30% with my head... but so far that hasn't led me to too many decisions that I have regretted. I just run into issues when I can't explain why I made that choice or when other people in my life can't see the logic (or lack therof I suppose) in my decision.

I truly believe that people live up to the expectations you set for them. In many cases I think this is an issue with vision. You assume someone will act a certain way, so that is the lens you forever view them through, whether that is true or not. They "fail" in your eyes, because that is what you think they will do. Your tainted view becomes your truth. I am just as guilty of this as everyone else. Maybe we all just need to up our expectations for those around us and somehow change to hope for the best.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Going through a rough time right now and can't write bc I can't even process this all for myself. I know that God is using this to make room for something in my life, but everything just hurts so much right now. I have to just keep trusting that this is all for a reason. He has a plan.

I am writing because I have to get rid of my dog, Scout. I need to find him a good home so I do not have to put him down. I am hoping that someone will be able to take him, or that you may know someone who can.

Scout is almost 5 years old, neutered male German Shepherd mix. He is microchipped and up to date on shots (or will be as of Tuesday). He went through training with me at Petsmart & I have had him since he was 2 weeks old, so he has no history of abuse or neglect. He is kennel trained, but does need to have an owner with a yard and someone who has history with dogs. Not good for a first-time pet owner as he requires more attention and dominance and Scout has never been around children, so I am not sure how he would react to them. He is has lived with another dog and with cats. (no harm has come to the cats, but he does like to chase them occasionally)

I have to get rid of him because he did have an incedent while a friend was petsitting this past weekend and she was hurt. Our homeowners insurance will not cover our house if we keep him because we had to file a claim with them in order to help pay her medical bills. I am trying to do what is best for my friend and also for Scout. I have spoken to his trainer and to my vet and we think it was an issue with food aggressiveness. This can be fixed with some attention and training. He just needs someone to give him the chance. Scout is currently in observation at the vet and at the end of observation will be up to date on his shots and cleared to go home on Tuesday evening. I am working to take care of the vet bills, whoever can take him would just need to pay the registration fees to the county and have Scout switched into their names. He is free to a good home and I will give you his kennel and all of his things. If there was any way that I could keep him, I would- I just need to know that he is going to be given a chance at the rest of his life and have someone to love him.

Please let me know if you are interested, or give my info to anyone you know that might be.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

you can cross the line whenever you want to

So the last month had been interesting. Being home is really hard, much harder than originally anticipated. I miss Spain a lot, and while this gets better every day I am also worried that there will come a day where I don't miss it. I don't ever want to completely stop missing it. Part of my heart is still there and that will always be like a home to me.

I did something very dangerous tonight. We watched a video at church from a speaker from last year's Leadership Summit. One thing that she said really stuck out to me - she told everyone to just tell God to "Bring It On" and then be ready for whatever he gives you. So I told God- "Ok God, you know where my heart is, lets go. I am in this all the way." I have been thinking a lot about going back to Spain, leading a small group, taking on bigger roles in the ministries I serve in, adding new ministries.... you get the idea. I am just never sure when to say no. I have a hard time discerning the difference between the wants of the people around me (or my own) and what God has in mind. Less than an hour after this prayer, I was presented with an opportunity. Now I am still not sure if this is right or not, but I am going to prayerfully consider it and figure out where my life is going. I am scared, but so excited!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

tu cara en la cara de la luna

Well. I am officially home from Spain. It was a very very long journey and I am glad to be done with it. The next few days/weeks will be interesting. I am happy to be home and be with my family, but I am devastated that I am not in Spain and with my friends there. Its a weird place to be emotionally.

Last night when I was flying from Chicago to Phoenix, I had passed the point of crying (i think my body has just dried out for a bit) and was just staring out the window and thinking. Watching the world and God's creation turn into the scraggly, rough desert that is home to me. And I was thinking about how the desert really represents me and my growth this past year. (stay with me here.... I was really tired and emotional, so this could be a little crazy) I was thinking about how plants and animals in the desert have to work so hard and face the challenges to survive.... sun, heat, no water, hard dirt... but if you tried to put them in a different environment, they couldn't thrive there. I think that is where I was. I was like a cactus trying to live in a swamp. Not being challenged, not changing, just existing but not LIVING. And now I feel like a cactus in the desert (figuratively and literally) I feel like I understand who I am becoming and some of who God wants me to be. I think I came home from Spain a different person. I hope that other people will see that too (and think its a good thing)

I'm not prepared emotionally to talk about the last bit of Spain, but that will come soon. :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mercy Comes with the Morning

16 days left!

