Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Little Things

Ok, friends.  I have high hopes that this blog is going to be a lot better than my last one.  I think my thoughts are a lot clearer now, and I am going to attempt to spit them out coherently :]  Let’s get to it….

First of all, if you haven’t listened to Hillsong’s album Glorious Ruins, pause from reading this, go to Youtube, find the songs and listen to them.  SO GOOD.  I can’t wait to own that CD soon.  It’ll bring me right back to this wonderful place and remind me of His faithfulness. 

But anywho.  Thursday started out as SUCH a great day!  I got up and had my devotions and then Latte and I went to our favorite café and enjoyed a café con leche while having a one-on-one.  And it was just so good….so so good.  I love talking to these girls, especially about things that are on their heart.  I always leave feeling so encouraged, and this time wasn’t any different.  We talked a lot about being more intentional here and truly taking advantage of the minutes we have been blessed with to spend in this place, and just pushing deeper into what He has for us in this life.  I was just so encouraged, and we agreed to keep each other accountable in getting up earlier in the morning and spending our time more efficiently so we can accomplish more each day.  So far, that is going good and being very profitable to my life.  I want to pour into people’s lives during my free time, not just my own.  And God is giving me ideas of what that should look like. 

After our one-on-one, I needed to run and put more money on my phone because it was empty.  Thank goodness I did this because the rest of the day was ridiculous and we would have been really sunk without it.  Somehow I got to the phone store in time and didn’t have to wait in a line for him to recharge it.  I then walked VERY fast in the direction where I thought I needed to meet the girls to catch the bus to pick up Nicky at the airport :]  She was supposed to get in at 115 that afternoon, so we had to catch the 12 o’clock bus in order to not be late…..or so we thought.  All of the sudden tho, I realized I had no idea where this bus was supposed to come.  So I frantically called Mr. P as it was 1154 and I was walking around very confused.  By the grace of God I found the bus in time, just as the girls were finding their way to it too.  He is so good. 

So we got to the airport at 1245 and quickly realized we all should have brought stuff to do until she got in, like a book or Sudoku or something.  But we didn’t.  O well.  It was just a half hour wait, right?  WRONG.  A little after 1 o’clock the big electronic thing told us that her flight was on time.  So we got up and went over to wait by the gate, all excited and stuff.  Then 115 rolled around and it still said her flight was on time.  This was a little confusing because if it really was on time then that would mean that the screen should have said “arrived”.  But then, a little after 115 the screen started saying that the flight was “desviado”.  Me being the pro at Spanish that I am assumed that that meant it was delayed.  It had gotten really foggy outside and was drizzling a bit, so we just chalked it up to that.  Finally we decided to sit down again and wait from the chairs.  And eventually her flight disappeared from the screen.  I was very confused about this and wanted to ask someone what the heck was going on, but THERE WAS NO ONE THERE!  You see, in Spain, lunch is a 3 hour process.  Things shut down from 2-5.  It’s a time for a big meal and a nap.  But, there was no one at the Iberia desk when we got there at 1, and as we would find out later, no one would be in until 6 that evening.  How this is even possible is beyond me, but that’s the way it was.  To make matters more frustrating, no one announced to us what had happened to the flight.  Finally, I overheard someone telling another confused bystander that the flight had been redirected to Malaga, a city that is like 1.5 hours away from us.  Yeah.  Kinda important information to inform people of, right?!  UGH.  I guess the blinking “desviado” was all they thought necessary.  Needless to say, I will never forget what that word really means now :]

So, I told you guys that the Iberia people (the company she was flying with) were not in their office.  But this airport was TEENY and NO ONE was working to answer my questions except for the food stand and car rental companies…..3 of them.  And none of them had any idea of what was going on.  This is the part of the story that I started to get really worried.  I was able to ask someone if the people would have any way to get back to this airport and they assured me that a bus would shuttle the passengers from Malaga to the airport.  So I called Mr. P to inform him of what was going on and to tell him that we would be late for lunch.  He figured the bus would arrive around 330, so by that time, we had like an hour or so to wait, which was fine.  We bought some SUPER overpriced sandwiches to tide us over until she got in and we could catch a bus back to the city.  No big deal.  We entertained ourselves by playing Hangman and flipping through my old Twitter feed because you could only use the internet for 15 minutes for free.  Luckily I figured this out finally and shot Nicky an email that said we were at the airport waiting for her.  Stupidly, I didn’t leave my phone number at that time.  Yes, I am an idiot :]

