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Sometimes, life is just good

And it’s usually people who make it that way. It’s hard to imagine life without people, and I’m not sure I want to either! I really need time on my own to rest and recharge, but the reason that I want to rest and recharge is so that I can be a fully functioning human being around others again.

This is something that I’ve been learning about and getting better at over the past, I don’t know, 10 years? I still don’t love people to the best of my ability all the time. And sometimes, “to the best of my ability” isn’t very much. Which is why I was glad that this week was about evangelism. Often we think about evangelism as this scary thing that involves preaching on the street, trying to tell people things they don’t want to hear, and generally being annoying. But this week we learned how to make evangelism genuinely about good news. We learned that evangelism is about loving people and listening to them, asking questions and sharing our stories. We learned that it can be fun to tell people that they matter to God and how Jesus lived and died to make all the broken parts of life and the world whole.

So even though it’s still a little bit scary to start conversations with people (because you don’t know how they’re going to react!) it’s become more of a joyous adventure than a dreaded chore. Hopefully that will continue to grow, because I truly believe that telling people about the hope that God offers is one of the best ways that I can love them.

So, about the photographs. Thursday nights, my colleague’s family comes over to dinner. It’s a loud, crazy, boisterous, and fun evening each week, and I love it! Their youngest daughter, who is four, has been using my camera to take photographs more and more often, and this week, I taught her how to use my remote. Some of the photos are hers, some are mine.  Hope you enjoy them!

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A House Full of Women

This post has been on the back burner in my mind for about two weeks now. I wanted to write this after the first week of DTS, but I had other priorities. Tonight, I finally feel like I have the space and time to blog (rather than rest)…plus, I have pictures!

Before the DTS started, I was a trifle nervous. Six women? Six?! Women?! What was it going to be like with six new ywamers joining our team and doing dts? Were they going to be catty? Was I going to be able to cope with the amount of people joining the team? How was co-leading going to work? There was so much potential for things to go poorly.

But they haven’t. Instead, things have been wonderful. The women who came are a diverse and lovely bunch. They’re first and foremost relators, staying up until eleven at night just sitting in the same room, talking and laughing. And that’s the other thing-the house is now full of laughter over stories told and silly things that happened (and silly things we’ve done). Not a day goes by without a new story being created as friendships are built and places are discovered. And best of all, people don’t leave the table immediately after a meal. The conversations continue until those on dinner clean-up move us on.

So far, we’ve had our orientation week, a lecture week about the Abrahamic Covenant and Mission, and now we’re in the midst of a week focused on outreach. I’ve gotten to teach a couple of times, which has been fun. In the orientation week I taught a session about hearing God’s voice and intercession and on Monday, I taught about decision fatigue.

Yesterday, we all went up to Dinas Bran, a nearby ruined castle. It’s a stiff walk up the hill to the castle, but so worth it for the views! When I was looking up information about the castle, I found a cool poem about it (or possible Caernarfon Castle) by Wordsworth.

THROUGH shattered galleries, ‘mid roofless halls,

Wandering with timid footsteps oft betrayed,

The Stranger sighs, nor scruples to upbraid

Old Time, though he, gentlest among the Thralls

Of Destiny, upon these wounds hath laid

His lenient touches, soft as light that falls,

From the wan Moon, upon the towers and walls,

Light deepening the profoundest sleep of shade.

Relic of Kings! Wreck of forgotten wars,

To winds abandoned and the prying stars,

Time ‘loves’ Thee! at his call the Seasons twine

Luxuriant wreaths around thy forehead hoar;

And, though past pomp no changes can restore,

A soothing recompence, his gift, is thine!

Also, Dinas Bran means something like “City of Crows” depending on who you ask. So there are lots of ravens flying around when you get to the top, and some cool crow/raven sculptures along the way up. (One of the photos is my friend and co-leader Sarah on the left and me on the right.) Also, my battery died and the spare I had brought along was dead too! Sad day.

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The cat and kitten post…

For those of you in the know, you’ll know that I prefer cats to dogs. What you might not know is that my parents are currently feeding 15 cats (seven of which are kittens). So as well as sunshine and family and friends, my five weeks at home were full of cats.  I decided that if I ever lived at home for an extended period of time again, I would start a blog called “The Cat Chronicles” and tell inane stories of what’s going on in the daily lives of the cats on the property, and the amazing, wonderful, and clever things they did. Or better yet, I’d call it “The Kat Kronikles”… … maybe not. 😀

Anywho-pictures and video!

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Hiking Tubal Cain

It’s been such a privilege to be home for a while, to spend time with amazing people and to see some beautiful places. On Saturday, I got to go hiking with some friends from church along the Tubal Cain and Tull Canyon trails. We had a bit of cloud cover to start out, but then it cleared up and was sunny for the rest of the day. About mid-day, we stopped for lunch, and I watched the clouds curling around a ridge. The combination of permanent and ephemeral was enthralling. My heart is indeed full.

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Pierogi Party!

We’ve been planning to have a dinner party for a while (since before Christmas) and it finally came together at the beginning of March! Lucas and Magda came over and made pierogies with us, and Blair and Kevin came too. It was so much fun! Lucas and Blair kept us laughing all evening, Magda was a wonder woman and rolled out the dough for 2 hours, and everyone pulled together and made about 250 pierogi. They’re such delicious things-dough filled with potato and bacon and cheese and garlic.  Mmmmmm.

Hopefully it won’t be a year until will do it again, although it took 3 hours to make them all. Homemade pierogi are a lot of work and a lot of fun!

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Being a tourist in Prague

I hate it and I love it, being a tourist, that is.  When I’m not being a tourist, I love that I actually get to know people in the place that I am, that I know the real city (in this case) rather than just its pretty facade.  But I miss seeing the famous things that tourists get to see.  When I am being a tourist, I love walking around the beautiful buildings and looking at art in museums.  I love the luxury of basking in the sunshine and eating ice cream from expensive stalls, and buying tatty tourist trinkets.  But I hate looking like a tourist and not fitting in with the locals. I also strongly dislike being in a group with other tourists, because as soon as we start talking to each other, all the local people think, “Ah, Americans,” and roll their eyes.

I wonder if I could become a ninja tourist and silently blend in with the locals while still enjoying the expensive ice cream…

And now, for your own benefit: Prague.

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J + S

I’ve never made a serious effort at photographing people before this year, so I’m rather pleased with how these turned out!  Monday morning (nearly afternoon), Jacob, Shelby and I headed off to Llangollen to hike up Dinas Bran.  The hill was much steeper than I had imagined it would be, so by the time we got to the top, Shelby and I both needed a break.  So I wandered around the ruins a bit, and then we got down to work.

I was a little apprehensive at how all this would work out, but Shelby and Jacob were excellent models.  Also, I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed the whole experience.  Turns out that I like bossing people around and trying to make them laugh at my singing.  So, thank you both for being wonderful, patient people! You really are amazing.

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After hiking and photographs on Dinas Bran, the rest of the afternoon was spent visiting our friends George and Nancy, and wandering the shops of Llangollen.  We ended the day with a visit to the Ponsycyllte aqueduct, happy and happily tired.

More photographs to come in a bit of sheep and ducks and such!