Every day here is different. I am on an emotional roller coaster right now. Some days I am ready to get on a plane and go home right then, and others I never want to leave Spain. Its weird. I am just trying to enjoy every moment, take lots of pictures and spend time with the people I will miss the most.

Here are a few specific dates coming up that we will need extra prayer for :)
Tuesday, April 28th- Tertulia. Kelly and Krin are giving the talk.
Thursday, April 30th- Our last Bible Study (there is one more after most of the XC students are gone)
Monday, May 4th- Exchange Student Despedida. Dinner with us and the team to review the semester and get a chance to say goodbye
Saturday, May 9th- End of Year Banquet. Our chance to say goodbye to all of the students and last night with the team and everyone here. We will have dinner and time at the house and then everyone goes out together until all hours of the morning.
Sunday May 10th/Monday May 11th- Rebecca, Meredith and I will take the last train to Madrid on sunday night so that we can board planes in the morning and head home! Please pray for safety in our journey & no problems. I will be flying by myself for the entire trip (Madrid to Munich, Munich to Chicago, Chicago to Phoenix) so I am hoping not to get lost or have any problems finding where I need to be!

We also still have a few more regular events left that I did not list specific dates for (the usual tues, wed, thurs events) and we are all trying to spend as much time loving on students as we can before we leave. Please just be praying for all of us to have opportunities to share with students and that their hearts will be open.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

stuck in the middle with you

This is going to be really random, so I apologize in advance and thank you if you actually take the time to read all of it.

I have been feeling lost lately. Like I am stuck between the US and Spain. I think it all comes down to fear. I am afraid of going home- afraid that everyone will have moved on without me, afraid that I don't have a place or a purpose there anymore. I am afraid to leave Spain- afraid of what will happen with the students we have met, afraid to be without my team. I'm trying not to focus on it, and instead make the most of the time I have left here, but there is this calendar on my wall of the events we have left... and its only one piece of paper. 4 short weeks. I have a to-do list on my desktop. I have people I need to meet with. I have suitcases under my bed that are just screaming to be packed (I am ignoring that particular urge at the moment)

Semana Santa was... interesting. The processions are a little creepy and somber. The whole thing made me very sad though- I think that Catholics here focus too much on the death of Christ and never on the resurrection. Easter is not a happy day. Jesus is always pictured dying on the cross. There are giant crosses and statues that are carried around the city during these processions. To carry one of these is a great "honor"- I quoted that because they believe that by taking on this great weight you can be granted atonement. Here is where I think it all comes in to play. It breaks my heart that they don't think the death and resurrection of Jesus are enough. He didn't mean enough. They have to walk barefoot and carry a heavy load around a city and say so many special prayers to "deserve" heaven. Traditions like this make our job here so much harder. The students have grown up seeing this all of the time. To them, belief in Jesus has to be this sad, somber existence of always having to repay for your own sins. They are amazed that this is something we enjoy and we are constantly trying to show them that following Jesus can be exciting and fun and full of life.

The second half of Semana Santa I finally got to leave Salamanca and Whitney, Ansley, Rebecca and I drove to Valencia (on the Southeast coast of Spain). Correction: I drove, they backseat drove :) It was great to get away for a little bit, see the ocean, get to see another city, HAVE A STARBUCKS and just relax for a few days. The drive home was a little crazy and we were slightly misplaced in Madrid for an hour or so, but we made it back unharmed and ready to go for our last month.

Please just keep all of us and the students in your prayers this last month. We are trying to fit as much as we can in a very short time, so everything needs to be drenched in Christ and we want to be as effective as we can be. There are 2 specific students I would like to have deep conversations with before I leave, but I do not want to put their names here. If you could just be thinking about them and to pray that I will have the words to say to them.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

don't look back in anger

Its been a very interesting week. Not bad, not great... just interesting. Had a few things that I had been praying about get an answer, but not how I expected. There were a few blows to my self-esteem, but also a lot of love and encouragement. I am still processing all of this and trying to figure out how it will shape me into the woman I am becoming here.

