Saturday, October 6, 2018

What I Read- September 2018

Wow! I can't believe that it is already six days into October....How the year has flown by!

I will admit, I started several books this month, only to put them down because I was seriously disappointed in them and had no desire to finish. Recently, I have almost completely lost interest in fiction books. I'm hooked on biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs though. :)

Well, here goes. I only finished three books this month, so this will be quick.

Saving My Assassin (Virginia Prodan)

Memoir; 5 stars
I'll start with the best one. This book was EXCELLENT! Virginia was a lawyer in soviet-controlled Romania. She became a Christian and started taking cases where Christians were being persecuted by the Romanian government and defending them in court. This called a lot of attention to her and her faith. She was interrogated by Romanian government officials, put on house arrest, and threatened. Her story is amazing!

Virginia's writing style is also excellent. It was engaging and detailed and easy to read.

The Tragedy of Mariam (Elizabeth Cary)

Play; 3 stars
I had to read this book for my literature class. Elizabeth Cary is a contemporary of Shakespeare. This play is a work of historical fiction of Herod (I think the same Herod who killed all the baby boys in Matthew chapter 2) and his wife Mariam. The plot is somewhat complicated, and to be honest, the thing that helped me track most was reading Josephus' historical account of the same events.

As is implied in the title "Tragedy," Mariam is killed in the end. That was kind of sad. :(

But there were some really funny and witty lines scattered throughout the play, and overall, it's pretty short.

The Wood's Edge (Lori Benton)
From Goodreads

Historical Fiction; 3 stars
Have you ever started reading a book and been really disappointed with the actions of one of the characters before the first chapter is over? Have you ever read a book where you are dying because you know a secret that the characters don't? If not, read the Wood's Edge.

The book starts off with the Major stealing a baby because his own son died and an Indian woman had had lighter skinned than the other. He never told anyone, and he and his wife raised the boy as their own.
Meanwhile, the other twin and his Indian family searched often for the boy they knew was missing.
What happens when the worlds of these two boys collide one day?

Well, that's it for my September reads! I'll leave you with a quote...

Quote found on Pintrest

Monday, October 1, 2018


Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

Some people really love change, some people really hate change. I haven’t met very many people who take a neutral stance on this idea. 

In the past six years or so, I’ve had a few changes in my life. I’ve had three or four times that the configuration of my youth group small group (leaders or other students or both) has changed. I started Jr. High (not a huge change, since I’m homeschooled). I started High school (bigger change). I started taking college classes (okay, that was kind of a big change). I started driving (yikes!). And just this past summer, our youth pastor of ten years had to step down, and our whole youth group is going through a change as we adjust to our new youth pastor.

All that to say, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to learn lots of things from God about change. And believe me, it took several times of going through change for me get these things through my thick skull! And, every time I'm presented with another possibility of a change, I have to remind myself of these truths. 

I'll share two truths about change with you today. 

First, God uses change for good. For too many of us, change has a negative connotation to it. But change isn’t always bad. Admittedly, we don’t always see it right away. But I believe (now) that God always uses change for good. 
My small group had been through three or four re-configurations of our group in five years. At the time of each change, no one thought that anything good would come out of it. We lost leaders we loved and trusted and had to build relationships with new leaders. But here are two good things that came out of it that we see now (two years removed from the last switch around). 1) We got to know a whole group of girls we probably would never have had deep conversations with if they were not in our small group. We are a very naturally reserved and shy group of girls and probably never would have talked to anyone outside of our group if we had been left to ourselves (I wrote another post last year on a similar topic). 2) This summer/fall as our whole youth group goes through a change, transitioning to a new youth pastor, my small group realized that because we had been through big changes before, we were at peace. We describe it as this amazing sense of peace that we don’t understand. Even though it kind of shakes our world to have this change, we know it will be okay because God is in control. That leads me to the next truth:

Second, I believe that God uses change to teach us to trust him. I found a quote on pintrest that says, “God often calls us to places that frighten us so that we will fully trust him.” The same is true of change. God puts us through change so that we grow closer to him and trust him.
When I went through the first change at the end of 7th grade and lost a much-loved leader, I was angry and I certainly didn’t trust God. I thought that somehow his plan for me had got messed up. The second time (end of 8th grade) wasn’t much better. I was angry at God and angry at some people around me. How could this happen to me again? My plan would have been so much better than God’s right now!
But as I look back now (again, two years removed from the last switch around), I see that each time, I trusted God a little more and a little more. I learned through each experience that God has good plans and he can be trusted.

So, even when change is hard, and even when you want to did your heels in and refuse to go along with God’s plan, remember that he trustworthy and he has a good plan for you. I don’t deny that it is rough, and God’s good plan may look different than your good plan, but he is going to work all things out for good according to his plan, purpose, and will. Take comfort in that. Trust God, even in the storm of change. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Tanzania Week Six and Seven in Photos

Hey Everyone!
Here are the final two weeks of pictures from my trip!

Tanzania Travel Journal Week 6 and 7

Week 6:
Sunday evening we watched the FIFA World Cup Final game with some friends.
Monday and Tuesday the four interns went on a safari. We spent the night in a hotel near the game park and drove back Tuesday morning.
Wednesday morning I baked banana bread and in the evening we had a birthday party for Tyler.
Wednesday night after the party, a couple of us got sick. Three of the interns (myself included) spent most of Thursday sick.
On Friday I went across town to hang out with some other friends of mine, the Medinas. I had lunch, got to see their school, and played games.
Then we had our final week of Friday Club!
On Saturday we went to the beach with a group of teens. We played games, ate lunch, discussed Ephesians 2, and had a mud war.

Week 7:
Sunday afternoon we flew out to Zanzibar for our team debrief.
Monday we went to Prison Island, Zanzibar and took pictures, debriefed (round one), and saw the giant tortoises.
Tuesday afternoon we flew back from Zanzibar.
Wednesday night we started our 21 hour flight back to Minneapolis, arriving Thursday afternoon to rainy, cool weather.
Friday was a full day of debrief in Minneapolis, and Saturday evening I flew out of Minneapolis and headed home! The following day started a whole roller coaster of re-entry emotions. I'm planning to write another post about that process later on.

Keep scrolling for pictures!

Let's go Croatia! World Cup Game

Safari picture

My friends the Medians! 

Playing games at the beach

The results of the mud war...I needed
a shower!

The giant tortoise 

Zanzibar = paradise 

That brings my trip to a close! I hope you have enjoyed seeing the pictures. :)