Friends, Food, and Spiritual Insight: A Christian Conference in Greece

A few weeks ago, Anthi invited me to join her and some friends in going to Leutraki (near Corinth) for a weekend conference with the Free Evangelicals of Athens.  Apparently I have not been attending a Free Evangelical church, but when asked my opinion on free will vs. predestination (“I think they’re both right, but we don’t know how”) I was given clearance to come.

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 10.50.52 PM

I didn’t expect to learn anything, since the whole conference would be in Greek, but I was super into the location.  We stayed at a resort by the sea and paid only €105 for two nights and six buffet meals.  That would have been enough to satisfy me, but Anthi made sure to find translators for me during each presentation.

IMG_9992

Can we pause a second and talk about how humbling it is to not know a language?  There’s the everyday “everyone is talking about something, and I have no idea what it is!” and the similar “oh no, they are asking me to perform and all I can think of is ‘Μιλἀω ελληνικἀ λἰγα αλλἀ νομἰζω οτἰ ξεχνἀω πολὐ’ and I said that last time.”  But there’s also the next level up: being translated to while 130 people sit around you.  This is maybe an introvert-specific humiliation, since my highest aim in life is to blend in.  There’s something so humbling about letting everyone know that you’re alone in your confusion and that you need help.  This is a good thing, I think, learning to accept help….I just don’t like the process of learning it.   Continue reading

StumbleUpon Sunday (11)

StumbleUpon is a great way to lose hours of your life.  Luckily, I braved the Internet vortex so you don’t have to.  This week I found these especially interesting websites:

  1. Sound Composition: Calm Thunder Storm
    Want to enjoy the soothing sounds of rain and thunder without ruining your hair or soaking your shoes?  This site is all the good without the bad!
  2. Map of Literary Road Trips
    How cool!  Now you can relive the journeys of On the Road or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance…or just hang this on your wall and look cool.
  3. I Has a Bucket
    HAHA, okay, this has no value apart from restoring some fond college nostalgia.  Maybe it also has historical value, as one of the Internet’s first memes?
  4. 15 Books Every High School Student Should Read
    I haven’t read six of the recommended books, but based upon the nine that I have, I think this list is a great starting place for choosing readable classics.
  5. Architectural Watercolors by Maja Wronska
    Any art that makes me say, “Um, NO,” because I cannot fathom how it is possible deserves a spot on this list.
  6. Famous Television Show Home Floor Plans
    Take this to an architect and you too can live like Monica and Rachel.
  7. Underlined Book Quotes Become Clever Illustrations
    These are beautiful!  I particularly like the drawing for “listen, there’s a hell of a good universe next door, let’s go.”
  8. Some Perfectly Timed Photos – Part II
    Hehehe.  It’s always fun to indulge in some low brow humor.
  9. Halloween Costume Ideas – 50 Pics
    Never hurts to plan ahead…especially if you’re going to create Princess Leia and R2-D2 costumes for little toddlers OMG!
  10. 10 Ways to Up Your Campfire Cooking Game
    Mmmmm!  Lamb Ribs in Balsamic Huckleberry BBQ Sauce?  Yes please!

Living in the Midwest

I grew up in central Illinois.  My parents always wanted us out in the country with at least a couple acres of land separating us from the neighbors.  Every time houses or shopping complexes appeared within two miles of our house, complaints were made about increased traffic.  I reacted to this like every normal teenager:  by rebelling against everything they stood for and declaring myself a fan of big cities.

After living in Dallas for three years, I can officially say that I do like big cities.  The availability of unique and fantastic food and entertainment cannot be beat.  However, now that I’m back in Illinois, I can admit that there are some solid reasons to love the Midwest.  Continue reading

So Happy I Could Die – Moments of Divine Beauty

I’m fangirling really hard over Christopher West’s Fill These Hearts, a book that combines theology and pop culture to discuss the universal longings of everyone’s heart for ecstasy, truth, beauty, and Love.  It is explaining so much of myself, things I thought were silly but are maybe profound.

One of the things he talks about is how our world is a twisted version of what is meant to be.  Death appears where there was only meant to be life, ugliness and pain where there was meant to be only beauty and pleasure.  But despite the presence of these evil things, we still get to enjoy life, beauty, and pleasure.  And it is in these gifts that we get a taste of what eternity with God will be like.

I don’t know about you, but there have been many times in my life when I’ve felt so happy I could just die.  Most of the time, I’ve stopped myself.  Of course I’m not really ready to die.  I’m just really happy.  But there are two times when I caught myself, then realized yes, I really would be okay if this were the moment I were ushered into eternity.  Here they are:  Continue reading