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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wrennie :D

Kolby's brother Wren and his wife Jennie came to visit us! And of course they brought their sweet babies Rylie and Gad! We had such a good time just "being" with each other, catching up on the craziness of life, talking about our silly family, and exploring the city some! Just wanted to share a couple of shots from their time with us! 

Gad loves cheesing for the camera!!! And I love his cheesy smiles!!!

mmmMMM! It was so hard to tell him "no" sometimes... 

poor Rylie... our couch was mean to this baby! it ate her a couple times... and spit her out once... 

Rylie was breaking in Hadi's swing for her! :) 

Wren trying authentic gumbo for the first time!

Jennie attacked the crawfish! So brave!

Christi joined us for the night! She said the crawfish was "interesting"! 

Don't let the picture fool ya... there was no love between these two... :) 

My yummy red beans and rice with smoked sausage!
Montrel's Bistro was great! Definitely going to take more friends and family there! 


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fun moments with Hadi so far!

What a journey this has been so far! Wouldn't want to be on it with ANYONE ELSE! I love you Kolby!



Our friends hung stockings and made sure to include the DePratters! How sweet! 



Her sweet little profile! She looks like me, right? ;) 


Belly is growing! 


Monday, December 12, 2011

Quick jumpstart update! :)

WoW! It's been a while... Where to start??

Well just to list a few major memories to get ya started....

1. August 11th, the day we made the drive from GA to NOLA was the first day I was "pregnancy sick".... thought I was dying, but we made it! :)
2. August 11th  - around late October can be summed up by saying: I was sick in bed, Kolby was extremely busy, and life was what I call miserable. Glad that's over...
3. I became a human again around early November and it has been WONDERFUL to not only explore the city, but to explore the new friendships we've made here!
4. My parents and little brother/cousin Zach came for thanksgiving! We had SUCH a good time... it was something I really needed and I'm still thanking God for this time we had together!
5. Kolby's brother Wren, his wife Jennie, and their 2 tiny ones came for a weekend the beginning of this month (December) just to spend some time with us! I loved snuggling with my nephew Gad, and giving Rylie lots and lots of kisses until she smiled!
6. I'm 6 months pregnant now. What a journey it has been so far! Hadi is healthy and kicking up a storm these days :)

Ok so there is obviously a lot more detail to fill in on these things, and much more that has happened than I mentioned... but I'm saving that stuff for other posts! Just needed to get a jumpstart on posting again! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Summer of Traveling

 We got to see Andrew!!!
 SO glad we got to see Jess before she has that baby!!
 Oh yeah... guess we were glad to see Eli too ;)
 HOTTIE!
 Eli thought it should be explained?
 My kitty cat - Mavro! Took forever to get my mom to pronounce it correctly... :) 
 Enjoyed Sonic with my absolute bestie! Love seeing how God has grown her into such a leader this summer!
 BABY SHOWER!!!!!
 Greek Salad... first time making it in the States!
 So proud of Kolby! He made some awesome chicken!
 Tsatsiki... it was alright, haha... maybe I will improve...
 Van load of girls ready to go to CENTRIKID!
 My 2 cool roomies for the week!
We definitely danced every night! 


Just wanted to share some of our summer with ya! 
Let me know how your summer is going!

He Provides ENOUGH

"And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" - Philippians 4:19

Year 2 of CentriKid was GREAT!

This year we took a group of 42 kids from Vidalia to Norman Park, GA for a week long camp. We weren't sure what to expect of our 2nd year at camp, but left with great memories of OMC (Organized Mass Chaos), late night talks, and Paca the pinata! One thing we were ready for though is being more than ready to dance our booties off! The atmosphere of camp is incredible and I really respect how they make it a fun atmosphere for both kids and adult leaders.

Adult Bible study happens while the kids are in their morning Bible studies, and this year the focus was on the Holy Spirit. The speaker focused on how the Holy Spirit is a powerful being and not just an "it". He talked to us about the importance of abiding in Him, and how basic things like reading God's Word and praying keep us in tune with Him. The Holy Spirit is something God taught us a lot about while we were in Greece so it was a great push to remember to really cling to that power.

The focus for the kids this year was that GOD PROVIDES! There were 3 weekdays where the theme taught....

Day 2 - God Provides Forgiveness
Day 3 - God Provides a Calling
Day 4 - God Provides Enough

I had 2 sweet girls (9 & 10 yr old) as my roomies for the week who asked great questions! We had talks about all kinds of things such as family members who were getting divorced, why the Holy Spirit is important, how God can be just and loving at the same time, and what kind of calling God might have for their lives. But that was all in between painting fingernails, drinking some yummy lemonade, and jumping on the beds! ;)

Last week was so fun. I kept getting asked if I was going to be back for camp next year... and I had to honestly answer with an "I don't know!" Who knows if we will visit GA this time next summer or not! Only my heavenly Father...

