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Monday, September 2, 2013

Overdale House and finally getting here...


Oh my.

I can't believe I've been in England for two weeks! I did plan on posting earlier but it's just been too crazy around here. I know you'll forgive me.

I am happy to write now though, albeit a bit briefly.

To recap...

I arrived at London's Heathrow Airport after a smooth journey across the vast atlantic ocean.

It was the most uncomfortable succession of plane rides I've taken to date, but I think that's just because it's too hard to get comfy in those narrow seats. But I made it safely so that's all that counts.

I found my two-ton luggage set and then proceeded to make as many wrong turns as possible throughout the airport trying to get to Terminal 3. Or was it 1? I'm still confused.

Just note, if one wants to take the Underground Picadilly line...if you go to the wrong terminal, beware you will have to lug your luggage up many,
many,
many
steps.

Thankfully, those few times I found myself in the very awkward, cumbersome position, gazing forlornly up the mountainous stairways, some very nice English gents stopped to help me out.

So grateful to them ;)

Once up on solid, city ground at Victoria Station, I began the slow haul down the sidewalk trying to locate the Coach (bus) station. I was receiving some odd stares and double takes. I think I may have looked half-mad at this point, my hair all frizzy and cheeks, a bright shade of tomato-red from all the exertion. My luggage was all linked together one on top of the other...I think that looked odd too.

Anyways, it had taken me so long to get to the bus station that I missed the bus I was going to take.

Not to worry though...a mere 3 hours later and after lots of people gazing and interesting conversations with English and Irish folks also waiting, I was bound for Derby.


I met the wonderful missionary base leaders for YWAM Derby at the Derby bus station and they hustled me to my new home...

Overdale House.

It is a beautiful, victorian house from the mid-1800s...that now houses currently 11 YWAM missionaries, two kiddos, and soon a bunch of DTS (Discipleship Training School) students.

So happy to finally be here. And I am so amazed and blessed by everyone's testimonies and the journeys that God has had them on to get to this place now.

Here's a brief look at my new home...and wonderful people I am working with.

Becca (my awesome roomate), little Esther (a missionary couple's daughter) and I
most of YWAM Derby's missionary staff out in the countryside of Derbyshire (5 countries represented)


To be continued...

Friday, August 23, 2013

5 Amazing Things I Noticed While Spending 1.5 hrs In Iceland


Photo by: Alex J White
6:00 a.m. sun came bursting through the window, as I craned my neck to see out Iceland Air's much too tiny windows. KeflavĂ­k International Airport's tarmac stretched out in front of us, black and shiny as we taxied to the terminal. 

I had landed in Iceland. 

This was a first for me (!), and I was thrilled to acquire a new stamp for my rapidly filling passport. 
Layovers totally count if one gets to actually walk on the "ground"—from the plane to the terminal and back again—totally legit.

Now, I've seen some spectacular images from Iceland skim past my eyes as I've scrolled through my Insta-feed, so I was ready to see something awesome.

We filled into the aisle; the passenger in front of me grumbled about having to walk down the plane steps instead of getting a ramp—#sorrynotsorry you can always tell the Americans on board—and proceeded to step backwards for some unknown reason, nearly obliterating my right foot in the process.

I swallowed back a high pitch howl, and refrained from loosening a string of less than savory words on them. They just kept moving, anyway.

Shaking it off, I finally reached the top of the steps and looked out the door, getting my first uninhibited view of the landscape. 

In a word, breathtaking! 

One one side - brown mossy flatlands and the other - the shimmering North Atlantic waters.

4 things that amazed me in the 1.5 hours 
I spent in ICELAND:

1. There were mysterious plumes of white smoke spiraling up from the ground all around the runway. I've never seen anything like it.

Iceland is known for some pretty crazy weather phenomena, in fact, it is one of the most geologically unstable countries in the world! It sits astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the Eurasian and North American continental plates rub up against one another. These frequently occuring earthquakes force magma to be pushed up from deep underground, making volcanic eruptions a very common occurance. 