330 came and went and still no bus.  At this point I was beginning to slowly freak out.  The worst was running through my mind.  Here Nicky was back in Spain with very little Spanish to go on, no phone that worked in Spain, and quite possibly no internet to see my message anyway.  I didn’t know if she would remember how to get home from somewhere in Granada, depending on where she could be dropped off.  I was just going crazy.  At about 415, a bus came and a bunch of people got off, but there was no Nicky.  When I went to investigate where this bus was from, I realized that not everyone got off, and that the bus was continuing into town.  But before I could check to see if Nicky was still on the bus since she might not have known we were waiting for her, the bus took off.  This very much quickened my freaking out.  Here we were waiting for Nicky.  It was 430 and I had no idea where in the world she was and had no way to get ahold of her because my internet time was used up.  AND NO ONE WAS AROUND TO HELP ME!  I tried multiple times to find someone.  The police office was even closed!  GAH. 

Poor Bri and Latte.  I started to get really crazy.  I was flying all around this tiny airport, trying to find help to no avail.  It was awful.  At one point I honestly thought I was going to puke because I was stressed and yet so helpless.  Finally, at about 530 I found a very VERY nice guy named Pepe.  He was at a tourist information booth, and once I explained my situation to him (in English, because luckily he understood that and I could communicate that much quicker than trying in Spanish), he left his booth and came with me to find someone to help.  There was a lady who worked for the lost and found at the airport that also helped then.  Her name was Fatima, and she spoke no English, but that was ok, because at this point, I am convinced God took my tongue and made the words come out.  Spanish seemed to fly out of my mouth a lot easier at this stressful point.  And I know it was all Him.  Fatima actually let me use her 20 minutes of internet that she gets each day to get on her computer and email Nicky my number.  And she let me use her phone to get on Facebook and do the same thing.  What an angel. 

By this time I had been in communication with Mrs. J about what was going on and how stressed out I was.  She decided that she was going to leave a note on the door for Nicky to tell her that she had gone to the Granada bus station to look for her and if she got there, to wait.  And then Mrs. J caught a bus to the station (we had been informed that the bus might have gone to the bus station in town….no one was really sure.)  Then, Fatima actually called the Iberia place and asked for the number of the bus driver.  She called his personal phone, and he informed her that he had gone to the airport in Granada and then dropped the rest of the people off at the Palacio de los Congresos.  He had not gone to the bus station.  I had no idea if Nicky would remember how to get home from the Palacio, and I was just really freaking out.  I almost had a mental breakdown into tears, which, I really want tears, but in this situation it would not have been beneficial at all if I had cried, of this I am certain.  So I called Mrs. J to tell her that the bus didn’t go to the station, so Nicky wouldn’t be there.  She told me that she was just going to check there anyway, just in case.  

Now, at this point I was just really concerned for the mental state of Mrs. J.  I didn’t understand at all why she would waste time in looking for Nicky at the bus station if the bus from Malaga had not gone there.  I mean, I was about ready to call the news stations and inform them of my lost friend and start hanging flyers, and here she was checking at a bus station that Nicky couldn’t possibly have gotten to.  I was pretty frustrated and just kept thinking of the worst possible situations that Nicky could be in.  Through all of this I was also asking God why in the world He was doing this to us.  I guess you could say I was praying, but more like I was just telling God all of my frustrations.  My fear kind of overtook me.  We had been at the airport for almost 6 hours at this point.  I was plumb out of ideas of what to do (besides sitting down on the sidewalk and bawling or resorting to the flyers, that is). 

