thoughts from my bathroom mirror. pt 1.

This morning I had a moment in front of the mirror. Mid-bobby pin, I was thinking of all the sweetness of love and encouragement my friends and family have given me lately.

Kenzy texted me this morning to say how excited she is with the Saturday forecast. Randyl texted me to ask if I need a coffee or moment of normal. Maria asked me how she can pray for me. Rose came over to my house early in the morning to alter my dress. Emily and Joann let me crash on their couch numerous times before I can move in with Isaac. My bridesmaids are all getting work shifts off, driving hours to get here, and giving all their time this weekend to help however they can.

I COULD GO ON. This is the Emmy acceptance speech I’ll never get to give; let me have this.

After running down this list of sweetness this morning, I opened up Oswald Chamber’s Utmost devotion today. “Pouring out the water of satisfaction.” And it was perfect.

“So the three mighty men broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the Lord.”-2 Samuel 23:16

In 2 Samuel, David is at the cave of Adullam and is thirsty. Like really thirsty. The water brought back to him would have been so physically refreshing to him, but he knew the risk his men had taken to get it. He had just received this physical blessing of water, along with the blessing of men who put aside their own safety/comfort for his. As the water represented their sacrifice, he poured it out to God. It was too great for him to keep. We’re often given the gift of “friendship, love, or other spiritual blessings.” (Chambers) We are given so much by our Father. He is generous, extravagant, and rich in love. But it is not just for our own benefit but for His glory.

“As soon as I realize that something is too wonderful for me, that I am not worthy to receive it, and that it is not meant for a human being at all, I must pour it out ‘to the Lord.’” –Chambers.

This love and encouragement from my friends during “wedding week” and so many other weeks is one of these gifts. Too wonderful for me, something beyond what I’m worthy of, something resulting from Christ’s work in my friends. His love, grace, humility, and truth radiate from many people around me and reveal more of His glory to me. And that’s His work; so this is His gift.

“If you have become bitter and sour, it is because when God gave you a blessing you hoarded it. Yet if you had poured it out to Him, you would have been the sweetest person on earth. If you are always keeping blessings to yourself and never learning to pour out anything “to the Lord,” other people will never have their vision of God expanded through you.” –Chambers.

 

Florence Week One.

We got to Italy last Wednesday and it’s been a whirlwind since. Emily and I flew into Rome, took a bus to the train station, took a train to Florence, walked 60+ pounds of luggage up and down windy streets and FINALLY got our housing assignment. We met up with Delaney and Eileen and got to our apartment that night. It is small but has wonderful perks including a cozy patio off the bedrooms, mosquito screens, and a toaster? Everyday I get a little more comfortable here.

Florence is extremely confusing to me, since every street looks the same BUT today I wandered around mapless and found my way home, so progress is on its way?

We have pretty much spent our days exploring the city. Highlights include::

-Trip to the central market (basically a giant indoor farmers market) for fresh fruit, biscottis, and olive oil.

-More than one trip for gelato. One shop has an employee with the most ridiculous rat tail in all the world. We like to get gelato and sit on the steps of the Duomo (you can see it from our apartment…it’s about a 5 minute walk!) and people watch. People are really weird and watching them and making up back stories for their lives is one of my all time favorite hobbies.

-Morning run around Florence. The city is most beautiful in the morning I think. It was cool outside, so quiet, and really peaceful.

-Quiet times out on our patio.

-Dinner with friends out on the patio. Mostly anything on the patio is great.

-Mass at San Miniato al Monte and enjoying the incredible view afterwards.

-Roommate dinners.

-Skype dates with Isaac.

I’m not sure if Florence is exactly what I pictured, but I’ve loved a lot of moments since being here. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned so far has been trusting in the provision and protection of the Lord. I think it will be a daily decision to choose trust and peace, and it’s good. Once again, I feel like a year has passed in a week. It’s wild to think it hasn’t even been a week in Italy yet. So excited to make Florence my home for a while and see all that unfolds this semester.

 

Da Duomo. It really has not gotten any less beautiful. Every time I see it, I appreciate it so much.

Da Duomo. It really has not gotten any less beautiful. Every time I see it, I appreciate it so much.

IMG_0315

Overwhelming cheese options at the market. Beautiful, I knowwww.

IMG_0319

My front door. There are about 6 deadbolts to get into my actual apartment. Don’t know if that’s comforting or unsettling. Both I think.

IMG_0324

Two of my cute roommates.

IMG_0334

Dinner party set up.

