Thursday, April 7, 2011

An official goodbye....

To this bloggy blog and hello to my new blog. Discontinue reading if the glamour of me not being in England has prompted you to not listen to whatever happens next in my life. However, if you enjoy my ramblings and thoughts of nonsense, please follow my new blog:

And journey with me as I head out of the teapot and into this new tea-cup of life. Oh boy. That was a very cliche line right there. Oh well, you've been warned of my ramblings and nonsense. Hope to see you there!


Monday, March 28, 2011


I arrived on Friday. Made it 10.5 hours in the middle seat of a very large 777 airliner. I slept maybe an hour the entire time. I am not very good at resting on flights, that’s for sure. Finally, the not-very-pretty view of LAX greeted outside my window, and I landed on American soil for the first time in exactly 6 months. All I could think of once I landed was, “I wish I was back in England.”
An hour and customs/getting lost twice later, I was sitting waiting for my next not-on-time flight from LAX to Fresno. As I sat I just remembered praying, “Jesus, please help me be okay with being home, because all I want right now is to be back in England.” A 50 minute long plane ride later, I walked into the embrace of my mommy and daddy, sister and brother, who, by the way, is much taller than me know. I told them it felt like I had never left. They assured me it didn’t feel like that at all.
After a delicious dinner at Famous Daves, trying spicy BBQ that made my nose run, I got to mozey on down the Target aisles while smelling the Target smell I had missed while in England.
After they made me leave, we hopped in the car where I, having been awake for the past 27 hours, fell fast asleep.
Home looked exactly how I left it. Except with 3 feet of unwanted snow blocking my view. My new room was done and boy is it beautiful. I feel like a grown-up in my room, which is apparently what they’re trying to turn me into ;)
Being back has been so weird in so many ways. For one it feels like I’ve never left, and on the other hand, it feels like I’ve been gone for a lifetime. I’ve been adjusting to the time difference, catching up with all the people I love here so much, and continually thanking God for the blessing being at Capernwray was. I truly feel as if I know more of who I am know. It was incredible to be able to discover who I was, without my camp identifying me to others.
Capernwray was an incredible journey. I’ve learned lots, lots of things the hard way, lots of things the easy way. I’ve made friends who will last a lifetime, and stories that will never fade. Now, as I navigate the waters of my future, I’ve got a little floatation device that’s steering me in a clearer direction now than before. God is in control. He knows what he’s doing. He’s got a perfect plan. And I am so excited to see what he continues to make me.
Thanks for going on this journey with me. I’ve been so blessed by all your prayers and know they were not in vain. I may not be in England anymore, but the things I’ve learned will continue to live in my heart and guide my way as I head out in this life to become more and more a disciple of Jesus Christ.
My name is Katelyn Ann MacDonald. And I am a servant of Jesus Christ, currently and skillfully disguised as a college student.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Manchester and Bath!

Tiff and I left my beautiful home of 6 months 3 days ago, and so much has happened.
Leaving hasn’t hit me yet. I believe it will once I’m home for a few weeks. Right now I’m in the “Oh I’m only going on a break and then I’ll be back” phase. Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done before, just because these people have made as much of an impact on me in 6 months like others have done in my whole life. After a beautiful walk around the loop one last time, Tiff and I got on the bus and drove away, my castle getting smaller and smaller in the distance.
After one last apple streudel and custard from Café Edelweiss, we hopped on the train, carrying my 6 months worth of luggage.
Manchester was pretty fun. It’s a huge city and pretty exciting. The first night we just walked around and hung out around town, and then went and saw the King’s Speech, (fantastic movie by the way, make sure to go and see it sometime.) The next day, after sitting in Starbucks for a few hours, we hopped on a very crowded train and headed to Lyme Hall, also known as Mr. Darcy’s house from the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. It was lovely. However, after walking in a mile in the wrong direction, we found the right direction, and then had to walk 5 more miles, uphill, to get to it. It was lovely and very pretty. After that we were so tired, but we made ourselves go the Trafford Center, which I’m so glad we did because it’s fantastic! It’s huge and beautiful and has a dining area shaped like the Titanic. No, I’m not kidding. It was really fun. After that, we were so tired we crashed in our hostel, woke up early, and headed out to our train.
After a lovely train ride where we had 3 minutes to lug all our stuff onto a different train, we made it, to find watch as my suitcase handle fell off. Awesome. 50 pounds is not fun to lug around without a handle. I’m so glad to not live out of a suitcase soon!
Bath. Oh my word. Probably the COOLEST city I’ve ever been to. It’s the perfect mix of old English style and Italian. Everything from the buildings to the shops to the view, it’s incredible. We’ve just spent all day marveling and walking around enjoying the sunshine and the beauty that this city is full of. If there’s one place in England I could see myself living, it’s in Bath. So watch out mom, I may just have to move back here one day ;)
Now we’ve just been hanging out in Starbucks and MickyD’s, getting free internet and relaxing since everything closed at 6 here. It’s been so great to travel with Tiffany because we’re both so laid back and love to just enjoy being in another country without being stressed out with having to do lots of stuff. I’ve enjoyed it.
Tomorrow we’re going to set this city on fire and visit Jane Austen’s house, roam around, look pretty, and just enjoy these times we are so blessed to have.

Monday, March 14, 2011

This is what it's about

Just to say a massive thanks for the students, the amount of tears yesterday said so much about the results of the week, amazing how God is at work in healing and restoration. The students were a real blessing in so many ways, the week was challenging for both us and them, but has man an enormous impact on the village. Hope the students aren’t to tired as they worked hard all week. So to God be the glory! (email from our Church leader)

This is what our 10 days were about. Planting seeds that are thirsty for growth in Jesus. I believe through Jesus’ strong hand guiding us, we have done this. It was an incredible 10 days, and this was just such a blessing to hear after a long and tiring week.

Today, marks 3 more days until Capernwray is officially over. I keep looking back at the calendar to figure out where the months have gone. There’s no way I just spent 6 months in a castle in England. That is ridiculous! It’s gone by so fast. NASCAR/Spaceship/Road-Runner fast. I can’t believe it. I’ve learned so much, I’ve figured out more and more of who I am, I’ve made life-long friends who know me and get me. I’ve figured out my faith outside of the Camp that for 10 years defined who I am, in a good way of course, but it was fantastic to grow and show my character to people who had no idea who I was.

There’s been spiritual highs and spiritual lows. Ups and downs. Sideways and slantways. But God has held steady and constant through it all, and through the trials and good times, has grown and molded me more and more into His servant, and I can’t wait to get back and show that to the world.
Tomorrow, I start packing. Wednesday, we have a banquet. Thursday we clean our rooms and get back our deposits. Thursday night Tiffany comes and visits. And on Friday, a new adventure begins. I’m sad to leave these incredible people who’ve blessed me and helped shape me into who I am, but I know it’s not the end. Jesus will bring us back together again. (A reunion in a roommate’s beach house in Mexico perhaps? ;)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Yeah I's Thursday-Sunday

Sorry, I forgot to write the rest of it. :P
Thursday we went into a non-Christian school and taught about telling lies and the consequences of them. These kids were a lot different from the ones on Tuesday. They didn’t engage, they didn’t pay attention, and they didn’t really care that we were there. However, there was one little boy who was really into so that was good. Keep them in your prayers, and that Caton will continue to be able to go into that school and share Jesus with them. I also got to do a “sketch” where I poured an entire tube of toothpaste over a plate and then got really messy…that was exciting.
Thursday afternoon we continued odd-jobbing, Carita and I painted the rest of the youth center, other’s litter-picked, and other’s painted a village toilet..da da daaa!
Thursday night we continued ALF club where we showed the rest of Excusez Mwa. It was great, the kids loved it! After that we went to a thing called “Chapter 2” where we hung out with 14-16 year olds and shared our testimonies and just hung out. However, there was only 3 of them, but we had a blast!

