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…

Where Jesus Lost His Shoes

Lessons in Sicilian: A few weeks ago I was telling a friend I had to leave for a few days to go take some tests at a hospital in a town called Troina. Troina is a rather small and obscure town towards the middle of the island. Another friend standing nearby asked, “where?” My friend…

A Ripe Avocado

August 2nd, 2016: This morning, I was thinking to myself, “Aw, nuts! I probably won’t be able to make guacamole until the end of the year since now is not the time of year for avocados” (avocados are rather uncommon here in Sicily, or so it would seem). Then a friend comes to me this…

Exactly What I Needed

 I just met them earlier this year. A few months after we were first introduced, we were having dinner at the house of some mutual friends when we started discussing what it looks like for each of us personally to live by faith. Earlier that same day, I had a technician come to my house…

“Sicily”

Check out this great 3-minute video featuring a few of the many breathtaking sights and sounds of Sicily.   Sicily from the Cinephotographer on Vimeo.   (Please let me know if you have any problems viewing the movie).

Embracing Tension

Here is the definition of “paradox” according to the Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary: paradox /ˈparədɒks/ noun  : something (such as a situation) that is made up of two opposite things and that seems impossible but is actually true or possible : someone who does two things that seem to be opposite to each other or who has qualities…

My Only Sponsor

Most of my close friends here in Sicily understand that I work for a faith-based, non-profit organization and that my monthly support is provided by “sponsorizzati” or financial supporters. With a few of these friends in particular, I have had multiple conversations regarding sponsorship and how it works. This is a very foreign concept in…

Just Like Dad

“Be imitators of God, as beloved children.” (Ephesians 5:1) They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. As a younger sibling, I used to hear my mother quote this saying quite often to my older sister whenever my sister would get annoyed that I was copying her. But the saying holds true: most…