Monday, June 22, 2009
There was a scar on yonder mountainside,
Gashed out where once the cruel storm had trod;
A barren, desolate chasm, reaching wide
Across the soft green sod.
But years crept by beneath the purple pines,
And veiled the scar with grass and moss once more,
And left it fairer now with flowers and vines
Than it had been before.
There was a wound once in a gentle heart,
From which life's sweetness seemed to ebb and die;
And love's confiding changed to bitter smart,
While slow, sad years went by.
Yet as they passed, unseen an angel stole
And laid a balm of healing on the pain,
Till love grew purer in the heart made whole,
And peace came back again.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
The Cathedral at night.
On a walk.
One of my favorite views.
It is time to close. But I'm called home, and I'm ready. Thank you for the prayers in every way. My grandfather is doing so much better... I don't doubt it's a miracle. All PRAISE to the ONE!
Monday, June 1, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Cannoli, of course.
Some famous church in Palermo, Sicily. It's dark, I know.
The group that went!
Our hostile room.
Yup, the beach. Yup, we went swimming.
So blue! Look out the different hues as it goes deeper into the distance :).
My friend found her relatives in Piana Degli Albanesi, and came across a street with their last name. Apparently, her relative by the name of Cassara was a good cop, and was killed by the mafia. Cool, eh?
Piana Degli Albanesi. The typical cluster of houses among the hills and valleys. Never gets old.
Bristol and London, England
Cloud Farm in Exmoor, England :)
Oh, hi Tess.
Lindsay Roper!!!!!!! We ate lunch together in a park in London!
Outside the London Eye with soft-serve ice cream :).
Classic phonebooth photo?
Inside the London Eye.
View from up above.
Outside the London Eye.
A pub at night!
A perfect weekend. As always, I have so many more photos than I can post. I'm glad to share what I can.
It's time to wrap up Italy, but I know for sure it won't be that last time I'm in Europe. I can't even begin to say how great it's been.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The weekend in London was amazing. Every minute of it was incredible... I don't think I ever went three days straight without a dull minute. We did so much! I met Joe's brother Dave and saw a lot of his artwork, including roughs for a new book he's illustrating for. That was awesome. I made some new friends and learned how to play Perudo. We went horseback riding through streams, hills, trees, and in the bright sun in Exmoor, England on Friday, and I went to Joe's Christian Union group, where I made more friends and watched a movie afterward with ice cream and Rosso wine. Saturday was a great day spent in London. From Buckingham palace, the Big Ben, Parliament, the Tate Modern museum, the Glode Theatre, the London Eye, and more, everything was perfect. It was so good to see old friends and make new ones. I loved meeting up with Lindsay Roper amongst all of it, too! We hung out in pubs, got to walk around a lot, talked, and we had a traditional Sunday roast after a service at a Hillsong Church. And on top of that, a whole other story developed when my flight back to Rome was late, causing me to miss my train to Orvieto. The next one was 6:00 AM, giving me 3 hours to get to my 9:00 AM class.
When I could've chosen to freak out and hide away in the train station til morning, out of sight of strangers, mulling over the fact that I could be in my bed sleeping, I chose to keep on praying and keep my spirits up. Good choice. I saw a guy there that looked American and a little lost, so I knew I should talk to him. Turned out some Italians gave him the wrong train to Florence and he ended up in Rome, causing him to wait all night for a 6:30 AM train to Florence. We decided to stick together and talk. He said, "I hope I get to come back to Rome some time. I hear there are some pretty cool things to see." Then I said, "Let's go!"So, from 2:00 AM to 5:00 AM, I took him to the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, past these monumental buildings all lit up and being circled by birds that gave the illusion of swirling stars, we stopped at a number of places overlooking the empty piazzas complete with sculptures and fountains, and had a pleasant stroll through the perfect weather and empty streets. He mentioned how glad he was to experience Rome for the first time like that. At 4:00 AM, we crossed a pastry shop that was just opening, and he bought me gelato. We made it back the the station in time for our trains, and what could've been a long and dreary night turned out to be such a great one. I'm glad I was able to share what I knew about Rome, and allow somebody else to experience it under such unpredictable circumstances! Thank the good Lord for it.
More and more, I'm seeing how everything can be seen as an opportunity. An opportunity to step out of one's comfort zone, to dig deeper, to learn, and to try something new. I'd rather not be sitting still.
I am starting to see little ways in which I've changed. From what I see, I like it. I can't imagine how it will all surface once I'm finally home.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I ended up going back to Pisa and getting that cheesey picture with the leaning tower.
