Random Friday Ramblings

For some reason my internet has been acting wonky this week. I haven't been able to get blogger blogs or dashboard for a couple of days, even though other sites come up. Anyone else been having those issues?

Anyway, here it is, Friday already! The weather here has cooled down quite a bit and it's drizzly this morning. Which gives us a nice break from being too hot as well as not hearing so many "suggestions" from the kids about going in the pool. :)

Last night Meaghan had her big end of year show. It was less chaotic and more entertaining than Nic's :) And I just have to tell you, I was the closest to a celebrity that I have EVER been. Two rows back to be precise. I won't name names, but I'll just say that famous football (soccer) players and models have adorable kids!!

This weekend we'll celebrate American Father's Day (the Spanish one is in March) because the holiday here totally slipped by us. Usually we celebrate the Spanish holidays because that's when the kids bring home stuff from school.

Only one more week of school! I need to get serious about coming up with a schedule for summer. I want us to be able to have fun and relax but also still keep up with school type stuff (this is especially crucial for Nic) and not slide into the mindless boredom/squabbling slough of despair.

That's all for now!


Of all the carbs I've craved before...

I had ridiculous unrealistic lofty goals of posting before and after photos of our apartment for you. But alas, I shall not.
Can I just tell you, that if California Pizza Kitchen delivered one of their Greek pizzas to my door right now, I would kiss this whole South Beach (ish) thing I'm doing goodbye so fast your head would spin. Really, I would. I have GOT to figure out how to make that. In two weeks. Yeah.

I've actually done pretty well today (although I cheated and drank the fresh squeezed orange juice that came with my breakfast. I did not, however, eat ONE SINGLE fry--no hash browns in Spain. Not one, people.) Seriously Dr. Agatston, is orange juice THAT bad for me? Anyway, I drank it.

I was mostly good at lunch, except for, ahem, my beverage. 'Nuff said.

So now I will drink my lovely dinner of ice-cold gazpacho and dream of California Pizza Kitchen. And I actually thinking gazpacho is prob'ly kinda cheating too, 'cuz pretty sure they throw some bread in when they make it.

Maybe I'll do better tomorrow....


My Blog Story

One of the blogs I read regularly is Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer. That's where I found this, which I think is a great idea. So here is my story!

How did you start blogging?

My friend Kelly and I had a contest of sorts to start blogs, mainly I guess because everyone was doing it. But here is what I said on my first post.
"The main reason I started this blog is to get myself to write again. Now that both my kids are in school in the morning, I have a little more time to do it. I hope that somehow over time I can regain the sense of writing for myself. In high school I wrote constantly (mostly bad poetry) but then I went to college and "got educated" about how bad my stuff just might be. But you know what? I don't care so much anymore if it's good or bad. As long as I like it, that works for me :) So we'll see if this works to motivate me."
Did you intend to be a blog w/a big following? If so, how did you go about it?

No, actually, at first I didn't even make my blog public. I told family and friends about it but didn't list it. Finally, at the urging of my friend Mary (who is one of my main writing cheerleaders) I took the plunge.

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?

My main reason for blogging was just to get writing again. So in that, I've been successful. Now I'm starting to think about being a little more deliberate about WHAT I write about. One of my goals this summer is to have regular BOC (butt on chair writing time, as Mary likes to say!)

Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?

Mmmmm, maybe it's just becoming more focused. But maybe not, I can be pretty random :)

What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?

I wish I had known more about design. Turns out that I am a bit of a freak about tinkering with the way my blog looks. As a result, people probably think I'm a little schizophrenic with all my changes. I don't have the money to get a professional template/design done. Anyway, I've learned that it's probably best to have some continuity, so I'll try to make only minor changes in the future, now that I have gotten it to a place where I am mostly happy with it.

Do you make money with your blog?

No, not right now. It's one of the things I might consider in the future, but I feel like I need to find my voice and focus still. I really don't know that much about ads, and how hard it is to get them, but I have a feeling that my blog may be too boring broad right now.

Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?

I think they all know about it, as do our supporters and friends. My husband of course, reads and is my biggest fan. Probably the other family that reads most is my crazy Canadian family on my Mom's side (Hi Crazy Lady and daughters! :) ) If any of you other family people are reading, feel free to set me straight!

