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Pump Your #Brain

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Photo Credit: Mother Nature Network

Celebrated inventor and physicist Nikola Tesla swore by toe exercises – every night, he’d repeatedly ‘squish’ his toes, 100 times for each foot, according to the author Marc J Seifer.

….According to the latest review of the evidence, around 40% of what distinguishes the brainiacs from the blockheads in adulthood is environmental. Like it or not, our daily habits have a powerful impact on our brains, shaping their structure and changing the way we think.

Einstein’s daily walk was sacred to him….He followed in the footsteps of other diligent walkers, including Darwin who went for three 45 minute walks every day.

….These constitutionals weren’t just for fitness – there’s mountains of evidence that walking can boost memory, creativity and problem-solving. For creativity at least, walking outside is even better.

For more click over to the BBC.

Doing my toe crunches right now. Totally lost count.

–Kristin

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2017 in Moments

 

Suspicious #FlagDay ?

My understanding is that the Dutch find displays of nationalism suspicious. This is quite understandable when one considers a very patriotic neighbor once promised on one day that they would leave The Netherlands alone based on their previous neutrality, and then same country invaded them the next day. So although Holland is well known for flowers, I doubt one would find an entire field carefully planted to represent their nation’s flag, especially considering that the Dutch flag is only allowed to be displayed on certain days and at well defined times.

The U.S. has a different take.

Floral Flag is 740 feet long and 390 feet wide and maintains the proper Flag dimensions as described in Executive Order #10834. This Flag is 6.65 acres and is the first Floral Flag to be planted with 5 pointed Stars comprised of White Larkspur. Each Star is 24 feet in diameter. Each Stripe is 30 feet wide. This Flag is estimated to contain more than 400,000 Larkspur plants with 4-5 flower stems each for a total of more than 2 million flowers. (Link)

Thus, to honor the 240th Flag Day of my home country, I present you with the image of the US flag, this over the top display–and I hope my tolerant Dutch friends will understand.

–Kristin

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2017 in Living in Holland

 

Top 10 Key Phrases? #lol

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Image on the book mark of key Dutch phrases

We’re actually cleaning things out of the house, but I couldn’t resist sharing the book mark I came across today. One side says KEY DUTCH PHRASES and includes such classics as “I didn’t see the sign,” and “I’d like to rent a bike” as well as “What happened?”

The kicker is number nine out of ten: Wil je met me mee naar huis?

Translation: Would you like to come home with me?

#lol

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2017 in Living in Holland

 

Goodbye #Netherlands Book Clubs

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My Netherlands Book Clubs read ONE of these. (Image found on http://www.thelifeofbon.com)

We discussed so many great reads. You brought books to my attention I might have never discovered otherwise. You read books I nominated. You forced me into genres I rarely explore where I discovered wonderful insights and perspectives. Our members were American, Australian, Dutch, British, Polish, Hungarian, Indian, Kazantzaki, German and more. Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Agnostic and Atheist. Liberal to conservative. And we gathered in delight to discuss what we enjoyed, what failed for us, what made us think. We shared wonderful moments focused on books, and yes, a bit of food as well, and life as we knew it. We went to each others’ homes. We laughed. We encouraged. And so much more. We were always welcome whether we read the whole book or any of it. We looked forward to each gathering and mourned those we could not attend.

Thank you. I will miss you all so very much. I am grateful we gathered around a shared love of reading.

Hugs,

Kristin

The Books

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (the best of all of them IMO)
Wild by Carol Strayed
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City by Russell Shorto
The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming
The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
Five Days At Memorial by Sheri Fink
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Breaking Night: Homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray
Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown by Paul Theroux
Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriaty
The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee
Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen
The Secret River by Kate Grenville
Shakespeare by Bill Bryson
The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
The Circle by Dave Eggers
The House on Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper
Survive Little Buddy: Iron Curtain Memoirs by Irene Kucholick
The Twins by Tessa Loo
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
A Replacement Life by Boris Fishman
The Nest by Cynthia d’Aprix Sweeny
End of Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
A Prayer for Own Meany by John Irving
The Last Man in the Tower by Aravind Adiga
I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron
Perla by Carolina De Robertis
A Man Called Ove by Frederik Bachman
Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil by Jean Sasson
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women by Geraldine Brooks
The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins
Bolter: Idina Sackville–the Woman Who Scandalized 1920s Society by Frances Osborne
Saree by Su Dharmapala
Days of Awe: A Novel by Lauren Fox
The Russian Debutante’s Daughter by Gary Shteyngart

 

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2017 in Living in Holland

 

#Retirement Goes #Sideways

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Before the computer blue screen there was this TV screen.

