Monday, March 28, 2011

day 34: teaching quotes!!! :)

today is Monday. my first day of full-time teaching. it was tiring, but we're headed to bed soon. :) since i don't feel like telling much, tonight will be memorable teaching quotes from observations and student teaching. :)

"What is your favorite color and why?" "Red. Because when Jesus died for me, His blood was red."

So we should call forgiveness “forgetness?”

“you should be a teacher because you'd be good at it! wanna teach kindergarten!?! maybe my teacher will get fired, then you could be MY teacher!

Miss Roberts: “WOW! How did you know that!?! Did you hear me tell the other reading group about that?” Darling first grader: “Yes, Miss Roberts! I always listen to you, even when I don't have to! You're like my entertainment radio at work!”

“Miss Roberts, do you know how to change diapers?” “Yes, but what does that have to do with?” “Well, you're going to have a baby, right!?!”

(Conversation between a student and her mother): Student: “Mom, today is Miss Roberts' last day. I want to get her flowers because I really like her! I can pay for them.” Mom: “Aww, how much do you think they cost?” Student :“Two dollars?” Mom: “If you give me your two dollars, I'll make sure that Miss Roberts gets flowers. Whatever you like!”

What is the opposite of internal? Outernal???

“Are you ok?” “No! She's squishing my personal bubble!”

“Dear Jesus, please be with my sister because her hamster died. Help her just get over it. and thank you that we get to bury him in the garden.

“Miss Peters, how does it feel when you write your own name on the board?”

“Miss Peters, it's S. T. Patrick's Day!”

“God, help us have fun at the park and not go wacko with all the treat!.”

"today was a gross day!" “well, gross means nasty... is that what you mean?” “well, today wasn't nasty... it was...” “bad?" “yes. a bad day.”

“How do we know Jesus was a boy?" "Well... uhh... John 3:16 says that God sent His SON, and SON means HE, and HE means a boy..."

Jessica Campbell Roberts

Sunday, March 27, 2011

day 33: one half down, one to go...

Produce. That is what is in our kitchen. I never knew so many healthy things existed. We have... mangoes, oranges, a lemon from our lemon tree, kiwis, strawberries, bananas, apples, red bell peppers, green peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots. There are probably a few I forgot too... tonight we made a run to the grocery store, and our basket was FULL of health food... almost made me nauseous, but have no fear... there was a carton of tiramisu ice-cream gracing the top of our basket. :)

church this morning was another whirlwind of Portuguese. the pastor's wife asked me if i'd play piano again today, so i did. :) and i had to fill some time while they fixed up the powerpoint... but i enjoyed it. :)

music is a universal language and a universal way to praise our God. it's neat how when i don't understand anything about the service except the songs. praising the Lord is the same in every land. granted, other cultures have stepped across some "conservative" lines  that we Americans have formed. but our God is glorified in so many ways and in so many languages. :)

tomorrow begins another full week of school. :) two more, then SPRING BREAK!!!

p.s. my flan failed. i think the package called for sugar. but of course i can't read... ;)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

day 32: hopeless tears and a double dribble...

today was another day of sightseeing with erin, laura, and krisanna. :) we started the morning off with pastries and headed off to see the wizard... or something like that. We took somewhat of a drive to go to Fatima. It is the catholic mecca in europe behind vatican city. The sight there was one that I hope I don't soon forget. People walking on their knees for hundreds of yards paying penance for their sins. Once we got into the cathedral at the top of the hill, several people inside were weeping against the back wall and in the pews. I'm not sure why, but i'm sure having a hopeless life followed by a hopeless eternity doesn't help matters... we walked out again and there was a place where you could purchase candles then light them. They believe that as long as your candle is burning your prayers will be heard. I'm so thankful that my RISEN Savior who was SINLESS paid the price for my sins, past, present and future, so that I don't have to worry about penance, but that whenever I confess, my prayers will be heard regardless of the triviality of a candle. Praise the Lord for His grace that is abundant for salvation and continual sanctification day after day. And praise the Lord for this needed reminder that millions out there, even at our doorstep, still wander in the darkness... their only hope is the Light of the world. Chinese missionary Gladys Aylward prayed each day for someone to share the gospel with. Have I even shared with someone in the past MONTH, or even YEAR!?! even if .3 percent of people listened to what I had to say, that would mean one salvation/year... if I chose to seek out people to share the good news with daily... how bright is my light? How bright is yours?

