Sunday, December 31, 2017


Restless...Unpredictable....Emotionally stretching....Exciting....These are just some of the words I would describe this past year. When I reflect on how this past year has shaped me, I can identify two main areas: patience, and identity. This has mainly been evident in my interaction with my co-workers and my general search for deeper meaning in my life. I suppose you could call it something of a quarter life crisis, if there even is something identifiable like that. I leave this year feeling a sense of regret, not so much for the things I did do, but rather for the opportunities I missed. These opportunities came more so in the form of situational choices, not so much major life decisions. For example, often I would avoid a situation if I knew a certain person would be there because I would not be emotionally prepared to talk to them for one reason or another. My fragility has been made known to me especially this year, and I think back on the moments when I caused myself so much unnecessary heartache because of some irrational conflict I had with the situation. I have definitely grown alot in other areas, though, as I see myself becoming more aware of my need for regular communion with my perfect and compassionate Savior, Jesus. My ever present struggle with anxiety has magnified this year, partially because I have created a domino effect, like the more I avoid situations because of my anxiety, the more anxiety I have about even thinking about avoiding new situations. Anyway, taking all of this into consideration of the summary of 2017, I can say that it has been a moderately stressful year. I suppose this could be considered an accomplishment, as I have managed to minimize my negative reaction to things through sharing those struggles with certain trusted friends. I also must say I am extremely grateful for the welcoming hearts I have received from the new Life Group I started attending this year after graduating and having a more open schedule...

In order to create some sort of organization for the review of 2017, I think the best way to do this is to organize by month, and just include bullet points of the main things that happened or things I was affected by.

-RBC Spiritual Enrichment chapels
-Visit a Greek Orthodox church for History of Christianity at RBC
-Logan Cole (RBC students' friend) shot at West Liberty high school
-RBC new Student Center move in day
-RBC All-night volleyball
-Roomie from first year came to celebrate my birthday
-Schuster Center R&B/Motown concert with bro for my birthday

-Haircut (16 in. off)
-New glasses/prescription

-Missions Conference at RBC
-Open House for new Student Center
-One Night worship at Gloria Theatre in Urbana
-RBC chorale retreat weekend

-RBC chorale tour (Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Indiana)
-IFI banquet at OSU
-RBC All-night volleyball

-RBC Talent Show
-I graduate from RBC

-Beethoven concert with mom/dad at church in Dayton

-CMC annual conference in Holmes County (Kidron)

-Gungor concert The Avenue in Gingamsbug with dad

-Meet up with Danielle B in Columbus
-FBC annual fall picnic
-New life group (Beamans)
-Sister gets married
-Dvorak concert at Schuster Center with mom/dad

-Ed Sheeran concert with a few co-workers
-SYTYCD tour in Indiana with mom
-Mendelssohn concert at Schuster Center with mom/dad

-Trip to Minnesota to see RBC friend
-RBC All-night volleyball

-RBC Christmas concert with mom
-Life Group Christmas party

These are just a sampling of the things I accomplished and participated in. I would say that most of my time this year was either taken up by finishing Bible College or working steady 40 hrs/week at McDonalds. I must say that I am so looking forward to next year, but at the same time I am dreading it because there are so many things that have been left unsettled. I could make a whole blog post about these things but for now I will just leave it at that. The things I am most looking forward to this next year is really taking charge of my life with practical steps to accomplish my goals, and not looking too much ahead to the bigger picture. What are you all looking forward to this next year? What are your goals/resolutions? Leave me a comment on here, or on facebook.

Goodbye 2017, hello 2018!!!

Much love,

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Reflections on Study Abroad in Spain Winter Term '16 - WEEK 3 Jan 20th-26th

Wednesday, January 20th:
Today was the day trip to Cordoba. Just west of Cordoba is Madinat AL-Zahr, which is an old city build around a palace constructed by a ruler in the 10th century named Abd al-Rahman II. It was rainy and overcast the whole day. :(

Here are some pictures from the ruins and the rest of the day.

Madinat-Al Zahr

Great Cathedral-Cathedral of Cordoba

Alcazar de Los Reyes Christianos

Roman Bridge

Gateway from Renaissance time period

Ancient temple ruins

Thursday, January 21th: 
Thursday mornings were typically bible study/prayer meetings at the church (name of church) and they were right before class time so when it was finished we went to the classroom to take a test on everything about Cordoba. Later that day, we went to a radio station in a little "hole-in-the-wall" location called Riogordo. It was simply gorgeous!! I wish I had my camera to take some pictures. The literal translation of this name is "Fat River". A group of us went to a little radio station hosted by someone named Bea (I don't remember her last name) and she held a live interview with the group who came on that day (the rest of the group had their interviews on another day). I was just starting to feel ill and unable to participate in the interview which I felt horrible for but I still was an "audience member" not introduced to the show. The radio station was for Christian students in Spain who were learning English (the interviews were group-guided with prompts from Bea in the recording booth). It was really cool and I wish I could have felt better to participate. The group that I went with included Danielle, Thomas, Kaitlyn, and Nick. There was definitely some lively discussion and a few awkward pauses and interruptions, which made it almost comical (although it wasn't intended to be, obviously). After the radio station, we went with Bea to first get some Spanish pastries at a little street shop and then to a coffeeshop right up the street. After we sipped our drinks and ate our sweets, we got a tour of an olive oil factory. Here are a few pictures from the tour. 

