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.

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-9-53-24-pm

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.

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-10-00-58-pm

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 —

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-9-53-39-pm

 

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:

:420women20gather20for20a20meeting20in20brahmagiri20near20lake20chilika20orissa-621x414

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.

UFC-OG-image.png

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:

wind-farm2

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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 6.21.25 PM

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.

008b1814bbc39c9666762dec03876103

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….

12552636_10208104208863321_7001039419930817208_n

 

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.

IMG_0464

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.

12552636_10208104208863321_7001039419930817208_n

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.

images

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.

IMG_0134

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!

Doubt Can’t Shout

Many years ago friends of our went through some serious martial issues.  They were very close friends that had confided in us and we did all we could to help them.  There came a point, though, where we could see things just needed time.  Nothing about this situation was, or should, happen quickly. I remember one day going to lunch with the wife and she was just frustrated over the lack of progress although there was definitely progress.  Out of no where I told her to just keep envisioning the good days of their marriage.  Whatever a good day would be to her, just keep envisioning that.  I told her to keep picturing fun family nights that seem like only a dream right now.  I told her to hang on to those pictures in her mind tightly and whenever she was losing hope or it just seemed like things weren’t coming together, to just picture those moments and fight for them.

A year or so later, after things had turned many corners and their marriage was back to good again, she told me that she had done that and that it had really helped her get through some very difficult times. She said that it helped her keep her hope alive.

I think we all have things that we hope for, but they seem to be so far off in the distant that we don’t even want to think about them sometimes.  I believe, though, the more we think about them and the more hope we have, those things will be even better when they do come to fruition. I would even venture to say that without keeping the hope alive for those things that are deep in our hearts, they will have a very hard time of ever coming to be.

I have had 7 years of hope and picturing of ‘what could be’ actually come to realization this past month.  Now, when I am in the middle of these hope built moments, I almost cry with how elated I am that it is all actually happening!

During those 7 years, I had to take my own advice and keep picturing and keep hoping, believing, and working towards making it all happen.  Just when I thought it was about to come full circle, something huge would happen and delay it again.  This happened over and over and over again.  To the point that I really began to doubt.  My hope was greater than my doubt, but with all the obstacles the doubt was definitely trying to shout!

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 12.13.03 AM

I can’t put into words how thankful I am for not giving in and not letting that doubt shout louder than the hope I had to see this new work begin.  Now, I can’t believe I ever doubted.  It’s incredible to me how much clarity comes in hindsight!

I am thankful for hope.  I am thankful that doubt can’t shout when we have hope. I am thankful that we can hold tight and hope for those things that we know should be.  I hope to always hope.

What Is Worth It?

David recently bought the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and it is one to highly recommend!

outliers-742141

Part of it has had me reeling though…

He talks about a sociology study that sociologist Annette Lareau did by spending extensive time with 12 different families of 3rd graders from all walks of life (within America) and from all different backgrounds, race, class, etc…

She told them that while she was with them to just treat her like ‘the family dog’. Meaning her and her team just wanted to view and observe their normal every day life and what that comprised of.

Ms. Lareau boiled her findings down to two parenting ‘philosophies’. Her findings saw that parents that were wealthier were very involved in their children’s free time and extra curricular activities.  Shuttling them from sports practices, choirs, games, meets, etc… all week long. Discussing coaches, players, others involved, etc… The working class families all were very separated from their kids free time.  One example she gave was one of the girls was involved in an after school choir program, but she signed herself up for it and walked to choir practice each time on her own.

The sociologist states that the working class families don’t necessarily see their children’s interests as a prompt to look for ways to develop it into a formal talent.  They simply see it as cute or a way for children to ‘get attention.’

Ok, I know that is a very very generalized statement.  I know that there are wealthier families out there that take no interest in their kids interests and I know that there are working class families out there that spend every waking minute with their children helping them to grow and develop, those generalities aren’t what has had my mind reeling.

After reading this, it sent my mind back to when we first came here and I googled, searched, asked anyone who would listen, sought out anyone I thought might possibly know or thought maybe they would know someone who would know about how to get our boys involved in sports here. There aren’t YMCAs or easily found sports teams to just be a part of.

I never succeeded.  I never found a way for either of them to consistently be involved in sports or really anything else that interested them and its always been heavy on my heart.

Our oldest has not had much issue with it, he finds interests in things at home a lot, so that hasn’t been much of an issue.  Although I am sure he would enjoy and grow from being out with others his age more! Our youngest, though, loves to play basketball.  LOVES to play. Not only have I never been able to find a basketball team for him to be on, I haven’t even found a basketball goal for him to even be able to play on his own!  (Well, until recently, some friends told us about a pick up game that happens on Monday nights, and that has been so incredibly amazing.  After 7 years our son got to play his first basketball game here just recently!)

Of course then satan goes on attack.  I am scrolling through my Facebook news feed and I see a son of a friend that got to play recently with his basketball team on the court of a professional NBA team! I was sincerely elated for our friend’s son, but my heart sank to new lows realizing our son would love that opportunity and probably literally come out of his skin to be able to do something like that.  Goodness, he just talks about getting to go to a basketball game at the court one day like its a million dollars, let alone actually get to play there!  (and if you are that friend and you are reading this, no harm done…keep reading) 🙂 

I refuse to have the pity me or us attitude though.  We have a great life and get to do things that we never ever even dreamed of, literally. Sometimes, though, these simple things get to me. Its annoying really. Most things I see or hear about that others are doing that we don’t even have the option of doing or having  because of location and lack of access to things (which is more food related mostly, ha!) I can quickly dismiss and not care a bit and be genuinely happy for those that are doing those things or have those things (which has been the most important step in my growing process to me).   It was difficult in the beginning, adjusting to the separation of that, but now I’ve feel like I have come full circle in a lot of ways.  This one, though, just sent me for a loop very unexpectedly.  I think seeing that post and the combination of reading that section of the book together, just made me really sad that I sometimes can’t accomplish what is ‘instinctual parenting’ for us.

So I just prayed simply, “Lord somehow redeem this.  Somehow make this all worth it.”

Instantly, I  heard a simple still small voice reply back to me.

He said, “Is it worth it for someone to understand who I am even if your son doesn’t ever get to play basketball?”

Ahhhhhhhh. YES.  YES YES YES it is.  That is totally worth it. That’s the reminder I needed.

Eternity.

Eternity is worth it.  Every time.

Does it make my completely carnal feelings of wanting my son to be able to play on that court too go away?  No, admittedly, not totally…but WOW it definitely lessens the sting quite a bit. I can reconcile that even if I am not able to seek out ways that we can turn their interests in ‘formal talents’ my God can do things immeasurably more and better in their lives than those things ever could.

…and that’s what eternally important…and always worth it!

That’s all for now, keep hanging on to those eternal perspectives and I’ll see you back here next year!