Saturday, April 30, 2011

Good quote for the day

I heard this great quote during the royal wedding, or as I like to think of it, "Gina's version of the Superbowl":

"Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire," by St. Catherine of Siena.

Five Minute Friday

If I Knew I Could, I Would . . . .


This is a tough one for me actually, because I don't think in those terms. Maybe it was my parents, who always believed I could do what I set my mind to, all their encouragement to use what God has given me, but I don't think that I'm not doing certain things because I can't.

So why aren't I doing them? And what would I do if whatever it is was not there? I would write a book. I would coach more women more frequently, and just spend more time hearing about their lives and hearts. I would spend more time with my family. I would figure out how to teleport between here and America.

As I look at those things, my answers include everything from time to lack of discipline to lack of intentionality to lack of scientific ability. So I guess the question I'm left with is, "Well, Gina, you CAN do these things (ok, except the teleporting) so why AREN'T you?"

A good reminder of what is really on my heart, and that I am really the only one standing in the way of what I feel I want to do.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Chinese Medicine

Being the daughter of a pharmacist, I am no stranger to meds. In the last few years though, I have tried to use more natural remedies. Recently, I took my first plunge into trying Chinese traditional medicine.

We have an American friend in town who is a licensed herbologist. When I told him of a few health issues I've been having, he gave me a list of Chinese herbs to buy, boil and drink twice daily for 20 days, in addition to a special diet that eliminates all the things that are more difficult for your body to digest. In the process I've learned a couple of things:

1. Chinese medicine tastes like how I imagine the floor of a forest would taste.
2. My body doesn't like to live without chocolate. I was good about the diet for the first week, but this week I've been sneaking some back in. Life is just no fun without it.
3. There might be something to this medicine, because when my friend who does cranio-sacral therapy worked on me on Monday, she said she's never seen me so healthy. (although given that both Chinese medicine and cranio-sacral therapy have their critics, that could be like saying leprechauns can prove the existence of unicorns).

I haven't actually seen if this is completely effective because that will only be noticeable after a month or so. In the meantime, I've learned how to plug my nose and chug lukewarm medicine with the best of them.

Monday, April 25, 2011

White Space

White Space.

I've been thinking about this term lately, pondering, "Is there white space in my life?" Here's what Wikipedia had to say about it:

"White space should not be considered merely 'blank' space — it is an important element of design which enables the objects in it to exist at all . . . A page crammed full of text or graphics with very little white space runs the risk of appearing busy, cluttered, and is typically difficult to read."

White space allows what is there to be more impactful, more appealing. This goes right along with the phrase God has put on my heart the last few months which is, "Slow down and make space." I often think about filling that space - in a good way - by making space for God to speak, making space to see and enjoy what is around me. But the greatest challenge for me is to simply be, to just exist in the white space.

So maybe this week my new phrase is "Slow down and leave white space."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Quote of the Day

"It is always true to some extent that we make our images of God. It is even truer that our image of God makes us. Eventually we become like the God we image. One of the most beautiful fruits of knowing the God of Jesus is a compassionate attitude toward ourselves . . . This is why Scripture attaches such importance to knowing God. Healing our image of God heals our image of ourselves."

-Brennan Manning, Lion and Lamb: The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus (as quoted in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, by Peter Scazzero)

5 Minute Friday

Ok, here's my second attempt at a 5 minute writing exercise. This time the prompt is Hard Love. Wow, I have a lot to say about that. Where to begin?

7:19 a.m.

A few years ago I started praying that God would teach me to love well. He's been answering that prayer, mostly by showing me first of all how I don't love well. By showing me the things that I love more than Him. By showing me how my refusal to engage in the hard conversations of life isn't love or grace, but cowardice.

He's shown me that loving others well is hard. It requires a willingness to say the things you'd rather not say, like "I was wrong" and "that hurt me, please don't do that" and "Do you forgive me?" and "I forgive you" and to hear those things as well. It's hard because many times what you believe is loving will not be received that way. It's hard because it requires vulnerability and trust.