Who also knows our plans for next week. Obviously way better than we do...

We found out today that it looks like we won't be moving until at least August 12th now. About a week and a half shift in our plans. We wanted to get to New Orleans early so we can job search and get settled before classes start. We still will be getting there 10 days earlier now, but it's just not what we had planned. Please pray for us, we're a little frustrated and stressed with the situation but (as we learned last week) we know that God provides all that we need just when we need it. Not on our time. :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

adopted




Adoption has been on my mind today.

Of course if you know us at all, you know that my husband and I love children, and we are passionate about adoption. We haven't started any kind of adoption process yet, and we're not pregnant, but we know that in God's timing He will give us children.

To be 20, I'm pretty young to be thinking about this kind of thing right?

Nope.

Adoption has played a huge part in my life already. My parents have custody of my 7 year old cousin named Zach. They have been traveling hard through many mountains and storms this past year to adopt Zach, but it still hasn't happened yet. I don't want to go into those details, but long story short - God has used this process to push and grow my parents, and they trust that He will officially give Zach over to them as their own one day. Strangely, watching my parents ride the roller coaster of adoption has just made Kolby and I yearn for those days to come for us!

Adoptions are sticky, rough, and tiresome. Biological parents are usually in awful situations, and the adopting parents can be hurting or anxious. The children sometimes deal with emotional and physical problems. It's a road that many people choose not to travel.

But Kolby and I want to travel that path. Why? Not because we are "strong" people. Not because we think we could be the best parents out there to some hurting babies that come through our door. We want to adopt because every single person on this earth has been designed by the Father who saved us from sin and from the father of lies, and on top of that gave me a new life!
Check this out:

In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. - from Ephesians 1

Adoption is an incredible picture of what God did for His children! It's where the whole idea of "adoption" came from in the first place! How amazing!

If you're still not buying into this whole adoption thing... here are a few tips...

1. Read God's Word
- He will show you of the importance of taking care of orphans. What better way to do that than to adopt them as your own!?
2. Look online at local or global children who are orphans.
- Google images, go to sites like WorldVision.com... just look at some of the faces of these beautiful children who are in need. Make yourself aware of the hurting!
3. Check out Russell D. Moore's book Adopted for Life
- http://www.amazon.com/Adopted-Life-Priority-Adoption-Christian/dp/1581349114 We listened to it on audio book. Incredible.
4. This Love
- It's a song by Mandi Mapes wrote about adoption hoping to spark a fire in the heart's of Followers of Jesus who are called to adopt. There isn't a youtube video of the song, but look it up on itunes and download it. Good stuff.

Have an amazing adoption story you want to share? Have an orphan you want to give us? ;)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Top 5 things I'm enjoying about the U.S.

So I learned from a friend in Thessaloniki that a great way to train our minds to be optimistic is to daily list the joys in life. I'm not much of a journaler (fancy notebooks make me feel like I should be writing something in them all the time... and I can't handle that kind of pressure!), so I wanted to share here instead.

I am dealing with a lot of reverse culture shock and it's easy for me to be negative about American culture these days. So... here is my Top 5 List of What I am Enjoying About the U.S.

1. Washing machines & dryers are wooonderful
In Greece we had a very tiny washing machine (that was rough on our clothes), and no dryer so I hung them on a rack to dry. Which means it took about 2 1/2 days to completely finish a load of clothes. I'm seriously loving the 3 hours it takes to do huge loads of clothes here. I just don't know what to do with all the time I have left over!

2. Central Air
In Greece the air units would keep us cool in our little apartment, but I became a little Balkan and bought into the idea that they make you sick when they blow directly on you. So it's nice not being paranoid about the Air Conditioner now. Haha, it's ok to judge me on this. :)

3. Frozen food
The food in Greece was incredible and I miss it SO much. But I have to admit that cheap and easy frozen food is quite convenient, even if it isn't good for you.

4. Goodwill
There wasn't anything like Goodwill (that I knew of) in Thessaloniki. Here in the States, that's where my husband and I love to get clothes! So cheap and all they need is to be washed! Plus most clothes are better quality here so they last a good bit longer.

