18 February, 2017

Weak? Or strong?

Just a short Five-Minute Friday post. On these posts, I follow the one-word prompt from Kate at Heading Home.  
 
If you want to join, click that link to her blog. Every Friday is a new word, and the only rules are:  Write for 5 minutes.  Link your post on hers.  (You have a whole week to get your post up.)
 
  
It's pretty cool, and I find a new blog every week. (I'm getting better at revisiting them, too.)

This week's one-word is "Weak".
 
Timer starting...

My first instinct when I saw this word was my ankle. I don't know what I did - it's not exactly sprained, but... well, that's not really what this "weak" is about, is it?

I have always been a "Strong woman". The opposite of weak. So what can I write?

I have a weakness for good food, and when I pass by a bakery, my willpower is weak. I don't think that's really it either.

When am I weak? What makes me weak?
Lately, every time things go wrong I'm ready to bail. The job situation since our move has been fraught with troubles and disappointments. Just recently, when they started pressing me for my documents to finalize my visa and contract, I balked. I don't love doing what I would be doing with their contract. I have worked with them because I didn't know about other options. Now that I have other options, I don't want this first option anymore. I want to leave that situation. I feel weak and powerless.

I feel like it makes me weak.

Actually, today, I found the strength to call my contact person and explain my hesitation, and guess what? It's okay! She agreed to give me time to think about my options and we will talk in a week.
Ha. In a "week". 
But I feel stronger for opening up. Maybe I'm not as weak as I thought, after all.

10 February, 2017

Hard to Believe I'm Safe! Five Minute Friday

Today I am once again participating in Five-Minute Friday. On these posts, I follow the one-word prompt from Kate at Heading Home.  
 
If you want to join, click that link to her blog. Every Friday is a new word, and the only rules are:  Write for 5 minutes.  Link your post on hers.  (You have a whole week to get your post up.)
 
  

It's pretty cool, and I find a new blog every week. (I'm getting better at revisiting them, too.)

This week's one-word is "Safe".
 
Timer starting...



I typically write about these word-prompts as they relate to my life here in Beijing. But as it happens this fits my devotional study. I am reading in the book of Exodus, and recently passed the point where the Israelites were given manna in the desert. They were only allowed to collect enough for each day (except the sabbath). That's it.

They were safe.
God was providing, each and every day.
He promised.

And if they kept too much overnight, it got maggots. Just to PROVE He would provide the next day and they could rely on him. When God's got your back, you are safe, if you rely on him.

As I read this familiar story, I couldn't help but wonder how I would do in that situation. How many bowls of maggoty manna would I find in the morning before I realized my food supply was safer in the hands of the Almighty? 

My guess is, a lot. 
I like to plan. 
I like to know I have my food MORE than the morning that I intend to eat it...and what if I'm hungrier than usual one day? I need extra!

Trust that I am safe? That my food supply is safe? That my income is safe? That all are provided and waiting for me?
Whew. That's a tall order.

Done.

03 February, 2017

The Alphabet Soup of Life

Caution: This is extremely random and disjointed. Not my proudest writing moment. But I needed it.

I know, I know. I just posted... literally today. But that one links up to the Five Minute Friday Challenge, and this is just me.

I actually have a question for the few of you who may see this.

It dawned on me last night that the A to Z Challenge is coming soon. Last year I participated and SURVIVED to the END! (I guess that's an achievement, since I get to wear the badge on my blog.) Last year I was prepared. Last year I knew my theme and had selected most of the daily topics in advance, even dropped in some writing prompts to make it easy on me.

While doing last year's challenge, I found out I have a heart problem.
Well, not precisely. But I will.
Specifically, I'm "high risk for a cardiovascular event." 

It freaked me out because I am one of the healthiest people I know. So I started researching heart health. I found so much material - good and bad - that with A to Z fresh in my mind, I thought I could do 2017 A to Z on all these crazy findings. Debunk some myths.