Friday morning we had another Friendship Café where we drank more tea, ate more biscuits, and I had to continue to tell the old ladies, that “No, I’m not engaged, that ring is my purity rings. And no, I don’t have a boyfriend, and ok, you keep praying for me to find a husband.” It was great. That afternoon we did, yes, more litter picking. So. Much. Litter-picking. I’m pretty sure there was no litter left in that village after we were done. After that we got to head back to the church to prepare for the ladies evening. The ladies night was so fantastic! While all the moms listened about hair care and make-up, we took the little girls and painted their nails, gave them hand massages, and face masks. It was so much fun and those girls were all so cute! I really enjoyed laughing with them while putting cucumbers on their faces.
Saturday: Saturday morning we split into 2 groups. Dillon, me and Friedi did a football school while Corinne, Carita and Laura did a craft morning. We played around, froze, and had a great time telling the kids to be “Strong and Courageous” because God is always with them. It was lovely.
After that we headed to Lancaster where Peter, I told you about him earlier, the policeman, took us to the new Lancaster Police Station where we got to watch the CCTV’s, creep on people, watch a shoplifter in action, and then watch videos of drunk people at 1 am. If you want a profession in creeping, be a CCTV agent. It’ll be perfect. After that we just hung out in Starbucks as a team and relaxed. It was fabulous and so great to just hang out as a team with nothing to do. That night we had a Celidh….and we were the only young adults there. Exciting. We ate potatoes. And we danced the night away. My little host son Thomas, age 6, was my dance partner. He was the best. We rocked the dance floor.

Sunday: Last day. So sad. We put on the last church service, said what was our favorite part of the 10 days, and then I closed off with a encouragement to keep shining the light and reaching out. It was great. We had one last delicious lunch at the church, joked that if now was the time they killed us since they’ve fattened us up all week, took a few last photos, and were on our way, back to our castle for the next 10 days, until it’s time to go.

Right now marks the 7 day mark until Capernwray is officially over. My heart is sad and I’m soaking up every inch of this place. I’ve loved it here, I’ve grown so much here, and I can’t wait to bring all that back to wherever God has for me next. It’s going to be an interesting ride, and I can’t wait!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Monday: Day Off.
But not really. Their idea of a day off was a 5 mile, 4 hour hike in 50 degree weather. It was beautiful, but NOT relaxing. Especially when you’ve been fed so well for the past few days. After that we were supposed to have the rest of the day off, but it ended up that we needed to have a quick meeting about the next day…which turned out to be a 2 ½ hour meeting. Oh boy. Not much of a day off but that’s ok…we’re young. We could handle it. That night our mom, (Me and Corinne’s host mom) took us shopping to Asda (The equilevant of Wal-Mart) and Matalan’s…which was just a nice, cheap store. It was a blast. I love our host mom

Tuesday: For the morning we split up and went to two different Primary schools (Elementary). We gave an assembly talking about: Jesus, Our Best Friend. It was fun. These little guys were SO CUTE! Then, we went into year 5-6 and did a 2 hour lesson on Who Jesus Is and How Jesus Changes People’s Lives. We had them write names that make them think of Jesus on post-it notes and had them place it on a cross. It was incredible some of the things these young kids could think of. After this and a few bible stories later, we interviewed…Jesus! Or our pastor dressed in a sheet. It was fantastic! They had so many questions and I believe we truly got some of their little hearts thinking. God is incredible how he can use such young kids to teach even me when I was supposed to be teaching them. It was great.
Later that day we started “Odd Jobbing.” Corinne, Friedi, Laura and I put on our full-body paper suits and began to paint a building that was being turned into a youth center. One of the guy who’s been working with it is a policeman who doesn’t go to church named Peter. This is just the beginning of the story, you’ll see him in other days.
Tuesday night we had house-groups. I absolutely LOVED it. I can’t wait to get back to wherever it is I’ll be living and get together with other believers and just discuss things and what God is doing in our lives. It was a great way to learn other opinions, put what you believe out there, and just know you’re loved. We spoke on getting out of the boat and how we were created to be water-walkers. Even though we were the ones leading it I was so challenged by it as well. Tea and biscuits, and then sleep.

Wednesday: This morning we put on our convict-yellow “Faith-In-Action” jackets and decided to spend 2 hours emptying the town of Caton of it’s rubbish……this was almost impossible as there was not a lot of rubbish, but we spent 2 hours doing it just the same. It was long and it got boring, but we had so many people thanking us for it and it was lovely to be able to show Jesus in such a simple way as little-picking. Corinne and I were partners as well, we had a blast making videos and picking up 4 BAGS of rubbish. Mostly full of beer bottles and, as Corinne would call them, Smoker-ette packages.
That afternoon we had a ladies meeting, where ladies from the ages of 60-97 would come and hear us speak. We each, the girls, chose a woman in the bible who was a testament of God’s faithfulness. 30 minutes later, we were finished. Whoops! It was all good though, because they still had their tea and biscuits to eat. We chatted away and enjoyed learning about their lives. For instance one lady was married at 18 and had 4 kids by age 22. One was married at 17 and had 4 kids by 23. One special little lady named Gladys Till, who was about 94 and still as feisty as ever, told us that in the morning, she wakes up and hops on a bus and goes wherever she wants and talks to people. She talks to them on the bus, at the station, in the tea shop. She could have a conversation with the telephone pole and she would have a great time. She was precious. That’s what I want to be like one day, so in love with Jesus that you just go and talk to anyone you can.

That night we had our first ALF course. We thought they were age 8-11, but, nope. Try 4-9. We showed them the Excusez Mwa videos. They loved it. However, one mom didn’t like all the sword-fighting and we had to switch things up for the next day. But the kids all loved the video and the characters and exclaiming “Excusez Mwa?!?” whenever it fit. I loved sharing the videos with them, everyone wants to come to Hume now. It’s pretty exciting. I live at the coolest place ever. There’s no doubt about that.

Monday, March 7, 2011

34 1/2 cups of tea.

Yep. In all reality it’s not that much over 10 days. But, it really is. Like I said before, these English-people are real serious about their tea. And I’m not kidding. The one thing I always knew to say was, “There’s tea and biscuits in the back.” Always.
These 10 days have been fantastic. They’ve been wearisome, they’ve been long, and they haven’t stopped, but they’ve been great, and I’ve learned a lot. We didn’t lead anyone to Christ or see any results, but we planted seeds, and now it’s in God’s hands.
Let’s start off at the beginning. I’ll give a couple days and then add more on other days, just to keep you interested.
We arrived at the friendship café where we drank, well, tea obviously, and ate biscuits while chatting with old ladies about our lives. It was a nice relaxing way to start off. If only it stayed that way…. After lunch we went visiting some of these ladies around in their homes, where we had…gasp! More tea and biscuits! That night was real easy, a nice dinner at a cute little restaurant where their “burgers” are definitely NOT burgers. Try meatloaf in burger-form. Let’s just say I’m real excited for a real, AMERICAN burger pretty soon. After long hours of chatting, visiting, sin-cake, and more tea, we left for a beautiful sleep in our favorite little farm-house.
Freezing cold. 2 hours. Outside. Football. Cold. These kids sure can show us a thing or two. Geez they are good. After getting hit in the face by a ball thanks to my teammate Dillon, we were free to leave and warm up. After lunch, right when we were beginning to gain feeling back in our hands, they told us to go outside (???) and….wash….cars? In February? With freezing cold water? Oh I’m not kidding. We had a good old English car wash with unheated water and about 50 degree weather. Oh, it got fun after awhile, but there were definitely times where I had to send up a little prayer going something like this “Jesus, please give me the strength and humility to stick my hand back in that freezing cold bucket.” After some tea and biscuits later, we were off to the Quiz night. Another very serious thing these English do. We brought our American flair and ate delicious meat pies and had a real fun time. I know, quizzes and fun do not seem to go hand in hand, but it did. So that was good.

Sunday: We did the service. It went pretty well I think, we made it to 45 minutes, which was perfect timing. 2 of my girls gave testimonies of God’s faithfulness in their lives, one of my girls prayed in German, and the boy and I sang “Surrender” by the Hank Murphy Band, which they loved. I spoke….it lasted about 5 minutes but that was all I needed. They all said they felt very encouraged by the end of it, so that was nice. After tea and biscuits, we went on a leisurely walk around the village of Caton. It was quite nice. That night we had a Youth Service, but it was more of a, all the older-church folk and a few scattered young adults. One of the teens sent messages to all his friends though so I hear we had a pretty good turn-out. It was really fun! We made them play a loud, American game and they actually liked it! We did a skit….or drama I should say. When I first said “Skit” they thought I said something else and were quite confused….you figure out what they thought I said ;) One of my girls spoke and I closed up. We had tea and biscuits and spent the rest of the night hanging out with these awesome kids, it was really fun! I really enjoyed it, and I love every opportunity I get to talk to kids and hang out with them. Especially the cute, 19 and older British ones ;)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Annnnd we're back

It's been a fantastic 10 days, and I cant wait to tell you all about it...after I finally get some sleep that is. ;)
I'll update later! Home in 19 days!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Let the 10 day outreach...begin

Well folks, tomorrow is the big day. We and my team leave for the small village of Caton to serve the church and the community for 10 days doing random things. We will be visiting ladies around the village, drinking tea, doing school assemblies and lessons, drinking tea, putting on youth groups, drinking tea, putting on girls nights, drinking tea, leading 2 church services, and yes, you guessed it, drinking more tea. I’m very excited about all that we’re going to do and am excited to serve them. They’re a great little church and are very excited about using us to launch out into the community and start what they’re calling, Faith-in-Action. Because of this theme we are bringing to the youth groups a little Hume Lake…with some Excusez Mwa videos. It’s going to be great!