5. I don't have to give exact change at any store!!
The first time I handed a $50 bill to a Greek at the grocery store I realized it was a bad decision. I got a nasty look and stared at until finally she snatched it from me and gave me my change. I quickly learned that it's just their culture! So far since we've been back in the States I've tried to give exact change and I get more nasty looks because I'm taking so long to count out pennies. I guess I will adjust back to just handing over bills soon. :)

So there they are! If you've been overseas I would love to hear your Top 5 of the country you fell in love with, or your Top 5 things you missed while you were gone!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Home?

So I knew that coming back to the states would be hard...
But I didn't know how hard it would be!

Praise God that He gave us a wonderful time of debriefing and relaxation in Paris, France before we returned back to busy America. We had time to process our time in Greece a little before jumping into our "home culture" again.

"home culture..."

???

Ugh, what does that even mean?

For me, I guess it means the culture we grew up in, understand the language of, and the place where our family is...

So why has it been so hard to adjust back to something that we had only left for 6 months?

Kolby and I fell in love with the culture, people, and work we were a part of in Greece. Three things that we just haven't been as crazy passionate about in the States. Of course we love our friends and family... and of course we understand that God has us here for His perfect plan and purpose. But if we weren't sure before, it has been made even more clear in the past 2 weeks...
that we are to return overseas ASAP.

We decided the best method to go across the ocean again is for Kolby to complete a few more years of school (while I work) and then we can jump into an exciting journey internationally again.

So in the meanwhile, that means two years in New Orleans, LA! How exciting! The culture of New Orleans is said to be like no where else in the world! We can't wait to dive into it all! Praise God He has already given us some wonderful friends in the city to enjoy it all with, and He has already shown us a couple of ministry opportunities that seem to be calling our names!

But classes do not start until August so we won't head out there until the first week of the month. That means house jumping between parents and friends... which obviously means this married couple doesn't have their own place to just "be" in.

Please pray for us!
We are beginning to accept this summer as a time to love on family members/friends and have some wonderful closure with South GA culture... but we're struggling with truly embracing this time. Please pray that we cling to the God who knows every single detail of our futures, and that we trust in Him to provide financially, emotionally, and spiritually.

We're learning that "home" is where we are together and abiding with our Father who provides in ways that we could never figure out on our own. And hopefully one day, we will not only appreciate this, but like it that way.
:)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Platea Aristotelus



Since in Thess, my husband Kolby and I have played soccer (aka football) at Aristotle Square too many times to count. It’s usually with children (between 6 and 12) who are also students in my English class, mixed occasionally with a few older friends. We yell at each other for kicking the ball too high, sing when we score a goal, break up fights when a play wasn’t called “right”, and sweat until we go buy the nearest kiosk out of bottled water.

The whole soccer experience alone has been enough to write a book about, but the atmosphere of Aristotle Square... maybe 2 books.

From the two prostitute women who watchus play football as they’re bored waiting on “business”… to the Albanian men who lay down in the grass that is most often used as a pet bathroom… to the Bird Lady who seems to always be methodically feeding her precious (disgusting) pigeons… and over to the Greek Yayas who always walk straight through our football game (even though there is puh-lenty of sidewalk around us) as if we’re in her way: Platea Aristotelous is a diverse mass of Thessaloniki culture at its finest. I wish I could more vividly describe the scene to you… thankfully I have a fewsnapshots for some support. J

While Aristotle Square really is such a strange place to hang out at, it has become one of my favorite places here in Thessaloniki. I sound crazy right?

Of course a huge part of that is because of the memories I will carry with me forever of football games with students and friends (primarily Afghanis, but also some Philistia and Roma). But I also love seeing culture in such a relaxed mode as I described earlier… something about it is so raw and real. You know, the stuff you don’t see in pictures of Greece on Google images.

And honestly, as shabby as it is on the north part of the square, it’s just the opposite on the south side. Cross the main road, Egnatia, and you will see a touristy environment. The buildings are beautiful, they have palm trees and gorgeous flowers planted straight down the middle of the square, and if it’s a clear day you can see Mt. Olympus when you look out into the Aegean Sea. The market is connected to the square, and I must say that the market is a must-see experience for any Thess visitor (a variety of fresh olives, Thessaloniki salt and pepper shakers, and olive oil soap… all kinds of cheap stuff that is great for souvenirs!). Aristotelus leads straight down to Paralea (the sea wall) and this long stretch of pavement that drops off into the water is also a must-see. It’s pretty perfect for long conversations, bike rides, or date nights.

You see, Aristotle Square - the center piece of Thessaloniki - has its ups and downs just like anywhere else you go in the world. Right now I’m struggling with going back to the States, mainly because I’m not good with change and thus I’m focusing on the negative. But when I keep away from negativity and I focus on all the good I get to go back to, something in me gets excited to go back.

