Thursday, December 24, 2009


Just because Christmas becomes so many other things, a reminder of why we celebrate. Lyrics to A Labor of Love, by Andrew Peterson.

It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyways that night
On the streets of David's town

And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
Had no mother's hand to hold

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

Noble Joseph at her side
Callused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
In the streets of David's town
In the middle of the night

So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
For little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love

Merry Christmas dear ones. In a little town called Bethlehem, the hopes and fears of all the years are met tonight. May our weary world rejoice, for He appeared, and the soul felt it's worth. He is the Prince of Peace, Might God, Holy One, Emmanuel. And He was born a babe on this holy night.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...

Christmas!! The holiday season is in full swing, and it's the most wonderful time of the year! The lights are up, the music is on, even my blog has the Christmas spirit! :)

I am disappointed in myself that I did not write a single entry in November. Although most of you (that read this) are aware, I'm still living at home, and I finally
(praise God!) got a job. I am working at another group home, but it's much different than the one in Portland. It's in Salinas, and it's a lower level than the one in Portland (meaning the kids require a lower level of care). There are 6 beds in the home, and it houses adolescent girls (13-17) who have a mental health diagnosis and have a substance abuse problem. So far, I have really enjoyed it. It's much more mellow than the Portland job, there are fewer rules and restrictions for the girls, and so far, no one has hit me, so that's a plus. :) I'm enjoying getting to know the girls, that's always been my favorite part of this work. Kids who have the life experiences they have are often (surprisingly) much more open than the average teenager. Perhaps they're just used to having a lot of people come in and out of their lives, but they tend to share their stories easily, and despite their tough exteriors, they are often more accepting of people who are new and/or different from them. The job has its challenges, of course. I am learning a new system, which has its flaws, as the program is not even 2 years old. Of course, teenagers are prone to bouts of moodiness and attitude. And sadly, since I started about 3 weeks ago, 2 of the girls at the house have run away. This (the running) is not at all new to me, it's a very common behavior within the demographic that I work with, but it's always disappointing and worrisome. I hope and pray that those girls are safe, wherever they are. For the most part though, the job is great.

I have conceded to the fact that
God is keeping me in this area, at least for now. Which is not to say that I don't love it here, because I do, it's just not what I had planned. But God had other plans. I was getting so frustrated, worried and depressed about how long it was taking me to find a job. (Part of the reason for the lack in blogging.) I wish that I was better at trusting God. He always knows what's best for me, and His ways are higher than my ways. Of all the jobs I applied for/interviewed for/saw on the internet, this one is the best. My passion is for working with at-risk youth, and believe it or not, I prefer teenagers. I like working with a team better than being out there on my own, but it is also nice to have a smaller number of kids to supervise. Not to mention, the pay is awesome. So, it's a pretty perfect set-up. Since I completely neglected my blog during the month of thanks, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to God, for the blessing of employment. I also want to thank my parents for supporting me through that process, financially and emotionally, with every job denial, they were hopeful and encouraging that the right job was out there. And thank you to my two amazing sisters and my wonderful friends, who were always just a phone call, e-mail, or text message away during that frustrating time. I am thankful for YOU!

We had a lovely Thanksgiving with the whole family: taking multiple trips out to the meadow with the kiddos, making and eating delicious food, talking, laughing, playing. And I'm so looking forward to Christmas! I am thankful for so many things this season!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spain Day Eight: Barcelona

On Day 8, our last day in Barcelona, Adriana and I ditched the tour bus and explored the city on foot. First we checked out the Gothic Cathedral, which was very close to our hostel. Unfortunately, they were doing some construction to the outside of it, but it was still very impressive.

Then we went to the Parc de la Ciutadella, which is filled with trees, pretty buildings, a gorgeous fountain, and the Arc de Triomphe (a bit familiar... ha ha.)

Then we wandered to La Pedrera, another building designed by Gaudi. It used to house luxury apartments, but now is kind of like a museum, with one decorated "apartment" inside, and a bunch of his unique structures on the roof.

Then we wandered back to the area where our hostel was located. We wandered down Las Ramblas, which is a strip filled with street vendors and performers.

We stopped by La Boqueria market, which is a huge open market with all kinds of colorful fruits, vegetables, meats, candy, etc. We each had a fresh squeezed juice, which was very refreshing. :)

We headed back to the hostel and got dressed up, since it was our last night in Barcelona. On our way to dinner, we were followed by a creepy guy begging for money, and we hurried into an Italian restaurant to escape him. Believe it or not, he followed us in! Adriana told him that we were eating dinner and to leave us alone. The restaurant staff escorted him out, and they were very nice to us after that. Luckily, we had a delicious meal and more amazing sangria, and we promptly forgot about our little scare. :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Spain Day Seven: Barcelona

Slowly but surely I am going to finish this Spain series. I don't really have anything else to blog about, so I may as well get this done.

On my seventh day in Spain, Adriana and I continued our bus tour. We got out at the beach, and walked down the coast a bit before hopping back on the bus.

We then went to La Sagrada Familia ("the holy family"), which is an incredible church which has been a work in progress since 1882. The architect, Antoni Gaudi, died in 1926, and since then many other architects have tried to finish what he started. It was amazing to see how the architecture of the building tells the story of Jesus' birth, life and death, and how much passion and worship went into creating the church. I was definitely impressed.

We continued on to have lunch. (At this point I was very low on blood sugar and a bit grumpy - but nothing an all-you-can-eat Italian buffet couldn't cure!) Then from there we hopped off the bus at Park Guell, which is an architectural park designed by Gaudi (same guy as above), full of neat buildings that reminded me of gingerbread houses, and structures covered in his distinct style of mosaic.

We went back to our hostel - after stopping for an amazing treat - Belgian waffle covered in chocolate and whipped cream, yummy! We ate them on our little balcony. Then we rested for a bit, then went back out, walked around our little neighborhood, and had falafel for dinner - not a traditional Spanish food, but it was tasty. :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Spain Day Six: Barcelona

I was getting lazy on my Spain pictures, but I am determined to finish blogging the trip. So, here goes. On our sixth and seventh days in Spain, Adriana and I took double decker bus tours to see the sights. The city was split into two separate bus tours, so we did one half of the city one day, and the other half the next day. Here we are on the bus:

This is a huge statue of Christopher Columbus. You can't see him very well, but he's pointing off shore, toward "India." :)

A port we stopped at:

A bull fighting arena, which is as close as I ever need to come to a bull fight:

We have started a tradition of taking pictures together in silly glasses, (remember these?) so we kept it up:

We headed up a very pretty mountain that they call Montjuic, or "hill of the Jews," which has amazing views of the city:

We continued on to the Olympic Stadium, where Barcelona hosted the summer Olympics in 1992. To be perfectly honest with you, the stadium wasn't as grand as I expected. It was still neat to see though.

After returning to the hotel room, changing and freshening up, we went to dinner at Hard Rock Cafe.

We were excited about the glasses that we got to take home, and the refreshingly delicious fruity drinks inside them. :)

If you look closely, there is a guitar above my ear:

Adriana with Julio Iglesias' jacket:

Me and Elton:

We headed home and stopped at a cute little bar right by our hostel, where we got blue margaritas that looked fun but tasted gross. Adriana is smiling because she hasn't tasted it yet. Ha ha.

And this is what they did to our tongues:

The end of another fun Spanish day. More to come.