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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9

April 8, 2017

Not another attack!! Continue scrolling...

It has come to my attention that we are getting too used to the violence and evil that this world has come under. 

The cars plunging into crowds, and the fear of where it is going to happen next. The citizens being killed because of a war that has gone on for way too long. The citizens starving to death in East Africa because of food shortages. The women and men who go through hell everyday, here, in our own cities and towns, because of human trafficking, discrimination and/or abuse. Why are we not crying every time we see these horrific ordeals?

If there is something that I can do to bring justice to those who are put through hell, I will do it. Would you not do the same?

But is there anything we can DO to stop all this stuff?

I strongly believe that there is, and I hope that after reading this you will believe that there is too.

Have you ever wondered why there is evil in this world? Why do some people love violence, and other people detest it?

Just here me out here:

I believe that there is a Creator of the world who gave us the perfect set of emotions: to feel love and compassion. But then evil entered this world when one of the Creator's helpers decided that he did not want to be loving and compassionate anymore. And so the Creator had no choice but to send his friend out of the perfect heaven so that the evil would not spread. However, the evil came down to earth touched the first humans of the world. And so evil entered the world. It then continued to spread to more and more humans like a plague. 

The Creator gave us all freedom to choose our own paths in life: whether it would be to love or to hate, to follow evil or follow love. He loved humans so much that He did not want to dictate how humans should live. He wants humans to find the path to life for themselves. But many humans have chosen the path to death and hatred. 

Now you might ask: If the Creator of the world gave humans the freedom of choice, why would He not tell those people who have chosen to live evil lives by killing people for pleasure that it is not right?

Good question!!

Would humans really listen to someone telling them that they were not supposed to be committing evil crimes? I think they would be far to deep into their own emotions to hear any reason.

So now you are probably thinking: Is there any hope to bring love and compassion to the people who have chosen evil?

Yes, the greatest news EVER is that there is hope!!

The Creator wants us to let him know that we will not allow the evil to corrupt this world!! And to do this we need to talk to Him, like we would to a friend or family member to show them that we care. We need to let Him know that we are standing as a united barricade against this evil. We need to start crying and showing that we care about bringing love and compassion back to this world!!

United we will stand up for love and compassion.

The Creator of this world is called God, and the way that we communicate to Him is through praying. To pray you stop what you are doing, focus your attention on God, and pour out your heart to Him. You don't need to clasp you hands, or close you eyes, or even be your knees. God is everywhere, and He is always listening and waiting for you to talk to Him.

Will you pray with me to God for love and compassion to fill the evil in the world?

Laura

March 14, 2017

~ My awesome flatmates ~

13 March 2017 

From front left: Sophie, Jennifer, me, Caroline, Sixian and Pamela. 

I truly dont have words to describe the awesomeness that is my flatmates. They are, beyond a doubt, the most kind and warm people. And so how could I not have learnt from them? Here is a list of things I have learnt so far:

To begin with, I learnt to be patient. haha.

Patient because my natural personality is to be FAST, FAST, FAST, and have a hectic schedule that means I have little leeway for side tracking. I mean, I am still like that, but I have learnt to relax more with these people. Honestly, the best thing that I could learn right now is relaxation!! Being a student and all...

Relaxation with our daily pilates in the kitchen
And in a field. 
I learnt to have friends that love you for you. And this is how friends should be. They are there for you when you need help, and vice versa. For example, I am naturally good (I would say) at giving, but not so much at receiving, and so when I was sick and I was determined to keep going, Pamela brought me down to earth and told me to stay in bed. She even said that she would walk into town and get groceries from the shop for me!! How amazing is that? It makes such a difference when I allow myself to receive sometimes ;) 

Here are some things that I love, and that my flatmates have been been there to help me:
Love for baking <3 Pamela decides here that she loves the camera more than my informative recipe instructions ;)
Tea in the kitchen <3 My flatmates help me finish my large teapot of tea :) 
Love for adventure <3 
I learnt to love in a way I have rarely allowed myself to love before. Love as a colour has such a large array of different shades. I have definitely learnt to be more openly loving. Something that has been hard for me to achieve (and is still).

Loving someone as cute as Sophie is definitely a challenge ;) 
I mean, how can you not?
I have learnt to listen even more.

Never underestimate the power of listening!! When you look at us, we look like we have no problems, but trust me when you take time to listen more you realise that we are no where near perfect. And that makes living our lives just that bit easier ;)

Listening to Sophie's instructions was sound, but actually doing them was much harder ;)
I have learnt to delegate.

I know many people have hinted at me to delegate, but there is nothing quite like learning through practice. Now is there?

For instance, during the surprise birthday bake session for Jennifer, Caroline and Allan (written about in my other blog: The Baking Students), I wrote up a timetable of what baking, and when we would start and finish each component, during the day. I also posted it online so that everyone helping could see it. Now, I thought I had all the baking covered. I started baking, and realised that things take longer than you plan. NOW, if people had not come up to me and asked to help I dont think we would have got everything done. And I thank my flatmates so much for teaching me the art of delegating!!!

