Wednesday, January 8, 2020

A fresh start for 2020

Thursday, January 2, 2020
Our daughter arrives, after 54 hours on the road. We're glad to see her safe and sound. She's just in time for rambutan season. The 1" fruit inside the spiny exterior looks like a peeled grape. It tastes like a combination of grape and cherry. Delicious. The ones below are still green. When ripe, the spines will turn a deep red.

Daniel spends a whole day taking down the Christmas designs - the hall is quiet without the lights and bright colors. He hangs the two big Advent scripture scrolls on the walls of the old stage. They're beautiful.
He'll surprise us with his silhouettes on Sunday again - they provide a visual reference while we speak. (Artists are the best!)

I reset the hall at Green Gate - the chairs are put in place, the sofa comes back onto the stage, and the floor pillows and rugs go back where they belong. There will be kids reclining on them again next weekend.

The driver is sick with cikungunya. It's a mosquito-borne illness and his kids all had it last week. Saturdays, his task is to pick up flowers for church, but the florist is on vacation - and he's at home.

We don't have a bouquet for tomorrow. What to do? I still have last week's vase filled with an oasis.

I wander into the yard to see what's blooming. Not much. I spend a few minutes of exploring and then it's time to play. What can we use for a big anchors? I note that bromeliad centers hold water. I break off 5 big bromeliads and I put a pink zinnia in the middle of each. There are only a few heliconia blooms (the big 3-4' red and yellow flowers) along the edge of the back garden. (The gardener dug them up, with permission of course, from the neighbor's driveway and planted them along the lawn.)

I cut three sprays. They're quite dramatic in a bouquet. With 2' sprigs of yellow coneflowers, 2' trimmings of dill, and 1' branches from a light-green mosquito bush, we're done.
W speaks so I have a break. I have my little notebook along as usual. This is the beginning of the year, and the office has been closed for a week-and-a-half. The admin has been out of the office, so I  worked most days - a little here, a bit more there. W's busy with visas and other details.

The lotus in the Bali bowl on the porch sends out a tall purple blossom on the porch. It is happy with its roots fed by the fish in the bowl. The pretty flower only lasts a day or two.
This is a land of spectacular beauty. Things looks ordinary in their natural setting and quite extraordinary when they're displayed out of context.

After my early meeting, K and I have a massage; my back has been very sore from sitting and hunching over books. I'm done and ready for work by mid-morning. W hosts the study on the porch.

We have an afternoon admin meeting, getting the new season underway. They give us great ideas and good feedback on what worked and what needs improvement as we move forward into 2020.
In our neighborhood, a mason is perched upstairs on a building project. His helper tosses him one brick at a time from a heap on the ground.
I'm supposed to be writing a book chapter. I have 60 pages of research for 20 pages of writing. My head isn't there yet. W and I have a chapter each in a book coming out in a few months. So I know somehow this one will write itself, too.

Bugs appear with rainy season. Today there's a "camouflage" bug on the porch and a bright spider on a post.

In early December, I recorded 5 videos for a Chasing Truth series - over 1200 women have signed up online to read scripture together. I get an email from the host that some listeners are distracted by the lovebirds who were chirping outside the window while I was recording.

It means a do-over. Sigh. When? I go into the office at 6:30 am to redo the first 2 videos away from our birds. But apparently why I have is not the right script. When I listen to the original videos, I realize that I have to start over. I've wasted an hour. Ugh.

The gorgeous orchid blooming on the porch lifts my spirits. It's an office day. The team meets all morning. It's great to see them again.
Oh oh. When I get home, I look for the proper script for the video redo anywhere. Neither can Waldemar, which means it doesn't exist. Where oh where did it go? Don't know. Gone Gone Gone.

Kirsten transcribes the first three video scripts. I'd do them in the morning. Thank you, sweet daughter!

I'm in the office early to record the videos for the third time. W calls when he's done with work and we go to breakfast at Nara. Then it's off to the office. W wants to transfer the videos to Dropbox for uploading on the other end, but they haven't taken the original videos out of the box. There's not enough capacity to upload the new stuff. I send 3 or 4 emails - and don't get a reply from head office. Sometimes the 12-hr time difference affects communication. My part is done. I'm waiting for a reply.

