A Week of Enrichment

Important things I learnt this past week 
(staying/volunteering at OM Belgium/mission centre):

- Never prejudge people. Never assume someone is trouble-less.

- Our brains are inhabited by lies. Not all lies, which it makes it hard to find them tangled in the truth. For me at first this week, being around so many people, I just had this voice tell me I was annoying to be around. This turns to self consciousness and that turns into feeling trapped inside of yourself which ain't a feeling you'll be wanting. I also spoke to some people this week that spoke - beautifully honestly - how they see themselves and it broke my heart to realize that some people believe lies so keenly it becomes a reality.

- Humility is the key to a beautiful character. So yes, check yourself and your pride. But take action instead of over-analyzing everything you say/do and feeling stupid. Don't be a Mrs Elton, be a Mr Knightley - use wit to be gracious and uplifting. Use speech to be loving. Use physical touch for others not for yourself. Act what you believe. And then be grounded in that and love yourself for that.

- I learnt something about truth telling. Be careful what you say to people, yes, and also how you say it. An exaggeration is a lie, an excuse is a lie, gossiping is a form of lie and a lie is powerful in the worst sense, no matter how small. May your compliments be genuine, your laughter be real and your advice be sincere. You don't have to be boring to be clothed with humility.

- God never fails and breaks promises. I honestly think we sometimes see God as like just a really good human. He is GOD and He nEVER fails. 

-  Magnet illusion: When we're far from God we're not drawn to Him, we're distanced from Him and don't see our faults. When we get closer to God, He becomes more and more attractive.

- If you have no hope - are broken with sadness - let other people hope on your behalf. If you have a lot of hope, hope for other people who can't find hope.

Other less-important-but-still-shareable things I learnt this past week:

- MUSIC IN CARS IS THE BEST. Blasting the dramatic epicness that is Bohemian Rhapsody is especially uh, epic. Also, 'no excuses' by Meghan Trainor is fun fun fun.

- Michael Buble while washing dishes is equally amazeballs

- EMMA 2009 is such a good good miniseries ahhh. And friends who are just as excited as you to watch it are even better. The "Ship Court" gets me every time. The "if I loved you less I might talk about it more" GETS ME MORE THO. ahhhh. Mr Knightley! *heart-eye-emoji*

- When there's a healthy, solid, Thai-meal of 14 euros and an unhealthy cardboard box with frites for 2 euros, you opt for the unhealthy cardboard box with frites for 2 euros.

- Not everyone will get your puns, but that's ok. The oxygen in the air appreciates the unnoticed ones.

-Don't bring a novel to a mission centre; there's too many ppl to talk with to have time to properly read anything that isn't the Bible.

- Oh mah Lanta, Jimmeny Cricket, Jeepers Creepers, Booger Wooger are good alternatives to cuss words.

- As are 'sink meh' and 'odd's fish m'dear' and 'bally bally botherations' but we knew that already. :-)

- TALK TO STRANGERS. It makes trips extra memorable and it makes people happy and it's sometimes dang hilarious. We saw a man wearing a shirt that said 'I am not that guy' and I got dared to ask him 'Are you the guy with the shirt?' but I'm an unsociable Belgian so I passed the dare on to someone else and he went over, super chill and asked the man 'Are you the guy with the shirt?' and the man laughed and said 'No, I'm not that guy' and then we shouted from the other side of the street, 'Yes, you ARE that guy!' and it was hilarious. :)

- Sweet Carolina is a fun song.

- HARRY STYLES IS MY BOO :-P #secretisout #pizzaistillloveyou

- Oh and PS guys, they're making a Downton Abbey movie!!!

- France is, as I predicted, better than Belgium at football. 

I hope you all know this one thing:
  Righteousness comes from God


How are you doing?

