Wednesday 30 November 2011

(22/30) It was a dark and stormy night

You know how when you're around the campfire telling ghost stories and such, and the story always starts out,"it was a dark and stormy night? That came from somewhere. And it came from a book called Paul Clifford,  by Edward Bulwer-Lytton.

The whole sentence actually reads, "It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness." Wow.  A sentence like that is called purple prose. Purple prose basically describes a style of writing that's so over the top, it pulls you out of the story and you find yourself scratching your head and saying. No, im not smart but apparently i DID learn something in the three writing classes i took incollege! =)

I have a twisted sense of humor, so I find these hilarious. And I've been inspired to try my hand at my own purple prose. It's surprisingly difficult to come up with on purpose!

Mrs. McCarthy's khaki-colored dachshund/poodle mix, a dachsoodle, if you will, acquired a hungry gleam in his eye, much like the zoo-bound polar bear had when he caught sight of the pretty young zookeeper/breakfast, every time he saw the bag of 100% organic kibble waiting for him in the laundry room, which smelled exactly like you might imagine. 

When Dax, the surfer-dude turned wannabe litigation attorney with a penchant for Skoal chewing tobacco, leaned in for a kiss, Jill couldn't help but wonder if the churning class five hurricane of stomach acid raging deep in her belly, warring with the cheese quesadillas and churros she'd had for lunch, was a result of his Hersheys-and-cream colored gaze or his breath.

Tears, saltier than the Dead Sea and heavier than a thousand anvils, tore a jagged path down Ella's rose petal cheek, only serving to remind her that her pain could not be drowned by a thousand mocha frappucinos as she had hoped. 

Light slashed through the crack in the doorway like a knife through the throat of one of Jack the Ripper's victims, illuminating Carrie's soul-slaughtering sense of guilt as she downed just one more spoonful of Neapolitan Dynamite. 

Tuesday 29 November 2011

(21/30) Finding my voice

No, I'm not talking about trying to find my voice in a sea of other people, making an impact on my world, and blah blah blah.

I'm talking about my voice. Here. On this teeny tiny little blog.

You don't know how long I sit here and stare at this stupid blank box trying to figure out how to start a new post. How to make it sound like I actually have a life. (I don't. Most of the time. I'm okay with that.)

Nine times out of ten, I'm really tempted to start things off middle school English class style with an opening paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. You know, something like: "Three very exciting things happened to me today. First, I woke up before my alarm clock went off. Second, it was so cold in my bedroom i could see my breath. Lastly, my hair is finally long enough not use anything but i pony tail holder to hold it back. These are all life-changing circumstances."

Other times I feel like I should write like I'm writing to a diary,and even though i constantly keep a journal or diary... i am not about to post something from there! I did, however, keep a journal when i was younger, which i am sure you would LOVE to read... Mostly something like, "That mean kid barked at me in history class again today. Only 4,723 days left of high school. I would rather be at camp." 

And of course I suffer from blog envy. I subscribe to many a blog, and they all update in my feed reader, so I see a lot of different perspectives. A lot of people write wildly hilarious things in their blogs and people read them, then post thousands of comments about how clever the writer of said blog is. And I sigh, and wish I had something wildly hilarious to write about. But, alas, this is the real world.  I go grocery shopping (sometimes). I have a dog who thinks she is human and snoring right next to me.  I clean clean my house while listening to "Phantom of the Opera". Doesn't get much more exciting, folks.

Anyways, back to my voice. I am going to try to get better at this blogging thing... although, i have been impressed with my ability to come up with something to say everyday... even though it hasn't been very profound OR comical.... maybe one day!

Monday 28 November 2011

(20/30) Expectations

Expectations: we all have them.  We expect certain behavior from the people we are around. We expect our friend to understand.  We expect the sun will rise tomorrow.  

I do my level best to live my life to please the Lord.  As a result, I can usually handle peoples expectations of me.  Where I struggle is expectations others have of me that I am not even aware of…unspoken requirements that silently guide the relationship.  While I may not be aware of these requirements, I sure know when I have not lived up to them.  How many different ways do we let others know when they have let us down? 