We meet Kirsten for lunch at #KalpaTree. Today the food is wonderful. K orders pasta. It comes with peppers and more peppers. When she's about halfway through, she asks for a takeaway box - but first she separates all the hot peppers out of the pasta. We knew there were a lot - but oh wow - they cover about a quarter of the plate. Note the white rice - it cleanses the tongue when the heat gets too much.
I order slow-cooked ribs and rice. At $6, they're the best in town. The samba (chili sauce) is spicy but very flavorful. The cone of rice is a traditional presentation.
We run into some walking buddies at Kalpa Tree. Rosa (left) returns home tomorrow to Australia. One thing about being an expat is that you meet a lot of new friends ... and then they're gone. You have to work to keep your heart open. "Happy travels, Rosa."
In late afternoon when the rain comes, the clouds darken the sky and the house begins to fall asleep. The dogs run into their crate as the thunder rolls in. Good doggies.
I'm not hungry so I skip supper. A cup of peppermint tea is good, though. W brings me a big mug full of steaming refreshment.

Read more:
*Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23
Moravian Prayer: Let us hold on, be strong, love faith. Trust. Walk with Christ. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The navigation between years

Sunday, December 29, 2019
The last Sunday of the year is here. W and I invite people at BIC to reflect on the year past and look ahead with purpose in the New Year.

Here are 2 handouts from the program. Download them for your own use, if it's helpful.
People take a few final selfies; the Christmas station will be dismantled this week.
Pak Danny takes a big group to Ethnic after. What great company.
I am abstaining from what looks like a delicious lunch. My stomach has been rumbling since the Potluck last Wednesday. I finally notice. The fastest way I know to digestive happiness is a 24-hr fast. (It works again.)

Monday and Tuesday
I'm in recovery mode. In the mornings after I make toast and eggs for breakfast, Tabitha and I sit on the porch. Somewhere in the day, I toddle off to my room to read or just chill out. I write 2 news editions - one for BIC and one for us. W reads them through before I send; we both miss the personal title on one (personal rather than corporate). Ugh. Oh well.

We eat some good meals this week, exploring Nara, Pino Terrace, and Miss Bee. I don't have much of an appetite and don't think W and T would like ramen, which I crave. I don't have energy to bake or cook: it's tiring to think ahead in the day to "Oh, what's for breakfast/ lunch/ supper?"

At Nara, we sit at a window open to the field below. Parents and children blow bubbles and toss styrofoam airplanes into endless loops.
On another day, we turn up early at #KalpaTree, a short walk away. They turn us away, though there's no one at the restaurant and the first reservations don't start for another half hour. I guess we could phone them from their doorstep, but we have a lot of other choices. Their loss. 

We walk a block to Miss Bee. All the servers and the manager greet us warmly, seat us, wish us a Happy New Year. They look after us well with personal and professional service.

My special consolation prize: the hot chocolate at #MissBeeProvidore  is excellent. I unwrap and throw the chocolate truffle in with the rest, and pour it over a glass of ice. Chocolate with chocolate and chocolate. Obat Juanita (women's medicine), right?

Wednesday - a quiet start to the New Year
We call people we love and talk to friends. We go for a few walks, but mostly, we're at home. Love it. I replace the red sofa cover of Christmas with a black one, and recover the cushions in black and white.

Pak Gum is repainting inside. We've had water damage, a lot of guests, and a lot of movement. The house is ready after 5 years of living. 

We move the 2 meter (6') metal panel off the nook wall. After the paint dries, it goes on a picture rail in the living room.
Tabitha helps assemble a pendant lamp that we found in IKEA's As-Is on our last visa run to Singapore. It's been sitting in a box on my desk for weeks. Since Boxing Day, I'm clearing house. I'm almost done with the desk and my office after a month of people "dumping" things from holiday events and activities. That's the last piece - poof!
Where to hang the chandelier? For $10, it seemed to say I'd find a place somewhere. Yup. The nook by the front entry is perfect. W rewires the fixture while Tabitha clicks the stiff plastic of the papers onto the end-caps of the long wires. Whew - she's young with strong hands.