The military lifestyle, although not without sacrifice, is not without benefits. My husband’s career took us to far away places to live: Germany, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Arizona, Maryland, and North Carolina. He was on mission, and the adventure we had together brought excitement, travel, new food, and best of all new friends literally from all over.

The plan for retirement was to continue similar work as a civilian. My vision had us living in new places with new people. I wanted to take advantage of globetrotting travel opportunities close to wherever we would live next, and after that, and after that.

“Your will, not mine,” is the prayer of the devout. It’s Jesus’ words as he prepared to die for you and me. Dire circumstances for a profound goal. The interruption in Jesus’ life was his death. My interruption is going back to Kentucky. Not very earth shattering, and yet I’ve been struggling to let go of my will in exchange for God’s will.

Do you struggle with that as well? Our vision was set, and now God is leading us into His vision. Our plans have to be scrapped, but we know God’s plan is still going strong. Maybe like me you really thought He was on board with your plan, but now comes the interruption, the derailment, a completely different turn of events.

All those job opportunities that were available three or four years ago are gone. There’s a hiring freeze. There’s new enforcement of old rules. One by one every door has closed. Every window. There is only one way left to walk forward after my husband’s retirement, and it is back to small town life, to his hometown in Kentucky. And as much as I love our families, and our hometowns, and the idea of being close to them, this was not the plan.

Do I turn to God and say “not my will but yours?” Is my reaction positive? No. I’ve been angry, resentful, and honestly mourning the loss. No one died. No one is sick. My life has been interrupted by a good turn. I just wasn’t ready for that. The settling down was supposed to come later…in my plan.

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD” (Bible book of Isaiah 55:8)

That was the verse, the first verse in my recent group Bible study. For seven weeks we have looked at Jonah’s life, at his poor reaction to a change in plans, at what it took to bring him back from rebellion. This video study was lead by Priscilla Shirer who says we can see life interruptions as “divine intervention” in Jonah’s life and in our own lives.

For the last two weeks God has been bringing me around. Gladly no time in the belly of a big fish was required. God keeps reminding me that He is good. (Count the blessings I’ve poured out on you.) That He is love. (Remember how I gave my son to die for you?) That His timing is perfect. (Remember how adopting your sons worked out, Kristin?) That His plans for me are not only for good but for the best. (Remember what you asked for and I said ‘No’ and what came next?)

So I’m giving God my sorrow knowing He will give me His joy. I’m saying “Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord” (Lyrics-Trading My Sorrows). Each day I find something new to look forward to in our coming rural-America life.

Today I opened my Jonah homework and saw these words: THE INTERRUPTED LIFE is the significant life.

Before Jonah’s direction was changed by God, he was just another prophet with barely a mention in Second Kings 14:25. Now his story is one far greater, even his bad behavior is a lesson, and he’s become a blessing across the years to multitudes.

My wide cultural adventures may come to an end this summer, but embracing what God has next, what His plan is for this interruption, this turning point, this about face, is where life becomes significant. God is moving. He is preparing the way, not just any way but His way for me and my family.

I am singing, “He gives and takes away. He gives and takes away. My heart will choose to say, blessed be the Name.” (Blessed Be the Name of the LORD)

What comes next?

Better. That’s what.

–Kristin

Thanks to Priscilla Shirer and Jonah: Navigating Life Interrupted.

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2017 in Unexpected Blessings

 

Wanting to #Belong

Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 7.15.55 AMOur kids are sometimes surprised at the jobs I’ve worked in the past such as McDonald’s and waiting tables. For a time one of my volunteer duties was putting a message, letter by letter, on the church sign. There are tons of quirky sayings you can find online for these sorts of signs, but I liked to make my own or relate the message to what we had going on.

