October 19, 2010

Blessing: The act of...

Today is a Panera and pandora day, with nothing else open except for my journal. I have hit one of those points where I need to sit down and be with my thoughts, relive the last week, and gather up all the experiences the week has held, look at them on paper and conciously seek out how it is that I am being challenged, what it is that I am learning, and more than anything how all the love I see and the love I am shown should change me.
I look back on several hosts and pray hard that at the end of my stay with them that I may never become complacent towards generosity. Two weeks ago my host took Chelsea and I to Bloomington Indiana to see all the landmark places of one of our favourite book series by Karen Kingsbury. Giving up her day to drive the hour and a half to Bloomington, she called up her son who lived there to tour us around. He met us with a list of places he thought we'd want to see with directions on getting everywhere we would want to go that day. Neither of them had heard of the series before, but just because we were giddishly happy over exploring the town they were eagerly excited to share in all of it with us. They went out of their way for us that day, not because they had to, but because they desired to. "I know we just met" they said "but we already don't want you to go. You're already a friend." Meet people where they're at, get in on what excites them, enjoy whatever that may be- sightseeing Bloomington, doing coffee, hiking, dancing...and you'll connect quickly, even though travels always move you onward.

Yes, blessing is proactive. It is seeking out how you can meet someone where they're at, and beyond that learn what is special to them. Bill, a member of a church near Hershey PA lived like that. From the moment he called us on tour to firm up details he asked how he could especially bless the chapersones and children. He arranged for us to take the children for their first swim, and then the next day to Chocolate world in Hershey, PA. Swimming with the children is the best- it is hysterically fun.

Chocolate world was truly something else- driving around in a chocolate car ride we toured the factory and looked at how chocolate was made while driving through vats and molds. When Bill found out that it was Thanksgiving in Canada that weekend he sought out the nearest grocery store to buy us pumpkin pie, and then excitedly thought a pumpkin latte would be perfect for Thanksgiving too- and in the same trip for the pie returned with pumpkin lattes.

I want to learn more to meet people where they're at and be excited and involved with what excites them. I look at how these people receive me and hope that I am as warm hearted in being a guest in their home as they are in hosting me.

October 7, 2010

Why I love being an Auntie...

1. Beacuse I get the kind of hugs every day where you need to pull the child out of the embrace in order for them to ever let go. It shows love binds.
2. The way the children cling to me when they are scared of dogs. It shows me they trust me.
3. For how they clap for me when I have prayed for them individually at bedtime. I can see they are so thankful.
4. Because when I pray for them at bedtime I get a deeper glimpse into what is inside their hearts- what they desire, and the ways they want to gain wisdom. That vulnerability and honesty deepens our relationship.
5. Watching their eyes light up in rehearsal because they are so eager to do well. It reminds me again how lucky I am to work with such a dedicated and talented group.
6. Seeing how captivated they are when I read them a book. I love being apart of watching how they learn excitedly.
7. Coming back from a day off and hearing they were disappointed I wasn't there and that they missed me after only a day apart. It makes me feel loved.
8. Getting to play with them everyday. I have learned that it is so important to enter into their world of play, and it is so fun.

9. Watching how a huge smile quickly lights up their face when they realize we get to go together back to a host family. That makes my heart skip.
10. I get to be one of the children's constants. I have had many hosts point that out lately- how important that role is for creating an environment that through the transition and travel makes the children feel safe and assured. I just love that- and I think it with every big smile that comes, the laughter that suprises me, the hugs that squeeze me, the questions that keep me on my toes, and every time they say "I love you" right back and I know they mean it.