Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Maybe I'm not so good at this...

So apparently, I'm not as good at blogging as I had hoped I would be. For some reason, in preparing to move to Spain, I assumed that I would have hours upon hours to do nothing, lay in the sun, and blog about life. Although I have had time to consistently appreciate 8 hours of sleep each night, I am afraid that the free time I have gained by not working as much has been taken up with more time studying and actually learning the material for my classes. Stupid school.

If I had taken time to blog, I would have blogged about my entertaining trip to Italy that involved an unexpected $800, over 24 hours on or switching transporation, 5 trains-including a broken one, sketchy hotel and canceled flights at 4 am. I am such a big fan of the volcanic ash-words cannot express. I also would have let you all know about the continued drastic change in my relationship with the Lord, understanding and deeper revelation of what love really means and the frusteration with my annoying tendancy to overpromise and underdeliver in my attempt to make everyone happy. Ahh...someday, I really will learn.

Also, in the last month, I had a lovely visit from my mom...spent some more time in Barcelona, went to Paris, revisited all of the sites in Tarragona, have gotten up to running 11 miles, lost 5 lbs and 100% commited to eating vegitarian again after a feeble attempt to consume poor little animals.

Since I do not have nearly the time it would take to go into such great detail describing all of that, I will instead announce my exciting news! I am officially ATLANTA bound! For some of you, this may not come as a suprise as you already knew it was a possibility, but for those of you who didn't, here's the details... The family I'm working for has had the opportunity to go to the States for a school year (the mother is a professor and will be researching and the father can do most of his job from home and travel for the rest). Because the children are bilingual, but are used to speaking Spanish almost all of the time here, the parents thought it would be good for them to experience a whole year learning/reading/speaking in English, to cement their skills. They are now just waiting on visas!

I was given the chance to end my time with them early, since this was not the original plan, but have decided to continue on to Georgia with them. I've never spent much time in the south, and although do not at all anticipate staying there after my time is up, think it will be another good experience for me. I get along with the family really well and think that the extra time I have been having to study is really good for me. Anticipated graduation date-September 2011!

That being said, there's lots to do. I will be flying back to Iowa the end of this month to see my family before heading to Colorado to pick up a car (since my darling brother has decided he would like to keep mine). The family will be flying to Atlanta the first week of July, looking for a house, and I will be joining them there sometime before August. There really never is a dull moment. I'm looking forward to helping them adapt to life in the US, to being around English speakers (although will still be trying to continue learning Spanish) and to hopefully start making a few more plans for what I'll be doing after my year with the family is up. I've had a few exciting opportunities come up lately and am looking forward to seeing what doors open and what God has in store!

All that being said, life is good and God is great. I am trying to enjoy every last minute I have here and am looking forward to seeing lots of my friends living down south soon! Will try to write more often... ;)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Let me count the ways..

Let me count the ways that God is good and faithful...

This week has been one of the more difficult weeks I have had in awhile. Emotionally, I feel like the Lord has been downloading more into my heart and mind than I thought possible to receive. I listened to a sermon midweek about God being "Yahweh" and "I AM" (can be found at under podcasts from April 24th) and was brought to tears, reminded of God's majesty. To be a part of God's creation and to be honored with the privilege of being able to experience relationship with Him is far beyond anything we could ever hope to deserve.

This week, once again, was a good week for being reminded where my focus is and what the center of my life really should be (cue cheesy, but oh so true song: 'Jesus, be the center, be my source, be my light, Jesus'). All week long I felt that God was reminding me who I was. For the last few years, and especially this last year, I feel like God has been constant in pursuing me with His love, and every day has been a reminder of the abundance of love that He has for me. Lately, I feel like it's been shifting, to who I am. I am a daughter of the most Holy King, I am precious, dearly loved, a warrior, a princess, irreplaceable and unique in the heart of God and my value is found in Him. I am a world changer and have dreams and visions that will come true in His timing and ways. Isn't it crazy how God sees us?

With all of that being said: this week has still been rough. I have been challenged with some of the deepest levels of forgiveness and have been able to see the way that God gives us strength and grace when we need it most. I have been challenged as to where my self worth lies, and for the first time, feel like it's in the right place. My ability to be myself and to not fall apart when people close to me disappoint me has surprised me these last few days, but is just more of a testimony to what the Lord has been walking me through. Yay God!

This weekend I got to go to the south of France and explore a bit of the history there, and loved it. The architecture is so beautiful and detailed and really, who doesn't like looking at castles? The weekend was topped off with a visit to the Barcelona Zoo to see my ever-favorite bears, penguins and giraffes. Perfect! All that I've seen so far has been truly beautiful and I'm looking forward to my trip to Italy next weekend. :)

I'll leave you with my favorite verse God's been speaking to me this week: Psalm 29:11 (the Message): God makes his people strong. God gives his people peace.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

London...all sorts of goodness...

