15 December 2010

Time is Approaching...

Christmas is almost here.
Friends and family are traveling from far away.
My roommates are leaving to go home.
Everyone is in a shuffle, trying to get as much done
in as little time as possible.
I have a fun week planned for my mom and friend
who are coming from the States and London.
A couple of days in Nuremberg, Germany
to see the famous Christmas markets,
couchsurfing with strangers, and
a snowy bus ride in the Czech and German countrysides.
A Christmas Eve Candlelight Service,
then a nice cozy dinner in a pub
with a roaring fire,
just along the Vltava River.
The tickets are bought.
Four of us will be going to the Prague State Opera
on Christmas
to see Swan Lake.
Then a big feast back at the flat.

I can't wait!

12 December 2010

"Leave not thy chamber this morning without enquiring of the Lord."

~C.H. Spurgeon

I love love love this quote.
Not only does it sound beautiful when uttered aloud, but it is a truth I often forget.
How can I face the uncertainty of each day without first enquiring of God?
He knows all and sees all. I do not.
And that is oh so comforting.

What's in your bag?

What's in your bag?
I thought this was a fun idea that other bloggers have done in the past.
So I'm giving it a try.
Here's what I carry with me on a daily basis:
Top Right to Left: Anthro planner, Moleskine journal (keeps my mind clear of fretting about forgotten things), 1940s gloves, Italian leather purse, digital camera, lotion, tissues (who knew the winter brings a runny nose?), my special pens (both gifts), all three keys to my flat, Alba lip balm & Bath & Body Works gloss, Anthro change purse, Czech Crowns (currency), my Czech cell phone, mini i-pod shuffle, Flagler College tin advil case, silver engraved compact mirror (bridesmaid gift), vintage-style watch, Barnes & Noble olde-world-map passport holder & passport, and, of course, a novel.
I'd love to hear what you carry with you!


11 December 2010

A Year Ago Today...

I graduated from my dream college
after four amazing years
in and out of beautiful St. Augustine, FL

Flagler College was my Harvard
and I loved every minute of it.
I can't believe it's already been a year...
a year since I've been a student
a year since I've gone to classes
a year since I've written a paper.

And now I'm going after another
living abroad.
 I encourage you all to go after your dreams,
even if they're hard, even if you fail,
even if you don't think they're possible,
even if you struggle. They are worth it.

How can we as followers of Jesus make a difference
in this world if we are not happy or pursuing our dreams?
How will people understand the true nature of God
if they do not sense our own passions for living?

Follow God's will by living out your dreams
and reach people with your testimony of it.
I must admit, I am sad today, thinking of past times.
Truly, the only negative of living a dream-filled life.
But sadness is natural, and a positive part of moving forward,
for my memories will always remain deep within my soul.

the flagler alumna

07 December 2010

The Nutcracker

Every Christmas my mom and I go to see the ballet, The Nutcracker. I remember first seeing it when I was just a young girl in a quaint little theater by the sea. It has had a lasting impression on me. So much so, that I love anything that has to do with The Nutcracker. The story itself is enchanting and the little toy soldier is much more dashing than Prince Charming. I mean, he fights off evil mice in front of a giagantic Christmas tree with Father Time watching from above. Then he dances with Clara.
How romantic!
This year we'll be in Prague watching the ballet at Narodni Divadlo, or the National Theatre for those English readers. I am so excited for a fun evening out with my mommy! Hopefully it will snow and we can wear pretty dresses and have dessert across the street at Cafe Slavia, a famous old-world coffeehouse. It's just along the Vltava with a spectacular view of Prague Castle.

The National Theatre


06 December 2010

Christmas Lights

Pia Jane Bijkerk
I really like this music video from Coldplay's newest Christmas Album.
I forgot how much I love this band.
Walking around Prague at night is magical, much like this video.
Enjoy! :)

this is glamorous

04 December 2010

Happy 49th Birthday, Mom!

My mom turned 49 today,
switch those numbers around and it makes 94.
She's not that old...yet.

My mom has given me so much
and all I'm giving her in return is a post on my blog.

