Monday, September 22, 2014

a letter of warning to my future husband

dear you:

lately it has come to my attention that there are certain things that I wish I could warn you about before we get married. I figured this was the best way. please don't let these things scare you away. please.

I'll get right to the point: I hate doing laundry. I really do. I apologize, + I'm trying to conquer that hatred, but I really just despise it. but hey, I love washing dishes + I like cleaning bathrooms! (two pros to one con, I mean, really...) doing laundry is just so annoying because you have to put them in the washer + then remember to put them into the dryer + then go fold them before they get wrinkled + then put them away + sometimes you have to iron even after all that. it's just so provoking.

I am very, very fond of spaghetti. especially leftover. you have been warned.

sometimes I write for a really long time + then I'm pretty much emotionally drained. my writing is work for me. (you never want to say that my writing isn't actually work, just ask Jessie). just bear with me when I'm on some crazy writing streak.

I listen to music pretty much constantly. it makes me indescribably happy. especially Coldplay. I. love. Coldplay. just go with it, okay? and if you like heavy metal, please don't play it in front of me. I try to appreciate other people's music, but I can't deal with heavy metal. I'm sorry. (I mean, I guess I could try to bear it. just for you).

oh, and I like rap. you are allowed to laugh at me when I rap along with Lecrae, but only in amazement at my rapping abilities. hahaha.

I am not a morning person. I despise mornings even more than I despise doing laundry. I'm really mean in the mornings sometimes. (more like all the time, but it's whatever). I'll try hard not to bite your head off, but I'll just go ahead and say I'm sorry in advance. in the morning, it's just best to not speak to me for a bit after I wake up, and probably don't mess with my hair. that usually doesn't end well. you could always make me coffee though...

I lay awake in bed at night for an hour or two. I start thinking and it all goes downhill from there. if I say something really random, don't let it bother you. my brain is working overtime. I may also randomly get up and write stuff down on a piece of paper, so I won't forget it the next morning. just so you know.

I hate cats. please never ask me if we can have one. I'll pull the "I'm extremely allergic" card if I have to. I'm serious. 

I love American football. I love it. BUT...if you don't, that's cool. if you're into soccer (the REAL football) or baseball or basketball or hockey that's great. just sit me down + teach me about it. show me how things work in the game. watch games with me + explain them. pretty soon I'll be watching the games whether you are or not. 

I make lists all. the. time. even if they aren't necessary. I buy new notebooks + pens way too often as well. 

I like planning things ahead of time. I like knowing that we are going to do such and such a thing at such and such a time. with that being said, spontaneous adventures now + then would be fine I guess because that's what Moms does to me all the time. 

I feel most loved when people buy me things. I feel selfish saying that but you should know. when someone sees something + thinks of me + gets it for me, that makes me feel more loved than anything else. 

I need personal space sometimes. approach with caution. hahaha. 

if I say "honey" in a really sweet voice you can pretty much bet your bottom dollar that I want something I don't need. 

90% of the time when I'm crying there is no good reason. I'm just crying to cry. it doesn't make sense, but that's that. 

if I ever say "oh go jump in a lake!" when I'm aggravated, please don't get offended or take me seriously. I don't really want you to jump in a lake. well, maybe not...

I'm such a sarcastic person. I say sarcastic...okay, let's face it, downright mean things without even thinking. hopefully you can help me be a nicer person. 

my family is crazy. that's all I'm gonna say about that.

you should never, ever mention the Power Rangers in front of Moms. please. just don't do it. trust me on this one. 

I have an incredibly weak stomach. I can handle blood, but only to a certain extent. I cannot handle deep wounds. (I just found this out last week when I almost passed out after John-boy cut his head open. ugh). 

the thought of having children TERRIFIES me. but I also really want kids. so be prepared for spells of "I wish we had kids" closely followed by spells of "we are NEVER having children." 

if I have to get up early for some reason, be prepared for much whining + complaining. (remember how much I hate mornings?)