Our host families are all lovely and make the best food. We aren’t going to go hungry that’s for sure.
Please pray that our team will shine Jesus’ light so brightly that we won’t be recognized, only Jesus. Pray that our team bonds together and works like a well-oiled machine using all it’s parts to produce greater output than we could alone. Pray for us individually, Katie, Corinne, Carita, Dillon, Laura and Friedi, that as we experience these 10 days Jesus will move and work in our own lives as well. Pray for the community, that they will be blessed and will come into contact with Jesus Christ over these next few days and the days beyond.

I’d also like to ask for prayer for me. I came down with a really nasty headache, cold, and cough last night and have spent all day in bed trying to get better for tomorrow. I’m the team leader and although I have an awesome team who can do just fine without me, it’s kinda important that I be there…especially since I am the only one who knows about Hume ;)
I don’t think I’ll be updating until I get back on the 7th…and then we only have 10 days left of this place called Capernwray. Oh. My. Gosh. It’s going by too fast.
Keep us in our prayers! Love you all!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

One month...

The 18th marked one month until school is over. 5 months ago I wrote talking about how it’s already been a month since I’ve been in England. I can’t believe it’s been 5. Time has flown by SO FAST. Seriously. I feel like only a couple of weeks ago I jumped off a plane all alone with a huge smile on my face, because I had been waiting for this moment for so long. Now, I’ve seen Big Ben, flew to Italy, ate Italian Gelato, saw the Coliseum, ate Crepes under the Eiffel tower, learned about Jesus in so many new and interesting ways, made lifelong friends who care about me and challenge me to be the best person I can be, and have had God rock my world in SO many ways. It’s incredible.

Today as I was heading back in a taxi after a lovely birthday party extravaganza in Lancaster with some of my favorite people, it hit me that it’s not always going to be like this. In 29 days it’s all going to change. These people who were strangers have become some of my best friends, and soon, we’ll all be leaving. Leaving to different parts of the world, putting what we’ve learned into practice, and knowing these girls, absolutely rocking this world for Jesus. I am so excited to see what God uses these amazing women for, I just wish they were all close to me so I could see it. You better believe that there will be lots, and lots, and lots of tears. Mascara dripping, choking, sobbing tears on the night of the 17th. These women who have become my family, only to be seen whenever we can afford to see each other. However, I am VERY excited about going to Canada, I feel like a Canadian now, I’m completely surrounded by them!

29 more days to soak up everything Capernwray Hall Bible School has to offer. 29 more days to walk in the beautiful green hills and scare sheep. 29 more days to perfect my English accent. 29 more days to meet a British boy and marry him- as long as he has a great fishing pond of course, (no daddy, I have not forgotten your conditions). 29 days to enjoy every moment of this place I’ve been blessed to call home for the last 5 months. I can’t believe it’s almost over.

I can’t wait to go home and set America on fire either.
And give my family a big hug. A really, really, big bear hug.
37 days until I come home. I hope you’re ready for me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Beautiful Sunshine

Spent the day praying for the world. Went on a walk with Jesus for 2 hours in the English Countryside full of green hills and sunshine. The most peaceful feeling I might of ever had. He told me that everything I’m worrying about will be ok. He’s got it.

A song that hit me in the heart was by a band called Tenth Avenue North. It’s called Empty My Hands and I hope it rocks your world today like it rocked mine.

I've got voices in my head
And they are so strong
I'm getting sick of this
Oh Lord how long
Will I be haunted by the fear that I believe
My hands like locks on cages
Of these dreams I can't set free

But if I let these dreams die
If I lay down all my wounded pride
But if I let these dreams die
Will I find that letting go lets me come alive

Empty my hands
Fill up my heart
Capture my mind with you

With you, with you

Cause these voices speak instead
what’s right is wrong
And I'm giving into them
Please Lord how long
Will I be held captive
by the lies I believe
my hearts in constant chaos
and it keeps me so deceived

But if I let these dreams die
If I could just lay down my dark desire
But if I let these dreams die
will I find you brought me back to life

Empty my hands
Fill up my heart
Capture my mind with you

Cause my mind is like a building burning down
I need your grace to keep me, keep me from the ground
My heart is just a prisoner of war
A slave to what it wants and what I'm fighting for

So wont you empty my hands
Fill up my heart
Capture my mind with you

With you, with you
I need you now Lord, with you

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Call me crazy.

I was reading my bible the other day, (like a good little Bible-college student does of course ;), and I came across a verse that rocked my world a bit. In fact, it rocked it so much I had to write it on my arm so I could remember it for the rest of the day. The verse was Isaiah 43:1
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

You are mine. What an incredible thing to be called. The King and Creator of the Universe calls us His. He has called each of us by name. He chooses us, us! to proclaim His glory. I was awestruck by the fact that in all the bazillions of people both in the past, present and future, God calls each of us by name and says that we are His. What a thing to identify yourself with. I know in my life I search to find my identity in so many different things. My friends, my family, my hobbies, the things I’m good at, however I never really place my identity in Christ, the one who calls me HIS. Why is it that for God it is so easy for him to say, “You are mine,” while us saying that Christ is ours is a totally different story? Why do we not place our identity in him? Are we afraid of what other people will think? Do we like the identity we’ve made for ourselves? Or are we afraid of knowing that an awesome, powerful and mighty God is able to change our world’s radically around if we allow him to be our identity?

Another part in Isaiah 43 that rocked my world was verse 6-7. “Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”

We are called to bring God’s sons and daughters out of their chains. We are called to gather them and bring them back to the one who Redeems and Saves. We are called to bring the captives of this world in front of the God who calls them His and created them for HIS glory. HIS glory. Not ours. We are called to bring back a lost and dying generation to the founder of all safety. The one who calls us by His name and calls us His. That is our call, that is what we are here for.

Reading that blew my mind. My job here on earth is not to get a good college education, get a fancy job, make lots of money, marry a devilishly handsome man and have 5 children and a fast car and a fancy house with a picket fence and blue shutters. Those are nice things, and God can choose to bless me with them one day, but my first calling is to bring back the captives, the lost, the searching, and lead them to the Holy King who calls them by name, who created them for His glory. That is our purpose in life. That is what we are here for.

It’s a crazy mission….but I guess I’m crazy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ilkejraougbasldkjarepqoiudayudfhajksncv,aio. yeah.

Well, it’s been quite the tiring week. This whole week was designed for planning out 10 day outreach. We’ve had workshops on things like leading adult meetings, youth work, preaching, and object evangelism. It’s been really helpful and so interesting to learn so many different ways of spreading the word of God to all kinds of people.
Because of all this stuff going on though, I’ve been so tired! I’m pretty sure I’ve taken a nap every day. It’s crazy how fast the days are going and the weeks as well. Soon it’ll be my birthday, then it’ll be 10 day outreach, then there will be 9 days and Tiffany is coming, and then 1 more day and this Capernwray experience will be over. I’m actually quite sorry that Tiff is coming at the time she is, because I’m not going to be any fun, I’m going to be crying all over the place. I’ve absolutely loved this experience and all the things I’ve learned and all the friendships I’ve made. It’s so sad to me that most of these people I’ve been living with for the past 6 months I’ll probably NEVER see again, this side of time at least.
I’ve been to 2 workshops, leading adult meetings and preaching. (Yeah, weird right?) For my preaching we have to come up with a creative introduction that will lead into a sermon on Luke 15. For mine I’ve written a little ditty, (I’ve been doing a lot of that lately, I think God is really instilling in my this gift,) and I thought I’d share it with you because other than that, I have nothing too exciting to share with you. So here it is, an intro to Luke 15.

I closed my eyes and turned the volume on my iPod up to drown out the sound of my dad’s tears as he paced back and forth on our balcony overlooking our Vineyard. “Get over it already!” I screamed in my head. “She’s gone! Just forget about her!”

