Monday, September 24, 2012

All good things must come to an end

Tomorrow, around 6:45am, I will be hopping in a car and driving away from Holsby. I will say goodbye to my dear friends, and I will be leaving this place that I have called home for the past 6 months.

I can’t believe that my time here is already over. They were right when they said it would go by fast.

Students arrived for the new school year this past Friday. It was so neat to see how everything runs from the other side of things. A lot of work goes into making Holsby as much as a home as possible. And I’m so grateful for the work all the staff put in to making sure that was also accomplished for me.

I will be forever grateful for the impact Holsby had on my life. I have become a better person. My relationship with God has never been stronger, and I pray that I continue to grow it back home. I am a more confident woman in who I am, and I have made some amazing and beautiful friendships.
It’s been a life changing adventure.

I’m excited to be back home. I’m excited to see my family, and my dog. I’m excited to sleep in my own bed. It will be good, and I know that.

But I also know it’s going to be hard to leave this place. It’s been my life for half a year, and it means so much to me.

I know I need to go home though. I know it’s my time. I know it’s time for me to face reality again and keep moving on with my life. It’s time for the next big adventure- whatever that is.

I went on a couple of my favorite walks today- one last time. It has been rainy and overcasty here for the past weekend. But today, my last day, the sky was beautiful and blue. The sun was out. And it was a perfect fall day… which made these walks so much better!

One of these walks is up a hill. We call it sunrise hill.

And when you get to the top, there’s a great view of the almost seemingly everlasting Swedish forests.
When I got to the top, I wrote in my journal a little, and here is what I wrote:

It’s true that being home is going to be difficult… but it’s the next step in my life that I have to take.
It’s like climbing sunrise hill. You go up, up, up, and sometimes you need a break. You need to stop and pause, and take in everything around you (like me going to Sweden). But in order to get to the top of the mountain, to see the view, you need to keep going. You need to continue walking up. It will be hard, and maybe you’ll take a few more ‘breaks’, but you need to keep on moving. Keep on living.
And in the end, you’ll see your view. Your work. And you’ll be able to rest and enjoy it.
I’m not sure what my next step in life is yet. I don’t know what will happen when my plane lands, or where I’ll go after that.

All I know is I’m ready for whatever is next, and I’m excited to find out what that is. It might not be as exciting as Sweden, but whatever it is, God will be with me, and someday I’ll be able to look at the view on top of my mountain with Him… and that’s really all that matters.

Sweden, I’ll miss you. But I know I’ll be back. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

God and Corrie walks...

Lately I've been going on these (what are so creatively titled) God and Corrie Walks. Basically, I pick a time in my schedule where I have no duties or plans for the rest of the day, then with just myself and a bible and journal, I walk. I don't pick out a path to take, and I don't have a set time when I need to be back by. 

It's just me and God.
and it's beautiful. 

Over the past couple of months I have realized that I've been lacking in some quality me and God time. You'd think that being in an environment like the one I'm in right now would make it really easy to have those special moments... but it's not. 

In fact, at times, I find it harder.

Living in a community like I do, it is super hard to find some time alone. There's always something going on, and adventures to be had. 

Before I came up to Sweden I had 3 goals for myself:
  1. Grow a deeper relationship with God.
  2. Personal Growth: learn more about me, who I am, and who I am in God. 
  3. Don't hold back. Don't seclude myself. Be involved and go on every adventure possible... basically, don't say no.
Let me explain that last one. This past year I have realized that I tend to hide away. I like to be alone, and I like my own space... a little too much. So instead of going on adventures and being in fellowship with other people, and with friends, I put myself in a position where I am alone. I was just always comfortable, and I liked that... and I thought it was for the best. 

But then I realized how much I was missing out on. How much life I wasn't living. 
So with that, I knew that I had to break out of that comfort zone and experience as much as I could.

And while up here at Sweden, that's what I did. I did everything that I could. If people were hanging out, I was there too. If a group was going somewhere, I was right behind them. I tried to do everything and be everywhere. 