I want to post more photos, but as you know, my internet is limited and the connection is pretty bad. I will glady show you all the photos I have when I come home!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
An alley in Civita
A nice, small group to travel.
At the edge of the cliff.
This is for Laura. Four cats sat with us as we waited for the bus to go back to Orvieto.
More photos to come. Cinque Terre was the most beautiful place I've ever seen, and I hope you'll be able to see by my photos. Sicily this weekend. Time is moving fast...
Monday, May 11, 2009
Hopefully I'll update later on the following:
My trip to Civita, "the Dying City" that is slowly corroding and won't allow cars on. It is truly beautiful.
My trip to Cinque Terre, the 5 villages, the most beautiful place I've ever seen. Pictures soon...
The train strike that left a group of us stranded in Pisa. Though we thought we'd spend one or more nights sleeping in train stations, God surprised us many times with so many crazy things.
I hope that suffices as an update. I owe you anyway. I'll try to put up photos soon, along with more stories!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Every word they say... how do they know it's exactly what I need to hear? What I didn't know I needed to hear?
Out of nowhere, everything I wanted this trip to be to me just fell right in my lap. I feel swept into flight, spiritually and artistically.
Today is a good day.
Oh, and Grace Decker, you rock! Thank you for the new letter, dandelion, and your awesomeness! It made my day twice as good. You will get another letter from me in return :).
The sky right before sunset yesterday.
Monday, April 27, 2009
“It is better to suffer than to except a gift from uncaring hands.”
A group of us started up times of prayer three times throughout the day, for a time to know each other better, share, give up requests, and praise. Most of us have been struggling in different ways, so personally, it will be a huge help to me.
Today, I learned that I'm not just here to grow, heal, and learn. I'm here to contribute to others' growths, healing, and learning. It was sort of selfish of me to not realize that before. I guess I didn't see how I could be of use in someone else's story, but this is one of the many things I am learning.
Our director read an excerpt from the book "Out of Solitude" for a brief devotional today (where the quote above came from). It was on the topic of caring, and not in any way less than the true meaning of the word. It was about sincere caring and how it is showed. Often times, when we see that someone is hurting, our tendency is to withdraw. Maybe we don't think we can really help, but that is not the mindset we should have. Everybody comes from different backgrounds and pasts, and we all have those certain people in our lives that are struggling with certain things. What should we do when we know someone is hurting? What do we do when someone is going through something that we've never experienced and cannot relate? Is simply patting them on the back and hoping they feel better nearly enough? Maybe all that we need to do is be there. "I don't understand what you're going through, and I don't know what to say to help, but know that I am here with you."
Maybe you've experienced a time when you sought help, and somebody offered a "cure" for the pain. Only, something was lacking. There are all these "cures" out there. "This is what you do when you're feeling this way" or "This is why this happened, so next time, do this." Whatever it is, there is something lacking. Care.We all need somebody, and someone that will stick around no matter what. We need someone who truly cares, and shows it. We need to be that someone for somebody else. I've fallen short in the past, and I'm learning from it. More and more I am understanding what true and sincere relationships are, and that makes me stronger as a person. And no matter where I am in life, if I'm a daughter, a sister, a niece, a granddaughter, a wife, a teacher, the president... no other title matters more than my title as a child of God. I found a cure for my greatest problem, and that makes life worth living.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
This is the first thing I saw when I stepped out of the train station. The beautiful canal. I almost cried.
This is the view from the guesthouse where two of my friends and I stayed.
I have sooo many pictures of the canals and gondolas, and chose this one to stand in for all of them. Pretty much, instead of streets and cars, they had canals boats.
Okay, I added another canal photo.
Here is the view from the Rialto Bridge.
A gondola driver. Classic.
View from the Rialto Bridge at night.
I liked this photo that I took at a small piazza in Venice at night. There were so many tourists, and the city was constantly lively. We had perfect weather the whole weekend, and enjoyed every bit of it.
I have to ask myself every day how I got here. Lately, I've been figuring out why I am. Through the past week, things that I thought long buried had resurfaced, and I've sought out certain people for guidance and comfort. I know why I'm here, and I feel like something is hatching. There's not much that I can publicize here, but something amazing is happening... as much as it hurts in the present. It all makes sense when I consider the words of my Father in 2 Corinthians 1: 3 - 5, and other verses. Not everything makes sense now, and some things never will. But I will be better. I'm going to come out of this whole.