Christmas…… I have these dreams of cozy family time, roaring fires, love for all, peace on Earth, home cooked meals etc. Am sure you get what I mean…
Instead, I find myself still on another business trip at the end of this year, wondering how I will manage all I want to accomplish before I fly home to spend a couple weeks in the UK. I have not bought any Christmas presents, although my emails are bombarded with ads, promises of cheap and cheerful presents. I have not decorated my apartment, other than the below Christmas trees in the window. No roaring fire, I don’t even have a fire place! Today in the news I saw a New York bomb attack, California wild fires.. peace on Earth is still far away.
What is Christmas really about? Why is there so much pressure on this season? Should we not be celebrating the fact that Jesus came to this Earth as a little babe, to reconcile us with our Heavenly Father? Would it not be sufficient to just be grateful for that, and let the rest pass by?
Maybe that’s what I will do this year.. just be… a little Mary, sitting at His feet, rather that Martha..always busy… I still have a couple weeks to ponder that some more…. what about you?
And so we are on our way… as soon as I knew my parents were coming I had booked up the road trip to visit my dads brother. A long way away, in Chattanooga.
We set off about 3 Friday afternoon with destination a hotel in Independence Missouri. About an hour south of St Paul we saw a massive Cabellas. If you have never been inside you probably don’t know what pulling power that store has for Europeans, who never really see shops where you can buy positively everything to kill and cook animals. My mother had seen a coat in that shop, and our mission was to check if they had her seize on a good colour.
We were admiring the stuffed animals, when my dad realised he was naked…. no phone!!!! I don’t know about you, but without phone these days we feel lost, drowning in a feeling of emptiness without something to hold in your hands… so back we went to retrieve it…
We arrived in Missouri at 1.30am… a little later than anticipated… but on our way!!!! Today the destination is Memphis..therefore… to be continued….
Today was my birthday…I always pretend I don’t really care about birthdays, but deep down I do… after all, who does not appreciate the fact some one thinks of them specifically on this day,..
When I woke up, my daughter had already wished me a happy birthday…. it warmed my heart.. however, my husband was quiet… maybe he forgot? He called me in quick succession just as I was getting ready to go to work, so I called them back from my car… such great invention… FaceTime… it truly makes the world smaller. They sang for me… yep… feeling like a birthday girl alright! Shame you are no longer home, my husband said… your present is under your bed…. nooooooo…. now I had to wait till the end of the day!!
Finally I got home, and quickly checked under the bed…. a bag!! My husband had visited me in the US some weeks before and has managed to surprise me! From my favourite Store!! Lovely cards and a lovely sweater…. and my daughter bought me a gnome… those Norwegian ones I love so much….
I am far away from home… but I feel very special indeed!
Don’t you think sometimes that certain days should be relived like Groundhog Day… redo until it’s perfect.
Today certainly is one of those days. Coupled with the fact it’s Friday the 13th, it would almost make you superstitious.
Am looking forward to a day of Sabbath rest. You?
As I sit outside at Caribou, it’s hard to imagine we are already in October. Time is certainly flying by!
However, one thing has changed…(besides that Mel is in the UK for a couple weeks, to ensure Geert does not get lonely, and the cats don’t forget about her)… autumn is here!
I don’t know what it is about that season. I am more of a summer, beach kind of person. But something about this period in the year grabs me. Maybe it’s the last swan song of nature, showing their abundance of colour. Maybe it’s the promise of Christmas being around the corner, and all the coziness that goes with that.
Or maybe it’s just that this season each time reminds me of Gods promise to us. No matter how rotten we feel, there will be new life.
For many this season brings despair, loneliness, falling leaves, depression. I sometimes get caught up in that too. I am a true worrier, and this season of the year I worry more.
A day like today however, blue sky, too warm for jogging pants, beautiful autumn colours… I think I want to keep the Godly reminder in the forefront of my mind!
What about you?
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.
Yesterday 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!
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!
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…
See you on the other side!!