Caroline helped so much with the baking <3
Awesome volunteers to help out!!
Team effort in the Pizza Bake Off!! Sophie ran to Tesco to get the ingredients in record time, Caroline made the pizza sauce and ran after us with the much needed basil, while Jennifer and I made the dough. 
I have learnt what a family of students feels like.

Why is Sophie in a field? ;) Because of me!! haha :D
And I sure do love it!! ;)

Now you are uptodate,

Laura

xoxo

January 3, 2017

December Tallinn Trip

26-28 December

I think this was actually a trip that would be like a break away from a break ;) If you know what I mean. It was so much work getting gifts wrapped, food baked and gift tags made for Christmas Eve that I was more than ready to just relax for a while ;)

So my parents, my brother and I headed from our home in Helsinki to the terminal where we would catch the boat to Tallinn via bus and tram. When we got off the tram, a student from Singapore asked us for directions, and so we took him with us onto the boat. You know, just to make sure he made it ;)

There is a long way to walk from where the terminal is to the boat, and so it was very surprising for the Singaporean guy to comprehend when he actually got on the boat. I don't really know what he was expecting as a boat, just not what he saw ;)

After we said goodbye we headed to our usual spot onboard to get a seat. The boat wasn't that busy, so it was very easy to snatch up one of the four-seater tables. We then promptly started on one of Harri's games :D

After 2 and a half hours spent on playing games, and the swaying of the boat from such huge waves, we were excited to finally get off the boat and go for a walk on solid ground.

Here we all are in front of the entrance to our apartment
Our favourite cafe in Tallinn: The Peppersack :) And not just because it is super cheap ...
But look at that architecture!!
The gates of the old town
A busker outside a shopping centre
Gates of the old town
All of us in the Christmas markets
The Christmas markets were full of huts selling woollen things to wear, like beanies and mittens, and huts selling glogi (mulled wine). I tried a blueberry glogi, which was lovely, sweet and fruity.

Harri got lots of games this Christmas, and so we just had to try them out. The first game we played in our apartment was called "Ticket to Ride". The instructions were quite long, so on one of our car journeys Harri and I read it out to each other to make sure we understood it ;)

Ticket to Ride game. I won the first time we ever played it (I was yellow) :D
Our apartment. It was so cute and comfy :x Definitely recommend  it!!
Peak-a-boo. Walking on the Tallinn gates that go all around the old town
Lunch at the Peppersack. Interesting Fact: Apparently spice traders were teasingly called "Peppersacks" in the old days. One wealthy spice trader quite liked the name "Peppersack", so when he bought this place he named it in commemoration of the name. 
This was now the last day that we had in Tallinn, so we decided after eating lunch to go for a walk to the nearest shopping centre for mum to, hopefully, find a bag. But no such luck. So then I suggested we go to a shopping mall area. But instead of mum's bag, I found a jumper. haha.

Lovely winter decorations
We then had to stop to get a chai latte, since they are cheaper in Tallinn than Helsinki, and we all love chai latte :D Interesting Fact: Alcohol is also much cheaper in Tallinn, so that is why so many Finns take back hordes of beer ect. on the boat to Helsinki.

My chai latte <3 
This was a very successful trip to Tallinn in my eyes, although mum was quite annoyed that she didn't find a bag (might I add that it has been a year since she started looking).

Now you are uptodate,

Laura 

xoxo

December 29, 2016

Day 5 - Ballycotton Cliffs

5th August

The mist had settled all around us, distancing us from the amazing views that would take our breath away. Well, it didn't work. I still was amazed at the breathtaking views infront of me: at the strength  of the waves lashing out against the rocks, at the narrow green path I was standing on, and at the cows lying down in the paddock next to me enjoying the luxury of living in Co. Cork. It was amazing!!

I had told Danielle that I would like to go see some cliffs, as the Irish cliffs are meant to be awesome drop-off cliffs, and so she suggested today to go to the Ballycotton cliffs.

In the morning we played some more SkipBo, in which Danielle's mum just kept winning (and I won some ;)). Danielle's brother was very insistent that the shuffled cards must some how be rigged in either one of our favours each time. It was funny then when he continuously got the cards he needed ;)

After eating a lovely lunch, we set off for the cliffs. Danielle was driving, and she was very good at it!! She knew exactly when to wind in and out of the roads to avoid bends, and when to speed up or slow down. It was like being on a really fun rollercoaster!! :D hehe.

The fog by this point was mixed with rain, and so it was super difficult to see the sea down below the cliffs. You might be able to see if if you look really carefully. 
Danielle, guiding the way 
Saying hello to some Irish cows (who had the most amazing view on the cliff!!)

