Monday, April 30, 2012

Movie and Music Monday Recs

Hey all! So I'm thinking of starting a new thing with this blog called Movie and Music Monday Recs where I recommend some of the new things I'm digging in the worlds of cinema and sound. Got a suggestion? Leave it in the comment box! I'm always up for hearing about new things, and if I really like a suggestion, I'll post it for the following week's recommendations.

I can't imagine going a day without listening to music. Recently, I've really been into Fleet Foxes's self-titled album from 2008. It's great if you're looking for something to relax to. Their sound is something rather unique with folky vocals and acoustic guitar led instrumentals, combining two and three part harmonies. Songs like Sun It Rises will bring out your inner flower child, but in a modernized way. Others, like White Winter Hymnal and Ragged Wood, will make you want to go on a countryside drive with the windows down while the summer breeze billows through your hair. Check out their album on iTunes here.

Alright. Well, I'm about to head out to check out a movie I have high hopes for recommending for next week! Until then, hope you have a great day!

Love always,

Thursday, April 26, 2012


So, after months of being so busy I could barely breathe without having to put it on a schedule, I'm back! And I have news.

Even in the midst of writing this post, I can't decide how I want to put this. The news is rather bittersweet, as are most decisions, but what it really comes down to is flexibility. I'll start at about the midway point, where commitments were made.

As those of you who know me knew, I planned on spending about a week and a half this summer over in Nairobi, Kenya working with kids in a VBS camp. The trip would be from July 26-August 6, perfect timing to save lots of money from working over the summer and not too close to going back to classes. And we would be working with kiddos around the ages of 6-12, which is my favorite age. And if that wasn't enough, we would be going on a safari and maybe even helping break ground at a new site for a church and school. Sounds amazing, right? I thought so too. (Not to say I don't think this will still be amazing. Just realized that sounded weird.)

Also on the agenda this summer was a trip to visit my grandma. We (my family) weren't too sure of when, but figured it would be after she headed back to Florida after my little brother's graduation in late May/early June. Obviously, this posed no conflict with the Kenya trip, and I would be getting to spend some actual quality time with relatives in an attempt to restore the bond as family. (As my dad says, "the farther away you are, the more you just become relatives. When you actually live life around each other, know what each other enjoys and dislikes, spend holidays together, come over just because you missed seeing each other, that's family.") Needless to say, I was super excited about the looming summer, and was trying to not let the summeritis get the best of me while I finished up my last couple months of school.

As time went on, I eagerly attended Kenya team meetings, growing in excitement with every new lesson we learned. The biggest point stressed to us during those meetings continued to be: whatever happens, just be flexible. I didn't think anything of it. I'm pretty good at going with the flow of things. I didn't realize what a warning that would be to me in the next couple of weeks as every plan I had for my summer was tossed out the window.

Thankfully when I got the phone call from my dad it was a Sunday night, just after I got home from Fuel (weekly church service, for those of you who didn't know), and was in high spirits. He called to tell me that the trip to visit my grandma had been changed because family from Switzerland wanted to fly us out to spend time with them, and the only dates that worked were July 17-August 3.


Right in the middle of the Kenya trip.

Obviously my dad told me that I needed to make a decision soon because they, my Swiss family, needed to secure our airfare. Seriously? I have like, five days to make this decision? This is huge! Either way, I'm going to be letting a group of people down, whether that is my Kenya team or my family. So, as most girls do, I immediately called my best friend to talk/cry/desperately try to reach a decision. She told me to pray about it and above all else, go with my heart. I think even then I knew what I really wanted to do, but I couldn't lessen some of the other variables at play. After an extreme list of mental pros and cons, I remembered that I had no idea if I could even drop the Kenya trip if I wanted/needed. So I stumbled over to my computer, shot an email to my team leader, sat down and talked to our Fuel pastor, and found out that there is legitimately room for one person to drop out of the trip.


So I thought about it some more, prayed about it, had a small army of friends praying for me as well, and when my dad called me right in the middle of small group yesterday, I picked up and told him I'd call him back.

Got you. :)

But really, after I called my dad back, I told him to tell grandma I'm going with her. I knew I had to go with my gut, and my gut told me to build my relationship with my grandma. Factors contributing to this decision: she's not getting any younger or moving any closer so I should try to get to know her as best as I can while I still have the time, no matter where I go, God will use me right where I am, my family approves of this trip while they were not very willing to hand over my passport for Kenya, and I want to honor my parents' wishes while I'm still technically living under their provision, I will probably never have another opportunity to visit my family in Switzerland, all expenses paid, I can go on another trip to Africa, whatever money I had earned for my trip to Kenya will be split among the rest of the team, edging them each closer to their goal, I will probably not go on another trip with that exact team of people, but I will be spending the entire school year with them, and we can share our stories when we all get back, nobody is going to Europe on a mission trip, and while ok, technically this isn't a mission trip, everywhere you go as a Christian is your mission field, and I plan on taking that to heart and making it obvious through my actions that this is what a Christian life looks like.

So really, that word flexibility had a lot more meaning behind it when I heard it about a month ago than I believed it would. God calls us all to be flexible. Sometimes, we think our timing is right, when really it's not. I do believe I should spend some time in Africa, but right now is just not that time. I also pray that my Kenya teammates can be flexible and understand my reason for pulling out of this trip. I hope that they don't take it personally, because I dearly care for each of them, and I know that God has big things planned for them all. I can't wait to come back from this experience and be able to share with my teammates how God was working through me and my family while He was working through them with the kids down in Nairobi.

Well, that's my story. I hope the meaning of flexibility is something that I continue to grown in, learning selflessness and becoming a more attuned listener. Hope you got something out of reading this, as always with anything I write. :)

Love always,

P.s. I got confirmation this morning that this trip with my family is exactly where I need to be, since I'll have the opportunity to talk to a couple family members who have been burned by Christians before. It'll be two and a half weeks of me showing them what it REALLY looks like to be a Christian: loving and caring and pretty normal. So really, that's what I need prayer for; to live an upstanding life while on this trip and to be a great example to my family so they can see that just because one person or one church wrote them off or wronged them, that's not God's heart for them. Thanks!!! :))