I have this weird obsession with brushing my teeth. I take really good care of my teeth. it gets a little ridiculous at times.

sometimes I'm going to say things that make no sense. there's no explanation for that. (my hair is naturally blonde though if that helps at all haha)

I'm an incredibly indecisive human. I can't even pick out a bag of chips. it's ridiculous. you're definitely going to have to make ALL the decisions. and I literally mean all.

chances are that I will buy body wash for myself + then only use your's. I do it to Jamie all the time.

that's all I can think of for now. if I haven't completely scared you away at this point, just know that at least I'm loyal + trustworthy + love you a lot. I think you're swell + I'll make sure and tell you that often.

peace out, boy scout. (I say things like that a lot. don't judge). 

Monday, September 15, 2014

there and back again 2014: camp days

(instead of writing an individual post about every camp day, I just tried to sum it all up in one post. so this is the first post in my Slovakia recap! hope you enjoy).

I smiled a lot during those five days. I also yawned a lot, because let's be honest, I was hardly sleeping at all. (I could've gone to bed before midnight, but what's the fun in that?) I laughed at the antics of those kids that were outgoing + slightly rambunctious + troublesome. I repeated Slovak words after the kids in my group, trying to get them just right. I ran up + down the school stairs countless times. I walked out into the courtyard, breathing in the fresh air + listening to the teens talk during discussion group. I drank lots of Kofola during the course of the day. I followed my kids into the cafeteria, teasing + joking while we stood in the lunch line. I talked to Pica in the hallway, + helped Mrs. Donna + David with afternoon activities. I carried Andrej's and Juli's little girl around the hallway, trying to get her to stop crying.
this is what assembly looked like every morning

 I talked to Jakub + Lukas, + hid from Misko, who liked to intimidate me. I had David Cekov translate what the kid's were trying to tell me, + we laughed a lot at their silly speeches.

I walked with my arm around Dominika, one of the little girls in my group, and called for Denis to stop running for the hundred and eighteenth time. I said the Slovak word for five over + over so that I would remember the way it was pronounced. The kids laughed at me as I spoke.
the cafeteria

I ate a lot of good lunches during those camp days. I carried some of my kids' trays to the counter when they were finished + usually David Cekov or David Mocan would take care of my tray for me. 

I kept up with which of my kids were where, as best as I could. I followed Denis out into the hallway, telling him to come back to class. He just grinned at me. I usually had to get one of the Slovaks to make him come back to class. 
my kiddos
 I wrote down my kids names: Alexandra, Leah, Vanesa, Laura, Dominika, Michael, Patricia, Johanka, Martin, Misko + Denis. I thought that writing them might help me remember, but unfortunately, I still called them the wrong names all week.

I handed out blue camp t shirts and we posed for pictures. I laughed as they made comments in Slovak about how big the t shirts were. (We ran out of smalls too soon). We all gathered together and somehow fit all 62 kids + all the leaders into one picture.

discussion group 
I helped Lenka with doing the motions for the songs in assembly. We laughed + clapped when the kids did them along with us. We sang loudly, trying to keep up with Pica + the two David's. The kids cheered and shouted 'hoorah, hoorah, hoorah!' at the end of each day. 

We went to the pool one day. I didn't swim, choosing to supervise instead. I wore Vierka's wedding + engagment ring for her so she wouldn't lose them. I joked with David Cekov that she had left him for a water slide. The kids splashed each other + dunked each other + tried to get me wet even though I wasn't in the pool.

We ate ice cream cones after being in the pool for a few hours. I can't remember what flavor I got, but it tasted good. It was so cold and made the warm day slightly more bearable.

The kids loved to poke me in the side because they knew I was extremely ticklish. They would poke me and laugh when I jumped or squealed. It got to be slightly annoying (okay, very annoying) by the end of the week.

 I had a sheet of paper that said who each of my kids was supposed to be dismissed to. Grandparents, aunts, mothers, and a few could walk home alone. It was almost impossible to keep up at the end of the day with who was where and who should be with whom. But somehow, all my kids always got home safely. That was always a relief.

Lots of hugs were exchanged at the end of the week. Lots of pictures were taken. I cried as we took all the decorations down + put the school back the way we found it. It was so hard to leave + to have the kids leave.

