Musings

This morning I was watching the livestream at our church, where my husband just got up to share a life story with the kids there. It’s too much detail to retell it, you can watch online via this link (http://stanboroughpark.adventistchurch.org.uk/)

The point of the story is worth retelling though. You are valuable!!! No matter what happened to you, crumpled, dirty, alone… you matter!!!

You matter to me, and you are valuable to me.

Happy day!

Selah

A word often used in the Bible to indicate rest… although a quick google shows that the translation is not really known. It often occurs at the end of a verse in the Psalms… 

I like that interpretation… at the end of a verse, rest… at the end of a week, rest…. and that is what Mel and I did. While Geert is away in Spain drumming his heart out at the Youth conference (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mrCJLA9W_xA&list=PLOGSrwS5xR71GO1ZoQOZdvVri-XSOkqan&feature=youtu.be) we went on a Friday evening sunset cruise on the St Croix river.

We had a moment to pause and take in the beautiful rock formations, against a beautiful sky which had just cleared after a down pour. The paddle boat pushed us gently down the river, quite a novel experience! We saw a couple of bald eagles, such majestic birds. The family sitting next to us asked what we were looking at and so enthusiastically taking pictures of. They may not understand how lucky they are to have bald eagles in their state. Their white head and tail sticking out against the green of the trees.. it never ceases to amaze me. And it always reminds me of 2 things: the eagle story in the Bible as told by Moses in the last phase of his life.. when Israel is once more reminded that God is watching over us, but at the same time teaches us to fly… and of my husband who so beautifully can recount that story…

We also so beavers, just as the sun was setting and we were munching on tacos with salad. At least, that is what we think they were. Big animals sitting at the side of the river, taking occasional dips in the water. All so peaceful.

Even though the family next to us on the table had probably had a little too much to drink and were quite noisy, for us this was a Selah. A rest point in the week and the beginning of a beautiful Sabbath.

Below some pictures, although these never do any justice to the scenery… maybe you need to come and enjoy this yourself?

Lonely

IMG_4676Yesterday and today are turning out to be me feeling a little lonely, and emphasise the fact I am all the way in America and my loved ones are in Europe. It goes a little like this:

For weeks there has been a buzz going through the Adventist church, particularly the younger ones (read teens and young adults, typically classified as youth). The International youth congress is taking place in Valencia, Spain and 1000s of young ones are gathering for a week of friendship, worship, good times etc… my husband and the band he drums in have been practicing and gearing up to go…. the church community I belong to (Stanborough Park Church) has teens going, my niece is going… and I am far far away…

My husbands flight was early this morning, Sunday… we have a six hour time difference… so we called him at 9pm Minnesota time to ensure he got out of bed, before the taxi would arrive to take him to the airport…. it took a few rings, but he answered… and got ready to go…without me..

In the mean time, my phone started buzzing… the family Knopper chat…. my niece is on her way to the airport also… ready to go to Valencia… my brother and the other 2 in his family started driving to go on holiday…. without me (we like going on holiday together)

What about me? I am a little sad…. am far away, different time zone, not travelling either on holiday or to participate in the congress (am feeling youthful). These are the moments my year away feel lonely, I have to work….

Well, gotta pull myself together… so here is the plan… the theme of the congress is ‘Journey’. There will be plenty of opportunity to follow along via Facebook, instagram and the webpage: http://www.aycongress.org/

This way, I won’t have to feel so lonely… hope to get a glimpse of my husband on stage also!

 

East, West, Home is Best

After a great business trip, sprinkled with some beautiful friendships and great sightseeing, it is time to go home…. and actually, I am ok with that…. after all, being in America for a year is a real privilege also and so far am loving it!

Costa Rica has a great phrase, used in all sorts of circumstances: Pura Vida! It’s used as greeting, as response to questions, almost like a life mantra… and it shines through the whole culture as an upbeat, happy go lucky and friendly mantra. It translates literally as pure life… but actually it does not have a real translation as such. It’s definitely a thought I want to keep holding on to.

My actual house is in the UK, my husband is there too, as are my cats, friends, car..all that is dear to me.. and yet, home is now also here in the US, where lots of adventures are still waiting for me… a bit like that phrase… Pura Vida…

 

so.. happy to be in my US home… and enjoying life!

Work Matters

Even if we work to live, and don’t live to work, some weeks are all about he job… this has been one of them. While in beautiful Costa Rica, I was actually managing one of the biggest work challenges since I got this job. A software upgrade, involving 100’s of impacted users and 1000’is of invoices flowing through a workflow system. And it went almost flawless! No major issues reported, and the system stable in a few days. A very proud moment! It would be a lie to say this was all due to my efforts… it was a team effort of 7 people plus all the support of the wider teams….

and now? A real Sabbath rest….. a pause, a comma in the working week… time to rejuvenate and reconnect. Time for praising the One who makes our successes possible.

