Thursday, December 1, 2016

Legos, December and Romania!

I got to help put a Lego toy together today with a six year old boy from Syria living in Romania.  It was awesome…our team from Budapest took the day to see this family who made it to Greece earlier this year and are seeking asylum and were ‘assigned’ to Romania.  They are in a small town, and they have 6 months to find a job and a place to live. 

It was pure joy – the little boy called me ‘Madam’…how cute is that?  We didn’t talk much, I don’t know Arabic and he doesn’t know much English but Legos has pictures with instructions – it was quite fun actually.  His Dad speaks English and when I was introduced to him, he said isn’t there a saint Carol?  I said – yes, of course there is!  So I will not let that one go for a while…saint Carol - has a certain ring to it don’t you think?

That was a good start to this blustery, cold and beautiful December.  I fly ‘home’ in 12 more days and will see most of my family for Christmas.  We will celebrate together – I expect there will be moments that will be tough and we will be missing Mom and others that have passed this year but honestly I’m thankful for the healing that goes along with it all.  Thanksgiving obviously was last week and I am VERY thankful.  Thankful for this past year, the time in Oregon, the time in Budapest, the new friends, the deepened friendships, the hurt, the growth….all of it!  I still say with confidence that life is good and God is waaayy better.

So as we start this last month of 2016; I want to say thank you for reading this blog.  We will see what 2017 brings along and what comes up in the blog but I am thankful for you – my friends and family who surround me.  May you have an amazing, beautiful, treasured Christmas season!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Köszönöm szépen (thank you very much) Hungary!

Hungary is commemorating the 60th anniversary of their 1956 revolution.  Amazing video footage on this event at (BBC - 1956 Magyar revolution)…students started the uprising with a demonstration – many joined and moved to the state radio station where some were allowed in but never returned.  The people outside became restless; shots were fired by the secret police and – game on – REVOLUTION.  It was amazing – many joined the freedom fighters.  One of the facts that struck me is that they literally cut out the hammer/sickle (Russian/communist insignia) from their flag and were flying a new flag all over the country.  Russian tanks and troops actually left the country.  10 days later – they came back in force – and took back control of the country…for 33 more years Hungarians lived under communist rule. 

That’s history – that is ache, hurt, so much hidden activity, and I have several friends that lived through it – they had and still have hope.  See….life is good but God is way better.  In this case – life can really only be good because God is way better.  Know what I mean?  There is a lot of hurt, ache and hidden activity in our world today…. different than 1956 but they are all present nonetheless.

So – that’s a tough topic to start a blog with – and if you aren’t into history – may not even be interesting.  I enjoy history – especially as it tells a story of people’s culture and why/when/where they do the things they do.  History runs deep…families pass stories and history through the generations... what do we pass from generation to generation?  We do it in more than just our families…we do it at work, at play etc.  Think of it…we spend a lot of time with our co-workers…what kind of history are we creating, sharing and passing on to our co-workers and future co-workers?  

I was born in a country that has history to be sure – I grew up in a free home, state, country and my family passed good history onto me  - I love it all.  I now live in a country that has freedom but has scars so deep  from history that was not free; it is beyond my comprehension really.  I do know this, I respect their history, they are a kind and accepting people to me as a foreigner and for that I will be forever grateful to the people and country of Hungary.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Random - FaceTime, cake, board games, friends and even elections!

FaceTime is a good thing…saw my Dad this morning (my evening).  That is a very good part of my Saturday.  I enjoy my family – yep – we are family and everything that goes with that – but I enjoy them allJ.  Know what I mean?!  Enjoy!

Picked up Lydia this morning from her friend’s house…was telling her about having dinner and cake at Martin and Cezi’s last night…she said ‘I want cake’!  So we called…can we come over for cake?  And then…and then!  Martin pulled out some board game!  Oh my gosh…10:30 on a Saturday morning and people are asking me to play a board game?  That’s like asking me to go camping for the weekend…ummmm...NO.  But – cake and cappuccino made me crazy so I agreed I guess…there I was…playing this crazy Dominion game.  Let’s just say…I didn’t dominate.  Lydia did…oi vey.  But fun was had, laughs of course were plentiful and all the while we had ‘Peppa Pig’ playing in the background for Reuben.  Nothing better than having English accents in your subconscious all morning.  I enjoy friends, cake, Peppa Pig and laughing!

