Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thankfulness 15-16

Day 15- I am so thankful for where I grew up.  I am thankful that I was able to have a neighborhood pool in the summer, and friends pretty close in the winter.  I am thankful that I got to experience all four seasons.  I am so thankful that none of the i products were around when I was growing up.  I am thankful that technology did not rule the world back then. 

Day 16- I am thankful for all the Thanksgivings I have been able to spend in Missouri.  I love sitting down around the table with my family.  Eating turkey, making jokes, and enjoying each other's company.  I especially am thankful for the past two years when I was able to have someone to share that Thanksgiving tradition with me and my family.  Although he may not ever read this, I am really thankful that he was there for those celebrations.  I continue to be thankful that growing up we always had two Thanksgiving celebrations, one on Thursday and one the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  It is tradition, and a good one. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My thoughts on Ryan Ferguson and injustices in this world...

I will never forget watching the Dateline special while I was in Thailand.  I still remember sitting in my apartment clear on the other side of the world, being so amazed by the evidence that was there and the conviction that came.  I prayed so much that night.  I prayed for justice, I prayed for peace, and I prayed for protection.  

I didn't know that his release would come when I was yet again on the other side of the world.  As I watched the events unfold via FB and the news I just simply was in awe.  Honestly I couldn't peel myself away from the social media.  I was watching the live blog while trying to do my best to get my students to and from specials in a timely manner.  I couldn't believe what was happening.  I couldn't believe that he was finally being set free.  

Then I thought, I thought about all the tears that had been shed by his family. The thousands of miles that they drove, the hundreds of dollars that they probably spent.  I thought about the things they probably heard, the things Ryan probably heard.  I thought about how hard it must be to get up everyday and keep fighting, for 10 years!!!  How hard it must be to stand by and watch your son live out his 20's in prison for something that he didn't do.  I thought about what that must feel like, and I just felt a loss because honestly I can't imagine that much pain.  I can't imagine that much heartache, day in and day out for a decade.  Having hope that justice would be served on numerous occassions and then having the door slammed in your face.  I just can't imagine.  

I don't know Ryan personally.  I have friends who know him and his family after all I did grow up in Columbia.  But I feel like I know him.  I feel like social media has allowed me to get a glimpse into his soul.  To understand the honesty that is in the way he smiles and the way he answers questions.  I watched an interview today and I was just in awe and the way he spoke and loved.  He simply did not show anger, or even one bit of arrogance.  I had to say a little prayer of thanks.  I have no idea why God allowed Ryan to stay in jail for so long, but I know that it was for a reason.  I know that someone has had their life changed for the better because of Ryan's experience.  

Then I got to thinking about how much effort and love were put into setting Ryan free.  Don't get me wrong I am so glad...and I know it is not over for him.  I completely agree that they should keep fighting.  But I wonder if as many people are standing up for the children in the world that are being put in prison everyday.  Maybe not a physical prison, but an emotional one.   The children that have to work for their food, and not any kind of work that an educated adult would take.  The children and women that are sold as slaves for others pleasure.  

What are we doing for them?  Are we putting this same kind of energy and passion into helping them?  

I know I probably am not.  I sometimes get so complacent about it.  Like it is just something that happens.  Being in the Philippines I feel like I am constantly surrounded by people that are living a lifestyle I don't agree with.  You know what I mean the 80 year old men with the 20 year old women (actually some of them look 15).  It sickens me, yet what am I doing about it?  

Am I paying as  much attention to the posts that I get about human trafficking as I did about the Ferguson case?  

I can tell you that I am not.  Why?  I honestly wish that I knew.  But I don't have the answer for least not today.  

For now, just like I did for Ryan back when I was in Thailand...I will pray for those that are slaves, and those that right at this moment are being forced into a lifestyle that is not their choice.  I will pray for freedom, and I will pray that God would show me and everyone around the world what He wants us to do.  

Just like this case...maybe it will take longer than 10 years...but we can't stop fighting....we have to press on, because in the end the effort is worth whatever sacrifice we must make.  

Thankfulness 11-14...

