Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Twentieth Year

Twenty years, one hour, and ten minutes ago, I came into this world. It's hard to believe that I'm this old already. Harder still to believe that I've finished my second year of college, and am diving headfirst into my third (and second half). This year has been a crazy one, full of ups and downs. July-- a traumatic month. August, the beginning of a great second year. December, a confusing month. March, a fantastic month (having gone to the Dominican Republic). I can't believe its been a year already. It seems crazy to even think about.

On another note, the sarahs, Laura, and I went out to dinner in Newbury Port this evening in celebration of my birthday and Laura's birthday. Best clips of tonight went a little something like this:








Please excuse the awful quality of the photos. My camera doesn't agree with darkness.

Anyway, off to the 603 tomorrow afternoon, to begin my wonderful (prayerfully) summer.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Blue Skies {Noah and the Whale}

This is a song for anyone with a broken heart
This is a song for anyone who can't get out of bed
I'll do anything to be happy
Oh, 'cos blue skies are coming
But I know that it's hard

This is the last song that I write while still in love with you
This is the last song that I write while you're even on my mind
'Cos it's time to leave those feelings behind

Oh, 'cos blue skies are coming
But I know that it's hard

I don't think that it's the end
But I know we can't keep going
I don't think that it's the end
But I know we can't keep going

But blue skies are coming
Oh yeah, blue skies are coming
Oh well, blue skies are coming
But I know that it's hard

Saturday, May 12, 2012

"Pourquoi" you ask?

Parce-que my laptop had a nasty run in with some water. It's sitting under my desk, a dead piece of tin and glass now. I'm terribly sorry, but there will likely be a shortage of posts from now on due to this terribly unfortunate event.

Wish me luck on the rest of my finals! {only 2 more days to go!}

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Afternoon

The sky is cloudy but the sun is shining on the blooming trees. I'm sitting in the Science Center and looking out a big window at this phenomena of brilliant color. The bright green glowing in contrast with the dismal-looking sky gives me a sense of tranquility, and I could stare at this picturesque view for hours.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2 Corinthians 5:17

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jesus plus Nothing equals Everything

This is the book I've been reading recently, entitled Jesus + Nothing = Everything, by Tullian Tchividjian.

I want to share a few quotes and a few reflections from the book.

"In his grace, he won't play hide-and-seek with you. In your weakness and weariness, cry out to him. he will find you, and He will be your rock."{Paul David Tripp

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." {C.S. Lewis}

"'I'm looking to something or someone smaller than Jesus to be what only Jesus can be for me.'" {Tullian Tchividjian}

"Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God." {Martin Luther}

"Our rules become our substitute savior." {Tullian Tchividjian}

"The gospel is...for those who long to be freed from the slavery of believing that all of their significance, meaning, purpose, and security depend on our ability to 'become a better you."

"Is there any meaning in my life that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy?" {Leo Tolstoy}

"Only inside clean-up leads to outside clean-up." {Tullian Tchividjian}

I've reflected a lot over the past year on my tendency to want to perfect myself--convincing myself that if I work harder, I can be better, and once I'm better, I'll be happy. What I'm understanding is that the mental list of changes I need to make to myself is useless and unrealistic. It's something that I shouldn't even be expecting myself to consult as a measurement of progress. I've been looking to my own ability to change and be better, pretending that Grace doesn't exist. I'm not sure what to do with that. I don't believe that I should stop trying to overcome the things I want to overcome, but I need to recognize that there is NOT a place in my life for perfection of myself, and the only time I'll ever appear faultless is on judgement day, when God sees Christ instead of me.

After 10 years of "walking the walk", I'm finally understanding what this all means. 


Saturday, April 21, 2012

On another note

So I've written quite a bit about the Dominican, but very little about my life. And tonight is one of those nights where it is just plain old necessary to write about my life's goings-on.

I doubt that all of you out there in blogland have heard about my nate-issues, but today I finally confronted them. After nine months of being "maybe yes, maybe no, keep him around just in case", I took a stand against this stagnancy {and against the fool of a heart that I have} and told him that I felt it necessary for us to create a greater amount of distance between us. And by "a greater amount of distance", I mean we aren't talking anymore right now.

And while I feel good about this decision, and I feel like it was the right thing to do, it really does suck. And right now I'm refraining from repeating some of the things he said if only because I think that reiterating them will perpetuate my confusion and my heart-sickness.

How ironic. I initiated the end of the relationship, and I'm the one clinging to what simply isn't there.

