Thursday, March 9, 2017

Six Ways My Life Was Changed

I can't seem to stay put.

After visiting my parents and family, I went off this past week for a ski trip to Stowe, Vermont.  Vermont is beautiful this time of year: all that snow and everything...(for any White Christmas fans)...and we were blessed to have one great day of skiing.  The other day was more like being lost in a dark storm cloud with zero visibility and icy slopes...basically only dumb people or diehards were up there...and yes, I fell into the dumb group.  At least we had fun and there were no injuries!

Someone asked me this past weekend, "How did NPH change your life?"  

1. Money: Well obviously I learned to let go and trust God when I took a year off from work.  Every penny was leaving my account and nothing was coming in.  Without worrying, things worked out.  I learned how little money I needed to live...and how much I could do with just a least in Central America!  I find now that I'm home, I spend money more easily...which obviously might not be a good thing!  But I'm also very careful to weigh if it is something I really, really want so hopefully that will balance out my lack of buyer's remorse!

2. Possessions: Not having many possessions was actually pretty freeing.  It was a drastic change, but living with one suitcase full of clothes (most of it scrubs) taught me how to simplify.  I had one pair of running shoes, a pair of church shoes and two pairs of flip flops (because inevitably one would break and I'd need the other before I had a chance to replace it). I had one dress, two skirts and two pairs of jeans.  And you know what?  I didn't miss any of my stuff that I had left behind! All those boxes and bags I put into storage before I took off?  I didn't need them.

3. Drama: It taught me that the drama in life is relative. So I was late to work, spilled my coffee and a guy cut me off in the parking lot.  So what.  My husband didn't leave me jobless with two kids to feed, my mother's not dying of cancer without treatment and no one shot all of my family members in front of me when I was only twelve years old.  It's a good day.

4. Appreciation: It also taught me to enjoy the small things.  Did I appreciate being able to get a latte or piece of carrot cake every other week after taking a 25 minute chicken bus scrunched with six people across into town?  You bet!  Way more than if I got it at a drive thru in my car every morning.

5. Smile first: In Guatemala, greetings are of the utmost importance.  How you act when you see someone, from a person on the street to a teacher to the President, tells them exactly what kind of person you are.  Coming from New England, where we don't make eye contact until we've known each other for at least five years, this was a big adjustment for me...but one that I've found increases my smile return.  Now that I'm more willing to make eye contact and smile at people first, I find those smiles coming back to me ten-fold!

6. Looking ahead: After experiencing first hand going out on a limb and trusting God, I've learned to look forward with hope.  I'm sure that God isn't done with me yet.  After finishing what turned out to be an amazing adventure, I'm ready for whatever comes. No matter how daunting, I'm sure He'll see me through it!

This blog doesn't touch on the people who entered my life, the friends I've made and expect to have for a long time to come, or the kids who will forever be in my heart.  It's more about how I've changed my way of living after being in Guatemala for a year.  

Off to Cuba on Wednesday (God willing and they let me in!).  My path might not be typical but that's typical of God, huh?  Moving on...thanks for reading!

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