Day 11- I am thankful for clean water.  I know that in many places they don't have clean water.  I know that in many places the idea of clean water is just this dream.  I know that I am so blessed to have clean water on a daily basis.  

Day 12- I am thankful for expression.  I am thankful that I have learned how to express myself through writing.  I am so thankful that I have been able to write during this month of November almost on a daily basis.  I have been able to write down my life, and my thoughts.  I am so thankful for the written word.  

Day 13- I am thankful that Ryan Ferguson was freed.  I am thankful that his story shows one of love and faith.  I am thankful that he is the kind of man that does not want to seek revenge, but justice.  

Day 14- I am thankful for Koreans.  I am so thankful for that culture, because even though I am in the middle of the Philippines I am learning so much about the Korean culture.  I am also getting to eat some tasty Korean food! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Living Without Regrets...

We are never guaranteed a tomorrow.  We never know when the day we are walking around in will be our last.  For thousands of people in the Philippines this past week was their last week here on earth.  They will never again be able to physically hold their child, or kiss their mother on the cheek.  They will never again physically be able to say how much they appreciate that their best friend always knows when to show up with a Carmel Cappuccino from Starbucks.  They will never again be able to look their 8 month old son in the eyes and see his grin as he tries to grab the hair that is in his grasp.  For some people this past weekend was their worst nightmare. 

It causes me to think about my family and friends back in Missouri and scattered throughout the world.  Do I have regrets?  Is there anyone that I need to connect with that I haven't done so in awhile?  Is there anyone that I need to make sure I know that they know exactly how much they are loved?  I find that being here in the Philippines is giving me more time to live my life than it ever has before.  I am finding that I am able to ponder things that I have taken for granted before, and I am able to just sit back and be thankful for the moments I have to catch up and take notice of people that I have not heard from in awhile.  I am so very thankful that I am not caught up in being so busy that I don't have time to just sit and think. 

Being here in the Philippines when one of the worst Typhoons has hit ever has caused me to really think about life.  I don't ever want to have regrets.  I don't want to ever wish that I had said those three little words, or shown through my actions just how much I care.  I stink at emotions, and feelings.  I know I do.  I probably will always stink at it, most of the time because I am trying to protect myself.  I am trying to not get rejected.  But you know what? 

Rejection makes you stronger, and if that is the worse that can happen.  If the worse is that someone rejects you...then so what!  You get rejected and you move forward.  You heal and you move on, or you mend that relationship that got broken in the first place.  But you don't just sit around and feel sorry for yourself.  There is too little of life left to waste just feeling sorry for yourself.  Rejection sucks....I mean it really sucks.  It makes you feel like you are worth nothing, it makes you feel like maybe God made a mistake when he created you.  But He didn't.  There are no mistakes.  No matter what....there are no mistakes. Not in creation, not in orchestrating things, and not in the people that we meet. 

I pray for those families that have lost loved ones this weekend.  I pray for them because I know what it is like to feel loss and pain.  I know what it is like to want to call up my relative or friend and not be able to.  But unfortunately this world is not without pain and destruction.  It stinks and it makes us wonder why.  It makes us really just question how an earthquake and a typhoon can hit the same exact area of the world less than a month apart?  Why? 

I question why it needed to take place, but it is not for me to ask is for me to pray and do what I can.  Part of what I can do is to live with no regrets.  To understand that no matter what I need to be able to be vulnerable.  Even if it means rejection.  Even if it means that I get hurt.  Being hurt and growing from that hurt, is better than taking no chances.  Better than living a life without risk. 

Thankfulness....Day 10

Today I am thankful for education.  I am thankful that I had the ability to go to school, get a great education and continue on to get my Masters degree.  I am thankful that despite my debt I am able to work in places around the world, and enjoy learning about other cultures.  My career has allowed me to see so many different places, and gain knowledge on a daily basis.  I am so thankful that I can continue to learn and grow in my profession on a daily basis.  I will never stop learning or teaching, no matter where life takes me. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

A month on this Island....