What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?
  1. Have fun! Even if you are trying to make some money, it's not much worth it if you don't enjoy it!
  2. Do your homework on what platform (blogger, wordpress, typepad etc.) is best for you. I have stuck with Blogger so far (and have been especially happy with it since Beta) but there are still some features I pine for (like delayed posting.) So far Blogger has kept my business.
So what about you, what is your blogging story?


One Year

Last night we were sitting in our living room eating pizza with Kelly and April and Alleke when I realized that exactly a year before we had been doing the same thing, having finally finished moving our family from the burbs into the city that day.

It was probably our worst move ever, and if Kelly and pregnant April had not come up from Castellon that Thursday, we would have never been ready to move that Friday at all. We all worked until at least 1 am on Friday morning, taking apart the rest of the furniture, packing up the food in the kitchen etc.

For the first half of the day we had a few people helping, but by 4:30 that afternoon it was Troy and I, Kelly, and Kelly Wills (who had returned from the US earlier in the day, come straight from the airport and started carrying boxes, jet-lag and all.) I had to drive the truck with the second load into the city, it was raining, and the way our apartment building is set-up, we had to first unload everything off the truck into the courtyard of our building, and then haul it over and back to our entryway and up one floor. When the second load was off the truck, I drove it back out to the burbs to return it and the "dolly" we had rented.

By around 7 that evening everything was finally in the apartment, and we all sat around with glazed expressions.

Saturday, we (again with the wonderful, amazing Crulls) headed back out to the burbs to clean the house and take care of the stuff in the garage we were donating to Mountainview's garage sale.

We had done it; moved into the city, in the final and also the beginning step of the dream that was Oasis Madrid. Those first days, it felt like we had risked it all and to be honest, like it was maybe a mistake. Our little congregation had already begun to scatter for the summer, we had uprooted our family, completely changed our lifestyle and it felt a little like nobody cared.

We lived in our new apartment for 14 days before we boarded a plane for furlough. After a whirlwind summer, we returned in early September, still with a deficit in our ministry account and very little new support raised. We unpacked our suitcases and the rest of the boxes, but I think we did it with quite a few doubts in our hearts.

In late October, serious crisis came. Our account was seriously in the red, and we found out that we had to be completely out of debt by the end of the year. The school also told us they felt Nic had learning problems. One black Friday while it poured, we basically gave up. We started at "if we are not out of the red by the end of the year, we'll go back to the US in June" and ended at "we'll go back in June." There were many reasons, and I think we just ran out of hope. On Saturday, we sent an email out asking people to pray with us that Sunday.

Then the miracles started. Email after email poured in with words of encouragement, and support. Everyone but us seemed to believe that God was not done with us in Spain, not yet. And then the money came. Money beyond what we could hope for or believe, money from people who love us, and some from people we had and still have not met!

So, one year later, we are still here. It's been a roller-coaster of a year. It has been amazing and frightening and lonely and blessed and fruitful and dry all at the same time. We've made a lot of willing sacrifices. We are definitely home. We love living in the city and we are slowly becoming part of our neighborhood. The kids made the transition beautifully, and Nic is well on his way to overcoming his struggles with processing oral and written language. We love our building and our apartment. We don't have any friends our own age, which is lonely at times. Our kids are the only regulars at church. Some services I feel like I might as well just stay home with them. Yet they are happy with their "older" friends at church. They are surrounded with big brothers and sisters who will make paper airplanes with them, who carry their picture in their wallets and who volunteer to babysit them so Troy and I can go out.

And our church, our little church, well, we're still here too. We're becoming more and more community every day. We are learning more and more to be open and honest with each other, to let our real selves show. We have relationships with homeless people in our city. We're a community where not-yet believers can be loved and accepted even before they can believe. We love them even if it seems they may never believe.

One year. It's hard to take in all that has happened. Sometimes it's hard to believe that some of the things we hope for and pray for will happen. But if there is one thing I've learned is that God is here, He is not done with us or Oasis Madrid.

Wonder what I'll write next year!