In three and a half months, Jordan and I will board a plane back to Slovenia where we'll settle in for the next five years. It will be the longest we've ever stayed in one place. Our lives are lived a little on the transient...Read More
My husband and I spent the last year living in Slovenia. A wonderful, spectacular place filled with the friendliest, sweetest people. This fall we head back for the next five years. Yes, you read that correct.
Here we get the privilege of meeting students and building a campus ministry for the university students of Ljubljana (the capital city where we live).
There are so many aspects about this beautiful...Read More
Nesting. The urge women get to make a house a home; well, that's my personal definition. Since Jordan and I got married, we have lived in four different houses. If you're keeping track, we've been married just over 1.5 years. So while we've mastered the whole moving thing, I haven't been able to go nuts with nesting. I'm so grateful for the lives God has called us to live and wouldn't change them for anything. Given our current situation (i.e. living in Europe), there are little things I do to make our house homey while moving often. Living internationally forced me to be creative again because a lot of the things we acquired back home didn't come with us.
My Pinterest board is filled with ideas I long to follow through on someday. But for now I'll revel in creativity. Here are some of the things I do to make wherever we're living feel homey:
- Coffee mugs. We collect them from wherever we travel and truly just enjoy all things coffee. I brought one of my simple yet favorite mugs from the States. Since being here we've added my three all-time faves to our collection, via LJubljana, Prague + Budapest.
- Blankets. I just love snuggling up with blankets, and my hubby. I'm usually cold and he's usually hot so I cuddle up next to him with the blanket =) They aren't anything extravagant but they make our black leather couch (which came furnished with the apartment) a warmer place.
- Christmas decorations. In season, of course. I picked up a few decorations at a nearby Bauhaus for 20 euros. Then we were given a real little tree from a friend! I threw some wrapping paper on an already-hung picture, used an extra white sheet to dress it up and hung the little ornaments our family sent over. It's not fancy, but it made it feel like Christmas, and added some warmth to our living room.
- Pictures. Ok, I haven't done the best job with this since living overseas because I don't want to invest in a lot of picture frames. But J and I each made the other something as part of our Christmas gifts and those are now hanging on the wall. There's the classy route of taping some on the fridge as well.
- Candles. Oh how we love candles. Jordan, in particular, fancies Yankee Candle's French Vanilla (French Niller, in our home). The aroma and lighting from candles make them a quick, easy addition to any room. We brought two from the States and were sent another one. Thanks, Mom =)
- Baked goods. I love baking, so I always try to have some sort of baked good on hand. After dinner we usually brew some decaf and eat a little snickity. I love these moments. Having food easily available makes it more inviting to be at home because I know there are things to eat or make.
- Cleaning. I am a fanatic about the house being clean. That doesn't mean it always is, but I try hard to keep it that way. My hubs is a dreamboat the way he helps make this a reality. And embraces my OCDness. Having a clear kitchen counter, freshly laundered bedding and spotless bathroom mirror just make me smile.
- Hosting. This is the ultimate one for me. I absolutely love to to host people at our home. What's a clean, well-stocked, candle-lit home without people in it? We had the girls on our team over for brunch one morning and I made the table as pretty as possible with what we had on hand. Having people over for dinner, coffee, games, watching a movie, you name it. It's such a joy for J + me to bless people through our home.
What's your favorite way to make your house homey? Any suggestions for what I can do in addition to the list above?
2012 was an amazing year. It flew by yet was so rich and rewarding. I love seeing how God has grown me over the years and am continually in awe of how deeply He blesses me. Here are
obnoxiously too many a few pictures, they don't even begin to capture it all.
