S.U.P.

Every year, around the time of my birthday, I try to make a point to do something on my bucket list.  For example, on my 21st birthday, I went sky diving and for my 25th, I went on a hot air ballon ride. I really don’t like talk without action. I don’t always want to…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Ripe Flowers

Divine decorations: Last week, my sister in California asked if I would be at home Wednesday or Thursday evening of the same week. She said she had a surprise but couldn’t say what it was, only that I needed to be home. I was thinking perhaps my grandparents were coming to visit my sister and…

Not By Chance

Today’s Reminder of God’s Sovereignty: Today I went to Catania to pick up my new visa document. Or at least that was my plan in going to Catania. This document has been ready for several weeks and after two other failed attempts to go to Catania earlier this week, today was going to be the…

A Banana Named Mo

Mo, the family dog of one of my good friends from high school, recently died. Dave and his wife, Julie, acquired Mo almost 10 years ago. The day Mo died, Dave wrote a poignant tribute which he posted on Facebook. In his tribute, Dave shared the story of how he and Julie found Mo. It…

Of Packages & Party Dresses

Does God really care what I wear to my birthday party?  (written August 2015) This last week I turned 33. A week before my birthday, I found myself at a nearby shopping mall looking for a light fixture for my dining room. As I was passing by one clothing store after another, I had the…

From the Kitchen of: Pina Sambataro

PESTO! I love pesto! But much more so, I love my friend Pina who lives just down the street from me. She and her husband own a coffee bar a few blocks from my house. Pina, her husband, Mario, and their whole family have been such a blessing to me. They have been so welcoming,…

Three Pears

Last night we had an unexpected guest for dinner. We had just finished thanking God for providing the delicious food we were about to enjoy when the doorbell rang. The three of us looked at each other quizzically as Stephanie asked, “Are either of you expecting someone?” It was our friend, Renee. Earlier in the…

An Escort Home

What do you get when you aren’t specific enough in the things you ask God for? Four-legged Escorts. A few weeks ago, unavoidable circumstances found me walking home alone late at night. As I started the 15 minute walk home, I began telling Jesus while the security and protection he provides can’t be beat, it sure…