I will miss you a LOT, Platea Aristotelus. Hope I made an impact on you, and I hope to see you again one day!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Thief


As I’ve mentioned in other posts here, we play soccer (aka football) at Aristotle Square A LOT. One day we arrived at the park to play football and noticed a large dog sleeping where we usually have our “goal”. The Afghani kids we play with made these funny Greek gestures (that they’ve obviously picked up in this culture: imagine an exaggerated sad face - lips turned way down - and add dramatic shrugging shoulders with hands up in the air). They wanted to play on the other side of the square, away from the dog.

Well the West side of the square is a little more shady. Not as in “there is more shade from the sun”, what I mean is that we used to play football over there, but stopped when we were harassed by Roma (aka Gypsies). So Kolby and I told them to chill out and just play where we were. The children really didn’t like this idea, but went with it since we’re the cool ones (being older has a lot of perks in Middle Eastern cultures).

So we arranged our “field” to where the “goal” was at a slightly different angle, so we could enjoy our game while the dog enjoyed its nap.

First kick from one child to the next, the dog was awake and up on its legs.

Next kick, the dog was barking and wagging its tail.

And the next kick, the dog was running after the ball while everyone was backing away from the animal.

Yes, within three kicks, this dog had taken the ball from us.

All the kids were freaking out, so my heroic husband decided he was going to get the ball back. As he ran toward the dog to get the ball, the dog snatched it up with his teeth and ran in circles around us.

He wanted to play.

Of course none of the children, including the owner of the ball, was brave enough to try and take it away from the crazy animal. After about 20 minutes of Kolby barking at and chasing the dog around the park, the ball had been popped. Thankfully the kid who owned the ball had another one, but he was still pretty ticked off. It didn’t help that even after we had given up, the dog teased us with it. He would run over to a spot in the grass, sink his teeth into the ball for a second, then get up and leave the ball where it was so he could proudly stand by us. Of course anytime someone tried to walk over to the ball while the dog was strutting around us he would quickly run back, snatch the ball up before anyone could get to it, and run around us in circles again. Some children were terrified of the dog, some were very angry with the crazy animal, and some were laughing hysterically at the whole situation.

I have to say that from the very first bark I was one of the laughers. J What a memory!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ahhh Train Memories

Train ride #1 – 8AM from Thessaloniki to Athens (arrived in Athens at 1PM)

Train ride #2 – 12AM from Athens to Thessaloniki (arrived back in Thessaloniki at 7AM the next morning)


  • On the first train ride, Friday morning, we thought we would be able to buy food on the train. None of us ate breakfast, so we were hungry… for 5 hours. We took naps and made jokes to distract us from our hunger, but it wasn’t helping. Yeah, we ate at the first restaurant we came to in Athens. On the second bus ride back to Thessaloniki later that night, we found out that if we would have walked up and down the train we would have found the restaurant.
  • On the 2nd train ride there were 2 creepy men who wouldn’t stop staring at Sara and Holly. So Sara got really stylish and put on sweatpants with her dress so that they wouldn’t stare at her butt anymore. It didn’t really work so Kolby stayed up most of the ride home so he could glare at them. Kolby was pretty tired by the time we got back.
  • Kolby, Sara, Holly, and I all talked ghetto the whole way to Athens. I don’t know why. But I do know it’s extremely contagious. And after 5 hours, it’s obnoxious.
  • On the midnight train there was a family of 3 Greeks who had a little boy (couldn’t have been older than 3) riding on their lap. He made silly faces at us for a while until he basically fell over and went to sleep on his mom. We were praising God for the baby going to sleep… that could have been bad. Definitely a culture shock moment for me… I can’t imagine an American mom taking a child that young on a train that late!
  • Every 20 minutes, when the train would stop at a station to pick up or drop off people, the driver would come over the intercom and basically scream so that people who were sleeping would hear that it was their stop. Yeah, this made it really easy to sleep. Not.
  • On the train ride back to Thessaloniki, Holly was sleeping on two seats with the arm rests up so she would have room to lay down. When the security officer walked by, he accidentally knocked one of the metal arm rests down and it hit Holly on the back of the head, waking her up at 5 in the morning. She gave him a nasty look and when he walked back by 20 minutes later he asked her in Greek if she was ok. Of course Holly doesn’t know Greek so she just looked at him like he was crazy until he walked on. I was awake and laughing at the whole situation. J


Train rides may be beautiful and a ‘neat’ experience, but I definitely wouldn’t ever call them ‘fun’. I’d be ok with never riding a train again… it is pretty close on my scale to plane rides. And I think everyone knows how I feel about those.

trying not to look like a TOURIST

What an interesting week! This past week two American friends came to visit us here in Thess. These girls are always full of randomness so it wasn’t surprising that they decided to take a Friday trip to Athens. Of course my husband couldn’t resist a spontaneous trip so he convinced me to join them on their travel by train (one leaving for Athens at 8AM and then another train -that same day- at midnight to get back to Thessaloniki).

