Kindness

My car is very small… Smart small that is.. and while I don’t like how tiny it is at times, I love I don’t have to worry parking it… I park it on the tiniest of corners while I am traveling, trusting it will start again when I need it driving to work…

I had joked about it before I set off this morning…. wonder if my car feels deserted and is willing to start today….. yup! It did… Hei ho…. off to work I go!

Until I reached the first little hill on a tiny road… the lights came on all at once… never a good sign… I managed to steer it as close to the curb as possible…no more power… stuck on this small road….

I was surprised how many people actually stopped to ask if I was ok…. uhmm… yes… although my car won’t start…. a motor cyclist asked at least twice.. a cyclist called out to me.. total strangers… when a big truck appeared wanting to crawl past, a couple came out of their driveway to assist. So kind…

It reminds me of the story of the Samaritan… the wounded stranger on the ground needed help… and everyone was too busy to stop and help… until a kind stranger came by. Not only did he tend to the wounds, but he went out of his way to ensure the wounded person got the care he needed. Unselfishly kind. Kind without expecting anything in return…

I got rescued too… my car in fact did start up again… and I could continue my Friday as planned… remembering how I felt when strangers were kind, I tried to do the same…

Have you been kind today?

Pancakes

It’s maybe not my all time favourite thing to eat, but it’s probably a very close second….Dutch pancakes with cheese and pineapple… or pancake with apple, cinnamon and sugar… or just simply pancake with stroop…. or I have been known to order all 3… just for me…

The family was deciding what to eat…. and it soon transpired that one of our nieces is waitressing at a pancake restaurant….as we would not have an opportunity to see her on our whirlwind visit, and we love pancakes… the decision was quickly made…. pannekoekenhuis!!!

A quick call to make the reservation, ensuring we would sit in her section, and asking if they would not tell her…. and off we went…

The family is loud… everyone talking over everyone else, laughing, joking…. but surprisingly she did not hear us until we all stood in the doorway, waiting to be seated…. judging by her face the surprise was a success… at least for us loud bunch…

The pancakes were delicious! Being waited on by one of the youngest nieces a pleasure… her boss allowed her to sit with us…. memories were made!!! we missed those not able to join..

My earlier post spoke about illness in the family, and the unknown ahead… that’s when these moments are most precious….

There is this song by The Isaacs… the words are below…

The sentence ‘I don’t know about tomorrow…. I just live from day to day…. I don’t borrow from it’s sunshine…..

It speaks to me…

we may not see each other again… but the pancake moments remain!!

I know who holds tomorrow

i don’t know about tomorrow
I just live from day to day
I don’t borrow from its sunshine
For its skies may turn to grey
I don’t worry o’er the future
For I know what Jesus said
And today I’ll walk beside Him
For He knows what is ahead
Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow,
And I know who holds my hand
I don’t know about tomorrow
It may bring me poverty
But the one who feeds the sparrow
Is the one who stands by me
And the path that be portion
May be through the flame or flood
But His presence goes before me
And I’m covered with His blood
Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand

Life Unexpected

People get sick… we know that, can see it all around us…. sometimes you browse through the Facebook news feed and suddenly you are struck by another person battling diseases or tragic events. As it’s someone else’s life, you comment with a sad emoji or a short message.

These things happen to other people … not in the own family circle.

My uncle recently passed away, brain cancer… the word no one wants to be associated with..

Very sad indeed…

The bomb shell really came Friday though…. my father in law…. lung cancer…

how is that even possible.. he does not smoke… never ever smoked…

Incomprehensible… and sad

Jesus told us the story about the little birds… those no one really notices anymore.. they are not colourful or rare… He said ‘look at those birds… they don’t worry about tomorrow.. they don’t worry where their next meal is coming from…’

‘Please you do not worry either… The Father knows you’

These are the words of Tommy Walker on the song ‘He knows my name’

I have a Maker

He formed my heart

Before even time began

My life was in his hands

He knows my name

He knows my every thought

He sees each tear that falls

And He hears me when I call

And the YouTube clip:

Life is tough sometimes… all you want to do is curl up and let the day pass…. no matter how unexpected life can be and no matter what each of us is going through… He knows us! Our lives matter!!

We do not know what the future holds for my father in law…

All we can do is pray..

Costa Rica Adventure

Did you know that some hummingbirds are as small as bees? They are the most amazing little creatures, with their ability to fly backwards and flap their wings so fast you can’t see them…

Costa Rica has these beautiful little birds in abundance and this weekend Melody and myself were privileged to be taken out by friends where we saw loads.