I would never say that to his face of course. I loved my father and didn’t want to hurt him as much as she had. I always did what I was told, always followed his rules, never complained. I worked hard for my money, and I never once asked for more.

Her, on the other hand, never worked hard like me. In fact, she would often make me do the work for her as she sneaked out to whatever new and fun adventure she was going on. When Dad would have her work she would cry and complain that he didn’t love her until he would sigh and she’d kiss his cheek and leave. The morning she announced she was leaving I was coming to get Dad’s signature on a project. I stood at the door as I listened in horror as she said, “I want to experience life daddy! Give me my college savings and let me be who I am!”

I was silent as my dad slowly reached into his drawer and handed her the check with the amount of her college savings written in his bold, black ink. “I wish you wouldn’t do this.” He said in his calm and gentle voice. “You can’t hold me down! I’m going to live my life the way I want!” she yelled as she stomped out of the room. I quickly hid behind a curtain as she stormed out. I went back to the office, I did not want to see my dad’s face.

Months went by as I worked harder than ever before, trying to heal my father’s pain by my good works. I just wanted him to forget about her. What she did was unforgivable! Even as my Dad would receive word of all the things she was getting into, he continued to stand at the balcony, waiting for her to come home, his cell phone in hand, waiting for her call. The night we heard word of her getting into drugs, he continued to wait. The day we found out about the abortion she had, he continued to wait. Finally, the day we heard she was working in a prostitutes house, surely, surely he will not forgive her now, yet after his tears were dry and he had been on his knees in prayer, he stood up and continued to walk. Back and forth, his eyes stretched out, hopeful for her return.

2 years later, I was working hard again in the office, wanting to be the best daughter I could be, when I heard a noise. Music? In our house? There had been none of that for 3 years. Partying? Champagne? I could smell the BBQ and the smell of gramma’s baking. Foreign things, things my brain had not known for so long. I entered into the great room, to see all the staff, all my friends, all my dad’s friends, celebrating. Then, I saw her. She was sitting there, in a brand new dress from Burberry, one I had been saving up for months, smiling as people came and hugged and kissed her. My father, his hands on her shoulders, was absolutely beaming. The glass I had in my hand fell on the tiled floor and shattered, and all eyes were on me. “What is SHE doing here!” I seethed through my teeth. “Your sister has come home!” my dad rejoiced. “Be happy for her love, she was once dead, and now she’s alive!” I closed my eyes and then looked straight at her. “If only you knew, what this family has gone through, what our father has suffered, what I’ve done in order to help us forget your little stunt, if you knew, you would not of come back.” I ran out of the room as hot tears fell from my eyes.

How many of you feel as your life as a good Christian is not as special as those who’s stories are more exciting, more sinful? There’s a story of this in the Bible, a story of an older brother, who did everything right, but never felt recognized for being good. Turn with me to Luke chapter 15.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Vineyard

So I kind of, sort of, wrote a short story. I guess it's come out of what I've been learning lately with God pruning me to produce better fruit in my life. It hasn't been easy, in fact it's hurt having him pull me out of things I was so entangled in, even when they seemed like such good things. But I know that this will produce the sweetest fruit if I allow him to fully cultivate me into the woman he desires for me to be. I call it The Vineyard.

The Vineyard.
The door creaked open as the silhouette of a shadow shone through the dimly lit hallway. “Time to wake up, beloved,” a old man whispered to my still sleeping mind. “7 more minutes” I lazily told him. He chuckled, a laugh that was drenched in life and love. “If we wait any longer, you’ll miss your own surprise.” The suggestion teased at my slowly waking mind, and I bounded out of bed. “Give me 5 minutes.” I told him. The same laugh echoed through the hallway as his boots pounded down the stairs. I quickly pulled on my dad’s old sweater and a pair of jeans. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew I needed to feel as comfortable as I could today. I quickly glanced in the mirror, only to frown with the same frown that found my face every day when I looked at the reflecting glass. “Not much of beauty again today, are you?” I tugged at my normal brown hair, looked down my slightly larger nose, and stared at my green-blue eyes that never seemed big enough. “Are you coming, Beloved?,” the old man called from the bottom of the stairs. “Yep.” Another sigh into the mirror and I walked slowly to the door, closing my mind off to all the negative thoughts inside my head that would wage war inside me later no doubt. I walked down the stairs to see the old man holding out a pair of gloves that seemed so ancient that the dinosaurs probably invented them. “Take care of these, you’re gonna need them today.” I reached for them begrudgingly, not excited at the thought of doing anything that had to do with the use of gloves. “What are we doing today?” I asked as the old man opened the giant oak door to a crisp, cool morning just woken up by the glittering sun. He turned to me and smiled a sad smile. “Pruning, beloved.” He reached out his old, weathered hand towards mine and pulled me out the door.

We walked out towards the vineyard, enjoying the sound of the bird’s morning orchestra, and the sight of a new day, clean, forgiven, all of yesterdays mistakes forgotten. I looked out towards the vineyard, stretching out from eye to eye. The old man had many vines, and he took care of each of them on his own. I never knew how he had time to take care of them all, but he never failed to touch each one every day. We came to a row of newer, younger vines, and the old man stopped me. “Do you see this vine here?” he asked. “Yes.” “Well, this is a very special vine. It’s quite new, but I am especially fond of it. This vine is slowly growing into something much stronger that will bear much fruit when I’m done cultivating it.” I carefully searched the vine, trying to see what the old man saw, but all I could see was a small branch, slowly wrapping itself around the bigger branches. I scrutinized it some more, until I found something that did not look quite right. “What is the vine doing right here?” The old man knelt down beside me. His old eyes got sad, and the wrinkles around his mouth formed into a sad little smile. “It’s trying to attach itself to the weed. Little does this little vine know, the weed will only choke the vine until it withers and dies and can no longer bear fruit. The little vine does not understand why it can’t be apart of both weed and branch. However, we have to let it stay attached to it a while longer, before it can be properly pruned.” He smiled and patted my head. “Come on beloved, I have more to show you.” I stood up slowly and started to walk behind him, but my mind was on the vine. “Why would it attach itself to something so harmful?” I wondered. Suddenly, I saw myself looking through the door of my room, watching myself frown at myself in the mirror. My heart throbbed and there was a pain around my wrist that I hadn’t felt before. I rubbed it, trying to make the aching stop. “Are you coming, beloved?” I heard the old man call. “Yes, I’m coming.” I said as I held my wrist and started to run after him.

We walked for what seemed like forever. The old man telling me stories about his vineyard and the crazy things that had happened to him. We walked and talked and the old man gave me grapes off the vine to taste. When the laughter from our mouths echoed into the vineyard the old man turned quiet and continued to walk. The sad look in his eyes growing brighter as he looked towards the now bright lit sun. “What is it?” I asked, hoping that talking about it would take away that same sad look. The corners of his mouth turned up and he sighed. “There are vines here that are harmfully choking themselves and the vines around them with the weeds. We have lots of pruning to do here in order to help them grow strong and in line with the great vine again.” He put on his own pair of worn gloves and touched the most tangled, messy vine. The vine looked hopeless to me. Destructively tangled around every weed imaginable, forming itself in the shape of something reckless and un-vine like. “I don’t think you can save this one, sir. I think it’s too twisted.” The old man lifted up his head, and there was a different look in his eyes. A gleam that anything was possible. The corners of his eyes crinkled up as he smiled his gentle smile. “Yes, it is twisted beyond what your eyes can see. But I don’t just see what everyone else sees when they look at the vine. I see it’s potential, I see a straight vine that when tethered to the stronger branch, will produce more fruit than anyone else thought possible.” He looked back at the vine, closed his eyes, and took off his gloves. Using his old, sure hands, he straightened the vine, pulling it out of the weeds and gently twisted it around the stronger branch. Sometimes, he pulled off pieces of the vine that were too engrained in the weed. With each pull, something pulled at my heart, making me remember things of my past. With each tug I saw myself lying to my parents, sneaking out at night, talking bad about my friends, trying that first sip of poison in a red cup, kissing that one boy. It felt as if he was tearing out all the bad things I’ve done, scraping them until they were raw and honest. Bending the branches of my life into a new formation, bending them around the greater vine. Tears filled my eyes as I thought of the past which I was ashamed of. I didn’t understand why he had brought me here. The old man suddenly lifted his head and his eyes locked with mine. “Come here, beloved.” He whispered. I sat down in the dirt next to him. “Give me your hand.” I slowly lifted my hand towards his, stopping when I saw fresh blood on them. “Why are your hands bleeding?” I asked, curious. “Why didn’t you use the gloves?” He chuckled, lifting his eyes up towards the sky. “The gloves get in the way when I’m trying to heal the vine. Only when I use my hands, can I feel the vine and know where it’s trying to go.” “But doesn’t that hurt? Especially when you’re untangling the vine from all those weeds?” The sad gleam in his eyes sparked again. “Yes, beloved. It pains me every time I have to straighten out the vine and pull it out of the weeds. The weeds are thick and sharp and they cut into my skin. But when I see that vine that seemed so hopeless before, now straight and growing in the right direction, the pain in my hands is forgotten.” I smiled a sad smile. “Whenever you pulled the vine out of the weeds, all I could remember were bad things I had done.” I told him, admitting to the guilt that was pulling at my heart. “Yes, that happens sometimes.” He replied. “Let’s keep walking” He reached out his hand, and only then did I notice that it wasn’t just old and worn, it was completely covered in scars. Especially at his wrists. One giant circle of a scar peeking from behind his flannel jacket. I grabbed it, and let him pull me up. As he grasped my hand, warmth spread through my body, and the guilt that I was feeling vanished. “Come on beloved, there’s so much more to do.”

