Aware|iv

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what I need. My soul needs to remember truth, remember the goodness of my Heavenly Father. Celebrating the little joys in daily life.

Cheers to the neighbor who shares their meals of Ravioli soup with me. I mean, being invited for dinner makes cartwheels happen in my brain– but when the word ravioli appears on my screen — there is no doubt that I will be there. Cheers to technology allowing me to connect with my siblings in different countries. Be it Facebook chats with the broski or Kakao calls from a sister– connecting with them makes my heart happy. Cheers to Instagram people who recommend new beats like this— my heart has been blessed by so many who have shared new songs to this girl who lives in the land of being in the dark about whats cool and new. Cheers to my Chinese teacher going downtown with me to make printing press magic happen on paper that glistens. New prints and lighter pockets make this girl thrilled. Oh yes, and she helped me find new calligraphy ink. New ink also thrills my heart. Cheers to my creator for reminding my selfish heart that life is not about me but completely and totally about His glory. Yes. My heart needs this truth all.the.time.

This is living life intentionally. Living on purpose and looking for ways to be joyful. Not necessarily happy– because happiness fades so quickly. But joy. That’s what we should be about.

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Taste of Home

No. Not the magazine or website. We’re talking about living in a land that is so completely different from home and finding ways to step back and enjoy things that remind us of our homeland. I am not for a moment saying that I don’t enjoy living here, but avoiding the reality that this land is different would be foolish. Sometimes our hearts long for home, and sometimes we remedy those feelings and emotions by creating an environment that eases those desires.

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Each week I get together with my friends and each week our theme is different. We cook and bring our food together and share. Community.
I love this. I look forward to this. I enjoy creating flavors in my kitchen and sharing them with the people I’m closest to over here. This is how we fellowship. This is how we do life together.

However, after several years of recycling themes and trying some that were basically failures– I thought about that beloved combo: grilled cheese and tomato soup. Then my mind wandered to that place where we find comfort food and enjoy the calming atmosphere (when it’s not lunch rush, at least). Panera Bread.

I told my friends that this would be the theme of our dinner party. My neighbor said I needed to make a sign. So……….. I did (after a little argument between friends about whether there was a woman in the logo or bread– and there are both). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy home is tiny and my walls are covered with art, mostly made by yours truly. I guess it added to the Panera feel with low lights and calming colors.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We had soup, salad, and gourmet sandwiches– oh and baguettes for dipping in the soup: Panera style, yo.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo this is hospitality in this area. Your home? It’s not too small. Fellowship with people does not mean you have to do it all. Invite your friends, let each person bring something and enjoy each other. This is a sweet chance to try new recipes.

How often do you have people over?

 

Aware |iii

lam322-colorful-naturehues copy[hand-lettered design– by me]

It’s been an up and down kind of month. Mostly due to the lessons I’m learning about trusting God. So, throughout this I’m seeking to be aware of what He’s up to.

Cheers to my sweet student who noticed my wardrobe malfunction and kindly let me know without embarrassing me in front of my entire class–a total doll (for more reasons than this). Cheers to the magical beauties of washi tape– and the mother that blessed me with 18– EIGHTEEN– rolls of it for my birthday. I would be lonely if my desk wasn’t covered with these little rolls. Cheers to the weather not being frozen yet, the fall that is hanging around for a little bit longer this year (and the fact we aren’t slipping on frozen spit yet!). Cheers to the friend who took my mail back to the USA to send it to my sweet friends around that country. Cheers to my Korean best friend for chatting with me during my lunch break the other day. Five stars for long distance bests. Cheers to the internet for teaching me that I don’t have to grill my grilled cheese (for a crowd) one at a time but can do it in the oven. Magic.

This is how we live life aware// don’t get stuck in the mundane of life.. fight for joy! How are you fighting for joy today?

Contrary

twirlContrary to popular opinion– living abroad is not always glamorous. In fact, some days it’s pretty hard.  I know that this is where my heavenly Father has me for this season of my life, so I do really desire to see things through the lens of truth. Yet I am human and I am weak. I know that some families are rather dysfunctional and family members don’t like to talk to each other. But I don’t have a family like that. Sure we have our issues, but really– I am a blessed girl to have such dear relatives.

But you know that verse about taking up your cross, or the one about leaving family to follow? Sometimes taking this seriously means a lot of… shall we say… loss. Like not being able to attend family reunions. For many years on end. It could also mean missing weddings, when your whole family is together and you can’t join them. It’s those moments when your cousin gives birth and you can’t cuddle with it, because when you meet they’re already say… 3? Or it’s nights when they have fun being crazy.. and all you get to do is enjoy a little Facebook status and laugh, wishing you could be part of the fun. It’s those holiday when your family is feasting together on foods you can’t even access. It’s that togetherness. Don’t get me wrong, we are blessed to live in this era when we can video call and it seem like we’re actually together. But togetherness. That’s what I miss.handstandWhen my heart aches over pictures of cousins being all together.. and tears don’t stop falling. The best thing I can do is pray. Pray that they are walking in truth. Pray that they are growing in their knowledge of the Lord. Pray that they would know they are deeply loved — not just by me, but by the creator of the universe. cuz
Yes, life abroad has its ups and downs. I’m learning how to rejoice regardless. It’s in those hard moments when I think about the memories, and thank the Lord for those time we WERE together, and joyfully anticipate when we reunite. The day will come– here or in glory.

Regardless. I’m grateful to have these people in my life.

Aware|ii

gratitudeSome weeks in these parts are quiet, while some are full of adventure. Some weeks we have classes every.single.day but then we get a break. This week we’ve had a nice change of pace with a holiday that gave us a week off of teaching. For that, I am grateful.

Cheers to the “family” I had at camp this summer and the way that family-ness has carried over into the months following– to the point of getting a message that says “See you soon, mom”– these are the things that melt my heart. Cheers to the friends who came for an early breakfast today and made themselves so at home and finding my (less than comfortable //hand-me-down) sofa to be a restful place. Oh and lets not forget the ending when someone said “we should dance before this is over” and we promptly started music and danced around my little home. Love that. Cheers to retreating. The time to step away from my home and stay in a house with 25 others// laughing, crying, growing, falling flat on our faces in repentance and worship… those are moments I want to savor. Cheers to angels or something… not letting the paper lantern fall and burn up the city but carrying it higher into the clouds when it started to fall… kind of one of those “have to be there to know what I mean.. ” but yes, cheers to that. Cheers to the friend I ran into while heading to buy vegetables — he walked with me and we chatted and carried my vegetables. Five stars for you, sir. Any person that carries my vegetables TO MY DOOR gets extra cheers (okay not anyone because usually I don’t let people carry my stuff…). Cheers to the shepherd that traveled across the world to share hope with us, to bring truth and speak with such humility and grace. My heart needed that truth. So so much. Oh yes, and cheers to the neighbors who let me come hang at their house and eat their cookies with Biscoff spread — hello… where have you been all my life. You know those moments when you are at peace with the world, then suddenly your taste-buds have been overcome with a new burst of excitement. Yes. That good. I will be searching for a method to make it.

This is how we live life aware// don’t get stuck in the mundane of life.. fight for joy! How are you fighting for joy today?