It was an early morning start.. breakfast in the hotel had only just started, so I was at least able to get some coffee… the first stop was therefore breakfast in San Jose.. with coffee in a traditional little coffee pot… then on to the national gardens about 2 hours south east. That’s where we saw the hummingbirds… I tried to take pictures, but that’s just not possible with a phone.. they move so fast!

We had a great walk through the forest, where we also saw beautiful woodpeckers.. if you are a bird watcher there was lots there!

After a slightly strenuous walk, we went to a trout farm for lunch.. we gave the fishing a miss.. but ate some very fresh trout freshly caught.

I love seeing and experiencing all these things on my travels. I know I am privileged and blessed that people are willing to show me around.

Below a selection of snaps of the day… minus the hummingbirds… you just have to believe I saw all different kinds!!

To end it all, there were several smaller earthquakes here… the bed shakes. Rather alarming!

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Melody is ready for a new adventure

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The crew
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Coffee is served
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Costa Rica style

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yum!
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Sigh…. how much further?
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Fern…..

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Mels hair blends in
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Ready for the rain

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Applepie!

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Expectations

Everyone has them… expectations… especially on other people… how a person should act, dress, behave, raise their kids, love their parents etc..

And then we have expectations on ourselves… what we should achieve, do etc.

I am the wife if a pastor, and although we live in the 21st century, and my husband co pastors a large reasonably modern church there are expectations.. not just on me, but also my husband and daughter… it’s expected to contribute in a certain way. I am away a lot, so some of that transfers to my daughter too. When a member expresses how my husband should behave as a pastor it hurts too… I also have expectations on myself as to how I should live my life.. and I often let myself down too… especially being away so much (which also attracts comments)

Why am I writing this? Cause I read a recent article on self worth and what matters. Is it hard to look at yourself through someone’s expectations on you? Yes!! But it’s not needed to be hard. Our self worth comes through Jesus only. Only through His grace can we live up to our full potential. His expectations on us are that we accept His grace.

With that in mind, I will try to be not do hard on myself… it’s good to be reminded sometimes!!!

(And dad… am not sad!!)

The King’s daughter is all glorious within” Psalm 45:13

Distance

Distance is a funny thing… it can tell you what’s really important in your life…. and it can tell you what’s not worth keeping close.

This week started with my return from Costa Rica without my suitcases… these decided to hang out in Atlanta a day longer… funny… I did not appreciate that distance!! And I prefer to keep my suitcases close.

Melody graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University, which was a distance worth getting to. It was a really great family day… and she did her Masters by Research, at distance (most of her paper was written in the US). Distance allowed her to take the time out to do the research.

We met up with Karsten and Kirsten on Thursday… they are now living down under in New Zealand… a distance not really appreciated! It was great to chat and eat and share life… something we miss doing. Distance did not change this friendship.

On Friday I met up with my dear friend Althea. I was so glad to hang out with her… when I am away I miss her… distance is again negative…however, she is my sister and the connection is there no matter where we are!

Last night was the blood moon… completely cloudy here in Wooburn Green… while my dad texted me that the view was great in the Netherlands… more unappreciated distance… I miss my parents..

Sometimes God feels very distant. This probably has more to do with me than with Him as He is always there. I don’t always seek Him. A distance easily changed by my attitude.

Distance sometimes let’s you know who’s worth keeping and who’s worth letting go (saying from the internet)

Friendship

Friendships come in many different forms… needs are filled in many different ways…

I travel a lot, and am not often anywhere long enough to feel at home. However, I am truly blessed to meet many wonderful people. I know I have blogged on this before… but it truly is worth repeating. Friendship is not just one thing.. it’s lots of things.., and it makes life richer.

These last weeks in Costa Rica I have been privileged and blessed to hang out with colleagues who have become friends too.. they go out of their way to make me feel welcome, each in their own unique way.. whether it’s some fun over the phone, a smile while chatting about nothing, or playing games just because it’s fun… sharing a meal…sharing life.

Below a small selection of photos..

Friendship is not a big thing… it truly is a bunch of little things.

Lazy Sundays

A typical Sunday in the Tap household is cleaning, grocery shopping, eating… or taking me to the airport for me to travel to someplace or other…

Not this Sunday though… we thought about going to the beach due to the nice weather, but changed our minds when pictures of the beach emerged in the news and it looked like you could walk over the heads of people.. instead, a picnic in Cliveden was on the cards.

We have been National Trust members for a couple years, but not made it to Cliveden yet. The estate is not far from our house, and this day we decided to have a look there. It’s a beautiful park! A beautiful hotel too, but we did not make it that far… we found a lovely space in the shade under a tree and spend a few hours just having family fun.

