February 28, 2013

project thessalonica:the day we were taken

For those of you who don't know, I'm in Thessaloniki, Greece on a missions trip with Tim and Karen, Dan and Brandi Jones, and Rachel. We'll be here for two weeks helping out missionary Brent Logan and his family with... whatever they need help doing! I'm supposed to be posting these updates on the official website, Project Thessalonica, but sometimes there's a delay between my posting and the website's administrator getting the posts up. Aaaand... I know we have peeps at home waiting to hear from us so I'm posting here as well. No delays. These posts are a journal. You'll be getting as much detail as I can remember. Also, we have a friend back home, Bro. Lowell, who really, really wanted to be able to come on this trip, and has been praying for this project ever since it started. But he's really sick with cancer and wasn't able to make it. So these posts are mostly for you, Bro. Lowell! I hope you enjoy reading all about Greece!

What. the. heck.
Before we left for Greece, Rachel and I got a lot (and by a lot, I mean like, seriously a ton) of warnings that if the two of us weren't careful, we would be taken by kidnappers and sold on ebay. And people gave us all sorts advice and warnings on how to behave ourselves in order not to be taken:
Don't talk to strangers.
Don't go out after dark.
Don't tell anyone where you're staying.
Don't accept drinks from anyone.
Don't smile at men.
Don't look at men.
Don't acknowledge men's existence.
Wear sunglasses to avoid eye contact.

And then everyone told us to, Bring home a husband!

Geez Louise.  Mostly we'd like to just enjoy Greece and Italy, thank you very much.
Anyway, I found it ironic that after all those warnings, Dan and Brandi were the ones who got taken today, not Rachel and I.
Only they didn't get sold on ebay. For which we are very grateful.

It went down like this:
Today we all went out street preaching and passing out tracts.
It was cold! And the people weren't very smiley or receptive. They do this look-down-jerk-my-head-up- don't-smile thing. The younger people were nicer though and we had a few stop and want to talk. At which point I'm like, DO YOU SPEAK AMERICAN? BECAUSE THAT'S ALL I KNOW. Angelo speaks the language the best so he actually gets to talk to the people quite a bit. And there's another guy here, Kayode (ki-uh-day), a Nigerian from London who speaks the language a little too. Kinda funny. We have a Greek from Australia, and a Nigerian from London. And then us from Idaho. All helping the Logans from Alabama. Quite the conglomeration.

Rachel and Brandi

Dan and Bro. Logan 


 Karen ran into these girls from Iceland. They were Christian girls. In Greece. On a missions trip too!

 Kayode, doing his thing with an English accent.

 Bro. Logan and Angelo

Anyway, it was cold, and right about the time I decided I was thoroughly miserable, I heard a commotion going on over with the rest of the group and somebody was saying, get your passports out. So I ran over and there was this one guy in a black coat getting all up in Bro. Logan's grill. And Bro. Logan was getting right back into that guy's bidness. And then Angelo came over and was like, Greek, Greek, Greek. But judging by his tone of voice, he was saying, Let's all be friends here.
But the next thing I knew, there were literally 20 cops surrounding us and we were being herded down the road to the police station. And I was like, This is fun! It's like, for real Greece! We're getting arrested for no reason! And Rachel was like, Shut up Sunny Jane. This isn't a joke. In my defense, I'd like to say I wasn't worried about it all because I figured God could handle it and we'd be fine. So I enjoyed myself.

Rachel used her artistic skills to draw up a little dramatic reenactment for your entertainment:

At first there was one guy yelling...


And then there were several...


And then, suddenly...


Anyway, turns out there were some undercover cops out there, and Angelo gave one of them a tract. He got offended and told us to leave the country. Then another undercover cop came along. Then they wanted our passports. And then, some of us had our cameras out and oh my gosh, the earth stopped twirling. Apparently they have a deep seated fear of having their pictures taken. That's when the yelling started and the arresting commenced and the swat teams were sent out and we all thought we might be executed. Except me. I thought it was a great adventure. Sorry. I apologize for looking on the bright side.
Then they took Bro. Logan, Kayode, Dan and Brandi, and Angelo into custody and left the rest of us standing there for a couple of hours. And then they were like,  Oh well. Whatever. See ya. And let them go.
And then we went and ate tons of Greek food to celebrate everybody's release from the Greek prison dungeon.



