Monday, December 31, 2012


It's the last day of 2012.

There are so many things to look back on this past year. So many unique experiences. What an eventful year!! I don't want to forget any part of it, so, here are just a few of my significant memories...

Abba's Girls retreat

Israel! (Still can't believe that actually happened)

Finished my third year at BMA.

Tyler and Lara's wedding!!! (Can't believe that happened either!)

Said goodbye to Caleb...he left for college this year.

Yellowstone National Park and Wyoming...such a treat!

Drove for the first time...I'm half-way through driver's ed now. It still seems weird.

Visited colleges with Dad, and celebrated my 18th birthday in Chicago with the whole family. (Huge blessing)

Went on one last class senior trip!


 Patty family here for Christmas...

And today... Dad and I went to visit our neighbors to give them the Bethlehem peace light. It was a great reminder to me of what is really most important. It's not about the things we did, accomplished, or places we went, but it's another year of growing closer to Jesus, our Savior. I'm grateful to Him for this year and everything in it!

Friday, December 28, 2012


This pretty much sums up our Christmas with the Patty's!

(Thank you Caleb for getting these pictures! Happy to have you back as the photographer!)



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas morning

Caleb comes joyfully into my room at 7:30 and whispers that it's Christmas morning. I snap a photo of my window, trying to capture for a moment the simple, wonderful feeling of starting this day. We tiptoe downstairs to find my younger cousins, eagerly awaiting the opening of stockings. We wait for all the Patty kids to come down before exclaiming over chocolates, wire whisks, socks, pocket knives, and various other things found in our stockings from "Santa". She He was especially creative this year. 

This is how my Christmas morning started. It's like this most years, except usually we don't have the privilege of our Patty family from Slovenia visiting us. They just added to the fun with their bubbly laughter, good stories and cinnamon roll making skills (that would be you, Auntie Kristi!).

The morning continued with the same magic, as we read the Christmas story, talked about Jesus, ate a delicious breakfast and leisurely opened thoughtful gifts. It was these little things that made me happiest. We didn't go anywhere. We didn't do anything out of the ordinary. Just being together and celebrating Jesus' birth was the best way to spend Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

This Light

This Light came to our doorstep on Saturday morning.

Our neighbor rang our doorbell, to bring us a very special and meaningful Christmas greeting: a flame from Bethlehem. This flame was lit in Bethlehem by a Palestinian boy, flown to Vienna, and taken by the scouts through Brno, to Ostrava.  (For more on the back story, go here)

Our neighbor, Pavlina had woken up early that morning to take the train to Ostrava to light her flame, so that she, too, could spread the Light to our little town of Frydlant.

It was cold this morning! You can see her breath!
I'd never heard about this tradition before, but it's been going on for years! What a good reminder of why we celebrate Christmas. Thanks to the Light of the World, Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem, we can know the Lord personally, and experience his grace daily. What is our job as Christians then? To be messengers of the Light. To take that flame in our lantern that we received, and share the Light.

My dad often uses an illustration about disciple-making. He has a room full of people, and gives each one of them a candle. He explains how long it would take for one person to light all of these candles if he went one by one. (...a long time) But then, he lights three or four people's candles, and asks them to pass on the flame to their neighbors. The light spreads like wildfire! Before you know it the whole room is full of glowing candles.

It's the same way with sharing the Gospel of Jesus. Sure, we can rely on pastors, evangelists or missionaries to tell people about our Savior, but just think about how long that would take. But if each of us passed on the News that we received to a few people, imagine how many that would impact! Thousands... millions!

Remember the Light you have received, and "pass it on" to your neighbors this year (just like Pavlina). Who knows? Maybe if you talk to just a few people this season, a chain would start that could light your whole town, city, and the world... for Christ!

This is a challenge and goal for me. It's not always easy to be bold, but I am praying that God gives me opportunities to show people His love and mercy, knowing that I don't have to be perfect while doing it! He's the one who will and should be glorified. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


We had a cookie exchange and a Christmas Fusion concert this past weekend. Of course, I was preparing for the concert as well, but I wasn't going to pass up an opportunity to make fun food!

