On The Edge

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Reflecting on my time in Cyprus, there’s one thing that I just can’t shake. Every time I start talking about my trip I wind up talking about this one main thing. 

Living life on the edge of faith.

Everyone I came in contact with on that island, in one way or another, is living their life on the edge.

What do I mean by this?

So many times while I was there I heard people say something to the effect of “I’m not sure where to go from here, but I know I had to take this step” or “I only know I had to share this tonight, not sure what comes next” or “I know I have to go [wherever] but I’m not sure why”. They (seemingly) had no issues doing whatever it was. Going to the edge of what they know.

They don’t see the big picture, but they trust that it’s there and they run forward with all that’s within them.

I was so inspired by this!

I was sharing this with the youth group on Sunday and one of them reminded me of the scene in Lord of the Rings when Gandalf jumps off of Orthanc (I think that’s what it was…correct me if I’m wrong) and it seems like he’s going to plummet to his death. But the next thing you know he’s soaring by on an eagle! It’s kind of like that.

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Did Gandalf see the eagle before he jumped? I don’t know. But I can promise you that even if I saw the eagle, I’d still be hesitant to throw myself off that cliff. There are so many unknowns! Does the eagle see me? Does it actually plan on catching me? Can it even catch me?! Am I just going to cause us both to crash and burn?! When would an EAGLE ever catch a PERSON?! I can’t trust it! 

If I’m being honest…which I promise to always be here…I don’t live like that. I WANT to, but it’s kind of terrifying. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for taking steps forward, even running at times, but I like to know where I’m going before I get there. My comfort zone is staying a few steps ahead in my mind. BUT if you know anything about following The Lord, you know that He thinks comfort zones are hilarious and I’m pretty sure He gets a kick out of pushing us out of them.

Right now, in my life, I’m in a holding pattern. I’ve gone as far as I can go. I’m on the edge of my cliff and I’m waiting for the next step to be shown to me.

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I have no idea what it is, but I promise you I’m going to try my best to leap forward without looking once I get some direction.

I’m going to try to not hesitate.

I’m going to try and live my life on the edge of faith.

I’ve seen the concerns, but I’ve also seen the rewards, and they’re always infinitely better than “playing it safe”.

Tarantino-ing Cyprus

I’m going to be honest with you guys, I’m really not sure how to start this, so let’s take a journey and see where we end up, shall we?

In August of 2013, part of my heart left the Connecticut Shoreline and relocated to the island of Cyprus in the form of 2 adults (Danielle and Marios), 3 children (Christos, Caleb and Chloe) and a dog (River).

I hate goodbyes so I kept it light and humorous – my defense mechanism.

Kinda like my buddy Chandler Bing

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Anyway, when I hugged Danielle that last Sunday, she said “this isn’t goodbye for long, you’re a world traveller, we’ll see you soon.” And she was right. Because 6 months later I bought a plane ticket to go visit them and 2 months after that I was high above the Atlantic Ocean trying my hardest to fall asleep but failing miserably. 

I could have gone on the missions trip with the group from our church, but I wanted to be selfish, not share the family with anyone and just go on vacation.

So that’s what I did. Or so I planned. Little did I know, God had so much more in store for me. 

Before I left the states, Marios challenged me to not blog or post on social media the entire time I was there. Seriously? Nothing? But I expect to have SO MUCH blog material! Not to mention the fact that twitter is my stream of consciousness! I was encouraged to journal every night though, so at least I had that going for me. His thinking was that instead of getting wrapped up in the moment and trying to put everything into words at the end of the day, that I should process everything that was happening, let it sink in, and THEN write about it in a public place. He felt that there was a lot that was going to go on within me and that I wouldn’t really know the half of it until I left. 

I agreed to the challenge and I’m so glad that I did, because that week and a half was part vacation, part ministry, part learning and part networking. AKA: A LOT. In the coming weeks I’ll touch on all of these things and you’ll join me as I relive that whirlwind of a “vacation” – the highs, the lows, everything that delighted me – but tonight I wanted to start at the end. 

We’re gonna Tarantino this.