So Spain, is beautiful! Today I was listening to a sermon that Aaron Stern gave at theMill this last Friday and He talked about God being "I AM" and all that He has created. If you have an hour or so, I'd definitely recommend going to New Life Church's website, under theMill, and listening to this sermon! As I was listening to it, I was running on the treadmill, facing the Mediterranean Sea...and was just reminded once again of how big God is and how at times, I lack the fear of the Lord that I should have.

This last weekend I got to go to London! It was beautiful and didn't rain-yay...and it was amazing getting to explore the city. I must brag a bit, and say that I did NOT, in fact, get lost at all. Yay for maps and people that speak English. I have a YWAM friend who has been living there the last few years and I got to spend some time with her, which was wonderful as well. YWAM forever amazes me in the continued connection people seem to have. They're such a big part of who I call family.

This Sunday I also managed to make it to Barcelona and go to an international church there. It felt like it had been so long since I had been around others, worshiping in my own language. The service was beautiful and I spent the day up there hanging out with new friends from all over the world. God is faithful and so good, all of the time!

Homework seems to be sucking more time than I thought possible...I feel like I should have much more time to blog and relax, but between Spanish classes, and the other 18 credits this semester...I feel like my computer is with me most of the time. I feel like I'm finally retaining a bit of what I'm learning though, and that is a blessing in and of itself.

So much to say; I have too many thoughts. That's what I'll leave it at for now! :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Life in Spain..

So it has been awhile since I've last written...the days have been busy and everyone in the house has managed to get sick for the last week except one. :(

Life here has started to settle down. I am starting to feel like I have a regular schedule and am enjoying the extra time I have for school and amazes me how long you can stretch without really having to evaluate your life and where you're at. The amount of knowledge I have gained about myself in the last few weeks is far more than I expected to gain my entire time away. God has really been opening doors!

I was laughing the other day, thinking about how much I love to be around people and have a million things going on and how this last year, by God's gentle nudging or removing for me, how life had begun to slow down a little. I hated every minute of it. Not being busy, allowed time for thinking and realizing things that I didn't want to realize. Not being busy meant that for the first time, in a long time, I could see that I wasn't being who I was, but rather was being who I thought everyone else wanted me to be. The anger and bitterness towards friends reaction to the slow transformation into who I feel I am, built up and damaged most of those already fragile relationships. I felt very torn between being who I feel I am..broken and imperfect as that may be, and being the 'I can conquer the world in a day without anyone's help!' person that I had been trying to be the last few years. In the end, pretending was exhausting, so I opted for the first. My last few months in Colorado felt lonely and I had hit a point where my attempts to push God out, weren't working. I'm so thankful for His persistence.

It's been almost 4 weeks since I left Colorado. Since arriving in Spain, I have been more alone than I have ever been, and more alive than I knew possible. It's like God has reawakened a part of me, that only He knew existed. My anger towards the past and frustration towards myself has slowly started to leave and my resistance to grace and forgiveness has turned into worship and praise for those gifts that I am starting to receive. I'm in the middle of a country, who's language I don't know, familiar faces are few and far between and have more peace and joy than I've ever had. The level of intimacy God gives us, is incomprehensible. Changing my way of thinking and finding the joy in life before seeing the failure is revitalizing.

All in all, life is good and God is even greater. The family here continues to be wonderful. I've got lots of exciting travel coming up and people to visit. School work is busy but easier to understand now that I have more time. I, for the first time, am starting to figure out myself..and am excited for the adventure to continue.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Adventure #1..

For those of you who know will know that although I am a huge fan of making plans. In preparation for moving to Spain however, I am starting to realize that I dropped the ball on a few of those things that should have been accounted for in my 'plan' for moving. For instance, who in the world knew that driving a stick shift two or three times on flat Iowan roads would be different than driving a manual car all of the time, up a great multitude of giant hills, in a foreign country? Apparantly, I overlooked that minor detail and did not put 'practicing how to drive a car like the one I will have to drive all of the time so that I do not look like an idiot when I get there' very high on the priority list. Therefore, I am learning now.

Tuesday night I arrived in Barcelona and was greeted by the family I'm staying with at the airport. They are very sweet and have made me feel right at home! David and Montse both have busy lives and Elaina (11), Olivia (7) and Oscar (almost 2) are all energetic children involved in all sorts of activities as well. I didn't have much jet lag (thanks to sleeping pills and coffee) and have already become fairly accustomed to what my life here will be like. Wednesday, day two, was my first attempt at driving. I drove around the house and only stalled when going up an extremely large hill; I must say I was quite impressed with myself! Thursday again proved to be an ok driving day and I made it out of town for the first time with the car and felt pretty confident in it all. Yesterday however, was a very different story.

The Easter celebration in Tarragona is a very important part of their culture. There is a huge march of the Roman soilders, presenting of the 'mysteries' (a dozen or so parade floats that are kept by each church in town during the year that depict different parts of the Easter story), and at night: a long procession of these floats, church choirs, bands and people marching with candles. I decided that this would be a wonderful time to drive to town myself, try and make friends and figure out my way around the city. After all, it was my third day here...I was sure I knew my way around! ;)

Driving into town...sucked. I stalled on every single hill I was on, provoked much honking and anger from other drivers, almost cried by the last hill and was reminded by the 7 year old in the car that all I had to do was 'push the gas pedal'. As I was sliding backwards down the hill towards the other cars...I was not a big fan of the 'help'. Finally, I made it to the parking garage where I again got stuck trying to put the car into reverse, was helped by a funny little old man who kept trying to explain to me how to do it (I just nodded my head, not understanding a thing he said) and finally reassured by David (the father of the family) that everything was ok and that I would get better with practice.

