Sunday, August 14, 2016

At the River

There's something about water and summer that just goes together. Yet after three months, today was my first time outside to enjoy the water, and with the best of company nonetheless. Caleb and Haley took me and their dog Sofie to the river not far from their house to wade, swim, and let Sofie get all her energy out. 

You know that feeling when you warm up again after a crisp summer swim? It's the best. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

So Long 'Springs

My suitcases were almost packed when I was called down because "the neighbors came to say goodbye". I hurried down, curious who might feel so connected from the neighborhood that they would know I was leaving today, and found this sight in the front yard.

There was a buck and his doe right in front of the house, enjoying the rays of sun and the little grass that's offered. It was like Colorado itself wanted to say farewell.

Speaking of goodbyes, after saying goodbye to everyone on staff and the kids and their families yesterday (sad, yes sweet at the same time!), this morning was the time to wrap up the last nostalgic pieces. There is this one place that I went to almost every single morning before work to walk, pray, read, and get my heart ready for the day - Fox Run Park.

It's not very "capture-able", and I'm ok with that. It remains a special treasure to me, a place of rest and renewal where I often met with the Lord.

I sat and journaled one last time at the very first picnic bench I sat at back in May when I found this park. It was later in the morning, so the magical glow was no longer there as it was every morning I visited here during the summer, but I soaked it in all the same. 

I gathered the last of my things (it didn't exactly fit in one suitcase), and my host family helped me load up the car. We were all grateful for one another this summer. They became my Colorado Springs home, and I can't thank them enough for inviting me in like family, even though I was a complete stranger until I met them in May.

Final hugs. Then the car stuttered as it started, but got going despite its reluctancy to leave. We waved goodbye. I pulled out of the familiar grassy parking spot on the side of the driveway.

Goodbye Forest Lane home. Goodbye MTI. Goodbye Colorado Springs.

I drove up to see Caleb and Haley for a few days before flying back to Moody on Thursday. These days will be transition days, down time days, and days to catch up on internship documents required for the Moody side of things. I'm hoping to spend some time remembering the Lord's faithfulness too, and recounting all the way He has provided. He provided above and beyond this summer, not only with things like a home and through all of the car troubles, but with his strength and love too.

I can't believe I can now say that I have completed my internship at MTI. The Lord knew that this is exactly where I needed to be this summer, and I'm excited to see what surprises he has in store next.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Coming to a Close

I only have three more days left at this place that I have called a temporary home for three months. I'm not sure how this time has already flown by, but here I am, nearing the end. 

Would you pray that I would be able to stay fully present, say good goodbyes with the kids (and staff!) and also pray for the two full days I'll be responsible for teaching two different classes of kids (on Thursday and Friday)? Thank you!

In other news, as part of my Moody internship requirements, I needed to find a "special project" to benefit the organization I'm serving this summer. After brainstorming a few different ideas, my special project ended up being providing new photos for MTI's website and newsletters. This involved finding out what the needs were, gathering a group of volunteers for the photoshoot and editing the photos to give to MTI for future use. 

I'm really excited about how the project unfolded, as the Lord provided just enough people and great weather for the photoshoot day! Here are just a few from the day, since I can't share them all. 

P.S. You might recognize a familiar face in these photos! Yep, my mom happened to be here in the area on the day of the photoshoot, which was just great. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Olympics (Comments of a TCK)

The Olympics make sense to my Third Culture Kid brain. All countries come together and unite for one single event, representing where they've come from and seeking to bring forth their very best to make their people proud. I get to cheer for the U.S. during one event, and then for Czech in the next, and then for other countries my heart is fond of like Slovakia, Croatia, and places where my friends are currently living depending on the day and event. I rarely have to pick and choose between my home countries, and that's refreshing. 

(From left to right: 1. Emily brought her Olympics mittens from the last Winter Olympics, 2. Yozhek the cat thought the best view o watch from was the top of the bookshelf, and 3. the parade was long but so worth it)

Possibly my favorite part of the Olympics though are the opening ceremonies. The parade of nations makes me feel settled, as I watch country after country coming together and carrying their flags. The beaming faces of people from all around the world warm my heart. 

Throughout my childhood, my family was almost always traveling during the time of Summer Olympics. We used to catch glimpses of the opening ceremonies, and occasionally would get to see a good portion of them, but the event is nostalgic all the same. We didn't really watch sports much as a family in Czech, but the Olympics were often on in the background if we were home at the time. I'm sure you can imagine then the excitement I have for this year's Olympics!

