Wednesday, March 28, 2012
This week I've been in Turkey! More information on this awesome trip once I'm back in Greece.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Oh Rome, the most exciting city in all the earth.
There is an energy about the city, one that vibrates through the crowded metro and bubbles over in the form of sauce covered pasta and sweet scoops of creamy gelato. There is art and history and vintage brick roads.
I explored this ancient city from the time the sky was pinkish and barely lit until it was black, black.
Walking through the Colosseum was an extraordinary experience; gazing up at Michelangelo’s handiwork in the Sistine Chapel was breathtaking; eating pizza while sitting on the edge of the Trevi Fountain was cool, and tossing in my beloved wish-laden coin was even cooler.
We relaxed on the Spanish Steps, climbed the 500 steps of St. Peter’s Basilica, grubbed on an appetizer at the Hard Rock Cafe, visited all of the filming locations for the movie Angels and Demons, snuck a glance inside the Church of the Bones, went to St. Peter in Chains, Circus Maximus, and the Pantheon, saw a Roman Catholic worship service, and then, at the end of a very long day and a half in Rome, we curled up on the hard tile of the airport, eager to rest but sad to leave.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Free travel: cheap flights, train rides, hostels, sleeping in the airport, barely eating, walking 7892 miles, blisters, exploring Europe!
Our first experience with free travel was last week. We were given a 5-day weekend to explore, and Italy was my destination!
I flew to Rome and took a bus to Florence, a beautiful city!
My free travel group took the city by storm, exploring every street, grubbin’ on pizza, visiting the Duomo, the statue of David, climbing a hill to have an incredible view of the city, and going to an outdoor concert one night.
The best part? Meeting up with the HUF group (Harding University—Florence) who took us on a tour of the city, fed us lunch, and showed us their favorite gelato place. Strawberry and lemon, yes please.
Next stop: ROME!
Friday, March 16, 2012
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Did I forget to mention our trip to Northern Greece? What in the world was I thinking?!
Meteora was a precious town with monasteries built into the mountains. We visited a monastery and were required to wear these fun skirts:
When we left the monastery, we got to explore the town. It’s small European streets were the best.
Our next place to visit was Thessaloniki, a very modern and coastal city. It was raining when we got there, so I didn’t get any good pictures. This Google image will have to do it for you:
And finally, Philippi! The coolest part of the trip.
This is the prison that Paul and Silas were kept in when they visited the city:
The ancient Roman highway, the Via Egnatia!
And the agora of the city!
It was our most low-key trip, but I think that’s what made it so great. We had a lot of time to just talk and hang out with each other, and of course, seeing Philippi was so neat. I now have a mental image of it when I read the scriptures.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
“I mean, you’re only in Greece once.”
“…calories don’t count this semester.”
“Everything in moderation…”
“We can lose weight this summer.”
“I was going to workout today, but…”
The directors have confirmed what our group already knew: we’re the most food-obsessed bunch that has been here. We get excited for meals. We frequent the bakeries down the street.
During lunch, we wonder (aloud) what is for dinner.
All day Sunday, we talk about how pumped we are for “pizza night!”
Nutella and hot tea is served nightly at 9 PM and we are practically lining up in anticipation by 8:45.
But it’s fine because hey, YOU’RE ONLY IN GREECE ONCE!
Saturday, March 10, 2012
He takes me seriously.
It all started in the midst of a tough fall semester when I prayed for God to open the gates of His kingdom and to use me—truly use me—in whatever way He wanted.
That wasn’t an easy prayer, because when you tell the Spirit that you will do whatever He asks, there are thousands of unknowns. What if He leads me to something extreme and crazy? But the thirst and hunger I had to give up my life for Christ outweighed those fears, and so I prayed.
And he listened, and oh my did He take me seriously.
The insanely beautiful path I have been walking on since then has been nothing but the Holy Spirit guiding my life.
Being overwhelmed with sadness for pediatric illness/seeing God’s healing, whether it be a restored body here or in Heaven.
Working with battered and emotionally abused women/having the opportunity to have God work through me as I prepared them for a new life, free from their bondage.
Spontaneously deciding to travel to Greece for a semester/realizing I wasn’t led here to “see” the sights. I was led here to experience God as I walked where Jesus himself has walked.
The newest development is, praise God(!), a youth ministry internship this summer in Mississippi!
It happened crazily and spontaneously as I’m finding the Holy Spirit likes to do. Somehow an email address was passed onto me, I emailed them my resume, and within the week I was hired and scratching my head because THIS was never in MY plan.
Then I remembered that I gave up my plan months ago. When I said that prayer in my bed late that night, I relinquished my control. My life.
And I’m so glad that I did.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Ya’ll. There is a reason—a solid, monumental reason—that I am a southern gal.
Last week, a group of us decided to take a 4-hour bus ride to Parnassos, a ski resort in northern Greece. I just want to give props to the people—and by people, I mean the 6 year olds—who were whizzing past me down the mountain while I face planted every 2.7 seconds. Approximately.
I got 1/4 of the way down a blue trail (are they even called trails?!) before I popped my skiis off and walked back to the lodge. Granted it was lunch time and remember, I’m southern. We don’t skip meals.
Lunch in the lodge was excellent. It was warm, there was toasty pizza, and the hot chocolate had just enough ‘froth’ to it. Then we were back outside, rolling down the slopes. (The bunny slopes.)
And I mean I’m not saying this happened, but alright I am—I ran into a fence.
All of this to say, I’ve got to take skiing lessons once I move to Utah. Otherwise, every Ute shall know that I am not a Ute, and the goal is to blend.
For now, I’m sticking to fishin’ and campin’. The way God intended it.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
I feel blessed to be a part of university that is a family.
Friday, a group of Harding students were driving through Texas when they were involved in a multiple car accident. Ty Osman, one of the students, got out of his vehicle to check on another victim when his truck was hit, hitting him.
His injuries were extensive and he succumbed to those this morning.
Harding is grieving, but we are also rejoicing.
Ty has fought the good fight, he has finished the race.
Heaven is rejoicing.
He is seeing Jesus face to face!
And that is incredible.
Please pray for this family.
Praise be to God for his good and perfect will; there is truly no one like our God.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
The last few days in Israel were spent on the banks of water.
The Sea of Galilee:
Yes, where Jesus walked on water. Good luck getting your mind around that one, because I sure haven’t. Even when we sailed out onto the sea. Even when we sang songs. Even when we read scripture.
The Jordan River:
Hello Jordan River, where John baptized Jesus.
The Mediterranean Sea:
On our last day in Israel, we were given a free day in the beautiful coastal city of Tel Aviv. And it was beach weather. Perfection.
And that wraps up the highlights of our AMAZING trip to Israel! I may post “outtakes” every once in awhile, because there is always something more to be said about the Holy Land.