Letters Between Friends: CHALLENGE UPDATE


Lindsay and Emily are coming to visit in just nine more days!  Their arrival reminded me to get serious about the challenge Lindsay extended before I moved to Greece – ten things I have to do, OR ELSE.  I wrote to Lindsay this week with an update…8 down, 2 to go!  Head over to her site to see what I still need to do.



Running Away From God is a Good Thing

I was talking to a friend recently about fear, doubt, and faith.  We’ve both come to realize that having and expressing our “shameful” feelings is better than hiding them or trying to conquer them.  But then my friend paused.

“I feel like God is coming closer to me, and I am away.”

“You’re going away from Him?”

“Yes.”  After a half hour of confident expression, she’d finally said something that she was ashamed of.

I’ve gotten to know this friend well over the past several months.  I know that she struggles to be close to people, and that she would prefer to have fortress-like walls around herself to keep herself safe.  So I immediately realized:

“Maybe it’s a good thing.”

“To run away from God??”

“Yeah.  Because that’s how you treat people.  When they get too close, you run away, right?”


“So if you run away from God when he gets closer, that means you see him as a person.  Otherwise you could just keep going through the motions of “serving” God and assume that he’s some lifeless thing to manipulate.  You’re acting like you’re in a real relationship.  That’s pretty awesome.”

“Is it??”

“I mean, let’s not stop here.  I want you to be in a place where you feel safe with God.  But I do think it’s a really good sign!”

My favorite thing in the whole world is to turn shame into hope.  It’s much easier for me to do this for other people, so I’m writing this here both to encourage others and to remind myself that it’s true.


This week has been so great!  Mostly because I have new roommates, and I loooove them.  Luciana and her husband Giorgos moved into my second bedroom on Tuesday, and it has been so much fun.  Let’s relive each moment, shall we?


Our mutual friend Janet also came over on Tuesday to help them move in.  We quickly got distracted by ordering tons of Chinese food and then playing Black Stories late into the night.  Luciana had a bad day on Wednesday, and she requested that we all drink cider together that night.  Giorgos was late coming home, so Luciana and I compared our Enneagram types (4 and 8 – the most passionate pairing that is most likely to end up in physical violence!).  On Thursday we all stayed up talking, and Giorgos said, “I want to play a computer game and empty my head,” and I said, “YES PLEASE.”  So they introduced me to Deus Ex, and we all sat on the couch making moral decisions. (Me: What happens if you kill that person?  Luciana:  We’re not killing people!  Giorgos:  Okay, honey, I’ll stun him.)

On Friday, Continue reading “A Week in Greece #40: NEW ROOMMATES and HD CELEBRATION WEEK”

Meet My Fanfiction Joe Biden

Hint: He’s really into ice cream.

My friend Elizabeth has a wonderful habit of sending me pictures of Joe Biden with “made-up” scenarios and conversations attached.  I say “made-up” because no one really knows the reality, and I choose to believe that life is exactly as she has described it.  They’re too good to keep to myself, so with Elizabeth’s permission, they can live on this blog forever.  Enjoy!

(Click the picture to see the in-context Twitter page from which they came.)



*phone rings*
Joe: It’s Barack! Everyone say, “Hi, Barack!!”
Costco people: Hi, Barack!!
Joe: Hey Barry, what’s up? Oh, not much, just here at the NEW COSTCO, YEAH BABY!! [pause] mm-hm. Yes, I can pick up some chocolate babka for Michelle’s dinner party, no problem. This is literally the best thing; they gave me my own card and everything.
*hangs up*
Okay, Barack says I need to get a chocolate babka. I had better sample all of these chocolate babkas to make sure I get the best one, right, Janet? God, I love Barry. I mean babka. I love babka.


“I want to make like the fro-yo bars, but with ice cream. I mean, c’mon, President Park, who wants a bowl this big of fro-yo when you could have ice cream, right?”



“Happy 55th, Barack!  A brother to me, a best friend forever.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is ACTUALLY a REAL tweet made by Vice President Joe Biden, and that caption is HIS actual words.  My heart!



“Barack hey Barack happy birthday man, are you going to eat the key lime pie? Just wondering, just wondering, no reason”

“It is just that key lime is my favorite, but it’s your birthday, okay”




“I kid you not, Arseniy, I asked for an ice cream, and Michelle brought me a carrot. A fuckin’ carrot! But it was all in good fun, see, because then after she and Jill got done laughing at me, she brought out a waffle cone with four scoops of banana-chocolate rocky road. Four scoops! That was one helluva annual Secret Service family picnic, I tell you.”



