The last few days of my last week in France--the weekend I spent in silence at the international monastic community in Taizé, France--changed me. Since then, I have a very different attitude toward prayer, which, resultantly, reforms my entire outlook on life. In the oversight of one of the sisters in residence, I and seven other women decided to spend two and a half days in silence, committing ourselves to devoting three specific hours a day for listening to God through the reading of Scripture. At one point midway through, I broke my silence in order to speak privately with one of the sisters and receive her guidance in processing several of the thoughts and concerns I had been wrestling with both before and throughout the weekend of silence. She was very hard on me, and asked me to examine my decisions and reasons for making them from an approach I had never been willing to consider before. I felt exposed, and yet safe; a bit frightened by what I had learned, yet confident that God's loving faithfulness would guide me through. The entire weekend left me with a powerful sense of the freedom that exists within God's love. I entered silence with so many questions, only to find that the Holy Spirit was already speaking the answers within me.22. The best personal purchase
23. The best new game
My San Diego Zoological Society membership has proven a very valuable asset. Since I purchased it in January, it has provided me with countless hours of entertainment and pleasurable walks. Now that my savings has run out and I can't generally afford to go out, the zoo is a welcome escape from the humdrum patterns of home. Also, with the free guest passes that came with my membership, I've been able to entertain visitors at no extra cost!
Cork stacking. Look out: it's gonna be big.24. The best reunion
This summer, Ashley Jones came home to America. After spending two years living in Indonesia, she has returned to us once again and, in July, came down to Southern California for a full month. I got to surprise her at the airport and spend a couple of days with her and it was wonderful: In-N-Out, Taco King, the works. She has since moved back up to Oregon, which is very sad but still much better than Indonesia, because now at least we are in the same time zone. I still secretly hope that we will one day live in the same city again and have so much fun.25. The best thing I didn't do but will do soon
I started this blog off with a few concrete goals for the year: to write more (check), to get a job (check), and to either start graduate school or set the wheels in motion for me to do so (...um...I'll get back to you on that one). It is still undetermined whether I will be able to attend Fuller Theological Seminary this fall, but, even if I can't afford to do it now, the experience of finally getting my act together and applying has been immensely encouraging in reminding me that, indeed, I can continue my education. Yes, perhaps I've been out of school long enough now that it doesn't feel like the most natural thing in the world, but I can adjust. I can change my life. I can keep moving forward. The possibilities are innumerable.