After an afternoon walking around the mall and feeling extra american eating mcdonalds, the four of us headed to a european basketball game. Less disappointing than march madness, but definitely more confusing! I wasn't sure of all the rules, but... I thought free throws would be similar... FALSE. The other players wandered around aimlessly and went towards the hoop even before the player made his shot... but, I felt obligated to yell my feelings towards the players, in english, when they picked up their dribble in awful places and hacked at other players and got mad when a foul was called, and when they would take four or five steps with no travel call... (not unlike the NBA though...) and after halftime, I realized that several players were yelling plays in english... and even from america... and that with only a couple hundred other people in the auditorium, they could probably hear each of my passionate frustrations aimed their way... oops... ;)

to cap off our day, krisanna and I headed to the grocery store. It was PACKED at 8:30 on a saturday night... one thing i'll never get used to. Everything here is later. There will be families with little tikes out at 11 on a school night and no one thinks anything of it. I'm usually toast by 9 on ANY night, and i'm only 21!!! I do NOT understand that! After another i-don't-speak-portuguese-so-i'll-just-smile-and-nod-like-an-idiot moment in the checkout, we headed home to cook dinner... yes, at 9:00. that's another thing they do here. At 3:30 on a saturday afternoon, mcdonalds was packed with their lunch crowd. Yet ANOTHER strange thing. Anyway, I made quesadilla burgers tonight for dinner and tried to make pudding from a packet (or flan... not sure) but the only thing I could read was ½ liter of milk... and 2 minutes. NOT enough to figure it all out, so I guessed... and I have NO idea how that turned out yet... it's still in the fridge “setting”

and that's all folks. We lose an hour tonight because of daylight savings... no more sunrises for me! :)

goodnight world, or for those in the US, enjoy your evening...

Friday, March 25, 2011

days 29, 30, and 31: fabulous friday???

Someday, i'd like to start fashion friday with a certain fashion that I like or would like to sew myself. But since i'm in portugal and the Portuguese people missed the “European fashion” memo, I think i'll wait on that til I get back to the states. They are lacking in the fashion industry here. For real. I just hope i'm not really behind when I get back! But I think I was behind when I left, so I guess no one will even notice.

the past few days haven't brought anything terribly exciting except for maybe just life itself. but what is honestly more exciting that life?? well, the hope of eternal life with the Creator and Savior AFTER this life? YES!!! but for now, while i'm here... life is mine to live for Him. that was supposed to be more simple of a thought than it became. and now it's becoming a meaningless rambling... oh wow... 

anyway... it's friday evening. krisanna and i are spending the evening in getting work done and recuperating (i spelled it write mom! be proud! and i spelled that wrong just for you. ;) on with my pointless rambling...

1. i had a busy week of teaching.

2. i love my kids more this week than last. :)

3. i love when that (#2) happens!

4. i've been working on lesson plans a LOT. :/

5. wednesday afternoon i realized that i felt iffy.

6. thursday, it turned into a sore throat, swollen glands, and aches...

7. after a good night's sleep and prayer, friday was a better day!

8. now i just sneeze every 15-20 seconds. 

9. and i was reminded how awful feeling crummy is when you're away from mom.

10. so mom, krisanna took care of me.

11. i taught a science lesson today and my kids were enthralled by... tapeworm and naked mole rats... just in case gestation wasn't exciting enough yesterday...

12. sometimes i forget how much i miss people from home.

13. but today i remembered.

14. this afternoon, i had an INCREDIBLE chance to worship the Savior in song (even though my voice sounds like a man right now because i'm sick) with Erin and Krisanna and we just sat around the piano and played and sang (i played and they sang) songs that praise the name of our great God. i miss that. i was afraid my fingers would get confused without touching a piano very often for these two months in portugal, but i've gotten a wonderful amount of finger exercise. :) THAT kind of exercise is the kind i like. anyway... playing with them singing was a great blessing in more ways than one. two incredible voices, and two incredible testimonies... all we needed was Erin's mom gracing us with her musical ability, and it would've sounded just perfect.

15. this week, i've counted to 15 more often than any other time in my life... you see, i'm on recess duty by myself. and for some reason, i'm terrified of losing a child. and there are 15 in the elementary. so i've done head-counts over, and over, and OVER again... i've never been paranoid before. not sure why it's starting now...

16. tomorrow brings more adventures, more lesson plans, more SHOPPING, and even a basketball game. it might not be march madness, but hey, Duke is a let-down anyway. i think i'd rather watch European basketball than another team from the states ruin my bracket any more. i need to quit picking good-seeded teams, because their "pride" is causing them to FALL! lol. good thing i'm not a betting gal! i'd be BROKE... more than i already am... ;)

17. i realized today that i love mountain dew. in a moment of weakness, i asked Joyce to buy me some at the embassy. that has been the lifeblood that fuels my dreams (even though it's not coffee and i'm not a champion...)

18. i found out wednesday that a dear friend went home to be with the Lord. Miss Amy Phillips, (probably) world-famous pianist and well-known humble, patient, gracious, encouraging lady breathed her last breath on earth and is now in the presence of our God and King and worshiping at His feet. i would be greatly honored to live a life like Miss Amy lived. always fighting. always encouraging. always seeing the best in people and pushing them to it. always making me practice piano. always telling me she was praying for me. always telling me how great life is when God is Lord of your life. always ready to sacrifice anything and everything for others. always ready to serve. always WILLING to serve. always a joy. always a blessing. always... Miss Amy. but now until always, the glorified Miss Amy. 