Fundraising for Proyecto Portugal is going extremely well. We are over the halfway point of the money we need to raise. Once we got to 150 Euro, the exchange students had to do a dance (which was performed very well if I do say so), at 500 euros we get to have a pie throwing party and when we reach the goal of 1125 Euros all of the boys on the team are going to shave their heads. There is going to be a benefit concert/auction on April 1st at a local club, so hopefully we will be able to raise the rest of the money before they all leave for Portugal on thursday.

Monday, March 23, 2009

paint me over with your dreams

So I am officially registered for classes for this fall at MCC. I am taking a full course load, and I am going to be busy, but I am happy to be getting back on track with school and heading towards finishing a degree. These are my courses this fall:
Music Theory
Aural Perceptions
Piano 1
Chamber Chorale
Private Voice Lessons
Survey of Broadway Musicals
Psych 101

I may also add another internet class or 2 this summer to help get done faster, but I don't want to overload myself. I have also been given a partial scholarship for this fall, which will be a major blessing.

This weekend was amazing and restful for me. Had a lot of time with Spanish friends as well as American visitors. My favorite moment from the weekend was going out to lunch after church (Chinese food! Yum!) and just spending time with some of the team, Krin and Jared. I am also excited to get to spend more time with friends and have more time to take walks (and more pics for you, mom). Getting ready for Semana Santa.. plans are still not totally finalized, but I think I am taking a road trip with Rebecca, Whitney and maybe another person. I'm pretty thrilled, but also in the back of my mind is the realization that our time here is winding down.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

keep breathing

Campamento was an amazing experience. We took 20-25 students (so there were almost 40 of us) to a camp near Madrid for the weekend. It was crazy and fun and way too short. I was really worried going in about speaking only in Spanish for almost 3 full days, but it actually was not that hard! I am so proud of myself. I got to know a lot of the girls better, the girls ALMOST won in Flamenco Futbal and we had some awesome talks from Hernan and worship time with Lauren, Chris and Krin. Some of my favorite memories were from the futbal game. The girls may not have had the skills, but we made up for it in spirit. And pink clothing. Also, dancing with Antonio in the dining hall. I will never forget that.

I'm still processing all of the cool things that are happening, so forgive me for being a little scatterbrained and vague. I just don't know how to put it all into words. Most of us finished school this week. I passed both of my classes (one with highest marks!) and now have a lot more free time to put into the students. All of the other girls went to Barcelona for the weekend, so I am staying here with the boys, some spanish students and some american visitors. This weekend is a Puente (bridge) because today is a festival... who knows what for, they just like to have festivals. But a Puente is basically a long weekend. So a lot of the students left for the weekend and there are crazy amounts of tourists here. Also- the Carrefour is closed today, which unfortunately I did not know until after I walked the 10 minutes there. Oh well, its good for me. I got the whole apartment cleaned and my friend Carmen is coming over to cook with me and have a fiestita out on the patio this afternoon.

Also, I am almost registered for classes back home for summer and fall. It is strange to be thinking about that already, and I am not really ready to face it. Waiting to hear back from my advisor about my voice lessons, choir and a scholarship and then I will finish registering. :) Lots of performance and music classes this fall <3 me encanta!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I'm a locked room inside a tall tower

I love feeling loved by my team. We all got to have one-on-one time last night (in a rotation... like speed dating, but it was speed- love time). It gave me a lot to think about, but also a lot of encouragement and good feelings. What a great way to start the second half of the trip! We are now officially in the downhill side... 62 days left in Spain!

I have finals in my spanish classes this week, one tomorrow and one next monday. Also this weekend is Campamento! We are super excited and ready to go. Next week we also have some visitors in from the states, so it it going to be a very busy, but super fun couple of weeks.

In a few weeks is Semana Santa (like Spring Break) and I am not sure yet what I will be doing. I think Rebecca and I are just going to take a random trip somewhere. We are thinking about Santander and San Sebastian, which are on the northern coast of Spain. I'm excited and I hope that it works out for us to go!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

te esperare

I have made a new goal for myself while I am in Spain, because you know school and work at En Vivo are not enough. I am going to translate one or possibly two worship songs into Spanish. I'm sure it will be a challenge and I will need a lot of help, but I think it will be a good experience for me. I am also going to make myself start playing the keyboard and maybe some guitar once school is over with next week! I would like to also write more songs, but that might be pushing it on time.

