Insulation.

So this is a word I’ve been pondering lately.

It really comes as no surprise, since this last week we have moved back to India from Indiana!  We are glad to be back on this side of the world, although it is just 3 of us now with our oldest in the States for college.  He is doing great though, so I am just going to be happy about that and not focus on the fact that he is over 8,000 miles away.  Btw when you use Find my Iphone it tells you exact miles.  That was a shocker.

So yes, we are here.  What do I say?  I am trying to think of words or catchy phrases to transition to what I really have rattling around in my head, but nothing is coming. So I guess the best way to say it is just to say it.

Well, it kinda stinks.

There that’s in black and white, is that ok? I hope so. I am not sure how else to say stuff besides how it actually is.

It does stink sometimes to be thrown back into a culture that’s not your own.  Especially when your last memories of being here are all good and wonderful and would make a good Hallmark movie.

All those memories though are after being here for several years and adjusting and getting past many things.

I had kinda forgotten that.

We landed early Sunday morning. Went to bed by noon and woke up at 8pm that night ready for the day. Hello jetlag!

Our flat smelled like mold. That was probably because there was mold. Almost everywhere. Like this wall by our stairs:

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(no this is not where the insulation part comes in!)

We had toilets that didn’t flush, rusted out washer, most lights didn’t work, dirt everywhere and just a not fun place to be.

I wanted to insulate myself. (there it is)

By Tuesday, I was seriously ready to concoct some kind of cocoon and just stay in it for a good long while.  How to fix all of these things, on top of just doing the normal stuff of getting sim cards for phones, internet connected, tvs working, food in the house, meals made, etc… (while all mostly in another language!) I was overwhelmed.  Quickly.

And I was mad at myself.

Needless to say that this didn’t create the best family dynamic either.  We fought. That’s ok, though bc we fight healthy and work it out, so don’t worry about us! Promise.

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So there I was reeling from the last 48 hours and ready to insulate myself. I just didn’t think I could handle it and said so.  Mad, angry, disappointed, overwhelmed, frustrated, in culture shock (again!), and mad and angry.  Did I say that already?  Well I was and it wasn’t fun, pretty or happy,

I knew I had to do something. I wanted to just insulate myself from the outside and all the hard transition, ‘make this life work’ stuff and what isn’t easy to manage.

I realized though I felt this way when I first had kids though too.  I started thinking long and hard about that.  That was the only other time in my life when I could remember some of the same feelings.

When our oldest came along, I never considered ‘slowing down’ or changing much of what we did because we had a son now. I felt pressure to do so though. I felt like I should insulate myself in my house and bake cookies all day long and always do what was ‘best’ for him.  Which who defines that? Anyway, I could go on, but I’ll stop.

I fought that though and fought it hard.  I just didn’t believe that was the plan. I just didn’t accept that kids had to keep us away from things and people and I needed to insulate myself to his world all the time… yes there are seasons and reasons, and times… I know… but as an exception, not the norm.

I just kept doing the things we had always done, but brought our son with us.  Where we went, he went. It turned out to be a kinda simple strategy.

Then I started hearing things like, “Wow it is so great to see you guys not let kids slow you down.” “Do you always carry your pack in play in your trunk?” Yes yes we did, bc kids need to sleep sometimes when we aren’t at home! When I heard those kinds of comments and questions, I felt happy that we had pushed through and figured out how to not lose ‘us’, but have our kids join us.

When that big memory hit me this past week, I knew I was at that place again.  I had to figure out how to not lose me but let me join India.

I don’t fit here. I won’t ever totally fit here.  Just like kids don’t always fit in some situations, but it can work if we just allow it to work.

The next day, I started to get my kitchen set up. I posted Instagram stories about it to keep myself laughing and not throwing things.

It worked!

I baked, I went out and bought some things we needed and had some small successes.

Then last night we went out and got to go to some friends house and see a lot of people that we had dearly missed while we were gone. That was just what I needed too.

I finally feel like I am back again. I can’t tell you what a relief this is. It honestly scared me to think I wasn’t going to adjust well.  This is our life, this is where we are supposed to be.

Sometimes we get things thrown at us that we just can’t succumb too.  It is hardest when it is least expected, I think, like it was for me this past week.  Insulating ourselves though isn’t the key, reconnecting and reengaging is. As we keep stepping out, we make progress. Sure there are going to be missteps, but that is ok. I have to adjust my expectations and keep reconnecting. With myself and with everyone around me.