All of this underground churning causes steam belches to escape from the earth — which is what I was seeing all around the airport... Fun fact: Icelanders harness this steam for geothermal power; helping to make roughly 85 percent of their energy from renewable resources.


2. Upon entering the terminal, I felt like a swarthy, Italian-sized Hobbit discovering the land where Elves comes from.

Stereotypical or not, I've never seen so many tall, naturally blonde, blue eyed people all in one place together. Everyone was very polite, with excellent customer service, and the terminal was super easy to navigate around.

As a nation, their policeforce carry no guns and violent crime is almost non-existent.


3. I would choose a layover flight here and deal with all the multiple stops just so I could go back and use their amazing airport bathrooms. I should have snapped a pic, it was that awesome. You walked into the bathroom and were met with pristine white floors and individual compartment-sized bathrooms with floor-to-ceiling doors for each one. Inside, there was a toilet, floor-length mirror, and two sink faucets—one for washing your hands, the other for drying (!). There was lots of counter space to put handbags and overall space if one wanted to change or freshen up in style. For air-weary travelers it is #bathroombliss. 

4. Rumor has it, elves are known to be spotted here. Certain roads have been re-routed to avoid disturbing areas where elves are thought to live. Other random fact: It is also safe enough to leave one's baby outside for nap, in case one wishes to do such a thing.

.........


Well, folks, there you have it. Interesting, random, unique and gorgeous—just a few adjectives to describe lovely Iceland. If you have a chance, put this country on your visit-list. I for one, look forward to booking a proper visit, next time around.

Now it's your turn! Have you ever traveled to this Nordic nation before? Any interesting airport terminal stories to share?

We'd love to hear!

Until next time, Cheers!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

This Girl's Flying Away

Tomorrow is the day.

Finally.

I will be off to Derby, England.

I can scarcely believe the time has finally come.

My last couple weeks here in the states have been super busy.

Here's a quick recap!

Lots of loose ends to tie up at work and I'm pretty sure my 
awesome new replacement
was wishing I was a lot less scatter brained.

Sorry, girly!

Fun times all around though :) I will miss this crazy busy, lovely place.

I had a super time with coworkers at one last lunch together.

Stuffed french toast anyone?

I miss them all already.

And a spur of the moment dinner date with two loveliest of ladies :)


My aunt took me out for pedi's and a "sending off" Italian meal this past week as well. 
A cannoli was necessary to top the evening, 
and yes after all this eating I may have gained a pound or two :(

________

Packing really hurts my brain though.

It was not enjoyable. Not even in the minutest fraction of an amount.

In fact I get a headache just thinking about how horribly everything fit and what didn't fit :(

But it was probably God's way of showing me all the things that are simply things
that I don't really need so much afterall.

_________


I was happy to share about this mission at my church today. It was quite nerve-racking to present it three different times but I was glad for the chance to meet new faces,
get lots of hugs and hear some great stories in return.

I'm so grateful for these 'lasts' before the new 'unknowns'...

I will remember these sweet, crazy days leading up though with much fondness
in the months to come :)

See you on the other side of the Pond, my friends!

oh...and pizza. Did I mention eating quite a lot of that?

 And like a ton of Sweet Berries Ice Cream :)

my wonderful grandparents, my daddy, brother and I :) last two pictures

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cirque Loveliness


As a going away slash belated birthday present, 
my aunt took my sister and brother and I to see the show,
La Nouba - Cirque Du Soleil
 in Downtown Disney.

I had never seen it before and the show was outstanding.
The talent was unbelievable.
If you ever get the chance, see a performance by Cirque....
well worth it! :)

and thankful for the wonderful memory that it is for me to take with me
of much loved time spent with the Fam :)
___________

I'm off to a church staff picnic today :)

Have a happy weekend friends.

T-Minus:9 Days until Departure :)


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Treasure in Friends

I'm still here ...busy tying up many loose ends.
Trying to remember everything I know I'm forgetting to do :)

Making lots of lists.

Very excited :)

So blessed 
and 
Appreciating all the amazing people
I have met and gotten to know over lunches and chats and
through church over the past few weeks.

