Poland… the Beautiful, the Hospitable 

Poland.

Our western history colors this land with sadness. Oppressive leadship and communist influence are the first impressions, at least from the American perspective.

However, happily, my business trip over 2 weeks and 3 cities is pulling back the shroud and educating me on a lively and colorful people who are hospitable and hard working. 


I think, it’s possible, the people here don’t mind the rest of the world thinking they are grey and have little to offer. When, in fact, they are thriving and the cities are pulsing with art, music, and industry. 


I predict this country won’t be hidden for much longer. There is too much happening for them to be ignored!

Today for Yesterday… Never.


We all wish we could go back… Take back… Change a response… Take the right instead of the left… Speak up… Stand up… Shut up… Wait… Listen…

But what’s done is DONE! Gone. Finished. Behind us.

Just like the morning mist on the valley creeping through to wake up the flowers for the day – each morning brings NEW opportunity to start fresh.

I wouldn’t trade today for 100 yesterday’s.

“His mercies are new everyday.” 


Hope in the Waiting

In the darkness, I waited

Quiet. Calm. Still.

My heart was pounding in my chest.

Knowing it was coming.

Thinking and fearing it never would.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

This is the time in between time.

Everything is still.

I opened my eyes and there was a hint of change.

Another moment passed revealing a glimmer of hope.

Hope takes its time, like the light of dawn.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the darkness gives way to shadows.

Shadows reminds us of fear because they are unknown.

There is no certainty in the unknown.

Another breathe and the unknown is known.

The light of dawn has broken through.

Hope’s tendrils are reaching through landing upon my heart.

With the first light of the morning, streaming through the trees.

Hope streams in, unavoidable, undeniable, known.

In the light, I wait.

MayValley

 

 

Stop, look, listen… God has been very busy

When I was very little girl, with one blonde braid trying to hold back my messiness, I remember being taught the most important lesson in street safety.

Stop. Hold still (this is STILL a challenge for me), put down the phone, don’t move.

Look. Open your eyes and see ALL that’s going on around you. Focus.

Listen. ACTUALLY listen. Spring is coming and there is so much happening in our world around us and in the people around us.

3 easy steps… If only I would put them into practice more as an adult – I would have even more to be thankful for… Because God has been very busy. I see Him growing and providing, nourishing and admonishing, pruning and planting, all for His glory and our eternal Joy.

When you take the time to Stop, Look, and Listen – What do YOU see Him doing?

Also… it could save you from getting hit by a bus!

 

Annie Mae’s Essential Carry-On

For my Carry-On, regardless of trip length – be it a day trip or 3 week trip abroad – I have a variation of the following:

Backpack: Orange Osprey

Puffy Vest: Coral Eddie Bauer

Beanie: Purple Cashmere

Klean Kanteen: Filled with water shortly before boarding the plane

Winston the Cow – Travel buddy & neck pillow

Macbook Air & Cord

iPhone & Cord

Wallet: extra check & emergency cash

Passport

Snacks = something sweet & something salty: fruit leather, smokehouse almonds, Theo chocolate, an apple, gum and extra Starbucks Vias

Notebook

Pens & pencils

Bible

Book: “The Princess and the Goblin”)

Headphones, earplugs, and case

Tissues

Chapstick

A bandaid

A comb

A hair tie

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What do YOU consider your travel essentials?

Heartache, Hope, and Wait-And-See Trees

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,

but desire fulfilled is a tree of life. ~ Proverbs 13:12

This verse has always haunted me.

I never wanted to understand what it really meant for hope to be deferred so much so that your heart felt sick.

Left FaceI was too busying focusing on the possibilities of fulfilled desires.

Future plans were taking root in my trees of life.

I had no time to spend time pondering the other outcomes. Besides… I always hoped my heart could be an exception, that I could love without the heartache, that success could come without failure.

The day comes… choices are made… no heart escapes.

Then in the aftermath… your heart sinks, your stomach twists, you go through the motions of the day one task at a time… a fog settles in on your mind and the world around you loses its color.

The storms of life came through and your “Wait-and-see-trees” were uprooted. FullSizeRender1

Whether through heartache, failure, or death of a dreams… once you’ve experienced any of these, you understand.

