Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Learning about Gratitude

This morning I enjoyed listening to a friend speak on gratitude. Often gratitude is something that I can let slip by in my regular day, I get too busy and focused on the things that don't matter rather than focusing on the things that do. I fill my day with nonsense and things that keep me busy, but I don't often fill my day with things that make me whole, things that bring me peace, and things that recenter me. It's easy to live a day without giving gratitude.

Years ago I titled my blog Glimpses of Beauty. I wanted to focus on seeing glimpses of God's beauty in my daily life. I realized that I see a lot of dark places and have been invited to be with others in some dark places, but even in that darkness, God's light shines and we can see beauty. The band Gunger wrote a song titled Beautiful Things. One lyric states, "You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of the dust. You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us." God has the ability to make beautiful things out of things that have difficulty seeing as beautiful. I'm grateful that God has chosen to redeem even the most dusty and dirty parts of our souls, and that even in the chaos of life, He shows us beauty.

Seeing beauty for me is like seeing gratitude. It's easy to turn our head or close our eyes when our lives feel like chaos, and it's difficult to practice seeing beauty and speaking gratitude.

Every now and then I feel like I get to hit the reset button, and start things over. So today, I'm resetting. I'm going to start small by looking for one thing to be grateful for each day. I will write down that gratitude and why I'm grateful for it. As a tangible reminder I'm attempting to wear my "gratitude bracelets." When I think of something I'm grateful for, I will move the bracelet to the other wrist, with the goal of moving all seven bracelets to the other wrist. I'm not sure how this will work, but it's a start. Every new journey begins with a first step, so this is mine.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Blessed to build relationships

This morning I was sad because I felt sick and had to stay back at the hotel. I missed seeing g the gardens and the boat tour of the city, but by staying back I was able to rest and now feel a little better. In some ways it was a blessing to stay back.

This afternoon, after I woke up and was feeling better I got to go out with one of our translator's to get some food. The two of us walked to a crepe or and sat in a little park eating and talking. She asked me how I got involved with coming to Russia and I was able to share my story about how God brought me here. It was such a relaxing g afternoon as we talked and got to know one another a little better. She shared with me how she got involved translating, and her desire to go back to school to work with children with disabilities. We talked about orphanages and the children who are often in need of adoption are those with special needs. Tanja use to work as a disciples in one of the orphanages until it closed. I enjoyed my time with Tanja and feel like God took a yucky day and made it into something more beautiful.

I am blessed to be here. God has me in Russia for some reason and I know He is revealing that to me each day. May He continue to open my eyes to see glimpses of His beauty around me, and build relationships with all His children.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Russia I have arrived

I'm amazed that I have finally arrived in Russia.St. Petersburg is beautiful and amazing. I'm always amazed at the fact that God's world is so large and so diverse yet also so common. The Rusian people I have met so far are so different yet the same as me in many ways. A birthday I met Lisa, she is about my age and doesn't speak English. Although our last gauge is different we still speak. On the subway she looked at me and motioned at how big my eyes were as I was taking in all the sights. We laughed and she smiled. I pray that while while I am here I will make more of those relational connections.

This morning when I left for the airport my husband said in regards to a dream I had, "you have the skill, you just need someone to guide you through Russia." I pray that God will continue to open my eyes wide so I can take in the sights,and the culture, and I trust He will guide me through this experience using g my skills to reach out to others.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sweetness of Life

Tonight I sit in my room and listen to my daughter play. Her imagination is growing by leaps and bounds and I wonder what it would be like to be in her head for five minutes. I wish I could go back to the days where my imagination would take me on adventures to far off places. Where I could escape my everyday life and go to an imaginary world.

I sit in my room feeling anxious and wishing I could shake that feeling. I'm anxious for my travels to Russia, anxious about being away from my family for two weeks, anxious wondering how my kids will handle my being away, anxious about if I've packed the right clothes for the weather, anxious about the amount I will carry on the airplane, anxious because my house is a wreck and I'm leaving, and my list goes on. I wish I could throw it all away, write it down and get it out of my mind, and escape my anxieties.