I have been blessed that most of the people in my life are gracious, and they want to love well too. That's not always the case though, and that makes love harder. In those times I'm trying to look to God and imitate Him, because He knows better than anyone how to love well, and how to love when it's hard.

7:24 a.m.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holiday Confusion

Ethan just told me he's a little confused about the history of holidays. For example, how did Easter go from Jesus' death and resurrection to a bunny passing out eggs?

Excellent question, son.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On Distance

Yes, I know it's not Friday (although I've had serious trouble this week with remembering what day it is, I am confident that it is not yet Friday). But my sister-in-law turned me on to this writing exercise from the above website, and being the obsessive compulsive writer that I am, I had to try it. I think it will be a good exercise for me because one of the requirements is that you cannot edit. Not editing is like nails on a chalkboard for me, stirring up all my issues with not wanting to fail or look foolish. But since I'm trying to grow in those things, this seems just right.

So last week's topic was On Distance. Here goes:

11:42 am

When we first moved to China 12 years ago I would listen obsessively to a song by Fernando Ortega called Don't Let Me Come Home a Stranger, or at least that was the chorus. I was terrified that I would lose all my roots. It didn't occur to me that I would also be setting them down.

The problem with setting down roots is that when you pull the plant out and transplant it somewhere else, dirt flies. Emotional dirt. And then it takes awhile for that plant to settle into its new place. And then later it gets ripped up again.

So now I have left bits of my dirt life in China, the US, Singapore. And I've realized that while the downside of this is that I will live my life feeling as though my heart is always spread across distances, never fully in one place, I have the blessing of being loved in many places, of keeping pieces of those places, of the people I have known in those places, here with me.

So distance becomes somewhat relative. It's close and far, small and big, in my world.

Don't let me come home a stranger - but I'm not a stranger anywhere anymore. And at the same time I am a stranger in this world, longing for my true home. Distance is painful, but it makes the gathering sweeter, the memories richer for having had them. I hate the distance that my chosen life has brought between the people I know and love around the world, but at the same time my relationships with them have been changed by that distance in profound ways.

11:47 Bummer - I was just getting started.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Good quote for the day

"Sure there is rottenness in the world. But Jesus Christ died and rose again precisely that the commands, 'Rejoice always,' and 'For everything give thanks,' would not be naïve, but profoundly realistic." - John Piper


It's spring! Such a lovely time of year here, even if it is windy enough for you to lose a small child if you're not watching. This year makes me do yet another grandma moment when it comes to this city, so I hope you'll bear with me. It's just that while it would be easy to look around and think, "Well, sure, there are flowering trees, but it's not much amidst all this dirt and concrete" I remember our first years here when I don't remember seeing a single flower outside the botanical garden. I don't even remember seeing that many trees! So I'm loving this and applauding China's efforts at beautifying its urban areas.

Monday, April 04, 2011


It has been three years since we were in the States for the summer, so we're really looking forward to it. I find myself sometimes dreaming of things I've missed. Things like:

1. The coolness of Minnesota summer mornings
2. The sun warm on my face when I go out for walks and runs, despite the cool air
3. Soft green grass in my toes
4. Quiet, empty streets
5. The smell of fresh cut grass and outdoor grilling
6. Stores like Hobby Lobby and Trader Joe's
7. A visit to a cabin by the lake
8. Vacationing with my parents
9. A girlfriend's trip with my oldest, dearest friend
10. Seeing all of our family
11. My dad's beautiful garden
12. Exploring my hometown with our kids
13. A 5K with Erik, my brother, and sister-in-law (you're all committed now - it's in writing!)
14. Colorado in July
15. Target :)
16. Running around Silver Lake (and beyond, hopefully! I love the bike path that goes all the way through town)
17. Lazy days