Finding Home

Home – the place one lives permanently as a member of a family.

The past few months I’ve been extremely homesick. There- I said it. I am not one to focus on the negative things going on in life, but this homesickness has been so intense, it felt like a battle everyday.

At first I didn’t share too much of this, as people asked “How are you?” (Or in British words “You Alright?”) and I would respond with “Yes, I’m great, how are you?” -because honestly, I am great. I have so much to be thankful for, and live a very blessed life… but even our lives full of blessings come with struggle and pain. Without struggle and pain- we don’t have the chance to experience breakthrough.

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July 18th 2016 – The day we officially moved into our new home

When we first moved into this little flat over a year ago, we bought two mugs (one for me, and one for Shanen)… and every morning for the last year I’ve had my coffee from this mug. I knew when I bought it, that my home was here with my husband. I was in my newlywed state of bliss when I got this mug, and we started to make this little flat our home… but as this last season has been rough in feeling a deep homesickness, this little mug would encourage me with the truth I saw in it that day I bought it.

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This homesickness went on for months. I love social media for it’s ability to keep me up to date on what’s going on in my friend’s and families lives. But there is a side to it that is very hard for me, and was almost feeding my homesickness. On warm sunny days, people posting pictures of my beloved Folly Beach, or Forth of July BBQ’s with friends… even when they would complain about the heat (as I always did when I lived in South Carolina) – I would still want to be there, because this is the first year of my entire life that I have not been in weather over 90 degrees- I was really craving that sunshine on my skin. But most of all, I was really missing my family. Some days I was looking up weekend flights to America just to hug my mamas, see my brothers, and fly back to England.

I started noticing things in my life that was triggering this homesickness, and as I finished my summer this year I purposefully stopped doing these things, or watching those American tv shows- but at the same time I also let the American within me rise up, and fully realized how much it is part of who I am; I am going to embrace it; I am going to love this part of me, and be proud to be an American. I may not agree with a lot of my countries decisions, but my roots are from that beautiful land, and it will always be a home to me.

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One of my happy places – Folly Beach, SC

The last month as the seasons turned to fall, I’ve become much happier. I LOVE England in the Fall! It is so beautiful, and the weather is what I always dreamed of autumn weather to be as a child in those hot South Carolina summers. But I learned in this last season not to let my external circumstances (like missing a proper summer with beaches and sunshine, or the beautiful colors of Autumn) effect my internal emotions and feelings. It is true, they do play a big part- but instead of dwelling in it, I had to be the one to rise up and learn from it.

One night recently I took Kutta outside for his late evening potty, and looked up to see the stars were out (this is quite rare here). I was so happy to see them I ran back up the stairs and into our flat to quickly grab my yoga mat, and took it out in the back garden to lay beneath them. In that moment I just let myself cry- feeling the tears running off either side of my face as I looked up a familiar sky. Having many nights in my life laying beneath these same beautiful stars; every constellation still there- still shining down on us, bringing beauty to the night.
God met me in that moment, with His beautiful peace and comfort as He spoke into my heart. For me, home is bigger than where I grew up. Home is more than America; and more than England.

Home is Earth.

This big beautiful world is home- and wherever I go I will experience homesickness. If I go to America, I will surly miss life in England (I usually get homesick for our flat in England after 2 weeks in America).. And there have been several times in my life I’ve been homesick for India (those who know me, know my love for this country, and even though I’ve only been there for a total of 8 months- It has become another home to my heart).

I can’t help but to wonder how many more homes I will have in the days to come.

I’ve learned it’s okay to be homesick… and most importantly, God will meet us where-ever we are, and what ever season we are in. This week, He surprised me with something beautiful, that truly “Blessed my heart” as we say in the south…

A saw with my own eyes- a Palmetto tree in England.

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My first reaction, was to hug it. Of course it was growing in a greenhouse, but when I turned around and saw it there, my heart was filled with so much joy- and hugging that tree felt like reaching out and touching a part of South Carolina.
*For those who don’t know, Palmetto trees grow everywhere in Charleston, and they are South Carolina’s state tree. It’s even on our flag…

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So all this to say, I am truly happy to be right where I am. Here in England- for where there is rain, there are always rainbows. I don’t believe the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ (as the saying goes) because I know life here is amazing in so many  ways, and it fits me and Shanen very well. I know one day, our American season will come- along with many other seasons, but I don’t want to rush the season I am in…

I want to enjoy it- and grow my roots here even deeper.

