Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Athens, even after two days, seems a world away.  Our hotel was down the street from the Areopagus, and it looked spectacular at night.  That whole day, thanks to jet lag and not much sleep, was a blur.  We started with the soon-to-be standard breakfast of fruit and Greek yogurt with delicious coffee.  Seriously.  Greek coffee is amazing.
We then walked up to the ancient Agora (marketplace) that was outside of the Areopagus.  The Areopagus included the temple to Athena, the Parthenon, and also Mars Hill, where Paul addressed the Athenians about their worship of the Unknown God.  Joel and Justin led us around the ancient site for quite a while, partially to allow us the opportunity to see the full view but also because they didn't know how to get into the site.
When we finally did enter the site, we were greeted with amazing statues that have been kept in beautiful condition even after all this time.
Athens is so full of trees: olive trees, lemon trees, orange trees.  Everything smelled so fresh all the time.  I wish I could describe that zesty, sweet, spicy, fresh smell.  It's nothing like I've experienced in the States, to be sure.  I've lived in different climates, all with their own personalities, and each one is always so different from the other yet they all remind me of comfort.  Just the memory of the smell of sweet green olives brings me back to walking the cobble stoned streets of the ancient world, basking in the sun, and laughing with new friends.
Joel and Justin brought us to many museums during our trip, and typically within about 10 minutes, the students all found each other in the coffee shop of the museum.  The first museum we visited had an open courtyard next to the coffee shop.  Have you noticed that there is something so unique about drinking coffee in the open air?  The combination of the dark, bitter, smooth taste of coffee with the smell of nature and the shade of trees brings out the earthy flavors in the coffee.  Greece has fantastic coffee- especially iced coffee.  After an hour or so in the museum (well, the museum coffee shop) we woke up Josh, who had fallen asleep, and headed outside to meet up with Joel and Justin.  While we were waiting, some of our guys started playing soccer with two adorable Greek boys in front of the museum.  Speaking primarily with hand gestures, they split into teams, and began playing.  It was beautiful. 
After each day, we had debrief sessions and talked about what we had experienced that day.  While sitting in a grassy knoll, we learned different aspects of each other's character.  Ben was so fascinated with the details in the architecture, Bethany was captivated by the beauty of the ancient structures, Josh loved the historical backgrounds of each site.  Every time I looked at a statue of a wealthy statesman or some emperor who wanted to be remembered for eternity, all I could think of was "Who carved this?"  So often, we look at the subject of a painting or a fresco or a statue, yet we do not know the hands that made it.  Did that person take joy in creating this masterpiece that would be preserved for ages to come?  In the ancient world, the sculptors were typically slaves.  The creating aspect was simply their job.  Today, artists are seen as putting their hearts and souls into their works, but it wasn't always like that.  We know the faces of the past, but not the hands.  Without the hands, we wouldn't know the faces.
That night, we split up and went out for dinner.  Kelsey, Emily, Matt, Phil, and I went to a little restaurant and ordered the first of many fantastic Greek salads.  It was a lovely night, forever engrained in my memory.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


These next posts will be (delayed) stories about my trip to Greece and Turkey, though I wrote them at the time; get excited.

Here I sit in Istanbul.  After a tremendously long flight-through most of which I slept-sixteen students and one professor have traveled across an ocean and the entirety of Europe.  We have a layover of about five hours before our flight to Athens.  Anytime I'm in an airport, I feel like I should be speaking French.  Granted, after only a few months, my French has gotten a little rusty, but it's still there.
We are happily-more or less- situated next to a bank of chairs and there are a few of us watching everyone's things while the rest are meandering about, looking for coffee and internet cafes.  One thing that strikes me is the heat.  Joel (our professor from North Park) said it is supposed to be in the low 70s this week, which is fairly cool for this season, but far superior to the 40 degree weather we left in Chicago.
For as much as I dislike flying, I certainly do like airports.  There is something about the idea of of getting on a plane to who knows where at any moment that is so exciting.  There are people milling in and out from every country and every background.  It is a perfect melting pot of the world, even if it changes completely with one blink.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Well, friends, today is the day.  Today is the day that I will once more be a world traveler.  I leave tonight for Athens, Corinth, Epidarus, Samos, Kusadasi, Pamukkale, and Izmir.  What will I be doing this time, you ask?  I will be literally walking in the footsteps of the Apostles John and Paul.  You could say I'm excited.  It's only a once in a lifetime opportunity, you know!  Our first day will be spent at the Acropolis, which is where Paul spoke about the Unknown God.  I will be touching the stones that Paul himself touched.  I think that's pretty amazing.
All I have left to do before I am on that plane is finishing packing and get to the airport.  The people with whom I am traveling are incredible, and I could not be more thankful for this opportunity.
I won't be bringing a computer with me, so alas, I won't be able to update my blog while I'm gone.  Fear not, though, for I will be posting all about the trip when I get back.
Bon voyage, mes amis!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Coffee Love