This week for cafecita (accountability group) we did an exercise on perceptions. We each had to ask 3 people to write to Ansley about what they thought about us... another exchange student, a spanish student and our best friend from home. It was all completely anonymous and Ansley copied and pasted it into one document for each of us. Its interesting to see what people will really say about you when there is little to no risk of consequences. Overall I think they said good things about me, there were only a few negatives. Here is what my list said:
Shy, Quiet, Loyal, One-on-One, Beautiful voice, Needs alone time, Afraid of what others think, Talks to the loners at En Vivo, Comfort allows her to be outgoing, "I notice she doesn't go out much, but I wish she would because I laugh a lot when I am with her", "Consistent- you don't see her super happy or screaming or anything- but content", Finds worth in taking care of people, Doesn't do well with change, Incredible heart for God, Sweet and caring, Compassionate, Cautious, Mom

I'm not disagreeing with any of them, but the 2 things that stuck out to me the most are "Afraid of what others think" and "Doesn't do well with change". Those hurt a little. I don't want to be afraid of what other people think of me. I want to be adaptable to change. Is this something I will grow into? Someday will I wake up and just not care what others think or what may change that day? I think those are the two things that are holding me back the most here in Spain- things that I don't know how to fix. I suppose I can just fake it 'til I make it and keep praying about it.

It also made me laugh that my list said Mom. Everyone on the exchange team talks about my "mom tendencies" and my need to take care of all of them. Jared has even started calling me Cassie Madre because casi means almost in spanish.... haha Jared. (David also calls me Casi, pero no... they all think they are so clever)

We are getting ready for Campamento next weekend. We already have about 20 students signed up to go, mostly girls. We are hoping to bring as many students as possible. Please just pray for us as we are getting ready and inviting students, for Hernan as he is going to be speaking all weekend and for God to prepare and open the hearts of the students.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

don't know why

I have given up meat for Lent. I have never done Lent before, so this could be an interesting month. I thought about giving up coffee, but I realized that people still have to live with me.... so that was not the best plan. Anyway- no meat. And anytime I have a craving for it or have to go without, I am going to be praying for a different person/cause/event that will change every week.

This first "week" (until sunday) is going to be for someone in my life who has helped me become the person I am now and will continue to support and encourage me as I grow. Kris- I know that things have been hard lately and I am sorry that I am not there with you in person, but you are always on my mind and this week especially is for you. Happy Birthday lil sis. I miss you more than I can possibly say. I hope your day is amazing and restful. <3

Next week: East Asia Team '09- this one is for you! I will be lifting you up as you get ready to leave, travel and see the people of Asia. (Beth or Mich- if you have an itinerary, could you send it to me so I can pray for those things specifically?) Don't forget... Spain is technically on the way back to AZ, so if you feel like making a side trip....

week of 3/9: We will be going to Campamento the 13-15, so it seems only appropriate that I would spend that week praying for the people in En Vivo who need to be on that retreat and for the event itself.

week of 3/16: God's direction for my life once I return home (specifically involving friendships/relationships)

Ok.. so I need 3 more things to fill the other weeks. Any ideas/suggestions? (Tara or Romi, I know you will have thoughts...)

Semana Santa or Holy Week, basically like Spring Break for Spanish Students, is April 2-12. The other exchange students are all going to be traveling during this time, but because of my current financial situation, I will be staying in Salamanca. I may take a day trip or two to nearby cities if I can gather some extra cash for bus tickets. I am actually a little excited about staying here. It will give me some quiet time- always good for me- and I will get to see all of the processions and events here. Its a little weird because Good Friday is a bigger deal here than Easter. The whole thing is supposed to be very sad and mournful. I think sometimes the Catholics here (or those who are "Catholic" but not practicing) forget to take Jesus off of the cross. Its like they forget that yes, He died, but He also rose from the dead and that is what makes us different from other religions. That is where we find our Hope. We have a God who loves us enough to send His son to take our pain and pay our debts, and is powerful enough to raise Jesus from the dead. I have been reading a lot in Hebrews lately, and in the gospels, specifically around the death and resurrection. I love that every day when I read, God is showing me something new. He is just so cool sometimes.

To finish- thank you to everyone who sent me encouragement regarding my last couple of posts. It was really helpful and so appreciated. I know that I have been kinda down lately, but things seem to be on the up!

