Saturday May 18, 2019

Psalm 12:5 “Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan, I will now rise up,” says the Lord; “I will place them in the safety for which they long.”

This morning was wonderful and peaceful in so many ways. Jeff and I got up and had breakfast just the two of us since he had to be at the field for the tournament early. I dropped him off at the field and then headed back to the hotel to take the kids to their breakfast and then to the pool (they swam and I did yoga). The kids really were awesome this morning and it was the first time I felt that I was able to relax since we left Brasov. We had a less than peaceful drive to Bucharest and then trying to navigate this new place with fast and aggressive drivers, relaxation was not the feeling that comes to mind. But this morning, the kids played and got along with each other, they were even aware and respectful of the gentleman swimming laps in the pool without my intervention; it was beautiful. I enjoyed my yoga vitality practice. Unfortunately, the peace was fleeting, but here are some pictures of the blissful parts.

I finished my yoga and the kids were done swimming at almost the exact same time, which I thought was perfect. I didn’t even have to drag them out of the pool. We got upstairs and I shooed two of the kids into the showers so we could go and watch Jeff’s final game. But our lack of conditioner caused a bit of drama, so I hurried to the store for some better hair products and all was well. Everyone got cleaned and fed with the leftovers from last night (only a mild tantrum about not wanting their leftovers, but that was side-stepped nicely with the help of Lucia). I felt like at any moment a bomb was going to go off right next to me, but it didn’t. We got to enjoy one of Jeff’s games and then learned that he still had one more. The kids were never going to make it, so I drove them back to the hotel to watch TV while I went back to the field to watch the final game (3 total round trips from the hotel to the field).

All this driving back and forth is like a double-edged sword. I am reminded of my dislike for big cities with lots of traffic but I am loving driving a manual transmission. I drove a stick for so long and it makes driving so much more enjoyable. I made it back to the field in time for his last game of the day. I will admit I was not 100% present in the moment. As I was waiting for the game to start and the teams to warm-up I decided to get a bit of studying/reading done, but I had a hard time putting it down when the game did start. I would go back and forth between reading and watching the game, but it was very relaxing to do this without any kids around interrupting me. After the game, we headed home and then out to dinner.

We ate at Hanu’ lui Manuc, which served traditional Romanian food in an open-air courtyard. The ambiance was so fun, but the company of my children was not the greatest. They were tired and it was getting late (we didn’t get there until 7:00 and by the time we finally were able to pay and leave it was close to 9:30).

I really have no idea how to relate this scripture to today, so I am not going to try. What I will say is that Bucharest is a really beautiful city, rich in history, plentiful parks and green space, and lots to see and do, but I realized today that this is not what I love about traveling. I love meeting the people and living amongst them. I also know, with absolute certainty, that I am not relaxed in a big city. We have only been gone for 24 hours and I am already missing Brasov; it is so quite and calm in comparison to Bucharest. I don’t like feeling this stressed and overwhelmed with the sheer number of people crammed into such a confined space. So again, God has provided me with a wonderful lesson, I don’t need to see the beautiful touristy sights around the world, actually I am rarely happy and relaxed in these environments, but rather the best part about our travels is living and becoming part of these communities; it is the people not the places that I want to experience.

Friday May 10, 2019

Job 11:18 “You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.”

“What is Yin Yoga?”  These are the opening words to a powerful and meditative yoga practice lead by Travis Eliot in his Ultimate Yogi program.  Yin, as it turns out, is equal measures of tension, release, persistence, patience, and ultimately…bliss.  The program takes you on a roughly 60 minute course of stretching in which each yoga pose is held for three to five (and one time seven) minutes.  If you have ever stretched your muscles you know that holding a good, deep stretch for even several seconds can be difficult, mind numbing, sore, and not very exciting.  But when each pose puts you in a position that is very much outside of your normal bodily position and then you are asked to hold it, breath deeply, and even consider stretching further your mind is truly tested but your body is all the better for it.

What does Yin Yoga have to do with this blog?  Those are the words that I asked myself when I first offered to type today’s entry for Sara.  But as has happened so often in my yoga practices over the last several years the answer came to me, and quite clearly.  Over the last several weeks I have been truly saddened by the thought that our time abroad is nearly over.  I am enjoying being “in the now” every day I am at the hospital with the kids but as soon as I come home I am reminded that we are, every second, closer to the end.  But as I completed my hour long stretch I came to the final pose of rest, savasana.  It is in this time that you lay completely still, focused on your breathing and feeling your resting body held by the solidity of the Earth.  Today, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace.

God filled my mind with the images of all of the amazing moments I have experienced in the last year.  I was reminded of faces, places, scares, and joys.  I am a big fan of running and have always found time in every stay to run.  In this time of rest some of my most vivid recollections were on the runs that I took and the sights that I saw.  God knew how to touch my heart and how to fill hy head.  I took peace in knowing that I had done what I was called to do and that God had given me so many gifts for doing it.  I need not worry about it all ending because the call, for now, is done.  I am so very grateful for what I have been given and what I was able to do.  I hope that in God’s eyes I did enough and carried out His call in a way that is pleasing.

I hope that He will call me again for whatever purpose He has.  Just like Yin Yoga, I just held a deep and powerful year-long stretch and I know that one day I will hold my real and final savasana, but until that time I am ready for the next pose.

Monday May 6, 2019

Psalm 119:169 Let my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word.

I had the hospital shift today and there were 5 of us for 2 children on one floor and 3 children on the other. So we divided ourselves up amongst the two floors. It was a very quiet shift, but still very rewarding, as it usually is. I mean really, snuggling babies is such a wonderful way to spend a morning.

Today was also the first day of my 108 day yoga challenge. I started this particular yoga program (The Ultimate Yogi) several years ago and have continued my practice through the years, though not as consistent as I would have liked. I was so excited to hear that there was a challenge that starts today and so I joined up on Facebook. This is a way to keep me accountable in making sure I get my yoga and meditation in every day. I am ready for the challenge. I started my day today with the ab workout and then did the flow practice when I got home from the hospital.

After that was done Jeff and I headed out to mail a package to our family back in India on the mission. We sponsor a child there and his birthday is next week. I really wish we could have sent this off sooner to ensure it gets there by his birthday, but it just didn’t happen. I really enjoyed this walk with Jeff, just the two of us. I feel that we have had a shift in our relationship, we now have more time to just be together without the children. Our kids have gotten to the age that we are able to leave them alone for an hour or two, which affords us the chance to just be together and have adult conversations without the input from little ones. I am cherishing these moments because it almost feels like we are dating again. I guess I am just realizing that we are entering a new chapter in our relationship and in our family. I know there will be a time when I miss my children being around, but for the moment I am enjoying the times that they aren’t!

I still haven’t heard anything on any of the various jobs I have applied to, which is a bit discouraging, but I guess this is where today’s scripture comes into play. Without even knowing it, this has been my prayer for a while now, asking God to give me “understanding according to His word”. He has a plan, I just don’t know what it is yet. But after this weekend and the conversations that Jeff and I have had (alone!) we have decided that it would be beneficial for me to acquire my license to practice social work in Wisconsin. So I was able to get my application submitted and the process started today. I am hopeful that within the next 3 months or so I will be a licensed social worker, which will open up many more job opportunities to me.