Then I realized that I was totally neglecting those first 2 goals. The time I was spending with God was only with the assignments that I had to do for school- it was more forced, and not something I wanted to do for me... and I didn't grow with the whole "who am I really?"

By the time the school year ended, I was burnt out and exhausted. And honestly, I was scared about going home. I knew that I still had 4 months left in Sweden, but I hadn't felt any change in my life, and I felt like I didn't really learn anything substantial. I was upset with myself, and if I'm going to be honest... a little upset with God.  

I remember asking Him and praying to Him, "why am I not different? The whole reason why I came up here was to change and grow... and I feel exactly the same as when I left home." 

I didn't want to go home as the same person. I didn't want to come home to people asking me about what God had taught me while in Sweden, and me trying to squeeze out what little change I did experience. 

But then summer happened. And at the beginning, I was still striving only for goal #3 and neglecting the other 2. Then out of no where it hit me. I realized why I originally wanted to come to Sweden: For growth. For knowledge. For understanding. 

After that I struggled for a month or so about finding a good balance. Finding the balance between staying part of the community, and for finding time to myself. 
It was a huge struggle at first. I would go a couple of days where I would literally lock myself in my room. When I had time off- that's where I would be. Always. The other interns would go out and do stuff, but I would stay in my room. 

Then once I got bored with that, I would hang out with people again- but I would spend all my time doing stuff, and then the end of the day would come and I realized that I hadn't read my bible that day- but I was too tired to read it at night.

It was a vicious cycle. One that I didn't really understand.

Then one day I went on a God and Corrie walk. Just me and my Savior.
Then I went on another one. Then another one. 

Every time it was a different path, and every time I came back with joy in my life and a sense of peace that I hadn't felt for a long time. 

I went on one of these walks today. I found a path that I've never been on before... which lead me to another path, which lead me to another path. I literally had no clue where I was for most of the walk. And I loved it. I wasn't scared that I wouldn't find my way back. I felt safe. I felt confident. And I just kept on walking. And while walking I was just awestruck at Gods wonders. From the trees and plants, to the beetles and the ants (+1 for rhyming), I thought about how much thought and creativity and love God put into making the landscapes around us... and how he put that same thought, creativity, and love when creating the ants and beetles. 

Why can't my walk with God in life be like the walk with God I took today? Why do I forget to look around me and be thankful for the big and small things he puts in my path? Why do I not always trust that God will lead me in the right direction... that when it might look like I'm lost, I never am?


And wow. This was a random post with a lot of different thoughts running through my head... and I feel like I have to some way summarize the whole thing... partly for you, the reader, but mostly for me... so I can try and digest all the thoughts running around in my head right now. 

  1. I came to Holsby to get away from my normal life, and to grow in my relationship with God, and in my relationship with myself. 
  2. I forgot to find that time for myself, and I became brunt out and exhausted.... to the point where instead of feeling growth in my life, I felt like I was taking steps backwards.
  3. I realized that I needed to rest. That I needed to refocus my time.
  4. Finding that balance was a challenge, and in a way I'm still trying to figure it out. But instead of feeling like I was moving nowhere in my relationship with God, I can feel the changes in my life.
  5. My walk with God in life needs to be just like my walks with God here at Holsby. I need to be thankful and accept everything he puts into my life (and what he might take away), and I need to put my full trust in Him. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A little catch up

I am loving this life I'm living right now! My last post was about a big adventure I took to Oslo, Norway... and though that was the last 'road trip' I've been on since then, I still have been on many other trips and adventures... they never end!

The Wednesday after Oslo, we went on a staff outing to Grenna. Grenna is this cute little town that is credited for being the found of the original polkagrisar.

A birds-eye view of Grenna.

Basically it's a town filled with candy shops. It was fun to walk around, and in most of the shops, you were able to watch them make their candies- which was sweet. (get it? sweet? cause the candy was sweet... and it was sweet to watch?... HA)

I get to hang out with these awesome kids on a daily basis.

