Thursday, 21 December 2006

Arkansas. I have returned to "the states", and I am pleased to be here. In the words of a great friend from years past, I will give you a few "snapshots" of my time thus far. While finding a table outside at the neighbourhood Starbucks with my slice of lemon cake, I look up to see a dear friend sitting at the drive-thru window. Correction...I hear her before I see her. I hear: "OH MY GOSH! IT IS KYM BRINKLEY!!!!" Now that is a greeting that I have definitely not heard in 3 months on the other side of the ocean. Wow! Some the best hours have been spent with a boy named Drew, who one afternoon while we were hanging out told me, "Kymmy, you are best girl I know." (Yes, Drew is 4 1/2 years old.) Drew and I made my favourite Christmas candy and took a walk around his neighbourhood picking up sticks. His reaction to the gift of a toy London taxi and double decker bus..."Mommy, this is amazing!" I mean, come on. Wow. Multiple meals have commenced that have included tacos, Rotel, and salsa, and though my stomach is trying to remember spice after having being immersed in such bland English food for a while, I have thoroughly enjoyed some Mexicano flavor back in my diet. Friends gathered around a table eager to hear stories, to listen for words that I have added to my vocab since moving abroad, and to make me laugh delighted my spirit beyond my ability for description. Christmas classics watched with my extended family while eating tasty treats and singing at the top of our lungs to R&B favourites. Nice. Time with the family has begun, and I appreciate it deeply. Time to rest, to read, to sleep, to turn off my brain for a bit. Time to chat, laugh, play, and be in the land of familiar.

Christmas will come in a few days. Presents will be unwrapped. French toast will be eaten. : ) After the festivities, my precious friend, Sarah, is visiting from Texas for a few days whom I have not seen in way too long who makes me laugh, reminds me of the definition of "real", strengthens my faith, and challenges me to be a deeper person. I could not be more excited!!

I do miss this hallway that you see above these words. Or as my vicar in London would describe it, my "corridor". I do love that word. It rolls out of the mouth a bit sweeter, does it not? When you walk into my door off the high street you walk down this corridor to reach the door to my flat. I miss London, which I think is a good sign. I am convinced my place of residence is at the end of that corridor at this time of my life. Surreal. True. I look forward to going back without doubt.

At the same time, I love being here with my friends and family. I know I write about it often, but I am so beyond thankful for them. This appreciation grows and intensifies inside me more than ever with an ocean between us. What a blessing to be able to come back and spend time with so many people who long to know how I am and how the Lord is working. They(you) humour me with my endless references about "in England, they do this" or "in London, it is like this..." I appreciate that love and know that you genuinely enjoy hearing me go on and on as you continue to ask questions. Thank you. I am humbled to have difficulty seeing all the people that would like to see me and hear stories. Thank you. I am overwhelmed by blessing and thanks.

Christmas is my favourite. Ok, birthdays are my favourite, too. Well, truly I like to celebrate, in general, let's be honest. But, I love Christmas. I love watching White Christmas with my pop, singing along with Bing and Danny. I love listening to Harry Connick, Jr. sing "Ave Maria" and "I Pray On Christmas". I love watching my family open gifts and holding up said gifts making the same goofy expression we always make. I love laughing my head off with my brother as he...well, just as he is himself. : )

This year, I especially love that I get to be here with my family for Christmas. What a gift! Truly, as I am continuing to discover, the gift of relationship with people...people whom you love and people who love you the greatest gift of all.

Thanks be to God. kb

(I will ask for a reprieve from my normal "word/phrase of the week" segment, as I am not within country for the next few weeks. I will pick it back up when I touch back down onto English soil.)

Oh, and I just realized that the option to comment was not possible on my page. I think I fixed it, so if you want to try to comment, feel free! : )

Thursday, 7 December 2006

A bit of Christmas-lit London for you. The giant light bulbs hang all along Carnaby Street, a cute little shopping area off Regent Street. The "grotto" sits in Covent Garden. I love that it is called a "grotto". Zsa was with me when I took this picture. "You don't say 'grotto'?", she asked. Nope, we say "workshop" or "village". Most of the time, it is the little things here that make me glad and tweak my norm. I love it!

Speaking of little things...I am unsure if I believe in them. Little things are BIG for me most of the time. A package received from a precious friend filled with songs that delight my spirit, new friends who have so much in common with me and make me LAUGH!, figuring out a way to disassemble a piece of furniture in my flat that has been cramping my space, finding the last switch to turn on my towel warmer (I don't know if I have shared that fact with you, but all the outlets here have switches to turn them on. It took me a week of looking to find the switch for my heater. The last mystery has been this one of turning on my towel warmer!), a tea kettle that boils water in seconds, and having clean dishes...

I spent the past week at some Young Life training in Hertford. I think I mentioned it. I was blessed by knowing eyes. To be with people who you can see and sense understand your inability to articulate exactly how you feel or need to be prayed for in the situation you are in, is huge. Prayer from people who love the Lord and love you...huge. I cannot say enough about how I enjoyed this time last week and feel that I know the Lord deeper after having spent this time.
Do you have people who know you? I mean, people who truly just "get you"? I am blessed to have these people in the states and now abroad. I pray that you take the time to tell these precious friends how much you love them and appreciate how they love you during this holiday season. The Lord knew what he was doing when he told us to "not give up meeting together" (Heb. 10.24) and"for where two or three come together in My name, there am I with them" (Matt. 18.20). We are made to live in community.

Word/phrase of the week: "sorry" "Sorry?", meaning "I didn't hear you". "Sorry", meaning I bumped into you, and I am sorry. "Sorry.", meaning I got close to bumping into you. Whereas we would say "Excuse me", the common way of expressing this is "Sorry".
Honestly, I have said "Excuse me" multiple times, and people have ignored me. I said, "Sorry", and people move immediately and respond with an affirming nod.