Outsider Applauds: Look at the Book

I just wanted to take a quick moment to share an awesome resource with you.

I will admit that sometimes studying the Bible, without workbooks, commentaries, etc, can seem daunting and a little overwhelming, but I have derived so much joy from time in the Word like this. I recently stumbled upon this sections of the Desiring God website called Look at the Book. What John Piper does is shows a bit of text on the screen, and walks us through how to look at the text and study it. It shows us his through processed and the way he breaks down the text. This can be really helpful as we grow in our abilities to study scripture and grown in our knowledge of God. See the video below for the “trailer” if you will given by Desiring God about Look at the Book.

I would encourage you to take time to review a couple of these videos. I’ll watch/listen to one while I am doing dishes or cooking. It can also be helpful if you are studying a particular passage or book, to see an additional viewpoint. I believe spending time watching videos like this, rather than yet another Fail video, or Dumb Cute Cat, can be beneficial for our growth as Christians and for just plain ol’ good for the soul.

Look at the Book: http://www.desiringgod.org/labs

I think this will be a new aspect of my blog every so often… Outsider Applauds- For resources, books, tools, etc that I would recommend and endorse to you as beneficial and good. What do ya think?

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Coffee Shop Acquisition

I think I have finally found my coffee shop.

I love having a coffee shop. Sablon_Fotor

Seriously! I work at a coffee shop back stateside, I love coffee ,and I love the environment that a good coffee shop can provide. Enough comfort that I can relax and enough people around that I feel like I need to be productive. Sablon3_FotorIt’s it adorable!?! My friend showed me this place a couple of weeks ago, and then the students came and I life got a little insane for a bit. After that Oklahoma Tornado left, I was able to settle back in, and I thought about this place. This is my 3rd time here this week, and it is now official, I love it. It can get a bit busy, but if you get here earlier enough, you’re good. And there are little plug-ins in super convenient places.Sablon2_Fotor There are also excellent seat right by the windows looking out to the street for days that I just want to read and enjoy a cup of coffee. Oh! And did I mention that the roast IN HOUSE! This place! I am going to miss it in a few months.

That’s really all for today. Things are going well. I went to one of the open air markets for fruits and veggies yesterday and I was very proud of my spoils from the trip.

Market Spoils_FotorAlso, I am teaching tonight at Youth so… Exciting! If it goes well, I might just post my notes from it on here tomorrow.

Settling In with Settlers – My New Normal

The beginning part of this week has been quite nice and a definite respite from the usually routine of pure chaos that has been my life this past year. I have enjoyed having the time to think and meditate on scripture. To savor my time with the Lord, rather than just try to cram it my busy day. I know this unique time where I have the ability to enjoy a more relaxed schedule, so I will take it.

I have be settling in well and I have made multiple trips across and about town solo at this point, so I am feeling capable and comfortable in my city. I know my metro and tram stops and even how to get to H&M [Go ahead, be jealous Okies!] I have my keys, metro card and even a SIM card for my an old iPhone so I can call and text my friends here. I am finally feeling here. It’s a nice feeling.

Yesterday I was able to grab a taste of familiar when I ventured into town to one of the few Starbucks in town. I know, I know. I am in Europe, Why would I go to Starbucks! Because the coffee I had I did not like, and I know that I can get some whole bean coffee I like at Starbucks. My next coffee can be more adventurous, but I didn’t know where else to get coffee except a grocery store, so Starbucks it is.

sbuxcoffee_FotorAnd Starbucks may have been tourist move, but sipping on my Flat White and looking over and seeing this view, I decided that I did not care.

Isbuxplace_Fotor

Today was nice as well. I was able to run into town to replace a couple of pairs of jeans that I had brought with me that ripped on the flight over and the other day while I was out. Yes, you read that right, two of the three pairs of jeans I brought with me ripped before my first week in Belgium was out. Functioning with only two pairs of jeans was gonna be a struggle, but only one… just not a battled I wanted to fight today. So instead, I went to H&M and replaced by ripped jeans.

Then I came home and made dinner for a dear friend of mine. He was one of the first people I met, and befriended, while in Belgium, and it has been wonderful maintaining that friendship over the past two years. I made dinner, which was great for my portions sizes, but I forgot I was feeding a 20-something man, so I did not make enough. Crepes_Fotor I saw some apples on top of my fridge and decided that we needed to make a quick trip to the grocery store. We returned with crêpes in hand and even I was impressed with how good my crêpes were. [Note: I did not make the crêpes themselves, just the filling. Thus we went to the store to buy the crêpes, because that is what you do in Belgium! Unless you are awesome and make your own, which I am obviously not.] I am telling you DELICIOUS! I want another one right now.