Life just doesn't seem fair.
She gave me life.
She gave me my sense of style
and my love of all things thrifty.
She gave me an obsession with dark chocolate.
She gave me a safe childhood,
with lots of room for imagination. 
She showed me how to respect others,
especially my elders and my crazy family
(on both sides)
 She gave me room to grow
and direction when I asked for it.
She introduced me to God
and all of his love and grace.
She taught me to be the perfect hostess
and to treat people equally.
On this birthday of hers,
even though she's so far away,
I hope she feels my love
and my gratitude.

Early in life she traveled alone,
now she has a family of her own.
Our lives will always be linked,
even if our paths are not always in sync.

Happy Birthday Mom!

I love you
& miss you
a lot.

your only daughter,


01 December 2010

Ponderings & Meditations

"He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." ~Job 8:21

This verse was sent to me by a good friend. And it reminded me to laugh more and show more of my inner joy. The Czech Republic can be a very dark place. Over 70% of its population are Atheists. In many ways the older generations still have Communist tendencies. Laughter is rarely heard, unless it's from a group of drunk teenagers late at night on the trams. And joy, I think, is a foreign concept. How can they know joy if they do not believe in the source of all joy? Especially with winter fast approaching, I think it will be important to keep this verse in my near thoughts.


"There is a legend which tells of two angels who come from Heaven every morning and go on their rounds all the day long. One is the Angel of Requests. The other is the Angel of Thanksgiving. Each carries a basket. The one belonging to the Angel of Requests is soon filled to overflowing, for everyone pours into it great handfuls of requests; but when the day is ended, the Angel of Thanksgiving has in his basket only two or three small contributions of gratitude." ~Mrs. Charles E. Cowman from Streams in the Desert

I read this today in the wonderful daily devotion of Streams in the Desert and felt convicted. How often do I pray for numerous things that I want, but never give thanks for what I already have? This Thanksgiving I was away from family, but I was granted a wonderful group of people to share the holiday with. I may not get to see the sun everyday, but I get to sleep in a cozy, warm apartment and watch the snow fall outside. I may not speak Czech and always understand what's going on around me; but I do speak the lingua franca of the world, which is a hot commodity in Prague. God has always provided for my needs, my mouth should always be filled with more thanksgiving than requests.

What are you thankful for?


30 November 2010

My Week in Pictures

The grand lighting of the Christmas tree in Old Town Square

My Thanksgiving dish, broccoli casserole

Christmas markets in Prague, hot wine and sausages galore!

Banana Cranberry Bread

My roomies and I at Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by Bridge Community Church

Reading, journaling, sipping warm vanilla milk, and eating Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Almond muffins

29 November 2010


by William Blake

He who binds to himself a joy

Does the winged life destroy

He who kisses the joy as it flies

Lives in eternity's sunrise
I subscribe to a poem-a-day from http://www.poets.org/ to get my daily dose of poetry, both contemporary and historical. I wanted to share this with you. It's just so lovely!
By the way, IT'S SNOWING IN PRAGUE! More to come later....

22 November 2010

Freelance Missionary?

A few weeks ago I was asked to help out at an English Retreat that a local church was hosting in a small village outside Brno (the 2nd largest city in the CZ). I agreed and asked my friend, Megan, to come along and teach too. I really had no expectations leaving Prague. I planned a little, but I wasn't really sure of the students' English level, so it was all loose planning. All I knew was, I was happy to get out of the city and get into nature. I was excited to help out a church (I mean, I really came to the CZ with the intention of following where God leads). And I was thrilled to meet more Czech people to perhaps understand their culture better.