We like the shadows it casts on the walls. The gardenias plucked from the garden release their scent from a black bowl under the new light.
Then she's off! Tabitha flies back to Malaysia in the evening. She's been a good guest - and is a dear friend. We're cheering her on as she goes back into her classroom tomorrow.

How awful! Our friends write that Jakarta is flooding after rain in the area overflows the rivers and drainage canals that meet in the neighborhoods before flowing out to sea. The person with a plan to fix such disasters (2 meters of water in some homes and businesses) was ousted 2 years ago and his plan jettisoned. (Jakarta Globe picture)
Many people  who protested against him are suffering, without any solution in sight. It's common for vehicles - including motorcycles - to drive through 1-2' of water in Jakarta rainy season. The water streams through the streets on the way the canals. But this extraordinary New Years rain causes additional havoc. Pray with us for displaced thousands.

We lock up the gate and house. I grab some books to read and settle in with a cup of tea.

And then I get an email: several friends have donated to the Christmas project. My heart is full of gratitude. Their generosity will bless a special-needs school and cover universal access for the BIC hall. Thanks, everyone!

Our daughter's coming today. Can't wait to see her.

Read more:
*This assembly may know that the Lord does not save by sword and spear. 1 Samuel 17:47

*"Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit," says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6

*A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. James 3:18 
Moravian Prayer: God of peace, teach us your ways. Our ways lead to conflict and mistrust. Guide us to see the path forward that brings your kingdom on earth. Amen.

How do you get 2020 vision?

A lot of posts online promise magic potions and pills and exercises to improve vision. My own eyesight (near) has deteriorated precipitously the last few months. I've read so many books at night - on my phone and with reading glasses.

That's not the kind of vision I'm talking about. I'm thinking of how short-sighted we are when we live day to day without plan or purpose.

While it's good to trust God each day and NOT worry about the future, even Jesus looked ahead to his mission and to his death and resurrection. He wasn't taken by surprise. Jesus lived with purpose and trusted God to shape the details. 

Sometimes we shape the details and forget the bigger purpose.

Here are 6 ways to enjoy a purposeful year so you can look back with satisfaction in another 12 months?

  • Set your heart in order. A wise proverbs says, "Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23 What do you need, and what do you need to leave behind to do that?
  • Set one or two goals for the whole year - what would you like to look back on ... or what would you be disappointed not to accomplish? What would give you the biggest gain? (For me, it's a return to fitness, which will ward off weariness, bring health for creative thinking, etc.)
  • Set a routine of rest and keep it. We're designed for premier function with a day off each week. Have coffee with friends. Play. Sleep. Read. Or do art. What refreshes your soul?
  • Set a relationship goal - do you need better connections at home, in the office, or in the community? Pick one area to work on.
  • Set aside time for review - make an appointment with yourself once a week, once a month, or once a quarter. Look at 1) what you've accomplished, 2) what's in process, and 3) what's still out of reach. Celebrate or recalibrate accordingly.
  • Set aside time for reflection - whether 5 minutes or 1 hour, make quiet time for yourself and God every day. You won't always have an epiphany. But slowly, you'll be drawn into the Presence and understand what God is doing in and around you.
Need something developed by a working executive admin who keeps track of many streams of projects? Here's the Big Picture Planner to help make it happen: click on the link. (It's on sale now).
Have a Happy and blessed New Year!

Read more:
*You, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. Psalm 66:10
*Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary. Isaiah 40:30-31
*I will recount the gracious deeds of the Lord, the praiseworthy acts of the Lord, because of all that the Lord has done for us. Isaiah 63:7
*We know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
*God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
Moravian Prayer: When we are open to your spirit, O God, we find reservoirs of strength and power to love and to serve. Help us to not rely on our own devices, but to wait and trust in you. 
Dear Jesus, as we start another year, please guide us in ways we have yet to follow you. Even when tested, be the light on our paths and in our hearts to always remind us that you are near. Amen.