Then, the phone started to ring.  I had told Mrs. J to call the red phone, because my white one had died at this point.  Latasha handed it to me, and I heard Mrs. J telling me that she had found her.  Yes.  She was found.  I don’t think I have ever been so relieved in my life.  I almost started crying right then and there.  Bri and Latte both thought that I was going to as well, but alas.  Still no tears.  But ahhhh.  FINALLY.    We made the decision to just take a taxi back home since the next bus wouldn’t leave for another hour at least.  And again, we were blessed.  This taxi driver was AWESOME and he sped us home.  At one point we were going 130 km/h which is like 80 mph.  Yay for driving fast (not that I ever do that……:])

By 730, we were reunited.  What had happened was that Nicky’s baggage had gone to a different area of the airport in Malaga, so by the time she got it, the bus going to the airport in Granada had already left.  So, not knowing to do anything different, she bought a ticket to go to the Granada bus station.  And, when she arrived there, she was waiting in a line to get a map to walk home when Mrs. J found her (what she didn’t know was that to walk home from the bus station would have taken her at least two hours, if not more.  CRAZY WOMAN!).  She hadn’t been there for more than 10 minutes.  Our God is so good.  And this is what He has been showing me…….that He cares about the little details in life.  He orchestrates everything together just perfectly.  He blows my mind.  Lemme explain and give you some examples.
-           First, we had prayed that Nicky would get really good rest on her way over and that jetlag wouldn’t be an issue.  She slept a LOT the whole trip and honestly hasn’t had a problem with jetlag at all. 
-          When I was freaking out, I prayed out loud with the other girls and asked that Nicky wouldn’t be a quarter of as stressed as I was at that moment.  As it turns out, Nicky didn’t really realize that anything was wrong.  She was a little confused that they had gone to Malaga, but it didn’t really phase her.  No stress :]
-          That night, we were supposed to meet with Cristina to have our intercambio thing, but she ended up cancelling because she had to do a project for school with a friend.  And, this ended up being perfect because by the time Nicky got in we were starved and just wanted to chill with her. 
-          Mrs. J arrived at the bus station (for no logical reason :]) in perfect timing.  Not only this, but thank goodness Mrs. J was available to help us search for her. 
-          I have this really cool friend.  Her name is Jeano, and I love her a whole stinking lot.  She sent some letters with me to Spain and each one has a date that I can open it.  I opened the one on Valentine’s Day, and she had written some lyrics from the song Oceans, saying she didn’t really know why but she felt like she should.  As you read before, Latasha and I talked a lot about going deeper and being more intentional and stretching ourselves here.  That is what the song Oceans is all about.  And that was just the day before that we talked about all of this.  THEN, that night at Fe Y Vida we sang Oceans in Spanish for the first time.  Talk about cool.  If that didn’t get my attention to realize that this is what God really wants me to do, I don’t know what would have.
-          Valentine’s day was pretty much perfect.  I have decided that Valentine’s day is overrated in the context of guys and girls, but it is the perfect excuse to show special love to your girlfriends.  And God gave me the most gorgeous day to chill and laugh with some of the best girls in this world.  The sky could not have been bluer.  He loves like crazy.
These are just some of the moments I thought of off the top of my head.  He has been showing me all over tho that He really does care about the little details, and He loves me in my love language.  It’s so personal, and He just continues to twirl me around in this dance we are taking together.  His timing is perfect, and He loves me enough to forgive all my unbelief and worry when I yell at Him for not doing things my way.  I owe Him everything and yet He continues to bless me.  If that isn’t true Love, I don’t know what is.  To sum it all up, His ways are WAY higher than my ways, and for this I am SO grateful.

On a bit of a different note, I’ll tell you a little about this weekend.  Friday, as I mentioned, was so great.  The day was absolutely perfect.  I got up and read a bunch of Psalms and had a very tranquilo morning.  Then at noon we all headed over to Mr. P and Mrs. J’s to make heart shaped sugar cookies for Fe Y Vida that night.  It was so fun, and they turned out great.  After this was done, we walked downtown to enjoy some shwarmas with the excuse that Nicky hasn’t had them in a while so it was only right to treat her to the goodness again.  Afterwards, we took a little hike up to this overlook of the Alhambra in San Nicolas.  It is seriously one of the most magnificent views I have ever seen.  So stinking pretty.  And, we had leftover icing from the sugar cookies, so I decided we should probably buy some strawberries to eat with it so we didn’t waste any food.  Just trying to be a responsible citizen here :]  Turns out that my taste buds are on point and that the idea was gold.  AND I also bought a bag of dates to eat up there since it was only fitting with it being Valentine’s Day and all :] Can you tell that food is my earthly love?  Heehee. 