Monday, February 23, 2009

There's always something in the way

all of the girls, Krin and his friend Dave went to Ciudad Rodrigo on Sunday for Carnaval. I stayed home by myself. It was actually well deserved quiet time and really restful, but they just got home and are talking about their trip and I am feeling left out. Hopefully this will stop soon. In general it is getting better, I promise. They are better about including me and remembering to tell me that I matter (oh that "encouraging words" love language). I just need to find the words to tell them that they make me feel this way sometimes.

Anyway. I spent the day with just me and God. I slept in a little and did some housework while listening to worship music. Man I miss 3F music. Then I left and went to the Plaza Colon (Columbus) which is right by our house. I sat there for a bit and read my bible and journaled. Then I set off to explore the city of Salamanca by myself. I was only "lost" once for about 30 minutes. It is hard to be truly lost in this city- you can almost always see the cathedrals and if you just start heading towards them, you find your way back. After four hours of wandering, I ended up back at home. So I listened to Jeremy's sermon from last weekend (thank you again God for 3F podcasts), ate lunch and took a shower. Right as I was finished and getting ready to lay down and listen to music, everyone came home. I was glad to see them, because I missed having them around, but I sorta wish I had been able to have a few more hours to myself.

I think this is weird, but I feel like my soul is more restful and that I learned more from NOT going to church this weekend than if I had gone. I know this is probably horrible of me, but I really hate going to church here. I would choose not to if I could. We are pretty much required to go, this weekend was an exception. I think its because I don't understand most of what is going on and no one outside of the En Vivo group ever talks to us... well except for the ladies at the door who ask us EVERY WEEK if we are new. Same ladies every week. Not that big of a church. Kinda frustrating. I wonder if I am just spoiled from so many years at Central. I am so used to feeling welcome and like church is my second home... to go from Central to this is rough. Can't you just bring 3F to Spain for a couple weeks?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

dime si siento lo mismo

The past few days have been really hard. I went to bed crying every night this weekend. I don't know if it is "culture shock" really, or just me being emotional and sick or what. I have just been feeling like I don't fit in, I don't know what my purpose is on this team, and I don't have any friends in Spain. My journal is getting full of me just crying out to God "Why do I feel like this? Why did you bring me here if it is going to be this bad? God- what am I supposed to do?"

BUT yesterday was an amazing day! I started the day by sleeping in (just a little) and when I got up, reading 1st and 2nd Timothy. Journaled for a little while and then went to the campus house. We went out to do "cold outreach" at the comedors (like university cafeterias). Whitney, Meredith and I went to one called Panuelas. We sat with and talked to Mari and Roberto. Just about life, who they are, why they are in Salamanca. We invited them to En Vivo, so we will see if anything comes of that. (please keep all of the people we met in your prayers. We would really like them to become part of our ministry!) After lunch we went for ice cream in the plaza and sat to enjoy the beautiful sun the God has provided this week. Then class :( and Cafe Ingles! I got to meet David, who is going to be my intercambio. (which ps, is NOT an original name here.... when in doubt, his name is probably david) I am really excited about my next meeting with him tonight. Then we had band practice for bible study and it was just so much fun, and yet so calming and normal for me. I think it is probably weird that rehearsal is a de-stresser in my life.

It was just the first day in awhile that I have felt like myself. I almost was starting to think I had lost touch with who I am. I also have been pondering the difference between knowing who you are and whose you are. I think I may have put too many goals for myself up front, and then was disappointed when I was not reaching them immediately. My current plan of action is to knock it off :) I am learning to accept God's direction for my life here and how that looks different from His directions for me at home. My time here is a precious gift and I need to treat it like the blessing it is, but also to make sure that I don't get too wrapped up in not "wasting" time.

On one last note, and I really hate writing about it, please once again keep praying for the finances. I just found out I will not be going to Portugal for Semana Santa (only 2 spots for XC students and they are already taken), so my funding just dropped about $200, but I still have about $1200 more to go to be fully funded. I am trying not to be preoccupied with worrying about money, but its difficult sometimes. I know that God didn't bring me all the way to Spain to let me down, but please just keep my financial situation in your prayers.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I just want to be OK

Yay for beautiful weather! Thank you God for some sunlight (and no rain to destroy the house). Rebecca and Meredith left for Andalucia for the weekend Friday morning, so it is a little quieter around the apartment. I got some much needed housework done and working on getting the laundry done too! Koral, Kelly and I took a walk to enjoy the sunshine. We walked through town, down by the river and to the Salas Bajas (lower courts... sports fields and stuff). Then we went back into town in time to see the lights in the plaza come on for the night- My favorite! A nice, relaxing day that was really needed to improve my mood and spirit.

