Check out my other blog: Arugula Addict! I'll be writing about my journey to becoming a healthier person.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What are YOU Thankful for?

A friend sent out an e-update with pictures of her and her cute little family today and as I enjoyed the pictures of her two boys and read her positive email filled with God's blessings, a quiet thought came to mind. "What have you been blessed with?"

It isn't always the big things that stick out as blessings. Sometimes the little things are the ones that make you the happiest. Here are a few of my blessings from today:

  • My allergies weren't bothering me tonight
  • My mom bought me fresh asparagus and strawberries from Walmart
  • I walked 4 rounds (2 loops)
  • I have air conditioning in my apartment
  • The project I'm working on at work is coming together very nicely
  • Tomorrow is Thursday!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fly On

Sometimes, it's the little things in life that make you happy. Like a cold chocolate Silk waiting for you in the fridge. Or the mystery ingredients for tomorrow's lunch coming together with lasagna noodles to make a delicious meal. Or that spreadsheet for work finally making perfect sense after weeks of effort.

Tonight, it was a fly, a flashlight, and an open door.

I've been working out of home for the past couple of days because of the renovations going on in my office, including a very strong smell of paint. My work extension actually rings in my place, but I still have to run out onto the sidewalk so I can get a clear signal! Most times I close my door, but this time I forgot and a huge nasty black fly managed to sneak in. For the rest of the afternoon that fly continued to buzz about in irritating circles.

After preparing dinner for tomorrow and doing some laundry at my mom's place, I came back to my house, sat down to finish my disc of Project Runway Season 4, and then the nasty fly started to circle again. When it decided to land on my shoulder, I got upset. Flies are disgusting and dirty creatures and I did not want one hanging out with me! Then I had the most brilliant idea.

I turned off all my lights and held my mini flashlight, turned to its brightest, against the white wall of my front door. After about 30 seconds, just when I was about to give up (I have a very short attention span!), the fly flew right into my circle of light. Keeping the light focused on the door, I opened the door slowly to reveal my porch light shining brightly. On the second circle-around, the fly flew right out the door into the night light. I shut the door to a fly-free home.


Friday, June 18, 2010

29 and 365 days

Yesterday I turned 30. That's right, the big three-oh. And for some strange reason I am not doing too well with this particular birthday. Growing up, birthdays were always exciting for me. I looked forward to the gifts, the cake, the party, spending time with family and friends and feeling special. Even as I grew older and the pizzaz of the day wasn't quite as sparkling, I still looked with eager anticipation to the morning when I would wake up and be a whole year older. It was almost as if I was waiting for something to happen and I just knew it was going to happen that year.

Well, this year it happened all-right. I woke up and realized I had left my twenties. The carefree days were forever gone. I was now entering an entirely different decade with serious responsibilities and depressing life mile markers. Somehow I don't think turning 40 is as difficult as turning 30, but I could be wrong. I haven't reached 40 yet! Check back in 10 years from now and see how I'm doing!

When I thought about it, age 30 was a significant age in Bible times. Upon doing a search, I discovered some interesting things about people who turned 30 and took on some serious responsibilities.

God is able to do amazing things with those who are willing to be used by Him. Yet each of these went through difficult times first. Joseph's brothers hated him and he worked as a slave in a foreign country. Saul was looking for his father's lost donkeys and when it came time to annoint him king, he was hiding in the baggage, afraid to face everyone. David was busy fighting lions and bears as a humble shepherd or dodging Saul's spear as he played the harp to calm Saul's soul. Jesus lived quietly tucked away in a little village, getting separated from his parents at the Passover Feast, and working as a carpenter while He waited for His time to come.

In this new year as I face yet more unknowns, one thing is sure. God has a plan, not just for me, but for everyone who follows Him. And that plan is one we cannot even begin to imagine, but I believe He places a desire for that plan in our hearts so that when He brings us face to face with our dreams, we will know we are in His will and we will move forward.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Constant Change

I'm back home again, after three weeks of well-earned vacation during which I was able to get a good brain-rest. Now I'm trying to catch up on sleep and blogging (not simultaneously!) while listening to a Women of Faith Worship CD that I won. When I've listened to it about 50 times, I'll write a proper blog about it. For tonight, I'm just scribbling, getting back into the groove of writing regularly again, and hoping I won't have any spam comments. Somehow my blog seems to have found its way onto some list of Asian spammers and I'm not too happy about it. Thankfully, I can regulate comments to some extent, but it is frustrating to keep on rejecting comments!

The older I become, the more I realize that nothing is certain except for change. Learning to live with an understanding that can embrace this knowledge is perhaps the biggest challenge of my life. I understand there has to be change, it is part of the process of what we call life, but does it have to be as constant as it has been lately? I'm not exactly sure.

My grandparents are retired and live in a little apartment where they've lived for the past 16 years. They are growing older and some of the things they used to be able to do, they can't do anymore. My Opa used to bike to an apple farm to buy organic apples. Once I rode with him and could barely make it to the farm where I was relieved for a few moments rest before I had to climb back on that bike with a weary seat and jelly legs and attempt the return ride home. My Opa is 58 years older than me and this happened several years ago when I was in my mid-twenties! Now, if he is going for a long walk, he has to take his sturdy walker along to guide his unsteady footsteps over uneven cobbled ground. His body isn't as strong as it used to be. My Oma still has a quick step, but she too now uses a walker to go shopping and help carry the vegetables she buys at the farmer's market on Thursdays.