That night we went to Fe Y Vida.  The people there love so well.  I very much enjoyed watching Nicky get smothered with love (literally, one of the guys made her disappear in his big hug for like 10 seconds).  And the worship that night was so great.  I loved it.  I mentioned that we sang Oceans in Spanish.  I don’t know if I have ever talked about what a talented group of musicians they have in that place though.  Antonio, the leaderish guy of the group, is honestly one of the most skilled guitar players I have ever known personally.  He is RIDICULOUS.  Latasha told him the same thing one day, and his response was, “You know the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 where Jesus multiplied the fish and the bread?  Well, that is like what He did with me.  I taught myself to play guitar, and I just learned the basics.  He did the rest.”  Is that not the coolest thing?!  He’s insane.  And the other people that play are awesome too.  The Holy Spirit is moving in that place, and they use their talents to glorify Him.  I just love it a lot.   

Also, I have been getting to know one of the little girls at Fe Y Vida for a couple of weeks now.  She now knows my name and comes up to ME to say hi.  Her name is Sara, and she is 5.  I LOVE her.  Friday night I played with her and another girl named Ines a LOT.  Aunt J, I had to think of you.  I started flipping them by having them walk up my legs and then flipping backwards in the air.  I remember pestering you ALL THE TIME when I was little to do the same thing.  Who knew that that little trick could be so fun for kids.  Also, at one point I had Sara on my back and Ines in front and we were flying around in circles, spinning and laughing.  It’s during moments like that that I am sure I was made to work with kids.  There have been big doubts in my mind at times during the last 3 years or so.  I always thought that I wanted to work with kids, but the devil has used my weakness at times to make me believe that I am not good enough.  But, now I realize that that is all it ever was…..the devil being dumb.  I LOVE playing with kids.  It brings me so much joy.  I’m so comfortable with them, and I don’t care if I look like the biggest goofball in the world.  With a kid, it doesn’t matter.  I love the crazy ones too.  I can just be myself and they accept that.  I don’t know.  There is just something so special about kids.  I treasure the memories I get to make with my little friends here. 

Also, on Saturday we went on a 4 hour hike with Mr. P.  It was wonderful.  The weather was gorgeous again, and it was good exercise.  I tried to do a chin up on these random exercise things along the way.  Yeah.  That was a fail.  Time to get some muscles I decided.  Afterwards the girls went to a party with young people from the community around our church.  They played games, ate cupcakes and had a dance party.  Apparently everyone was pretty impressed with Nicky’s rad moves.  In other words, she made everyone laugh.  I spent my night with Favor.  I just love that girl.  She is SO smart and creative.  We watched Mulan together (shoutout to Becca if she ever reads this :]) and she played on my phone a long time, drawing me pictures to use as my background.  She also made me the cutest valentine I have ever gotten.  I am going to miss that girl so much next week when they move to Malaga :[  But, I am very thankful for the moments I have been able to spend with her.  She is a special girl, that one.  Please pray with me that she continues to grow in the knowledge and truth that she is loved ENDLESSLY and PERFECTLY by her Father in heaven.

I feel like I have so much more on my heart that I want to share, but as always, this has gotten very long.  I will save the rest for another time.  In the meantime, we continue to covet your prayers.  I believe that God still has a lot to show me in the area of prayer and just how powerful it is.  He has placed some people on my heart here to really lift up…….like, they are on my mind a lot randomly.  I am trying to learn to depend on Him for words to speak when I am with these people and to be patient and faithful in lifting them up.  I think God has big things in store, and He has invited me to join in on the action.  If all I can do right now is pray, then that is just what I will do.  So thanks for standing with me.  I’ll tell you all about my friend Nigel in my next post.  But if you think about it you can pray that his heart would be softened towards the Jman.  Continued prayers for our team would be great.  Our health so far has been pretty much perfect which is crazy.  We are so thankful for that.  And Nicky is adjusting here so smoothly.  I am blown away by that girl.  Girls like her are rare and certainly a treasure.  I am honored to have been given the privilege of learning from her and her huge faith. 