Some of the MTI staff gathered for the opening ceremonies last night, and it couldn't have been a better group to watch with. We had people who had spent a significant portion of their lives in everywhere from Lithuania, to Germany, to Senegal, and of course Czech! We all enjoyed cheering for each others' countries and seeing them all in one place. Like I said, this feels so right to my TCK world. The Olympics are my favorite. 

Side Note: One of the MTI staff hosted us in her apartment. She lived in Lithuania and Germany for over 15 years total, and her apartment reminded me so much of Europe. The finishing touch was something we have in our home too. Can you spot it? Yep, Polish pottery!!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Take No Thought for Tomorrow (+Car Troubles)

One of the many provisions of the Lord this summer has been a car that my grandparents are lending me. Having never had a car to use as my own, even just for a season, it has been not only extremely helpful and necessary during my internship, but fun too to be able to get up and go someplace whenever. 

Accompanied with the joy of the car have also been some adventures. The latest adventure involved the poor little Buick becoming overheated again after just filling it up with coolant two weeks ago. This isn't the first time the car has overheated, so I knew it was probably the coolant, but I didn't feel safe even driving it to a place where I could have someone take a look at it. 

Thankfully, Mom had spent the day in Colorado Springs and had been driving right behind me when I panicked slightly at the rising temperature and had to pull off into the parking lot of a YMCA. We sat in the parking lot trying to figure out what to do, and ended up having to leave the car parked there and Mom drove me back to my "Forest Lane" home before she headed back up to Denver. 

By this point, I was stressed. Car troubles baffle me. Fixing cars is definitely not my strength. We all have our weaknesses, and this is one of mine for sure. After Mom dropped me off, I sat down on my bed and took deep breaths, closed my eyes and told the Lord where my heart was at. I know cars overheat; that's not something that is unfixable by any means, but it concerns me not knowing if there's a leak or a bigger problem behind it. As I was praying, the Lord kept reminding me of the ways He had already provided and protected, down to the very last detail of there being a parking lot on the way back as the car overheated. 

I realized that some praise to Him was definitely in order. And then I remembered a song that was actually on a lullaby CD I had played for my 2-year-old in class last week that was based on Matthew 6:34. Some of the words of the song go like this...

Take no thought for tomorrow,
For tomorrow will take care of itself.
Take no thought what you'll eat or what you'll drink or what you'll wear,
You needn't care.

Take no thought for tomorrow,
Know that God is watching over you.
Your heavenly Father knows what you need,
So take no thought for tomorrow.

It was a reminder of His promises and of His Father heart. He cares about the littlest things, like what we eat and what we wear, so he knows about this car issue too. I asked Him to take care of these car things right when they needed to be taken care of and to provide peace and wisdom. I didn't feel relief right away, but still, I felt comforted. 

I woke up the next morning at 5:30AM to get ready for an early hike with my hiking buddy, "K". She picked me up (since she knew of my car troubles) and we headed for the Air Force Academy to get to the Stanley Canyon Trail. K's son-in-law, "R", is a retired military officer, so he was able to get us on base and then pick us up after our hike. I had never met him before today, but R was kind and servant-hearted. 

After our hike, K and R offered to take me to the store to get coolant and then R took care of everything. He helped me figure out which coolant to buy, helped carry it out of the store, and then filled the car up with coolant and made sure it ran smoothly. At one point R told me how old his own car was, and it happened to be from the same year I was born. After this funny coincidence, he realized he could be old enough to be my dad, and that triggered my memory of the prayer I had uttered the night before. 

This photo represents so much grace, love and care from the Father to me today (this is K and R with R's Jeep!). 

I had asked the Lord to be who He is as Father and take care of something so little as car troubles. And you know what He did? He sent someone whom I had never met before to be "like a dad" for half an hour and get the car settled. I wasn't alone, I didn't have to figure it out on my own, and the Lord proved Himself yet again. Not because he had to, but because he loves his children so much that he wants to show that love. His love is the lavishing kind, the kind that knows our hearts and knows exactly what we need. 

Your heavenly Father knows what you need,
So take no thought for tomorrow.

P.S. Would you pray that this dear little car would continue to run smoothly for the next two and a half weeks I'll be using it? Thank you!!