I have the whole world to explore and my whole life ahead of me. I am truly thankful for this season that has taught me how to find the truth in homesickness, and to be okay with experiencing it.

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where there is rain, look for rainbows

 

This morning I woke up to sunshine, and out my kitchen window was a beautiful rainbow. The sign of God’s promise. I remember in 2014 when God first told me I would move to the UK, and at that time, there was no possible way…
Yet here I am. Looking out my kitchen window, remembering how excited my heart was at the possibility of one day living in England.

I am home.

The End of the Road – The Door of Freedom

I was reading some past blog posts from several years ago. I was looking for some old poems I had written, not knowing if I ever shared them on a blog or not. I went back to a post from 2010 that caught my eye… It’s title: End of the Road.

I remember the day I wrote that post.. the very morning of taking my entire life- knowing one meeting would decide my fate as I handed everything over to God.

I had just been through some very traumatic events- a lot that had happened to me, and a lot that I had done to myself. If there was ever a time of my life where I felt at ‘rock bottom’… this was that time.

I remember hearing the Spirit of God speaking to my heart and saying over and over again- Trust Me.

Back then, I didn’t know anything about visions from God, or what a prophetic gift was. I didn’t know we could hear from God in those ways. Now, it’s become such a part of me, it’s how I flow through life in every day.

I loved reading this post, because I see where even though I didn’t know about visions or how God speaks to us through pictures in our minds- He was still there speaking to me in this way; I just didn’t recognize it was him.

The date of the post was June 2010:

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I love seeing how much a relationship with God can grow us; heal us, and set us free.
I can read this and see a girl who’s heart loved God- I was ready to surrender my whole future to Him because I knew that I wasn’t the one who knew what was best for myself.

I remember that moment- knowing that it looked as if I would have to take that scary path. And I remember the end of that day- the moment I realized that my new beginning would be down the open path, full of light. I knew God was the only one responsible for making that happen.

It truly was a new beginning for me. A beginning that lead even deeper into the spiritual things of God- a relationship between me and my creator that is deeper than any relationship I have on this earth.

What drew my eyes to this post most was the photo of the gate. I choose that photo out of a picture I took in 2008, on a walk through downtown Charleston. The gate and garden spoke so much to me.
And now, this year as my Back to Eden Yoga truly started to grow, I started it with that same picture on Back to Eden’s Facebook page- the same photo of the gate. Back then I had no idea what life would look like for me 7 years later… but I can say it’s better than I could have ever imagined. I have learned that there really is no impossibility when it comes to doing life with the Spirit of God.

And my whole reason for posting this, isn’t just to reflect on that goodness- but to encourage anyone who feels in this same situation- like they are at a dead end in life- realizing they cannot try to control their path on their own any longer- but to let go and trust in your creator, that He will set your paths straight, even when it looks impossible, or makes no sense to the human mind. (Proverbs 3:5)

Ruah 

Two weeks ago, I was slowly waking up around my usual 7am, and was gently coming out of a dream. In the dream I was painting a picture of a girl, eyes closed, head to the sky, arms wide open and behind her as her wild hair flowed about her, turning into mountains behind her.

I usually don’t have an idea of exactly what I want to paint when I begin a new piece- I usually just start painting. But this one I had a general idea- although as I started to paint, as always, the creation took it’s own form.

The first few days of painting, resulted in this (photo above).
I loved the color and movement, and as I painting I could feel the breath of her lungs, connecting to the air around her. The dove represents that spirit of peace that she finds through that connection.

The mountains and night sky behind her, incorporated into her hair, shows her oneness with the earth in which she was created from. (Genesis 1:24 ; Genesis 2:7)

This was just a stopping point for the week, and I knew it was no where near finished.

