Monday, 23 March 2009

Row, Row, Your....Surf board??

The sunshine has made its debut on the Costa Blanca. And the tourists are beginning to trickle into town.

I was taking my laundry off the line and saw this guy out there. What is he doing? I don't know...standing on a surf board with a paddle. But that's not the point, the point is: look at that balance!

Watching him paddle away out to the open sea, all I could think about was how hard it must be to stay upright on a surfboard like that.

Balance can be a tricky thing. I made a mental list of all the things that my life requires balancing:

school birthday parties...who to tell yes, and who to tell no....there are 2 this week!
pay checks....must the boys eat 3 times a day?
never ending laundry
church members needs....real vs. irrational
community needs....real vs. irrational
not to mention my need to finish the "Mark of the Lion" series by Francine Rivers :)

I may not be on a surf board, but sometimes it does feel just as hard.

Thankfully the truth is:

Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.
Psalm 55:22

Friday, 20 March 2009

Falla Photos

If it weren't for the remnants of Roman candles and fire crackers from last night's parties, you'd never know the Fallas even happened.

Here's a few photos from the week's events!


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And the planning for Fallas 2010 started the next day.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Pop!

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Last Night's "Mascleta" (the daily, large fire crackers event during the week of festivities)

Fire crackers are an important tradition involved in the Fallas week. Mostly it's the little fire crackers that are designed to make more noise and smoke than anything else. You know, the kind that go off and scare you? But it's a constant thing the few weeks before, and especially this week.

I have been leary of walking near pre-teen boys holding lit fire crackers waiting to startle some unsuspecting tourist. And yesterday, I swallowed my cultural pride, and watched as my 3 year old threw simple crackers with some friends from school. (They were only throwing the ones that pop upon contact. There was no fire involved...grandmothers, take a deep breath, he has all 10 fingers still...)

I have noticed a slight 'evolvement' of my reaction to these noise explosions. Two weeks ago when the fire crackers first started making their appearances, I jumped and screamed. Later in the week, I would simply startle and turn my head towards the noise. Now, I barely notice anymore. I don't jump, and only if it is a really loud event will I turn to see where it is coming from.

I think that's sometimes how people react to God's voice... He's speaking all around. He's making noise, in His way, but we just become disillusioned and stop paying attention.

For God does speak - now one way, now another - though man may not perceive it. Job 33:14

There are times when I feel like I'm all alone, and God has forgotten about my situation. And all the time He was trying to get my attention, throwing fire crackers at my heart if you will, but I'm not paying attention. God has not become de-sensitized, it's been me who's stopped noticing...

Monday, 16 March 2009

Spring has sprung


My favorite 'signal' of Spring is the daffodil. Now they've been in bloom since early February here in the Costa Blanca, which has been a strange sight for me since I'm used to them making their first appearances much closer to Easter, rather than Ash Wednesday.

Winning Trivial Pursuit Fact: Daffodils are the national symbol of Wales.


Life Update #1:

I spent the weekend in London attending the UK Territory's Baby Song Training Conference. It's a program that is aimed at reaching out to families via parent-baby bonding classes. The Norweigan Salvation Army was conducting the seminar, and invited me to attend when they visited Denia last fall. So, an American Salvation Army officer serving in Spain Command attending a United Kingdom Territorial conference as a Norweigan delegate. Plus I got a whirlwind tour of London on the go!

London was great! See how happy I am in this picture in front of St. Paul's Cathedral:



Life Update #2:

The Fallas is in full swing here in the Comunitat de Valencia. (Valenciano Community = a large chunk of the south eastern portion of Spain....google it....) The Fallas commemorates St. Joseph's Day on March 19th, which is also Spain's Father's Day. The story goes that carpenters would clear out the shops each year at this time and burn their scraps in the street, so someone got the idea to create a figurine out of the scraps before creating the bonfire. And well, that tradition has become this:

These ENORMOUS works of art take a year to build. (The average height was 2 to 4 stories tall!) Clubs compete against each other to win prize for the best creation, and then on the night of March 19th the set them all on FIRE! (I'm secretly looking forward to seeing them in flames!)

So in that thought I leave you with the words from the song written by William Booth (the founder of The Salvation Army) that have been buzzing around my head while taking pictures of the fallas:

'Tis fire we want, for fire we plead,

Send the fire!

The fire will meet our every need,

Send the fire!

For strength to ever do the right,

For grace to conquer in the fight.

For power to walk the world in white,

Send the fire!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Will Your Anchor Hold?

We conduct a "Songs of Praise" service in English each Sunday evening at a hotel in Denia. The service is attended by hotel guests and various others from our local area. Usually the boys and I stay home, but since my in-laws have been here I have been able help out. This week one of the leaders in the program captured the "magic" on camera!

Enjoy!

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Thursday, 5 March 2009

Thankful Thursday

Five things I am thankful for this week:

1. The power to stick to a decision. 'Normal' television (AKA: American sitcoms and series) start at 10:00pm in Spain. I have decided to go to bed at a reasonable hour, rather than staying up to watch TV (I am giving up Heroes as we speak). I'm actually feeling much better and rested...who knew??

2. Hidden treasures. I was positive that I was out of contact solution and nylons, both of which are very expensive for our budget here. (Plus nylons for a 6 foot women in Europe are practically impossible to find, and I have to wear them at least 4 times a week). BUT I found a box of contact solution and bag of 4 pair of nylons hidden amongst other things!

3. Sudoku. My mother in law brought me a big book of Sudoku...

4. The freedom to see Bram's class sing their phonics songs at school this morning. He's still at the age where he's "proud" of us and excited to see us...I know there will be a day when we come walking within the vicinity of school, especially if in our uniforms, and he will be "utterly humiliated". So, I'm enjoying these moments, and making sure to take the time to experience them.

5. Fruit Market Fridays! I look forward to the huge town social event every week! Fresh fruit, tons of people, cheap prices, and the incredible strawberries!! Who wouldn't love it?

Check out the other Thanksgivings at Truth 4 the Journey!

Monday, 2 March 2009

Scarf Carnival...You can never have too many



There is something in the bloggy universe that has made me excited about blogging this week!


A SCARF CARNIVAL!!!!


Ok, so as I understand it, I just need to post pictures of my scarves!! Since moving to Europe, I have developed an obsession...er...an appreciation of this European cultural phenomenon. (At least that's what I tell my husband as I buy a new one seemingly every week...)


On to the scarves...
Here are my "every day" scarves...the first two are my uniform appropriate ones...








You would not be allowed to live in Spain without this style of scarf....and yes I took this picture today while we visited Calpe with my in laws...listen, someone has to suffer for Jesus, right?


This scarf I found in our thrift store. I paid my euro, and took it home!













I've been looking at this scarf in the market for weeks, and last week they had a 2 for 5 euro sale! I got my scarf, and hooked my mother in law...


I love scarves....and it's likely that my collection will continue to grow.....