I didn't call when I should have. I didn't respond the way they thought I should. There are honestly times I feel I should be apologizing for not being perfect!  I do not claim to be…I do not try to be. I know it is not possible but it sometimes seems others expect it.  With so many people expecting so many different things, it is only a matter of time before I offend or hurt someone's feelings, not intentionally, but because I am human

Sunday 27 November 2011

(19/30) one liner

This is all i have to say:

Don't let other people's expectations masquerade as God's will.

Saturday 26 November 2011

(18/30) Nothing to say

It's not that i do not have ANYTHING to say... its that everything i currently am thinking about i cant seem to put into words.
So, this blog is short.

But, i am glad to finally be back home. I feel like i just did a TON of traveling the last 8 days.... ahhh my dog and my bed!

Friday 25 November 2011

(17/30) Be bold

Exodus 3:1-6:

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.

So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush,
“Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are stand-
ing is holy ground.”

Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. (TNIV)

What struck me was verse five, when God tells Moses to take off his sandals. He didn’t want him to have anything manmade on him, nothing crafted by man’s hands, because the ground was holy.

Holy ground required just bare skin. Just himself.

That’s when I really feel naked. God wants me bare before Him. None of the stuff I’ve made for myself, none of the attitudes and accomplishments that make up the things around me. Just me. The girl I really am.

My life is not pretty, but He wants me bare when I come before Him. He reallywants to see just me.

This, I think, is true prayer—when I’m completely, utterly, only myself before God. This is when He can speak to me, because both He and I can see me for who I really am.

When I spend time with God I want to be bold. Be bare. Be naked. 

i just won't post pictures. ;)

Thursday 24 November 2011

(16/30) It is all about me?

The LORD has made everything for his own purposes, even the wicked for a day of disaster.  Proverbs 16:4

Everything for HIS PURPOSES.


Then why do I live as if it's all for me?  As if everything within my small sphere of influence is about me?  Pride?  Selfishness?  That's the root of such an attitude, but how do we change it?  How do we dig out that ugly thing at it's source?  What needs to happen in order to experience a significant shift in our thinking?

Somehow we've got to start seeing everything and everyone around us as a reflection of God.  We've got to start looking for Him.  Expecting to see Him.  We've got to take God out of our little Sunday morning box and give Him free reign in our lives.  The things that happen each moment are not by random chance.  Not merely an inconvenience or interruption to our 'to-do' list, but a sacred, God-appointed moment.  A chance to see Him and to live fully in that moment.  How often does that ugly root of pride and selfishness blind me and I miss it? 

Nothing is about me and yet everything is.  I want to change live in such a way that I see God and His purposes everywhere.  Certainly not an easy task because it goes completely against the "all about me" sin nature.  Only God himself can continue to strip away those selfish parts and help me to see things His way.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

(14/30) Lavished Grace

Sometimes grace is simply having the strength to take another breath. It’s God in the valley, His promise of all things good the only glimmer of light in a seemingly endless fog.
But sometimes — ah, sometimes! — grace is the extravagance. The exceeding abundance of an unexpected gift, beyond what you ever asked or thought. It’s the absurd imbalance of unmerited favor — when you know the very best you can hope to give is less than infinitesimal, and suddenly He’s giving to you good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, and poured into your lap.
It’s what happens when a master artist creates, and a generous benefactor seeks to bless, and the one who receives feels himself utterly unworthy, bows low and worships the one true Giver, returning the blessing whence it came.
It’s God’s lavish grace.
And it’s free.

Monday 21 November 2011

(13/30) Hidden Things

For years, I've read the same books to start my day. One of them, by Oswald Chambers, had a pretty cool message for me this week. I'm paraphrasing. He says envy, jealousy, and strife are attitudes/emotions that can sneak up inside us and cause trouble. He says allowing them to hang out in our hearts can cause shame.

Of the three--envy, jealousy, and strife--one catches me over and over. STRIFE.

Another day this week, he writes about "... this simplicity that is in Christ." 2 Corinthians 11:3. Chambers shares that even the smallest thought not under the control of the Holy Spirit can cause spiritual confusion. 

A life of simplicity sounds pretty good to me. 

If I begin to guard my heart against envy, jealousy, and especially strife would life become simpler?

I'm thinking so. 