19. God is good. He wants what is best for us. that's why He puts us in the situations He does. He wants me here now. He wants me learning lessons that i can only learn here and only learn now... so i can become more like Him. He never changes, but i am like a vapor in the wind. i am pathetic. filthy. wretched. BUT... i am redeemed. forgiven. bound for heaven. 
i am

20. i just couldn't end on 19. what a weird number! anyway... i'll make this goodbye... after i ramble some more. today at recess, i had the kids teaching me phrases from several different languages. it was way fun. :) not every day do you learn as much in school as your students do... or should be learning...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

days 25-28: lessons learned.

I have no idea who reads my blog. I have no idea how what I write affects people. I would like to think i'm funny, but for some reason, I doubt that. I also have no idea who notices when I go several days without writing a thing... ;) These last few days have been days full of lessons. What exactly? Maybe this is my chance to sum them up. Maybe you're the one reader who needs a glimpse of God that hopefully i'll give. Maybe no one reading this needs it, I just need to put my thoughts into sentence form... regardless, here's my heart... on a silver platter, if you will...

Lesson #1 – life is simply not fair. I don't know if this lesson is more convicting or comforting. Someone will ALWAYS have a nicer car. ALWAYS. Someone will ALWAYS have nicer shoes. ALWAYS. Someone will ALWAYS have a not long-distance relationship. ALWAYS. Someone will ALWAYS have a better job. ALWAYS. Someone will ALWAYS be in a better mood. ALWAYS. Someone will always get what they want more often. ALWAYS. But Someone sacrificed His life to readily provide forgiveness and unending love for a pathetic, lame, pity-party-throwing, whiny, annoying, slow-learning, awful sinner... ALWAYS. Life may not be fair, but 2 Corinthians 10:12 says “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”

Lesson #2 – came in Bible class Tuesday morning. We cannot earn salvation by doing good things or trying to appear righteous. We are sinners. I know that! I can't earn salvation that way, neither can I earn favor with God that way after I'm saved. Good works are in vain if not done for the glory of God. The Bible condemns hypocrisy and vain strivings to appear better than one really is. How often is my life like that!?! How often do I try to act like I have it all together??? More often than I ever should.

Lesson #3 – I can get more exercise walking around the mall than I can going on a walk. Krisanna loves walking. I love shopping. So, we go on a short walk around the neighborhood, but I could walk for HOURS around a mall. That's how we exercise. I exercise my heart so I don't drop dead of an irregular heartbeat as soon as I probably should; I exercise my Portuguese as I say “obrigado” for my purchases; I exercise self-control when I walk through the shoe store and realize that my suitcase and the scale can't handle many more shoes (and neither can my budget... lol); and I exercise my social skills as I smile at strangers who just glare or stare back at me. See, I DO exercise!

As for the last few days? They've been days full of learning. And teaching. :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

days twenty-two, 23, and four-and-twenty: there's a new song in my heart...

...and new tanktops in my closet. it's been a few days since i've updated this. i know... shocker there. :/ pardon my speech patterns and spelling, but it's 11:50 p.m. and Krisanna and i just got back from the mall! so... back to wednesday???

wednesday. not wordless, but only a few come to my mind. i went to school on wednesday and it was a good day. after school, i took my wednesday nap and waited for laura and erin to come over for dinner. this is one of the highlights of my week. good food, great fellowship, and a great ab workout from laughter! we enjoyed talking about the things God is doing and the fun things happening around us. it's neat to have such good friendships with people that have so many differences. laura and i have found that we have several similarities, like we can avoid bathrooms all day and be fine, while krisanna and erin stop around every corner and are dying if we go a block without one! however, our view of palm trees differs immensely. she sees them all the time in Cali. i LOVE them and want a garden of them...