After walking the town for a little bit, we went to a lake for lunch, and then went to another town called Jonkoping (pronouced young-shopping) and walked around in the city center. It was a great time to hang out with staff and relax for a little bit!

A waterfall we visted near the lake.

the gents had a rock throwing contest at the lake... of course they would.

The entrance
Then one Sunday after church, a big group of us went to explore this cave close to the school. We took a hike up to the cave and then walked in a single line into it. The water running through the cave was freezing, and I don't even want to know what was living in it. It was super dark in the cave, and I couldent always see the girl in front of me. It was cool. (get it? cool? because the water was cool, and the experience was cool... ahh, nevermind...)

then we came to an opening in the cave, and built a fire and sat around and talked. Good times! (we also painted our faces with charcle... because we felt like cave men.)

Some other things that has happened this month:

Raspberry picking (yummers!)

Tea Parties!

Late night lake swims
(and campfires!)
(and smores!)

ya. living the good life!

But in all seriousness, I am so so so blessed to be able to come up here and go on these adventures, and hang out with these awesome people and just living life. Somedays I can't believe that I'm here, doing these things. Seriously folks, I'M IN SWEDEN... and I often have to reminde myself of that!
I leave here in about 2 months (or if we want to be technical, 1 month and 24 days). I don't even know what to feel about that. There are some days when those numbers are too far away... but then there are other days when I can't figure out how I'm going to fit everything in before I leave.
Part of me is excited to come home and to see everyone again (and my dog... man, I miss that guy), but another part of me is scared to come home. I don't want to go back to living the normal life that I left when coming here. I don't want to be the same person. I want to come back changed... and somedays I feel like I've changed a lot, then others I feel like I've barley changed at all.
I guess we'll just have to see when I get back :)

AND JUST SO YOU KNOW... I'm not always playing around in caves and lakes... but we do actually work up here, and that's been great too! We have a group of about 70 teenagers from Germany here for 2 weeks. It's chaos. But I love it! I love when the day is filled and busy. I guess I work better under pressure.
Well well well. I guess that is all for now.
la revedere.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Oslo oslo oslo oslo oslo.

I had an amazing opportunity to visit Oslo, Norway this past weekend. We left Saturday afternoon and stopped halfway at gotenburg. There is a church there that has connections with Holsby, and we were able to stay in an apartment that the church owns. The church was actually at Holsby a couple of weeks ago, so it was neat to see some familiar faces. They were also having a small worship time which we got to be a part of- and that was neat also. After spending the night there, we drove about 3 hours into Oslo!

Oslo is such a neat city. There were a ton of old buildings, and a ton of modern buildings. There was one road and on the right was all the older architecture, but then on the left side was all these modern looking buildings… super interesting!

While in Oslo we visited the Opera house which looks awesome! It’s built to look like a glacier, and it comes out of the water. You could also walk up onto the roof which was sweet and gave us a good view of the city.

The opera house is also where I fell into the North Sea. We thought it’d be cool to be able to touch the North Sea… so we all go down to the bottom of the building where it comes out of the water. I went down to touch it and slipped on the rock right into the water. Fantastic.

After changing my clothes and making our lunches, we saw the fortress, an armory museum, the palace (where we walked around the little park there), and we just walked around a little bit in the center. We eventually ended up at a park where we made dinner… pasta goodness. We had a little burner with us that we cooked on. It was the perfect meal to end our day!
Tank in the armory museum!

That night we were planning on camping somewhere. The law in Norway is that you have to be 50 kilometers to camp somewhere. So we started driving out of Oslo and eventually (about an hour later), we found a rest stop. We pulled out our sleeping bags and slept under a little picnic table shelter thing. It worked for us! And it luckily didn’t rain that night… it actually got really cold and I ended up sleeping with half my body outside of the sleeping bag!