Day One. November 21, 2011. Guarding my heart and mind against strife.

Sunday 20 November 2011

(12/30) Gleanings

Remember Ruth. Young, widowed, foreign, she humbled herself to gather bits and scraps in a stranger’s field, meager sustenance to care for a beloved mother-in-law. She had no dreams of grandeur, but sought to live in obedient surrender to the highest good she knew.
Your people will be my people, and your God my God.
And so He was. She gleaned in barley fields, unaware that a redeemer protected and provided, never guessing that in a field far hence, Fruit would spring forth to feed the whole world’s desperate need. She received unexpected gifts of noble husband, comfortable home, and baby son. Ruth, once destitute, foreign, bereaved — was renamed. Adopted. Favored. Beloved.
But that’s not all. What she didn’t know was what would be.
Ruth, the great-great grandmother of King David.
Ruth, the ancestor of Jesus Christ.
We glean what we see, these bits and pieces He pulls from His sheaves, and precious are the unexpected gifts He gives. But that’s not all. What we don’t know is what will be.
May we be comforted in our smallness, laying aside dreams of grandeur, and humbly doing the work He gives in the field of His choosing.
May we remember Ruth, and live in obedient surrender to the highest good we know.
And may we rejoice in what we don’t know. There is a Redeemer who sees, protects, and provides, and He is preparing a harvest far hence. In the heart of God, what will be already is.
And with that hope, I bow low to gather another ear of grain.

Saturday 19 November 2011

(11/30) What dreams may come

Dreams fascinate me. In the Bible, God sometimes spoke through dreams, and I believe He still does on occasion. Dreams can also be symbolic. Just ask Freud. (Or, better yet, don’t. I have a traumatic memory from when I was thirteen and I made the mistake of telling my mom about a frightening dream I couldn’t seem to shake off. She proceeded to give me the “a knife may not represent a knife” speech. The only positive outcome from our conversation was that my early-adolescent horror over her interpretation banished any lingering fears from the dream.)
Some people’s dreams are vivid and deep and complicated. Mine are... all of them! I seem to remember all of the dreams i have ever had... in great detail. When i tell someone my dreams (which i don't normally do) It is like I am telling the entire plot line of an epic movie. Sometimes they are scary, sometimes funny, sometimes weird... well alot of times weird and some people marvel at the fact i can remember all those details.
Actually, sometimes i wish i didn't remember them.
But, for some reason, God has allowed me to remember every detail of all of my dreams. 
Last night i had a very unusual dream. Usually they are very real, very real life ... But, his morning I awoke and realized I’d had a somewhat “literary” dream. (I use the term loosely. Very.) The main character of my dream was an author and playwright who was locked in conflict with her publisher. It seems she’d promised her daughter that she would name a character after her in all her books and plays. This might not have been such a big deal had the daughter’s name been Ann or Mary. But her name was Utopia. The publisher argued that Utopia was too unusual a name to reappear in multiple books and plays, but the author wasn't backing down. She’d made a promise, and even if it meant losing some contracts, she meant to keep it.
In the dream I was inclined to side with the author, but as I recall, I suggested perhaps she might call her daughter by a nickname and then use that name in her works. The obvious nickname I suggested was “Bob.”
Guess the dream will remain an unsolved mystery. Unless you understand it!

Friday 18 November 2011

(10/30) Not what, but why

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him.” Mark 3:1,2
Sometimes when I’m reading the Bible, the Holy Spirit smacks me right between the eyes, my mouth drops open, and I marvel again at this remarkable Word and its power to pierce, expose, instruct, convict, and heal me.
“And they watched Jesus.”
They watched Jesus. They watched Jesus! Very God of very God, right there in their synagogue, and they, the Pharisees — the ones who knew scripture, who read it, studied it, memorized it — had this amazing opportunity to hear Him teach and watch Him in action.
What could possibly be bad about that?