Thursday night was one of the "hang out" nights, but it also fell on University Carnival. (real Carnival is in like 2 weeks.... this one is basically made up for the bars and clubs to make more money.) We had 11 or 12 people come to meet us and we just went to a couple different places for drinks and tapas. It was a lot of fun to hang out with our new friends (and some of them brought friends with them!) But it was kinda sad and scary to see the other people that were out later, after they had been drinking... a lot. It made me realize even more how much we are really needed here. It also made me sad because most of the crazy drunk party people were americans. It is hard sometimes to overcome the stereotype of American exchange students here. The drinking age in Spain is 18, so many of the kids go crazy, with it being their first time away from home, in Europe and legal for them to buy alcohol.

We are having "cene & cine" tonight for Dia de San Valentin (dinner and a movie). We are all going to get dressed up and meet for a fancy dinner at Telepizza and then go to the house for movie night. :) Hope everyone has a great Valentine's Day! And Happy Birthday Mom! I love you and miss you so much every day.

Please just continue to pray for us and the ministry here. We are all working really hard, but sometimes it is mentally and physically tiring. After 6 weeks together, I am starting to feel the strain on our relationships. The past couple of days have been especially hard for me with exams and feeling frustrated on "Spanish Day". Please also continue to pray for my finances here in Spain and that God will provide so that I may be fully funded for the next couple of months!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I can unscrew the stars

to those of you who received my email update/newsletter a few weeks back- I apologize if you could not get the newsletter to open correctly. After having some issues, I have instead decided to start a secondary blog for our team updates. I have posted the info/pictures that were in the original newsletter and will be updating it at least every 2 weeks.

you can visit it at to read the team news, but I will continue to post my random thoughts and personal musings here. There is now a link to the new blog on my blogroll (En Vivo Intercambios) as well as on my facebook page. So there is no reason to be uninformed! :)

I am feeling a little bit better about our team dynamic this week. I still struggle with knowing where I belong with everyone, but Meredith and I have been talking. She is such a blessing to me here. She always knows when I need a hug or a little encouragement. Yesterday I was feeling down because I did not do well on my Grammar midterm and she just gave me some encouraging words and promised to help me learn the things that I missed. Its weird to me to think that I have only known Mer for 6 weeks and I already can't imagine life without her. I am continuing to pray about my relationships with everyone else here and I'm interested to see what will happen.

Today is "Spanish Day" at En Vivo. We are only allowed to speak in Spanish all day. So far it has not been too frustrating, but we will see if it continues to be ok as the day progresses. We are hanging out with some students tonight and exams are over, so hopefully it is time for some fun and some rest!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be

I want to be better than what I am. I don't claim to ever have it all figured out. In fact I will be the first to tell you that I don't- I try to be as authentic as I can with people. I don't think I have totally figured out the person of Jesus and I don't think I ever will. I might even go as far as to say that when you think you have Jesus figured out, that is when your heart has stopped striving after Him.

I don't really care about looking holy. (take a moment here if you need to) I'm ok if people know that I cry and that I have problems and that sometimes I am just not the woman that I want to be. I am not perfect. Most days I am just doing the best I can. I don't want to appear to be perfect.

This week I am really struggling emotionally. It's hard because I know that I am supposed to be here. I know that I am serving a purpose and that God is going to do amazing things through me and the team here. My Spanish is improving a lot and it gets a little less scary every day to speak to people.
... but... I am really having a hard time building relationships with some of the members of my team. I feel like I am not even sure if they like me, much less love me and care about me. I don't know if this is just me being weird, or if this is another trial like my visa problems and financial struggles. I don't know how to deal with it. I suppose for now I will just keep praying and just do the best I can.