On a fairly regular basis, my friend Erin and I go to coffee shops.  When we find really great atmospheres for studying, we return far more than we should.  I have been to The Perfect Cup now twice this week, and today is the day where I will take advantage of the delicious lattes, comfy couches, and finish my paper on Love and Forgiveness.  Little did I know that there would be a movie being filmed in my little coffee shop.  I'm sitting across from cameras, microphones, lights, and men walking around with iPhones looking very important.  Distraction number 1.
My friend Meaghan is a fantastic cook and writer, and she has a blog dedicated to cooking.  I check it fairly often, and yesterday's recipe has me hooked.  Bacon and egg cupcakes?  That is fantastic.  Anything bacon is fantastic, but on a cupcake?  It's combining two of my favorite things!  Now, before you judge too harshly, just take a cook at the description.  The bacon is candied maple bacon, and the eggs is not your normal egg coming from a hen, but a chocolate egg.  Glorious.  Distraction number 2.
Papers left to wrote: 5  At the moment, I have approximately 45 pages left to write before the end of the semester.  And what am I doing rather than writing exegesis, describing the historical context of Mere Christianity, annotated outlines, and all the rest?  Blogging.  Alas, alack, distraction number 3.
The filmers have taken a break, and I suppose I should take a break from this blog and work on my papers.  Apparently, I am into C.S. Lewis at the moment.  In my paper on Love and Forgiveness, I am referencing at least three of his books.  He was a pretty intelligent man, I suppose, and a great theologian.  Alright, here we go.  Ending distraction number 3.

Friday, April 15, 2011

As Time Goes By

Where does time go?
I have 2 youth group nights lefts.
I have 12 days of classes left (thank you no class on Friday).
I have 2 youth group nights lefts.
I have 29 days until I go to Greece.
I have 44 days until I will be at camp for the summer.
I have 7.5 weeks until I turn 21.
I have 20 weeks of class left before I graduate college.

Seriously, where does time go?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Call Me Crazy

Yesterday, my roommate asked if I could take her 7am work shift.  It's not a terrible shift, and she needed a good sleep in day, so I agreed.  My roommates and I ended up staying up fairly late, so when my alarm went off at 6am, I was not the happiest bird in the nest.  But I got up, make coffee, ate breakfast and watched Gilmore Girls, as my usual morning routine goes.  The sun was still rising, but by the time I left at 6:50, it was fully in the sky and dousing the street with light.  Here's the crazy part: I absolutely love that time of day.  Hardly anyone is up, let alone roaming about campus or the surrounding neighborhoods, and there are birds everywhere in the trees by the river.  It reminds me of the second scene in You've Got Mail, where Joe and Kathleen are walking to work, stopping to get coffee, and they are so happy because they had talked to each other than morning even though they don't even know each other.  I love to pretend that I live in movies from time to time, and that movie is the one I could never get sick of living. Mornings like today, especially after I have listened to a little Joshua Radin, Paul Simon, Singing in the Rain, and Michael Buble, makes me want to stay in this early morning light and find a French market, buy an apple, a clementine, and sit at an outdoor cafe. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Lent is a season of growth, fasting, and simplicity.  Often times, Lent is viewed as a season of self-denial in hopes of becoming closer to God, and therefore people give up their favorite things, such as chocolate.  This is not the point though, at least not to me.  God never intended for us to be without what makes us happy.  Rather, in this season preparing us for the resurrection of Christ and victory of death, we should strive towards removing ourselves from the world to which we do not belong, and move closer to the Lord who granted us life long long ago.
This year, I am not giving up anything for Lent.  I never grew up doing this, but in my freshman year of college, I decided to give up worry.  Essentially what this meant was I was removing the distraction of worry over trivial things and I would pray instead.  You could say that I was just adding prayer to my life.  I, being the great worrier that I am, was praying a lot during the Spring of that year.  I am doing that again this year.
Praying in color has been my favorite form of prayer since I learned it a few years ago.  This year, every day, I will pray in color.  The last time I prayed in color was last December when one of my friends was close to death.  That time in my life was one of the darker times, yet there is always hope.  Death is not the end, but rather the doorway into our real life.  In this time of repentance and renewal, I can think of no better way for me to grow closer to God than to draw to Him.  I have always enjoyed drawing, and it has often been my best portrayal of what is truly happening in my life.  So, for the next 46 days, I will pray in color every day.