Tomorrow will mark my 1 month anniversary of being in the Philippines.  I still can't believe that I have been here a month.  I am so thankful for how quickly it is going. I am thankful that I have been able to settle into this new life.  I am thankful that I am able to be a part of a community.  Even if it is kind of a weird community.  Last night about 18 of us went out to celebrate someone's birthday.  It was so much fun, and I did realize that there is something about just being out with people that makes me happy. I miss having a community.  I miss just being able to laugh.  But the thing is that I would trade it in for my family.  To be able to hang out with them and watch football.  I would totally trade my exotic life for that.  

I am thankful for this opportunity.  I am thankful that I get to be here for this time, but I am also looking forward.  I am hopeful for what the future brings.  I am hopeful that there is something great about to happen.  Something that will change my life and other lives.  I am thankful for time to just think and ponder.  The fact that I can be surrounded by people, or completely alone.  

In this month I have learned so much about the Korean culture and the Filipino culture.  I am thankful that I can laugh and get to know both cultures.  That my students can speak 3 different languages, and that they are able to learn.  

My students all got over 100% on their spelling test this week.  Do you know how excited I was.  I was seriously so excited!  I am so thankful that I have a group of kids that want to learn!  

It makes me feel like I am really doing something!   

Days 7, 8, 9.....

Day 7....Thankful for Comfort Food...

Okay...I know that this seems like a dumb thing to be thankful for, but honestly I am so thankful for those things I find when I am living in another country that just automatically make me think of home.  I am thankful for Pop Tarts, and doritos.  I am thankful that no matter where I go, God gives me just enough of American food to keep me sane.  

Day 8...Thankful for Safety....

I have had my share of crazy adventures overseas.  The airport being closed for 2 1/2 weeks right during Christmas time.  A flood on my street causing school to be closed.  Army tanks rolling in to stop protestors.  Now I can add Typhoon to the list.  I am thankful that God keeps me safe, and continues to work in my life.  It is an awesome feeling.  

Day 9....Thankful for Friends...

I am thankful for friends to laugh with, and have fun with.  Maybe not all my friends are the share your darkest secrets kind of friends, but I am thankful that I have enough of those...that I am okay with just the hang out and have a drink kind of friends.  I am thankful for new connections as well as old ones.  So thankful for how God works to bring people in and out of my life at just the right time.  Ofcourse I can never forget the ones that have seen me through some of my darkest days.  So very thankful!!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day 6...thankfulness

Today I am thankful for God's control and provision.  Sometimes in the course of my life I have really been confused by how God was working, and if He was working at all.  I am thankful that today I see Him.  I see Him in such a huge way that it is almost unbelievable.  I am thankful that God knows exactly what I need and when even if I don't!


I'm not doing so great at this whole Thankfulness mind has been a bit here goes....

Day 4
I am thankful for Starbucks....yes I said it.  There is just something about walking into Starbucks, no matter where I am in the world that makes me feel like home.  I love it and am so thankful for it.  

Day 5
I am thankful for my family.  We have been through so many things together.  So many ups and downs.  But I am so thankful that they are always there for me.  They are my strength, and I am who I am because of them.  

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day 3...Thankfulness

Day 3 I am thankful for football.  I am thankful that football is something that brings people together, no matter what team you cheer for.  There is always a football game to watch. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be part of a football-loving family!!!! 

Thankfulness Days 1 and 2

I decided that this year I wanted to do more than just write a thankful status.  I want to really understand for myself what I am thankful look out....30 blogs of Thankfulness.  Hope you enjoy!  Some days might be together, because I'm not quite as good about blogging daily as I should be....

Day 1:  I'm thankful for Sunsets.  There is just something about seeing the colors included in a sunset that truly make me thankful for a Creator.  I can't stop loving them.  No matter if I am sitting on top of a mountain, at the beach, or driving down a mid-western road.  I love sunsets.  I love watching the colors disappear knowing that tomorrow will be a new day.  Knowing that no matter what good or bad things happened during the day, I can start over in the morning.  

Day 2:  I am thankful for celebrity status.  I know this sounds really non-humble of me.  Today though as I walked around I thought how thankful I am to be American and blonde.  I may not always crave attention and sometimes it drives me up the wall.  But I am thankful that I can be who I want to be in this place, and get compliments right and left.  I am thankful for my status as an American.  Even if I did nothing to deserve it!