So I am happy to be able to say that we are back in India again…and loving it…

Our Normal

We did go to India.  That last post was correct!  We came back to the States after an amazing 3 week trip there that accomplished more than we thought was actually possible. Now we are back in the States and ready to return to India again for a much longer time.

All kinds of emotions about that.

Excited to be back to the work that we are so passionate about.

Happy to be reunited with our dear and very special friends there.

Determined about all the details that need to come together for us to actually get off the ground and in the air towards India.

Sad that our oldest son isn’t coming back with us since he will be staying in Indiana for college.

Optimistic that he is stepping into this next phase of his life.

Surreal that we are returning for our 8th year in India.

Fulfilled that we actually were able to accomplish some huge tasks and get everything set-up well for our business while we have been here in the States.

Hesitant that we don’t know what the future holds with our family split up between two continents.

Isolated in some ways because there just aren’t many that can understand all of these varying and back and forth emotions we have as we go through transition yet again.

Apprehensive about all the goodbyes coming up.

Hopeful about the future for us and for India!

So, as you can see emotionally we are kinda all over the place.  It is our normal though, so don’t worry about us!

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More From India…

I haven’t blogged a lot recently.  We were doing more of the India to Indiana transition with being in the States raising our budget and reconnecting with family and friends than we were doing the Indiana to India life…but that is about to all change!

In 5 days we leave to go back to India for a 3 week business trip.

WE ARE ELATED!

We can’t wait to get to go back and reconnect there again, even if it is for a short time.  We need to get some paperwork and other things in place for our long term business visas. We will be applying for those when we return to the States in mid April. Our hope is that we have those in hand within a month or so and then we can return to India again for a longer stretch of time!

So my last post was about our oldest son moving out and going to college…so, yes, that means he won’t be with us on this trip — or any other trip we make back to the other side of the world. It was really odd only purchasing 3 tickets! I don’t know how I will ever get used to this.

I am happy to say that he is adjusting and doing well in school.  That’s a huge statement with all the transitions he has had to go through!  We are incredibly proud of him!

I just hope that when we get to India, that somehow we can make the transition of him not being with us.  I am counting on some kind of unexpected strength to guide us and temper down my emotions…someway somehow…

So expect a lot more posts from India in the near future!  We can’t wait to share more when we are there!

Changes and A New Chapter

Our lives have been all about living in India these past 10 years.  Now we start a new chapter.

Part of us will be in India, but part of us won’t be.

The part of us that won’t be in India is our oldest son, who will be staying in the States for college.

His last night to live with us is tomorrow night.

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I can’t believe this time is here.  When we started this journey from Indiana to India, we knew that when this time came it would be a hard transition.  We have talked about it ever since he was 11 and left with us to go to India for the first time.

I can honestly say I am not dreading this.  Its the right thing to do and he is ready … well as much as possible!

Do I feel every urge to overwhelm him with info and tell him do this, don’t do that, watch out for this, and always do that? YES.  I feel like I have this last chance to impart knowledge to him and help him grow up.  I know that’s been happening ever since he was born, but now that he is actually moving out, it feels so final.  I am happy for him, but it will certainly change the dynamics of our little family so much!

We are in the States right now, raising funds, setting up our business and seeing family.  When we return to India in a few months without him, it is going to feel completely abnormal.  That is the part that I’m not looking forward to.

Many people say that this is normal, every kid has this stage where they move out and it is good for them and I agree.  Mentally and emotionally, though, I feel like we are leaving him and its not him leaving us as much.  That’s the part I am having a hard time reconciling.  I know its ok. I know its what is needed, but as a momma I never want to feel like I am leaving my child! That just isn’t normal and I don’t like even having a shred of that feeling.

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Makes me understand more fully the sacrifices that have been made for me.  I am not sure I could understand that kind of love without these experiences as much as I am able to now!

So this is a big week…a new chapter…new beginnings…and yet again more transitions…our lives from Indiana to India keep evolving!  This journey seems crazy at times, but we are thankful for all that we have been able to do and all the ways that this journey has enriched our lives.

So we could use your prayers for a good transition for all of us!

And to you, son, always remember —

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Being Remade – part 3 conclusion

It feels a little contradictory to me to type ‘being remade – part 3 conclusion’ because I’ve come to realize there’s really never a ‘conclusion’ to being remade.  As I’ve shared in several places recently, I challenge everyone to be on a journey of being remade.  No matter if you are 9, 19, 39, 59, 79 or 109 years old! We should all be on this journey at every point in our lives.