And then me and Brandi did a little ring-around-the-rosies:

 
And on the drive home, lots of crazy Greek drivers attempted to kill us and each other.
It was an eventful day. I loved it.

Love,
All Us

February 27, 2013

project thessalonica: the first couple days

For those of you who don't know, I'm in Thessaloniki, Greece on a missions trip with Tim and Karen, Dan and Brandi Jones, and Rachel. We'll be here for two weeks helping out missionary Brent Logan and his family with... whatever they need help doing! I'm supposed to be posting these updates on the official website, Project Thessalonica, but sometimes there's a delay between my posting and the website's administrator getting the posts up. Aaaand... I know we have peeps at home waiting to hear from us so I'm posting here as well. No delays. These posts are a journal. You'll be getting as much detail as I can remember. Also, we have a friend back home, Bro. Lowell, who really, really wanted to be able to come on this trip, and has been praying for this project ever since it started. But he's really sick with cancer and wasn't able to make it. So these posts are mostly for you, Bro. Lowell! I hope you enjoy reading all about Greece!

Hi! We made it to Greece! It took a long time to get here. We left Monday morning, and got here Tuesday afternoon. But then Tuesday afternoon here is like Monday night in Idaho. I think. I'm mostly confused about the time difference.
We had a really long layover in Denver and pretty much camped out at the airport. Buuut, praise God, on the long overnight flight from Denver to Frankfurt, we were able to get a row of seats to ourselves! We stretched out! We slept! We watched movies. We ate my really squished Fig Newtons that aren't actually fig at all, they're peach. We were so happy about getting all those seats! And when we finally landed in Greece, all the people on the plane clapped. I totally agreed with them. Applause seemed like a good thing at that point. I was happy to see land.


Dan brought this "bomb case" as his carry on bag. We got alot of looks. Tim said he felt safer sleeping with "The Case" as protection.


Anyway, we arrived and Bro. Logan and Angelo met us at the airport.
Angelo has an Australian accent. Like, down under accent. Like, I can't understand half of what he's saying because I only speak American and never learned Australian. And now we're all like, Want to take a little walk-a-bout? Go throw this in the rubbish bin, yo. But he's the nicest guy ever and has been really, super helpful. He's a lot like Dan and Brandi, he has a servants heart. 

How we all looked and felt upon arrival...

Bro. Logan took us out letterboxing yesterday morning.
First of all, the driving in Greece is CRAZY! Seriously. Everybody parks any old way, and drives any old way, and you pretty much just hang on for your life. And Bro. Logan has apparently learned their ways. He had us driving the wrong way on a one way street... up a hill... on a very curvy, twisty road. And he was like, Oh well. No biggie. And I was like, I would like my mother now. And Angelo was like, Good thing you guys can't speak Greek because those people driving past us aren't asking to be your pal. 
Anyway, we made it to the top of the hill in one piece, started sticking little Bibles in all the letterboxes,then  a German Shepherd tried to jump a gate and eat my hand, I ran for my life, it started raining after about 30 minutes, Bro Logan came and picked us all up, and we called it a day. And then we drove the right way back down the hill. Much to my relief and happiness and peace of heart.

After that, we went to exchange our American money for Euros, get lunch, and see a couple of things around town.
Oh. my. word. The stuff we got for lunch. Be still my heart. It was delish. It was heaven. I have no idea what it was called, and if I did I probably wouldn't spell it right, but it was so good. It was like these flaky little pastry thingys filled with spinach, cream, cheese, ham, and whatever else you wanted. And for dessert there were more flaky pastry thingys filled with sweet cream and rolled in powdered sugar. I died. And rose from the dead to eat more. And we went to Starbucks too! Gotta have coffee, man.

It was amazing to see such old structures right in the middle of town. 
This is the Temple of Zeus and the Arch of Galerius. 