There are really so many moments to treasure.  Like last weekend when I saw Kristina again (first time since English Camp) and she was able to stand up and tell her story.  It’s not an easy story – but she did it – she was so relieved and tearful and joyful afterwards!  It was beautiful…I enjoy her as a friend – she is an amazing woman that I hope to know better and learn with through her life and story.

Tomorrow is a voting day here in Hungary.  I find it interesting how many countries have their voting on the weekend.  More people available I’m sure!  They are voting on a referendum about immigrants.  The country as a whole is pretty anti-immigration.  They built a fence…!  So – if I understand this correctly – this referendum is voting if they will go with the EU mandate of how many immigrants to take or not.  The billboards around the country have been against it all – EU is not to tell them how many to take!  All interesting…

I have not received my absentee ballot yet but I must say that this vote coming up in November makes me a bit nervous too.  There is so much pro/con for each candidate….and yet this week I have seen more about the party platforms.  Now that I can understand – a bit more objective should I say?  Again…the direction of our country makes a difference.

Anyway – life is good, God is waayyyy better and here are random thoughts from Budapest on this Saturday in October.  I enjoy it all…trust you will too or at least have a smile or two reading through thisJ.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Blogs vs blocks and walls

Blogs are interesting – in my case it has been a ‘block’ lately.  It’s not that I haven’t been experiencing things or not wanting to share – it just seems I keep hitting this wall made of ‘blocks’ when I try.  Is it physical?  Is it mental?  Is it psychological?  Is it spiritual?  All good things to ponder – heart, mind, soul…

So here I am on this lovely Tuesday morning and realizing that so much has happened since June (my last blog)!!!!  July – English Camp at Lake Balaton.  Not only was it just so full of good kids, good English, good singing, good games, good dancing, good swimming, good memories and good people to work with but it was just plain ‘ol GOOD!  I loved every minute.

I got to travel home (California, Idaho and Oregon) for a time – that was so amazing to see friends, family and the one word that kept coming back to me over the summer was ‘majesty’.  I was fortunate enough to go on an Alaskan cruise with my precious Aunt Susan (my mom’s twin).  Absolutely majestic – the sights, the sounds, the company – all of it.  Much less the sights, sounds and company in California, Idaho and Oregon!...truly – majestic.
And now I am home from 10 days in Lake Héviz, Hungary where our field had conferences – three all back-to-back and it was just an amazing time.  Once again I love all the different cultures, languages and people coming together.  It is simply miraculous to me.

All that to say – life IS good…God IS DEFINITELY waaaaay better and I am looking forward to blogging once again – perhaps the blocks are beginning to be torn down in my heart, mind, and soul.  It is easy to take those blocks and build walls…so instead here is a step towards tearing some down.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Changes, perspective, and learning...

So things are changing…this world is changing.  Is it that I’m getting older and I am more concerned with it all?  I maintain, as people get older they worry more or feel that things are more drastic/dramatic than others that are younger.  Is that what is happening in my heart and mind?  Is it my perspective that is changing?....what is it?!!!  I’m not sure…but as I sit here on a really hot and humid night in Budapest I see, hear and feel change. 

The United Kingdom – leaving the EU – that’s a change.  What are the ‘ripples’ that our world will feel from that?  The election in America coming up – that will be a change no doubt.  Again – what ‘ripples’ will be felt? 

And another ‘hot’ topic is the refugee situation around the world.  It really is around the is everywhere.   I have been honored to have been in Greece and Croatia listening, observing, serving, teaching, crying, praying, playing, aching….all with these people that are just so real and reaching out!  We talk of them collectively – which is a common action – but they really are all so different with their very own stories, hearts, families and it is all so very raw and real.   This is a big change in our world…biggest migration since WWII.  That’s big…what really are the ripple effects from this?  We are still feeling ripples from WWII to be quite honest.

I sit here whining and complaining in my hot house – with no air-conditioning…but fairly thankful for several fans and a small pool in the back yard.  I remember just 2 weeks ago…we were in camps that were rows of tents in warehouses with only porta potties and sinks for water.  What is my perspective?  How do the changes in our world and my personal experiences and people that I love, treasure and meet shape that perspective?  Those things are all changing as well….and so I trust I am learning.  I am learning more about change, about perspective, about life, about people and their cultures and how those mix (or sometimes don’t) with other people and cultures.  It is all simply amazing to me – I love it. 

I am reminded yet again that life is good – even with the changes and various perspectives – and beyond a shadow of a doubt – God is waaaaay better.  He is in that change, He is in our perspectives – He is in this good life:).