No news on the house yet. We have had an architect out to look at the problem... that was not a good day. There is talk that we may have to petition the city to get it fixed. Please just keep the problem in your prayers and pray for some sunshine in Salamanca so we don't have any more flooding! (not to mention, some sun might be good for my mood)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

you have to follow through

Just a Reminder: If you have pledged to sponsor me monthly (or if you would like to give a one-time gift), please don't forget to get your checks to my family so they can deposit them! I am still only at about 80% of my total budget for the semester and most of what is still missing is for my rent and food to keep me alive :). If you have any questions, please email me at

Well- quick update on the apartment. I now officially have a bedframe and we have a new fridge! Of course, the day after the fridge came... the light in my & meredith's room went out. Our landlord is going to know us well before we leave!

AND.... Spring cleaning/touch up at the campus house turned out to be a bit of a waste of time. It has been an unusually rainy winter here in Salamanca and apparently there is a problem with drainage pipes on our street that drain INTO our walls of our basement. Normally when the weather is dry, this isn't too bad of a problem... just mop up the water and go on your way. However because it has been so wet, it has not had a chance to dry out and the water is now slowly destroying the house. I spent, no joke, the ENTIRE day yesterday mopping the house (while everyone else was setting up for Tertulia) and we have now implemented a "flood control" schedule which involves someone coming every 2 hours to mop up water/wring out towels and check for damage to the house. There are places where the plaster is coming off the wall or water is pouring through cracks. I also just checked the weather for this week- rain or snow everyday. Lovely. Our landlord and some people from the city are coming to the house today to assess the damage and see what can be done. Please just pray that they can find a way to fix this problem with drainage so that we can set about the task of fixing the house and getting back to our focus here!

In good news, we still had a pretty good turnout for Tertulia yesterday (even with the rain). A few new people, but mostly returning regulars. We have cafe ingles tonight that I am looking forward to and bible study on thursday! Lauren is singing/guitaring, I am singing, Meredith is playing the violin and Krin is playing guitar/bass. I think Koral is going to video so I can put it on facebook. It has been kinda interesting singing with another girl. I didn't realize until this week that I never have before (unless I was leading and another girl was singing harmony). I guess we will just see how it goes.

Well... off to wring out some more towels and then get ready for the day!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

por eso te amo

Just a Reminder: If you have pledged to sponsor me monthly, please don't forget to get your checks to my family so they can deposit them! I am still only at about 80% of my total budget for the semester. If you have any questions, please email me at

Pancake Dinner went really well. We had a lot of new people come, as well as a few older regulars. I really connected with two students who live in Salamanca named Marta and Nacho. They are music students (yay!) at the university so we talked for a while about that. Hopefully they will continue to come to events. Most of the people seemed genuinely interested so that was pretty cool. I will also be starting some intercambios soon, which are when I meet with another student for coffee or lunch and we speak in English for half an hour and Spanish for half an hour. I'm a little nervous about this, but I think it will be really helpful.

I am now almost a quarter of the way done with school here! My teacher is really awesome and patient with all of us (and he loves Koral and I, so you know he's smart). Finals are in March right before we leave for retreat. That will be a nice end of school treat. I also started my online class back at home this week, but haven't had anything to do for it yet. Its a music theory class, which might be difficult to do online, but Lauren, one of the staff here, was a music major (woohoo!) so she offered help if I need it.

We spent a couple days spring cleaning the campus house. It is looking awesome now! Lots of touch up painting, scrubbing floors and repainting the calendar wall. We also had some major work done on the bathroom and got a new stove! I will try to get some pictures of the house on facebook soon.

Eating here has been kinda interesting. Right now our fridge in our apartment is not really that cold... more like a slight chill. So good for juice and bread, not so good for yogurt, sauces, meat, cheese... and our freezer is downright warm. Not good. We called the duena and hopefully this will get fixed this week. Right now my yogurt is sitting in a crate out on the porch because it is colder out there than in our fridge. I feel like the pioneers. I just went grocery shopping but could only get things that don't need refrigeration. I am really tired of pasta and had a hard time buying soup because I don't know what some of labels say. I also really miss mexican food. I want some Matta's when I get home. Also my bedframe is coming on Monday! No more mattress on the floor!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I miss the sound of your voice

Things are slowly getting to a start around here. We have all been in school for about 2 weeks now. I feel like I am learning a lot, but I am still anxious about speaking in Spanish. I need to find a way to not be afraid to make mistakes. I'm trying to think about it as not just learning a language, but as an act of worship.

This week is the start of our ministry season. Typically we will have 3 events a week, but this week we just have one to get us started. Wednesday night we are having a pancake dinner- In English! yay! Typically on Wed night we have cafe ingles, but for this first one, we wanted it to be special to celebrate the end of finals for the Spanish students and the beginning of the year for us.