thursday: another great day of school with a field trip to the park. :) i taught my kiddos how to play ninja and the LOVED it. while we were playing, one of the students accidentally let the ball go down the hill and wanted to go get it. i told them that i would as soon as i got out, so i got out the next round and headed for the hill. as i looked down, i could see the ball in a pile of weeds. not too far, not too treacherous (looking). i started the descent and immediately realized that all of the "weeds" were really thorn bushes. good thing i wore jeans that day or my pants would have been SHREDDED. i kept climbing down because (at this point) there was no turning back... i HAD to be the hero. so i kept going and got the ball, tossed it up and turned around. as soon as i turned around, i realized that the thorn weeds were more like quicksand and i just kept falling... soon, i was up to my armpits in thorns... all while my kids were oblivious and playing ninja... do i yell for help? ehh, there's nothing they could do but watch me embarrass myself. do i stand there and wait? probably not... i have no idea what might start nibbling at my ankles from underneath. so i look around, laugh to myself, and reach up for something to pull myself up with. i grab hold of it and start to try to climb. of course the one thing i grab had tiny thorns, and wasn't connected to ANYTHING, so i fell even further into my little hole. i giggled again and thought "if the kids ever realize i'm missing, they'll think this is HILARIOUS." but after a few minutes and a few more scrapes on my hands and arms and pant-legs, i got out. and the students first comment??? "miss roberts, we thought you went back to school! what took you so long!?!" what do i tell them?? i got lost in a jungle of thorns? i got a boo-boo on my finger and needed a band-aid? i had a lesson in humility while you played ninja? nope. i opted for "i was just taking my time." :)

friday: a gorgeous day. perfect sunshine. perfect temperature. a science test outside (that i wrote!!!). a lunch excursion with my teacher and krisanna. an afternoon walk. an afternoon nap. dinner. a movie. and a late-night trip to the mall. :) today was a great day with less than extremely entertaining stories. i'm exhausted, but yet here i am... watching the KU game online because march madness is just as exciting in portugal. is my bracket good? nope. never has been. never will be. i settle for knowing that i am AWFUL at picking teams. i think KU might just prove that even more. hahaha

so, goodnight, world. sleep sweet. or enjoy your dinner if you're in North America. i'm headed to bed soon. to rest. to prepare for another weekend of sightseeing with tour guides laura and erin. tomorrow brings... a palace. :) and babysitting. :) and lasagna!!! :)

tonight brings (probably very vivid) dreams... and about that new song in my heart??? my playlist yesterday morning consisted of these songs that the Lord knew my heart needed. maybe your heart does too. :)

Always Enough (Casting Crowns): In a dry and weary land, Lord, You are the rain. In a sea of shattered ones, Your love comes rushing in. You hold the world within Your hands and see each tear that falls. Through every fire and every storm, You're always enough, always enough.Your love is peace to the broken, faith for the widow, hope for the orphan, strength for the weak. Your love is the anthem of nations, rings out through the ages and You're always enough for me. You keep my heart in perfect peace. My life is in Your hands. When confusion hides my way, You're always enough, always enough. Your love is peace to the broken, faith for the widow, hope for the orphan, strength for the weak. Your love is the anthem of nations, rings out through the ages, and You're always enough

Where The Love Lasts Forever
(Hillsong): Your mercy found me upon the broken road, And lifted me beyond my failing, into Your glory. My sin and shame dissolved and now forever Yours I'll stand. In love never to end to call You more than Lord... Glorious friend. So I throw my life upon all You are 'cause I know You gave it all for me and when all else fades, my soul will dance with You, where the love lasts forever.

The Power Of The Cross: O, to see my name written in the wounds, for through Your suffering I am free. Death is crushed to death. Life is mine to live, won through Your selfless love.

God Is Our Refuge And Strength: God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear...

Something To Say (Matthew West): You've got something to say, if you're living, if you're breathing, you've got something to say. You know if your heart is beating, you've got something to say, and no one can say it like you do. God is love and love speaks through you.

I'd Rather Have Jesus/Give Me Jesus
: I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; I’d rather be His than have riches untold; I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands, I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand. Than to be a king of a vast domain or be held in sin’s dread sway, I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today. I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause; I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause; I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame, I’d rather be true to His holy name. He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom; He’s sweeter than honey from out of the comb; He’s all that my hungering spirit needs, I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead. Give me Jesus, give me Jesus. You can have all this world, but give me Jesus. In the morning, when I rise... give me Jesus. When I am alone... give me Jesus.

A sermon on the Tragedy of Selfishness: that was just perfect... but i skipped it. lol

Be Thou My Vision: Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart. (that's the only part I could think about...)

The Motions (Matthew West): This might hurt, it's not safe, but I know that I've gotta make a change. I don't care if I break,  at least I'll be feeling something. 'Cause just okay is not enough help me fight through the nothingness of life. I don't wanna go through the motions, I don't wanna go one more day without Your all consuming passion inside of me. I don't wanna spend my whole life asking, "What if I had given everything, instead of going through the motions?" No regrets, not this time. I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind. Let Your love make me whole. I think I'm finally feeling something. 'Cause just okay is not enough help me fight through the nothingness of this life. 'Cause I don't wanna go through the motions. I don't wanna go one more day without Your all consuming passion inside of me. I don't wanna spend my whole life asking, "What if I had given everything, instead of going through the motions?"