Life has changed for my grandparents over time, shrinking their world and increasing the time it takes for them to do simple things like prepare a meal or do household tasks. They are more careful now and are grateful for each day they have together. Yet in the midst of the change, which came gradually and did not throw itself like a hurricane across their path like change has shouted in my face, they have continued to enjoy the constancy of life. They still live in the same apartment, use the same placemats at the table, shop in the same health food store, greet the same neighbours, go to the same church, eat the same homemade whole-wheat bread, and check their mailbox once a day. Their son and his family visit every few weeks and their daughter calls every Sunday to chat.

It is this constancy that comforts my soul whenever I come to visit. Unfortunately fate did not smile kindly on me and I grew up without grandparents around to enrich my life. It was one of the sacrifices required of missionaries who got furlough every two years—a summer spent with cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents—a summer spent getting to know strangers all over again. I always envied those who had extended family living nearby, maybe grandparents just down the street or an aunt and uncle and cousins in the next town over. We had to make do with family who were not related to us genetically but God always blessed us with very special substitute family.

I've seen my grandparents 4 times in the past 12 years. It makes me sad when I think about it and I wish, now, that I had been able to spend more time with them. As they age and become more frail, I wish I lived nearby so I could help them more. I wish I had learned to speak their language so we wouldn't be separated by yet another barrier. I wish I had grown up close by so we would have shared history that encompassed more than pictures on a CD every two years and pictures sent through the mail so they could share the highlights of our lives. They weren't able to attend high school and college graduations, they missed my brother's baptism, and we were rarely able to share birthdays together. We never spent a Christmas together.

In the midst of the deep sadness of time escaping as it always does, I continue to ponder the thought of consistency. The lack of or need to change. My Oma and Opa haven't changed for as long as I can remember. It is only when I look at pictures that I realize they  have gotten older, for in my mind they still look the same. When I visit, I know we will eat from the china plates with the flowers around the border, with the gray plates saved for when the dishwasher is starting to get full and all the china is dirty. I know we will wash the dishes in a green plastic bucket and that there is a sponge and soap stored inside that bucket under the sink. I know there is a special wooden spoon and cutting board for the onions because they have such a strong scent. I know which path we will walk on Sabbath afternoon as we pass through the park and see the water fountains with the frog design. I know that Opa will press the floor button and then immediately afterwards he'll press the "door close" button in the elevator as soon as everyone is in. I know that we will watch Little House on the Prairie and that the news comes on at 8. I know that when visitors or family come to visit, we will drink grape juice and eat nuts and cookies and other treats. I know Oma will have bought vla (custard) and Tartex from the health food store even before I come because she knows those are my favourite foods.

And me? There are very few knowns in my life right now. Change continues to press urgently and I have no say in the matter. I am invited to accept the change but never welcome to seek consistency. As someone who has spent the past 12 years in a holding pattern, waiting for life to settle down, it is difficult to wait longer.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Savouring the Moments

Oh dear, here I was thinking I was going to have all kinds of time while on holiday to write and blog and I find myself facing my last day of laziness and realizing my last blog was over a week ago! I guess my mind has been on vacation as well!!!

It is important to take a break every now and then, you know. Even if you're not busily rushing about "doing stuff" during that time, it is still important to relax, sleep in a little, spend a whole day doing absolutely nothing; to write or do something that expresses the creative side of you. As women, we tend to focus on the things we need to get done, always feeling guilty every time we snatch a few minutes to sit down, turn on the telly, and watch Judge Judy give some con artist a raking-over as we cheer on justice and all that. If we find ourselves with a couple of hours with nothing on our to-do-list, no appointments to rush off to, nothing that needs to be cleaned or tidied or mended or put away, then we feel guilty because we feel like we should be finding something we have to do. It's an endless rush of busyness!

I think it is vitally important to our wellbeing that, as women, we are as eager to take some time in our week to care for ourselves as we are to care for others. Everyone has a different way of doing it, maybe taking a long walk, writing or scrapbooking or baking a cake, or lighting candles and reading a good book while curled up with a mug of herbal tea. Even if it is 5 minutes in the morning to sit quietly and commune with God, that time we indulge in just for ourselves is worth every moment. It will infuse our souls with a renewed energy to go out and meet the needs of the world when we have taken a moment to quiet our souls.

I think I'm talking to myself today. Even on this vacation, I realized that I was busy doing things. Traveling, shopping, appointments, meeting friends, and still more traveling and shopping. I enjoyed every single minute of it and am sorry to have to return to the busyness of the working woman's world again. Yet, the moments I took to stand on the balcony after the sun and city had gone to sleep, in the darkened night illuminated only by city streetlamps and scattered lights in people's gardens, as I stopped all my rushing to speak softly with God and knew He was bending close to listen, those are the moments I savour.