Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Family Blessings

My family: From oldest to youngest (left to right): Les, Me, Parents, Jake and Marie, Keith and Sharon
Three months felt, initially, like a long time to be back in Canada. It felt like I would have lots of time to enjoy my family, but time has flown by faster than I had thought possible.  But, within these three months, we got to celebrate my Dad turning 75.  We Friesen's are a wild and crazy bunch, individually and together, so look out! It was a great day that began with a great meal and followed by a wonderful day outside playing lawn games.  It has been a highlight of our time here.

We also experienced a rare occurrence this summer in that Ernie's family got together.  Not that they don't get together but to have all the siblings together at the same time is very rare.  We calculated that the last time this happened was in 1997 (19 years ago!).  We all got together to celebrate the twins' birthday, Ernie and Erna.  We enjoyed a rainy day together, just hanging out together with ping pong and pool for those who wished.  
Right to left- oldest to youngest: Shirley, Erna, Ernie, Ron and Garry with Mom and Dad in front

The greater joy for Ernie was blessing his parents with this gathering, nothing like being surrounded by family. Although not nearly everybody was there, all their children were and that was precious!

Three months of connecting and reconnecting with family and friends has been wonderful.  That said, there is NEVER enough time with our children.  I am so grateful for every moment spent with them.  So, in a week from today we will be "HOME" in Guadalajara.  Yes, I can confidently say that GDL is home.  That is where I live.  But home is really a concept rather than a place.  I leave a piece of myself here with my family, with my kids with my friends. But I live somewhere else.  

So, for those I got to see, thanks for asking about our lives, thanks for your time.  For those who we made the mistake of saying let's get together but not nailing down a time, sorry.  There are only so many hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a month... .... 

I take with me many good memories from our time here, long bike rides, a day on the lake, long walks, Ernie trucking, Bible study with the boys and their friends, church services, wiener roasts, pie irons, sun and rain, and so much more. 

My take away from this time: Live Life, Invest in People, Love even if it hurts, People Matter. Life is about living, for it is a gift from above.... ....

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Finishing Well

My husband preached a message a couple of times in my hearing....that's the benefit of being the wife of a preacher man...get to hear the sermon more than once!  Sometimes you need to hear a thing more than once for it to sink in.

In the sermon he talks abut the over 400 men in the Bible and how only 80 finished well.  He cites 5 traits that these men had in common.  Since he is heading toward retirement age this is impacting his thinking.  To make sure one finishes well.  What does one need.  Here is the list of 5 qualities that the 80 who finished well all had:

1. Intimacy with God
2. Willingness to seek counsel from others
3. Humility
4. Obedience to God
5. Faith to Believe

That is quite a list.  Each one could be a sermon in and of itself.  But that is not what I want to do here.  I want to only talk about one which I have noticed is decidedly missing in my home culture and also in my host culture.  WILLINGNESS TO SEEK COUNSEL FROM OTHERS.

We, as individuals, seem to want to live independently, to not have anyone tell us what to do.  We think we don't 'need' anyone.  We know what's best.  Even when we don't we just struggle on alone, because we are afraid of what someone will tell us.  I think that #2 is hard because we lack #3.  It takes humidity to go to someone and seek counsel, or to receive unsolicited counsel as well.

If I knew that my success, my ability to finish well, was directly proportionate to these things, maybe I would be willing to do them.  When I was raising my kids I strongly believed it 'took a village to raise them', why do I now think I can go it alone?  We need community, we need each other.  God designed us for relationship, for intimacy.

Who speaks into your life?

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Not to compare...But...

At the Gym with my Mom

I sure do miss my gym at 'home' in GDL!  Aside from the equipment, which is somewhat different, my gym offers many different classes, which I love.  They offer Body Combat, PowerBall, Cycling, Danzika (personal Favourite), Muscle Toning, Split Track (like cross fit), etc.  Here they have 5 treadmills, where my gym probably has a dozen, not to mention the elliptical,  and other cardio machines.  Add to this the personal coaching given, or my wonderful friend, who provides me with my towels, or the nutrition counsellor, etc, etc. 
Those things are great, and I enjoy them, but that is not what I miss most.  I miss the atmosphere at my gym! What do I mean with that? I think the atmosphere is cultural.  Life in Mexico is about people and relationships.  The atmosphere at my gym is one of family and friends. There is a level of connectedness amongst the people who go to my gym.  I think that most of us go, not to get buff or toned, but for the people and relationships.  We know if we go we will connect with a group of people who we call friends.  It will set the tone for the day.

Not to say that I haven't made friends here at this gym...I have met some nice people.  But most everybody is just doing their thing cause they are headed to work.  They are watching the clock. Except my Mom and me...

But that is life in Mexico.  I could probably give this a broader brush stroke, and say this is true of all of Latin America.  I have found that from Mexico down, life is lived around people and relationships.  North of Mexico we run our lives by the clock and hope we have relationships. I have felt this 'atmosphere' here at many things I have attended, or just in day to day living.  I can see why some people here feel alone and lost.

This time here has reminded me to not lose sight of people and relationships.  To put people ahead of the clock.  That I need to put more concentrated effort into my relationships. To care, to love and to say what needs to be said to make those I care about KNOW that they matter.