Sunday, July 29, 2007

On Being Back

I have been home now for about two weeks.
I have eaten my fill of fast food and now I am over it.
I have fallen in love with working out indoors.
My jeans have never fit better--thank you dryer!
And I have been able to see faces I love (not all of them, but most).

It's been a great time.

I came home to see my house re-decorated.
Things have even been renamed.
Forget the game room, oh no, now it is the breakfast room.
What happened to the previous breakfast room?
Booted out for the "warming room." (pictured above)
I feel like Goldilocks trying out all the new seats in the house.

I came home to see my sister's hair longer than Repunzel's.
She's cutting it for Locks of Love at the end of August.
People barely recognize her, I think they lose her face in all that hair.
I pet her head a lot these days.

I came home to find that I am seriously addicted to coffee.
Not just any coffee--Italian coffee.
We're talking espresso here, people.
I have killer headaches if I don't get my fix.
The day comes to a crashing halt and I just go to bed--coffee is my lifeline.
My obsession with Lorelai has taken on a whole new meaning. I am her, only blonder.
So now I wake up with my mom yelling down the hall, "There's coffee in here. Drink some."
She hates headaches more than she hates caffeine addictions.

(this is not my house. just a re-enactment.)

I came home to a overly watered DFW area.
Streets flooded, lakes overflowing, etc.
One of the side effects has been a pair of ducks in our pool.
Cute, I thought, until my parents informed me that they "make a mess" in the pool.
I don't think I need to explain that any further.
So, in the middle of dinner these days my mom will suddenly jump up, scream "the ducks are here," and then go flying out the back door to scare them off.
She's even pulled out a lifeguard whistle.
Poor things take off like they're being shot at.
A warning to all birds: Don't mess with my mamma.

I love coming home.
I love that I don't have to fully explain myself and my friends totally understand where I am coming from.
I love how my dad has to suffer through So You Think You Can Dance becasue he gets overruled by three girls.
I love that my bed is so stinking comfortable.
I love that the Lord wants rest for us.

On Monday I leave to apply for my visa (again!!) in Houston.
Please pray for safe travel, all the timing issues, and favor with the consulate.
I want Italy to like me as much as I like them.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Its just about over.

I officially have one more day in Florence.
Boxes are moved. Luggage is packed.
Goodbyes have already started.

I am so sad to say goodbye to my teammates that will not be returning next year.
My roommates have made this year so wonderful.
The Lewis' have kept me laughing and loving all things cross-cultural.
I will miss them dearly next year.

But, I cannot wait to be home.
Two months in America sounds like heaven.

Time to see familiar faces.
Speak in English.
Understand a church service.
Have good conversations at Chili's and Starbucks.
Process this year.
Spend extended time with the Lord.

Bring it on!

I know my outlook will change drastically next year.
I cannot imagine saying goodbye to my Italians now.
This country still holds my heart.
I can live without a real cappuccino for two months, but after that.....

This year has far exceeded my expectations and at the same time it has been nothing like what I pictured.
The Lord's plan is so much bigger than mine. Far more than I could ever imagine.
I am just trying to walk forward with open hands.
I literally have no idea what's in store. And, I'm learning to like it.

The Lord blessed me with some pretty fantastic people to share all this with and it just seems fitting to thank them for walking with me. Excuse the following "oscar speech" moment.

To my team: Thank you for incredible memories. Thank you for boldly sharing the Gospel everyday. Thank you for loving me in spite of my sin. Thank you for answering the Lord's call. You are all my heroes.

To my family: I love you all more than words can say. Distance does make the heart grow fonder! Thank you for your constant encouragement and support of the ministry over here. Thank you for jumping on board with this crazy adventure from day one.

To my supporters and friends: Thank you for making this year possible. Thank you for your prayers for me and for Italy. I truly think I have the best friends in the world. Seriously, I could win a contest. I don't think I will ever be able to let you know how truly grateful I am to each of you.

So, set your watches for July 10th.
And watch out, America! Here I come!