Now, that seems kinda tame and lame.
Shortly after 2016 A to Z we decided to move to Beijing. I've learned a lot through that process and our few months here, too. I'm still learning. So now I'm thinking that China might be a more interesting topic. 

But I'm no travel blog. I'm just me, being me in a new location. 
Besides, I did travel-type stuff last year.

Maybe I should just take my ESL 3rd-graders answers in the "I'm Going to Grandma's House" game. That's A to Z, but pretty basic.

So my question to you, you fortunate few, is actually a challenge to help me resolve my internal debate!

During the A to Z challenge, would you rather read about heart health or China or ESL answers? That is, which would be better on this blog (there's already a lot of China here, but I guess repetition is okay)? Or should I be a non-themed theme? I don't know if I could do that... I could create a theme that changes daily: "Mondays are XYZ, Tuesdays are #qT, Wedne..." That could be fun...


SO MANY IDEAS!
I don't know why I'm concerned about this. I guess I'm just used to being prepared.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I actually intended to do a short post about death today, but got distracted. So here it is:

My godfather died recently. 

My godparents divorced decades ago, and my godmother is the blood relative, so I hadn't seen my godfather since Jr. High. Until a couple years ago, on a trip out west, we were visiting the right town and he came to dinner. I'm glad I have that. I'm glad I got to see he hadn't changed much, was still getting around, still had all his faculties, his sense of humor, good relationships with my cousins, etc.

So I have no real sense of grief. He's been gone from my life for years, came back for an hour or so, and that's it. Only now he's gone for good. So I feel I ought to throw some words out to the cosmos, but I don't want to clutter up horrible facebook and glean so many condolences when my cousins really should be the condoled ones. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

No condolences needed, but I am curious if anyone has an opinion about A to Z. Or a completely different suggestion.

Breathing for Five Minutes

Today I am participating in Five-Minute Friday (back from a holiday hiatus). On these posts, I am following the one-word prompt from Kate at Heading Home
If you want to join, click that link to her blog. Every Friday is a new word, and the only rules are:  Write for 5 minutes.  Link your post on hers.  (You have a whole week to get your post up.)
 
 
It's pretty cool, and I find a new blog every week. (Now if only I would make the time to revisit more often during the week.)

This week's one-word is "Breathe".
 
Timer starting...

 
I do a lot of yoga. A big part of that is focusing on your breath. So I've learned a thing or two.

I also meditate, and focusing on your breath is the best way to clear your mind. "Breathe in...breathe out..." doesn't really count as a thought, and focusing there helps random thoughts to pass on through instead of lingering.

Oddly, I don't hear a lot of talk about meditation among my Christian friends and family - maybe without the "Prayer and" before it, "meditation" sounds too Eastern, too Buddhist or Hindu or Eastern. I look at meditation as the oft-forgotten side of prayer.

If prayer is a conversation with God, why do we do all the talking? A few years ago, I realized that, when I meditate: when I breathe, sit still, and quiet my inner voice, I can listen more freely to God's part of our conversation. 

We are blessed to serve a God who wants to be an integral part of our daily lives. He listens, yes, and He will guide, if we just stop, breathe, and hear Him.

Stop Timer.

26 January, 2017

Five Minutes of Control

Today I am participating in Five-Minute Friday (back from a holiday hiatus). On these posts, I am following the one-word prompt from Kate at Heading Home

If you want to join, click that link to her blog. Every Friday is a new word, and the only rules are:  Write for 5 minutes.  Link your post on hers.  (You have a whole week to get your post up.)
 
 

It's pretty cool, and I find a new blog every week.
(Now if only I would make the time to revisit more often during the week.)
 
This week's one-word is "Control".
 
Timer starting...

I don't think I'm a "control freak"  but I am a planner. I make lists of what needs to be done, delegate if possible, get things done in advance as much as I can, and try to make things go smoothly. When I married a "pantster" - my word for someone who flies by the seat of their pants - we had to find compromise.