The next day we went back into Oslo. There’s this famous ski jump and ski museum there that we went to. The museum was pretty sweet, and we got to go to the top of the ski jump. It was so neat to be up there! Unfortunately it was really foggy and rainy that morning, so we were not able to see the whole city from the top… but it was still neat to see the fog rolling over the buildings!

After the ski jump, we went back into town and walked around for about an hour (in the pouring rain) and then started our trip back home.

It was a quick trip, but so awesome! And now I’m able to say that I visited Norway! Yes!!!

Friday, July 6, 2012


Just wanted to pop in and say I'M GOING TO OSLO! There's a group of 5 of us taking a mini adventure to Oslo, Norway starting tomorrow. so stoked!!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Videos from the school year and beyond

Here are some more videos from the school year and a couple from this summer. Yes, this place is awesome.

Germans are crazy. But

This is a group of Swedish Children. They came up during midsommer and sang a couple of Swedish songs!

Some serious talent... also one of the coolest campfires I've ever been to!

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Midsommer in Sweden…
To put it simply: it.was.fantastic.

Holsby hosted a midsummer celebration for the community. We think around 500 people showed up for the event. It was so amazing to see Holsby filled with so many people! The morning started with all the staff and interns preparing for the event. Making sure everything was perfect and ready to roll. We did some last minute cleaning chores, set up games, started preparing the midsommer pole, cut flowers, etc etc… Then around 2:00 guests started coming.

There were pretty dresses, lots of braided hair, and lots of flower headbands. It was beautiful. The celebration included raising the midsommer pole, children coming up and singing some traditional Swedish songs (so cute), dancing around the pole, and a staff member shared the gospel. Even though the morning might have seemed a little chaotic, everything worked out perfectly in the end and everyone was happy!

After the pole rising, the ropes course was open and there were games for the children to play. I was in charge of walking around and filming stuff. I loved that job! I got to see everything that was going on! Later that night there was a BBQ and then clean up! The hospitality team had to clean the pots and pans. There were a lot of pots and pans, and we were all exhausted… but not too exhausted to have a dance party. It was fabulous! My day basically started at 8am and ended at 9pm… so it was a long day!

When we were done cleaning up, some of us girls decided to perform a midsommer Swedish tradition. As the story goes, girls go out and have to pick 7 wildflowers from behind 7 different fences… all without talking. Then that night they put the flowers they picked under their pillow and whoever they dream of during the night is who they will marry.
So, 7 of us got all dressed up and started walking towards some fields near the school. We silently hopped 7 different fences and collected our 7 different flowers… all silently… and it was raining. So please imagine girls silently walking around in the rain trying to step over fences in dresses… yes it was hilarious, but
NOTE: Sweden has this law where you’re allowed to just hop into stranger’s yards. Cool, right?!

After collecting our flowers, we started walking back to our rooms when we realized that the midsommer pole was still up… so we all went and started dancing around in a circle (while it was still raining). Bliss.

Then we watched the second half of the German v. Greece soccer game. I love watching German games with a bunch of Germans. It’s similar to watching a whole bunch of Americans watching their favorite football team… except for a whole lot more serious. Don’t get between the Germans and their soccer!

…. Wow…. So all of that to say. Yesterday was a great great great great great great day!
And a mini report on the fact that I pretty much have 3 months left here… I HAVE 3 MONTHS LEFT HERE. I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about that. The end of this month will mark the half-way point for me. It’s so weird. I feel like I’ve been here for longer than 3 months… but at the same time, each month just fly’s by. I’m not totally sure what to think about it all! But every day I’m loving life up here more and more. The job is great. The people are great. The location is great. I love the fact that each night I go to bed exhausted. It just proves to me that there’s so much to do up here… and I love doing it all!
(One more thing: this past Monday a small group of us went up to Kosta Boda. Kosta Boda is a famous glass blowing factory. It was pretty neat to see them make the glasses and to walk around the factory!)
making a vase
the factory

she's a beaut!

making the flower headbands
a Holsby community
the Midsommer pole

games in the field