April 19, 2014

4:49am EST

Location: Somewhere in the air over the Mediterranean Sea

 

Not one part of me is ready to go home. I didn’t think it would be this hard! I was totally fine until I sat on the plane and looked out the window, that’s when the tears started to well up in my eyes. I tried to stop them so I didn’t look like that crazy person who everyone is afraid to sit next to unless they’re drugged, but that did no good. 

Then I started to get anxious. Really anxious. So anxious that I almost got off the plane right then and there and wasn’t going to look back. How would that work? I have no idea. I couldn’t think of a good reason to bail on all my responsibilities back home so I stayed seated, staring out the window, trying to look sane. 

Once the plane started to take off the tears flowed freely down my cheeks. Thank the Lord for window seats! The further away I got from the beautiful mountains and amazing people, the more upset I got. Even now, an hour and a half into the flight, I’m on the verge of tears just thinking about it. 

Marios encouraged me to start writing about my time in Cyprus once I was allowed to turn on my electronic devices, but crying myself to sleep seemed like a better idea at the time.

Where are these emotions coming from? 

I had no idea I would get such a heart for the people. The second I landed my “family” grew exponentially. Marios, Danielle and the kids have been like family for years now, but the Gateways Beyond people were so welcoming and so incredible, they quickly became like family too. We’re on the same grid, the same team, and I just kinda dipped right in. 

Who knew I’d have a community so quickly?

My family is bigger than I ever imagined, and it’s growing by the day. The connections that were made are mind-blowing, and it didn’t stop when I left. It’s like a giant net. I connect to people, then they connect to people, then THEY connect to people and before you know it, we’re all connected. Kinda like the 5 Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

I think the most surprising thing about the way I feel is how much I didn’t feel it while I was there. Every day I would go about my business and be like “this is great” and that was it. I didn’t look around from the high point by the sea and think to myself “this is my island!” I thought “this is beautiful!” BECAUSE IT WAS! But there was no defining moment during the time I spent in Cyprus that I can look back and say “that’s when I fell in love with the place” or “that’s when the people won my heart” or even “that was my favorite part”. It’s just not possible. 

It was the whole experience. 

I’ll be back. No question. Be it on a missions trip or on my own again, I’ll be back. I have to go back. I promised the mountains.

Cyprus Update

Greetings from Cyprus!

I plan on waiting until I come back and have a chance to let this whole experience sink in before I really write about my time here, but I wanted to give you all a quick update.

Jetlag and I were not friends at first, but he got over it (yes, jetlag is a man) and I’ve been good since Friday. So just one day where he was being a jerk.

We’ve done a lot in the 3 full days I’ve been here. Worship at the Gateways Beyond base, a drive up to Troodos (one of the highest places on the island), a trip to Limassol, a walk on the Mediterranean, a hike up a mountain, Shabbat, and some glorious food. I’m beyond thankful for this time and this opportunity.

I may have another update for you next week sometime, but I can’t promise anything. Below are some pictures though, enjoy!

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Walking on the Mediterranean

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Danielle and I

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Gabriel and I at Shabbat

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Hiking with some of the students from GBCY

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The view from the top

Feelings – Such Feelings

I leave for vacation soon! As in, I have 9 hours and 27 minutes until takeoff, soon! HOLY CRAP!!!!

 

It’s hard to put this into words, so I’ve decided to use gifs. And fyi, looking for them made me even MORE excited! My poor little heart can’t handle this! Also, typing correctly isn’t a forte right now, so you’re welcome.

 

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I’m sitting at work looking like this

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And inside I’m feeling like this

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Waiting for the moment that I get to do this

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So I can finish packing and let all of this out

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So I can sit in the car like this

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And dance with two of my favorites like this

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And somehow contain myself until I land at 2pm EST tomorrow to do this

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And ultimately this

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Is this real life?!?!?!

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How Noah Met Your Mother

This week I’ve had the privilege of watching not one, but TWO things that were so intense for my brain to grasp onto I required a de-brief with people before we went our separate ways. Sunday night it was Noah and Monday night it was the series finale of How I Met Your Mother.