1. My sissy and I bringing in 2012 at Cru's Indy Christmas Conference 2. Went to see Brian Regan live 3. Got a MacBook Air 4. Listened to my hubby give some amazing talks 5. Greek Conference with some incredible people from Ohio U 6. Drove an hour to an Amish bakery with my friend Beth to eat donuts as big as our faces! 7. Went to Panama City Beach, Florida for Cru's Big Break trip and had some hilarious times 8. Got to meet Katie and be a part of her growing in her relationship with God. Miss you, Katie! 9. A beautiful sunset on the beach at PCB, walking by myself praying 10. Hanging out with my BFF from high school, Kristin, and her two precious sons 11. Finding out my father-in-law had a rockin' afro 12.Wearing my wedding dress for fun
13. Hanging out with family 14. Spending time with the amazing team at Ohio U, eating lots of yummy food 15. At Hocking Hills with no one else around, one of my best days with the Lord 16. Trip to Columbus to see our friend Casey, which has to include a trip to Jeni's Ice Cream, my FAV! 17. Spending lots of time with our summer neighbors, my mom-in-law and her fiance 18. My amazing friend Kelly and I along with others trying a bunch of random tricks 19. Ohio U's annual "Pass the Baton" -- all of the Greek guys + gals 20. Baking cupcakes with the McCollister girls! 21. A weekend at Clarion River with some of our best friends, Zac + Katelynn 22. My Grammie coming to visit me at OU for the first time and showing her my sorority house 23. Our Uhaul breaking down on our move -- so commical 24. Celebrating 1 year of marriage with my best friend
25. Trying on wedding dresses with my sis (Neither of us wore either of these dresses, btw) 26. Celebrating the wedding of two of our BFFs, Greg + Marie 27. In another wedding that same weekend of my like-a-sister friend Jenna + her hubby Brandon 28. Checking out Portland, Oregon. Loved it. 29. Greg + Marie visiting us in Akron 30. More time with some of my cousins -- they are a riot 31. Amazing friends Rach + Dave in from Michigan @ the Hall of Fame football game 32. Seeing Chicago for the first time 33. Bachelorette party for my sissy 34. My babe running the Warrior Dash 35. Meeting Jenna, getting to see her love for Jesus grow 36. A night at Sluggers + Putters with my mama, sis + bro-in-law
37. Spending time with my Pops -- love him 38. Going to the All Sons + Daughters' concert (sorry some of you got cut out!) 39. Outerbanks, North Carolina with Jordo's fam 40. My sis, Danni marrying the love of her life, Blake (he's Australian). Perfect Day. 41. Filming a fun video with our team in Slovenia 42. Reuniting with Sandra 43. Being in Prague, Czech Republic the same weekend our friends living in Berlin were there! 44. Continually in awe of the amazing job I have, getting to be a part of students' lives 45. Christmas markets in Budapest, Hungary 46. Staying with the incredible Babione family while in Budapest 47. Watching the guys leapfrog while mooing for my hubs' birthday 48. Enjoying Thanksgiving Day at Bled, Slovenia
49. Getting packages from fam + friends in the States 50. Meeting Veronika, what an awesome girl 51. Watching the city center of Ljubljana be lit up for Christmas 52. Girl's night at my place 53. Meeting Katja + Katarina, hanging out at the Vsak Študent Christmas party 54. Praising God for letting me be a part of this amazing time here in Slovenia
And now we begin making new memories for 2013... stay tuned.
As I'm talking with people here in Slovenia, the question "what are you doing here?" comes up pretty frequently. Well, today's post attempts to answer that by explaining why I'm not here. I'll continue with some wise words from Paul again, from I Corinthians 1:17, via The Message.
God didn't send me to collect a following for myself, but to preach the message of what he has done, collecting a following for him. And he didn't send me to do it with a lot of fancy rhetoric of my own, lest the powerful action at the center -- Christ on the cross -- be trivialized into mere words.
Can I get an amen? Often I get caught up in what people think of me, wanting a
Niki fan club nice group of friends to humbly cheer me on. But if I gain what I think I want, then I miss out on what I'm actually here.
I'm not here because I'm a "super Christian". I'm not here to make me known. I'm not here for a European vacation. I'm not here to do God a favor.
I am here because I once prayed [something like] this to God:
Lord, I'm so done with trying to satisfy this longing inside of me with what this world has to offer. It's a dead-end, life-sucking road that leads to disaster. Change me into the person you want me to be. Give me your heart for the people in this world, let me see others through your eyes. Use me to reach people. Here am I, send me.
I'm here, not just in Slovenia but on this earth in general, because I want my life to be about making Jesus famous. Because I want to tell the world, tell 'em everywhere I go [holla, Lecrae]. And not tell them, as Paul says, with fancy words or Christianese. But just by sticking to the basics.
I'll leave you with the music video for one of my fav songs from my favorite Christian rapper. And no, that's not an oxymoron.
My feet touched the ground in Ljubljana, Slovenia just over a month ago now. Our team of 10 arrived safely and it’s been an easier adjustment than I ever could have hoped for. There are moments I’m sitting in a café, sipping on a bela kava (re: coffee with milk) and forget that I’m actually 4,000+ miles from home. All in all, life here is fairly similar to what it was in the States. But then those differences pop up that make me stop and either: a) laugh b) get frustrated or c) a combination of the two.
A bigger adjustment, for example, has been grocery shopping. In the States I truly LOVED to get groceries. From the drive there listening to music, to the fun of finding new ingredients and fresh foods, it was a life-giving experience for me. Here, however, I have to say it’s more of a refining process than fun one.
Meet my two best friends for the adventure:
Gimi, (pronounced "gimme") as I lovingly call him, helps me get from the local Mercator (store) to home in one piece. An added bonus for him, it allows my hubs to not go. My first trip to the store I forgot that whatever I bought was going to carry out--not to the car, but to the public bus where I’d continue to hold them for the ride home. I
broke down in tears, dramatically throwing the bags on the ground when I got home totally held it together.
Then there’s the other new dimension of language. We are taking Slovene language classes and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Fluency, however, isn’t exactly what I’d call my current status. So when I’m looking for flour, laundry detergent and ground turkey, the Google Translate app comes in quite handy. Albeit prolonging the process.
But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love living here and feel so blessed that my hubs and I get to experience this adventure together.
I can’t tell you what happens after our year here--whether we'll continue ministry in the US, move overseas long-term or do something else all together. But I honestly feel content not knowing. My life is in the best hands possible, and I know my God will continue to direct and lead me where He wants.