Anyway, then I introduced my friend to a wonderful game. Settlers of Catan. He loved it! Which is super fun for me to be able to teach him, and having some friends to be able to play board games with.

Catan_FotorAnd if you are wondering, he won the first games, and I won the second.

I am heading to bed, a busy couple of days coming up, so I need my rest.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to subscribe via e-mail for the easier way to stay updates on my time here in Belgium! It’s up there to your right on the screen, level with the title of this post.

Christmas Time?

Merry Christmas from OKC!

OKChristmas_Fotor

On this Christmas Eve, I am sitting at home, sipping on some Hot Chocolate and watching one my favorite Christmas movies of all time, The Family Stone. This is such a funny movie and the family in the movie just reminds me of my family in all their quirks and insanity, but there is also a deep undercurrent of love and fierce loyalty that only grows out of surviving pain and life together. This movie just encompasses all the fears that I have of ever taking anyone home to my family for the holidays, and I am sure that the first Christmas will be an adventure (I may make sure that the first meeting is not Christmas just to ensure that this kind of thing never happens!). Wonderful quotes like this…

 I hate to see you miss out on something… because you have this picture in your mind or you thought you can change something you can’t. I’d hate to see you not find what you really want. -Sybil Stone

I generally love Christmas! The Lights. The Music. The Family Time. The Wonder of the Season. All of it! But this year has not felt much like Christmas. Maybe it’s the fact that Oklahoma is 60° in December. Or perhaps its that I am working way too much and haven’t been able to slow down enough to enjoy the holidays. No matter the reason, I still cannot believe that tomorrow is Christmas. Like at all.

Having some downtime to myself is allowing my mind to run wild, which isn’t always the best thing, I am thinking about the bizarre nature of our emotions. I mean, seriously. Emotions are the very core of us, but how often do they betray us, contradict us and drive us mad. We use them to justify our actions and decisions, but at the same time, we fight them and try in vain to banish the ones we do not want. Personally, the thing about emotions that drives me so very insane is how we can know something, like really KNOW something to be true, but our emotions can make us doubt this truth. Emotions can cause us to question and second-guess ourselves like nothing else in all creation. Emotions are fickle beyond words and vastly irritating. How dumb a thing, emotions.

Anyway… I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas and that if your emotions try to ruin your Christmas, just focus on the small things in the holiday that bring joy, and let the rest roll on by. The holidays will be over soon and there is a whole new year to seek out and find Hope.

[A follow up Blog on Hope to come soon!]

Longings of a Would-be Novelist

Backyard_Fotor

This is my view from my room, right outside my window. I love this view when it rains. it’s so pretty. This morning, I work up and started working on my French Lessons (getting ready for my trip to Belgium!) and enjoying the rain. Dreary weather like this always prompts me to two different actions. Either I want to curl up with my favorite book and my favorite blanket and get lost in another time and place. Or, I want to go to a small hole in the wall coffee shop, get either a London Fog or just black coffee and write, write, write. As it turns out, I am usually working as my coffee shop, or I have far too many plans to call and audible and cancel things. Today for instance, Dentist appointment, mentoring, meeting with my supervisor, counseling session, meeting about my trip, cooking for a christmas party, then Christmas Party.

I just wanna stay home and write. I want to write my book. I want to write about how Miriam meeting Russell, and how Petru begins to believe Dominik’s conspiracy theories may be more than just that. I want to write about Stefan’s worry for the future and love for his family. I WANT TO WRITE!

Can someone take all my responsibilities for a couple of days so I can just write for a bit? No… No Takers? Oh well. I get a break from school starting next week for a couple of weeks, that will be nice. Maybe I can find some time to write then. So far now, I will appease my writing fiend by blogging, until the time comes to be able to throw myself head first into my book for a few hours.

Any other writers struggle to be able to write in their novels in short spans of like 30 minutes to an hour? It takes me so much time to get my mind wrapped back into the story, remember what I wrote and get back into character (for lack of a better phrase) before I can actually get ready to put substantial words to paper (or computer). Anyone else know this struggle?

Fall Moving to Winter

Do you ever have those days where you just want to be alone? That was me today. I spent all last weekend alone because I was sick and quarantined upstairs in my room. However, since then, I have literally had almost no down time to relax and unwind. I need to be alone for a while!

[I am not sure when I became this introvert version of myself… really. This is new to me!]

As a result of this need to be by myself, when I got home from work today, I decided to take a walk around my neighborhood. I spent 45 minutes walking and enjoying the 65° weather in December and the time alone. While I was walking, I was astonished by the beauty of the muted colors of the fall moving to winter. Everything is a strange mixture of grey, brown and random pops of red and orange. It’s simply beautiful.

So I took some pictures.

Red 121314 Fotor

And I like to share!

RedSky 121314 Fotor

Enjoy!

Orange 121314 Fotor