We walked around for a bit and saw part of the Good Friday celebration and then the family left me with a parking ticket (that I didn't know what to do with), the car keys (nevermind that I had no idea where I was parked), a map (not that I had any idea where I was) and my cell phone (thank you Jesus for cell phones). I walked around for a bit, prayed that I would meet someone that spoke English and strategically placed myself next to some people that looked close to my age.

How do you make friends in a foreign country when you don't speak the language? Well, let me tell you!
Step 1: place yourself near people that look like they may speak English and/or be close to your age that don't look too scary
Step 2: hope that they notice you and decide that they should be your friend
Step 3: when that doesn't actually work, pull out your very large map and look confused (inevitably, they will then feel obligated to say something)
Step 4: when spoken to in words you don't understand, keep a blank look on your face and say 'English'?
Step 5: thank God that they do understand English, maintain broken spanish/english conversation for four hours and exchange numbers


So now, I have friends! We can't understand each other much but they are going to help me learn Spanish and I am going to help them learn English. They also helped my find the parking lot that my car was in (which I would have never found) and figure out what to do with the parking ticket (which I also would have never figured out). To top off the night, I couldn't figure out how to release the parking break (again, you would think this would be common sense) so ended up calling David at 2 AM to come get me. He got in the car, released the break with no problem and I drove it home (no killing it that time!!). Perfect way to top off the night, haha.

All in all, I am learning and loving every bit of it so far. By the end of this, maual cars will be no problem at all and I will understand Spanish much better! I am loving the time that I have to do homework and spend good quiet times with God and adore being just a few steps away from the beach. I also am a big fan of the espresso machine in the kitchen that supplies my with the daily 3+ cups of coffee I require eah day. :) I'm looking forward to next week when my schedule becomes more consistant and I have had a little more practice with the car!

Hope you all enjoyed my first adventure...will write more soon!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A day away from the plane!

In my head, I think that I thought that being home in Iowa for a week would be filled with lovely relaxing days, sleeping in, catching up with old friends and a little bit of homework. Unfortenetly, this has yet to be the case. So far, I have spent days trying to pay bills, figure out insurance, time at the DMV and doing far more homework than I had realized I had. I still have much more to do and am leaving tomorrow! :) Some days humbly remind me that I cannot conquer the world in a day.

My personal life has felt like a whirlwind lately as well. I have been very emotional and moody as I am trying to get ready to completely change my life and what I'm doing. I have been continually reminded of all that God wants to do in my life and have been stretched in letting things go and releasing things back into HIS control and out of mine. I am done being scared and making excuses and am ready to kick into gear and accept the grace and forgiveness he gives. First steps began today and I've had lots of 'face' time crying out to the Lord for forgiveness, mercy and grace. How good is the God that we serve? I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be loved by the one and only Yahweh!

Tomorrow my plane leaves mid-afternoon and after a lovely 11 hours in the air, I will be in Spain! I'm so excited to officially meet the family I will be staying with, get settled in, hopefully completely bypass jet lag, unpack, and go to the beach! I feel like the Lord has said that my time to rest is nearing and to continually rest in Him through my last day or two of chaos.

Pray for a safe flight, the ability to transition (countries and everything going on in my heart) and for the next day to be productive!

Love you all,

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The beginning...

I, Sarah Palmer, am now an official 'blogger'. The purpose of this blog is to be able to keep in touch and update my friends all over the world as I embark on a new journey to Spain, but really, I have wanted to do this for quite some time now.

Words have always been a favorite of mine. You cannot communicate everything that is inside of your heart but words allow you to begin to express the desires and passion that stirs inside of you. I often call this 'verbally throwing up'. For those of you who know me well, you know I do this quite often. I am quite the external processor. :)

Over the last few years I have spent in Colorado, I have learned more about myself than I had ever thought possible in such a short season of time. I have learned that I am wonderful at bottling things up, running away from problems and trying to make everyone else in the world happy but myself. I have learned that I barely know who I am because I've been too concerned about who everyone else thinks I should be. After a few years of continually coming to the same realization, I think I may have finally gotten it!

I am ready to be who God has made me to be and finally content with where I am at. Spain will be a time for finishing school, exploring new countries and most importantly, discovering who I am and becoming ok with having a little bit of rest in my life. I am ready to live life contently, with no expectations-to be ready for anything, remain positive more often than pesimistic and to take life as it comes. For all of you who will follow this and read what I have to say...I can't promise to be witty and a phenomenal writer...but I can promise you my everlasting sarcasm and inevitable ability to find myself in comical situations. Really....who needs more than that? ;)