But I took care of it, I suppose. Now I have to move on to the next stage of my life, and that is, setting out to start what I intended to start NINE MONTHS AGO. So we're back to square one in regards to spiritual growth, and if any of you feel so inclined, I'd appreciate prayer and any referrals to devotionals, reading plans, any spiritual guidance at all.

Also, I spoke with Chuck. There are no hidden feelings but simply a desire to create distance between him and I so that I'm not relying on him, and he's not relying on me for emotional support, etc.

This has been a week of getting things out in the open. And I must say, it's slowly killing me.

I've accepted the job that I worked at last summer, so I'll spend another unhappy summer at home, simply praying for something else I can do with my time.

So that's where I'm at. A little less than a month until my 20th birthday, which means a little less than a month until I'm done with my sophomore year of college.

Pause.

I'm growing up. How incredibly horrifying.

That's to be dealt with at a later point.

So here's to saturday--praying for a long weekend.

Dominican Republic {Day 3.2}

I'm a breaker of promises. You have my profuse apologies.

You should also know that the second part of this day probably could have been added to the previous post, if it weren't for the profuse amount of photos that I took.

So monday, after returning from Conacado, we were whisked off to the beach on the church's enormous school bus. It was the 13 members of our team, along with Pastor Tanis, his youngest son, Eliazar, his daughter, Tanya, and his oldest son Elitanis. I believe that we also brought Fortune and possibly Gaby, but I didn't know them very well at this point, so I can't really remember if they were there or not.

I can't even begin to describe how incredible it was to be swimming in Caribbean waters, feeling the warm salt water surrounding me, in the midst of march, and feeling coral under my feet. What was almost more awe-inspiring was the amplitude of wealthy people lounging on the beach, when it had taken us less than half an hour to move from a relatively impoverished village to be here, in the midst of tourism. It was almost appalling. I am, however, thankful to Tanis for giving us this opportunity to get to know a more beautiful side of the Dominican Republic.
Pastor Tanis 

Footprints in the sand {I had to be just that cheesey}

An old fisherman at sunset. He was flattered when I asked if I could take his picture.

Vamos a la playa


Some sort of sea star that scurried every which way. Also, Left to Right: Chuck, Sea Star, Zach.

Tanya and I

Awe-struck
Also, to the recipients of my INCREDIBLY TARDY THANK YOU LETTERS, you have my profuse apologies. They've been in the making for weeks now, but due to some extenuating circumstances {classes, exams, work, and lack of a vehicle to pick up the pictures} they've taken some time to get to you. Again, I'm terribly sorry.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dominican Republic {Day 3.1}

Sorry guys! It's been a while. This week has been absolutely insane, and before that, I was just being lazy. So let's carry on.

Day three of my trip to the dominican began with a gentle wake up around the same time {sevenish}, a quick breakfast, and then we all loaded into a minivan {with the exception of Kristen, who rode in Pastor Tanis' truck} and headed to Conocado, a fair trade cocoa plant. We spent several hours here, learning about the process that a cocoa plant goes through--from the blossom, to the plant, then is peeled, dried, roasted, and processed until it become a very bitter piece of dark chocolate. Then sugar can be added to it, to make it sweet, it can be squeezed and fermented, made into wine or marmalade, or shipped out, where it can become chocolate that we eat in almost all of our deserts. We spent a lot of time with the people who work here. We met with a farmer, who said that he was born and raised under the trees, and worked there his entire life. He said he sacrificed a lot so that his family didn't have to. He praised God that he was able to do this. He had a truly incredible story.


We also were able to talk with a few women about the process of turning the cocoa into wine, marmalade, hot chocolate, and just plain chocolate.

College Bound Wine Tasting {just kidding, don't fire me.}

Making the wine
  
I ground those beans.

We were able to see the beans being dried and roasted.

After they went through the guillotine

And we ate TONS of fresh fruit.


There was some confusion about how to eat the sugar cane...


And that was only half of monday. After returning from conacado, we spent a few hours at the ocean. I promise to post about that tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Thoughts for a tuesday night

I have to get this off my mind so that I might be able to sleep tonight.
It has been a very... off... week.