I will conclude these continuing blog posts though (at least for now! ha) so that you can have some closure as a reader.  I know I hate not getting the whole story when I read something and I’m sorry I’ve taken so many months to get this out there. If you want to read the first 2 parts, you can find those here Being ReMade — part 1 and here Being ReMade – part 2

So we left with me getting to a place where I had embraced the process of dying to myself, and being remade.  Then while I was (still am…) in that process, being sincerely happy for others I see doing things or being with friends and family that I couldn’t do or be with when I really wanted to be.

I can’t stress enough how freeing this has been for me.  I just can’t explain it. Seriously, I feel like I’ve taken a happy pill or something!  I know that its really our Creator working miracles inside my stubborn soul and I couldn’t be more thankful.

The end of part 2 I said that being Remade was leading to great things. It did and it has! Not only in me personally, but in the lives of dozens of ladies.

I love to share my life with those in India.  I like to meet new people and get in their lives and be vulnerable with them to be in my life too.  That’s how I feel most accomplished on this earth.

As I was learning about the lives of those I knew in India, specifically women, I saw a group that was marginalized.  They didn’t know their worth.  They didn’t understand their value.

It really saddened me.

I really wanted to spend all kinds of time with them to help them understand their worth and value, but I was having a hard hard time getting all the time with them that I wanted. They work very hard in their homes to just feed their families.

Then, one day through a friend, I had the idea to repurpose old saris into blankets. A sari (or saree) is the dress that India women wear, like this:

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Now this is not a new creation, it has been done in India a lot.  I had just never thought of doing it myself or with a group of women that I knew.

When I thought of doing this, I envisioned a bunch of us women sitting in a room, sewing, sipping cha (or chai, the best cup of tea in the world!), chatting, sewing, sipping cha, chatting, chatting and chatting some more!  I was excited.  This is exactly how I would love to spend my time in India.

One problem.

I had no idea how to sew!  Not even close.  I could maybe manage a button if I set aside a decent amount of time.

So I was stuck about how to move this idea forward, until I met a friend.  She has a business that employs women to make these kinds of blankets in the opposite part of town. She graciously invited me to come and be taught by the beautiful ladies on her team how to make these blankets.

It was wonderful! It was hot and tiring and very strenuous, but I enjoyed every minute. This friend was even gracious enough to help me figure out where to buy thread, what kind of thread to buy, how to make good quality blankets and so many other things.  I am indebted to her and her team forever!

So I left there, after a couple weeks, knowing enough to be dangerous about how to make these blankets. I went and spoke with these women that I had come to adore about doing this with me.  I explained that we could make them and they would sell in America and they could make some money too!  They were excited.

One thing I realized is the lack of good jobs, or any jobs for that matter, that are available to them.  These women aren’t the poorest of the poor, but they definitely lead very simple lives and deal with issues of marginalization.  I began to realize how a simple job could really revolutionize their world!  I was even more excited.

So we began Remade.  Remade is now an official business that employs over 50 women (!!!!) that I now get to spend time with and learn from and help them understand their value in this world!  It does my heart good.  SO GOOD!

I really can’t explain how much it means to me to have this group of women on this journey with me … I really can’t explain how much it mean to me to be on this journey with this group of women!  

If you want to know more you can go to our website, www.remadeindia.com and even purchase a blanket that directly supports these ladies!

So that’s my story of being Remade.  I can’t tell you how thankful I am to be on this journey and be living this life from Indiana to India!

 

Weathering Well

So I know my last 2 posts ( Being ReMade — part 1 Being ReMade – part 2 ) promised part 3, but this isn’t it-sorry!  Actually I wish it was, because that would be a little less vulnerable than what I think this post will be.

I just don’t have those words for part 3 on paper yet, although I’m trying.   I promise it is coming…just waiting for my heart and the words in my head to mesh…

On to Weathering The Storm.  I know most of us have heard this phrase. It can be certainly thought of with the devasting flooding in Baton Rouge and every time a tornado hits here in the midwest!  (we are currently in the States for a few months).

In other ways we can think of weathering the storm in reference to hardships, stress and obstacles as well.  This is more what I have been mulling over for a while.

Then I saw something on TV that I thought perfectly portrayed this idea in real life.

Now I need to admit something that makes me feel quite vulnerable and somewhat awkward.