Although I hurt my back a little, this truly is what family fun is about… Mel and I crocheting, Geert reading for his classes… just idling the time away together.

It reminds me of that passage in the Bible of the wedding in Cana. Jesus hung out with His friends and family, showing it’s important to make time for each other… it was His first miracle in the Gospels actually, where He turned water to wine… to me though, the most important part is the being together having fun bit! Spending time….

What’s your Sunday routine? Rushed to get ready for the week? Or are you able to take time out to have fun with family and friends?

My Story Isn’t Over Yet…

As I’ve mentioned before…I suffer with anxiety and depression and as much as I would love to be happy all the time…sometimes I slip. And what I have come to realise is that its okay! It’s okay to not be happy all the time…it’s okay to slip and be down. Life is tough and sometimes you end up questioning everything. That has been me for the last 3 weeks.

Certain life events over the last couple months has meant that I have ended up questioning every aspect of my life! Now those of you who know me, know that my life has been far from easy. I have been through a lot and I’m sure that there will still be plenty more ups and downs to come. But you know what…my story isn’t over yet! My past does not dictate how I will live my future.

Someone super close to me introduced me to ‘Hamilton’ by Lin-Manuel Miranda and there is a line in it that has really stuck to me. ‘There are a million things I haven’t done…but just you wait!’. I am only 26 years old…I still have the rest of my life to go, plenty of time to do the million things I want to do. I can also look back at what I have accomplished…I have completed a research masters degree, which if you’d asked me whether I would have done one 10 years ago, I would have said no, and planning on doing a PhD.

Whilst talking to my best friend about my situation lately, she reminded me of another line in ‘Hamilton’ and it goes ‘I am not throwing away my shot!’ and I decided this week that I won’t. I won’t let my depression and anxiety get the better of me. I am going to fight it and I’m going to get better. I won’t let myself worry about whats going to happen in 5-10 years time. I am just going to focus on what I want to achieve by the end of 2018.

I also just want to thank those closest to me who have been a support through this tough time for me! I really appreciate every single one of you and I love you all dearly. I know I can be a lot to handle and that I say things I don’t mean when I am down. But know that I really do love and appreciate you!

So I might have a million things I haven’t done…yet…but what about you? What is a song lyric that sticks with you and helps you?

Life Lessons

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post…life doesn’t always go the way you want it to or the way you’ve planned. When you look at the news headlines from the last couple weeks, one thing has been apparent…more and more people are committing suicide. So I asked myself why? The most common answer that kept coming forward for me was loneliness, depression and low self esteem. The three go hand in hand and feed each other.

As someone who suffers from anxiety, depression and a low self esteem, it is easy to be told to just speak up when you need help. But it really isn’t that easy, when I am down I socially isolate myself. I don’t mean to do it…I don’t want to do it either, my brain tells me that I’m being silly but my anxiety ridden part of my brain comes out with all the ‘what ifs’. Now I’m not saying don’t be there for those who are going through this, all I’m saying is that it isn’t black and white…gives us time.

The self esteem issue is one that is growing, I’m seeing the younger generations struggling more and more with their self image, and to be honest I am too. Media nowadays is constantly bombarding us with what is deemed ‘beautiful’. Gone are the days when it used to be ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’…freckles are labeled as imperfections. Curves, which used to be ‘the fashion’ is now considered majorly unhealthy and ugly…We are in a society where instead of building each other up, we are tearing each other apart! And then we get shocked when a young person or a celebrity commits or attempts to commit suicide.

We are all unique, shouldn’t we be celebrating that!? I dread to think what it would be like for there to be 2 of me…my parents would definitely agree there! But I also know that they wouldn’t want to imagine a world without me…and I wouldn’t want to imagine a world without my friends or family. So rather than tearing each other apart…lets celebrate what makes us unique!! Instead of finding fault in someone…find something positive in each person you meet!

We are all beautiful! Whether its your freckles, or your smile…we are all beautiful! Being brought up in a religious family, my parents used to always tell me ‘God doesn’t make things that aren’t beautiful and perfect’ and ‘the God who made the mountains and seas, felt like the world needed a ‘you’’. Those stuck with me and helped me when my self esteem was at the lowest.

I still struggle on a daily basis with my self esteem but I try every morning with a daily affirmation that I repeat to myself all day when I feel low. Some days those affirmations are ‘I release negativity from my body and mind’ to ‘I will not compare myself to others. I stay in my lane. I compare myself only to how far I have come and where I want to go.’

So what about you? What is your affirmation quote of the day? What helps you when you are struggling with depression, anxiety, low self esteem or loneliness?