Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What breaks your heart?

There have a been a few times in my life that my heart was broken…

·     When I first was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis) and I watched an older lady cross the street very slowly – I could actually ‘see’ and ‘feel’ her pain as I have never seen or felt pain before.
·     My best friend’s daughters running, hugging and telling me that their parents were getting divorced.
·     Sitting in a medical clinic in Ethiopia – dirt floor, meager surroundings and yet it was a place people came and had hope for a cure or better conditions and village leaders verbalized grace and kindness to our team from California.
·     Standing in a hot, humid, mosquito-filled refugee camp in Greece with no showers or ‘real’ bathrooms talking with a Mom and she said she could not move to another camp like this. If that would happen; she would rather return to Syria to her house in rubble and war-torn town as shown to me on her husband’s mobile phone.
·     Feeling pain and numbness from death – my uncle, mom, cousin’s son…heart-broken.
·     Walking on the streets in Budapest today – reaching out to prostitutes, talking with them, offering them tea, snacks, chocolate with two amazing ladies that have been doing this work for quite a while and have heart-breaking as well as inspiriting stories to share.

So as I am not able to get to sleep very easily tonight – these are the thoughts running through my mind. May our hearts break for what breaks God’s….and may we be filled with His grace and love to make a difference at those times and in those situations.  Why?...because life is actually pretty good and God is definitely way better.

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Rain, thunder, lilacs and fear

Life is very good and God is waaaay better!
1.    Ahhh…the sweet smell of rain and the sound of thunder.  That is what I’m smelling and listening to right now.  Budapest is racing right through spring time and full force into summer! Summer in April…what?  My fans are working.
2.    My favorite flower is lilac – all varieties.  This is the season for lilacs here…oh man do I love them!  It reminds me of my Mom – she loved flowers!  I find myself loving flowers tooJ  I remember when I was a junior in high school and our class was responsible to decorate for graduation.  I had a two-fold reason to make it good; my sister Susan was graduating and I was junior class president so it needed to be done well!  So my Mom and I scoured our little town and the next town over for lilacs. I’m telling you what – that stage was FULL of lilacs!  I’m not really sure what the senior class thought (sorry for those with allergies…we didn’t even think of that!) but I was happy – there were lilacs everywhere!
3.    English tutoring brings many opportunities for discussion.  Recently a student and I were talking about voting processes.  April was election time here in Hungary.  The process is the same – the issues are very similar too!  Prime example:  refugees – oh my heart breaks for all the news and information swirling around.  I can only speak from my personal experience and I know the issue is complex.  I just see families that show me pictures on their phone with their homes and streets bombed; moving around trying to make a better place for themselves so the children can go to school and/or parents work without fear.  Fear is a powerful tool; it can be healthy or unhealthy. It can be used to hurt of encourage. Dear God; please help us to use fear in a healthy and encouraging manner. 


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Friday, March 30, 2018

I'm encouraged :)

Life is very good and God is waaaay better!
1.     You know what?  I’m encouraged – after spending 10 days in Belgrade and meeting young people (20’s and 30’s) from all around the world – literally – that come there to volunteer, work and whatever else.  They work very hard!  I hear so much about how these ‘millenials’ don’t have a good work ethic or are lazy etc.  Could be true…but once again…that is a generalization.  I’m not a fan of that because there really ARE good ones out there!  I’m encouraged.
2.     Easter week – not exactly my normal Easter week but I am enjoying it.  The trees are not budding, flowers are not blooming, and I don’t have Easter decorations around my house.  And yet – I am enjoying each day and moment.  I have not been at my house in two weeks; instead I’ve been in Belgrade, which I consider a bit more ‘raw’ than Budapest.  I’m quite thankful – I didn’t lose a phone on this trip (2 lost/stolen there last year) and the people I got to know really did touch my life.  It was an amazing experience I would say – so maybe no trees budding but lots of relationships budding and the work in Belgrade is definitely coming into bloom!
3.     I had the most awesome ‘suite’/room mates in Belgrade…thank you Katie and Andi!  When you are old enough to be their mom but stay up each night talking and laughing – that makes me happyJ.

Happy Easter to you all!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Pleasant Easter Holiday

Life really is very good and God is waaaay better!
1.    We are officially in spring according to the calendar but today I’m in Belgrade, Serbia and we had snow…pretty but I am definitely ready for spring!  The trees are budding with snow on them – confused? (see side picture)
2.    ‘A’ as in the letter in English…we say a long ‘a’….not the ‘ahhhh’ sound.  Most languages over here say ahhhhh…I have found myself applying that to names, words etc.  Crack me up…I guess I’ve been here awhile. 
3.    Working with a team of 10 people in Serbia – we are volunteering for the various NGO’s that are working with the refugees.  It is heartbreaking, it is exciting, it is humbling, it is draining, it is refreshing and…it is very goodJ
4.    People are kind.  People I don’t know well, here in Europe, those coming from the U.S. to serve here…people are kind.  It is encouraging and good for my heart.  Thank you to many kind folks!
Happy Easter  (Kellemes Húsvéti Ünnepeket...
Hungarian literally translated means ’Pleasant Easter Holiday’)


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Thursday, February 15, 2018

WOW:)

Oh how I do love life.  Life is good, God is better!

1.    Budapest home 2 weeks already…and I get back into my apartment today.  A new family arrived while I was away so they have been staying there which worked out great. 
2.    I have some great friends here – so willing to take me in, feed, love, and encourage me.  Thank you!
3.    I was going to turn right on a red light yesterday – then I remembered where I was.  You don’t do that here in Hungary.
4.    Today?...today I am taking a quick trip to Vienna, bringing a colleague to pick up his ‘new’ car.  Quick trip to Vienna – WOW.  Amazing.  Sitting in Starbucks right now in ViennaJ.  Yes, I do love life.
5.    Valentine’s and Ash Wednesday all on the same day.  Doing the ’40 Acts’ for Lent…https://40acts.org.uk and then Easter is April 1st – no joke!  Crazy.
6.    Big basketball tournament this weekend at the high school.  Yes, I have the Bulldog mascot and yes; he is clean and ready (as he’ll ever be).

                                         Enjoy February!...it’s a good one!


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