Persevering and Overcoming

I am now home from a fabulous two-week trip with my mom to London and France! And France far exceeded all my expectations! :) The people were so warm, the food was phenomenal, the smells of spring were incredible and it was simply beautiful.  We were able to visit Calais and Arras with two friends of ours and had such a wonderful time.  I look forward to being able to go back some day! ;) And London was London. How can you not love London?!  Even though it literally rained every day we  were there, London did not disappoint.  The Colour Conference was fantastic! It was so inspiring to worship with more than 5,000 women in a nearly packed out Wimbley Arena, listen to dynamic speakers from around the world and hear stories of how countless lives are being impacted all over the globe by people who value the life of "the other".

After arriving home Friday evening and having dinner with dad to catch him up on all our travels, I woke up early Saturday morning for the Strides for Sara 5+K that a handful of us had organized in memory of Sara and to continue to raise support for the Tiedeman Recovery Fund.  The event could not have been more successful! Despite the gloomy weather (it must have followed me home from London), we had nearly 200 participants and had a surprise visitor: Chris!

Three weeks ago, I saw Chris sitting in a wheel chair only being able to walk about 20 feet down a hallway with assistance.  Now, just three weeks later, I watched him walk all over the race grounds that we were at!

Chris walking framed

Chris walking framed

There's also a great short video on my facebook wall of him actually walking! Check it out if you have time.

It still takes a lot of concentration for Chris to be able to walk and he has to keep his mind focused on it.  There will come a day soon though when it will be as natural again as breathing.  The perseverance that he has shown blows my mind.  For what once was a natural thing that he never had to really think about doing, is now something he's having to intentionally re-learn how to do in the midst of a time of grieving.  Every day he puts his mind to practicing walking so that he can get stronger and overcome this current obstacle.

It's not unlike life.  Suddenly, circumstances change, tragedies occur, bad decisions were made, and what we were once able to do without much thought is suddenly a challenge.  And unless we face the challenge with perseverance and decide to intentionally work at it and set our mind to it, we could be overcome by it.  But when we allow that to happen, we lose, and not just us, but those around us, and really the world in which we live.  When we aren't fully alive, everyone loses.  It doesn't have to be that way though.  While it may take setting our mind to it and persevering, we too can be overcomers, especially with the help of God.  Our Maker and Creator longs to see each of us living out our full potential, despite the obstacles that we face in this very imperfect world where evil, hurt and disappointment all too often get the best of us because we allow them to.  Until that day, may we persevere just like Chris!

Don't Stop Dreaming

A dream come true.  For those of us who grew up in the U.S., we all began studying a second language by 7th grade.  For me, that was French.  And ever since we sang the French version of "Singing in the Fain" during French class, I've wanted to go to France.  Now why that song made me want to go to France, I have no idea.  But, it did.  Perhaps it was the actions that went along with the song. :) Today, my mom and I are getting on a plane bound for London!  It's been almost 10 years since we were there last.  The last time we were there was part of our family vacation of tracing our roots.  We went to Sweden to visit some of my dad's cousins who still live there (his grandpa came to Minnesota and started a farm in the Alexandria area, and his grandpa's  brother stayed home in Sweden).  Then it was off to the UK to visit Sterling, Scotland, where my mom's grandma was from.  And while in the UK, we stopped in London as well.

So, we are off again to return to London.  This time to attend Hillsong's Colour Conference with thousands of other women at Wembley Arena.  AND to travel to France with some dear friends of ours!  Finally, after dreaming of going to France for the past 20 years, I will get to go. :)

Dreams are a funny thing.  It wasn't until a trip to France was an option during this trip to London, that I remembered that I'd wanted to go to France since I was 12.  I had just kind of forgotten about it and hadn't done anything to pursue it.  Then suddenly, a door opened up and I was able to go, just like that. :)

I remember when I was freshman in college and I had come to the place where I was able to forgive my biological father and finally love him after a life-time of hating him (he was an angry drunk and an absent father).  I remember wanting to visit him before he died, for by then, he was homeless and living on the streets of Houston, TX (somehow I just knew he would die young).  A couple of years went by and I had forgotten about this dream.  Then, one night when I got a call from my mom telling me he was in the hospital and not doing well.  The next day, I was sitting at his bedside telling him all the things I'd dreamed of being able to say to him.  He passed away later that week, but not before my dream came true.

I wonder what other dreams I have forgotten about?  I'm sure there will be more that will come to pass without me having to seemingly do anything about them.  But what if I was more intentional about pursuing my dreams?  What if instead of just letting them be a thought that comes and goes, I wrote more of them down, and prayed about them, and started doing something about them?  What if dreaming became more of a part of my daily thinking?  What if there's more to life than just waiting for it to happen to us?  Here's to more dreaming!  And more dreams coming true!  See you the other side of France! :)