Chris came to visit Friday and since he's been here my world has seemed upside down. There's something about being around him that makes me feel so anxious, so apprehensive, so completely inadequate, that I often slip right into this state of totally bummed-out. And I've pinpointed the cause of this anxiety: when he's away I like to have my delusions. I think that we're friends because we talk every now and then, because I ask how he's doing, and because he's been so open and honest with me about so much of his life. Because I believe that we're friends, it makes it hard for him to act otherwise while he's here. In fact, it seems nearly impossible for him to find a spare moment in his day to regard me, even the slightest.
That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the way that we interact screams something to this effect. It's pretty hurtful, really, and when I hear that he's gone off with some one else, a girl who's prettier, funnier, older, or more competent overall than I consider myself to be, it instills in me this insurmountable feeling of inadequacy which more or less ruins my day.

And today, Chuck has been acting off. I'm less inclined to be angry with him, because I know he's under stress, and he hasn't done anything that I should be angry with, but as a result of the pent up apprehension that I have because of Chris's behavior, I am now keenly aware of the inconsistencies of others' behavior. Thus, I read chuck's distance as something that I'm really praying it isn't. And while I was laying in bed, for the past hour an a half or so, I turned over in my head the thought that I need to guard myself more. I need to be careful how attached I get to these people, because we may not be as close as I perceived. And that perhaps I should come to expect this from the general population at one point or another.

There's also a great likelihood that I'm feeling ignored and am being dramatic. Objectively, Chris and I aren't altogether very close and I'm bummed out because I still have feelings for him and it appears that I am a last priority for him. Because I probably am. Because we are not, in reality, very close at all.
The stress that I have in regards to Chuck are probably stemming from a similar branch, in that because he didn't have much to say during the time we spent together today, I'm assuming that I said something, did something, on and on, that offended him or put him off. This is probably unrealistic. He's probably just stressed out. And I'm probably being dramatic.

In five hours I have to get up for a class. I hope I can sleep. Goodnight.

Friday, March 30, 2012

I just need to get this out of my head

The internship I so desperately wanted turned me down, and now I'm going to make a pros list so that I don't feel so sucky about it.

Pros:

I don't have to buy my own groceries this summer.
I can spend time at home,with mommy.
I'll be able to see Aubrey this summer (crazy amounts of pro, here).
I can possibly be a camp counselor which will also help my relationship with God, I expect, as well as making connections.
I can go to my home church.
I'll be close to people I know.
Teebs won't be the only one not on campus this summer.
Less massachusetts (I'm sorry, ALWAYS a good thing.)


Thats all I can think of right now. So I'm still kind of bummin, but I guess I'll power through.

The Dominican Republic {Day 3}

Sunday morning we get ourselves out of bed at the same time, dress for church, and eat a nice breakfast before sitting in a pew for a good portion of the morning. Few of us knew exactly what to expect. We were told that church was largely an all day thing; at least a couple of solid hours in the morning and a couple of solid hours at night. So, with a joyful heart, we went to church, a little anxious about the heat and our own inabilities to sit still for extended periods of time {or maybe that was just me}. Either way, we got ourselves to church, and were pleasantly surprised to be in the company of so many incredible people, a pleasant climate, and a message that was tailored to fit us, personally.
The service was mostly spoken in Creole and Spanish, but Pastor Tanis seemed to speak right to us {as he probably did} when he spoke, in English, about the lack of joy that any riches can give you. He certainly seemed to speak right to me when he spoke of all those who take their own lives because they just can't find happiness. He said that our possessions can make us quite miserable, and how true that is. And it seems right that a man who has lived most of his life with less than the average American should be the one to deliver such a message.We were introduced to the congregation with pride, and we felt honored to be recognized in such a way. We shared with them several verses of Amazing Grace before finishing the service.
Immediately after the pastor closed us in prayer, we were swarmed by people, pressing their way out of the crammed make-shift chapel, thrusting their hands toward us and saying "Dios te bendiga", and we responded "mm, God Bless." We are, after all, rather ignorant Americans. They gave us grace, though, praise God. I was pulled outside by the hand of a little girl and led down a slide--just once, and then she ran off, to where, I'm not sure. We gathered around the basketball hoop for a time of fellowship with Pastor Tanis and several of the teenage boys that we had become somewhat familiar with.

Left to Right: Pastor Tanis, Joanna, Chuck, Laura

Fernando and Kristen

The boys looking for the ball


We filled most of our afternoon with them. We wandered around and played games all afternoon--a bit of basketball, a bit of baseball, a bit of "futbol americano"--tossing the ball around, and learning names. Trying to catch Zach's crazy pitches. Then, after a life story, a lunch, a quick dinner, and another life story, we headed back to the church for the evening service, which was very similar to the first. 