IMG_0363

Our view after church. Breathtaking. I needed that hike to see the beauty in Florence. When you get away from the tourist sections, the town is gorgeous and peaceful and at its best.

em1

I get to live with the greatest girls. This is San Miniato al Monte. It sits on top of the hill with the view above.

em2

America’s Next Top Model. I think I just got eliminated.

em3

Even the Lorenzo de Medici cafeteria is beautiful.

em4

Dinner party with friends 🙂

walk-eileen

Making the trek back home.

 

The last few pictures were stolen from Emily and Eileen. Check out all my roommates blogs/pictures because they are all so beautiful and hip and real in, okay.

Emily.

Eileen.

Delaney.

 

Ireland.

Advice from me to you: Keep up on your blogs and journals. Every day. I have been overwhelmed with trying to find time to journal all that’s happening, contact people back home, and finally show pictures/blog on my trip so far. My new motto has involuntarily become “I’ll do that tomorrow.” So first, here’s whassup with Ireland.

I left Omaha on August 20th and flew to Dublin, Ireland. Big shout out to Deb Schmidt who drove me to the airport, hauled home extra clothes because my suitcase weighed too much, bought me a Panera farewell breakfast, AND supplied me with great pepper spray. Big blessing. Emily, Paige, and Chelsie are these cute girls in the pictures below who I got to spend the week with. We flew from Omaha–>Newark–>Dublin and arrived at 7 am Ireland time. We arrived at our hostel only to find out we had to wait until 3 pm to check in. Sooooo we locked up our luggage and sleepily wandered the town for a bit. Espresso and the chilly wind helped some, but we were pretty out of it. The next three days we spent exploring the city. There were some fun gems, like a garden we found (full of gorgeous flowers, green grass, and paths winding around the park), St. Patricks Cathedral, and the Dublin Castle. We also had fun going to a few pubs and finding out Irish men really do just love to drink beer and laugh loud. But…for the most part….Dublin is not great. After we told some friends we weren’t loving it, we heard lots of “Oh yeah, I’ve heard Dublin is really dark and not that great.” And my reply would be: where were all you advice-giving friends before??! I feel it is my duty as a friend to get the word out on this city: take a day trip in and walk around for a bit. See some shopping, get a beer, and then leave before the clock strikes midnight. Scary ish goes down and you’ll smell like cigarettes and sadness for a week plus.

We stayed in Dublin through Friday night, and then on Saturday morning, we traveled by train to Bantry. Our friend, Amy, picked us up and took us to her house in Durrus. She had studied abroad in Ireland a few years ago, fell in love with an Irish man, and now they live in Durrus. I think they’re making a movie about her life soon. I can’t even explain how much I loved that weekend. It was the best way to see Ireland and how beautiful it really is. We got to relax in their beautiful home, explore their small town, visit a local church, picnic with friends after, and watch movies with warm tea and cookies. Dream life. Amy and her husband Rob have been able to host a Bible study in their home and are involved in their church. Their discipleship and faithfulness has already produced visible fruit, and it was exciting to hear the ways they are being used in a their country.

After the amazing week, we headed back to Dub-city and listened to “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” on repeat on the bus. (Just kidding.) We checked into a new hostel…which was just a taaaad unsettling. I slept with my wallet, passport, and laptop in my pillow. And that’s all I’ll say. But we didn’t spend much time there or in the city. Tuesday we spent the day traveling to Limerick and Shannon, Ireland. We saw the Cliffs of Moher, Burren National Park, and the city of Doolin. Burren National Park was breathtaking. Sitting on the cliffs and overlooking the ocean was kind of an indescribable moment. Ireland really is a beautiful place, and it was a peaceful moment to take in beauty and appreciate the work of our Father so much.

Wednesday we got up real early. (3:45) We took a cab to the airport, grabbed some coffee, and took off for Italy! Italy updates are on the way.

You’d think such a simple update would be easy to fit in any old day. You’d be wrong. Pistachio gelato is a really needy friend…it calls for a lot of my time and attention…

Off to Europe! We all got to meet up and spend time in the Omaha airport before splitting up for two separate flights. By "spend time" I mean "figure out how to get luggage to 50 pounds."

Off to Europe! We all got to meet up and spend time in the Omaha airport before splitting up for two separate flights. By “spend time” I mean “figure out how to get luggage to 50 pounds.”

 

Emily and I have decided against taking a trip to Pisa, Italy, just to do this classic pose next to the leaning tower. So we improvised with St. Patricks Cathedral. Midwest girls: always thinkin ahead.