Friday, January 22nd:
And here is the most depressing day of the whole Spain cross-cultural study term. I spent all day in bed with a very intense head cold. It was AWFUL. I was so sick my body would not let me move. I didn't go to class or do any group activities. I just stayed in bed and focused on getting well.

Saturday, January 23rd:   
This is one of my favorite days out of the whole term. One of my dreams since I was very young has been to actually go to a live professional soccer game in the country it is being played in. I also would give myself "brownie points" if it was involving either Real Madrid or Barcelona. Well, little did I know that I would get to fulfill a childhood dream while I was in Spain and it was actually shockingly cheap!! A group of us went to the Barcelona vs. Malaga game and it was awesomeeee!!!!! Barcelona ended up winning (surprise, surprise...) but it was still very entertaining and I loved being there to experience the crowd excitement.  The group included Kristina, Nick, Ked, Ivan (the pastor of the host church) and the professor for the term, Phil and his wife, Maretta. I am so thankful that I was well enough (aside from a few sniffles now and then...) to go to the game. Now my goal is to see Real Madrid play....A girl can dream right?? Here are a few pictures from the game, pre-kick off. 

This was just an all-around great day because not only did I get to go to the soccer (or, futbol) game, my house-mate Danielle and I got to really talk about character, and character qualities and many other topics on a deep level. We also talked about my thoughts on what it would be like to be single forever.  

Sunday, January 24th:
After church, Kaitlyn, Danielle, Miriam and I all went to the local McD's to eat and hang out

Clockwise from left: Miriam, Kaitlyn, me, Danielle
Photo cred: Danielle's camera
We also just had an "act like a child" detour by playing on the playground in that area. It was lovely. The beach was also part of this gallivanting. :) There was a couple we met who saw that I had my bible (it was a thinline ESV Bible with no obvious label on the front that it was a Bible, but they asked about it and asked if we attended church there in Spain. We had a great conversation about mutual friends connecting from the host church in Rincon.

All previous pictures taken on Danielle's camera
Monday, January 25th:
Today was our first exam for Engaging Contemporary Culture class. Then after class, Danielle and I walked to Rincon, on our way to an interview for ECC class for a paper about nominality. Danielle found a mutual friend of someone who attended the church in Rincon. On our way to the interview location, we stopped at a bread shop to try to find wifi to get connected with the interviewee. Danielle and I both agreed it smelled like what we think Heaven will smell like, among other intoxicating smells. After no luck with wifi there, we wandered over to a coffeeshop with a sign that said "free wifi" in Spanish so we stopped there, used the wifi and also had a coffee to drink. The place was called Oveja Negra. After successful communication regarding info for the interview, we walked over to the beach boardwalk to a bar where Danielle was to conduct the interview. The interview was really moving, even with the lady's poor English...She cried a few times when she started talking about the contrast between her experiences growing up with what she wished life would be like with meaning...It was super cool and I hope to continue to stay in contact with her as I was able to participate in the interview as a second interviewer to help the conversation move. When we were done with the "nominality" aspect of the interview, our English speaking host spoke about how she can have a "family", and we will always be family for her. I cried. I miss her. She moved to Barcelona shortly after we left Spain, so it's not likely I will ever see her again.

After the interview, we went by bus to Malaga to eat at a Domino's (I didn't know they had Dominos outside the US!) and it was fabulous. We laughed a lot and bonded (Danielle, me, Hermes and Mirian). Danielle and I took the bus back to Rincon and relaxed at our host home.

Domino's version of lava good but so tiny!
Photo cred: Danielle's camera

From left to right: Mirian, Danielle, me
Photo cred: Danielle's camera

Tuesday, January 26th:
Today was a really cool day because we got to go to the first prayer group/bible study group for a new church plant in the area. The meeting was led by a couple who attended the church in Rincon so we already knew them. It was great! Kristina (from our group) prayed in Spanish to close. We had a Spanish quiz in class after we left the meeting. Then later that afternoon, we had our Spanish conversation lessons at one of the host homes. Great memories! Later that evening, Danielle and I talked till really late about character and how iron sharpens iron. Very great devo time! We also had a Spanish version of apple pie, and it was delish!! It was actually more like an apple tart than a pie.