I like to watch UFC.

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Are you familiar with UFC?  If not that’s ok.  Basically it’s fighting.  It’s not just boxing though.  It’s MMA, which means mixed martial arts. So they wrestle and kick and box.  It’s a little crazy and I’m still not sure I am ok with the fact that I like it! ha.

I did come by it in an honest way.  In the States, this is on pay-per-view so I had never seen it.  In India, though, its free to watch with regular cable subscriptions.  So a few years ago when it began to show on TV, we would watch it with our oldest son as something we could do together with him after our youngest went to bed. (the TV choices were very limited!)

I couldn’t stand it at first.  It was horrible to me. I kept trying to be ok with it because I wanted to have the one on one time with our son.

Then I learned a little jujitsu (one of the fighting styles they use) when I was in a defensive training class and I saw how technical these moves were and I could understand better the why and the how behind everything (well not everything, but a lot more than I had before). Kinda like when I learned to play the violin in 5th grade for all of maybe 3 days before I gave it up.  I realized how hard it is to play that thing, so now whenever I see someone play, I am in awe and really appreciate it.

I know that violin playing and UFC are far apart, but the reason for my appreciation of this sport and the ability to play that instrument comes from the same place. That place has a lot to do with understand the how’s behind things.

That is definitely how I am wired.  I like to understand the whys and hows of things.

This might seem like a tangent, but stick with me for a minute…

You know those big windmills (or wind turbines I guess is the proper name) that cover open fields and make those fields into ‘wind farms’?  These:

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I can’t stand those. I think they ruin the landscape and make the beautiful rolling fields ugly.  I have a friend that thinks they are beautiful and seem ‘peaceful’ even. Ever since she said this I’ve been trying to figure out why I can’t just like them.

I figured out that I can’t like them because I don’t understand them.

How can they ALL (like 50 of them) be turning at the same exact speed in the same exact direction?  Wind isn’t that consistent.  Some would be moving faster or slower, there’s no way they would be in unison. Then, how can one be turning fast and the one next to it not even moving?  If there’s wind they would all be turning at least a little bit. Those are just a couple of my questions and why they don’t make sense to me.

So as we are driving and encounter these ‘wind farms’ all I can do is look at them and try to find the logic and try to make them make sense to me, but they just don’t.

So back to UFC.  That’s why I can watch it more now and actually appreciate it, because I understand it.

Last weekend there was a big UFC fight.  It was between Nate Diaz and Connor McGregor.  Both of these guys are big talkers and there was a lot of trash talking before the fight and it made good media for the UFC and probably some of it was staged, if not most of it.

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There was a lot of hype going into this fight. As they started to fight, one of the announcers said that if McGregor can ‘weather the storm of Diaz’ then he had a good chance to win the fight.  Diaz started to get the best of McGregor and he was really going after him as the announcers repeated this…’if McGregor can weather this storm then he will win.’

That stuck with me.  Weather the storm. I started to mull over that statement.

Then we had a road trip and as we drove and I saw those pesky windmills again.  As I was staring at them, because although I think they are ugly I can’t take my eyes off of them, I kinda dawned on me that for me weathering the storm and understanding the whys and hows go together.

I am not good at weathering storms that I don’t understand. I am not good at liking anything I don’t understand, really.

I know that’s why I buried myself in anything that could help me understand the Indian culture. Either consciously or in my sub-conscience  (I’m not sure which!) I knew that the sooner I understood their culture better, the more I would enjoy being there.

I see that this can pose quite a problem though.  Many times I don’t understand the storms we go through and so I can’t weather the storm well. Sure I can weather the storm, just because it will probably eventually pass with time, but weathering it well is a whole different story I think.  I can’t see the end and we barely understand the beginning. So how can I get to a place where I can weather storms well that I don’t understand and probably don’t have a way to understand during it?

Honestly that’s usually very difficult for me.  I’ve had some tough stuff happen, that to this day doesn’t make sense.  How is that reconciled?

I don’t really think I have all the answers. I know the answers will involve trust…faith… and other things like that, but honestly just understanding (here we go again…) that I have a hard time weathering storms because I don’t understand the why and hows helps a lot! Now I can stop and realize that I feel overwhelmed or even paralyzed just simply because I don’t understand.  It’s not because of a lack of anything in me or in Who I trust, its just in how my mind works and so I have to realize this and work through it.