We walked until we reached a darker part of the vineyard. The sun hid behind the clouds, taking it’s warmth with it. I could smell the faint smell of smoke. “What is this place?” I asked. The old man said nothing for awhile, and I watched as faint tears spilled out the corners of his eyes. “These vines are dead. I twisted them as much around the greater branch as I could, but they continued to wrap themselves around the weeds which choked the life out of them. They did not like my pruning, and they withered away. We have to burn the branches now.” I watched as he laid his hand on the dead vine and slowly pulled it out of the weed. With a quick thrust he pulled the remainder of the vine out from it’s grave. Carefully, gracefully, he placed it in the fire, watching as it turned to ash. “It really hurts you to put your vines in the fire, doesn’t it?” I questioned. “Yes, beloved it does. I do not want any of my vines to end in the fire. I long for them all to produce good fruit. But sometimes the weeds become more appealing in the now, instead of the future of good fruit, so the vine attaches itself to it. I do all that I can to save the vine, but in the end, the vine has a choice, and sometimes it chooses it’s way rather than my way. Then there’s nothing left I can do.” He sighed, as he watched the growing flames. I scrutinized what was left of the branches. Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed something, and called out to the old man. “Look!” I exclaimed. There, underneath the branch, was a small vine, slowly forming itself around the greater vine. The old man smiled as he stroked the vine. “Sometimes, out of the fire from the destructive vine, a new, clean vine grows in the right direction. There is not always fire for those who wrap themselves around the great branch, even those who play with it.” He patted my cheek and grabbed my hand. “Come beloved, I have one last thing I wish to show you.” I smiled as I looked at the slowly forming vine, and started walking again with the old man.

The sun was setting as we reached a spot I had seen before. Here was the row of newer vines, young and fresh and full of potential. The old man led me to the vine he had showed me earlier, the one slowly attaching itself to the weed. My heart grew sad as I looked at the vine and remembering all I had seen this day. I truly hoped this little vine would not go through the fire. “What are we doing at this vine?” My eyes searched the old man’s face. Once again he smiled that sad smile. “This vine needs a bit of pruning, beloved. You see how it’s slowly attaching itself to that weed? Well, we have to take that away. But I’m not going to do it this time, you are going to.” “Me?” I asked. I didn’t want to prune the vine. It seemed painful, even though it was just a vine. “I don’t think I can,” I told him. “Why not,” he asked. The question seemed dumb to me now. Why couldn’t I prune the vine myself? I looked at my hands and looked down, ashamed. “Because I don’t want to get scars like yours.” I whispered quietly. “I think pruning that vine will hurt me, and I don’t like being in pain.” The old man put his hand under my chin and lifted my face up to his. “Yes beloved, I know it hurts, the pain will be deep, and the scars will last for awhile, but just wait until next season, this vine will produce such sweet grapes, so much sweeter than they could now, and your scars will heal. All scars do.” He kissed my forehead, and handed me the pruning tools. “I’m going to go check on some other vines now, they need my help now.” He said, and started to turn away. “You’re not going to stay here with me, and make sure I’m doing it right?” He chuckled, “I’ll still be with you, but sometimes you have to learn from your mistakes. Just make sure you engrain the vine around the great branch, you’ll get it right, I promise.” He whistled as he walked away, and the sound soothed me. I looked at the vine, and sat down in front of it. I stared at my hands, seeing the naked skin, un-wrecked with scars, and sighed. “Scars heal.” I muttered as I grasped the vine. Pain seared my hands, burning them. My eyes closed and I could see me the day I was first told “No” for doing something wrong. My hands continued to twist along the vine and more memories flashed before my eyes. My first temper-tantrum. My first spanking. The first time I said a bad word. The first time I lied. The first time I disobeyed my parents. The first time my friends brought me to a party with drinking. The first time I woke up on the bathroom floor, drunk. This morning, when I criticized my body. Faster and faster they came, hitting me like a ton of bricks as I worked my hands through the small, tangled mess of the vine. I could see the blood on my hands from the small thorns that had grown on the vine, cutting into my skin. But I could not stop, I could not stop until the vine twisted itself around the great branch. I tried to ignore the thoughts racing through my mind, but they continued to haunt my thoughts as I worked. When I reached the part of the vine attached to the weed, I pulled and pulled, but it would not let go of the thing destroying it. Tears spilled out of my eyes as I saw my life through the mirrors of my eyes. “You’re life is a waste” a new, haunting voice whispered to me. “Why not enjoy it and do whatever you want while you have one?” The haunting voice grew louder in my pounding ears. “Live for yourself. Do what you want. Be who you want. You want to be pretty? I can make you pretty,” the voice taunted. “You want to be thinner? I can do that. You want luscious hair? I can do that. You want bigger, prettier eyes? Oh my sweet, I can do all those things. Just wrap yourself around me. These ‘weeds’, as you call them. Are they really that bad? I think they’re fun. I think they’re new. Much more exciting than that boring old branch. My fruit is sinfully delicious. It can make you be anyone you want to be. Just wrap yourself around me, my darling. Choose my branch….choose me!” The voice was screaming in my head now, the tears spilling down my cheeks as I gripped the vine with all my might. “No!“ I heard a voice unlike mine say. Suddenly, a gentle whisper broke through the chaos that was around me. “this vine will produce such sweet grapes, so much sweeter than they could now, and your scars will heal…” I opened my eyes, and saw my hands. They were caked in blood, and the scars were deep. The pain was immeasurable. I held them tightly together, the salt of my tears making them sting. A few quiet moments passed me by, until a light hand touched my shoulder. “Beloved,” he said. “Can I help you finish?” I nodded my head slowly as the old man knelt down beside me. He grabbed my hands in his and together, we twisted the vine around the great branch, forming it into a new creation. As we did this, I could see not only the blood from my scars sealing the new branch into place, but the old man’s as well. With one last twist, the vine was secure in the hold of the strong branch. I smiled as the old man took both my hands in his and kissed them. He said nothing, only looked in my eyes. I didn’t need to say anything. Somehow I knew he understood all that had happened as I pruned the vine. He pulled me up, and put his arm around me. “What will happen to the vine?” I asked. He smiled that old, familiar smile I loved. “Just a little time longer, and you’ll see.” He chuckled and pulled me close as we walked back towards the house.