Again, I believe we shared verses. We were graced by the appearance of a beautiful women's choir and pastor Tanis  mercifully spoke a bit of english to us. We finished up with a praise chorus, and then hung around with a group of teenagers, who were listening to the greatest Christian rap I've ever laid ears on. And somehow, this simple fellowship of listening to music turned into the greatest spontaneous dance party -- very likely to ever have happened. I can't express with words the joy that I was given that evening, as I just through myself out there. What an amazing day we had, that sunday. My feet were filthy and my hair was a mess, but it had been a long time since I had felt that free.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Dominican Republic {Day 2}

We woke up to the sun streaming in through the shaded windows at a very early 7:30 am. Those last eight hours of sleep hardly seemed enough to get us through the day, but we soldiered through the morning with joy. After very cold showers, we followed each other down the stairs, past Lula's roof, although she was missing from it, and to breakfast, where we were greeted by pancakes, pineapples, and eggs with onion and beans. When we had finished this delectable food, we started our first day at the construction site.

Before work. Hi, Eli.
It was a series of roofless cement walls, placed strategically around weeds and rocks, and we were put immediately to work pulling nails and hauling cement. The sun was hot but we weren't much phased by it. We downed water every half hour or so and were grateful that we were able to drink, when so many of the workers had no water with them, were working much harder than us, and in long pants, at that.
We had a terrifying moment when a large rock was moved to reveal an enormous, hairy tarantula, scuttling among the weeds and gravel like he owned the place. Sometimes when I recall this, I feel it crawling on me.
At noon, we had a break and went to lunch, and ate like we had never eaten before. We were given almost an hour of free time to nap, play basketball, journal, or do whatever we like. I took Boris around and photographed the afternoon activities, although I would later wish that I had taken a siesta. We went back to work and found half a dozen more tarantulas and hauled what seemed like endless cement before being released at five--the end of the work day.


Break time, basketball time.

This girl was pwning the court


Naptime

Kristen journaling.
We ate a quick dinner and were given some time to shower and clean up a bit before going off to the youth service. A group of between 20 and 30 people, many younger than us, some older, gathered in the makeshift church and opened with hymns in creole and spanish, and then bible drills.
A member of our team was chosen, and she jumped right into the competitive spirit. Combatting Gaby, the pastor's very close family friend, and nearly adopted son, she listened closely for both the spanish and the translated english verses that she was asked to find, and time after time she beat Gaby to the chase, always with a crooked smile of remorse.
The leaders then lined up ten guys, and chose nine girls, and one by one the girls were to choose the guys. The last one left would be the loser. Chuck was the first to be chosen, and he later revealed this to be quite a confidence booster. Then Kristen went and chose one guy who was very excited to have been chosen. Poor Gaby, however, had a rough night, and was chosen last, although it seemed to have been fixed. The members of the youth group were told to recite bible verses and bring up their offering, and once they completed that, we were asked to provide verses, as well, if we had them. Several of us stood and read the verse in English, and then in Spanish, myself included  {I read Isaiah 40:31}. When the service closed we walked back through the warm evening air and gave our exhausted selves in to a quick team time, and a much awaited sleep.

From left to right: Fernando, Gaby, Megan

The ten lined up

Chucks love

The group
This was saturday, March 10th.

In memory of this day, I'd also like to just take a moment and mention my brother who passed away on March 10th, 2010, at the age of 24.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Dominican Republic {Day 1}

We arrived in Santo Domingo around four in the afternoon and were picked up by Gaby and Pastor Tanis. The first thing that met us when we stepped out of the air port was dominican sun and the ocean breeze. While we rode away from the city we spent our time staring out at the gorgeous ocean views and the americanized everything. We listened to Kristen chat with Gaby, half in choppy spanish and half in intentional english. We drove through poverty and paradise, and saw run down streets and commercialized hotels. We pulled into San Pedro de Macoris, and Las Colinas II, respectively, and saw the little, dust covered faces of Dominican and Haitian Children. We saw tiny, malnourished dogs wandering the streets. We saw beautiful palm trees sprouting from the dry earth, and bearing beautiful fruit. We saw the functional cement buildings, adorned with colorful exterior paint. We filed off the bus and waited to be led to the visitor's quarters, and we were taken up an outdoor stair case, past a dog who greeted us with her own joyful voice. Abandoning our belongings in our gender specific sleeping areas, we were led on a short tour of Las Colinas II. We passed teenage boys playing basketball in the hot sun, and a beautiful concrete church, still waiting on construction. We wandered past corner stores unlike anything in the United States and dozens of men, women, and families riding down the bumpy streets on old and worn out motorcycles. We saw little Haitian and Dominican boys and girls running with tires and sticks down these roads and laughing because they don't know what it means to have. A truck with half a dozen little boys in the bed flew past us, and when they stopped, they giggled and blew kisses at the "Americanas". I was urged not to encourage them. We tripped along the beautifully worn streets, until we turned a final corner and secured ourselves within the boundaries of Colegio Moriah's school and church grounds. We were pulled along to a hot meal and a plate of pineapples, and ate graciously. We discussed our highs and our lows and we took very quick, very cold showers, and prepared for bed. Some of us joined chuck for a reading and discussion of John 1. We went to bed rested and content, anxious for saturday's full day of work.