Look at the doors! I love old stuff!





Most of the buildings are white. It's so lovely to look over the city and just see white

And then you'll see pops of color like this!

And last night, we had Bible study at the Logan's church. It was so cool! Bro. Logan preached and Angelo translated. Occasionally, they would switch it up and Bro.Logan would start speaking Greek and Angelo would switch to English. The singing was in both languages. There were a few other people there. There was one older gentleman there (who's name I can neither pronounce nor spell so we just called him Marcus) who spoke English and who knew more about Idaho than I do. And I live in Idaho. He told Karen and I a few interesting facts about Idaho, told us about his family (his son Alex was there with him), told us about one time he took a 45 day tour of North and South America, and then he gave us a hug and patted our faces. I loved him. And he sings wonderfully! Bro. Lowell, you would have loved to listen to him singing with Bro. Logan!

To sum it up:
I love it here. Everyone sleeps in and takes a nap in the afternoon. Why wasn't I born here?
I love the pastry thingys.
There are so many more people here than I expected. Thousands upon thousands. It seems overwhelming to think of all the people Bro. Logan hasn't even had a chance to reach yet. And he's out there pretty much every day, reaching as many as he can. I'm so happy to be here helping. They need all the help they can get.
Everyone here wears black and our clothes stick out. It's like, we might as well wear a name tag that says tourist across our chests.
The people don't laugh much. But they're very affectionate! I saw so many people holding hands, kissing each other, and just walking arm in arm.
Bro. Logan really wants to be able to do a tract mail out. You could pray that he's able to. He could reach so many more people that way.
And this box of rubber bands was here at the mission house. It gave us all a good laugh:

Bubber bands. Also known as rubber bands in America.

We're supposed to go out on the big town square today with Bro. Logan and Angelo and do some street preaching and pass out tracts. 

We love you all, and miss everyone!

Love,
All Us

February 16, 2013

shark week

Leah and Lucy spent the night with me last night, and right now they're upstairs watching Shark Week.
They love that show. I love it too... although I do have the tendency to flinch, shudder, and cover my eyes every time I see a shark attack coming. One time, there was this little albatross floating happily in the ocean waters and I was all, Look! A happy little birdie!  And I was happy because the birdie was happy. And then suddenly... shark attack. And then all that was left were a few bloody feathers floating on the water. And I was like, Whaaa? Why are we WATCHING this?

Did you know the movie Jaws was actually inspired by the first recorded shark attacks in America? Some shark went crazy and started killing people off the coast of New Jersey. Up to that point people actually thought sharks were fairly friendly, and were extremely surprised to learn they'd come right up to shore and start chewing on the first human they saw.

Did you know Florida has the most recorded shark attacks in the world? I will never look at those beautiful white beaches the same again.

Also, did you know, according to Shark Week, that the average man has testosterone levels of about 40 ng/ml? And that the average bull shark's testosterone levels are at about 900 ng/ml? Hence a shark's crazy aggression and anger management issues. They have problems.

Which brings me to my point.
The whole time I sat there watching Shark Week with the girls, I kept thinking about how those poor shark's brains were spazzing out with all their hormone levels and it reminded me of myself. And I was all, That's totally me when I'm PMSing! I too, occasionally, want to rip people's legs off! 
(I'm sorry if me saying PMSing grossed you out.)
I now feel a connection to sharks everywhere in the world. I understand them. No wonder they run around gnawing unsuspecting people's legs off. No wonder they eat poor little albatrosses floating in the water. They can't help it. 

Here's me on a normal day:


And then here's me during Shark Week:


One day I'm all, I just love today. I think I'll go make cinnamon rolls and veg out on Pinterest. And I can mentally hear Disney music playing in the background.
And then the next day I'm all, KILL ALL THE PEOPLE AND RIP THE STUFFING OUT OF MY PILLOWS. And all I can hear in the background is the theme song from Psycho.

Innocent bystander: Isn't it a lovely day?
Shark me: I kill you.

Innocent bystander: Do you need help? And by help, I mean therapy.
Shark me: I kill you.