Thursday 17 November 2011

(9/30) In Everything Give Thanks

Since it is the season to give thanks for all the wonderful things God has allowed us to have, i thought today's blog would just be a simple list of the first things that came to mind as i sit on my couch. I could go on all night
Psalm 107:1 "give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever."
Psalm 69:30 "I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving."
I am thankful for...
... my God... the one who sustains me.
...good health.
... hot showers.... usually ;)
... facebook... the way i keep in contact with people who don't live near me.
... the kindness of strangers
... the trash truck
... the little things. like... the little grasshopper or the shape of the clouds or the one star i could see last night.
... the smell of fresh-baked bread... even if i can't eat it.
... the cool day today where i open the windows and pretend its fall in Nebraska.
... for being challenged everyday
... i am thankful for everything in my past because it has made me who i am today.
... snuggling up on the couch reading the next chapter of my book. 
... the fact my best friend flew thousands of miles to visit me this past week.
...friends who encourage, listen and laugh.
...the ability to learn something new. 
... my dog. She may be crazy but she is my baby.
... my friends and family in the states... I miss them all, but they all support me no matter what.
... the people i have gotten to know in Mexico. There are some amazing people here.
... fleece blankets and how warm they are on cold nights.
... the indulgence of a second cup of coffee in the morning.

...the simple things in life.  They truly make life worthwhile!

Wednesday 16 November 2011

(8/30) now. then.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. ~Genesis 50:20
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~Jeremiah 29:11
The whole time Joseph was a slave and prisoner…God saw him as second in command over Egypt.
When Ruth was a homeless, barren widow…God saw her settled, a wife, and grandmother to His Son.
When Lazarus was wrapped in grave clothes…God saw him breathing new life.
When David was running for his life…God saw him running Israel.
When Paul crucified Christians…God saw him preaching the crucified Christ.
When Sarai beat Hagar…God saw her beating her jealousy, pride and doubt with the birth of Isaac.
When Esther was an orphaned girl shaking in fear for her life…God saw His daughter shaking the kindgom and saving the lives of His people.
When Rahab welcomed men into the shelter of her bed…God saw her sheltering the spies on her roof.
When Peter lost faith and denied Christ…God saw him bringing many to faith in Christ.
When Moses killed with his own hands…God saw him chiseling the Ten Commandments with those same hands.
When Mary Magdalene saw Jesus die…God saw Him resurrected and seated on His heavenly throne!
Oh what God can’t reverse, redeem, restore, revive, renew!
i love that God can take anything and make it good.

(7/30) Start of Something New

This is attempt number 4 to post this blog! (Apparently, when someone in my house uses skype, it kicks everyone else off the internet.)

Anyways, we started painting our coffee shop yesterday! Thanks to Erin and David we got most of at least the first layer done! 
More pictures to come soon!

Monday 14 November 2011

(6/30) Basilica de Guadalupe

We went to the Basilica de Guadalupe today. I don't necessarily enjoy going there because it makes me so sad to see all the worshiping of false gods. 
But, it does remind me of why I am here and how my heart broke the first time i went there.

“You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Exodus 20:3-6

Sunday 13 November 2011

(5/30) Control

One of the many lessons that God has been teaching me that last, oh i would say year is how i say that I want Him to be in control of my life... and then i somehow try to be in control again. Here comes the light bulb moment…the only way for God to be IN control of my life is for me to be OUT of control of my life.  Seems simple enough.  I want to relinquish complete control to Him and to His will and yet how often do I attempt to take back the reigns, to do it my way…all too often I'm afraid.  Being “out of control” is not something I do well.

There is no doubt He has my best interest at heart and can do an immeasurably better job than I can at running my life.  Who am I to think I know whats best?  While I know these things to be true, the first sign of trouble sends me running to those old ways. control it. fix it. make it right.   I am learning daily to live my life with hands open and raised to Him, not clenched and held tightly to my heart.  By giving up control of my life, I am gaining a peace that passes all understanding and learning to walk more closely with the One who truly is in control.

Saturday 12 November 2011

short but sweet

Dear friends who actually read this here blog!

I am not going to write much because in true Mexican fashion, we had a full day of expectant surprises. I was able to go to Taxco with some friends from here and Erin (she is visiting!!!!).

We got to experience alot of things "Mexican". .. Traffic, two funeral processions, a wedding at a big catholic church, some parade for a saint, little mexican shops.... It was all great except for the first gross tacos I have had since being here!

Anyways, thats all you get tonight. Goodnight all!

