Tuesday, March 30, 2010

ALmost Easter

It's almost Easter. I love Easter.

I am feeling God ever present in my daily "living" and that He is calling me to trust Him even more recently. That sometimes what He provides for the day will be awesome and feel good, and sometimes it won't. But, I am realizing there is a peace that comes with knowing that every day He is there, and He gives me provision enough for each day.

I have really been meditating on what this week means, as much more than just an "Easter celebration" but a celebration of true life and life that only comes from knowing Jesus. I'm amazed at how much our culture is surrounded by symbols of Him but still fail to see the need for Him with everyday life.

I'm ever thankful that God truly does impossible things in our lives if we allow Him, and that the most amazing of all is just the change of heart He brings and contines to fashion until the day of completion..He will continue the work that He started:).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

remembering when i was really really blonde.

i met a girl today doing a match meeting at work who reminded me very much of myself at age 11 or 12. she even looked a lot like me. very blonde almost white hair and light colored eyes. very "chipper" and yet soft spoken and excited about life and ready to talk to anyone and smile a lot and pretty much find everything funny and just seemed glad and curious and interested with everything there was to think about. and she stated she liked speaking in groups and wanted to be a public speaker someday and loved writing and loved reading and her mom said she was imaginative about everybody. she loved to write stories, except she was always killing off one certain character and her mom never knew why. sounds about right :) (ok, i never really did that).

yes, i learned all this in my 45 minute interaction with her...but i think you can tell a lot by talking with people for a short while and also watching them with others. the amazing thing about this girl though was where all she'd been in her short life already. i don't know the full spectrum of it and especially what happened with her birth family, but the mom she is with now took her in as a foster child several years back..then adopted her. then she herself got divorced and so she went from one broken family to another..yet the second one was filled with love from her mom. even though she doesn't see her dad (first or second) and she has 3 older siblings to deal with, and maybe she didn't have the best roots to stem from, you can totally see how she has bloosomed. maybe it's a testiment to the love she now has surrounding her, maybe some is her happy disposition in general, whatever it is, you would never know she was even in "need" of having a mentor. sure, we all need them, but wow, how neat to know that this little girl doesn't act as though she wants for anything. she seemed simple and pure and said that one of her favorite things in life is just singing christmas carrols. she said christmas is so awesome because you can just feel the joy and you can spend more time with the people you love. the thing is, there was nothing strange or weird about her even if this sounds so "far out" from the world pre teenagers (she's almost 13) live in. even though i don't know her enough to conclude anything for sure, what she resembled in that brief bit of time was this remarkable example of what i feel we're all called to somehow get back to.

we are all seriously dealing with a lot of junk in life. but somehow, we have to find a way to still smile so completely naturally because there's something just a little mysterious, just a little too special to wrap your head around with the fact that we're all here, living this life together.

It was a strange way for me to realize that i can still find the girl in me who is like that girl tonight if i long to. that she never really went away at all. maybe she gets bogged down from life sometimes, but there's reason to smile yet...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Professional what?

A professional can be considered a person who is expert at his or her work. I'm not really an "expert" in the work world so to speak, but I feel like this word has cropped up in my life a lot lately. Tonight for some reason, I was thinking about how we could use this term in other areas of our lives, both to portray positive qualities or skills we might possess and also to expose the negative or perhaps sinful actions or motives we may also hold dear to us...so much so that we don't realize we've reached the "professional" or expert status.

In which areas could someone looking at your life call you a professional?

Here's some types of non-traditional professionals I thought of:

Professional Worrier
Professional Peacemaker
Professional Email-checker (does this even make sense with what professional means? Who knows, but I think I am this)
Professional Shopper
Professional Non-shopper...hmm
Professional Idler
Professional Reader
Professional Health Nut
Professional Relaxer
Professional TV Junkie
Professional Caregiver
Professional Whitness
Professional Sleeper (can I please learn from someone who is good at this?)
Professional Hostess
Professional Giver-upper
Professional Judger
Professional Cleaner (this too? :) )
Professional Cheerleader
Professional Optimist
Professional Learner
Professional Lover
Professional Giver (yay Visio Dei)
Professional Truth-teller

I think I need to ponder this awhile, and determine how to stop being a professional at some of these things, and also maybe thank God for some of the others where He's molding me in a good way through them.

Any thoughts professional bloggers? :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pretend Bride?

I think the best part of my week was today on the phone when Traci said I could wear her wedding dress for Halloween. Wow-what a pal! haha..she said it's been sitting in her room for 3 years and she's not planning to wear it anytime soon.

