Growing and Exploring

As I was working this morning, there they were…these little fingers reaching over the countertop trying to grab whatever they could get.  Things that used to be safe and out of the reach of my son, are now within his grip.  I smiled as I saw him on his very tip toes just exploring this new space that he could now reach, but still couldn’t see.  He’s growing and he’s exploring and I love it…well, except for the fact that I now have to find a new place for my herbs to grow ;).  But the truth is, it is fun to watch.

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This past Sunday we learned about creating and fostering an environment of growth.  Which went perfectly with my husband and I’s vision casting weekend where we discussed the environment we would like to create in our home.

But let’s be honest…growing isn’t always an easy process.  There will be spills.  There will be falls.  Accidents will happen.  Sometimes I feel as we grow up, we begin to protect ourselves and in the process limit our growth and our wonder of exploration.  We want things easy and run from challenges.  We lose sight of what’s possible with fears of the unknown or what could happen.  Life becomes safer but stagnant, easier but boring.

So as I see my son reaching and standing on his very tip toes to reach a new level, to explore, learn, and grow, I’m reminded of my own growth.  And those times when my son and daughter get frustrated because they can’t figure something out, or an accident happens as they discover something new, I’ll remind them it is part of the growth process, to keep going, to reach for limits beyond there grasp to live a life they never could imagine.

Matthew 14:29
“He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.”

I know this is a lesson I continually learn and share.  But I just keep getting these great reminders!  With that said, it’s time to get out of the boat, take the risk, learn, explore, and who knows maybe even have the focus and faith to walk on water…

 

Family to Family…

There we stood, nervous, anxious, and yet full of excitement as we introduced ourselves to the congregation.  In one moment, we found ourselves in front of a crowd of people in Cartagena, Colombia.  In our broken Spanish, and with the great help of our contacts and translators, we shared our hearts with the congregation at Iglesia Cristiana Mansion.  We were strangers, yet in that moment we became family.  Without hesitation, without question, we were “adopted” into this congregation.  They didn’t know much about us, but they welcomed us.  And we are now a part of their family.

It is a moment I reflect on as we prepare to sell our things, pack our home, and move our family to Colombia.  Lately, I’ve found myself getting sentimental with our remaining time here.  I tear up talking with my sister and thinking about our limited time together.  My heart jumps when I talk with my parents.  Our calendar is being filled with dates to meet with friends and family, taking advantage of each moment.

On Saturday, March 1, 2014 while in Cartagena, I read Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 – “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up.  But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.”  How powerful and strong relationships and family are!  How important they are!

G42 Prayer and Send Off

In the midst of this transition, I’m so thankful for our family and friends here.  We can’t even begin to share with each one of you how much we appreciate your friendship, your support, your love.  I know this is not “goodbye” but simply…”See you later.”  And as we move forward, we embrace and anxiously await our return to our family in Colombia.

family 2

 

Life is Different…

I am different…
It’s been a while since the last time I’ve written.  Life has not stopped or become mundane, that’s for sure.  There’s been plenty to write about, lessons learned, challenges, and great things to celebrate.  Life has continued and almost 3 months later, since the last time I’ve written, I continue to change.

I sit here and think of my time in Honduras – The people I served with… the children I played with…the people I talked with… the scriptures I studied…  the lessons we taught…  the things I learned…  the culture I experienced.  Because of all of these moments, these interactions, Life is different, I am different.

I let the beautiful people and experiences of Honduras enter my heart, and as I served, my heart and life too have changed.  My perspective is new.  My group of friends has expanded.  My ideas and thoughts have been enriched.  I’ll share more about these experiences.  But for now, I just want to say that I’m so thankful.

Life - Children of Honduras
Something unexplainable happens when we share our lives with each other, not holding back, but truly embracing one another, embracing experiences…when we are OPEN TO LIFE.

That Moment When You Hoped No One Was Looking…

graceful fall

This is how I once imagined I handled change, peaceful right?

But in reality, I’ve discovered I’m not that graceful or trusting.
In fact, I’m sure if I had the chance to look down, there’d be a group of people all watching the chaos of my tumbling, an entertaining sight I’m certain it is…

You see, some say the jump, the actual decision to embrace change in life is the hardest, while others would say the journey has it’s own challenges to face.

Let me let you into my mental process for a second.

First, the exhilaration of the jump is exciting.  It’s a new adventure.  Change is good.  I wonder what the future holds…A rush of possibilities and opportunities flood my mind.

Then………….. enters the shock of it all, “I don’t know what I’m doing.  I don’t know where I’m going.  I need that familiar life I once knew.  I knew who I was there.”  I find security in the familiar, and begin grasping for anything that reminds me of what once was…or looking for what will be.  Let the tumbling begin…

My wonderful husband, does what he can to guide me through the process of change, reminds me he’s here, loves me, and listens as I share my heart about the unknown.  Friends and family call me to see how I’m doing, encourage me, and remind me how much I’m truly thankful for.