Stretching in Boston Logan Airport before our 7:30 {ish} flight

Experiencing the adrenaline of boarding the plane

Flying over beautiful Boston

Name that island

Claiming beds

Friday, March 9th was a busy but uneventful day for us. These are just the high light pictures of our time from the airport at 5:30 to bed time around 11. The rest of the week was so thrilling and much more eventful. There'll be many more pictures to follow.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Headed out tomorrow morning at the wee hour of 5 am for the week in the Dominican Republic!

Keep me in your prayers!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

You'd think I'd be asleep.

I went to sleep around 6 this morning. That is, after staying up all night making this.

video
And I got up around 11 and couldn't get back to sleep.

A couple of funny things happened in the last 24 hours.

Last night, I went to send Nate the Jim Gaffigan Hot Pockets Routine



and instead I sent it to one of my professors on accident. I was a bit panicked, not knowing what he would think of me after this instance.
What I received in response to my apology, was

"I love the hot pockets routine! Hahah. Second only to 'bacon'".

So it ended well.

Secondly,

after staying up all night working on that video, I woke this morning to find that my battery was dead and had in fact fried itself. And to my despair, all my work was on my computer, and no where else. And again, there was panic. But mac got taken to the apple store where they fixed him up, and he's been running on the same charge since about 7! Isn't that fantastic? It's almost 1!

and then I had college bound, where I brought boris. We took some decent pictures, but Megan took this picture. I love it.

From Left to Right: Justin, Wesley, Mayli, Me



Saturday, March 3, 2012

Great Goings-on on a Saturday Night

Just kidding. I'm spending this weekend sick in bed {again} while my poor friend Leslie, who is visiting for the weekend spends all her time on her computer or watching friends. I have a compromised immune system, I think, because I've never gotten sick so frequently in my life. Three times in three months? Craziness.

Leslie at the airport 
Hugs Hello

Lazing about during nap time

out to breakfast in salem

Looking over the menu with Liz's brother

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Love Never Fails

Love Never Fails


Love is not proud 
Love does not boast
Love after all 
Matters the most 
Love does not run
Love does not hide
Love does not keep
Locked inside 
Love is the river that flows through
Love never fails you
Love will sustain
Love will provide
Love will not cease
At the end of time 
Love will protect
Love always hopes
Love still believes
When you don’t 
Love is the arms that are holding you
Love never fails you
When my heart won’t make a sound
When I can’t turn back around
When the sky is falling down
Nothing is greater than this 
Greater than this
Love is right here
Love is alive
Love is the way
The truth the life
Love is the river than flows through
Love is the arms that are holding you
Love is the place you will fly to
Love never fails you


1 Corinthians 13:4


4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It snowed


Isn't that nice?

Liz also played with pony today. While she was in the bathroom, I received this in a text message:


Happy Hump Day.

{Maybe tomorrow you'll get a snow day!}


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Word Vomit {And Some Other Events From Today}

It seems that every time I open my mouth, I spew something negative or some complaint. Because those are the first things that come to my mind. It is much more work to come up with something positive, or something pleasant {partly because when I do, no one else is quite as excited as I am}. This happened quite a few times today, and I realized it. I think it has something to do with the time of month, the physical and emotional state of myself, and the fullness of my agenda. Regardless, it is not necessary.

Today, college bound was cancelled, so Chuck and I wandered throughout the woods for a couple of hours, and took some nice photos. Had a bit of bonding time. It was fun {although a tad uncomfortable at times. He's a very affectionate person}.


Creeped on the roommate from afar.

did some off-roading



Walked around the pond

Looked for trolls under a bridge.
Tried to take pictures of ourselves.