“It’s time beloved.” I heard the old man say into my sweet-filled dreams. I opened one eye, to see light pouring through the lace curtains in my room. I got up, put some jeans on and pulled a sweater over my head. The mirror caught my attention again, but before I could look into it to see what a mess I probably looked at, the old man’s face peered through the crack at the door. “You are beautiful beloved. Come now, there’s something I want to show you.” I turned away from the mirror and grabbed his hand and smiled as he squeezed it gently. I could feel his scars. Somewhere, I knew there was a scar shaped like mine. Only, mine in the few months, had quietly begun to fade. We walked out the old oak door to the most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen. The sky was painted with pinks and oranges, streaming with sunlight that poured through every pore. “It never gets old, the sunrise?” I questioned. The old man turned his old, worn face to mine. “No it doesn’t beloved. It’s a new day, full of new mercies. Absolutely full of them.” He smiled and guided me towards the vineyard. We reached a familiar spot. My heart quickened at the sight, remembering what had taken place months before. The scar on my hand began to tingle, and I held it tightly. The old man guided me to the vine, and smiled. “Look there, beloved. Can you see that attached to the vine?” I looked, dreading the little thing to be attaching itself to more weeds, but all I could see was two grapes, dangling from the vine ever so gently. They were perfectly smooth, round, and had the deepest color of purple I had ever seen. I laughed as I looked at it, and the old man began to laugh with me. “Miraculous, isn’t it beloved?” I smiled at him, remembering the pain that the vine had gone through in order to produce such beautiful fruit. “Now,” the old man said, as he delicately plucked the two grapes from the vine. He placed \one in my mouth, and I closed my eyes as I savored the richness of the sweetest juice I had ever tasted. His eyes sparkled as I smiled. “Cultivating the vine is hard sometimes beloved,” he whispered. “But when done in my care and love, it produces the sweetest fruit.” He hugged me as silent tears of joy pooled at the corners of my eyes. As we walked back towards the house, I turned back one last time to see the vine, my vine, and smiled as I saw it slowly forming itself around the strong branch; a branch in the form of a cross.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. If man remains in me, and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing..” John 15:1-5

Friday, February 4, 2011


Jesus never said following him would be easy. He never promised a life absolutely filled with rainbows, puppies and sunshine. He said there would be storms, he said things would be hard, he said we would have to be pruned sometimes.

What is this pruning? Pruning is when a vineyard man, I don’t know what the technical term for him is, cuts off bad pieces of the vine, throws them in the fire, attaches what’s left of the newly formed vine to a stronger vine and tethers them together so that they will grow together into a stronger vine that will produce more grapes.

Jesus does this with us. He pulls us out of the weeds we’ve attached ourselves too. He cuts off the bad pieces that are producing sour grapes. He attaches us to the strong vine. His vine. He tethers us to Him so that as we grow, we grow together, and that the fruit we produce is stronger, richer, riper, sweeter, than any other fruit in the vineyard. But it hurts to be the vine. It hurts to have the weeds you’ve made yourself comfortable with torn away from you. It hurts to have your body stripped of the bark that makes you feel secure and cozy. But as soon as the gardener grafts you into the new vine, the new vine, the tears start to fade, and the water from them goes deep into your roots. New bark grows in harmony with the new vine. Bark that is stronger, firmer, deeper. And then after the seasons go by attached to this vine, spring comes and the grapes are giant and juicy and make the sweetest juice.
Pruning hurts. It shakes everything you hold onto and throws it on the ground to be put in the fire. It breaks branches. It removes bark.

But the fruit from the pruning produces the sweetest fruit.

And at the end of pruning season, Jesus takes us by the hand, hands us a great big glass of grape juice, and tells us to look at the vineyard. And as you lift your eyes out, you see the vine has grown. And it’s wrapping around a giant branch shaped like a cross. Forming itself to be more like Jesus.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit….”

Monday, January 31, 2011

A New Week

Hello my bloggy-followers!
It’s been quite a week. We just got back from our weekend away at the church where we will be spending our 10 day outreach. It was fantastic. Corinne and I stayed on a farm, where we lived with a cute farming couple with 4, yes 4 little boys, all under the age of 11. They were all blonde and crazy and loud and are going to be a real fun part of our 10 day experience as we get to know them better. Because we were on a farm and we do live in England, there were lots of sheep. Lots. Of. Sheep. And- they were having lots more baby sheep. Corinne and I put on our Wellies, grabbed our cameras, and headed out to see the little guys. We got there just as one was giving birth. EEEEWW! It was probably the grossest thing I think I’ve ever seen in my life, however, there’s something about new life that is just so cool. I saw two little lambs breath life and start to stand up on their own within 5 minutes of coming into this world. It was a really cool experience. The boys decided to name them Corinne and Katie after us. We felt special J
Another thing that we did was spend time at the church that we would be working at. Let’s just say that I though our church at Hume was small, there was probably 40 members of this church, most of them little old ladies who wore brooches and drank tea every hour on the hour. Seriously, these guys are intense about their tea. We probably had to tell them about 6 times a day that, no, we are really okay without a cup of tea thank you!
We had a meeting going over all the things that we’ll be doing. There’s a lot but I am really excited to serve the community and am excited to partner with a church who really wants to reach out to the people they live with. We’re going to be leading 2 entire Sunday services, plan ladie’s meetings, plan Youth clubs, go visit old ladies, plan a girls night, and because of the crazy tea-faze they have, probably have about 12 cups of tea a day. Oh boy. Our church is lovely and the staff are really excited to have us there. I remember sitting in the meeting and going, “This is what I want to do. I want to be working in a church, planning ways to reach out to people who probably don’t feel loved by the church.” It was really cool. I’m excited to see where God takes me once this year at Capernwray is over.
This week we have a lovely couple called Sam and Joan Fiore, (Italians!) who are talking to us about living the Christian life and seeing what God’s will for our lives are. Let’s just say we’ve already had Sam play the drums for us and show us where he lives in Italy by showing us a boot. Yes, a real boot. It’s going to be a fantastic week and I am excited.
The end of term is coming on us so quickly, I can’t believe I have a shorter time left than from when I started counting down to get here. I’m excited to go home and see everything, yet I’m soaking up as much as this place as possible. It’s my birthday in 21 days so of course I’ve already started counting down for that J and am excited for Italian dinner in Lancaster for the event with my friends.
I’m also really excited for my red-headed friend Tiffany to come and visit me. She’s coming soon and we’re going to start planning soon. We’re basing our travels around Jane Austen, because we’re just cool like that. So you bet we are going to both Pemberly’s and Bath, Jane Austen’s home-town, and London. It’s going to be splendid.
If you could just keep my PaPa in your prayers, I’ve heard that he’s gone into the hospital and isn’t feeling too good. Please pray that doctor’s would be able to get him on the mend and for my Gramma, that God will give her peace and that she will be able to rest in Jesus’ hands as I bet she is very stressed out right now. I just learned that he is out of ICU and is getting his strength back. All I can say is, “Praise God!” I told him before I left that he wasn’t allowed to leave before I got back so I’m glad to see he’s keeping his promise J
Well, that’s all I can think of to talk about. Geez, I remember when I used to write every day on this thing. Sorry for not being a diligent blogger ;)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's been far too long...

Since I've last wrote a song. A year and a half probably of song-writing muteness. But today it just came out. Here it is, titled, "Whispered Love."

Verse 1:
I ran away
I hid my face
I tried to do it
On my own again
But you whispered love
And you pulled me back
To the place where
Your healings’ at

So here I am, bowing down
At a cruel and wicked cross
Where true love was found
You broke my heart
With your love for me
So undeserving of being free
So take this life
I give it up
To feel your worthy and humbling love

Verse 2:
I forgot today
That you know all of me
When I walked away
Thought you couldn’t see
But your arms stretched out
And your scars touched me
Wounded and broken
So un-worthy lips could sing

So here I am, bowing down
At a cruel and wicked cross
Where true love was found
You broke my heart
With your love for me
So undeserving of being free
So take this life
I give it up
To feel your worthy and humbling love

And this is love
Life made new
Sealed with blood
And hearts renewed
On wood my Savior
Arms stretched wide
Calling me back
Dying breath breathing life

So here I am, bowing down
At a cruel and wicked cross
Where true love was found
You broke my heart
With your love for me
So undeserving of being free
So take this life
I give it up
To feel your worthy and humbling love

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Hypocrite...humbled.

The Hypocrite…Humbled.
Wow. I can’t even begin to describe the things that happened in my life tonight. First off, I discovered I was a hypocrite. Secondly, I was humbled. Completely and thoroughly in front of the throne through our worship night.
Let’s begin at the beginning.

Today we had to write a paper. We were asked to take a character of the bible (either Abraham, Saul, or David) and write about 3 things in their life that can be used for our own spiritual walk.
I chose Abraham, and talked about how God called Abraham to be obedient, even when it hurt. This is what I wrote:

From the lessons that I have learned through Abraham’s story, I realized there are things in my life that need to change in order to follow Christ in the way He desires for me to follow. First off, I need to learn to listen and wait for God’s guidance instead of going and doing what I believe to be right. When Abraham left Haran, he left and went where God told him. However, he did not stay there, and made a wrong turn into Egypt. I need to work on going exactly where he wants me to go, and make sure that I follow that route exactly the way His map points out for me. If it says “go four miles, turn right.” I need to go four miles and turn right. Not go four miles, then take a left. In our lives we cannot see the full picture of our life and what God has in store for us. We are like a paint-by-numbers masterpiece, where we can only see one color at a time. God however, designed the painting. He knows exactly where each color will go and how they will fit together perfectly to create an image made in the likeness of Christ. I need to work on painting my picture exactly by the directions Christ has written out for me, and not getting ahead of myself and painting the wrong pictures different than what he was made for me.