I've been so inspired by our conversations and grateful for all the 
advice and words of wisdom humbly bestowed :)

Every person has a story.
Is living a journey, that when shared with others,
is a treasure for us the listeners to hear and learn from.

God never ceases to amaze me how good he is
 and how he supplies all that we need, 
exactly when we need it.

Thankful for these new friendships and excited for them to keep growing :)

*photos in this post courtesy of pinterest

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day...Bring on the "Heat"

Happy Independence Day to my fellow American friendlies!

I have a happy day off from work today, which is always welcome for a break and sleeping in. 
The sun is doing its best to poke it's head out of the overcast skies...hoping this constant rain will be at an end now. We are thoroughly water-logged.

Last evening I had a super-fun time with good friends.
We hung out, snapped as many pics as we could and ate yummy food.
We talked about lots of things, laughed a whole bunch
and then traipsed across Main Street to catch a flick.

We watched The Heat with Sandra Bullock (really, really funny, although very profanity-laced)

I am enjoying these last weeks with those I love, appreciate and cherish as much as I possibly can.

This afternoon, I get to spend time with the family for some poolside time, provided those rainclouds stay away...
then maybe off to the beach tonight for fireworks...

What are you doing? Anything special this day?







Sunday, June 30, 2013

Commence the Declining and Falling

I had thought I was navigating this new decade that I have found myself in, fairly well.

Until...last week.

Over the past year and then much more frequently, I was experiencing intensely daily headaches and exploding eye pain, eye tiredness etc...

At first, I thought I wasn't getting enough protein in my diet or something...

So I forsook my previously veggetarian-ish diet.

And commenced the force feeding of large quantities of broccoli, beans and carnivorous fare.

No change.

In fact the pains were getting worse.

Due to the urgings of friends, eh hem...you know who you are :) I reluctantly headed to the eye doctor not really thinking that would shed any light on this situation.

BUT lo and behold, I found out I need the dreaded...reading/computer glasses.

Apparently, due to the increasing presence of "screens" in our day to day lives and because I for one, have a job where I am in front of one all day and then come home and work on it more all night...well it has resulted in a new occular diagnosis called:

Computer Vision Syndrome

Basically permanent eye strain due to forcing one's eyes to focus inward at close proximity for long periods of time.

Big blah.

So now, not only do I have random grey hairs sprouting up all over...

I now have to wear "computer" glasses.

Oy vey.

Due yourself a favor and give yourselves lots of breaks when viewing things on the computer...or your kindle/ipad...and keep a minimum distance of at least 15 -20 inches. Blink a lot to keep your eyes from becoming dry! and did I already mention, take frequent breaks!!!

The good news is, I haven't had a headache since wearing them and to that I have to say,

HUZZAH!


Now to the sink for mass application of hair dye. 

Pesky greys...whaaaat?


______________


Friday, June 7, 2013

Ringling Photo Fun


Good Morning lovelies,

How come when you have a great day off from work and want to sleep in, your body most definitely wakes up and stays up around the time when you would normally get up for work?

Cruel and unusual punishment...

I took a personal day from work to head to Tampa for the 2nd part of my visa application request. Wish me luck and "speedy" prayers :)

Today is bright and sunny out, despite yesterday's Tropical Storm Andrea-rain and wind fest.

Thankfully just some minor roads flooded...nothing major. I've heard this Hurricane Season might be pretty bad...but I'm hoping that is just over-pessimistic weather people with too much time on their hands eager to make dire predictions...

I shall leave you with some fun times that co-workers and I had at the Ringling Art Museum.

Have a wonderful Friday 
and 
Happy Weekend!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Countdown begins...

Yes, I'm still alive! I can't tell you how mad crazy life has been over the past month! Hence my silence...Very soon though, my blog will be a hum with all new experiences...provided I get my bum in gear and everything I need like financial support and travel paperwork and applications come through.

I basically sacked most of my belongings, and or gave them away, or am in the process of selling off my remaining items in preparation for leaving in exactly 11 weeks and 2 days.

I moved out of my apartment since my lease was up and moved in with my gracious Aunty once again for these next couple months.

