my writings and thots

Lend a Hand

Last week, the area I am now in (Near Dresden) was remembering ten years since the huge ‘flood of the century’. There were ‘before and after’ pictures everywhere, the radio brought interviews with people who went through it at that time and how they’re doing now, and there were several TV programs as well as a movie on the subject. I remember the day very clearly; I managed at that time, by a miracle to miss the flood by literally one day.

I had been in the city in the weeks leading up to the flood, but then needed to travel back home to Croatia with Cherise, who was a little over a year old and traveling with me in a buggy. It had been raining pretty hard in the days leading up to my departure date, but like many others, I didn’t really think much of it. We arrived in Budapest the night it all really started. The train-station we arrived at was ankle deep with water; and we had to slush through the muck to get to where the car was waiting for us. When I got home, I watched on the news over the next few days as the city I had just been in got flooded along with many small villages and towns in the area. There were some deaths as well as millions of Euros of damage. Whole houses were washed away and I still haven’t gotten used to seeing the pictures of the immense damages that were done. It really is one thing to watch on the news as something happens far away and quite another to recognize areas and towns.

There was, in many of the interviews and shows, a recurring theme: people came together to help each other out. Everyone told stories of how neighbors helped, how everyone pitched in to get sandbags up, and how volunteers came from all over Germany to help with the cleanup and rebuilding. It happened during the summer holidays and many people gave up their vacations to come and help the cities here to clean up and fix as much as they could. One person in an interview commented that the way people came together to help each other is something people should be willing to do at any time.

It struck me how quickly things got cleaned up and replaced. Some houses were never rebuilt—the area was cleared to give the river more room should it ever rain that hard again—but new ones were built in their stead. When I look at a big ‘disaster’ like that from an outside point of view and hear how people said that aside from the terrific damages, the whole feeling was a good one, people made new friends, got help they needed to rebuild, and in many cases were even better than before, it’s somehow comforting to know that humanity still has a heart. We should always be ready to lend a hand, always ready to see a need, not only with the big things such as this flood, but even with our neighbors and people close to us.

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Remembering a moment

A couple of days ago, I read a prayer request for someone I had met a few years ago for a couple of days. During my prayer time for him, I got into remembering what an impact he had on my life. He was one of those people who come into a life and leave it forever changed, without trying or making any effort to.

Some years ago, I had the blessing of meeting this man and spending a few hours talking and getting to know him. I can honestly say that he was completely unjudgmental in the least. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone like him. Within a few minutes, all my walls were down, I felt I could trust him with anything and he still would not think any less of me. It’s difficult for me to express exactly how that worked, as it was difficult for me even to know how to react to someone so understanding.

I was able to talk to him for some time and although I can’t remember exactly what he said, he gave me the courage to make some very drastic changes in my life. I had some fears that I had not expressed to anyone before, I was living in a shell, and didn’t open up to anyone honestly at that time. Within a few days of his visit, I was able to completely reverse that, creating a change that I can honestly say changed my life for the better.

Yesterday, I learned that this dear man passed away. I know he touched many people’s lives, as is evident from the posts and comments I keep seeing about him. I know he touched mine and I know he’s enjoying his good health and happiness in Heaven now.

Though my experiences with him, I learned how much a person can affect another life. Just a few hours changed my whole outlook on life and gave me strength to become a different person altogether. It’s possible to underestimate the power that a few words or attitudes can have, both good and negative; I know I do all the time, but I hope that I can learn to make the most of every moment. Life is a vapor, it’s gone before we know it; but there are those who come into our lives, even just a short time and make all the difference in the world.

my writings and thots

To Friendship!

I’ve been thinking about the word “friend” over the last couple of days. I feel that in today’s world, filled with social media, instant messaging, skype, etc. the concept of true friendship is sometimes lost.

In a recent discussion with a friend of mine, I was asked to define what friendship means to me, and why I sometimes feel friendship is something we take for granted. Just because you’re a ‘friend’ on Facebook or in one of my chats, doesn’t make me your “friend”. What I mean is, when I consider someone to be a close friend, I feel it works both ways and they also have to agree that they’re my friend.