When we were heading out to worship night, I got an email saying that I would not be able to work in the Ark this summer. I had previously received an email saying there was no place for me in the Meadow either. For those of you who know me, you know that the Meadow is my favorite place. I would spend every summer for the rest of my life working there if I could. To find this out was like getting a knife in my stomach. The first reaction I had was anger. I’m a Hume-kid! I have first dibs over jobs! This is how I entered into worship night. Angry and bitter over something that isn’t even mine to control. Then God broke me. Immediately I burst into tears. I was a hypocrite. What had I just written about? Oh yeah, going EXACTLY where God tells me, even when I can’t see where that is. God had just given me the perfect place and way to exercise this and I failed. I was not like Abraham, who went up and left. I was the hypocrite who said things that I did not mean. Someone who would rather hold on tightly to the things I hold dear instead of giving them up to God, who can take far better care of them than I can.

I have so much more to learn. So much more to be broken about. So much more to be humbled by. I keep saying that I’m not ready to go home, I haven’t changed enough yet. Capernwray is not the place where you are significantly changed. Bowing down at the foot of a cruel and wicked cross where my Savior, bruised and broken hung for a poor, hypocritical, lustful, manipulative, sinful, lying, cheating testament of un-worthiness, seeing no greater love no I can ever know, mercy so underserved, freedom I should not know, THAT is where change happens. THAT is where God takes broken things and makes them new. THAT is where I am grown. THAT is where the painful process of being more and more like Jesus happens. THAT is where I need to find myself everyday.
So here I am. January 22nd, 2011. Bowing down at the feet of who deserves all that I am, all that I will be, all that he made me to be. The hypocrite, humbled.

Monday, January 17, 2011

10 Day Outreach!

Today was quite the day. First off, let’s just say that today was the day we found out where we’re going for 10 day outreach. Now let’s say that we’ve been waiting for this day since the beginning of last term. So how nice of the Capernwray staff to make it the very last lecture of the day, building our anticipation and making us pray that we got people we wanted to be with. By the time Carolyn (The Outreach Director) got up, I was so nervous I was shaking. Not out of nerves to be going somewhere, just because lets just say I there was one person I was really hoping I wouldn’t be with, (Jesus forgive me!) Then, Carolyn started talking about an outreach called Caton about 30 minutes away. She kept looking at my row. I kept praying it wasn’t mine. Who wants to go 30 minutes away for their outreach? I listened as she read off the names of all the people around me, except for me. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then suddenly, she announced the name of the team leader, “Katie MacDonald!” Oh boy. The best part is when she described what we would be doing. “I laughed when this team formed because of one of the things they will be doing, you lucky guys will be doing some…football outreach!” Oh boy again. It’s me, 4 other girly girls, and one boy from Texas who never wears shoes. Oh gosh.

So it’s been an interesting morning. I’m in charge of 10 days and 5 other people. Some older than me. They say they choose leaders very carefully, watching what you do and how you do things, and pray, pray, pray that the right leader for that team would come along. The fact that I was chosen was so mind-blowing because I don’t think of myself as a leader at all. But I guess that I did pray that God would stretch me and mold me more and more into the woman he wants me to be, and I guess being a leader is something he’s shaping in me. It’s going to be an interesting ride, and I am really excited to see how it plays out. Included in our outreach is working in youth ministry (which I’m SUPER stoked about), going into schools, leading men and women’s bible studies, and leading worship (I am the only musician on our team, oh boy again.)

I’m a little confused about this outreach and why God wants me here, because the reason I wasn’t chosen to go to Kenya was because Carolyn really felt God telling her I was meant to be here. I honestly didn’t expect “here” to be so close, but if it’s where God wants me to be, it’s where I’m going to go, and I’m going to go with an open heart and mind to all that he has to offer me. Pray for me as a leader, that I will be the kind of leader that God wants me to be, that our team will grow together and all our differences will work to the benefit of the church we’re going to, and that we will have a perfect peace over God’s plan for these 10 days.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.
Oh. Boy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Travel Journal...part 4!

Paris: Paris was my favorite city. Which is funny because Rome was supposed to be my favorite city. Oh well. :P
I absolutely loved Paris. We got there late, and after a taxi ride where the driver spoke no English, arrived at our hostel to find that I had no money in my bank. Oh. Boy. I was so stressed out, I emailed my mom crying and finally got to call her. It was so good to know that even though I’m 5,000 miles away my mommy can still take care of me. It was also pretty humbling because it made me realize that although I’m 5,000 miles away I still need my mom to take care of me. I am so blessed by a family who cares for me, and it was that night that I truly realized how excited I am to go home and see them. So, momma and daddy, I do miss you ;)
The next day we of course started with Paris’ biggest and well-known landmark, the Eiffel Tower. It’s crazy that something made of iron can be so beautiful, but it is. After standing in line for an hour to go to the top, we realized it wasn’t going all the way to the top so we got out of line and headed somewhere else. We took some fun pictures and wandered around, and then, like the true North Americans we are, we found a Starbucks. It was fun just to relax on a cold and rainy day in Paris. We explored some more and ended up at the Notre Dame. It’s huge! But not as huge as I expected it to be. Disney movies kinda messed that up for me, there’s no way Quasimodo would be able to hang from those spires and be all the way up there, I could hang on those spires if I wanted! We then ate our first French Crepe….and ooooh. It. Was. Good. I love crepes. After that we headed back to our hostel for a good nights sleep….except for that our room was right above the bar that’s open till 2 am and the drunk singing Spanish girls……

We woke up to rain. It never rained in England when we were there, but when we came to Paris, it rained. Oh well, we had a game plan…the Louvre. I thought that the Louvre was just that glass pyramid and the stuff underneath it. Oh no. The Louvre is the entire building around and underneath it! It was huge! 2 hours in and I was so tired of it already. Haha. We first saw our friend Mona Lisa. Boy was that disappointing! She’s so small and encased in a huge glass case! It’s crazy that people go mad over that painting. Sure, she doesn’t really smile. Sure, we don’t really know who she is. She probably wanted it that way! After exploring more Corinne and I took a break from thinking and went outside and played in the rain. It was so fun. I am so blessed by my friend Corinne and so glad for the friendship God has given me. We had a blast. After drying off in Starbucks, we went in for round two…and oh it was long. Finally, when we were tired of looking at paintings, (even though some of the really famous ones were pretty cool), we left in search of food.

The best thing about Paris? The bakeries are SO GOOD! We seriously wanted to eat baguettes and croissants all day. After this is was night time, and it had stopped raining, so we went to the Eiffel Tour and saw it all lit up on pretty. We ate yummy crepes and I discovered that the boy I marry better make crepes as good as the French can.
Our last day in Paris we went to the Champ Eleysses….or the big arc where the Tour de France bike riders finish the race under. I basically only went there because dad really wanted pictures of it, but it was fun…I guess. The fact that it was pouring rain probably didn’t help but it was really big and cool to see the thing that lets my heart know…yes! I get t.v back again because the race is over! :P

We then drank chai and ate baguettes from a bakery and they were so good. We then seached for more crepes and Madelines, went up to the top of the Eiffel Tour, (which is incredibly high! So scary!) and enjoyed a last night in Paris while singing “So thissss is the niggggthhhhttt it’s a beauuuuttifulll nighhtt and they callllll it Belllllllla Notttteeeee!”
We left at 6:30 the next morning, made it on our plane, got delayed in the air, got to Liverpool, had the taxi driver be real nice and drive us all the way to school, and loved seeing the sight of our castle.

Now I’m in the biggest room in the castle, it holds 7 of us, and it’s going to get some getting used too. I never really hung out with all the girls before but we’re all pretty chill and get along so I’m excited. God is going to teach us some awesome things this term and I’m excited to see what he does in my last 10ish weeks in England.
Well, that’s Christmas break in a nutshell. Hope you enjoyed reading about my adventures! Miss you all!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Travel Journal....part 3!