When one is preparing to leave one's country for an extended period of time -which I will be for the minimum of two years (it's open ended so I'm there as long as God wants me there!) well, for sure, there is so much to think about and try to put in order.

I am a notorious procrastinator when it comes to getting my things together. Just ask my former apartment mates/siblings and they will tell you I waited until two days prior to move out date to pack.

However I have roughly 11 weeks to go and I plan on using my time wisely.

Three things I am trying  NOT to think about:

1. My visa not coming through in enough time. Yikes bikes, please pray I get it before the 11 weeks (I bought my plane ticket already!)

2. Leaving my family and friends AND Mr. Pancks for who knows how long!

3. How I am going to stuff everything I need and want to bring with me into two suitcases and a carry on and not have it weigh 200 lbs??? Do you know how many shoes I own??

Happy Weekend!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Call To Missions part 2





As fall of 2013 approaches, I will be packing my bags.


Stuffing as much of my worldly belongings as I can into two suitcases and a carry-on.

I'm moving to England to help staff a Discipleship Training School as a YWAM missionary.

What will I be doing? 


Primarily helping to organize, and keep a smoothly running Training School that is meant to provide young people the opportunity to grow in their relationship with Christ, discover their giftings and encourage them to step out beyond their comfort zone in loving the lost through a variety of ways; preparing them to either enter into a life of full time mission work or better equip them to live out an authentic Christ-like walk in their everyday life "back home"...
 

Why in England? Aren't the people reached already?

A few mind-boggling fast facts:

Europe, once the foundation of the Christian world...

Now...
Christian growth over the past 50-100 years - the lowest in the world.

Greater Europe Mission concludes statistically that over 400 Million people across this continent have never opened a Bible.

Like ever.

Just to put it in perspective:

America...1 out of 5 people profess to be bible-believing Christians
Latin America..........1 out of 10
Africa......................... 3 out of 20
Middle East..............  1 out of 25
Europe...................... 1 out of 40

_________

England...is the most densely crowded nation in Europe...and dubbed a secularized, “post-Christian” society.

It may have a lot of beautiful cathedrals and cute country churches, but many buildings now either stand empty or face dwindling congregations as the older generations die off. The young people, they are looking elsewhere for meaning and truth.




I am excited to make myself available for God to use in this nation. 
I absolutely fell in love with England when I was there with YWAM the first time.
 


It's a beautiful country and they have such a diverse culture.

I also believe YWAM is a fantastic vessel to allow for the Message of Christ to be released in such a variety of awesome ways...And I know training up other young people to go after knowing God with all their hearts and helping them release that passion to a world hurting around them is something I feel so honored and excited to be a part of.





Friday, April 12, 2013

Strangers at the Door and My Over-Reactive Imagination

Dave Mckean Illustration

Have you ever house-sat for anybody? Dog-sat, maybe, while the owners were away?

Have you ever stayed in a house, alone, that is unfamiliar...? Where everything is foreign and sounds are all new and suspicious?

I am currently dog-sitting and sleeping over a friend's house this weekend while they are away.

Tonight is the first time ever.

Her doggy is adorable.

So after the two of us bonded over bacony-smelling dog treats and lots of belly rubs, I made myself a veggie burger and some french fries. Easy enough.

Sat down to eat and then...

The doorbell rang...

Uhhhhhhh....????

To get it or not get it-when one is in someone else's house???

This is the question I have for you! I mean, really, what do you do??



I sat my plate down after the initial high-speed jolt to my heart rate from the shock.

My friend didn't tell me to expect anyone, so who the hey was that?

I went to the front door and went on tippy toes to see through the convenient little peep hole.

photo courtesy of google :)
The dog was going crazy barking so I knew there was someone, or some thing...out there.

From the warped, fuzzy, mostly limited view I could make out the form of a man with his arms crossed.

Who doesn't look like a total Ted Budy-serial-killing-creepster through a peep hole anyways?

Especially when one is A-L-O-N-E.

So I reasonably concluded I wasn't going to open the door.

I waited there.

Watching...

He waited there...

