December 10

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December 10 has meant a lot to me for the past seven years. It was the end of my three months living with stepfamily in Italy, checking out mission work opportunities there.

Seven years. (Check out my adventure getting home.)

Too long since I have been in that beautiful country with those beautiful people. Thank God for Facebook, helping me stay updated on some of the people I met while there.

That being said, I just spent four years living in DC, where the nations come to us! It was so amazing hearing so many different languages and seeing the diversity of the city. It is a city that I love, that is misunderstood, and has so many different cultures represented. I met so many people fighting for justice, passionate people who want to be the change in the world.

My favorite DC event is the Embassy Open Houses in May. It was my time to “travel” to European countries without leaving DC. The Italian Embassy has fantastic pizza and gelato for sale, a favorite of mine. (*Sidenote: a favorite DC Italian restaurant was Toscana Cafe by Union Station. It was across the street from Ebenezers, where I worked and spent a lot of time. They changed management but still have legit Italian pizza.)

Italy and DC have stretched me as a person. I am an introvert, and I was surrounded by extroverts in both places. I love being around people who are different than me. I love learning from all people. I once heard in a sermon that Heaven will be filled with Dutch and Italians. Dutch are reserved and Italians are LOUD! Love it.

I think Heaven might be like DC. Not because of a political party, but because of the beauty I saw in the people there. Thankful for my times abroad and home that show me a little more of what the Kingdom is like.

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Baseball

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This picture was from the night Max Scherzer tied the MLB record of 20 strikeouts. The Nats were playing my Detroit Tigers. I was a conflicted fan for all three games I went to that week.

Somehow over the three years I have lived in DC, I have become a baseball fan.

This is not really unusual because when I was younger, I cheered on my brother from the stands. But I was also the girl who tried softball, standing out in left field picking dandelions, and could not hit the ball for the life of me. When I was in Michigan, I was used to going to one minor league baseball game every couple years 45 minutes away from my hometown, not MLB in my city! Now I just cannot get enough of the Washington Nationals, Jayson Werth, Daniel Murphy, Wilson Ramos, and others. The chants, the food, the friends, the memories… so good.

Gone are the days of watching Detroit’s Cecil Fielder with my dad on TV, but now I know some new players on the Nats roster and try not to get too depressed about the fact that most of them were born in the 1990’s.

Going to a game by myself tonight as a celebration of one week down in summer school. I bought a $5 ticket for a 300 section seat! Thanks, RetailMeNot for the rebate on SeatGeek!

Air and Space:VA + Natural History

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Continuing my DC adventures of 2016 Staycation, I was fortunate enough to have a friend who is adventurous and willing to drive out to the VA Air and Space Museum. I was not sure what to expect. It was fantastic! Our adventure in the museum including seeing a plane that flew from my hometown in Michigan to Chicago, seeing the Discovery Space Shuttle (1984 was a good year), Flak Bait in the Restoration Hangar, a fun planetarium presentation, and a mock air traffic control room with views of Maryland and West Virginia. I did not know about the restoration hangar, but a friendly volunteer told me about it! MAKE SURE YOU GO TO RESTORATION HANGAR! They have one day a year when they open it up to the public – it’s on my list for next year!

I went to the National Museum of Natural History last Saturday. It was a holiday weekend and within 2 hours, I was ready to bolt. I went as part of an assignment for my grad school class, so I checked out their ocean habitat:

I was pleasantly surprised by a few exhibits. My mentor teacher told me about the Nat Geo Best Photography exhibit that included student photographers – one by an 18-year-old blew me away!

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Thomas Goebel, age 18. Proxy Falls, Three Sisters Wilderness, Oregon

What I was not expecting was the brilliant colors, patterns, and life found in the National Geographic Into Africa exhibit. Here’s a sample of the brilliance of Frans Lanting’s photography!

DC Gone Postal

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I love mail.

I always have.

I hope I always will.

I hope it sticks around because I still prefer it to an email, text, or other high-tech means of communication.

When I was thinking of where to begin my 2016 Staycation in DC, it seemed fitting to start with the building I had passed a million times by now that is right next to Union Station. I pass it each morning on my commute. The stain-glass windows are beautiful at night.

The Postal Museum has two entrances. One you can see as you exit Union Station. The other is on North Capitol in their post office. This museum is very family friendly with a scavenger hunt for kids (or kids at heart) who are interested.

PostSecret had an exhibit, which I was pleasantly surprised to see.

You can learn more about the famous postal dog – and see him stuffed! (The picture is a statue; I just couldn’t bring myself to take a picture of the stuffed dog). Postmasters gave him tags that he collected, as you can see in the picture.

Queen Elizabeth – what a beauty!