Friday 11 November 2011

(3/30) PRIDE!

Has there ever been a lesson in your life that you feel like you keep having to learn over and over and over? That’s how I feel about pride. I feel like God has been teaching me this lesson all my life.

Pride is anything that exalts yourself—whether over or under exalted. It is anything that focuses on “me”. It can masquerade itself it many different masks. Did you realize that low self-esteem is pride? Beth Moore said, “Pride is self-absorption whether we’re absorbed with how miserable we are or how wonderful we are.” What else does pride look like? 

“I feel under appreciated. Once again, another guy has passed me up. Why don’t they pick me? Everyone else seems to think that I am so pretty and so funny. Why don’t they see what everybody else sees? I just don’t get it.” 

“I lost another game. I don’t understand why I keep losing. I am good at this sport. I have the best on the team, yet I can’t win many matches. The girl who beat me has one of the worst on the team. How did this happen?”

“I am always the one doing all the work. Does my boss see me? Does he think I do a good job? I don’t think anyone appreciates me!”

“She is so much prettier than me. She is more outgoing than me, and she has a boyfriend. I am “nothing”. I want people to notice ME.” 

These are all thoughts I have had throughout the years. Maybe yours haven’t been about guys or a sport, but they could be about anything you feel you deserved but didn’t get to have. Or perhaps you felt underappreciated. But, it’s a sign of pride. Pride can creep into your life undetected. I never knew what pride looked like until after college. I had heard countless messages on the subject, but it was only head knowledge and not heart knowledge. These thoughts have filled my mind lately. Therefore, I have been trying to renew my mind to the truth. 

"My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
I cheat you of your God-given destiny...because you demand your own way.
I cheat you of contentment...because you“deserve better than this.”
I cheat you of knowledge...because you already know it all.
I cheat you of healing...because you’re too full of me to forgive.
I cheat you of holiness...because you refuse to admit when you’re wrong.
I cheat you of genuine friendship...because nobody’s going to know the real you.
I cheat you of love...because real romance demands sacrifice.
I cheat you of greatness in heaven...because you refuse to wash another’s feet on earth.
I cheat you of God’s glory...because I convince you to seek your own.
My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
You like me because you think I’m always looking out for you. Untrue.
I’m looking to make a fool of you.
God has so much for you, I admit, but don’t worry...
If you stick with me you’ll never know." 

Thursday 10 November 2011

(2/30) forgiveness


Sometimes when people talk about this—okay, often—I let it go. It flies through my head and right back out. I forgive people! I don’t hold grudges! But on closer inspection, that’s just not true. Just because I have the ability to be reasonably kind to someone who has “wronged” me, doesn’t mean that I’ve really let it go, that I’ve truly forgiven.

A conversation with a friend who was talking about trying to forgive her dad the other day made me take a second look at my unforgiveness. Does this word apply to me? Do I not let things go like I think I do? Have I not forgiven those who have hurt me in the past? I firmly believe that unforgiveness can take its toll on the body, just like anxiety (another control issue) can.

It's not only the big things (like someone stealing something or someone you trusted hurt you), it is also the small things (someone who stands you up, or someone who said something that hurt your feelings).

In Matthew 18: 22-35, Jesus tells Peter that he has to forgive to infinity and beyond. “No, dude, you can’t just forgive once, twice, three times. You must always forgive.” (My translation.) In fact, Jesus lays it on the line and reminds us all how serious it is. He tells the story of a servant who begged his king to forgive him and let his debt go. The king took pity on him. But THEN the king found out that the servant turned around and refused to show someone else mercy. So the King THOROUGHLY punished the servant. Jesus says, “This is how God will treat you if you don’t totally forgive from your heart.”

God commands us to forgive. But he also understands the cost and the pain that goes with it. But with forgiveness, comes the healing that you need to be whole.

I pray that I (and whoever is reading this) can let go of whatever I am still holding on to. I don't ever want unforgiveness to eat at me.  I used to know a person that would say, “Don’t let those people live rent-free in your head.” Translation: "Don’t give those people permission to remain in your head and poison your mind, your thoughts, your health, and your walk with God."

Wednesday 9 November 2011

28 things ive learned this year

In no particular order...