One simple composition said,” BE WELCOME, BE-LIEVE, BE-LONG.” Wanting to belong to a group, to a community, to be identified with them was a prominent desire of many of the people I knew at the time.  There is a universal desire to belong, to be accepted, to be secure, to be significant. If you’re familiar with the Freedom in Christ project, you might recognize those last words as fundamental to the assurances they reiterate time and again to encourage Jesus Followers and reach out to Seekers of what is beyond.

Today, I wanted to share these points of belonging that mean so much to me. Perhaps they will lift you up today and give you strength and hope for tomorrow.

I am accepted…
John 1:12 I am God’s child.
John 15:15 As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1 I have been justified.
1 Corinthians 6:17 I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 I am a member of Christ’s body.
Ephesians 1:3-8 I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
Colossians 1:13-14 I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Colossians 2:9-10 I am complete in Christ.
Hebrews 4:14-16 I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.

I am secure…
Romans 8:1-2 I am free from condemnation.
Romans 8:28 I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
Romans 8:31-39 I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
Colossians 3:1-4 I am hidden with Christ in God.
Philippians 1:6 I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.
Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Timothy 1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
1 John 5:18 I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.

I am significant…
John 15:5 I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.
John 15:16 I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
1 Corinthians 3:16 I am God’s temple.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
Ephesians 2:6 I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
Ephesians 2:10 I am God’s workmanship.
Ephesians 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

If you follow Jesus, then the statements above are true of you. If you are not a follower of Christ and would like to know more, click here…

-Freedom in Christ Ministries

Rereading these can knock me back a few steps: I am hidden in Christ, I am a friend of Jesus, I am a citizen of heaven. When we soak in who God says we are (or can be), we might be amazed. How much more awesome then to meditate on who God is.

My heart begins to sing a old favorite hymn, “…He walks with me, and he talks with me. And he tells me I am his own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”

Wonderful.

–Kristin

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Soulful Sunday

 

Happy #Day to You, and You, and You #Girlfriend

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Today I say “Happy Day” to my online friends who have no children to call their own. To my friends who have watched as other women receive a flower at church, perhaps a flower for each child, as many women will today. You have watched as I used to, year after year with ebbs and flows of longing as that symbol passed by. Happy Day to the ladies who could no longer bear it and choose to stay home away from the hoopla wherever it appears in our communities. My dear friend who calls her own mother to give a greeting she herself may never hear.

Today I celebrate my friends who chose a different path, who pour their mothering might into other mothers’ children at schools, at churches, at childcare facilities, through Big Sister programs. You give so much. I thank you.

Happy Day to my friend on the next round of IVF. Happy Day to my friends scraping, saving, and raising money for that adoption. Happy Day to my friends trying again.

How well I remember my first Mother’s Day flower. In only a few months we would bring our first two sons home from Ethiopia. Flat stomached and expecting, I accepted a long stemmed rose from a youth. A flower so heavy with pain from the past and hope for the future that I sank beneath the weight pressing down on my chest into my stomach. Tears flowed, a silent torrent of emotions, most unidentifiable. Overwhelmed.

Today I pray blessing and comfort for my friends who raised for a time, within or without, a child who is no longer here to give greetings. To my friend who raised her sons to adulthood and lost them both. To my cousin who mourns the baby come too early, who she never got to hold. To my friend who held her daughter for only a few hours before her precious child slipped away.

We say Happy Mother’s Day. I’ve said it already, heard it already this morning. My secret heart goes elsewhere, though, to be with you ladies who live the struggle and face each day, even this one, with courage, hope, and love. Today I say “Happy Day” with wishes and prayers for you. Let us never be far from each others’ understanding hearts.

–Kristin

P.S. Wrote this before church and another group of moms came and stayed on my mind, Happy Day to women and men who would love to say Happy Mothers Day one more time to their mom but can’t.

At church the time for roses came. All the children were called down front to help distribute those long stems…to every woman. “Mothers and spiritual mothers who mentor and encourage,” she said. Yes! And what would you expect from the sermon on Mothers Day? The preach, as it is called here, was about Singleness, what Jesus said about being single and the gift it can be as well as our role in supporting each other whatever our time of life. Love our church home and family here in The Hague. Will miss Redeemer International so much when we move.

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2017 in Living in Holland