Check out the costly mistake made on a postage stamp. The name? Inverted Jenny.

I really like asking people who work at museums their favorite exhibit in the area they work. A worker mentioned there are stamps from a lot of world leaders who were asked to sign their stamps and send it back to a man who organized the exhibit. Pretty cool. Also makes me realize that people like to be recognized. Some very unique countries were represented and there’s even one with a signature thumbprint from One Pound Jimmy.

DC, definitely check it out! At the end, write a postcard and make your way downstairs to mail it at the post office.

First Day of School Jitters

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You know the feeling you get right before jumping off a cliff (into water, of course)?!

That’s how I feel right now as I experience (yet again) the first day of school tomorrow. I am co-teaching second grade this year. I am excited about my new adventure, nervous to see how things play out, but overall really pumped to be working with students in a great school!

I hate to admit it, but I was made for this.

My love for education runs deep. What other first grader was told by classmates she should be a librarian when she’s older because of her love for books? Who spends recess time as a fourth and fifth grader helping in first grade classrooms? What high school students finds the time to tutor an elementary student every week after school in the next town?

As an adult, my love just grew. I am still in touch with some of my teachers and had the privilege to work for my fourth grade teacher-turned-principal as a sub in her school! I subbed for four years — and loved it!

Last year I was a reading tutor in the inner city. I miss my kids! They taught me a lot about life, loss, unconditional love, and so much more. They are resilient and strong.

I am grateful to be a part of the program I am in, working with the people I do, and getting ready for the adrenaline rush of the first day of school!

Bring it on, second grade!

North + South

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I have lived in DC for a year and a half now. I joined a church that is #OnMissionEveryDay

Last year I went to Northern Ireland and helped with a church┬áthat┬áput on a citywide festival called iHeartDerry. I loved working with kids again — it was a catalyst for pursuing positions after my protege year where I could interact with children. My team was amazing, and I loved experiencing a new part of the world.

On Friday, I am embarking on another adventure. I am joining nineteen other people traveling to South Africa. This year I have had to confront my own ideas about race. Current events help me ponder and form my thoughts on racial reconciliation. I am ready to be a student (not a savior) in South Africa and learn more about the culture, history, and what God is doing through His people there now.

Don’t be fooled… this is the beginning of their winter season. It’ll be a nice spring/fall-like weather for this Michigan girl who is struggling with 90’s in May in DC! However, I do plan to try surfing in the Indian Ocean. Because how many times can you say you’ve done that?!

Specific prayer requests:

  • People to Meet! So excited whenever I go somewhere new because that means the country will become personal. I’ll be able to know names, faces, and stories of people in South Africa.
  • Willingness to Learn. I LOVE LEARNING. It’s one of my top 5 strengths in StrengthsFinder. Sometimes the stretching of minds/ideas is painful. Learning the hard truths of what life has been like for some people is a hard pill to swallow. Hoping my compassion will increase.
  • Rest. Honestly, I’m in deep need for rest. Hoping I can get some of it while away.
  • Team Health
  • Team Unity
  • Luggage getting there!
  • Safe flights

From North to South, I love travel. I love the Church. I love learning more about myself, God and others. #LoveDoes

My First Hockey Game

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Recently I went to my first hockey game. We sat in the nose bleed section. It was great other than my minor freak outs about standing up during the National Anthem. I felt like I was going to fall.

As I was watching the game, observing fans (including the two girls I went with that knew a little bit more than I did), I couldn’t help but compare my experience with going to a new church.

Ways hockey is like the church

  1. It has its own lingo.Ok, so I still don’t really know hockey lingo, so I can’t give examples, but with every sport comes terms that are rarely heard elsewhere. Same thing with the church.
  2. The music is weird.At this game, the music involved an organ playing pop hits. Sad. Likewise, I’ve been a part of churches that leave much to be desired when it comes to the music portion of services.
  3. You have chants that some people know and confuse the other.There are prayers said in churches that are like second nature to those who grew up there. I’ve visited some churches that had liturgy and stand up/sit down interchanges that people knew; I was confused. Visitors to your churches might feel out of place.
  4. You get mad at the refs/people in charge + get vocal about it.I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in churches. Unfortunately pastors usually get the brunt of people’s anger over petty issues. Some people come to hockey games just to see a fight. I have a few friends that post things on Facebook just to get a reaction from Christians.
  5. Continuous interchange of people throughout the game.
    Another truth is that in some churches, staff don’t last long. The staff changes constantly. It happens, but it’s sometimes hard to keep up with — much like my confusion of who was in or out in the hockey game.

Now, I just really want to watch Mighty Ducks. Gold star for the first one to add it to your free movies, Netflix or Amazon Prime!