1. I am shocked by how much I LOVE reading my kindle. There are things I miss, like flipping through pages when I'm in search of something, but I still really enjoy the reading experience. And I love how I can go from thinking, "I want to read that book," to actually reading this book within about 2 minutes.

2.I love blogging... even though i don't do it much. I still have the dream to write a book someday

3. That being out of high school for 10 years doesn't feel as long as you might imagine. When I graduated back in 2001, 10 years sounded like plenty of time to turn into the fabulous adult I was hoping to be. And I thought i would have the american dream by now - husband, babies, a successful career (and now i realize i dont want the american dream!) - I still have lots of days where I feel like I'm just pretending to be an adult. Maybe by the time my 20 year reunion rolls around, the whole adult thing will feel more normal.

4. When you make coffee in a French press, you're supposed to mix it up with that plunger thingy before you let it brew. I've been making it wrong for years.

5.  I learned people used to brush their teeth with boar-bristled toothbrushes. Um, disgusting. "Nothing like cleaning your teeth the hair from the back of a pig's neck!"

6. I really become obsessed with books. I have read 73 books so far this year (on the previously mentioned kindle). I read all of Karen Kingsbury books, some Jane Austin, some Ravi Zacharias, random novels, Timothy Keller etc etc. 

7. I have a tendency to avoid conflict. I'm learning that's not about wanting to keep the peace, but rather it's a self-esteem issue for me. Will people still like me if I disagree with them? If I tell them I'm mad, will they still think I'm a nice person? Sigh. Lots of work left to be done on this girl...

8. Learning a new language is hard! I have had lots of "AH HA" moments!

9. I am a very texture oriented eater. I have eaten some things here in Mexico that i just can't choke down!

10. True friendship continues to grow, even over a long distance. And the people who truly care will keep in touch.

11. motel mattresses are better on the side away from the phone... no one thinks about that!

12. You will never find someone who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.

13. I can crack an egg with just one hand, which was born out of necessity when i was babysitting a kid and he was  on my hip while i was baking.

14. I watched the Ken Burns documentary on baseball, so I have absorbed a crazy amount of baseball knowledge in the last year. Like that whole thing about Babe Ruth calling his shot is a huge controversy. And that the Kansas City Monarchs dominated the negro leagues. And that there's no official creator of baseball, that it evolved from a couple different games.

15.Fear of failure is a ticket to mediocrity. If you’re not failing from time to time, you’re not pushing yourself. And if you’re not pushing yourself, you’re coasting

16.Explore the world on your own. Don't always believe how the media portrays places. 

17.I don't NEED or really WANT things. I had a pretty good concept of this before, but now, i actually feel that less is better!

18. Running is something you can learn to enjoy. Even though i am not good at it, or do it enough... i enjoy getting out and running a mile or two a few times a week. If you would have told me a year ago i would like running, i would have laughed!

19. Have fun, and don't sweat the small stuff. Life's too short to fill it with silly worries.

20.That I am too Independent. I never thought saying I was independent was anything but a amazing attribute to have. 

21. God really is BIG Yes, i have know this BUT not to the extent that I do now! The process of support raising, moving to a different country, and leaving everything that was normal has made me dependent on God in ways i have never had to. 

22.Pacifier is not a universal phrase.  My favorites are a "dummy" which is in Australia or a "suck" which is in Denmark.

23. I finally picked up Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. It's been out for a few years, but for some reason I never read it. There's great stuff in there. I wish I had read it years ago.

24.  People from the US, generally speaking, have no idea what a community is. And once i saw what true community is, i don't want to live without it.

25. One tea light candle can go a long way. I have spent a couple evenings under the light of one tea light; reading, doodling , writing etc. 

26. Satan is a pro at whispering in your ear. If there’s an opportunity for him to interject a discouraging thought, he’s all over it.  

27.Being content with slowing down and not being so time minded. Yes, i am a person who in the states NEVER slowed down, was NEVER late, and NEVER thought i was doing enough. But, i am learning to really enjoy people and things it is better to take a breath, relax and not worry about the clock.

28. Living in a different culture always has its suprises. Some of them are great and some of them are hard to grasp... but you learn to live with them and love them!