December 28, 2017

Currently: Romanian Edition Part VIII

An extra delicious gingerbread cookie
I feel like I always start my blog posts by apologizing for not blogging regularly, but I won't do that this time. Instead, I'd like to give a little insight as to why I haven't been blogging, posting or communicating very much lately.

In the last few months, I've been majorly lacking in inspiration and motivation...for many reasons and then also for what seems like no reason at all. Some days, I know I feel like this because work is super stressful and I'm not resting enough...or getting enough introvert time :) Other days, I can't necessarily attribute it to anything. I work long hours and then when I get home, all I can do is sit on the couch. I want to blog, write cards to people, call/text people, and post regularly on Facebook, but I just can't.

I still absolutely love living and serving in Romania, but things have just been quite challenging lately...which is why you haven't heard much from me. But here's a little update with what my life "currently" looks like...

Go find this book.
Reading: If I'm being completely honest, I haven't been reading much of anything lately. From time to time, I still find myself picking up Daring Greatly by Brene Brown as I still haven't finished it. As I've previously mentioned, it's full of heavy stuff about shame and vulnerability, but it. is. incredible.

I also recently purchased The Atlas of Beauty, which is literally one of the most beautiful books I've ever seen. The Romanian photographer (!!!) travels around the world photographing women. There's a little blurb with each photo that gives a little background information. I think everyone should own this book...or at least look through it at some point.

Eating: At this very moment, I'm eating these fancy chocolate covered almonds that I got in my Christmas stocking! I have far too many goodies and treats in my house right now...cozonac (traditional Romanian sweet bread that's very popular at Christmas), gingerbread cookies, apple bread and lots of candy! Romanians are very generous, and give lots of goodies during the holidays!

I've also been eating lots of oranges, clementines and mandarins. Tis the citrus season! As you'll see in the photo, I received one orange at the Tigmandru Christmas celebration. One of my favorite parts of the Tigmandru Christmas service is when we talk about darkness and light. This particular orange represents the world. The candle represents the light that Jesus brought to us. He brought light to us, and we are to then be His light. Once everyone in the congregation receives their orange, the pastor lights one and then we all share our light until the dark room is full of light. It's so lovely.

One of my favorite photos from recent weeks
And this season, it meant a bit more out in Tigmandru, with the children in the background. While things have been difficult lately, the two afternoons a week that I spend in Tigmandru continue to remind me why God sent me to Romania in the first place. To show his light and love to others. In this case, the "others" happen to be some of the cutest and sweetest children in this small village. Whether it's chatting with them before the program starts or helping glue a craft together, I am constantly reminded of the love and light that I have the immense privilege of sharing with them.

This picture has nothing to do with anything. It's just pretty :)
Thinking about: Lots and lots and lots of things. Shall I make a list? I shall!

- I have two students coming for three weeks in January. I feel a tad bit unprepared for them, but I'm sure everything will come together. They'll be working with Veritas' social and educational programs, as well as in the village of Tigmandru with the church's children and teen programs.

- My trip to the States in the spring. This might be news to many of you, but I'm planning to come home for about 8 weeks sometime during March, April and May. I haven't bought my ticket yet, which is why this is something I'm "thinking about". During this visit, I will be spending time with family and friends, speaking at churches (Does your church want to hear from someone living and serving overseas? Let me know!), and recruiting university students for the Romanian Studies Program. It will be a very, very busy eight weeks so I'm trying to figure out how to make it all work in a way that doesn't overwhelm me!

- Obviously, as 2017 comes to end, I'm thinking about everything that has happened over the year, as well as what I want 2018 to look like. I'm not big on setting New Year's resolutions per se, but I like the idea of setting a few goals. I tend to set more goals related to my birthday, which you can read about here and here, but I might try to choose One Little Word that I want to represent my year. I'll try to keep you updated on if/what I choose.

Go listen to this song. Now.
Listening: As to be expected, I've been listening to a lot of Christmas music in recent weeks. Spotify has some really great Christmas playlists so I rotate between those...from Christmas Classics to Pop to Folk...I love the holiday tunes.

Other than that, I've been loving Kristene DiMarco's newest album, Where His Light Was. "Take Courage" and "I Am No Victim" have been my favorites for awhile now, but "Jesus is Willing" is making it's way to the top. The lyrics are a little too relevant these days, in a good way.

Some of my other favorites lately have included the following...

You are the Reason by Calum Scott
- I Won't Let You Go by Switchfoot feat. Lauren Daigle
- Girl Crush by Harry Styles
- Moments Passed by Dermot Kennedy

I'm pretty sure Hallmark could film a Christmas movie at the Bucharest Christmas market.
Watching: Don't hate me, but I have to write what I'm actually watching. I'll just mention it real quick...Gilmore Girls. I just finished all seven seasons plus the new Netflix ones...again.

Okay, other than that, I've been watching lots and lots of Hallmark (and Netflix) Christmas movies. I used to make fun of my mom and sister for loving these cheesy movies, but there's just something about them! I think the fact that they are so simple and happy (no offense, Hallmark and Netflix) makes them enjoyable for me. They're pretty mindless, which is what I need after most work days. Some of my favorites include Merry Kissmas, The MistleToe Inn, A Very Merry Mix-Up and A Christmas Prince (filmed in Romania!).

My super simple Christmas decor.
Loving: I have been loving my super simple Christmas decorations. I wasn't going to decorate for Christmas, but then I was going to have my It Takes Courage 2.0 teens over for a Christmas party and I knew I had to do something. I made a Christmas tree out of washi tape and cut snowflakes out of coffee filters to put in my windows. Super simple, but super cute. I bought one string of lights, and those little lights have really brightened the atmosphere of my apartment.

Sometimes I feel guilty for buying something like a string of Christmas lights because I know how much that small amount of money could help someone else. But then I'm reminded (usually by someone else who thinks I overanalyze everything) that I need to help myself before I can help others (like the airplane oxygen mask). If buying those lights makes me happier and healthier at home, then I can be that much more helpful to others outside of my home. That might seem like a stretch, but hopefully you can understand what I mean.

Hope you've enjoyed yet another edition of Currently. I always enjoy writing these posts :) And of course, Merry (belated) Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!

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