Thanks so much for reading and for all your support.  A shoutout to Miss Vicki for sending us puppy chow.  We destroyed that thing in one sitting, and I am not sorry about it one bit :]  So good.  Hope you all have  a great week.  Go deep and keep your eyes up!  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

98 Remaining....

Hey folks!  So, I’m sitting on the couch here listening to my iPod with my Spanish homework on the table in front of me, but I feel like writing a blog.  So that is what I am doing.  The homework can be done after intercambio tonight while watching the Olympics :]

I am going to start off with some fun facts that no one really cares about :]
-          I stinking love the OLYMPICS!  So the day that I realized they were starting I was freaking out!  The only minor frustration is that Spain doesn’t really care about the Olympics that much.  It’s sad.  So, sometimes the events are shown on one channel, but that is not even guaranteed.  It’s pretty much the only reason we have used our TV so far except for when we watch a movie every now and then together.  But yes.  For all of you that are stateside, cheer on the USA for me :]
-          My car is everywhere here!  Mini coopers are all over the place, and there are so many yellow ones even!  Since yellow is such a popular color for them here, I probably wouldn’t want it, but back at home, that would be my car.  Latte calls them clown cars.  I just picture Charlize Theron flying around in her little red one in The Italian Job and it makes me happy
-          Running is terrible.  I tried it this past week.  Gross.  That is all I have to say on the matter for now, although it is quite possible that we may be running in a 5K in Malaga in April.  That might actually make running a little more fun.  We will have to wait and see tho….
-          I am convinced that the sky is the bluest here in Spain.  It is gorgeous!  I really love when the day starts off all dreary and drizzly and then by the afternoon it is sunny and blue skies.  So fun.  Kinda reminds me of Ohio and the bipolar weather.  Stay strong, Ohioans.  Spring is just a few months away :]
-          When making quiche, be sure to use nata para cocinar (cooking cream) and not evaporated milk.  Sigh.  I’ll explain in a bit….
-          A bad word to mix up in Spanish (or any language) is the word “jealous” for the word “proud”.  I ended up telling a friend that I was NOT proud of him and all his studies instead of saying that I was not JEALOUS of him and all his studies.  Oops.  And the worst part is that I didn’t catch that I did this until the next day.  Aye aye aye.  Learning languages is fun.
-          Also, reading in Spanish is really hard.  It’s a humbling experience to get your pronunciation corrected by the 6 year old that you are reading the book to. 
-          We are down to 98 days of outreach.  Now, normally I am very against counting down the days like that, but I had to calculate and make sure that I am doing ok in my Bible reading.  It’s so crazy how fast time is flying by! 
-          And finally, I’d like to give a big shoutout to my grandma.  Thank so you much for never dying your hair purple, red, or blue.  It is an all too common sight here to see older ladies with crazy hair.  I don’t get it. 

Alright.  Those weren’t as fun as some, but those were the things that came to mind off the top of my head. 

Two Sundays ago was one of the funnest days of my life.  We woke up and then headed to Sacramonte to celebrate San Cecilio Day.  It took us about an hour to get there, and then we got in the HUGUNGOUS line for free bread, raw beans, and this salty chunk of fish.  I don’t really understand why that is the traditional food at this event, but we ate it.  Very weird, but kinda fun.  Then we watched some cultural dancing and songs be performed on stage.  There were a LOT of people there.  I love crowds, so it was great for me.  Before we left, we bought a whole stick of sugar cane for 5 Euros.  Steal of a deal!  Took me back to Uganda.  So then we headed back home, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of stares I got for carrying a stick of sugar cane through town!  Goodness.  You would have thought I was an alien or something.  We had quite a few laughs on the way back, and a lot of them came from the stares, so it all turned out ok.  When we got back to the house we went up on to the roof to eat our sandwiches and fruit.  It was a GORGEOUS day and very relaxing.  Turns out that cutting up sugar cane is quite a process, especially when all of your knives kinda suck.  Luckily up on the roof I could hack away at it and not have to worry about cleaning up the mess of little pieces that flew off.  But anywho.  After that, I ended up falling asleep for a bit just on the tile up there, soaking in the sun.  Then I came down and got ready to go to ch-rch which was great.  After, I headed to Mr. P and Mrs. J’s to skype with my family :]  AND, I got to eat Oreos while doing it.  SCORE.  And finally, I went out and bought a GINORMOUS pizza that was quite tasty to eat while watching the Superbowl.  Yeah.  What a waste of my life.  We ended up leaving at the beginning of the 4th since it was such a pathetic game, and by the time I crawled into bed it was 430.  Yikes.  Monday morning came very shortly after that with class at 9, but it was a good Monday as well. 