Lent is supposed to help us become more Christlike, called by Eastern Christians theosis.  Athanasius describes this as "becoming by grace what God is by nature."  It is by grace that we have been saved, so let us work together to draw near to the One who created us.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Drumroll please

It's all set.  That's right ladies and gentlemen, I am set to graduate in December.  Now, I just need to hear from CrossWorld to find out if I will be moving to France next year or not!  If not, I need to come up with another option.  But hey, I'm still pretty excited!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Procrastination is a very tricky thing.  It's so inviting and so attractive, but then, after you spend too much time with it, you realize that it had no intention of making your life better.  It only wanted to distract you from doing the tasks you should complete, like returning e-mails to friends, doing homework, sleeping, etc. etc.  But no, Procrastination waltzes in and says "Hey, you look like you need a super sugary, super caffeinated drink to help you focus.  Trust me, it will help.  Would I lie to you?"  Yes, procrastination; yes you would.  While you'd like to think that you really were helping me, you knew that the caffeine and caramel goodness would give me too much energy so I couldn't focus on anything of importance, and would lead me to staying up late, bouncing off the walls.  Why can't you leave me alone so I can get some real work done and then enjoy an episode of Gilmore Girls in peace?  And here, you've done it again.  You've led me to my blog and I have now wasted prime reading time.  Thanks, Procrastination, you're a real pal.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My oh My

How time does fly.

So, I finally made it home from France on Christmas Eve, just in time for Christmas.  I got back to my house around 6pm, after being greeted by my dad, brother, and best friend, in time for tacos and the Christmas Eve service at church.  By the time we were singing the last hymn, I had been awake for roughly 24 hours, and my body was on overload.  It was nearly impossible to stand, hold a hymnal, hold a candle, and sing at the same time.  Oh the joys of travel and busy schedules!
On Christmas morning, I woke up about four times before I finally got up at 7:30.  As no one else was awake, I did a load of laundry, washed the dishes, ran the dishwasher, and wrapped a couple presents.  My dad came downstairs and was deeply confused as to how I had accomplished so much so early in the morning after not sleeping for very long.  What can I say, when it comes to housework, I have some skill.  My sister will claim otherwise, particularly about my room, though.
I decided to keep blogging, even if I'm not traveling at the moment.  I'm still having adventures, so to speak, just not in other countries.  I'm back at North Park now, with my wonderful roommates, and sufficiently busy with homework.  Whatever happened to not having any assignments, essays, or tests?  Man, I miss France. 
Last weekend, I went up to camp for the first time since August.  I forgot how much I truly love it up there in the winter.  I got to have very good and very necessary conversations with the three people who, for some reason, I cannot lie to or keep things from, as hard as I try.  On Saturday, Jenny, Kyle, and Charlotte took me to Eagle River.  We had lunch at a bakery, and then spent a few hours at Eagle River Roasters.  Oh my word!  I love cute coffee shops.  When we got back to camp, Lisa and I went to Chuck's office, and then I went to the Mechers' for dinner.  It was a very good, and very necessary weekend.
Now, I am off to work on homework.  Ah the life of a college student.