new favorite song??? Blessings by Laura Story. look it up. i'm guessing it'll be a blessing to you too!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

day twenty-one: three weeks down, six to go! :)

today marked day 21 since we've gotten here and 3 weeks since we flew out of chilly iowa. the weather here is nicer, the trees are better, the precipitation is better (NOT freezing) and the people are friendly. :) however, i guess you know you're a midwesterner when you smile at random people at the mall and they look around like you made a mistake or look down because they don't quite know how to react. i guess i look that american. i just hope i don't look that iowan. :/ school today was great! i taught a couple math lessons and a way fun science lesson about classifying animals. the kids all laughed and they learned something and my shy little guy raised his hand thrice. :)

this evening, krisanna and i went over to my cooperating teacher's apartment with some other ladies and had great food, fellowship, and laughs. :) tomorrow is already wednesday! :) then krisanna and i had some great roommate bonding time catching up and sharing God's work in our lives. :) friendship truly is a blessing!!!!!

and that's where my thoughts stop tonight...

Monday, March 14, 2011

days nineteen & twenty: a little bit o' random. :)

SUNDAY:: a day of worship. and learning. and peace. and hope. and smiles. and piano playing??? i was between sunday school and church this morning when Cal approached me and asked if i'd be interested in playing piano for the service. i chuckled and asked if he was interested in having me play (i wasn't about to volunteer wholeheartedly if it was just a kind gesture!!!). he smiled and answered yes. i headed to the piano with him as he told me the songs and about when i'd be playing them. HOWEVER... i had no idea that "announcements" would last 15 minutes and that i wouldn't know when they were done. so i sat there patiently, wearing a little smile while the church service went on and on. :) HOWEVER (again), i caught a comical announcement in Portuguese!!! when people laughed, i knew just why they were laughing and i could legitimately laugh along!!! :) anyway, we sang the battle hymn of the republic. that's a fast song in english anyway! so, i started off a little slower, but the song leaders took off, so i followed like a good accompanist! :) and sure enough, they couldn't sing all the words fast enough! :)

during the service, i realized that if i listened to Portuguese everyday, i'd learn a considerable amount! praise the Lord for two years of French in high school and a blessed semester (+ two weeks) of Greek in college... i could translate almost every word on the power point during sunday school! i wish i had more of a chance to learn... but i guess those opportunities won't come unless i look!!!

sunday afternoon brought lunch with friends, homework (yes, i do schoolwork!), and skyping my parents and grandparents and brothers. :)

MONDAY:: i taught four lessons today. i kind of just dived in head first, but the water wasn't too cold! (unlike the gorgeous ocean water... THAT was chilly). anyway, during my third grade math lesson, we talked about Venn diagrams. :) one of my (two) third graders is an English Language Learner and english isn't even his second language. he doesn't usually say much... since i've been there, he's been quiet towards the other students and the teacher and even me (his trend all year). but today, the math lesson was simple enough (diagramming students by colors they were wearing) that he KNEW he knew the answer a few times. he readily gave the correct answer more than once and even raised his hand and volunteered information!!! :) :) :) THESE are the moments that remind teachers that all the long days and coffee are WORTH IT!!!!!!! i make it a point every day to say hi to him, to ask him about recess and to look his way until he feels me staring and he cracks a smile and a giggle (not sure why, but it works!!!) please be praying for him as this school year won't be too easy! i know the Lord can do a HUGE work in his little life and right now, i get a front row seat to see what the Lord does. :)

after school today was an ABWE field council meeting. i got to meet several other missionaries. :) we took time to pray together, and can i just say what a HUGE ENCOURAGEMENT it was to pray with believers that i barely knew but know that the God who breathed the entire universe into existence was hearing each prayer because of the blood of His Son.
"It's all because of Jesus I'm alive. It's all because the blood of Jesus Christ.
It covers me and raised this dead man's life. It's all because of Jesus."
My God is good!!! :)

tonight, Krisanna and i headed to the mall :) that's one of a handful of places we can make it by ourselves. :) i found an ADORABLE dress for summer weddings! and i was ECSTATIC about going to KFC tonight to get biscuits. i LOVE their biscuits. that's all i usually get. :) however... they don't have those here. so i settled for BK chicken fries and BBQ sauce and fries and one ketchup packet and a coke :) :) :) and then i got yelled at in Portuguese at the grocery store! haha

tonight brings more lesson plans and reflection on God's love and grace. i am so blessed. :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

day eighteen: scarves, castles, and the beach. :)

another day of adventure. some might think that all i do is have fun. yes, i do have a lot of fun here. but unlike iowa, my weekend plans involve sightseeing. if i had fun things to see and do during my first half of student teaching, i'd have a million pictures and stories from that too! but... now, my weekends consist of trips to the ocean and castles. :) when i find those in iowa, i'll take pictures and blog about them like CRAZY. until then, i'll enjoy the sights while i'm here. :)

today was a day spent with krisanna, erin, and laura. we packed lunch and headed out on an excursion. we drove across a 7-mile-long bridge and went to the southern end of Portugal. our first stop was Setubal and we went to an old monastery (that looked a little ghetto), and some little shops (with ADORABLE scarves!), and we got free t-shirts, and got stuck in the rain :)

after we shopped and ate lunch, we headed off to another town. none of us had been to either town, but they shortly became our favorites! :) we happened upon a castle in Sebutal. it was GORGEOUS! we took some time to relax and kill our camera batteries and enjoy the sun and each others' company.