We took lots of pictures, rode the Metro, drank lemonade and coffee, laughed at tourists with Greeks, and ate at Hard Rock Café Athens for dinner. Although it was strange and annoying to be able to understand everyone around us again (SO MANY SNOBBY AMERICAN TOURISTS!!!) it was honestly a really exciting city to see!

As I walked around I couldn’t help but be reminded of how different Europeans are from Americans. Even if an American was dressed like a European, it was easy to point them out! Europeans are really relaxed about… well, a lot of things. They are passionate about what they are passionate about, but in everyday life they generally seem to “go with the flow” much better than the average American.

European children were climbing the Parthenon rocks when their parents were gazing into the beautiful blue sky, while American children were clinging to their parent’s sides and getting fussed at if they walked over 10 feet away. European teens were lounging around with coffee while American teens looked lost in all the culture happening around them. European YaYas were slowly strolling along the cobblestone streets while American Grandmas seemed to be running their next destination. Needless to say, it was pretty entertaining to see both people groups in action at the same time in the same place. Of course there were other continents represented, such as Asians, but I focused on the ones that I personally connect with on a daily basis. I hope I don’t sound like I’m bashing American culture. I promise I’m not! I am actually forced to turn these observations into an examination of my own self. You see, God uses these interesting experiences to have me look inward. I am a woman of anxiety. As much as I hate this and wish it would just go away in a flash, it won’t. It’s a sin that I struggle with off and on, and I have faith that one day God will completely finish healing me from fear and anxiousness (whether that’s in heaven or here on earth, I know He will). In my American culture, it’s almost applauded at times to be a person of anxiety. I was actually taught in college that, “Stress makes you see something as important. It is good to stress about exams because then you take them more seriously!” Yeah, I don’t agree with that at all. But instead of describing why I think that view is wrong, let’s focus on what we know is right.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

“Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Colossians 4:8-9

I’m writing directly to my American audience when I say this…

Just because our culture tells us that it’s good to stay busy and get overwhelmed with all kinds of stuff in this life, that doesn’t mean that this is right! While working, we should work hard and with integrity, but there is a time to work and there is also a time to enjoy the day! If there is anything I have learned here in Europe, it’s that I need to chill. Take a nap, read a book, hang out with friends in the sunshine, go to a coffee shop, listen to music, do whatever it takes to have some significant down time. This is so important! If we don’t stop, then we can’t get away from the noise around us to listen to our Father who wants to whisper in His children’s ears about His plans and His peace.

So today I want to challenge you to chill. Then I want you to leave a comment, let me know how you relaxed, and tell me what God showed you during this time!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Laughing and Dancing


How to put into words what God has taken me through this week, I simply don’t know how to do. So, even those I've used this piece before, I’ll start off with the Word that never fails…

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven… A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted; A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance…” from Ecclesiastes 3

Satan attacked me this week and there were times that I felt like I had lost a battle even though I know my God has already won the war. I was so depressed about leaving Greece. I focused on how hard it would be to say goodbye to my new friends and family I have here. Several nights were filled with tears and I wasn’t letting go of the pain. It still hurts and makes me squirm to think of leaving, but out of the whirlwind…

God spoke to me.

  • He used His loving hands to hold me and remind me that, wherever I’m at in the world, I am His to be used for His glory.
  • He used His beautiful flowers to show me how He wants to give me peace and how He is the only one who can give it.
  • He used my wonderful husband to tell me that He has already blessed me more than I deserve.
  • He used my friend Omid to shout to me that He still has a lot of work in this city for me to do.
  • He used His Word to show me that His ways are much more mysterious than I could ever comprehend… and that this is a good thing.
  • And finally He used brothers and sisters to tell me that He still wants to use me, but I have got to let Him.

As my Dad told me tonight, “You shouldn’t be thinking that far ahead.” And I know he is right because Jesus says, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

So for the next month and a half I’m going to laugh and dance. And when it’s time to weep and mourn, I will. Because life is life. I choose to daily hang on to the only One who is eternal.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

trapped



Last night I wasn’t feeling well. I got pretty bus-sick on the way home from a friend’s house, and I had a really bad headache. Kolby was supposed to have some African friends over, so I decided to go straight to bed and let him have all the fun. Two Africans came over to practice their English and once they left Kolby went to bed too.

