Greece was amazing and beyond words. I wish I could explain to everyone what it was like so that they could understand the greatness there, but I can't!
What I do want to tell everyone about are the sunsets! Every night, no matter how tired and long our days had been, we made sure that we saw the sunset. I am not sure why we did this, but it was just something that we did once and kept doing!
The first sunset I remember really taking in, was our first night in Santorini. We had just felt like we landed in heaven on earth and we were ready to see what adventures we could find! I remember sitting outside our Villa thinking, "how did I become so blessed to be on this beautiful island God created, with an aunt that loves me, and a family that is watching from afar!?"
Several sunsets were watched from restaurant rooftops, one was watched surrounded by everyone else who flocked to the end of Oia to make sure they too checked it off they're bucket lists, one was watched from Little Venice in Mykonos, and one was watched from a windmill and one from our hotel pool!
No matter where we watched the sunset from I knew it was because of God that we were here. We may never know why it was both of us, this year, in these places but it was us, last month, on the islands of Greece!
I will never look at a sunset the same again because God gave me the opportunity to see it different and feel differently!
Throughout our time in Greece, one thing continuously stood out to us . . . the people. Everywhere we went we met warm and friendly people.
I know, I know. They were nice because they were looking for tips, right? I don't think so. It was genuine hospitality. Not only that, I prefer to think these were God's angels around us. You see, we felt God was constantly with us, delighting us in the sites and sounds, tastes and breezes.
It started with a Delta employee. Frankly their check in system is messed up but when we got to the counter to drop off our bags, we were met a kind woman anxious to explain everything and make us feel at ease.
When making arrangements to get to an early morning ferry, the woman behind the desk at the Athen's Gate Hotel immediately offered a boxed breakfast to be waiting for us at the desk.
There was Takis our driver in Santorini who took to calling Shauna, "Princess."
The waiter at the hilltop restaurant Zofra who gave us blankets when it was an unusually cold night for eating outside.
The owner of the cafe who told us about the big "Love" ring on her finger. How she had worn it ever since her mother had died.
The servers at fato a mano in Mykonos Town who genuinely wanted to celebrate with us.
A curious shop keeper also in Mykonos. Somehow talking about traveling led to a whole discussion about child sponsorship programs. We shared our mutual desire to help less fortunate children around the world.
Perhaps the other thing that helped was our attitudes. I found in Shauna a genuine interest in and love for others. When the cab driver, Kostas, in Athens mentioned his son's birthday, she couldn't help but ask him questions about his son's age, what he wanted to eat, what he got him for a present. She made him feel like a person, not just a nameless guy driving us to our hotel. In fact, he came back the next morning at 3:30 am to take us to the airport. He couldn't wait to ask when were planning to come back and visit again.
Due to technical difficulties while away, we weren't able to post this on Father's Day like we hoped but we still wanted to share the love that we have for our fathers:
On this Father's Day, here in Greece, I found it fitting to share what my dad has taught me.
It is because of my father that I am the way I am. And it's because of his father that he was the way he was. And all of their kids will forever be grateful to them for that.
My favorite part of church is the very beginning. As you enter in to the worship center and the lights become dim, the drummer starts to tap the beat, the Praise Team lights up in lights and then the whole church is alive wth the sound of God flowing from their fingers and their mouths.
This has always been my favorite since the day that I truly found God. It was during my weekend at Central Iowa Teens Encounter Christ that I fell in love with worship music. The song was Tenth Avenue North's By Your Side. There was just something about the message of the song that hit me with where I was at, at that point in my life that I connected with. I had lost a sense of who I was and I was also unsure about where I was fitting in. After hearing that God is right by my side, no matter what point in life, I knew that I was led to TEC for a reason...to hear that song. Since that weekend, I've felt God throughout my life.
I've also experienced new songs and messages through Christian music. I am just as excited for a new Christian song as I am for a Country song.
At church, I tend to sit toward the front and it's there that the lead singer alwasy looks at me in the eye (or so I want to believe that she does) and she seems to sing right to me. Now she doesn't know me or what my life is like but it's at those moments that the words of the song hit me!
Listen to some Christian music and let me (Shauna) know what you think!