After class, I came home and took a nap while the other girls were at their class.  Then right after lunch we went to pray with our friend that is going through a hard situation.  It was a great time of prayer, but with it came some heaviness just from the situation itself.  After this, we went straight to intercambio with Fe Y Vida and then headed out for tapas with Gaby and Bekah.  This was the last time we had to hang out with them, since they left this past Friday for home which is the states and Venezuela.  I’m so thankful that it worked out for us to hang out with them again.  They are very fun and encouraging ladies.  *insert slow, inspirational clap here* :]

Then, on the way home, a big heaviness came over me.  I can’t really explain it.  I didn’t feel like being with Bri and Latte.  I just wanted to be alone.  There was no reason for it at all.  But, we still had to do Bible study when we got home, so we started that, and we hardly discussed anything.  It was very dumb, and it just made me really annoyed.  So I said we were going to debrief right then.  Now, it was almost midnight at this point, and we were all pretty tired from our very late night the day before, and I knew that by declaring debriefing, not everyone was going to be very happy.  And sure enough, that was the case.  But, I really felt like we needed to talk about the tension going on before going to bed or the next day was just going to be ridiculous.  To make a long story short, we realized that we were under some very heavy spiritual attackage.  It was the creepiest thing of my life, actually.  We prayed, sang, read the Bible out loud, and just prayed some more through it all.  It felt like we were all alone… no one was praying for us or something and we were just so vulnerable.  By the end, which was almost 3 hours later, we were exhausted, but there was a peace that I can’t even describe. 

I love the way that God works.  He takes the things that Satan tries to use to break us and makes us so much stronger out of them.  I feel a lot closer as a team as well.  Seriously, if I said that I was proud of these girls before, I am beyond proud of them now.  If I ever need some serious prayer and for someone to fight for me like that, I’m calling these two to lift me up.  I feel like this experience really helped our faith, and it also refocused us a lot, which was definitely needed.  Lemme explain. 

From my blogging, you all know that our time here has been AWESOME and SO blessed.  God seriously is the coolest, and He has been teaching me so much.  I kinda think that because of this, we had lost a bit of our focus.  Don’t get me wrong, we haven’t gone completely nutso here.  But, we spent a majority of our time in prayer thanking God for what He has done and is doing here, and while that is great and necessary, it is not all of what we should have been doing.  We lost our dependence on Him in a lot of ways I think.  So this spiritual attack, although very difficult and so, so dark in the beginning, ended up being a blessing for each of us.  In the end, there was light, peace, and also a sense of courage.  I actually told Satan that he could take our lives if he wanted, but if he came for our hearts, he would never get them because they were the Lord’s.  So although during  there was a fear that I have never in my life felt before, it ended with a courage that I had also not felt before.  Not a confidence in myself at all because I had just been shown how truly weak I was, but rather a sheer confidence in my Savior and His warring angels. 