I woke up this morning because I had an overwhelming urge to use the bathroom (just pee, don’t be gross!). I got up to open the bedroom door and it wouldn’t open. I tugged on it… tried to “unlock it” with the key… and it just wouldn’t open. Kolby gets up and oh-so-lovingly says “Let me try it.” So I move out of the way and let him jiggle, pull on, and beat up the door a little bit.

Not surprisingly for my personality, the panic set in pretty fast.

We have two cell phones, but mine is out of minutes (which means I can’t call out, but I can receive calls) and Kolby’s phone was in the living room.

yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

So as Kolby is taking apart the door handle I’m thinking of how bad I have to pee.

I decided to try to do something about it on my own. So I opened the door/window that leads to outside in our room that has a very tiny patio on it (maybe 1 ½ X 6 feet) and just started yelling. I wasn’t sure whether to yell Greek or English so I kept switching back and forth.

“Yasas!” “Hello!” “Signome!” “Excuse me!” “Is ANYBODY out here?”

We were trapped! No phone to call with, no one could hear us, and there wasn’t even a ladder of some kind to get down from our apartment on the 3rd floor!

One dumb door had us completely trapped.

Kolby quickly gave up on the door (it’s seriously an intense door), so I began yelling again. Thankfully an African man from the bottom floor stuck his head out of a window and told us he spoke English. So I explained the situation and he said that he would call the police. After 3 or 4 minutes he poked his head back out and said that the police would be there in 5 minutes.

So we sit.

And wait.

And wait.

And 30 minutes later they still weren’t here.

Kolby tries to encourage me by telling me “The police are probably on Greek time.” But by this point I’m actually in a little pain. “I have GOT to PEE!” I kept telling my husband. He told me to lean out the window/door. Pshh whatever.

So I did lean out the window… but not to pee. I kept yelling and yelling until this little Greek boy popped his head out a window and said “Yasoo!” Thankfully his parents popped their heads out right behind his greeting and I was able to start explaining again. Unfortunately they didn’t know English, so they woke up a sister who was living there and she began speaking broken English with us. We simply wanted them to call the police to get us some help, but they were determined that they could find a friend to do it or that we weren’t jiggling the door just right. Don’t get me wrong, they were extremely friendly and wanted to help out any way they could! But for some reason they just wouldn’t call the stinking police!

By this point I’ve for real got to pee. I mean that’s the whole reason I woke up! It had been an hour since I first realized we were locked in our room and I just couldn’t hold it any longer. Kolby told me that he was sure help would come soon and if I was going to pee then I had better go ahead and pee before they got here.

So I grabbed a Ziploc bag.

And the urge to pee was finally gone.

Don’t judge me! J

After probably 20 minutes of trying to explain our situation to them, giving them our phone number, giving them our address, and convincing them to call the police, we got a phone call from a Greek who spoke clear English. Praise God I had my phone in the room with us so we could receive a call! He told me that he had a friend who could help if we could give him the key to our apartment.

Our hearts sunk. “We don’t have a key to the apartment with us, it’s in the living room! We are stuck in here and…”

OH WAIT!

Last night I was feeling so sick, I didn’t put my things away like I usually do. I walked straight in and crashed on the bed… with my purse right beside the bed!!!

“Yes! We have keys to the apartment!”

So we threw the keys outside so that the Greeks could rescue us. They only had to do minor damage to the main door to be able to get inside our apartment, but they fixed that up once they released us from the bedroom.

We weren’t expecting to have to pay to be released, but ya know it happens. So Kolby made an ATM run while I tried to entertain an old Greek man who spoke no English. I was just happy to be free so even in the awkward pauses I told him “Efharisto!” (Thank you!).

This morning is definitely not what I would call “fun”, but it is incredible to see God provide even in crazy times like these. He let a lovely family be right at the window when we needed them to be, He made sure I brought my purse into my room last night so that the apt. keys would be in the bedroom, and He gave us a new appreciation for being able to do normal things… like peeing in a bathroom.