I don’t want to stay in this place though and constantly have to work through this. I want to learn to weather storms well whether I understand them or not… and be remade in that…. 🙂

…promise part 3 is next…

 

 

Being ReMade – part 2

So I think I could sum up part 1 by saying its a dying to self process.  I think I used to think dying to self meant getting rid of those things that are recognizably bad.  Like tempers, and egos, and impatience.  I know dying to self definitely includes those things, but what I have learned is that dying to self also means letting go of things that are dear to us for a bigger purpose.  Letting go of that independent spirit when it doesn’t help the project as a whole.  Letting go of that timidity and embracing courage when times call for that.

Its dying to a self that has largely been created and molded by our own desires and experiences and unfortunately not nearly as influenced by our Creator to be the self that he wants us to be. 

I realized that dying self was done in practical ways too.  Moving away from family in obedience.  Moving from Indiana to India.  That’s a huge dying to self process that, in all honesty, can make one quite grouchy at times!  Reconciling living away from family for years at a time for a purpose bigger than myself was something I was excited to do, but when the rubber met the road and I was missing birthday parties, and holidays, and summer cookouts it got really tough really quickly.

There are very few rewards for dying to self here on earth.  If we strain our vision and our thoughts we can come up with some that all have to do with a lot of things that aren’t really tangible, so they don’t register with our carnal selves very well.  So in my human mind it was very hard at times to stay ahead of those thoughts and take them captive and not allow them to send me into a wallowing pit of self misery!

I wanted to be with family, I wanted to be with friends at cookouts, I wanted to be able to go to theme parks and state fairs and eat fair food!  I couldn’t though and honestly at times I felt trapped.

Is it wrong to say I felt trapped by my calling?  Well, I just said it so I hope not.

I did.  I felt trapped by the obedience that I knew was right and needed that came from the calling that I had on my life. And to just keep with keeping it brutally honest, at times I fought not being mad at our Creator for this life he had ‘blessed’ me with.

It sure didn’t feel like a blessing a lot of the times. Not at all.

Then this season came as I shared in part 1, when I went through a process of being remade.  I let go of those things that I thought I just couldn’t live without. I let go of needing that self assurance that comes artificially sometimes through times with family and friends. (read that line again, I know it might hurt, but its true.  It was painful to come to that conclusion, but it is painfully true.)

As I stepped into this place of being remade mentally, emotionally, and spiritually I felt more at peace with my life than ever before.

Does that mean I don’t ever want to go to cookout or be with family for the holidays? NO!  It just means that’s not what my life is built around and when we do get those times, they are cherished.  Cherished.  Truly truly cherished, in every way.  In ways that I can’t even begin to explain.  The depth of those times with family and friends goes so deep into the recesses of my soul that I tear up just thinking about it.

How did I let go of these feelings of ‘missing out’ and not being able to be places that I desperately wanted to be?

I get this question a lot.  There’s not a short answer, but I can tell you the first step.

The first step is to be truly and sincerely happy for those that are getting to do the exact things you want to be doing.  

You know Facebook, instagram and other social media can be difficult at times!  When I am sitting in my living room in India with a huge hole in my heart because I can’t be with family for a special time (or I can’t eat that cheeseburger that I see others eating at a delicious cookout! ha) it can just send me into a mental and emotional spiral.  I either had to 1) give up social media or 2) find a way to deal with this.

Thankfully I found a way to deal with it because I knew I wasn’t giving up social media!

So the answer that I came to was quite simple, yet profound for me.

Be happy for them.

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Be happy for family that does get to be together to celebrate a holiday or birthday.  Be happy for that friend that’s getting to eat that giant cheeseburger. Be happy for that other friend that showing pics of all the goodness at Walmart.  Be happy for family thats going on a family vacation together. Be sincerely happy for them.

I have to admit this didn’t happen over night and I am sorry to say this didn’t come naturally to me.  It where I was at though, as weak as that sounds.

It took some (ok a lot!) of intentional prayer and guarding my thoughts to get to the place where this becomes my natural response.

I can honestly say now that I am happy for all the pics I see of all the things that we ‘miss’ out on when we are ‘away’ (or home as we like to call it).

I am happy for my friends and family to have the best life our Creator has blessed them with.

I am also happy because all the sudden there’s more to being remade…that I never saw coming.  Yes Part THREE coming soon….

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Being ReMade — part 1

We were honored for 10 years of service with our organization yesterday and since then my mind has been reeling with all these past 10 years have encompassed.