We love our road trips. We travel well together. So... if we are taking a trip for him, or to visit his friends, he makes whatever plans need made. If it is for me, or to visit my peeps, I determine what needs to be set in stone.

Our greatest example was a trip we took to one of my friends' wedding out in Utah. We wanted to make an adventure of it, so planned a week-long trip, flying into and out of Denver and renting a car. My trip - My timeline. I controlled ordering airplane tickets, renting a car, dates we stayed with my aunt, hotel reservations in Moab. Timeline?
Be at the airport by XXX time.
Be at hotel in Moab by XXX.
Be back at my aunt's house for supper on XX/XX/XX.

It worked beautifully. Between then, we visited a friend of his, stopped at whatever sites he decided on each day, and even made a mutual decision to stay one extra night in Moab before heading back.

Sometimes, relinquishing control can help you find adventures you might have missed!

...end timer.

12 January, 2017

Connect with What Brings you Joy

Today I am participating in Five-Minute Friday (back from a holiday hiatus). On these posts, I am following the one-word prompt from Kate at Heading Home
If you want to join, click that link to her blog. Every Friday is a new word, and the only rules are:  Write for 5 minutes.  Link your post on hers.  (You have a whole week to get your post up.)
 
It's pretty cool, and I find a new blog every week.
(Now if only I would make the time to revisit more often during the week.)
  

 This week's one-word is "Connect".
 
Timer starting...


When I saw this word a few days ago, I set it aside, to stew, as it were, in my brain. I have been quite low lately, and connecting with people was the furthest thing from my mind. People are the cause of all my problems!

But every Tuesday night I go "tutor" (read: play with) a 2yo Chinese girl whose parents want her exposed to more English from a native speaker. She is a bright spot in my week. We battle language barriers through play, and neither one of us care if the other doesn't truly get it - well, I am trying to teach something, a little bit, so I want her to learn, but it's not a critical thing like finding the right medicine without a translator.

The first few times I went to their house, if I touched her - tapping her to get her attention, or accidentally brushing her hand - she shied back a bit, pulled away. But her mama assured me she liked me, and that I was "doing better than the last teacher" so it was fine. I can play/teach without touching.

This week, she didn't shy away from me. She responded more, in speech, in eye contact, and even, when she started to fall, leaning on me for stability. She practically sat on my knee at one point.

We connected. And it was pretty cool.
It made me smile on the way home.
I've been so down, it was nice to find this nugget of joy.

Timer Stop.

03 January, 2017

THIS moment

My heart hurts. For no reason.
It's not home-sickness. It may be the cumulative effect of being in limbo for so long and still not having any clue how this situation will resolve itself. Or it may just be the depression I've been fending off finally settling in.

[By "situation" I am referring to the fact of living in Beijing without a clear-cut job situation, and working whatever we can, as we can, while paying bills in two countries, and searching for better employment opportunities. It takes its toll.]

I look out our windows at this busy, crowded, smoggy, crazy city and smile thinking, "I love our town. This is home," but I'm not happy. I walk down to my produce vendor and smile and greet her, and love the produce I get, but I'm not happy.

I love my husband, but we've been basically home almost every day together for weeks, and it's taking it's toll. I'm not happy.

Today, my heart hurts. I want to stay home and curl up under a table and do nothing, but that doesn't help. Nothing does.

I could try to eat away the pain, but that wouldn't help - it would just add a stomach-ache to the heart-ache.

I could try to drink away the pain, but that wouldn't help and I'd feel awful when I woke up.

I'm trying to focus on the moments. THIS moment - I am writing. THIS moment my stomach is full. THIS moment I am sheltered from the pollution by staying in my home. THIS moment I have completed a load of laundry and hung it to dry. THIS moment I chuckled at my husband's silly dance while singing "happy birthday" to his daughter.

In THIS moment, I am fine. In THIS moment, heart-ache doesn't matter. Maybe if I can string together enough "THIS moments", my heart will begin to feel better on its own.