So, I got on a train, alone. (Megan came later in the weekend). The ride went by nicely, but as I checked the station signs at one particular stop, I was convinced that it was the one I wanted. I grabbed all my stuff that lay over the chairs and ran for the train door. It wouldn't open. I anxiously asked someone to help me. Apparently the door opens only to pulling and pushing and lifting numerous levers at once. At this point the train was moving! I didn't know what to do...the train would eventually gain speed and it would be impossible for me to get off...so I jumped off the moving train! Whew! The station guard gave me a funny look. I laughed and shrugged my shoulders. When I got all my stuff together and finally put on my coat in the station I learned that it was the wrong one. I got off one too early....all that for nothing. So I waited for the next one.  
morning mist outside my room window
At the retreat there were five native speakers teaching various levels. I taught the beginners. And let me tell you, teaching any beginner class is enough to make you want to pull your hair out. The first few lessons were tough. There was lots of translation by my Czech helper. There were lots of sighs and shaking of the head. There was lots of acting (on my part) and stick-figure drawing on the white board. By the last two lessons, though, we were having conversations and talking and asking questions with one another.

My class was a group of middle-aged women. So we laughed a lot. And we had some funny remarks. One woman said she likes to talk to her husband on the weekends. I asked her if she didn't talk to him the rest of the week? The class roared with laughter. Another woman asked me if I had "boyfriends". I said, "like one, two, three, four?" They couldn't control their laughter. We compared Florida with the Czech Republic and they were shocked to learn that a Florida winter = a Czech summer. They laughed in surprise when I told them that what I was wearing consisted of my "winter clothes".

the walking group, bundled against the elements
The time away from the city was much needed. On Saturday afternoon we took a walk into town to visit a "sweet shop". And when I say a walk, I mean we walked for a while through a field in the middle of nowhere to a town that we could hardly see because of the thick fog. It was cold, but so lovely. I kept thinking of Pride & Prejudice and the poets in the Lake District of England and how walking has such a large presence in history.

In the evening the Czech church hosted a discussion about God. They printed out quotes by people in history, from Marcus Aurelius to Gandhi to Abe Lincoln to Einstein. Each person chose one that they agreed most with. Now, many of the people there were unbelievers and many of the quotes were by Atheists. The discussion and quotes were all in Czech, so my Czech helper translated for me. For the next hour and half I sat there in complete shock. I didn't know whether to run out of the room sobbing or to laugh hysterically at the cleverness of Satan. I heard things like we are what our government decides to we are just a product of the culture we are born into (15th c. people believed in God, but 21st c. people do not) to "we are unimportant people living unimportant lives on an unimportant planet" to churches and Christians are hypocritical and the cause of so much suffering to there are many paths to God.

Yet, everyone was calm and even-tempered. Everyone knew there were both believers and non-believers in the room and they respected that fact. It was a safe environment to share your thoughts in. There were no drastic changes in anyone, nor was there any crying or confessing. I left there with the sole thought that truly only God, only a supernatural being, would be able to right the wrongs that have been committed in humanity. Only through a change of heart, which only comes from God softening the heart, can cause a person to change paths and believe something so out of the ordinary. Satan has confused and lied and has used some big powers on earth to really inflict chaos.

taking walks is good for the soul
I left the retreat with the sole conviction that I need to be praying more often for God to intervene and soften the hearts of his people. In hearing their thoughts about God and the universe I could detect some running themes that are from the Kingdom of God, universal truths that they follow without completely understanding.

It was a powerful discussion, one that really opened my eyes to how the Czechs think and what they have faced over the decades and centuries. This place is steeped in history.
My English class. They were so good to me.
On another note, I was asked numerous times, "what organization are you with?" As many of the other volunteers were full-on missionaries, they assumed I was one too. When I said that I just kind of came to the Czech Republic on my own to teach and to see where God led from there, they were surprised by my independence. One missionary said, "so you're kind of like a 'freelance' missionary." Well, I guess that's one way of putting it.

17 November 2010

Isn't this the sweetest thing ever!?

 I just love travel and world related things.

