Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Enjoying Life Where You Are

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I remember the fretting I did before our family returned to America for a whole year in 2009. “What are we going to eat?” I wondered.  I was thinking about olives, olive oil, olive paste, fresh cheese, red peppers, fresh herbs, vine ripened tomatoes and fruit from the market in Turkey.  

Then we came back home for a year and got used to sweet corn on the cob in the summer, sugar snap peas, delicious peanut butter, corn tortillas, corn chips, enchiladas, and convenience foods. Beef was relatively cheap, and bananas tasted good all year round.

Now we’re back in America again for 10 weeks. Just the other morning at breakfast, my kids complained about Sunkist navel oranges. 

“Oranges in Turkey are a lot better than these.”

“What?” I thought to myself. “Whenever I eat an orange in Turkey, I think about how it’s just not as sweet as our Florida and California oranges.”

Then recently, my daughter said to me, “Mom, I miss my life and my friends in Turkey.”  This is the same girl who was pining away last fall, saying, “I just want to be with our family back home.”  I understood her perfectly.

We cross-cultural workers are a strange lot.  

When we’re on the field, we miss family, friends and food from home. Then furlough comes around, and after the initial excitement wears off, we miss our friends and life style from our “other home.” We miss our own beds and houses.

This makes me think about choosing to enjoy my life right now. Today.  Instead of thinking about what I don’t have, I want to enjoy what’s in front of me: the tasks God has for me and the people God brings into my life today.

Despite stress, travel, and a busy schedule, this furlough has been a time of countless gifts:
  • Family reunions, and seeing nieces and nephews who are growing up.
  • Encouragement from many people who support our work.
  • A ticket for my son go to a Dallas Mavericks’ basketball game.
  • The opportunity to take my daughter to an American Girl store.
  • Reconnecting with friends I’ve known for 25 years.
  • Walking into the door of our home church and crying over how beautiful the worship there is.
  • God’s amazing financial provision.

 These are gifts God is giving me to enjoy. James 1:17 reminds me that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

What about you? Whether you’re on the field or on home assignment, what is something you are enjoying about your life today?


us5 said...

very lovely post, Olive Tree. honest, yet with such a beautiful spirit. i do hope i can have the same perspective on our trip back!

Choate Family said...

Oh, I needed this reminder as we leave for furlough in just a few days. Thanks!

Kris Thede said...

Glad you're making some good family memories. Yes it's hard to live with each foot in a different country and being pulled in half. Today I'm enjoying palm trees, a tropical breeze and connecting with some of my on-line friends.

Creatively Content said...

I love it when others make lists of things they are grateful so encourages me. Very happy for your son to get to go to the Mavericks game. It is a tearing and a gift to love two country's. Much care to you Olive.

Chris said...

Hi Olive, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

Jamie Jo said...

We're heading north in another ten days or so, and this post cheered me up to think of what God may have in store for us.

us5 said...

missing the Olive Tree posts! but praying today that your time at home is full of blessing and continued reasons to give thanks! ♥