We then went back to Danielle's place and she went to work. 

Now you are uptodate,

Laura 

xoxo

August 16, 2016

Day 4 - Castle Mary

 4th August 

It was as if we had taken a step back in time. As if we had arrived at a grand hotel in the midst of all this greenery, where time stands still and Louis Armstrong and his gang play live music to the beat of a bouncy dance routine. I could just about imagine handing my bag to a concierge, and being led to my double room with an open fireplace and ensuite bathroom. Only time will tell if this will be a reality, and not a dream of times past ...

We woke up to the sun shining in to Danielle and my double rooms. As we both sat at the morning table, and ate our breakfasts (Danielle had cereal and I had my usual: poached egg on toast with tea), we discussed what we would do today.

Would we do anything? We could just sit and talk ...

We went outside into Danielle's large garden to do some more thinking.

Awesome rope swing in their garden, nearby the "bus stop" which is the covered area to my right where you can sit and read peacefully :)
It was spectacular!!
I then had the opportunity to play my favourite card game called "SkipBo" with Danielle, her mum and brother. They were all very competitive ;)

Who won again? I think it was Caroline, Danielle's mum ;)

After some further thinking and brainstorming, we decided to bake some scones to take with us as a picnic afternoon tea at a nearby ruined Castle Mary. I thought that sounded so enchanting, and Danielle had made huge plans to renovate this ruined castle in her future, so I was all for going!!

We then made the scones, one batch with orange peel (as I had been inspired from my bike ride with Caroline talking with Ursula), and the other half plain. The original is always so good!

We put them in the oven, and cleaned up after ourselves. We are VERY good girls ;)

After 15 minutes we opened the oven, took them out, and laid them to rest. We couldn't resist taking one to try, and I shared an orange peel scone with Caroline, which was heavenly all warm from the oven!!

Danielle's mum had to leave to the shops to get some ingredients for lunch, so Danielle and I amused ourselves for a while. We were getting quite hungry by this stage, so we decided to taste test a plain scone this time. We had half each, with butter, cream and jam.

It was like biting into a crunchy cloud!!

After lunch, and packing our back packs with scones, jam, cream, butter, tea, milk and a thermos (I contributed by packing the milk in my small backpack ;), we began our walk.

Beginnings of our journey!!
Passing a field of cows
Descending into the castle 
It was full of ferns, so it was difficult to wind our way through the mazed walls 
The amazing doorway!! You can still see the lovely features
It was a huge castle!! It would have had around 4 floors!! 
Lush ferns
Amazing features of the doorway and windows

We then thought it was time to have our picnic, so I suggested getting up onto one of the high windowsills to eat our scones. 

Here I am after getting up on the windowsill ;) We were looking into a room, possibly a lounge room, where you could see the remains of a fireplace.
Danielle came up with the amazing idea to use a pen that I had in my bag as a knife, as we completely forgot one!! We wrapped it in cling film, as she does at work when creating a frozen vase, and wahlaa!!
My scone all dressed up, and tea in the background ;) We had also forgotten mugs as well. haha
This is the view we were looking out on from the windowsill where we ate afternoon tea
I had to take a photo of Danielle here, because it is her dream to renovate this castle in her future. Never know how much this photo might be worth the it is all renovated ;) 
Here I am below the windowsill we had eaten on. As you can see, it was quite high up!!
After finishing our meal, and packing up, Danielle took the car, which Caroline drove to us, to work. Caroline and I then walked back to their house through some lovely paddocks.

The road we took 
Amazing views over County Cork

I increasingly felt inspired to paint these rolling hills, but alas, I cannot paint :( Perhaps you can? ;) 
 We then arrived back home, and we had a lovely afternoon of not doing much ;) When Danielle's dad got home from work, Caroline, Michael and I all had tea in the bus stop in the garden, which I showed to you previously.

We then decided that, because it was high tide for a couple of hours, we should go sailing.

The amazing sailing boat we went on. Danielle's parents knew the people who owned this boat, and can use it when they are not using it :) 
It was very fun!! I did get wet, from the water splashing up onto the seats, but that is all part of the experience :) 
Michael steering the sails. He told us what to do with the front sail, and when to change sides of the boat. 
We went to the other side of the water body, and then sailed back again. It was quite gusty in the area which was shielded by trees, so it was difficult to predict the wind's direction.

When we got back to where we parked our car, Caroline and I had to get out of the boat to wait for Michael to dock the boat, and when I was walking in the water to get back to shore I fell into the water ;) There was a small drop off in the seabed, and so my jeans got soaked!! Thinking back, that could have been where I got my cold that I now have ... ;)

When I got back I googled Castle Mary, and this is what it looks like from above. 
This is Castle Mary in 1785, when it was built. It was burnt down in 1920. 
If you want to know more about the Castle, click the caption of the sketch above.

Now you are uptodate,

Laura xoxo

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