16 November 2010


I went to the US Embassy today to get an affidavit stating that I have no criminal record in the US signed and notarized. I need it for my Czech work visa I'll be getting next week in Bratislava. I went in and...
spoke English!
And couldn't get the ridiculous grin off my face! I felt like such a fool, but I literally felt as if I was back in America. Weird how embassies do that to you.
I spoke to other Americans.
I saw the American flag (and almost said the Pledge of Allegiance, but I withheld).
I saw American soldiers and metal detectors.
I was brimming with happiness. I love Prague, but there's something about Americans that no other nationality has. We are easy with one another. We talk to strangers and share stories. We give advice and smile and shake hands and laugh and compare states. We perhaps ask too many questions, but we're a curious bunch. We tell jokes. And when we leave one another, we genuinely hope the other has a good day. We travel the world, but when we meet a fellow American, our faces light up and we're instant friends.

This was my experience today. I think I'll visit the Embassy more often. :)


23 things I miss about my 23 year old daughter::said by Dad::

1. Her smile

2. Being in church with her and glancing over to see her fully engaged in worship

3. Her 2010 relationship with blue and green dragonflies

4. Her curly hair

5. Her friends

6. watching her find a recipe, moving into the kitchen with her laptop, music and apron and producing a dish ( green pea pesto UGGHH)

7. Smiling as she gets indignant at a coffee shop if the espresso sits for more than 30 seconds before being mixed

8. Anthropologie… enough said

9. Her little red Honda

10. Her leaving in her little red Honda with a wave, smile and two beeps

11. Her little red Honda missing two huge trees by inches at 60 plus miles per hour… Thank you Lord

12. Discussing books with her

13. Barnes and Noble for an afternoon with dad

14. Watching her paddle off in the canoe with her Bible, journal and books for the afternoon

15. Her at five dancing with a handful of teddy grams…. Ok I’m 52 and miss my little girl!!!

16. The Flagler College years

17. The C. S. Lewis weekend together

18. The Sarah Mclachlan and James Blunt concerts… Hello Disneyland!!

19. Her frustration with me when I come into her room and sit on her perfectly appointed love seat

20. Her sense of fashion, see number 8 again

21. Her getting ready for a bath… I think her candles were a source of global warming

22. her indignation before she left for Prague if asked about finding her husband there… she didn’t know he was lost

23. Her kiss on both cheeks when she said goodnight, hello or goodbye… the last one is special

14 November 2010

November 14th, 2010

Winter is almost here.
The sun still shines, but the leaves swirl downwards,
escaping the trees
that neglect to hold onto them.

It's so easy to just let go.

The trees are about bare now.
Twisted skeletons
reaching for the sky. Bare, brittle branches
but clothed in fog
at dusk when the sun falls

5pm and it's midnight.
10am and it's dinner time,
but I'm drinking coffee and confused
and my spirits fall downwards
only to be gathered the next day into a tight bundle
of delicate leaves

as I look out onto a city of spires
and breathe in
and out
as the wind whips fall away into the past.

08 November 2010

a history of LADYBUGS

I have always loved ladybugs. Always.
I can remember when I was a little girl sitting down by the driveway in the grass near the drainage pipes that ran underneath the concrete. I sat there mesmerized by the little bugs as they opened and closed their wings, fascinated that they always seemed to want to climb onto my finger. The day was sunny and breezy.
I was small. And they were tiny.
Sometimes Sweet
Years later there was a time in my life where she would always seem to find me wherever I was. Journaling on the beach, she found me. Getting out of my car, she found me. Walking down the street, she found me. Inside a museum,
she still found me.

And even now, in this chilly weather, I climbed a hill and admired a view and there she was, reminding me that I am loved and a part of something special. I love that throughout life objects and people and themes and words and even tiny creatures follow us, connecting us to our Creator. Sometimes we miss the connection, but it's nice when we can recognize that we are a part of something bigger, that God is sovereign and weaves our lives through those around us, creating significance to our lives.

Warm Pears

A ladybug landed on my sweater one day while I was hot and sweaty. She stayed for a while, then flew away, landing on a small girl wearing a hat and gloves. She walked away, not noticing the little creature. But I saw, and watched as she carried my friend farther and farther away. Off to a new place carrying the thread of meaning to more little girls.

02 November 2010

600 Year Anniversary of the Astronomical Clock

The 600 Years from the macula on Vimeo.

What a way to celebrate!
October 9, 1410-October 9, 2010
I wonder how they'll celebrate it in the next 100 years!