In saying all of this, I would ask that you please keep us in your prayers.  We have obviously been treading on enemy territory, and although this country doesn’t seem very dark on the outside, when you are here, you realize that there is a lot of bondage and heaviness under the surface.  We want to continue to have joy, but amidst this joy, we want to be depending on Jesus with everything in us to lead and guide us. 
But now to get back to the past week.  We babysat for the marriage seminar thing the past two Saturdays.  The first time there were 13 kids, and it was a lot of fun!  I love kiddos and spent most of my time making paper snowflakes and then reading to any of the kids that wanted me to.  This past Saturday was a bit different.  For a little bit, we had 3 kids, and I had a lot of fun making a train track with my buddy King.  But then him and his sister had to leave, so it was Bri, Latte, Bethany (a 9 year old that definitely doesn’t need watched) and Zeal (a 2 year old that most DEFINITELY needs watched :])  Zeal is full of his name……zeal.  Lol He is super smart for his age, but he is a little tornado of destruction.  I don’t think I can count high enough to tell you how many times I had to fix the bridge of the train tracks for King because Zeal smashed through it.  Heehee.  Funny memories  with that one tho. 

Also, this past Saturday Bri and Latte had the opportunity to go to a youth event thingy with people from Fe y Vida.  From the sound of it, they had a blast and spending the day by themselves with Spaniards really stretched and grew their Spanish.  YAY.  I stayed behind to pray and talk with the friend that is going through some hard stuff.  I left her house after lunch and got home just before 4, but the girls weren’t going to get home until about 6.  So, I decided that I was going to doing something very impressive and make dinner all by myself.  I was actually pretty excited to surprise the girls by it.  Quiche was on the agenda, so I turned on some tunes and started cutting away at the carrots, zucchini, and peppers.  I have to admit, it was kind of relaxing to just sing and think all by myself while chopping up stuff.  I still don’t think I am ready to admit that the kitchen is growing on me tho…’s much too early to tell.  ANYWHO.  So I did that and everything was going great.  I mixed it all up just in time to get everything cleaned up before going to babysit.  When I got home from that then, I put it in the pan all nice and started baking it.  It is supposed to only take 45 minutes, but for some reason it was just not firming up.  I don’t know how long it ended up being in the oven then, but finally we just took it out and ate it.  Whatever it was, quiche was not the name of it.  But it tasted good.  We just chalked it up as being Melvin’s fault, the poor machine, until Latte asked me which nata para cocinar was expiring that we had to use it so quick.  I told her it was the stuff we made the meatballs with.  She looked at me and started grinning as she said, “Kirsten, that was evaporated milk.”  And THAT is why the mixture did not firm up.  Sorry for blaming you Melvin.  And Mom, I was so close!  O the adventures that we have in the kitchen. 

After babysitting, we started an almost 24 hour Silent Retreat.  This was SO good for me.  I enjoyed it a lot.  I slept (much too long, but I feel very rested now), prayed, read a LOT of the Bible and also another book called Ordering Your Private World, and just had  a lot of time to think and reflect.  Like I said, I feel very rested now.  There are a lot of small details that I need to take care of and things that I need to get done, but personally I feel like inside I just have a deep sense of peace.  Our retreat ended with church, and then afterwards we headed over to Mr. P and Mrs. J’s for dinner and to just hang out.  It was so good for my soul.  Sunday nights at home are the times that I miss the most.  It is my favorite part of the week, and so having a similar time of hanging out with good friends and nibbling on food was great.  Also, I think that the next time I post I will have more to share on my thoughts and stuff that I got during Silent Retreat.  It is all still very fresh and I am still pondering and processing it all. 

The past week has been fairly chill and normal.  We have gone about the normal activities pretty much.  One thing that you could all keep in your prayers is our friends Jamie and Eddie.  On Monday morning, Jamie had surgery, and I am not exactly sure of the technical name for whatever happened, but basically on Sunday they found out that she was pregnant, but then Monday she lost the baby.  So sad.  So they are still trying to process all of that, and day by day Jamie is getting a little stronger.  Just please keep them in your prayers. 

This week feels a lot more filled with random things, but its good.  A huge thing that is happening is that NICKY IS COMING BACK ON THURSDAY!  WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!  We are super pumped for this.  Also, some fun things with Valentine’s Day are also probably going to be happening.   Sorry that this blog post isn’t all too interesting.  I have things to say, but I can’t seem to get my mind to focus long enough on it to spit out the words.  It probably doesn’t help that I am watching the US kick butt in the half pipe event on TV, but I will blog again hopefully at the beginning of next week to update you all again.  I am just going to put this struggling horse down now.  Thanks for all your support and prayers!  Love you guys and have a great rest of the week!