Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Keeping connected ...

Above are pictures from a big party we had as part of a cultural exchange week. It was October when the Braunschweig Connexxion group came -- how fun to have friends visit me in my "other home"! Including Inga, who was my roommate & an intern with us here last year.
We packed in really full days!
I thought you'd enjoy seeing some of the fun things we did (they don't correspond to the descriptions-- sorry!), such as an "Oktoberfest" party (Bavarian festival theme)...
meeting students on campus...
going out for late- night "tapas" (appetizers)....
and helping out with a worship time in a restaurant as well as a Friday Family Festival in a nearby suburb, Bormujos.

Weekend in the Sierra Mountains

Our Connexxion group organized a weekend in the Sierras, which is a low mountain area about 1 hour from Seville.
It was fun having extra friends with us, too, to lead 2 talks from the Bible. Sylvia is a profession
al singer/ composer, who teaches "sevillanas" traditional dance & also works with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship (the Spain equivalent). Ruben is a social worker administrator for a youth detention center and an active leader in my church.
We all cooked together, had a picnic, played music, went hiking (about 15 kilometers on Saturday & a few more on Sunday afternoon),
explored a waterfall, and enjoyed the cozy fireplace!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Night in Morocco

Who doesn't love a theme party? Especially with fun college friends in Sevilla, like Javi at the top, studying education, with Andrea, who's doing an internship here.

We're so close to North Africa; the cultures, languages, and architecture have overlapped here a great deal over the centuries. Just watch Carlos, beating out the djembe drum!
Any room can be transformed into an arab tea house with plenty of pillows, sheets, comforters & throw rugs. Just be sure to cover everything you can with them. Offer extra socks for your guests! A few low tables or stools, maybe some figs, nuts and mandarine oranges in a bowl --
(and of course hot tea) - & the atmosphere is complete! Here are 2 very special friends, Fran and Dani, who have been great "coaches" of the culture and language, during my first months adjusting to life in Spain.

We cooked varieties of cous cous together
(depending on the ingredients each person brought),
which was an adventure in the kitchen as well. Fatima and Marta are wearing a "palestino," as am I, which has been a popular scarf here for about 4 years. Jake, an American exchange student, is "hidden" behind his very colorful garb, between Amy and Abraham.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Back to School party

It was really fun in October to have a "back to school" party with college students here. We encouraged people to wear a white shirt, a bit reminiscent of their traditional school uniforms, and played silly kids' games.

ICU intensity

what if i lived life most days (well, at least a bunch of the "important" ones!), as if it really mattered?! is if it truly made a difference-- the choices that i made (both big & "small"). the food i ate (pre-packaged & fatty, or fresh & leaner). the friends that i kept up with. how much money i donated to special needs (vs. spending "it ONLY cost 4 Euro" on un-necessary home decorations from IKEA). the paths that i walked on. where i had my lunch (confined to my apartment leisurely, or venturing out on campus to one of the 4 university cafeterias across the street).

living life with intensity and intentionality. i thought that that was something that i did a lot anyway... or so i've been told before-- on both accounts.

having a mom in ICU over weeks of time has made me ponder. and evaluate the intensity & radicality of my devotion to Jesus. my commitment to others. to what might be worth getting "all that worked up about!"

  • I have wondered-- what kinds of OTHER things make me cry? I guess I don't get tearful that much (at least these days). are some things... or people or injustice or the reality of spiritual death... worth my tears, but i just can't seem to get that worried about it (but should?)?
  • for what other reason, of an eternal nature ("it's a matter of life and death") would i fast? How important is food to me?
  • what about prayer-- what drives me to my knees? what puts my face on the floor? how often? what is worth my intercession, my lifting praise up to God? what would make me stop and plead with Jesus, long and hard?
  • i spent 30 days of my vacation this fall, using it all up, a good part every day (& 4 nights) in a hospital room in Florida. that was a total overhaul of my schedule. what else would be worth turning my plans upside down for? what else would merit that amount of dedication, observation, devotion?
  • for what would i call my stock broker or bank the same day, & feel totally justified in immediately getting out a large sum of money? or what would be worth putting a large charge on my credit card? a last-minute plane trip to be with mom on her surgery day? yes, of course. but what else? how about giving to christian ministries and needy causes? will i live long enough to need those savings (that the stock market has already taken big chunks out of?)
i don't want to "preach" here... we all have to have a sane estimate and good conscience of how we SPEND our resources and time and tears. what our life's blood is being poured into. seeing my mom stuck on a breathing machine, i have seen how fragile MY life is, too. we're kidding ourselves if we don't see the NOW in light of ETERNITY. and how serious things can get.

me? i grew up practically next door to Disneyworld. i spent many saturdays cheering on the home team at football games in high school & college. i relish the fun of DVD's & a good sitcom. and being out until 4 a.m. (i was, just yesterday, in fact-- more common here in Spain than in some countries where i've lived-- live salsa music!). so i have to admit i'm not "serious" all the time. but i have a gnawing sensation that i want to GET this thing-- to realize that we are all in an intense situation (ICU)-- and God has first claims on our lives. i don't wanna miss the VISION that He is trying to give me-- to think & pray & give --globally. eternally. with perspective.

well, my eyes are tired. it's time for bed-- it's 2:57 a.m., actually. (so, what keeps YOU up until 3 a.m.?)