I would definitely make a statement wearing that I'm sure...but Traci, I might pass. We'll have to see how much I feel like being a bride-for-a-day. Who knows though, it might just make some groom-for-a-day out there interested? (ha, only kidding of course;) ).

Still...it's a funny idea. I do think I would freeze. And get a lot of looks on the streets.

Halloween is always a funny night. I never know how to dress up. I'm doing a program for work tomorrow night too so I might just have to go as myself.

Any other last minute easy suggestions?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I want a child's brain again:)

So, I've been babysitting here and there lately...mostly for two girls 4 and 3. They are way cute. And have funny things to say to me. Here are a few of the recent ones:

"Don't take my dog home with you. I know you want to, but if you do, I'll be sad. Please don't take my dog home with you. You can get your own dog." -4 yr old in reference to me taking one of her dozens of animals off her bed so she had room to sleep.

"Wait, Julie, we forgot to eat dinner!" -4 yr old as I leave after pus tting her to bed. Either she wanted to pull a fast one on me so she could get up again or she really didn't remember that unlike all the other times when I was there for dinner, her mom had fed her dinner before I got there. Really, kids are more creatures of habit than us.

"I'm going to call you Mr. Julia" -3 yr old to me. She really likes to call me anything but my real name. Sometimes she calls me Miss Julia at least. That's comforting.

"We can read Merry Christmas, Curius George. It doesn't have to be Christmas...-4 yr old before story.
"Oh, I wish it were Christmas, but it has to be Halloween before Christmas." -after story

There's probably a lot more. I need to keep better track:). Kids are funny beings.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I miss the Swiss (life).

The day was clear and brisk. I was doing an afternoon walk/jog and once again I wasn't exactly sure if I was going the long way or the really long way around town in Gumligen, Switzerland. All I knew for sure was that every time I stopped to catch my breath or kept going, I was headed in the direction of the mountains:). I loved gazing at them, as this trip to student teach abroad was my first time actually exposed to mountains. They never failed to amaze me...although I have to say, I started to expect them, became immune to seeing them, like I had become immune to hearing the cowbells as I faded off to sleep, or the expectation of the morning train. Somehow, even in a distant land where I was the foreigner, I was getting used to the routine there.
But the next day I, along with my 3 traveling companions, were headed back to the states, back to what really was routine: the pace and the structure we'd grown up with, yet for the past 3 months had only been a memory.
All of a sudden, despite my anticipation of returning home, I was sad thinking about how this beautiful horizon and everything wonderful about the strange and rustic land we'd come to know would soon be a mere memory as well.
I remember standing there in the middle of some street (strasse) trying to hold it all in my mind as long as I could, so not to just glimpse over anything. I knew I would want to return someday, yet I had no idea when this would take place and if things would be feel the same. I think I decided right then and there that this place and what I felt when I was there at that moment..freedom, peace, surprise, unpredicatability- were so magical and out of the ordinary that I should call upon them whenever I needed to feel that way. And I have been able to do that- I've noticed many times when I just need some solace I think of the great moments from that trip. I've never denied that there was difficulty with the experience as well, but I think I just choose to think of it differently.
Wouldn't it be amazing if we could do this with all our past experiences? And, if something like mountains and a beautiful countryside can symbolize clarity, wonder, adventure, and limitless possibilities, can't we connect to our surroundings that way no matter what they are if we choose? I think it can be done.
Still, since I left I've had a longing to go back. It's not feasible now, but someday I will make it possible. I think of this place now for many reasons, part of which because it's almost been 3 years since I went.

The strange way my mind works resonates to my writing, and I always want there to be a point to a story..I want it to relate to something bigger, some a-ha moment, something thoughtful or reflective. I guess I like to draw conclusions...I think I like to connect to things outside of everyday life. And maybe figure out how to make it more part of everyday life. I've recently thought that oddly, I enjoy missing things, even if it's hard to do. People, places, experiences, moments in my life..I like thinking back on them, and usually they can be almost as present to me as when they occurred. Maybe missing something reminds you why it's important to you in the first place. As long as you don't dwell on it, I guess.

You always appreciate things more with time, and distance. And when you don't get to see them like you once did. I feel that way about my family sometimes, too. But in terms of places, I love calling this country home, but still, there's something fascinating about living a different way for awhile. In my dreams, I can just do that all over again..