“Barack, I got you a cone too. Barack? Barack? hi, I have your cone!”



“It’s okay. No, I just wanted two cones; I knew you were getting your own. It’s not like this is a date or anything, ha ha”



“Michelle *said* they didn’t plant those tall bushes between our pools on purpose, but I don’t know. I just don’t know.”



“Butterfly kisses, after bedtime prayer…”






“And then, see, the corgi jumps off the pier and does a belly flop in the lake! Gets me every time. Isn’t that great? Isn’t that so funny, Barack?”

“Yeah, that’s great, Joe!”



This is so perfect I can’t even caption it. I only wish I could frame it and look at it forever. Such pure joy.



A Week in Greece #39: SUNSET WINE, BIBLE STUDY, and a VISITOR

I’m super behind on this, so it’ll be quick(er than usual)!

Last week was pretty great!  I had my regular Greek lessons.  I considered cancelling my Thursday lesson to have the evening to clean and get ready for Sarah’s visit, but then Anthi told me that my teacher LOVES me and that I’m so hardworking she’s willing to keep teaching me even though she doesn’t really have time to do it. I respond VERY well to effusive praise, so I kept the lesson but asked to do it earlier.

On Tuesday at HD we had a lesson about creating happiness, and I said that I missed binge-watching TV shows with friends.  Wonderfully coincidental, on Tuesday evening, I went to visit Kendra.  As “repayment” for catsitting for her a while ago, she bought us a bottle of wine and we hiked up a hill to watch the sun set over the sea.  We went back to her place and made barbeque chicken sandwiches and watched the first episode of This Is Us.  It felt really great to have a friend who I feel comfortable enough with that a two-hour planned hangout could extend to 11:00 pm.

I went back to her apartment on Wednesday for Bible study.  For the first time, it hit me how strange it is to have a Bible study that lasts 2.5 hours and only ends because it’s 11:00 pm and people need to get home before midnight.

Life at HD continues to be good.  I started up my regular counseling sessions with each participant, with our newest woman for the first time.  She was reluctant at first, which was slightly panicky for me because I don’t get to use my counseling skills enough to feel truly confident, but then she opened up about current worries, and by the end she leaned back into the cushions and said, “I feel so much better.”  Yay!

Sarah came on Friday, and we caught up and made pizza and packed for our weekend in Meteora…which I will talk about in a separate blog post!

5 “Worship” Songs That I Can Stand

I don’t like Contemporary Christian Music.  I think this is mostly a knee-jerk reaction against my teenage ALL CHRISTIAN EVERYTHING SEPARATE FROM THE WORLD asshole days, so I am probably throwing some babies out with the bathwater (sorry, babies!).  But there is also a little truth to the fact that a lot of CCM is just…not creative.  Not technically good.  And most importantly to me, they are often too Happy Happy Joy Joy.

I can’t stand a faith that pretends life is good.  I can’t stand a faith that refuses to acknowledge domestic violence, addictions, bad moods, and doubt.  Unfortunately, most of our worship music is “blissfully” free of our uncomfortable reality.  But I want to be uncomfortable!  I want the songs I sing to God to be messy and truthful and desperate, because that is how I am.

So even though I don’t like traditional worship music, I DO love me some songs about faith.  Here are a few of my favorites.

1|  “Jesus, Jesus” by Noah Gundersen Continue reading “5 “Worship” Songs That I Can Stand”

Fundraiser | HD T-Shirts and Hoodies!

Last year I had a lot of success with a t-shirt fundraiser I did with Booster.  This year I wanted to do the same – but more!  What’s the point of autumn if it’s not hoodies, am I right?  This year, I am proud to announce that there are THREE different wearable options that will promote awareness of HD AND help me continue to work there for another year!

Men’s T-Shirt: $18 + shipping
Women’s T-Shirt: $18 + shipping
Hoodie: $28 + shipping

Half of the money spent will go toward making the product, and half will go to me!  All proceeds will help me get one step closer toward my goal of raising $32,000 by November 15th so that I can continue to work with HD for another year!

Visit my Booster site Another Year in Greece today and place an order.  The sale ends October 15th, so do not wait!