We walked out of the metro station and found ourselves right in front of the Coliseum. It was so crazy to just see something in pictures and then randomly find yourselves right next to it. It’s huge! And so cool, but we’ll get back to that later.
After grabbing a quick croissant and asking lots of Italians for directions to our flat, we headed out…and found it…2 hours later. We also stumbled upon the Pantheon on our way….and that thing was incredible. It’s crazy to think something of that size and awesome-ness was made 2000 years ago. Once we got to our flat…a dingy little thing in a sketchy alley way but right next to a bus stop, we had to wait 2 more hours until the lady got there to give us the keys. So what did we do? We sat on the ground and slept….well, kind of. Once the lady got there we found our beds and paid the fee and then decided to take a 2 hour nap…..we went to sleep at 11...and woke up at….6!
Oh boy. After going to the local market to buy some pasta and hot dogs, we watched 2 Disney movies and just relaxed. The Lion King and Snow White are absolutely hilarious in Italian. Or should I say, Il Rei Leone and Biancaneave. It was an experience
Once we were awake the next morning, we headed to the Coliseum for a tour, and it was incredible. The thing is so old and the fact that it’s still so intact is incredible. To see it up close and learn it was completely covered in white marble, and to only be able to see one part of the floor where white marble still is is crazy. To see where the Emperor would stand, giving life or death to tributes, and to now see a Cross standing there is crazy. To be able to see the catacombs where the gladiators would be before they died was crazy. Just being there and thinking back to the time where people went insane with blood-lust, enjoying watching people fight to the death was crazy. I really enjoyed the Coliseum, and loved the history in it. What was crazy though, was one of the couples in our tour were from San Diego, and the wife had been to Hume for camp lots of times before! It’s crazy how no matter how far away I go…I always manage to meet someone who’s been in contact with my home. Hume really is an awesome place, and I’m so proud of it and the way God moves through it.
Next, after eating a yummy sandwich that cost me 5 euros, (enter angry face here), we headed to the old city of Rome, Palantine Hill, or the Roman Forum, to see all the old ruins. That was incredible. Standing on this hill you can see houses upon houses, worship centers, Temples, and the last 3 remaining columns of the Roman Senate. So much history was infused and alive in that place, and it was incredible to see, instead of just reading it in a history book.
After wandering around, watching them set up for their New Year’s bash…which looked…interesting, we stumbled upon some delicious gelato…the same gelato that would have us coming back every single day. We then headed back to our house, ate the last of our pasta and hot dogs, fully intending to head back to the party….but soon we found ourselves hooked on MTV’s Hitlist Italia and the New Year’s party…which consisted of everyone speaking and singing in Italian…including little kids. We then realized that it wasn’t worth going back for so we boiled our apple juice for apple cider, ate peanuts and cocoa puffs, and watched the crazy fireworks that lit up every inch of the sky.
The next morning, we slept in because we were tired, watched more Hitlist Italia, then headed to the Basilica, where the Pope lives. We were shocked by the amount of people there, and then found out that we had missed the Pope’s speech by 15 minutes…..BAH! We were so mad because if we had just turned the t.v. off when Eminem and Rihanna’s music video off, we would’ve made it. But oh well, what can you do? We then went and window shopped, looked at open markets, drank hot chocolate, ate gelato, and just enjoyed a new year. We saw the cool old church that’s in the movie Angels and Demons, saw the bridge with the angels on it, watched people attempt to ice skate, and then found the best pizza in all of Italy…..from a little store where the man working wasn’t even Italian, but still called us, “My friends!”
After that and a delicious Crepe, we headed back to watch the 1st Harry Potter, in Italian of course.
The next day we headed to the Trevi Fountain. It was really neat, but really crowded. We all made wishes, ate more gelato, walked around everywhere, discovered new places, went to the Wedding Cake (I can’t remember the name of the actual building, everyone just calls it the Wedding cake), saw some Capernwray friends, ate more gelato, and watched more Hitlist Italia.
The next day was our last full day in Rome. We went to the Vatican city…and by that I mean we waited in line for 2 hours to get into the Vatican city. It was actually pretty fun. After we were in we saw all those cool old things everyone talks so highly about, but if we’re honest, I thought it was all kind of overrated. Yes, the Sistine chapel was cool, but it was a lot smaller and seemed less grand than expected. There were so many people, there were no lights, and you could take no pictures…except…gasp! I did. ;)
After more gelato and pizza, we went to sleep for our last night in Rome.
The next day we basically just traveled to the airport. It was a pretty chill day, but I was excited for our next adventure…Paris!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Travel Journal part 2

I loved Venice! It was freezing cold but so incredibly beautiful! We walked out of the train station to the beautiful canal surrounded by colorful buildings and people. We took a bus to our side of the island…and by bus of course I mean boat, and was just in awe of this city on the water. Our hostel was pretty lame actually, but we were tired and hungry so after a meal of pasta made in the microwave and steamed from the espresso maker (Bars were the only things open), we went to bed…at 8:15.
The next morning we were refreshed and ready for a sunshiny day in Venice. We walked across bridges, we rode on water-buses, we went in tons of mask shops, we ate Nutella flavored gelato, we saw a friend from Capernwray, we rode on a gondola for 25 euros (after much compromising from the gondola driver, these Italians all like to give ‘dis-counts’ to you) and had so much fun! We saw Napoleon’s house, Casanova’s house, pretty bridges, singing gondola drivers, and beautiful sunshine. It was wonderful.
By now it was late and on this side of the world, everything closes by around 6, so what do we do? We sit in McDonald’s for….da da da….3 hours. Yep. We sat for 3 hours in a Micky D’s, randomly buying a small French fry or a coke or a ice cream cone so they wouldn’t kick us out. Once we had eaten too much and were ready for our train, we headed back to the train station and sat on the floor watching Glee for 2 more hours until our train finally left.
Well, sort of. We got on the train at 11:30 like we were supposed to, but the doors to our cabins weren’t open, and the Italian police kept going through our carriage…aye ya ya. It was crazy. Emily and I sat in the uncomfortable cabin falling asleep when suddenly two 30-something couples walked in, sat down, opened a bottle of Champagne, took out a loaf of bread, and passed around a tin of cookies. So much for sleep.
6 hours of uncomfortable-ness and loud Italians, and finally…we pulled into Rome…at 7 in the morning!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Travel Journal...part 1

I am officially a world-traveler. Woo-hoo!
I have done so many different things in these short 3 weeks and it’s insane to think of all the places I’ve gone that I only once dreamed of going to.
Since there’s so many places and things I’ve done, I’ll break it up in a few blog posts just to keep you hooked ;)

Part 1: Work week
It was a hard goodbye, and this was only for 3 weeks! Most of the castle emptied out that December 16th and left us with a quiet, large, cold, home. Corinne, Nicole, Emily and I stayed and worked on Housekeeping staff for the week to save money and we had so much fun! Since I’ve worked S.S before and my dad’s a pretty awesome toilet-cleaner-teacher, I didn’t freak out as much over the work as some people did. :P We made beds, we washed sheets, we vacuumed, (and yes Dad, I even edged!), we decorated for Christmas, and we had a fun time doing it. Being on staff was so great because we didn’t have a curfew, we could basically do whatever we wanted, the food was better, and the Internet was….gasp! Fast! Who knew? ;)
With a giant castle at our disposal, we would regularly play cut-throat mafia and sardines throughout the giant rooms. We’d also stay up until 3 in the morning watching movies in front of the fireplace in the lounge while drinking lots and lots of left-over students’ teas. It was really just a great time to relax, work, and get to know different people.
After a week we headed out. Me, with my giant backpack strapped on my shoulders, excited for the next adventure, hopped on a train and then broke off with my traveling buddies to spend Christmas with my 2nd cousins, Debbie and Rich Sheldon, and their 4 kids. I had a blast! Their kids are so crazy and fun and I loved spending time with them. I walked into their cute little English house to see a Christmas tree and a mantle with my own stocking hanging there. I basically almost lost it, (but don’t tell my mom, she can’t know she almost made me cry ;)
It was so nice just to be able to relax and enjoy being in a home for Christmas. It was weird not being with my family but I was so blessed to be able to share someone else’s. Christmas was just a great time of eating, (lots and lots of eating), getting to know different guests, reading one of my cousin’s new books, and calling my family 5,000 miles away.
So that’s Christmas. Next, we’ll travel to the faraway land of……Bergamo, Milan. Da da daaaa!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


So many things, no time to tell you all of it yet though.
But here's a quick recap:
Cousins, Milan-Bergamo, Venice, Rome, Paris
I have been so blessed to go to more places in these short 2 weeks than most people go in their lifetime.
School starts on the 8th! More than!