after much needed viewing of the ocean, we took off for yet another ocean town in Portugal, Sesimbra. this brought us to yet ANOTHER castle. can there be too many??? NEVER!!!!!!!!!! when iowa has castles and an ocean, THEN i'll be a fan. also, Portuguese people keep giving krisanna and i dirty looks because we are "crazy Americans" who wear flip-flops and short sleeves any time we can. i guess it's not warm enough for that... but in iowa, if the temp is in the double digits (ABOVE zero), it's flip-flop weather... duh! :) so the sunshine in the sixties... is our feet's best friend. krisanna loves that my toenails are painted white currently. it makes ME feel like summer is closer... but she insists that it looks like i have no toe nails. i disagree. ANYWAY... castle number two... :) more pics on my facebook page, so feel free to stalk.

and... our last stop... was at the beach. since the Portuguese think it's still boots, coats, and scarf weather (even though it's in the 60s), we had a great time at the desolate beach. the water was chilly, but BREATHTAKING! we walked a total of 5.23 miles today and i'm feeling it now!

krisanna and i had pancakes for dinner as we edited pictures to keep our loyal followers appeased. that being said, PLEASE look at the pictures... not just these three, but the rest on my facebook page. i hope today's read was more interesting than yesterday, and i'm guessing since you made it this far, you didn't give up on my pathetic journalism after yesterday. tonight brings much-needed rest and some time with my Savior. i may have learned a little about history, and castles, and monasteries, and sand, and wind, and sunshine, and even culture... but all that "knowledge" will be in vain if i do not learn about the One who created me and grow to love Him like He loves me.

it's amazing to me all the great and marvelous and wonderful and stellar and incredible things God has created ALL over the world, yet how easy it is to look past them or just see them as "pretty things." all day today, i was in wonder at the beauty around me, but thoughts of "what a great God!!!" were not the first in my mind. He has given me such a gift to SEE the rolling hills and the incredible colors, to HEAR the birds chirping and the waves lapping on the shore, to TASTE the many flavors of a foreign country, to TOUCH the sands of a land miles away from "ordinary," to SMELL even just the aroma of coffee in the morning, and to EXPERIENCE the life that i am able to live in the freedom of His love in the power that raised Christ from the dead. my God is good. and i fail to acknowledge that FAR too often.

Friday, March 11, 2011

days sixteen and seventeen.

today and yesterday have no thrilling stories or exciting pictures (yet). yesterday was a school day and i taught my first lesson and got observed by both my teacher and the principal! :) but i'll get the hang of it sooner or later! naps are (once again) becoming my best friend...

today, brought rain... and fog... and school... and a nap... and grocery shopping... and dinner with friends... and a chick flick... and another skype date. :)

now... today brings tonight... and tonight brings (hopefully) restful bliss...

my bed is calling. 

tomorrow brings more adventure and hopefully more pictures... :)


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

day fifteen: better summarized by pictures. :)

today, we lounged around in the morning, then spent the afternoon in Belem... a gorgeous city along the coast. we got some pastries that are famous to Belem and saw the sights. :) hope you enjoy it as much as i did...

we took flat stanley to lunch with us. :)

we took some pictures (my cooperating teacher, Meredith, and I)...

i acted like a senior posing for pictures :)

 i acted like a ballerina because my skinny jeans made me feel graceful...


we took pictures by some monument to the discoveries... or something...

 and i posed with a PALM TREE!!! they're my favorite! and this one was fun sized! and it had lizards on it! :)

and i smiled for the camera :)

and we posed one more time together by the cathedral. :)

and today i learned how to format my flash drive. :) it kept saying that it was full with only 83 MB free out of 4 GB but there were no files on it. add that to my [minimal] list of accomplishments!

today was another great day... and tomorrow begins another "week" of school!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

day fourteen...

today was a wonderful, lazy, watch-the-rain day... after a shopping trip (and stocking up on the blessed nutella), Krisanna and i spent the afternoon lounging around and reading, devotionalizing, and watching TV. I just started reading (again) Forgotten God by Francis Chan. Wonderful book about the Holy Spirit's role in a believer's life and how often we neglect Him. Very challenging, but very exciting!!!