I made some gluten-free chocolate crinkles, tahini oatmeal cookies, and...


Ombre truffles.

It seems that "ombre" (such as this) is all the rage these days, so I thought I'd join in. Well, it's not that extraordinary. But it was lovely anyway!

I used this recipe for vegan, gluten-free truffles that are totally healthy and delicious. I rolled the balls in cocoa powder first, then half-way through I added some powdered sugar to the cocoa powder, and with the last ones I rolled them in pure powdered sugar.

Fun, fun. Christmas cookie making is so happy.

Hopefully I'll post the chocolate crinkle recipe soon...but I have to find the original source, because I can't remember where I found the recipe! Enjoy some truffles until then!

Note: These are best when you freeze them, and then let them warm up for a little bit. (By the time I brought them to church, they were just about perfect)

And of course, I can't forget to add a picture of the Fusion Concert! This was the last song (One Small Child)...notice the lovely candles!

Monday, December 17, 2012

'Tis The Season

What a privilege to take Christmas pictures for this beautiful family! I loved it. It's so fun watching a family interact with each other, and be happy together.

*Plus, this red door is my favorite.*

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Prayer night

"And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him." 1 John 5:14-15

I am so thankful for my school. Yes, there are hard days. Many of them. But the community there makes up for all the difficulties.

BMA is more than just a school. We are a family. We are a Christian (I just almost made a typo...I typed Christmas instead of Christian...tells you what I'm thinking about!) school, but one that is open to everyone. Our principal is a Christian, and a few of our teachers are too, but since BMA is a fairly new school, not even all its staff are believers.

Thanks to this school, I have gotten to see God work in ways I could never have imagined!

This weekend was one of those "God moments". We had our first ever BMA prayer night. We wanted to pray for the whole school, for every student and teacher, and for the future of BMA. A group of students planned the night, and our Christian teachers came too. We weren't even sure if people would come, or if it would happen, but it did. People came. God provided!

It was so powerful seeing 20 or more students praying IN our school, FOR our school. Together. We united under Christ and asked God to move mightily in our school. I trust that He will answer those prayers!!

One of the best parts of the night were our guests. We invited two very special people to share about prayer. They are both BMA alumni, and brothers of two girls who were at the prayer night. First off... Terka's brother, who came with his friend to share about who God is! So good to hear from them.

And the second person? My brother! No, he hasn't flown in yet for the holidays. He is still in Chicago. But he was so sweet and agreed to Skype into our prayer night to share about powerful prayers and fighting in God's battle! Thank you Caleb for your encouraging words! It was comforting to have him "at BMA" again. And praise God for a good internet connection, so we could hear him! I definitely do not take that for granted.

Since the program was until 12 midnight, our principal let us stay the night at the school. Hard floors and sleeping bags aren't my favorite, but Jesus' presence, and sweet dreams made for a surprisingly restful night's sleep!

A little breakfast in the morning, and last time together...

I can't thank God enough for these people, and for how he uses even students to fulfill his plans.

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." - 2 Timothy 4:12

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Getting ready

I realized I never posted any pictures of the finished product from our decorating a while back! I promised I would, so here are at least a couple. I hope your house feels warm and cozy too right now!

'Tis the season to be jolly!

Umm...ok, so Kaylee was decorated too. Maybe we went a little overboard. But as you can see, she was not very excited about the idea. She is not going to be a pretty model for us when we want her to...oh well. She's kind of like a kid in that way...
 (Thanks Mom for this picture of the kitchen!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fusion retreat

How to even slightly capture this past weekend??

Fusion had a three day retreat at the KAM cabins, and what a blessing it was to be a part of it. This group of students is so lively, talented, sweet, and servant-hearted.  They work hard and have fun while doing it!

Next weekend, we have a Christmas concert, so that's what we're working towards. But we had to fit in some games, crafts, and tea time too! And most importantly, these students heard more about Jesus, which is by far the coolest part about the Fusion ministry.

 Breathing exercises! These guys do what it takes!
And what would a weekend retreat be without games in -8 degrees Celsius??
And good ol' Czech tea to round everything off. It was a sweet weekend.