None of those things I'm anxious about are things that I can control... except maybe my house. I want to relax, and feel the world lifted off my shoulders. I want to listen to my daughter play, and escape into her mind with her. I want to sit and drift away, imagine, and create a place of peace, and solitude. A place where I can dump my worries and let go.

I was blessed tonight to listen to my daughter play. She gave me a moment tonight were I could just let go. A moment with no worries. She brought me back to the sweetness of life, and the sweetness of childhood.


Spinning around
I seem to fall up not down
Is the world upside down?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Why does God want me in Russia now?

Why does God want me in Russia now?

Over ten years ago I woke up from a dream. In my dream I saw myself at an orphanage in Russia and working with children. The pictures in my dream were so vivid, the building, and tires on the property stuck out to me when I awoke. I remember waking from this dream and thinking, "Okay God, Russia?" I knew this dream was something from God, but I didn't know what it meant so I went on with my life.

I moved away from Hawaii and went to seminary in California. This dream never really came up again until after I graduated and we moved to Colorado. We started attending a church and one of our first Sunday's visiting there was a group of people who had just gotten back from Russia. They were sharing pictures of the orphanage they were at and stories of their travels. I sat in my chair covered with goose bumps. I had this feeling God was working somehow.

Almost five years have gone by since that Sunday, and I have not been to Russia. I wanted to go many times with the teams that were traveling, but each time, it was clear that it was not my time to travel.

This morning I shared this story with a friend of mine at church, and she asked me the question, "why does God want you to go to Russia now?" This question has been circling in my head all day. Why now? What does God want me to do, see, experience? It was very clear when I was praying about this trip that now is the time to go. After the initial meeting for information about the nature of this trip, every night for a week God spoke to me through very vivid dreams. I know He wants me to be in Russia at this time, but I don't know why. Why now of all the times?

I'm excited to travel, and I leave in one week from today. I don't know what to expect, but I do expect God to show up in some amazing ways. I pray that He is opening a door for me. A door to someplace He is leading me, and my family. An experience that will change me forever.

I want to see Russia through God's eyes.

So God, what do you want me to see? Why do you want me in Russia now?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Hardest Thing About Writing

The hardest thing about writing is feeling like the words don't simply flow from my mind to ink and paper (or computer as it is these days). Some days I feel creative and other days not so much, but I like to believe that I'm filled with words that need to come out, words that are creative and important, words that move people in a way that music does for others.

I have always loved to write. I remember the first creative writing course I took in high school. My teacher encouraged me, inspired me, challenged the way I wrote. She pushed me to go beyond what I thought I could do to create in a way I didn't realize was possible. She managed to tap into that creative part of my sould. The deepest part that sometimes has a hard time expressing itself.

Over the years writing has become more challenging, and it feels less creative. I have often wondered if my life is not as inspiriting as it once was, or if the way I tapped into that creativity changed when light came into the dark places of my life. I know that in some of my darker moments in life, I have found my writing to be the most creative, but it is also the most dark, and sad. As God brought light into those dark places of my life I felt like my writing became too forced and frilly, it was no longer the raw, unfiltered stuff.

Over time I have come to say that I just don't have time to write like I use to, but the reality is that I'm afraid to write. Afraid that I'm no longer the creative person I once was. Afraid that my words are dry and that I have nothing to say. Afraid that my writing won't be as good as it once was. I have found many excuses to keep me from writing, to keep me from creating, and growing in my abilities.

No more excuses. The hardest thing about writing is myself. I need to get out of my own way, step aside, write, and allow my thoughts to flow without editing what comes out. I have been inspired to write again and encouraged as I have found writing challenges that inspire me and give me a diving board to spring from. Now I'm on the platform, stepping forward, and jumping in. Head first, eyes closed, fingers free to type.

Chris, Lisa, and Malia

Chris, Lisa, and Malia
Malia's baptism
Powered by Blogger.