One of my favorite things was when I stepped out on top of a very, very tall mountain, I felt as if I was really really small and the world was really really big. Strange that I like that feeling, but I do. Maybe because we're used to the opposite feeling. And I also liked, on the really cloudy days, when we couldn't even see past the cliff...feeling like all the little stuff isn't as significant as it seems. Maybe this wasn't reality, but draw some conclusions of your own...maybe it's possible to make this a reality without a big ball of clouds and higher-than-imaginable elevation:).

Can we change anything?

Mother Theresa once said, "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."
Ok...how I feel about this quote is how I feel sometimes about the major, overwhelming problems of the world. Doing something is important, but does it really make any difference? Maybe if I didn't do something, the ocean wouldn't be that much smaller. But if all of us doing something can be compared to drops in the ocean, well, then, without any of our efforts we would barely have enough water for a pond, right?

After reading an article this morning on the problem of human hunger, I was alarmed at how much God was moving in my heart for groups of people in the world that I’ve never really felt connected to. I’ve always felt something for people who are poor, hungry, homeless, etc. but I feel I’ve been used to reacting to this disparity in a few different ways: not knowing how anything I do can help such global and overwhelming problems, thinking that because the world is so broken there’s always going to be these problems, thinking that it’s just because of their circumstances or things they have done which has brought them to the point where they are. I’ve also thought, it’s enough to take on my own problems let alone the burdens of the world. Some of these reactions are cruel-sounding, I know, but nothing about anyone’s perspective will ever change unless they’re honest. So I’m laying it all out...
Then I had two thoughts. One, what would I desire most for these people, in my thinking that wide-spread social change would be great but isn’t really realistic? And two, where has my heart gravitated toward in the past, as I know I’m much more soft-hearted than it sounds from my above comments?

The answer to number one is that I desire for them to really know Christ. As I’ve begun learning and growing more in what that means for my life, I want others who are in pain, hurting, feeling lost to experience that, too. Maybe then, they will be able to turn their lives around, I think, or latch on to the resources for them to do so, or at least stop being caught up in the whirlwind cycle of rottenness that plagues a lot of their day-to-day lives because of the situations they find themselves in.
But, along these lines, I was moved today as I read about chronically hungry people, and Christians who were seeking to “bring the good news” to them in other places of the world. Well, as a side-note, I know there are lots of hungry people right here around us, too, who don’t know the good news either. But the article said that before any of these people can understand or even “hear” the good news, they have to stop starving. For them, at the beginning, food is their source of “good news.” They can’t operate any other way unless their basic needs are met. This is scary and also liberating, because I think it can relate to people who are hungry for a lot of things, not just food. But it definitely speaks to me when I think about how much I take for granted and people who live off of practically nothing and are always starving.
Sure, it’s not to say we shouldn’t enjoy and experience the life we’ve been given, with the blessings and luxuries we have, but I realize there is a danger in never leaving that zone and experiencing what others feel on a day-to-day basis. This led me to the second question.
I do feel I have a desire to help hungry people, but we all have to work our way up slowly. I’m not yet fully equipped to help people more than I know how (besides just donating canned items and filling up backpacks to send overseas or something small like that, still not really connecting me to people or allowing me to use my skills to help them), even though I feel I want to really help in the “hunger” domain someday.
So then, not speaking of food, where am I tangibly helping people who are hungry right now? I guess it’s good that for this moment in time, even if I sometimes grumble, I can see my job in a new light, that children who are hungry for love are being served by engaging in positive interactions with adults in the community who have a drive to care, to mentor, to be a helping hand in pulling at-risk children out of their potential to continue down a vicious cycle of trouble and heartache. I think it’s very meaningful to do something to stop the cycle while people are young, by letting them know that someone cares about and is invested in them and whether they sink or swim.
We go through life knowing what we’ve been exposed to. I’ve seen that our world is troubled and broken, and I’ve not been removed from experiencing pain in different forms, however, I’ve never had to go through life wondering if I was going to go on “hungry” like so many people do, in so many different ways.
I wonder how we all can find out what it is we are equipped to do at this moment, and go for it, and not even stop there. I’m not content to stop in just the job I have now. I want to pull myself further- and I’m not sure what that means, but I think if you follow your passions, the work will seem easy. Maybe not always easy, but at least natural. If we all did this, perhaps we would have the kind of movement we and God have probably been dreaming of.

P.S. My friends who always seem to be in tune to how they can "be the change they wish to see in the world" inspire me to not loose sight of that desire being in me, too. Thanks for that. :)