But the truth is…they aren’t the ones I need.  You see, I’ve always been about relationships.  And instead of finding security in things, a job, or money, which some tend to do.  I tend to find my security in my relationships.  Don’t get me wrong, friends are wonderful, and having a husband love me so well is incredible.  Relationships I hope to never let go unappreciated.  But through this, through the tumbling, the grasping, the need to know the purpose of this change and where we’re heading, I’m learning that security, the security I need comes from my own relationship with God and my trust in Him.  I’m sure he laughs at all my flailing about as He waits patiently for me to stop.  And he simply reminds me that He’s here.

There’s a moment in the process of change when you realize the power of those two words.  He’s here.  I’m not alone.  I’m not doing this by myself.  I’m not really falling.  He is still with me, and the person I am is still the same person despite the changing circumstances or surroundings…well, the same person who’s learning and growing a lot…

He’s here with me.  He’s there with you.  Now, to dust myself off and keep moving forward…

Value or Riches

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It’s my 33rd birthday today!!!  I love birthdays…and in fact, I take a week to celebrate them and try to do something new each year during that week, a great reminder that life is now, not tomorrow, or next year.

It isn’t a celebration of “look at me”, but rather a thanks to God for where He has brought me and just an appreciation of how He created me.  People ask me what I want for my birthday.  Some might think because of such a long celebration I’d like elaborate, expensive gifts.

But I don’t want to unwrap packages of things.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy nice things.  I enjoy shopping and thoughtful gifts.  The truth is, I just want to be surrounded by my close friends, make new memories, experience new things.  Out of my 33 years of life, I’m most thankful for my relationships and friendships.  I look at these people in my life and want them to see a woman, a friend who appreciates them, who follows through on her word, who they can trust, who will listen, who will challenge them, who will be there to help, who will speak the truth, who knows how to love.

“A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich;
a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank.” Proverbs 22:1

I want the next 33 years of my life to exemplify that.  I may not have many “things”, but I’m rich in so many ways!!!!

You Can’t Buy It!

I’m sitting here amongst friends listening to them talk about various topics such as hair color, quotes, and believe it or not…pinterest!  Jaja, but it is a week of goodbyes as well, or as my friend Bec says “See you later’s”.  Add that to the fact that Christmas is this weekend and it is definitely a week of mixed feelings.

It is the time of year though when we all think about the perfect gift for one another, or we try to remember “the reason for the season” (Not a fan of that phrase at all, by the way).

But believe it or not, this week, I have already received some of my favorite gifts.  You see, a dear friend of mine passed on something of hers that she has had for sometime…something that she has worn with honor and respect.  It was a gift to thank me for moving forward when she stepped back.  That is what I see when I look at this gift…perseverance, honor, and simply moving forward.  I have found a way to keep it with me always and appreciate it more than she will know.  It is encouraging.  She is encouraging.  And this symbol of friendship is something I will continue to cherish. 

And today, I received a box of chocolates from one of my favorite students.  I know we aren’t to have favorites and I do enjoy almost all of my students.  But I have to admit that she is a very special girl.  Those of you who know me, know that I’m not big on chocolates or sweets, but she looked up at me with those big brown eyes and softly said…”Merry Christmas”.  My heart melted.  When she left, she gave me un beso (a kiss) on my cheek and smiled!  Her kindness was more than I could ever hope for.  She is gentle, sincere, and just excited to learn English. 

I’m thankful for such reminders that life is about relationship. I’m thankful for sincerity, for the little things that show more than anything that could ever be bought!!!

 

Beauty.

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

I received word today that my nephew Tyler made the comment, “I want Aunt Jenn to come back”.  How precious those words are to me.  I  can imagine the sweet look on his face as he made this statement.  My sister, Jess, does a wonderful job of sending me pictures of her and her family, i.e. Grace after she lost her first tooth, Tyler dressed up for a friend’s wedding, the family as they celebrate different events.  It’s been wonderful to know how they are doing and that they all are well.  And yet, to hear Tyler’s comment still brings tears to my eyes.

I miss them.

Honestly, it’s been harder being apart from them this time around.  This isn’t a temporary season; This is my life now.  This is where I am.  This is where I want to be.  And just at the time I needed, a friend sends a message on the topic of beauty.

You might be wondering what beauty has to do with this, but really it is a matter of perspective.  You see, as I read through his thoughts on beauty, though his words were not specifically addressing this situation, I saw the beauty in this moment.  I realized that the tears from Tyler’s comment came not in doubt of where I am, but in appreciation for the time I had with them before I moved out here.  They came because of the love I have for them and the gratefulness for the relationship we have now.  Do I miss them?  Absolutely.  But they know their Aunt Jenn.  They know that I love them.  And that is a beautiful thing.

I want to always see the beauty in a person, a situation, or even a moment…
to see the beauty in life.

I’m thankful for the tears, for the way GOD uses me, for the ability to love, for the opportunities to see the beauty in people and in life, and for the beauty of being Aunt Jenn no matter where I am.