Thursday, June 1, 2017

Thriving on a Thursday

Thursday, June 1, 2017
Isaac's second birthday has come and gone. Happy Birthday, little guy. Sometimes his smile reminds me of Timo's (his dad's). The grandkids are growing up while we are away. How we miss them.

It's hard to believe it's been a week since Brandy and I went on our daylong spiritual retreat. We sat in separate rooms, but ate breakfast and lunch together, and snacked as we debriefed in the evening. That one day of listening in solitude and silence has recalibrated our hearts and our serve.

God has reminded me all this week of who I used to be - expressive, enthusiastic, ready to jump into life and new things with both feet. I used to love to teach. I looked forward to seeing students each day. (In the past 2 decades, sometimes it's been more of an effort.) Where did I go?!

Who shot this photo? Amazing
A little of that personality and largess has begun to come back to life. I am utterly grateful to God.

I've evaluated last week's meeting with God through the counsel of trustworthy friends, as well as my parents. They've urged me to show up with all my might into relationships, into work, and into things that stir my heart. Whatever God asks of me, I need to be fully present.

no comparisons
no expectations
no rules or regulations
no "should" or "must" beyond what God asks
... and no regrets

Of course, with:
good manners
cultural appropriateness
seeking wisdom, understanding, and knowledge
... and the maturing fruit of the Spirit: more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)
Sunday's quick airport visit with a dear friend - she's going as I come in
I happen to be reviewing a new book by Todd Henry called Did Empty. The theme is giving life our everything so that there are no regrets whenever our time is done. How appropriate.

Henry advises questioning our assumptions and perceived limitations: "All great feats begin with 'why?', 'how?', and 'what if ...?'" That's great advice for research and new projects, but also for life. I'd forgotten to ask those questions, which used to jump naturally into every experience years ago. (Remember our random, deep-diving, and broad-ranging homeschool "curriculum," kids?)

Yet Henry urges readers to assimilate and curate information, thinking deeply about what we let in and give out. Cool. (I hear you, Todd! and I highly recommend the book.)
Women who serve: with Brandy and Amanda
Brandy's gone back home after three weeks with us - done with the long flights and layovers. Her cat Izy is probably ecstatic but I miss her already. She's a soul sister. Amanda wrapped up training in Bali, staying with Josh and Clau. She's on her way to Jakarta soon for more experiences.
Lunch overlooking a spectacular valley, with 60' blooming trees

W's working hard at home and I'm in Singapore. Oh, how I love this city. I don't know if I could maintain the pressured pace and long hours of living here. But the orderliness, the lack of rubbish strewn about (think of it: garbage bins on most corners! that are emptied regularly), traffic rules that are adhered to, the trimmed flowerbeds, and towering trees ... it's balm to my German DNA.

These two weeks, I have wonderful students who need to research and write their papers. Research Writing 101 and 501? Sounds boring? Well, maybe on Day 2 - when there's lots of information with few hooks to hang it on. But by today, they're fully participating and on their way to some great writing. Our classroom gets noisy at times.

Each afternoon, I head out the door to walk laps the apartment complex, prayer-walk the 10 floors of one apartment (there are 10 buildings), and do a circuit on the fitness gear in the central courtyard. I run our 100 steps up and down on the way to work, slowing halfway when it becomes a slog - especially when I'm lugging my workbag home. W and I are sooo grateful for healthy bodies.

I don't even mind my evening homework, editing student work.
After a day at work, an evening of homework and an art journal
Read more:
*David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, I pray you, take away the guilt of your servant.” 2 Samuel 24:10 ESV

*My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. Psalm 25:15 ESV

*Jesus says, “Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10 ESV

*As for us, we can't help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation--a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth. He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good  thing you do and say. 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 NLT
*You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. James 5:8 ESV
Moravian Prayer: You call us to faithfulness, Great Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier; bless our labor, as we patiently move through life.
Father, you are the source of every joy—may we experience this amidst the aches and pains of life. You are ours and we are yours—fill us with all joy and peace as we cast all our cares on you, believing in your goodness and relying on your mercy. Amen.

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