Waiting...

Scheming for other routes of entry??

And then he spun around and walked under the carport. Out of view.

Presumably heading for the side door.

I waited for a few moments  racking my brain for whether or not I locked that side door when I came in...

????

Oh, wait, I did.

Pheww...

I certainly wasn't going to go over to the door and check because it had a big ole half window.

I would be so clearly visible. Clearly.

Hmm...not so much.

So I hovered and waited some more.

No more knocks.

The mystery man must have left because I did not see him again, much to my relief.

Now I'm trying not to jump everytime I hear the air-condition come blasting on with a loud bang.

Trying not to startle everytime I hear cutie come through the back door flap from the yard as the flap makes this eerie metal on metal scraping noise.

Keeping my cool, even when I hear the front door do this weird "sucking" noise like it's being pushed in from the outside.

The dog, poor thing is quite skittish, so her barking at every other noise doesn't help.

The wind is whistling through the trees.

That noise, never helps.
So I've concluded, the problem with being a creative readerly type---I have way too big of an imagination about what could, or possibly might happen.

Snap out of it kid.

I'll get over these first-night blues...don't worry.

And now you can regale me with tales of your own and make me feel less like I'm the only over-reactive, hyper-paranoid, crazy-brained female.

K?

Good night for now. See you on the brighter side of tomorrow.

I hope... 

;)


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Call To Missions part 1


A few years back, I participated in a life changing 6-month Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Discipleship Training School (DTS) in England. This school aims at equipping  followers of Christ to serve more effectively in a variety of mission fields, helps the students to know and understand the things of God a little clearer and equips them to share their faith in a variety of ways . 


The training includes a time of bible study and growth, local weekly outreaches (both practical and evangelistic) and then a couple months of outreach in a foreign culture -for my outreach- it was off to Tanzania, East Africa. 


It was amazing and I grew and was stretched out of my comfort zone in so many ways. 
I believed at the end of this training school and missions program that God would lead me to partner up with YWAM as a missionary in the future. I just didn’t know when.

If you've followed this bloggy for any length of time, you will know the past couple years have seen many ups and downs for me. I have suffered the loss of my dear mother, went through times of extreme pressures coming at me from all directions...and I have been in what has felt like a long period of "waiting" on the Lord. 

When I finished my DTS, I wanted to go back out, to a nation-any nation that God would send me to and serve Him there. Love people in His name, help bring restoration to broken, hopeless lives and whatever else I could possibly do for Christ.

Instead, God told me no. Not yet. You're not ready.

And then came the dreaded word...

Wait.

Waiting is, by far, one of the hardest things on earth to stay content through. 

It's downright excruciating at times...ya know???

When nothing seems to be changing and all you can hear is the ticking of the clock...

Talk about stretching one's faith...

Is now the right time God?

No.

How about now? Am I ready to step out on the mission field in faith and accomplish amazing, earth shattering feats for you??? Huh, Lord? Huh?

You are already on the mission field. Live each day with eyes and ears ready to see and speak My words... And Love.  See my children who are all around you and who don't know who they really are. Love them, as Me. And Rest...

Wow...it's simple really. 

But a hard lesson to learn for someone who felt like she needed to keep doing lots of good things to gain His approval of me and not realizing that He couldn't be prouder of me just as I was, resting in and simply enjoying Him and learning to see others as He sees them.

Live life every day, in contentment and willingness to share His love with others.  

It's not about "doing" anything on a small or grand scale. 

It's realizing it has NOTHING, absolutely nothing to do with me.

It is all about Jesus.




So now, finally after getting this revelation! and learning to love living in this knowledge...

God is giving me the "go" ahead...

I feel the release and call of God to step out of a secure existence and accept the challenge of living a radical existence for His Kingdom on the overseas mission field, with an entirely new and fresh perspective. 

I will be devoting all of my time, talent, and treasure serving as a full-time missionary with YWAM  in Derby, England come this fall and I will be helping to staff an Urban Focused Discipleship Training School.

I have so much more I'd like to share with you... I hope you will stay tuned :)

for part 2...




 
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