Our leadership called us up in front of a room full of our colleagues and asked us to share and we answered a few questions and they prayed over us. After I got back to my seat and opened a large white envelope to see that it contained a certificate that documented our time in black and white with our names in big print, I sat there and just stared at that piece of paper.

I found myself trying to wrap my mind around these past 10 years. I found myself trying to somehow neatly and succinctly summarize what these past 10 years have meant.

The only phrase or word that I can even begin to think that might be able to describe it is being remade.

I think of who I was when I started out on this journey to India and who I was when I first arrived in India…and I am not that person anymore.

Sure there are still parts of me who are that person, but as a whole that person is gone.

And I am better for it!!!

These 10 years have been 10 years of constant growth, learning and change.  Now, I know some might think that doesn’t sound so fun or what you would want, but I can tell you with assurance that I wouldn’t exchange these 10 years for anything.  Tough times included.

I realized that I was ‘losing myself’ in about 2014.  I found myself very unsettled and just feeling like I was constantly banging my head against a wall with trying to be ‘me’ and yet also at the same time trying to continue to settle well into a different country and culture that didn’t always value the ‘me’ that I was.  I knew that I wasn’t finding that joy and peace and contentment that we are promised.  This left me  mad and confused why.

Then I heard a still small voice that simply spoke the word “REMADE” to me. Right then I knew I was going on an even deeper journey to not only live well, but to also understand who I was in ways I was struggling to figure out back then.

Through many hours/days/weeks/months of introspection, reading, and praying I began to feel a release in my spirit to let go of who I was and to be remade.  Before this point, I didn’t really want to be remade.  I liked myself.  I didn’t have many issues with who I was, besides the times I opened my mouth when I shouldn’t have or lost my temper or things that I knew were (are!) thorns in my side that I was trying to smooth out the rough edges. We all have those things, right?  We are all a work in progress in some areas and I was ok with that.

The idea, though, of being ‘remade’ sounded extremely definitive to me.  I felt like if I embraced this journey, then I could never go back and I wasn’t sure where it was going to lead me.

I realized that I felt like I was mourning myself.  As I said, I liked myself! 🙂 In my mind, I hadn’t really signed up to become a different person on this journey to India.  I had signed up to help change other’s lives.  For me to be the one to be at a crossroads and with a decision of changing myself on a deep level like this was a surprise to me and difficult to reconcile.

I did though.

It took a lot of time for me to realize that this is a good process.  That old things becoming new is a truth and a process that brings about good.  That if I would just hang on and submit to this process I would come out better on the other side…but I was truly scared.

I decided though, that I needed to do this scared.  That I needed to become more vulnerable and believe in this process…and trust the process.

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As I opened myself up to this and accepted that I was in a process of being ‘remade’,  I honestly felt like I did become a new person.  You might still call me Amy when you see me, because you recognize my physical appearance…but if you knew me from a few years ago by my inward appearance you wouldn’t recognize me today.

I have realized that the person that I was, although a good person, wasn’t all that I was supposed to be.  I knew I had things I needed to work on, but I didn’t know that those things about me that I held dear and thought were intrinsically me were also areas and parts of me that needed remade.  I thought those areas were what made up ‘me’ and how I was uniquely created and wired and I should fight for keeping true to those things.

No.

No, I don’t need to fight to stay me in every way.  There’s a saying ‘You be you.’ I get it, I get that means to not let anyone else tell you who you should be.  On that level I agree.  I don’t agree with this ‘you be you’ idea when it just gives us a justification to be a lesser version of who we are created to be.  If being you (or me!) means not showing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control in every area and in every way then we have missed the mark and settled for less than who we were created to be.  If being ‘me’ means I can’t be all things to all people in the ways that I know are true and right, then I have missed the mark again.

So in this journey of being remade… an even greater story emerged that I could have never predicted…part 2 coming soon.

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Rhythms

Quite a while ago now, I was introduced to the idea of Circadian Rhythms. If you haven’t heard of this (besides in reference to a really good music group!) here is a quick definition:

Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment. They are found in most living things, including animals, plants and many tiny microbes.

When I became exposed to this concept originally it was from a spiritual perspective.  Meaning that, in life we have a circadian rhythm.  That when everything seems off kilter, in the dark, out of sorts and just not right, that if we will hold steady and stay anchored, that this rhythm with come back to us and we will once again feel things back in place, back in the light.