Tomorrow might bring a trip to another city in Portugal that is unvisited by me... to watch the USA women's soccer team compete. :) Not sure how all of tomorrow's plans will pan out, but I'm excited to see!

i've spent my afternoon explring random DIY blogs and making a list of things i need to do when i make it back to the states... and LEARN HOW TO SEW is at the top of my list! but i'm kinda REALLY excited to get started on these projects! :)

Monday, March 07, 2011

day thirteen: storks in Spain.

this morning, we packed up a van to take a "field trip" to Spain. :) we spent the early afternoon looking at Roman ruins that were left behind in Merida, Spain. It was neat that as soon as we crossed the border, the language changed. We drove from one country to another and back just like we do in the US from state to state. :)

while we were driving, we crossed a 7-mile bridge. at least! :) it was fantastic! as we were driving into Spain, we kept seeing storks nests on about every power line along the highway. my lovely teacher informed us that because of a huge black out several years ago, they started making transformers more "stork-friendly" to avoid those problems in the future... so the storks won't fall and land on the power lines! so good news, all you "save the animals" people!!! if we don't do enough to bend over backwards for all the animals in the US, they sure do it here!!! rest assured... the animals are being cared for here. :)

along with the Roman ruins, we saw some ancient aqueducts today and had a lovely picnic in the park. so for those of you in Iowa shoveling snow, i had a picnic today... so be jealous... ;) we enjoyed watching even more storks and watching the clouds pass as we prayed for sunshine.

after the picnic, and walk around Spain, and finishing a jar of nutella (in less than a week!), we hopped back in the van and trekked back to the other side of the Iberian peninsula. all day today, i felt like i needed a pit orchestra following me around playing either Gladiator music, or Sound of Music. today, i just needed a soundtrack! haha

this evening was spent lounging around, recuperating from sightseeing and shopping! :) 

tomorrow brings READING (it's a new thing i'm trying...), catching some sun (so my skin isn't translucent when i get back to the states), and grocery shopping (because i'm already out of nutella). :) another relaxing day with... no school... and this isn't even Spring break!!! :) :) :)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

day twelve: to the mouth of hell and back...

(with a stop at church along the way)...

this morning, Krisanna and i went to church with my cooperating teacher, Meredith, at an international church that had an English service. the message was entitled "don't tolerate the intolerable." as i live my life, do i tolerate the intolerable in my life and excuse it? or do i use the Word of God as a reference point to see what i shouldn't be tolerating. God's Word is somewhat like a recipe book for life. If we don't constantly compare what we are making to the recipe, we'll veer off... but if we are CONSTANTLY checking our lives with the manual, we'll know when we've messed up and be able to fix it, rather than just hoping we're doing things right. how often do i check myself against the Word of God???

this afternoon brought an adventure to Boca do Inferno (the mouth of hell), a GORGEOUS place along the ocean where the water has carved our the cliffs from thousands of years of wear. it amazes me that our God created such amazing things in nature... we ate lunch at a cafe along the ocean...
 we tried to make today's adventure into a longer one, but thanks to technology and car accidents, we were delayed... and wondering why we were stuck in a GPS-vortex. [definition: when a GPS spins you in pointless circles due to either a detour, closed road, or accident that the GPS doesn't know about]. we took a nice little tour of Portugal today, both the countryside and the coastline. this country is simply gorgeous. its hills, its coast, its people, its language, its sunshine, its rain...

tonight brought a lovely Skype date with my family :) grandparents and all! some days, i forget how funny my family is. :)

and... some things i'm still getting used to: no central heating (even though it's not terribly cold); military time... even though it helps my mental math skills; and the dates here... today is 06/03/11. not 03/06/11. that really threw me for a loop at the grocery store last week when i realized that the meat expired on 01/03/11. i thought these people REALLY have no sense of being "on time!" but i'm gettin used to that too. :)

things are getting to be more familiar. like, i don't have to do a double-take every time i see a road sign. or every time someone looks at me funny when i say "excuse me." but... i'm beginning to feel more normal. almost. ;)

tomorrow... spain! :)

Saturday, March 05, 2011

day eleven: mugs and a monastery.

today brought even more adventures. krisanna and i, along with three other teachers (including my cooperating teacher), headed out to go exploring. we spent the day driving around the countryside with stops in a few different places. one stop brought us to an amazing little dish outlet. rows and rows of porcelain dishes made in Portugal... let's just say i bought a few souvenirs today! ;) our next stop brought us to a monastery that was built from the 14th century to the 16th century. i've never really been a history fan, but if we had taken field trips to these places... i woulda loved it! we then stopped at a home store outlet. i LOVED that too... no two things go together as well as sightseeing and shopping... which leads me to my next point... 

i'm awful at staying awake in the car. awful. i tried to stay awake today, but i crashed. good thing i wasn't driving! ;) after we got back, Krisanna and i fixed dinner, washed clothes, washed dishes and... organized the fridge. :) 

the night was concluded with a skype date with my wonderful boyfriend, now... off to bed...