Hope this story makes you smile today and reminds you of His goodness even when things are just going wrong. J

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Auntie Paige"



So… I miss my precious nieces. I miss lots of other children back in the states too (like my little brother Zach, Macy Todd and other fun kids). But something in my heart is just longing to have a silly sleepover with my girls.

~~~Wednesday, Natalie Sheigh, and Rebecca Lynn~~~

I think about them wayyy to often to not write about them, so here it goes…

Wednesday is 10 (almost 11) and is just such a good friend to her “Auntie Paige”. In the states we have girl talks all the time about boys, parents, crazy girls, Jesus, and Disney channel. We like to stay up late reading the Word and watching chick flicks together. When Kolby teases us we like to whine until he stops. Ramen noodles and Chocolate Silk (soymilk) quickly vanish when in our presence. Wenz never wants to stay the night with us until she actually gets to our house. Then she never wants to leave and so the stay is usually extended to a week. J

Natalie Sheigh is 6 (almost 7… it makes me want to cry!) and is such a silly sidekick for her Uncle Kolby. Nat likes to joke and never seems to actually be on this planet when she opens that little mouth of hers to explain something. Every morning when asked how she slept Nat replies, “I didn’t sleep at all. I was awake all night.” Even though we just had to shake her to wake her out of the deep sleep she was just in. We still aren’t sure if she is joking or if she really thinks this. We like to dance outside, play “Nail Salon”, and our favorite foods together are strawberries, yogurt, and quesadillas. These are staples that MUST be in the house when Nat comes over or she will “starve” even if there is plenty of other good food in the house.

Rebecca Lynn is the precious baby. She is a beautiful baby girl… simply gorgeous like her sisters. She is about a year and a half now, and it stinks that we are missing out on 6 months of her life. We’re convinced she’ll be talking some and running around by the time we get back. We’re missing a lot out of Rebecca Lynn’s little life right now, but we know we’ll get the chance to join her in on our sleepovers one day.

So in a tiny tiny nut shell… that’s my girls. I miss them a lot. But I know that God has us here for a purpose. And even more than that I can see how He has given us gifts of new children to love on and play with here.


Just to name a few precious gifts that I’m clinging to here in Greece…

  • Futball at Aristotle Square with the Afghani boys, where I get to school some little kids and get schooled by the bigger kids.
  • English night with Afghani girls and boys where they fuss at each other over any little thing, but are always quick to return a smile or a high five for me
  • Conversations with the Africans at Game night when they tell me of the children they had to leave in Burkina-Faso. The look in their eyes just cries of the love they have for their children
  • Mentor night where I get to see silly Chloe gracefully eat her dinner and lug my laundry detergent around the house
  • Masutees (grocery store) where I usually get to see the ten year old gypsy girl named Gabriella who wears big glasses and always shakes my hand

I am so thankful that God has not given me replacements, but given me new friends and beautiful experiences which help to numb the hurt that comes with missing my nieces.

Today dwell on these verses and remember how our Father in heaven always loves you even when you feel “far” from Him or "distanced" from Him in your sin and shame:

“Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” – Luke 11:11-13

He is always near to us. Cry out to Him in prayer, seek Him today, and He will fill you up.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

the foot, running, and a crepe.


Well yesterday started off good!

But things got crazy after soccer (and after I wrote that blog). Kolby, my husband, started telling me his ankle was hurting really bad. So we put some ice on it, elevated it, made him pop some pain pills… and it just got worse. So we called up a friend who could take us to the hospital to get things checked out. Thankfully, his foot isn’t broke, but he did tear some soft tissue on the top of his foot that is causing his whole foot to be in a lot of pain. The doctor was really hospitable and the visit was super cheap so we were thankful for things not being as crazy as they could be. He wrote up a prescription and told Kolby to stay off of his foot for two weeks. So, that means crutches. Where to find those, I will have to do some exploring I guess…

Last night after the hospital visit this woman explored the town for an open pharmacy so her wonderful husband could get some medicinal relief. I found an open one pretty close to our apartment and immediately began praising God. But once I showed the pharmacist the slip of paper he said “It is finished.” I took that in English as “We don’t have any more.” But in my heart I took that as “Jesus said that right when things seemed pretty bad.” So I kind of panicked a little and ran around Navarino and Egnatia for a while asking random Greeks if they knew of an open pharmacy… to which they all responded “It is difficult tonight to find one, I’m sorry.” I finally decided to go back to the original pharmacy I had gone to and ask if they would have the medicine in the morning. He told me no.

BUT he said “If you hurry, there is another pharmacy 100 meters away from here… that will close in 15 minutes… maybe they will have the medicine” and proceeded to give me directions.

Of course, I don’t know anything about meters (should have listened in math) so I’m running to find this pharmacy before it closes.

Now I am aware that 100 meters isn’t that far away and I probably didn’t have to run.