Emily and I have decided against taking a trip to Pisa, Italy, just to do this classic pose next to the leaning tower. So we improvised with St. Patricks Cathedral. Midwest girls: always thinkin ahead.

 

Gardens in Dublin. It's saving grace.

Gardens in Dublin. It’s saving grace.

 

Amy and Rob's kitchen window :) I had only been gone for three days, but it felt extremely peaceful to rest in a home for a weekend.

Amy and Rob’s kitchen window 🙂 I had only been gone for three days, but it felt extremely peaceful to rest in a home for a weekend.

 

Crossing the creek to our Sunday picnic spot. We got sandwiches (called rolls in Ireland) and had chocolate cake for dessert. Ireland was pretty chilly but the sun came out for our afternoon on the creek.

Crossing the creek to our Sunday picnic spot. We got sandwiches (called rolls in Ireland) and had chocolate cake for dessert. Ireland was pretty chilly but the sun came out for our afternoon on the creek.

 

Chelsie, Emily, Amy, Myself, and Paige. We wanted to cover the full spectrum of hair color…no shade left behind.

Chelsie, Emily, Amy, Myself, and Paige. We wanted to cover the full spectrum of hair color…no shade left behind.

 

Cliffs of Moher.

Cliffs of Moher.

 

Burren National Park.

Burren National Park. “Oh did you just take a picture of me casually laughing on a cliff? I didn’t notice. But I’m always casually laughing on a cliff so that’s probably why.”

 

Off to Italy!! We packed light……...

Off to Italy!! We packed light………

 

on to the next one.

well, the time is here. i’m leaving tomorrow afternoon for europe. ireland for one week, then on to florence until december. it has been a hard but good summer, and i’m really excited to see what i learn this fall. i will miss you friends, so please message/email/skype/visit. measure yourself with a ruler and sharpie, making a mark on your bedroom door. then we can compare when i’m back and i can pat you on the head saying i can’t believe how much you’ve grown!

prayer requests:

safety. health. selflessness and awareness of opportunities to share to gospel. growth as i seek Christ in a new place and season.

I was reading Colossians today and Paul encouraged me (personally, i believe) to “clothe myself with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” And that is my prayer as i head into this adventure. that through everything i would give thanks to Christ, and allow Him to change my character into something more beautiful than it is today. I couldn’t be more excited for this blessing and am excited to share what i see, do, and learn.

tumblr_mre1cuLQCI1supu3vo1_1280

photo here

summer in bullet points.

Man, it has been a while. I want to kickstart this thang back in motion before this Fall. Hopefully I’ll be better at updating then. No promises though, okay? I mean, hey, you never made that cheesecake you promised me.

I wasn’t sure what to say tonight to wedge myself back into the blogosphere. I opened up my “blog4evr” word doc on my desktop to see if anything jogged my memory. I keep future ideas/random daily thoughts/questions I need want answered sometime in this file. Unfortunately, I think I’ve taken too long of a hiatus. My ideas seem weird and unfamiliar to me. Some include “how sarah mclaughlin is ruining my life” “sexy muskrat with rabies for halloween costume” and “how dawson’s creek gang is doing it wrong.” Not sure what “it” is, but I’m sure I was on to something with that one. Those idiots do everything wrong. (I’m talking to YOU, skanky 17-year-old Michelle Williams.)

Anyway, my mind is a strange place, and these half-baked ideas prove it. So scratch that. Let my tell you about my summer in 5 bullet points. Then we’ll be all caught up and we can start afresh. Doesn’t afresh just sound right? It sounds like something I should say when I’m sitting in a field of sunflowers drinking sweet tea. Okay, here we go then.