Me to myself: Why do people write intros?
Myself to Me: Write an intro
Me to myself: Like, readers aren't stupid they'll figure out IMMEDIATELY what the blog post is on about
Myself to Me: Write an intro; it's weird if you don't wr -

Right now immensely drowsy because of 1) tiredness 2) heat. It is summer in full blast. I am not complaining but man alive it's hot. Also I'm feeling kind of disappointed at my unproductiveness today. Thus it feels good to write a blog post. A blog post is a good cure for feeling unproductive. (haha.)
I am also feeling undeservedly blessed. <3

So for some reason or the other not that many movies, but yesterday evening (till way too late) (so drowsy right now and I know I only am to blame) I watched (for the very first time) the TITANIC. (One of those movies one feels one must write in caps in order to do it justice.) The unrealistic, dramatic, overdone romance... the agonizing tragedy and death of the worst fail in history. I was gripped. fascinated. To anyone old enough to view with discretion, I recommend it.

(As anyone, I crushed on Jack. And also on the sailor acted by Ioan Gruffudd, the one who heard Rose's whistle and saved her aboard. Why is no-one else talking about that dude?)

About the grey, easy-to-get-into area between legalism and deciding what your own convictions are about the 'little things' within faith. It's so easy to snap into a 'rules' mode, where faith becomes a disgusting rule based thing. It's hard sometimes to be keenly aware that Jesus means freedom and that we react on freedom by obeying to His word. It all stems out of freedom and Jesus should always be first. Like, always. And man, when we start heated debates about whether or not we should show our shoulders or whether or not couples can kiss before marriage we are jabbering on about stuff that should never be this central in our faith. Yes, we should think about where we stand. But we must always know one thing; that everything we do must reflect Jesus and love and the freedom and holiness we get from Him. That is where it starts. But still yes, tricky, so tricky.
So yeah... A LOT of thinking about that and all the sub-topics that stem from subjects such as that. Sometimes it makes me kinda moody haha. But thinking is good. :-)

Also a lot of thinking about being productive. Because the more I read the Bible, to more I realise God hates laziness. He wants us to DO! (I wrote a book about productivity in one day last week. It was fun.)

Right now, to "That's the way God Planned it" from Joyful Noise. (Why I put one name in quotations and one in italics I do not know. It is neither consistent nor logical.)
Also to Olly Murs songs.
And not much else new.

My very own bedroom! This is a big deal for a girl with five bros and four sisters!

Plant hangers. Oh man, I found a new obsession and it's so much fun to do. All you need is youtube tutorials on Macrame Plant Hangers and string/rope and your hands. And bam you can make your own plant hangers. DO IT.

MY EXAMS woooot
Still in an daze about that! 1/3 of my degree accomplished. The hardest is still yet to come. :-P

I'm reading various things.
1) Eve's Daughters by Lynn Austin --- yes, it needed a reread urgently. I honestly almost cried rereading it from page 1. SO. GOOD. I read almost all of Louise's story on the train to (and from) my cousin's flat in Brussels, with the sun shining through the train windows. It was one of those moments.
2) Anne of Green Gables My Daughter and I --- SO GOOD.
3) A book about the Titanic and the survivors telling their story. I may or may not have become somewhat Titanic-obsessed. I think everyone goes through these fases right? It's just so so so SAD; like so freaking doggone heartwrenching. All those deaths for one stupid mistake which collapsed entire dreams and worlds. The freezing cold water, the screams... ah what has this movie done to me. What a nightmare that must've been. Just unimaginably horrible.
4) 2 Kings is a pretty witty book. "I don't like that prophet, he never says anything good about me" - the king of Israel to Jehosaphat king of Judah.

It's summer so what do you expect bro.

How are you doing?


Faith is not a feeling

Love is not a feeling. I've heard that said many times; at youth group, in marriage books (ok I've only read one marriage book, but still), in deep blog posts, and by people with lots of wisdom and insight. It's true. Love is not simply the feeling of passion, bursting, admiration and affection. It is more; it goes further than the simple thrill. It isn't an illusion; it is SOMETHING with deeper base and grounded foundation. It can't just shift depending on characteristic moods and sleep deprivation. It is commitment, sacrifice and all that Jesus embodied.

So. I was thinking about faith. Isn't it the same with faith? Our faith in God is more than a feeling. It is not just the personal conviction we feel when we hear, read and feel the presence of the Lord. It is (or should; cus yes, we're fallable human beings with tonsa flaws) - it is THERE. Believing, trusting, hoping; despite doubts, jostles or whatever may toss about the feeling of yes I believe.