tomorrow brings a church service i'll actually understand and then some more... sightseeing and shopping! :)

Friday, March 04, 2011

day ten: a shopping mall success!

today, Krisanna and I added something BIG to our success list on the fridge. we made it to the mall and back by ourselves WITHOUT getting lost. :) we also went through a regular checkout lane at the grocery store. :) we had a great day relaxing at school and enjoying the sunshine. :) our afternoon consisted of a nap, NCIS, dinner, and then the mall!!! :)

some things are a little different at the mall here... such as... (see facebook album pictures). like diaper pants, and a headless man in a stack of baskets... and meat at the grocery store complete with hooves still attached...

but i love it. straight up. tomorrow brings more adventures and a four-day weekend. :) and... a trip to Spain soon! :)
night, all

Thursday, March 03, 2011

day nine: thankful thursday

the w o r l d w i d e bond of believers
friends that make sure i'm fed
a warm, comfy bed at night (or afternoon)
an adorable third/fourth grade class
a FUN cooperating teacher!
an awesome roommate ;)
american idol
american FOOD
internet phones :)
F A T pants (partly because of nutella!)
losing 15 lbs... so i can gain it back...
space heaters
outer space
my journey group at GPBC
friendships that stay strong over time
inside jokes
a promised eternity with the God who gave His Son for me
a driver's license
my family
my friends who are like my family
fashion designers who provide me with entertainment
people who genuinely care about me
people with organizational skills
Cal Voelker

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

day eight: be real...

[for Jesus]. do i try to hide things from the all-knowing God? do i cling to my past sins? even after i've confessed? just a few thoughts that have been racing through my head today... :) and now they're running through yours...

some things i'd just like to share:
toilet paper squares here aren't square.
every time i use the paper towel dispenser at school, it falls off the wall.
i'm glad i was already used to finicky toilets.
nutella is just as good here.
Portugal produces (or used to) 90% of the world's cork... for the cubs...
our dryer's fastest setting... is three hours. (goes up to 12)
"i didn't know i was pregnant" is the weirdest show ever.
i used to like wordless wednesdays, but now too much happens... :)

dinner tonight was marvelous... with erin, laura, and krisanna. erin made tortellini soup. and we collectively tried to figure out our washer and dryer. :) but finally got one load clean! i love living here and i can't believe we've been here a week!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

day seven: deeper than most... :)

today is another short entry. :) another relaxing day at school, with coffee :) and a relaxing afternoon with krisanna at the grocery store :)

i have grown to love self check-outs. no embarrassing "i don't understand you" moments. just the food, me, and my money. :) and not just ANY food... kiwi... and carrots... and frozen pizza... and nutella... and food that my mother would be proud of! i'm determined not to gain too much weight while i'm here! :) i've been warned about the bread... but i've lived off of carbs since junior high. i'm still healthy lookin. and i'm still avoiding workouts, so my heart won't go into shock. i'll just eat my carbs, and watch krisanna work out, and enjoy the life. ;)

i was able to chat with my lovely boyfriend tonight. :) and i realized yet again how awful long distance relationships are. if you don't care about this, skip to the next paragraph now... not sure how long this could be... i just wish every couple had to do this for a chunk of longer than 2 weeks. a week is bearable, because the end is in sight. 2 weeks, tougher, because everyday is passed twice... but almost four months... most days, the end is NOWHERE to be found... for those of you who might happen to read this who are a military spouse, or have to go thru some extravagant period of time without the person you love, i DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW YOU DO IT. i won't try to tell you i understand. i won't tell you it'll get better. i won't say, but they'll be back. i know that those things might help, but in reality, NOW is when they're gone, and NOW is the hard part. tomorrow might be easier, but they still won't be next to you for that moment. some days, it's perfectly fine. because things are going well. but then a moment comes that you want to share with them... but wait... they aren't here. yes, letters help, yes phone calls do too, yes, texting is awesome, and YES, skype is a lifesaver. BUT no form of communication can completely obliterate distance. it will always be awful. and for military spouses, you are by far the strongest people i can even think of. it amazes me that any one person (let alone someone with kids) can handle a life like that, but i am so thankful that you are willing to sacrifice for people like me who just complain about minor inconveniences... 

on to my next subject... i hate distance... but one instance where distance is the BEST thing imaginable??? God's INCREDIBLE, HOLY, PERFECT, MATCHLESS, COMPLETE, AUTHORITATIVE, PERSONAL, LIVING, POWERFUL Word to us promises that
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
   so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
   so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
   so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
Psalm 103:11-13
That is distance I can live with. Our God knows what distance we can handle. And He knows what distance we will NEVER know... how far the east is from the west... from one scarred hand to the other... 

And... i'm stepping off my soapbox just in time to head to bed... i love this country, even though the distance is less than ideal...