The Greek night life was definitely staring at me like I was crazy (as if they don’t already stare at us…) but I decided I didn’t care and I was going to keep trucking. Fortunately I found the open one that had the medicine, but unfortunately he couldn’t take the medicine until 5:30AM (he had taken a lot of ibuprofen). Yeah… he didn’t sleep at all last night. So now he is snoozing away in the bedroom while I’m trying to be quiet and clean up around our little apartment.

Maybe I’m trying to say that Kolby isn’t the only one recovering from yesterday. J Last night I rewarded myself for all that running with a crepe.

It’s crazy days like these that constantly take me back to the Word. Specifically to the verses I’ve chosen to “theme” this blog…

“O Israel hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is loving-kindness, and with Him is abundant redemption. And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.” –Psalm 130:7-8

I didn’t deserve to find that pharmacy last night. Kolby didn’t deserve it either. We are simply sinful people who don’t deserve anything at all except death. But God is so loving to us “beasts” that not only has He given us life eternally, but He also gives us little things every day that we don’t deserve. We are praising Him today for giving us the medicine like He did last night.

Today, what can you praise Him for giving you that you don’t deserve? Share with me J

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tasting His Goodness!


Today was fun! We played "football" (that's soccer... for all you Americans reading this :P) at Aristotle Square (Aristotelus) like we do every Saturday afternoon. Many Afghani boys came today and they brought some new children to play who called themselves Philistines. After some research we think that they are refugees from the Gaza Strip whose people group is the "philistinia". Don't go posting that on Wikipedia though... not 100% sure about all that. But anyways, we had a great time being silly and running around trying to take the ball from them. The kids are so precious. Even if it is their culture to yell... we just shush them and continue enjoying their silly personalities. Kolby's team won today. Mine lost.

That's all I have to say about that.

The weather is starting to warm up here. I can't remember ever being cold for such a long time! I come from SOUTH Georgia where we get maybe 6 weeks total of weather below 45F. So I'm very excited about this 54F going on outside right now! Can't wait to break my flip flops out again! My toes feel restrained and are rebelling on me! Basically, I would like to use the weathering warming up as an excuse to say that's why my team lost... we got too hot.

But that's not true... :)

Today the verses I'm dwelling on are a pretty good sized chunk, but I still wanted to share.

"When my heart was embittered and I was pierced within, the I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works." - Psalm 73:21-28

Sometimes when I'm reading the Word I can't help but wonder "Woa, did the person writing this wayyyy back then know how specifically and intimately this would connect with me, today, years and years later?" And ya know, I don't think they did. But how cool is it to know that God did! And I believe He had not only me, but all of His children in mind as He guided people in writing His Word. But today these are the ones that popped out at me, and man did they grip me!

I was so lost and hungry searching for life before redemption... like a "beast" before God. But He took "hold of my right hand" and guides me with His "counsel". He knows that my "heart and flesh" will fail, but He will be near to me and be my "refuge" so that I can tell the world about "all His works." I love how clearly I can see the message He's telling me here... We were like beasts before Him and the only reason we are different now is because of His guidance. So we must share this with people around us. How beautiful! He even gave us a hands-on example of how to treat them. The same way He treated us.

Soak up the word today and praise God for rescuing you! And share that with others around you! Desire nothing on earth besides Him today.

Friday, March 11, 2011

If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

This is my first post, of my first blog. So bear with me if things get out of control... or boring. 

I love life here in Greece, even if it is very temporary. People are so hungry for life. They are loud and always looking for fun! They love spending time with their families and (gasp!) they love themselves. They are extremely helpful despite the language barrier to foreigners like my husband and I. And amazingly, they know how to sit back and just enjoy the day (as long as they have a frappe nearby). Some things that this girl just isn't usually great at! I love learning from other cultures and Greece is definitely a place where one has to be open to learning.  
But I do find some things that they lack. 
Unconditional love, peace, joy, hope, faithfulness and goodness just aren't apparent here. People here seem to care more for the stray dogs than the children begging for money. But then again, where do you find people with these deep characteristics? In other European countries? In America?  On street corners? At work? In churches? No. You don't find these things that last for eternity really anywhere anymore. At least I haven't. So what does that mean? Are we destined to continue in this whirlwind of life? Just wishing we could make it through the day and not even having the strength to think about how others will make it through their days? 

I think we absolutely are doomed.

 If we don't wait for the Lord and hope in His word.

If you are a believer, I want to challenge you to read Psalm 130, the theme verse of this blog, and meditate on  it.
If you aren't a believer, I still want you to read Psalm 130. It's a beautiful picture of the forgiveness of sins and redemption with the Lord. 

 I want to hear what God is showing you through these verses, so leave me some comments.