Those 5 days at camp can be summed up in a few words, I think: hard + wonderful + fun + tiring + magical. All at the same time. I'm very thankful for that school + those kids + the ability to have taken part two years in a row.
me, Jakub + Maddie
me, Lukas, + Maddie

the last day of camp

the entire group of kids + leaders

Thursday, September 11, 2014

there and back again 2014: pre-mission trip depression

post mission trip depression is very real. or as my friend, Amy, once called it, 'mission trip detox.' it's real + it hurts + it can last for months...or in my case, an entire year. but, that  isn't what I wanted to talk to you about in this post; I wanted to talk to you about PRE-mission trip depression. 

it all started in December of 2012. something happened in my life, right before my 18th birthday. something that doesn't need to be shared + it really doesn't matter what it was. it left me hurt, sad, and really unhappy. I hadn't seen it coming + when it did, it really affected me negatively. 

I didn't get over it, either. I didn't have time to process those emotions, because, before I could, something else happened. my best friend told me she wasn't allowed to speak to me anymore. there was a reason, but really, it doesn't matter what it was. I was angry + again, really hurt + upset. I had never had many friends + so losing her seemed like the end of the world. 

I didn't get over that either. in February I was accused of doing something I didn't do by two families in my church, the church my family had been attending for 15 years. I was completely innocent, but nothing was ever done to prove that innocence, even though we took it to the pastors of the church. and so, before we knew it, we had left the church + were left without a church home. 15 years of going to the same church will make it very difficult to leave. plus, I should mention that my two "best friends" were the ones who accused me of doing the horrible thing. so there's that. 

I didn't get over that either. but I learned something about myself. I'm excellent at faking it. everyone (except maybe my parents) thought I was just fine. I 'adapted well' and seemed 'to handle change really well.' ha. ha. ha. I laughed at those comments when the people turned their backs. 

I was in a rough spot, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. on top of everything, I was trying to prepare for a trip to Slovakia. the timing seemed so inconvenient. meetings + raising support just seemed really trivial in comparison with everything that was happening + had happened. I started to view Slovakia as my escape. I wanted to go simply so I could get away from bad memories. but God had a different plan. 

that trip to Slovakia changed my life. I say that all the time, on my blog as well as in real life. and I mean it. I really do. it didn't just change one day of my life or change my literally changed my entire life. you want to know why? let me explain:

it changed my past. I hadn't worked through any of those emotions I was feeling. I hadn't allowed myself to feel pain or grief or be angry or forgive. I did that while I was in Slovakia. (in 2013 AND 2014). I looked back on everything that had happened and I saw how God had protected me from certain situations and I saw that even though the things that happened were totally crappy, I had grown because of them. I cried a lot while I was in Slovakia. this year while I was there, I told my friend David the whole story of everything that happened at my old church. just laying it all out felt so good. 

it changed my present. while I was there, I felt Jesus' presence in a way I never had before. I realized how much I loved Him + just how much He was doing through me + in me. it changed the way I viewed people + the way I wanted to treat them. 

it changed my future. my biggest dream had always just been to get married + have kids, and yes, that's still a big dream of mine...but after being in Slovakia, I discovered a new dream. I want to do longer term missions in Slovakia and see how God can use me there. I want to spend more than 12 days in Nove Zamky. 

my pre-mission trip depression was very real, y'all. as real as my post-mission trip depression. I don't use the term depression lightly either. ask my family. before + after that Slovakia trip, I was in a rough place. it was really hard + it's not something I would wish on anyone. BUT...there is beauty in the mess, and that beauty for me turned out to be a country called Slovakia. 

for the record, I'm not saying that you should pack up your bags and go to Slovakia if you're in a rough place. maybe you should just sit + listen + wait for God to heal your heart in His own timing. it took me over a year and a half to find complete healing from those things that happened. I wasn't completely over it all until this summer when I was in Slovakia again. sometimes, I think, God allows us to hurt for longer so that we discover our need for Him. and also, maybe it's so we can fall in love with something new, with someone new, or with some place that's new. 

at least, that's what happened with me.