Next week we will be going full swing. Every Tuesday we have a lunchtime event called Tertulia. Its basically a free lunch for the university students, time to hang out and meet other students and there will be a 10 min gospel lesson. Its "first time" oriented, intended for anyone who is interested in what we are all about. On wednesday night, like I said, we will be having cafe ingles. Its name is pretty self explanatory- english coffee. We give out free coffee and tea and give spanish students a chance to practice english with us. Its possible that we may never talk about Jesus or the Bible on these nights and that is ok. Its just a chance to meet new people, get them interested in the ministry and try to minister by example. Every other Thurs we have a bible study/worship night at the house. This is for the people in the ministry looking to go a little deeper. On the weeks we do not have bible study, there is a leadership group that meets with the staff while the non-leadership students get to hang out somewhere else with the exchange students- woot woot! On Sundays we go to a local Christian church. Not going to lie, its a little rough right now. Its a lot of older men who do the speaking (their Spanish is typically harder to understand than younger adults and students) and the worship is all hymns that I don't know in English, much less in Spanish. Every once in a while we will get to one that I at least know the tune of (How great is our God! Yes!). I'm hoping it gets easier as my Spanish continues to improve, but for now, thank God for 3F podcasts :)

Things are starting to get into a routine around here. 2 of the girls in our apt have morning classes, and Koral and I have afternoon. It makes it nice because then everyone gets some time in quiet to do homework or whatever. We were all assigned our "jobs" for the semester (although I am sure we will pick up more as time allows). I am in charge of writing a newsletter for all of us to send out to family/friends/supporters, so be on the lookout for that! I am also helping with all the grocery shopping for En Vivo, which as you might imagine is a lot, and doing the chalkboard wall in the house once a week. I will also be doing some stuff with the band as a rotation allows. I'm going to try to get Koral to record it so I can get it up on facebook for everyone to see.

Alright... I have a newsletter to write. :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Living in Europe is weird. I feel really detached from my emotions here and not really sure how to deal. Its weird that I left less than 2 weeks ago. In some ways it feels like I just got here, and in others I feel like I have been gone forever. I told someone before I got back to Spain that I felt like part of my heart was still in Salamanca and I needed to go finish my job here. Now I feel like I have that part back, but I left big parts of it behind in AZ too.

Having an interesting time living with 3 other girls. Its a very small apartment and Mer and I are sharing a room. I still don't have a bedframe (hopefully this will be fixed this week). 4 girls with 1 shower is a crazy arrangement. I love my team so much, but its not the same as having the people around who have known me for longer and just understand me. Koral and I are developing a sort of telepathy with eachother, which is cool and I think Meredith and I are going to be really close. Got to go... exchange student dinner in a bit, and I have to finish cooking.

Thank you to all of you who have been emailing/facebooking/etc, it really means a lot to me and I appreciate it so much. You all always know exactly when I need some love.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Once again- sorry about the delay in updating. We don't have internet at our apartment, so I only have it when I am at En Vivo and they have been keeping us pretty busy for our first couple of days. Today we had our placement tests for classes and then we were sent on a crazy scavenger hunt all over the city. Keep in mind that temps today ranged from 0 to -6 degrees Celsius!

Well, school starts tomorrow for exchange students (all of the Spanish kids are in final exams from last trimester- they start school again at the end of january) We should be starting activities at the ministry soon and I will have lots to talk about once that starts. I have 2 hours of Spanish every day and once hour of culture of Spain everyday. I am in the highest group in the lowest level Spanish... I have jokingly been calling it Espanol para ninos (spanish for children). My speaking is getting better already, but I didn't do so well on the written part of the test. No shock there.

Well. It is after midnight here and I still need to walk home in the freezing cold. If anyone has skype, look me up on there so we can talk when I am online! love you all!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hey Everybody!

Sorry that it took me so long to update, we have just been crazy running around our first couple of days. We spent a few days in Madrid just being lost and looking like American tourists. Saw a lot of cool old stuff.

We arrived in Salamanca yesterday. Our apartment is small and kinda old. It is obvious that boys lived there before us because it was DIRTY! Meredith and I are sharing a room... 4 girls in a 3 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath apt. We are all safe and going to start testing for school tomorrow.

Will update more soon!