I came back to it a week or so later and it slowly took a whole new form, even though the meaning was still there.
As I blended the dove into the painting, I did this knowing I didn’t want the dove to be obviously seen (although I knew it was still there, hidden within)- just as the Spirit is in our own lives- there, yet unseen.

I felt a pain in this painting, but a real peace that she holds throughout it. Closing her eyes through a storm, as if not to be distracted by the circumstances around her, but simply finding that peace of the Spirit within- again, knowing He is there in the unseen.

I also felt this pain was the pain of birth- a spiritual birth that she was going through.
God has been speaking this to me a lot recently- the pain of childbirth and how in life, as we step into these new seasons, we experience a difficult time as we go through the process of ‘birthing’ something new.

So here is this woman- her name is Ruah. I knew this would be her name from the beginning. She walks by faith- being blind by choice as she closes her eyes to the storm of impossibilities around her- moving forward from the peace that guides her from within.
Knowing this pain of spiritual birth is actually just the promise of the miracle to come.

Ruah is the Hebrew word for ‘breath’ and ‘spirit’.
It is the word used in Genesis (the story of creation) for the Spirit of God.

 

This is my own meaning from this painting, and what I felt creating it.
However, I know (after hearing so many amazing interpretations from posting it online), it speaks so much to several different people. This makes my heart so happy.
I hope when you look at this peace, the Spirit speaks it’s own special meaning to you, as you go through whatever season you are facing in life.
May it bless you with peace, knowing that Ruah is within you, and with you.

X

Reflections on a Year of Marriage

Yesterday was me and Shanen’s one year aniversary.

It had us doing a lot of reflecting on life, and the incredible ‘wedding week’ we had a year ago, which started out with a blessing ceremony here in the UK; and then a group of family and friends flying across the ocean, to come together in Charleston, South Carolina- my hometown- to celebrate with us as we were united in marriage.

Me and Shanen never do anything traditionally- and we wanted to make our wedding our own; to us, marriage is about complete unity- and we wanted our wedding day to reflect this. Not just unity for me and him, but unity in all of us there- as people came from 3 different countries, and several other different cultures and states; we wanted the whole day to be a representation and celebration that we are all unified and coming together as one, in the spirit of God- and his incredible love.

For that’s what the day truly was. If it was just me and Shanen, the wedding would not have come together.

We had people cooking, decorating, giving us their home and land for the wedding, and rooms for guests; people filming; singing; playing instruments… people photographing, and doing several behind-the-scenes things to get the day ready and in order. The whole entire wedding was all done in the love and unity from our friends and family, and that’s what made this day so special to us.

It was truly the best day of our lives.

It was amazing having friends and family from the UK and Germany actually be in my beloved hometown, meeting my friends from America. My heart had never been so happy as I looked around and saw the mix of faces; especially when Shanen’s family was first meeting mine.

The week honestly was the most stressful week of my life and had many ups and downs. Poor Shanen even got really badly stung by a jellyfish at my favorite beach! But even of all the stress of trying to coordinate airport pick ups, cars, houses, the to-do list, sight seeing, and our wedding day; Even though it came to be the most stressful week I’ve had, it was also the best week of my life, and I would gladly do it all over again in every way! (Except I would tell Shanen not to go swimming on the day he was stung by the jellyfish!)

The week went by too fast, and it was suddenly our wedding day- it was as if this amazing week was all just to lead up to the best day, being the first day of me and Shanen’s new life together as One.

 

Last night we re-watched the Facebook Live video from that day (We did this so our friends and family overseas or in America that couldn’t be with us could still virtually be with us).

It brought tears to my eyes seeing all my friends and family together again, and even hearing the locus and forest sounds sing around us.

As we remembered the day, and listed to our vows again- I started to reflect on the last year, and how much of an adventure it has been. And how, just like that wedding week, even in the difficult times of this past year, the good times far outweigh the bad, and it has been one of the best years of my life in many ways.

Starting off with the Honeymoon, as we took a road trip back down to Florida to stay one night at Disney, and enjoy the fireworks from our hotel.

Then boarding a cruise ship to the beautiful Bahamas

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Coming back to the UK, and taking weekend hiking trips in England- just thankful to be living together as a married couple, and able to simply do the things we love, and finding adventure wherever we can.