Innocent bystander: Would you like some coffee?
Shark me: Yes... then I kill you.

And lovely bonus, by the end of the day I'll go from shark to blubbering mess:


It's wonderful. I bet you wish you were me and had hormone levels of like, 900.
I bet you wish you could be a shark like me.

Love,
It's A Wonderful Life. Or Jaws. Just Depends On The Week.

February 15, 2013

the walls in my house

I like to decorate. It's one of my favorite things to do. And I really love using Pinterest for new and brilliant ideas.
The thing I seem to focus on the most when decorating, are the walls of my home. 
I want them painted and the pictures hung. After that, I can focus on the rest of the room.
I have my downstairs pretty much done, and am working my way to the bedrooms upstairs.
But before I make it upstairs, there's the staircase. I'm scratching my head over that one. I have a vague idea of what I want. When I was a little girl, my Granny had a million family pictures hung all over the walls of her hallway, and I always loved it. And so I know I want a million family pictures hanging in my staircase... I just haven't decided how to do it.
I'm not a huge fan of picture frames, so I'm leaning towards some of these ideas:

1. I love this photo wall. Think of all the instagram photos I could use!

2. And this one:

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3. And I really, really love this giant print DIY:

And you know The Lettered Cottage? I love that website. Their style is right up my alley. They're super talented and I wish they lived near me so I could invite them over to decorate my house.
They hung this plate collection in their sunroom, and I think it's so pretty:


And guess what? I hung a plate collection above my couch last year, and it makes me feel really talented that I thought of doing that before Kevin and Layla did. Except their's is way cooler, and now I'm going to have to redo mine and add some bowls in with the plates.
But still, my plate collection is one of my favorite things in the house.


Some of those plates belonged to Moma, Granny, and my great grandmother. I picked up the rest at TJ Maxx, Pier 1, and the Target clearance rack. The Audrey clock was a gift. It doesn't have numbers. I can't tell time on it. But it looks pretty so that doesn't matter. And if you look closely at Audrey's face, you can see my dining room. Bonus for you, man!

And finally, look what I made last night while I watched 4 episodes of Psych in a row:


It's a quilt square thingy. Didn't it turn out nice? I'm so pleased with it. It was a lot of hand stitching and gave me a Charley horse in my left hand, but over all it was a pretty easy sewing project.
I wasn't sure what to do with it at first, but I've decided to finish off the edges and frame it.
Also, I love little projects like this. They make me feel so much better about myself when I'm sitting around in my sweatpants all day, having a Psych marathon, eating potato chips. I'm like, Look at me being productive... who CARES whether or not I've brushed my teeth today?

Love,
The Interior Designer. Basically.

February 14, 2013

yummy: apple pancake rings

One day, a couple weeks ago, when I really hungry (and tired of eating Top Ramen), I went on Pinterest to see what I could find by way of quick, easy, and delish recipes.
I found several and have been trying them out. And, much to my delight, I'm no longer hungry.
I cooked, I ate, I lived to tell about it. Boom.

This is one of my faves. The girls loved it too.

Apple Pancake Rings



Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 tbls sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
2 tbls melted butter

4 or 5 apples
1 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar mixed with 2 tbls cinnamon

Directions:

1. Peel, core, and slice apples into rings. Place rings in a bowl with lemon juice poured over them. I recommend letting them soak up the lemon juice for awhile, but that's just me.


2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, milk and butter. Add wet mixture to dry mixture. Stir well. Batter should be a little lumpy.
4. Dip apple rings into pancake batter, cook on hot griddle until goldeny brown, turning once.


5. Sprinkle the pancakes rings with the sugar and cinnamon mix. (or you could sprinkle them with powdered sugar.)

Eat 'em piping hot! They're so good!
I love biting thru the sugary outside and having the tart, juicy apple insides squirt out. Yumm-o.

Other versions of the Apple Pancake Ring: here, here, and there

Love,
Not Hungry Anymore

happy love day

Happy Valentine's Day to all my fellow single friends.
And by single I mean designated babysitter.


May you live long and prosper, and make at least ten bucks an hour babysitting.

Love,
Forever Alone