A friend is not a dumping ground. I have friends, who I know I can vent to, but I also am there for them when they need me; it’s a two-way street. A friend accepts you for who you are. If you don’t like the way I am, please don’t try and change me before you consider me ‘good enough’ to be associated with. I know I have things I need to do better in, but if your sole goal is to make me live up to your expectations, you’re going to be disappointed. A friend respects you. I can honestly say I have quite a few guy friends, but they all respect my wish to not date or start a relationship with anyone right now. We have great conversations, connect, and laugh, but it’s all built around that respect.

I’ve met and connected with people I’ve never met. The internet is a wonderful thing for that. I’ve made some amazing friends that way, people I can talk to, we connect on a way only we can understand, and we find ourselves picking up after days of not talking, as if no time had passed at all. I’m so grateful to those people, both those I’ve physically met, and those I’ve met online, who have been there for me over the years. I’ve had people who prayed for me, encouraged me through some pretty dark spots, who helped me when I was lost and alone.

Being in a situation where I’ve suddenly had to say good-bye to some people I’ve really come to love and respect, I’ve been looking over my idea of friendship and trying to determine if I’m really a good friend. I lived near and worked with some truly amazing people in the last year. They had faith in me, supported me through all the changes I went through, and they still write me often, or give a ping in chat to make sure I’m alright.

However, looking back, I feel I sometimes took them for granted. I felt there was time; there would be ways to show them I cared, that I loved them, that I was grateful for them. How many times did I turn down an invitation to just come chill because I was busy with work, or wanted to “be alone” for a bit? I have to admit, I retreated into a shell, I pulled back, afraid to trust, to truly let myself go. I know I hurt some people I really love because of it.

Now that I’m alone, now that my dear friends are on the other side of the world, I appreciate them so much more. That’s not fair, I know, and I want to do better. I want them to know what wonderful people they are, how grateful I am that they’re a part of my life, and that when we meet again, I promise to be there; all of me. I really do love you—and I hope you know who you are—and pray that I can be for you, all that you’ve been for me.

about the kids

July

So much Summer at last! Most of these are from CC’s birthday party. It was cold on her birthday, so we did the swimming outing a couple days later.

Charlotte’s birthday. It was a small celebration at home.

Feeding Cherise birthday cake

Jordan, goofying off with my shawl

Fun at the playground

And off to the pool we go!

The birthday girl!

So much fun on the slides!


Finally, a warm day!

It doesn’t matter how hot it is, Jordan’s lips always go blue!

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Warriors of Light

I was given the book, Manual of the Warrior of Light for my birthday, and have been slowly working my way through it. The reason I’m going slow is because I feel there is a lot to absorb and simply reading it through wouldn’t work for me. Almost every time I read, I find something I can relate to in some way.

I wanted to take parts that meant something to me and share them along with what I got from it. This will be an ongoing series of sorts, as I don’t want to bore anyone in one go. Different passages mean something different to me at different times, so that affects what I share as well. If anyone else can find something to help along their journey, all the better.

Warriors of light always have a certain gleam in their eyes.

They are of this world, they are part of the lives of other people and they set out on their journey with no saddlebags and no sandals. They are often cowardly. They do not always make the right decisions.

They suffer over the most trivial things, they have mean thoughts and sometimes believe they are incapable of growing. They frequently deem themselves unworthy of any blessing or miracle.

They are not always quite sure what they are doing here. They spend many sleepless nights, believing that their lives have no meaning.

That is why they are warriors of light. Because they make mistakes. Because they ask themselves questions. Because they are looking for a reason—and are sure to find it.

This is probably my favorite so far, or at the least ranking in the top five. I’m one of those who struggles with the mistakes I’ve made and continue to make in life. I know life isn’t perfect, and I can’t possibly be perfect either. But that has never stopped me from trying my darndest anyway.

Not fitting in, not sure what I’m doing here, and constantly searching for my reason is a regular part of my life. It helps to remind myself frequently that I’m not from this world, that I’m just passing through, and that the whole path is never clear in one go. There will be twists and turns, sleepless nights, and mistakes made in order get to the destination.

But that’s what makes me a warrior, that’s what makes me strong. All I have to do is keep going on. Learn from mistakes and falls, get back up, and keep fighting, that’s all it takes to be a warrior: not staying down.

I will keep looking for my reason and I know I’ll find it. And every time I do find a reason, there arises a new challenge, something new to do, a new mountain to climb, and I will go on.