Issuing Visa Issues

Well, yesterday I spent most of my morning in the Foreign Police Department. I went to the High School that hired me to pick up my contract, then they sent me to the Foreign Police to apply for my visa. They said it would be simple, I'd have to wait a while, then I'd be able to send off my paperwork for a work visa. Once this was done I'd be able to start teaching, something I've been waiting to do for about three weeks now.

It's never that easy in the Czech Republic.

I arrived at the Foreign Police after taking an uncountable number of trams and metros. I waited with a mass of bodies surrounding this computer that had a sign on it. The sign was in Czech, so I had no idea why we were surrounding it or what we were waiting for. Not one offical person was in sight. Not one sign was in English. Finally, a lady came out of a locked door to issue tickets with numbers on them to us from this computer. I waited some more. And some more. And some more. Meanwhile people from all over the world were in this room waiting for something. I started to wonder why I wanted a work visa in this country. I was the only American in the room. Why does an American want to work in the Czech Republic? Well, I guess there are some questions that are unanswerable.

So, my number was finally called...after sitting, standing, The Count of Monte Cristo, an instant cappuccino, three bathroom trips, and time spent people watching. The lady behind the desk was upset that I hadn't registered as a tourist. Who knew about this? Aparently, people have to register within three days of their being here. Who wants to do that when they're on vacation? She gave me some grief about that and asked me some questions about when I arrived. Then she goes on to say, in broken English, that I have to go to a Czech Embassy outside the country to apply for a work visa. What!? That is not what the school said.

So I left with nothing accomplished and my teaching date pushed back further.

29 October 2010

A look into my week..

I gave some practice tours on the hop-on-hop-off bus tours. I will be starting "officially" on Wednesday.

I tutored some children and corrected their pronunciation.

I watched Hocus Pocus and baked snickerdoodles with some friends.

I went to Cesky Krumlov on the sunniest day of the season. We meandered the tiny streets for hours and sipped on hot mead, a honey-liquor cinnamon drink. We shopped and soaked up the views and gardens and wildlife (bears). We had a nice day out of the city.

I slept in and watched The Vampire Diaries in bed. I had to quench my thirst for American TV...it's been so long since I've seen anything other than what I brought!

And now, it's going to be a spooky weekend in Prague! Happy Halloween Weekend!

26 October 2010

Sweet Surprises

As I walked out of my building today I noticed something white in my mailbox. To my dismay, I realized I had no idea where the mail key had gotten to. So after my few errands I searched the apartment looking for it, but it never turned up. And I just knew...that letter in the box...was for me.

So down the stairs I went, holding onto a pen and some tape. I looked around me, hoping no one was watching what I was about to do...I stuck the pen with some tape on the end into the mailbox, hoping it would stick to the envelope. The tape fell off a few times and some people came through the door too. I tried to look dignified, like I owned the mail system and luckily no one asked what I was doing. Whew!

Finally I got my letter! And up the stairs I ran to read my precious letter. 
It's moments like these when I really miss my friends and family the most. At times, I feel so separated from everything. I have to remind myself that do belong here, even if just for awhile. My friends & family will always be present in my life, no matter where we are in the world.

I just love the look of written words! Especially the handwriting of people I hold close to my heart.

Leave a comment if you want my address and I'll write you back too!

Tomorrow I'm off to Cesky Krumlov, an Unesco World Heritage site.....
sunshine and fall leaves!

25 October 2010

24 October 2010

My Weekend in Pictures

I bought a French Press and sipped on real coffee instead of instant. Yuck!

I found this lovely sculpture near the Vltava made from shoes.

I went to a farmers market and watched the swans swim.

This tea shop smells amazing. I wish I had brought my loose tea holder with me to Prague.

old doors are in abundance around the city...I wonder if this is why we stumbled upon yet another movie set! This time a period film.

a lovely shop of clothes from local designers. I am obsessed with this top, but it's over $200 USD.

clear skies. for a while at least.

I collected fallen leaves on Petrin hill.
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