You just… know.

Hope deferred… “Ohhh… That’s what that means.”

Like a dandelion seed with no where to land… moments and minutes… time doesn’t seem to matter. “Time heals all wounds…” But the heart doesn’t know that. It doesn’t matter how many cliche, helpful, thoughtful words of wisdom and encouragement are said…

“You’ll get’em next time.”
“It just wasn’t meant to be.”
“Doors close… windows open.”
“You’ll find someone better.”
“Shake it off.”

All the while… your heart is begging all the well-intentioned voices to just leave you alone.
I offer you no well-meaning, flighty words to help you through. But rather I share what I am learning –Right face

Faith and Forgiveness are the only way to find future hope.

and

In God’s timing… seeds find soil and we start planting new “Wait-and-see-trees.”

…desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”

MayValley

Goodbye 2015

>Deferred Hope = God at workIsn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…

– C.S. Lewis

This has been more true for me in 2015 than any other year.

It began with passion, adventure, hope of love, and the Proverbs to guide me.

Corporate America hired me! Learning skills and paying bills took a prominent role for the year. God’s faithful provision in those 40 hours a week made it challenging to be content and disciplined every day (I am still working on this… maybe I always will).

I found Love like I have never known because I became an Aunt. With prayer and joy, we welcomed my nephew, Seph. The delight of our family heart.

I wandered the Oxford streets and English country side. Explored Cambridge and the Cotswalds where my heart began to dream again.

Hope deferred makes the heartsick; my “Say Anything” man dismissed me in Willoughby-like manner ( except with much better morals), leaving my Jo March self feeling shockingly like Marianne Dashwood. Heartache moved in and tried to setup house.

Momentary light affliction breeds contempt or gratitude; In His mercy my response was a humbled thankful heart.

The Psalms, Madeleine L’Engle, Catherine Marshall, and Kate DiCamillo have been working together to mend my heart, bringing tears, light, and laughter on this leg of the journey.

Stories end, hearts change, and the Word of the Lord endures.

Goodbye 2015, “I would not wish you back again.” ~ Yet another Jane Austinism.

Today, January 1, 2016, my heart is strong because my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus.

“London: Underconstruction”

BEWARE London in Tourist Season

They need a poster in the airport that says “London: Underconstruction”

And another one that says BEWARE Tourists!!! EVERYWHERE!!!

(I make an exception for myself since even though I was rolling my bag, wearing a backpack, and doing ALL of the touristy things immediately – such as getting cash just so I can use the Loo in Victoria Station and get a coffee – you know the essentials.)

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After figuring out which tube I needed to take and when I needed to be where, I paid my 50p and used the Loo (Public Restrooms) to freshen up and change my clothes, then I had to get away from the quickly awakening hub in Victoria Station.

I walked in the direction of the Apollo Theater – Home to London’s Broadway show of WICKED. (Which I HIGHLY recommend seeing. My sister and I saw it there 6 years ago. So great!) Just beyond the theatre, I found a street map and walked in the direction of Westminister Cathedral. 2 streets later the tourists had disappeared and I found a magical place – Upper Tachbrook Street. Go there! My first stop was a little Italian deli where an Italian man served me a beautiful cappuccino with cinnamon sprinkled on top.

I continued down the street to find there is a wonderful local market. I tasted the best falafel I have EVER had and bought fresh and inexpensive fruit for the next leg of my journey. I then spent the rest of my time wandering past the shops and market stands that were just setting up. Absolutely PERFECT way to refresh from travelling.

Seattle Summer Date #6 = Get Lost in Literature

When was the last time you took your sweetheart to a book store?!

Grab a coffee, find 8 books from all different sections, and just sit together and read.

Occasionally show a picture, tell one of the interesting facts, or just enjoy the silent depth of love in the light of literature.

Elliott_Bay_Books

One of my favorite book store games is to give  2 minutes to run around the store and find fun, weird, and obscure books.

Then you have to present them to each other as if you are presenting the secrets of the universe. Guaranteed laughter! (Stifle the noise… you ARE in a bookstore.)

Above photo is Seattle’s amazing Elliot Bay Bookstore. Go get lost together.