This past month I have really learnt that. Like NO, I don't always get you God. And I don't always feel you. But I have faith in you because I remember your faithfulness, I remember how you have shown yourself to me and other people around me. I have faith even though I sometimes feel the "This Is Why I Believe" list I sometimes have so clearly and boldly in my head sagging loose. We can't let our faith be dimmed by our mood; our tiredness; our situation; our mental state of mind and clarity. That's not how faith or love work. They are more than feelings; they are almost a holy ground of basis and continuity and commitment. (If that makes any sense, lol :-P)

It is human to have feelings. And I do think it's important to work on them and give them credit. (*Hears Mr Collins say "your feelings do you credit my dear cousin"* *Tells brain to not let Mr Collins interrupt a serious blog post. ugh. creep.*) Like, yes feelings are so important and we got them for a reason. We are creatures who feel and think and connect emotionally. HOWEVER also so so so important to know that there is more to love, faith, forgiveness, peace than what we feel. I mean, think about Jesus, when he was sweating drops of blood as He prayed to His Father intensely anxious on His knees. I'm sure He felt no gooey sense of love; no overwhelming fuzzy presence of God... yet He embarked on what He was called for; the greatest act of all time.

One of the saddest things for me is seeing teens doubt their obvious faith in God because they feel like they can't say they have faith because they haven't had this 'experience' yet. I get that but I find it so sad. Like, God is just as much your God when you are trembling, overwhelmed with the Holy Spirit and crying than He is when you feel numb and sweaty after a long day of placid schoolwork. You don't have to wait for overwhelming 'faith-feelings' in order to proclaim that you have faith. Faith is more than feeling. It is knowing and doing and believing what you stand for; no matter what. Faith is.


Three British people in a Belgian bus

I had just finished my maths exam, had taken the train from Brussels to Waterloo and now had just stepped into my dear yellow local bus which would take me from the station to the tiny bus stop five houses away from my house. This is a free bus, which always thrills any new bus-costumer. Normally all the people in this bus are the same ones, ones who live nearby and ones that take its freeness for granted. But now and then a new person pops his or her head inside and asks the bus driver if this bus goes to - insert a street name - and then proceeds to go inside, ready to pay. Then the bus driver goes, 'c'est gratuit' ("it's free") and they repeat, surprised, 'C'est gratuit?!' ('it's free?!'). And they're always so pleasantly pleased. It always makes me smile haha.

Anyway, that day after my maths exam, three English young people - two young men and one young lady - went into this bus, asking the same. They went 'oh it's free' to each other. And I heard them say 'wow that's cool, a free bus.'

Ok, so these three British people it seems thought two things:
- Most people only speak 1 language
- These people only speak French and maybe Dutch but definitely not English

So they proceeded to go ahead and gossip about Belgium, the country they were visiting. (Their bags had badges with LONDON on them, and they just came from the station so they definitely were on a visit.) Belgium is such a badly organised, untidy country, they said. The roads are terrible, etc etc. I thought this was extremely funny. I was amused. And indeed Belgium may not be the best country but don't talk about bad roads. England has the worst roads, you hyprocrite. :-P

Anyway, what I wanted to do is just show them hey dudes and dudette; I too am British and I understand every syllable you utter. So what I did is when they said 'we need to get off, can someone press the button' (to each other), I turned around, and said, 'Oh don't worry I'll do it' - obviously stressing the fact that I SPEAK ENGLISH - (also I was sitting right next to the button so it worked out well). The girl said 'Oh, merci' (French for thank you) and I thought 'no no you don't get it' so I said, 'You're welcome'. SO I WAS SURE THEY KNEW I SPOKE ENGLISH.

I turned back to face frontward and I heard the guy said the s-word as in 'whoooopppsss'. The girl was like OPSIIIEEE, you should've seen her face.

Twas hilarious.

And the eerie thing is. I have this feeling I recognised them from somewhere? Like really, that woman especially and the man who said the s-word. I KNOW I'VE SEEN THEM BEFORE.

And thus the plot thickens.