Its important to take moments like these to celebrate, as sometimes it can all be looking like all efforts are insignificant….

Happy Sabbath all!

Costa Rica explorations

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What we recommend? Well, the La  Paz Waterfall gardens!!!! In one word: breathtaking…

From rescued animals (toucans) to lovely food to beautiful waterfalls. It was a journey worth taking.

 

Who cares we did not take the same route there and back in a rental car, which I was scared to crash (or be crashed into). Or that we could not find that big supermarket where we wanted to buy some provisions.

We loved it and can really recommend it!!!

Lessons Learned

Well, we not only survived camping, we actually loved it. Northern Minnesota is very pretty, with lots of nothings… we did not see the bears we thought we might, or the moose, but we saw plenty of deer, mosquitos and bald eagles.

we ventured into Canada also, being only a half hour from the border. The lady at the border was extremely friendly, even if I was terrified to even cross the border and leave safe America. She not only stamped our passports on our request, she also gave us a Canada pin each. How sweet!!!!

And..they let us back into the US also..

So what lessons did we learn?

we can set up a tent without fighting, even if we did not know what the tent was supposed to look like.

we can build a fire and cook food on it… and roast marshmallows…

we can survive with a ‘vault’ toilet. If you gotta go and don’t want to walk 10 minutes, it certainly will do.

mosquitos love me more than Melody…

we saw no bears, but loved being outside and slept perfectly well…

we want to repeat the experience as often as we can

And now we are packed again…Costa Rica is the destination… not a bad location for work…

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See you on the other side!!

Women Leaders

Its been a couple days since we shared another blog… today is my turn again.

We are a day away from going on a new adventure… it’s the long holiday weekend (celebrating kicking out the Brits…. feels a little odd.. huray!! Free days!!) and Melody and I have decided to try out ‘going up north’. Camping…. bears.. do we say more?

We will faithfully report back IF we return..

Back to women leaders, the title… having travelled extensively over the last years, I have had the privilege of coming across many different leaders. Leaders who inspire, leaders who motivate you to do better, leaders who should not be leaders.. Being now stationed in the US a little longer, I have more opportunity to interact with the women leaders in our own team. Women I look up to, women inspiring me to do better, to be better… Kim, Liliana, Karen, Wendy (our awesome boss) to name just a few.. I guess this is a shout out for women..

So, Mel and I will join women leaders this weekend away… I certainly hope our tent will listen to us and the bears will be scared of us!! See you at the other side!!

Mystery Call

It happened! Our first phone call!!!

Full excitement we picked up… as we don’t actually know our own home phone number, we were a little cautious though…. “Hello?” “This call may be recorded…. are you ok with that miss?” UHHHHHMMMMMM… The first cold call???

Not every first is always so exciting. In a new place, the first phone call, the first mail, the first meal, the first night in a strange bed. Life is full of adjustments! With all that comes the good and exciting and the not so good and exciting. We keep on smiling and take each day as it comes.

We are blessed with beautiful weather, so we have managed to leave lots of footsteps along the Mississippi river. We have sampled the little restaurant a stone throw from the apartment. We have cycled to the farmers market, grocery shop, rented a “redbox” dvd and are looking forward to our first camping trip. Those are certainly the exciting things!

So… in case anyone wants to call us… or send us a letter in the email… send us a message and we will give you our details.. For now… we will be a little careful picking up the phone 🙂

Also if you want to see more of our adventures from these first couple weeks then check out our first vlog on youtube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8U3nW53RLw). Subscribe if you want to be notified of our upcoming posts and leave us comments!! We love hearing from you!!!

 

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Friday thoughts…

‘If I can’t have fun, I might as well dig a hole and cover myself up’ we heard someone say…

How true is it, they we should appreciate all the little things that come our way… tomorrow is not guaranteed… this week, 2 of my colleagues lost their dads and suddenly life is put in perspective.

We can cry with them, pray for them, be there for them… and through it all we can count our blessings.

so… here are my blessings for this week: I have a husband, whom I love and he loves me. We are apart in physical distance, but not in thought and prayer.

I have my beautiful daughter with me here in the US, which reminds me that I am not alone, even if I feel lonely sometimes.

I have beautiful friends… sometimes like stars, far away and yet close in my heart….

I have a God who loves me….

What more can I want…I won’t dig a hole just yet… instead, I will go and have a little US fun.