WARNING! BEFORE I GO ON! SPOILER ALERT!!!! SPOILER ALERT!! If you haven’t seen either of these and PLAN on it and DON’T want them to be ruined DO NOT READ THIS!

OK, you’ve been warned. Don’t yell at me if you didn’t listen.

We’ll start with the movie that has Christians’ panties all up in a bunch:

NOAH

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I’m not gonna lie, the fact that so many Christians were having issues with this movie was a driving force for me to go see it. For those of you who haven’t figured it out yet, I am a Christian. I believe everything the Bible says. Jesus and I are BFF. That being said, I don’t think that anyone should write off a movie because it doesn’t exactly follow the book.

Were there aspects of the movie that weren’t true to the Bible? Absolutely. Did that ruin the experience for me? Absolutely not. Because here’s the thing, movies never adhere completely to the book they’re based on. And the only way things get changed is if the author vetos something because it’s not being portrayed the way they envisioned it. And guess what…Moses is kinda dead, so it’d be difficult to get his opinion on it.

Some people were upset that God seemed so distant from Noah. As my friend Bethany so astutely pointed out: HE WAS!!! Have you read the rest of the Bible? Or even have a general gist of it? This was BEFORE Jesus, who, btw, is the way we get to God. So yeah, God is distant, because the “missing link” isn’t there yet!

People also need to keep in mind that an Atheist was the mastermind behind this movie. Do you know how huge it is that he even WANTED to make a movie based on a story from the Bible? I’ll let that sink in for a moment….

I like how he portrayed the fallen angels (I’m pretty sure this is where he lost a lot of religious people) and how some were forgiven and went back to the heavens to be with the Creator again.

While I think it sucks that Ham doesn’t get a wife (neither does his little brother) even though in the Bible they did, I get it. In fact, I get all the “wrong” things that happened on the Ark in this movie: Tubal-Cain gets on the ark and hides while eating animals and convincing Ham that Noah needs to die, Noah decides that Ila and Shem’s children have to die…and he’s going to kill them, Noah thinks God wants them all to die just like the rest of the people; because without these things you have no drama. And what sells? Drama! No one wants to watch a movie where 8 people sit happily on a huge boat with a ton of animals for 9+ months with no complications. Not even the kids in Sunday School that have to! People want drama!

Also, the animals Tubal-Cain was eating? We’re thinking they were unicorns and dinosaurs, since they’re not on the earth today. In case you were wondering 🙂

Bottom line: I’d watch this movie again in a heartbeat, and still love every minute of it. I laughed (probably more than expected) and cried. The underlying theme through it all was mercy and love. How can you go wrong?

Here’s my favorite review of Noah. You’re welcome.

Moving along…

How I Met Your Mother Finale

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It’s been two days and I’m STILL trying to figure out how I feel about this. So many things happened in the span of an hour! Barney and Robin get divorced, Marshall and Lily have a third child and move out of their apartment, Barney becomes a dad, Ted has 2 kids and then marries the mother…AND THEN SHE DIES!!!! And at the end of his “story” for his kids they convince him that he’s loved Robin the whole time and needs to date her.

Seriously?

Is the slap-bet still on? Because I’m pretty sure I got hit.

There were a lot of things I loved about the episode, I’ll give them that. But I just don’t feel like there was real closure with anything. I want to know about Italy and the other 2 Eriksen children. What does Marvin look like now? What does he think of his middle name? How is Barney at being a father? Does he have any relationship with 31? What did Robin do that was so epic, presumably when Tracy dies, that she becomes Aunt Robin to Ted’s kids and they become super close again? But most importantly: WHAT’S THE FREAKIN STORY WITH THE PINEAPPLE?!

I have a feeling that once the dust settles on this finale and everyone has the chance to fully process it either one of two things will happen. We’ll hate it and never watch the show again or we’ll think it’s brilliantly amazing.

Because Ted was right, love doesn’t make sense. But I’ll be damned if it doesn’t sting sometimes.

At this point, I think the main reason I’ll watch through it all again is to see the little sightings and clues of the mother. And if they’re there as much as I hope they are, there was WAY more to this series than I thought there was.

Plus I’ll go through Stinson withdrawals, because: