Thankful, Grateful, Blessed

In Europe we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the same way our American neighbours do. However, that does not mean we are less thankful!! It’s actually a great opportunity to reflect on the last year and give thanks to Him who has blessed us greatly.

This year has been a hard year, with Covid being on the forefront of everyone’s mind am sure. Sickness, death, job losses, money problems, mental health issues… you name it… Life as we knew it is no more.

Still, I am thankful for all He has lead me through, good and bad.. He is still in control and still the Saviour of my life! And that makes me feel blessed!

So I am taking this moment to also thank all of you. I am grateful for the support I receive in all that I do. I hope I can be as supportive of you.

Thankful for another year, grateful for all my friends and family and blessed because He loves me and cares for me!

A Time For Reflection

Another year has passed. It’s less than 8 weeks to Christmas. The US presidential election is still undecided. And we are back in a total lockdown… events just keep unfolding, and time just keeps on flying. It certainly gives me time to reflect and think about all that is going on in this world.

As I write this, I can hear the family walking up the stairs singing. So sweet, they are bringing cards and little presents. Still I can’t shake the feeling this is just another one of those days of which many have passed already in the last 9 months. I don’t know why I struggle so much with this forced lockdown. Even though I rarely go out anyways, when someone tells you you can’t do something it feels just worse!

Since I have come back from the US I have volunteered at the One Vision (link below) where I can. Sorting food, clothes, refilling the store etc. And by doing so I am focused on others more than myself. With each foodcan I put down or plastic bag I fill I am reminded how blessed I truly am. N

I have no financial struggle, a warm house, and still the ability to enjoy another birthday! It sure puts things in prospective.

Melody and I are also about to attend our first virtual Christmas market with our handmade crochet items. You can find the (growing) collection on our Shopify page (https://tapandco.myshopify.com). This will be a totally new experience, thanks to the lockdown. A little reminder that Christmas is coming!

With that, I can truly say I am thankful. And blessed.

I would encourage you to find light in this dark tunnel. And find a listening ear if you are struggling. There are many wonderful support groups that can be reached, and many individuals who unselfishly give up their time to care for others. It provides a different prospective. And I am also very willing to be the listening ear, or be the other face on a zoom social. Just contact me and let me know.

A Time for Everything

1Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.

2He sets the time for birth and the time for death,

the time for planting and the time for pulling up,

3the time for killing and the time for healing,

the time for tearing down and the time for building.

4He sets the time for sorrow and the time for joy,

the time for mourning and the time for dancing,

5the time for making love and the time for not making love,

the time for kissing and the time for not kissing.

6He sets the time for finding and the time for losing,

the time for saving and the time for throwing away,

7the time for tearing and the time for mending,

the time for silence and the time for talk.

8He sets the time for love and the time for hate,

the time for war and the time for peace.

9What do we gain from all our work? 10I know the heavy burdens that God has laid on us. 11He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what he does. 12So I realized that all we can do is to be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive. 13All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God’s gift.

14I know that everything God does will last for ever. You can’t add anything to it or take anything away from it. And one thing God does is to make us stand in awe of him. 15Whatever happens or can happen has already happened before. God makes the same thing happen again and again.

https://www.onevisionproject.org

Sunday

Good Friday has come and gone. Not sure why we call it good, when it was the most dramatic day in the history of mankind. We remember that our King died on the cross. But He stayed not dead, Sunday is coming!

I saw this poster on Facebook and I love it:

How true is that!

How did we know the world as we know it stopped existing about the beginning of March! We are all asked to stay away from each other. No church, no friends over for dinner, no normal things.

But a lot can happen indeed. We can find beauty in the little things. Gratefulness in our existence. Walks in nature. Reconnecting with our fellow house mates. Technology allowing us to worship together, remembering this important period in our human history. This period will pass.

Sunday is coming… no Sunday will ever be as beautiful as that day when He conquered dead and rose again!

How will you be celebrating this Sunday?

If you have a chance, listen to this beautiful concert from Jaime Jorge: https://youtu.be/rfm-RzFt2fA

God is in Control

Sometimes these old hymns just jolt me back in reality, their messages just as relevant now as when it was written. This particularly song is ‘This is My Fathers world’

In this crazy world we are now experiencing, its not so easy to see that our God is still in control. the media surrounds us with stories of death and sickness, shortages of critical equipment and all around doom. If you are not getting bombarded with news stories, or see it on Facebook or whatever other social media tools you use, you see it all around you. Driving along the motorway, the message on billboards and traffic sights is clear: stay home, wash your hands, stop spreading the virus.

It’s hard to not think about the passages in Matt 25 which speak of the end times, of last events being quick events. The questions we have to ask ourselves ‘am I ready‘. ‘Do I believe He is in control’ ‘what would I say when I see Him’. This virus came on so fast and the world as we know it has ceased to exist. We do not know if things will go back to before, but there is one thing I know for sure: God is still in control.

My dad reminded me that sometimes situations are utilised even if we did not realise it yet. His brother immigrated to America long before I was born. My mum, dad and I visited short before he passed away in 2017. My cousin and I clicked and have been friends ever since. And now, the year 2020 I find myself in their house awaiting the passing of this current virus situation. Maybe there is beauty in the fact my dad was not able to see his brother throughout his whole life. God is clearly in control!

The last verse of this poem which was set to music after the author died, sums it up so nicely:

This is my Father’s world.
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

Women’s Day

It’s the day in the year that women are celebrated. Their achievements through history that have made an impact. In today’s world issues are also highlighted that impact women.

How are you celebrating?

While I find women’s issues important, Inequality in the workplace still exists and women’s rights are not guaranteed, I will not specifically celebrate today. I want to celebrate every day!

Proverbs 31 in the Bible specifically mentions how the ideal woman behaves. Industrious, noble, gracious. Sometimes it’s worn as a badge. I have not decided if being called a Proverbs 31 woman is a compliment or not.

I am me, however. Unique, wonderfully made. As are you. And in my uniqueness I hope to be positively contributing to this world. In my own small circle, as well as in my circles of influence, work, society, church.

In my uniqueness I do crazy things sometimes. Being with friends throwing myself off hills in a tube, driving around trying to find eagles, finding rest in my crochet work etc.

That’s what I think Jesus asks of us. To be accepting that we are all made in His image, as it says in Psalm 139:14 ‘For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

So I’ll be spending women’s day appreciating that I am special in the eyes of God. As are you. I hope you’ll remember that every day!

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28 Years

Oh my, time flies… it’s already the end of the first month of 2020, and it really feels like the year just started! However, January is a special month for us and no matter what.. she still looks forward to her birthday!!

I can’t remember the weather, this day 28 years ago. I can barely remember the days following.. but I can remember turning from a woman to a mother! She was the tiniest little thing, a number of weeks early.. but from day one she wrapped up around her little finger.

Today we celebrate her 28th birthday. It’s gone so fast! But still, each day I am so thankful for becoming her mum! We celebrated in style in a funky restaurant in Marlow where we had not been before. A birthday candle on the cake is still fun and asking the singer to sing happy birthday to her is a whole level of more fun!

Maybe this is what God means when He refers to Jesus as His Son. A whole other little of delight. Even if I don’t really understand how the Godhead works, I can so imagine the love flowing through Him when He recognised His Son!

Or the joy Jesus feels when we call Him our father and we recognise ourselves as His kids. A parental relationship is so special! One of deep trust and mutual love.

Melody, am so proud of the young woman you have become! Thank you for celebrating with us!

Another Day

Time has gone so fast, and I realise we have not written anything for some time! The new year started and the family is already back into the swing of things. It’s almost like Christmas never happened!

It’s now the 3rd Sabbath of the month and I guess it’s no longer appropriate to wish folks happy New Year!

However, that’s just what this is all about. New year, new beginnings, good intentions.

I did not really make any. I know I break them as soon as I make them. But still, reflection of the year past and figuring out the future year can’t really be escaped. So caught up in the hype, I did at least tell myself that this year i would try and think of my own needs a little more. Spending time doing things I love just because I love them.

If you ask how I have fared these first 3 weeks of the year.. Uhm.. not so good. However there is one thing I really love doing that relaxes me… Crocheting. I prefer not to do that alone though, it’s fun to do that together with my daughter. But as I am often away, I do find myself often crocheting by myself. Each stitch is done in a rhythm, while my thoughts freely flow. Maybe it’s just a daily reflection, going through the day, self examining and often praying for those around me.

Come to think of it, maybe that should be my good intention for the rest of this year. Starting each day with devotion, and finishing each day with reflection.

My current devotional is ‘my utmost for His highest’ by Oswald Chambers. I subscribe and daily the thought for that day is emailed to me. (https://utmost.org)

Maybe this year we can motivate each other to keep going?

Almost Christmas

It’s a few days before Christmas… although it does not really feel like it is. The media reminds me though, with advertisements for all sorts of things: last mailing dates, last shipping dates, last day to buy the turkey, sales of all sorts to motivate me to buy presents. And yet… it does not feel like it’s Christmas soon.

I am sad that so often Christ is taken out of Christmas. It’s a commercial transaction, which needs reminding as we don’t spend enough otherwise. But there is no reminding of the reason why we even celebrate Christmas.

Does Christmas still have the same meaning? Is it still the moment where we can remember that our Saviour was born on this earth with the purpose of showing us what real love is?

Churches put on special programs. Our own church has a beautiful Christmas Eve candle service, with music, singing and the Christmas story. For me that’s a highlight of remembrance. (
https://youtu.be/Zkj3lVQMlps ) On Facebook I see many other programs advertised, so there is plenty opportunity to celebrate.

Everyone has their own way of celebrating, and as such there are no right or wrong way. But for me, it’s important to take a few moments and really focus on the reason for the season. The love Jesus has shown us by going back to very humble beginnings, to be born as a helpless baby, and the purpose for His life are what I want to focus on. After all, it’s the prelude to the most important event in history: his death and resurrection, so we can live!

It’s nearly Christmas.. out of the busyness will be beauty, when I lit the candles on Christmas Eve….

Silent Night, Holy Night.. all is calm… all is bright

Merry Christmas!

Beach and Sorts

Some weekends are even better than others. Sometimes it’s just brilliant to just take time out and enjoy all that is around you. It revitalises, enriches, and just makes you plain grateful for the life you are able to lead.

Last weekend was just one of those weekends. We were blessed enough to be able to spend the weekend in Guanacaste, a hot tropical paradise in north west Costa Rica. Konrad, a colleague and friend of mine, was willing to drive us there and back.. not sure if the pictures below show the roads, but for this European, those roads are better described as dirt roads with craters, rivers to cross, and seatbelts tested to the max. Needless to say, we would not have gone there if I would have been the driver. One look and it would have been.. sorry Mel, time to turn back…

Our purpose was to spot turtles, who nest in flocks in Ostional. The call the phenomena Arribada, which unfortunately we mist by a month. Turtles were still spotted but those we also missed. Hatchlings did not come out while we were there. However, the times we were there it was hot, and hatchlings would not survive in that heat.. so maybe for the best after all. We did see lots of evidence of turtles there.. nests, empty eggcasings, hatchling tracks, turtle tracks…. it just made it all very real and a huge reason to come back one day!!!!!

What was weird, shops selling turtle eggs… something I may never understand… and for sure not something i would ever try!!

What we did experience: beautiful beaches, sunsets and nature, amazing food, friendship, waking up to the sounds of monkeys, hummingbirds, butterflies etc.

Mel had the opportunity to snorkel and saw an Octopus, she was happy!! She spotted a couple Whales in the ocean.. and her marine biology appetite was satisfied also.

Writing this does the weekend no justice. It’s something I want to see again!

I am truly marvelled at the beauty of this world, created for us to enjoy. With the word of the Psalmist (19:1) the Heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the works of His hands.

 

It’s Friday

Some weeks fly by, others drag and never end. But always I am so happy when it is Friday. The end of the week. The beginning of the Day of rest.

Today we drove to the Starbucks estate ‘Alsacia’ for a few hours of rest and restoration. The views were beautiful, and I felt the stress slipping away from my shoulders.

Tomorrow it’s Sabbath, where rest and restoration can continue. As we are in Costa Rica, am sure it will involve pool time and admiring beautiful views.

Below a few snaps of the beautiful estate, maybe it will inspire you too.

Psalm 55:6 oh that I had the wings of a dove. I’d fly away and be at rest…