A Look Back

While I’m working on getting this blog back on a regular schedule, here are some of the most popular posts from the past few years. Whether you’re new or a regular, take a look around – there’s a lot to read! 🙂


Saying Goodbye Well


The Palm Project


My Poppy Story


Bologna Travel Diaries // New Beginnings 

step 5

DIY Sweater


A Different Approach to Valentine’s Day

Photo on 2012-08-15 at 18.55 #5

5 Things: the Culture Shock Edition

It’s been a fun three years on here so far!


Bologna Travel Diaries // Arrivederci

kelsey collage

Four months have gone by way too fast.

It’s been an amazing trip, full of memories, beautiful moments, and crazy experiences.  I have been content here. Life is simple when you only see your family every day. There’s no one to impress and I feel simply free.

Some random snippets of my trip have been:

  • People watching out my window

  • Eating pasta every day.

  • Being with my sister.

  • Chemistry tutoring with my Irish chemist.

  • Enjoying gelato.

  • Volleyball practice with my new friends.

  • Bus rides on Sunday mornings to church.

  • Watching my fave show, “That’s So Raven.”

  • Seeing the ancient beautiful buildings.

  • Learning Italian phrases and over saying them

  • Side trips to London, Paris, Switzerland, Malta, Greece.

  • Seeing the winter snow covering the rooftops.

  • Enjoying the beaches.

  • Spending a day in Venice and Florence.

  • Making my smashbook.

  • Learning to cook.

  • Praying that one student may come to know Christ.


Read the rest of Kelsey’s entries: New Beginnings // Volleyball Memories // Tourists in Our Own Town

Keep up with Kelsey on her personal blog: A Beautiful Purpose . The password is “Kelsey”

Thanks for letting us into your semester in Bologna Kelsey!

Bologna Travel Diaries // Tourists in Our Own Town


Last weekend,  we decided to be tourists in our own city! Most of our time living in Bologna, my parents have been busy with ministry, and Katie and I with non stop homeschooling. So we haven’t gotten to explore as much as I’ve wanted to. But this day made up for it completely.

We walked around our city and discovered adorable streets we had never been on, went to an awesome museum, and ate a picnic lunch.


I absolutely adore Italy. Everything here is so old and beautiful. We went to some really beautiful ancient churches and enjoyed walking around. I never knew how large our  city actually is! We turned a corner and saw so many new and interesting things!


I realized it is SO  important to branch out from your usual streets and sights.

A change of scenery is always good.  Most all streets here are gorgeous, and I loved checking out new stores, and seeing new bakeries and gelato spots. It was cool to be in a different part of town than I’d never seen before. I am so happy to be in Italy, and so sad we only have 3 more weeks here.
It was really fun to try new things in our very own town!
I asked Kelsey to keep us updated on her amazing opportunity to live in Italy this semester through this “Bologna Travel Diaries!” For more on her European adventures, read her personal blog here.

Bologna Travel Diaries // Volleyball Memories


My sister and I have loved playing on an Italian volleyball team! Our teammate Arianna invited us to her birthday party; I was so thrilled to finally have plans! It was last Saturday night, at a community center near the gym. Our dad took us by bus, and hung out nearby while we partied. I was shocked to see boys there; I had just expected it to be the team! But most of her friends were from school, they were so sweet.  I love meeting new people, so we walked around and introduced ourselves.

(“Hi, I am Kelsey” “Kaelsaeeyy?” “Sure. And this is my sister Katie” “Katia?” “Okay, si”) More of our teammates arrived and we hung out with them. The Italian culture is so affectionate; we were greeted with cheek kisses several times.

At the beginning, the party had a middle school dance vibe, the guys on one side by choice and the girls on the other. Then that one couple together in the corner. We pigged out on potato chips till her mom brought the pizza.  My sister, Katie, and I walked around and met all 40 kids in the room. They were sooo welcoming, and their faces lit up when they realized we were from America. Even if we couldn’t really communicate very well, we tried to make conversation in English by talking slow and using small words.


I laughed a lot and I suppose sometimes you can have more fun without talking.  After a meal of pizza on plastic plates, the music started, lights went off, and the disco ball shone. One Direction and Ke$ha songs filled the room. It was crazy to me, how they knew every lyric but had no idea what the words meant. We had fun dancing to the extent of the fist pump. I taught ’em how we get down in America. I  am such a terrible dancer!  Illaria called me “Pazza” (which means crazy in Italian).  Creamy gelato cake was served and they sang the birthday song in Italian. I talked to a girl about Jesus, explaining that I was okay with being single because I have Jesus! She told me, or google translate told me, “I do not love God, but I believe in Him.” It hit me that one cannot love God, if they do not truly know Him. This was the first time I’d shared my faith to our new friends. Please pray that I can be bold!

I had a really good time at this party. It’s so good to just be away from the American culture, where I feel the pressure to be cool, and I always try to please people. The Italian culture is one where Americans are cool and few, facebook stalking is a compliment, and I don’t care what they think because I know I am only here temporarily.


I was myself. This party was probably the first time I didn’t worry about what people thought of me. (I mean we could barely understand each other anyways!)  But it was a beautiful thing. Pure joy, I suppose. The freedom to be me, to actually smile and laugh.

I had such a good night and am happy to have a new memory with my teammates!

I asked Kelsey to keep us updated on her amazing opportunity to live in Italy this semester through this “Bologna Travel Diaries!” For more on her European adventures, read her personal blog here.

Bologna Travel Diaries // New Beginnings


Hey y’all! I’m Kelsey Linnartz! I am from Texas, but my family is living in Italy for 4 months and we are thrilled to spend the spring semester here. It’s amazing! I really like the city we are staying in, Bologna. It has lots of cute shops, good pizza, and the best gelato!


Being overseas has been a major change for all four of us. Homeschooling has been a challenge because I have trouble focusing. In Italy, chemistry is the last thing I want to do! I miss my friends, but I’ll be back soon.


Also, my sister and I recently joined an Italian volleyball team! It’s been so cool to make new friends, and try to understand their English. Our coach only speaks Italian, so practice is always interesting. My parents spend their days in coffee shops talking with Italian college students about life and faith. It’s a slow process (please pray for open hearts).



Last week my mom shared the gospel with a girl who had never EVER heard it before! I realized that is the reason we are here. I’m trying to enjoy every moment, because it is somewhat of a short trip, and, of course, a wonderful experience.


I asked Kelsey to keep us updated on her amazing opportunity to live in Italy this semester so hopefully there will be a few more posts from her in the future in this “Bologna Travel Diaries” series! For more on her European adventures, read her personal blog here.