Butterflies and Blackberries

I am currently in Bobbio Pellice for our annual all-european summer staff conference. Never heard of Bobbio Pellice? Well… “It’s where Jesus lost his shoes.” This is my first time to this corner of Italy and it is absolutely stunning here. The weather has been great, the time connecting with friends and colleagues refreshing. This…

Hesitation

Recently I hesitated… it’s one thing to hesitate when you are pulling out into traffic or in deciding whether or not to make a big purchase but this was different… It was lunchtime on a holiday and the small town I live in felt like a ghost town. I had gone for a walk and…

Church Buildings

I don’t know why but some of my greatest epiphanies come while I am in the shower. Today’s epiphany? There are no such things as church buildings… or at least there were never meant to be. Yes, tens of thousands of buildings in the world are referred to as church buildings; they are dedicated places…

Stuff

I just returned from a trip to Portugal a few days ago. Three days ago, to be exact. It was a great trip on the whole. I really enjoyed those I met there for the first time while also reconnecting with colleagues who I’ve met at previous conferences. Alan and Deborah Hirsch were the keynote speakers and…

From The Kitchen Of: Felicita Fichera

The first time I tried my friend’s homemade Sicilian pesto was about a year ago and I have been wanting to share it with you here ever since. It’s super easy and incredibly delicious, just be sure to use fresh, good quality ingredients. Fresh ricotta cheese is a very common ingredient here. You can find…

Guilt and Grace

The following second-hand banana story was written by my mom, Monica Burney. As she says, this story is a great reminder of how much God loves to bless His children and for me, it is also a fresh reminder that: guilt and grace are like water and oil. They don’t mix.   Satan loves to…

Epiphany

epiphany ɪˈpɪf(ə)ni,ɛ-/ noun the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12). a moment of sudden and great revelation or realization.   Today is a holiday in Italy. It is Epiphany or “Epifania,” the celebration of the wise men coming to worship the Christ-child. Sometimes I can be really slow…

A Team Effort

My recent trip to the States was a team effort to say the least. Two of the star players were my older sister and my very dear family-friend, Michelle Ule who wrote the blog post below. Between rides to the airports, taking me to see my grandparents, hosting an open house, orchestrating gatherings with friends…

How Santa Is Like Jesus

Years ago, while listening to some classic Christmas songs, the thought occurred to me that Santa and Jesus have a lot in common. I was listening to songs like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Here Comes Santa Claus.” I grew up learning about Santa from songs like these and from watching classics Christmastime…

Secrets & Surprises

I’ve been keeping a secret. I have known for over 5 months now that I would be coming to California this November. Back in the spring of this year, Jesus had been gently but persistently suggesting to a friend of mine that they pay for a plane ticket to California for me. While I know…

The Usefulness of Pain

Recently my surrogate Sicilian dad, Mario, was taken to the hospital due to severe chest pain. He spent the night in the hospital but was released the next morning when the chest pain subsided. No immediate conclusions were drawn from whatever tests may have been performed during the night. Fast forward almost two weeks. I…

Friendship & Forgiveness

The following is ripe banana story written by my amazing mom, Monica Burney. I think this is a story most everyone can relate to. We’ve all hurt and been hurt by those dear people in our lives we’ve opened our hearts to and call friends. Thanks mom, for being such a great role model of…