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I’ve learned that this concept is quite extraordinarily true in our lives now.  I don’t know if its just because we live overseas and do what we do, I suspect a lot of it is, but so much of just living here is knowing how to live in the ‘off kilter’ times.  If we can’t function when things are pushing back at us, then living here wouldn’t really be possible.

One thing I have really come to appreciate is this circadian rhythm of life.  Even when I am in the midst of maybe even the toughest of times, I know that the rhythm will eventually return.  I can hold fast to that.  I can hope for this.

One thing this does is help me find my joy during these times.  I have refused to just ‘survive’ here.  Yes there are days that’s pretty much what I have only been able to accomplish, true. Overall, though, that isn’t the goal of a productive life filled with Joy. Our lives can’t just be hanging on all the time, we will undoubtedly lose grip.  We have to have those times where we can breath deep, regrip, and tap into this rhythm that brings Joy.

I have to admit that when this rhythm goes to a new length or depth, meaning that it is being pushed farther and harder than ever before, I have to really be disciplined to focus on the tenacity it takes to stay the course.  It is very easy to cave. Very easy to say, ‘this step has taken all this too far. I’m out.’ It really takes discipline, especially in these times, to find the rhythm that brings everything back into place.

Some might say, why do that?  Why not live somewhere or do something else that doesn’t require such emotional energy or determination?

Because it’s worth it.

I am better person for understanding this and living this.  I know that.

All in all, it is worth it!

 

I’m Mad At My Kitchen

So maybe I’m a brat.  Maybe I’m not.  It’s up for debate.

I am tired of cooking in my kitchen.

I feel like a brat for even typing that because I’ve seen some of the ‘kitchens’ here.  In the western world they would consider it camping, not cooking in a kitchen.

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This is a pic in a kitchen of a friend.  You say, “but I don’t see a kitchen.”

Exactly.

There are no counter tops, or cupboards, or an oven or a microwave. Not even a fridge.  They have two burners that run on a small propane tank and then they literally have two clay ‘domes’ that they build a fire in and cook on top of.

That is her kitchen.

I have everything that I listed that she doesn’t have.  EVERYTHING. A fridge, oven, microwave, cupboards, countertops… all of it… and I’m the one that’s mad at my kitchen???!!!

Goodness.

But I am.  I can try to deny it and just be ‘ok’ with it or I can realize the reality of it and deal with it.  It is my reality.  It may be a bratty reality, but its my reality.

I don’t like my oven.  Its old, it doesn’t ever get over about 300 degrees, I have to use a bungee cord to keep the door shut and I have to stand on a step stool to get things in and out of it.  I have burned myself countless times.

My countertop space is almost non-existent. Try to cook two or even three dishes for a meal and quickly I have no where to mix, cut, chop, or anything else.

My stove is 2 burners.  I’ve dealt with that and its not been a big deal, but now I’m mad at it.

So that leaves me with either getting over it or ordering take out for a long long time to come!

I want to get over it.  I need to get over it.  I want to not feel like the brat that I am sure I am being.  I don’t even want a big beautiful kitchen, I just want an oven that opens at eye level or below and enough counter space for a couple cutting boards and some mixing bowls! That’s reasonable, right?

Reasonable.

That word has kinda ‘haunted’ me lately. Who determines reasonable? I’d like to know and talk to them.

I think we all determine whats reasonable for each of us personally.  Which is a good thing.

What is a reasonable price for something..what is a reasonable time to wait for someone…what is a reasonable excuse for not doing something, etc…

We all need boundaries in life and determining what is reasonable to us is part of figuring that out I suppose.

It is just perplexing to me that I can say to a western friend that I am mad at my kitchen and they would probably understand and say that is reasonable.  In the same breath I can say that to my friend in the picture above and she would be clueless as to what I mean because how could I ever not want to cook in that kitchen???  She would probably sacrifice a lot of things to be able to cook in my kitchen every day and think it is totally unreasonable for me not to want to cook in my kitchen!

So what is reasonable?

I say I am reasonable. I might be bratty at times, but I am also reasonable.

I can reason as to why I am mad at my kitchen and understand those feelings.  That is being reasonable.

I can also reason as to why I should not be mad at my kitchen and not feel that way.  That is also reasonable!

Being reasonable isn’t having one answer.  In my opinion, its being able to have multiple answers and understanding them all from many different perspectives.

So there I am.

A reasonable brat.

I’ll go with that!