  1. I’ve been back home this summer. Interning at a bridal shop. I have learned more than a thing or two and am thankful for an internship opportunity that has allowed me to make some $$ while being near family and this one cute guy that keeps txting me. I have also become very aware that weddings stress women out. Sometimes it’s funny: like when moms yell about mismatched pink hues, because it RUINS THEIR WHOLE LIVES. Sometimes it’s sad: like when I realize the majority of brides out there care much more about their wedding than their marriage. Off soapbox. On to number two.
  2. I get to attend Veritas now. We have church in a bar and I love it. There’s extra strong coffee, which is another plus. I think people feel like you can’t serve weak coffee in a biker bar. Someone will rev their bike, call you a wuss, and dare you a race to prove you’re a man. These people are right! Not too much else to elaborate on here. It’s just plain good. I’m learning new things all the time. We have been studying Genesis this summer, and it’s interesting to learn new things through old and familiar stories.
  3. I’ve been trying to be healthy (-er) this summer. Shaun T has yelled at me a lot the past few months, and I can like totally do a push-up and stuff. Don’t spread that around though-I still want people to find me approachable. Also, Isaac and I just stole a friend’s idea and completed a week-long detox routine. Fruits, veggies, 1 cup brown rice/day, and water. My workouts felt much better, and I found myself getting up out of bed much easier in the mornings. I don’t crave caffeine or junk food so much either. This is a big step for a girl who is sometime referred to as one of the “pizza girls.” (Self-explanatory inside joke.)
  4. I am jetting to Florence, Italy, in just a few short weeks. After a week in Dublin, that is. But only because my life is very hard. I have been craaaaazy overwhelmed to see how the Lord’s decided to bless me through this upcoming experience. I remember being all signed up to go last fall (2012).  Only to change my mind at Easter of that year. This decision was made at literally the last minute before I would have purchased plane tickets, finished housing things, etcetc. I can’t explain why I said “no not now” other than the Holy Spirit told me to. Sounds weird, but guys I don’t lie. By that I mean I’m not lying now.  A few days later I started talking to that cute guy I mentioned earlier. A month later I met amazing girls-now-good-friends that I got to live with and I began many relationships in Ames that summer. Two months later, the opportunity for Salt leadership opened up, even though I hadn’t applied. And that changed my college life so much. Six months later, I met three amazing girls all wanting to go to Italy but not wanting to go without community. Now we are all going together, and I couldn’t be more excited/thankful. His dreams are better than mine. All that to say, I can’t wait to see what the next semester holds! Let’s start setting up skype dates, people.
  5. I have a few projects up my sleeve and sometime wish there were a few more hours in a day. Let’s stay friends and see where these ideas end up, because it’ll probably be fun. I want to hear about what you’re dreaming up too, because I bet it’s great. If it’s not, I’ll just say “hmm. THAT’S  an interesting idea!” and take an extra long sip of my lemonade. And that’s how you’ll know. Anyway, whoever you are, I probably miss you. I’m missing lots of my friends lately. So thanks for stopping by and saying hi in a you-cant-hear-me-or-see-me-but-im-here kind of way. I got it.

 

tumblr_mp3dqgHLSl1ryx9p9o1_500

 

Today’s Thoughts.

arrows

John 14:15 says “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” That was a good thing for someone to tell me last night, because it simplified things for me quite a lot. If I love the One who redeemed my soul, I’ll just obey. Because that makes sense. So in moments when I don’t fully understand why I shouldn’t do something, or more commonly when I don’t want to understand, I guess that just doesn’t matter too much. I love Him, right? So that is enough. Through obedience, His love for me is all the more clear and all the more overwhelming. And that is better than life, you guys.

picture: created via photoshop. i downloaded the arrows from here and immediately thought “oh, that was a good thing.”

Start here.

I had an amazing weekend of relationship, renewal, and rest. I learned an incredible amount about missions, and am still working through the processing of it all. It’s the best kind of processing.

Spent some time on this website today. Read a blurb or two on Italy, and cannot wait to live there in the fall. Today, pray for Austria. 15% of their nation is unreached and do not know Christ’s name. Help from that comfy couch you’re sitting on right now!

tumblr_mief93d8Nv1rwn9ngo1_1280

Keep Going.

tumblr_m2pjvqdfLq1r3rhzgo1_400

Whenever I need encouragement, He is faithful to provide it. Always.

 

Thankful that when I was feeling overwhelmed with school, He gave me diligence and productivity.
Thankful that when I was feeling discouraged with finding an internship, He provided two upcoming interviews.
Thankful that when I needed personal encouragement, He replaced lies with truth through words of great friends and perfect Scripture.

 

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;

therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.”

         -Isaiah 30:18

tumblr_me45lbxEka1rm4qu2o1_1280

Sistahh, Sistahhh

417469_1641933406558_701869988_n

 

Let’s all take a moment to communally wonder how this week is so long. And how there is so much to do. And then jump around on whatever table is closest to us because the weekend is so close!!

Tonight I’m SO excited to announce the coming of Hannah Marie. She will be here in just two days! It’s like a birth announcement. But less nasty and with far less responsibility. The Varn sistas will be tearin up the town in less than 48 hours. Aaaallll ten miles of it, mmhmm.

P.S. Isn’t she a babe?

Yeah, I know.