Having date nights in, and watching films on the laptop as we enjoy our home cooked curries. (this is probably one of our most frequent date nights).
I’m so thankful to marry a man who loves garlic and onions in food as much as I do! 🙂

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I had to return to the states for three weeks in December to re-apply for a visa and wait on a decision. That was an intense three weeks- but I was so happy to see my family again, at my most favorite time of the year; along with taking long walks on the beach in the evenings when I needed to clear my head from the worry of not being approved. Those were bittersweet walks.

I made it home to my love for Christmas Day, and my gift was a trip to Leeds to see Cirque Du Soleil (Something I’ve Dreamed of seeing my whole life).

We spent new years in Scotland, hiking, and enjoying the fireworks in Edinburgh.

In March we flew back to the States to go to Disney World with my Family!
Me and my family are HUGE Disney fans… okay not just fans, but we are obsessed. Moana is my spirit princess. My sister Morgan is Ariel. We each have our own Disney Character we relate to- and I’ve always called Shanen my Aladdin. (Ironically I always said I would marry a man who looked like Aladdin- and he really does!)

We got to see the fireworks once again, reminding us of the Honeymoon- but this time we were actually in the park, and able to fully enjoy them!

Below is my parents in Epcots UK, enjoying a Guiness and standing in front of an English Telephone booth! I was trying to pretend they were in England, but the sunshine makes it unconvincing. 😉
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Shanen flew back and I stayed behind to bring the last member of our happy little family back to the UK with us… our beloved KuttaBear! He finally made the big trip across the Atlantic, and we are so happy to have him with us, completing our little family (for now).

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(above – me and kuttabear with jetlag in Amsterdam)

This summer we took Kutta on his first hike in Wales…

…and took some family photo at the top of a mountain.

It’s been an amazing year. These pics of course are our highlights, and next weekend we will be taking another trip together – all three of us – to Scotland to celebrate our one year anniversary.
We ended our first year in an amazing way- by celebrating two good friends here in the UK becoming one. As we dressed up to go to a beautiful wedding, it just reminded us even more of the excitement we each had within us a year ago, as we prepared for our own wedding day.

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But as good as the wedding day was, and as amazing as our of our adventures so far have been- I wouldn’t want to go back… because life is about living, and I know there is an adventure in every day- even if that adventure is just being us in a normal day. I don’t believe in the good ole days- even tho the past does hold good times and great memories- along with great wisdom. I believe in our future and all it holds- because I believe the best is always yet to come.

x

Jeremiah 29:11 (God always has a plan, and hope for our future)

Transformation

This painting has always been a favorite of mine, and many others.

We’ve kept it having in our loung above Shanen’s computer for the past year, but last week I looked at it and said “I think it’s time to sell that painting”…

That weekend, some friends dropped me off at home and wanted to see me and Shanen’s little flat-

When they saw the painting, they said “if you ever decide to sell it, please let us know.”

So this week, it’s being relocated to its new home. Funny enough, it was the same home in which I painted it! (For I was house sitting for them).

So I wanted to honor the painting as I say goodbye; knowing its going somewhere it will be greatly loved.


Along with this post I wanted to include the poem I wrote to describe the meaning behind the painting…

Transformation

Destiny-
Written on our hearts
Seen in our dreams.
Just as the caterpillar dreams of flying-
Reaching far more places than it’s legs could ever go…
It doesn’t stop living-
and doesn’t stop dreaming.
Knowing one day, as impossible as it looks in it’s current situation-
It will fly.

Believing-
Holding onto Hope.
Knowing there is more than what is seen.
The winds change-
As the caterpillar enters an unknown season
Bringing darkness and fog-
Wondering if this is the end…

Transformation-
Never loosing faith.
In this season of so much unknown,
Light begins to break through.
And as the caterpillar emerges-
Out of the darkness and into the light,
It finds everything it knew itself to be-
As transformation has brought it’s dream to life.

Freedom-
The old is gone, and new has come
Now the dream of what once was inside
Lay visible for the world to see.
It spreads is wings,
Taking a leap of faith-
Bringing beauty to the sky-

It flies.