First of all, I want to thank you all for being so patient with me during the unannounced and unexpected hiatus I took the past few days. Hopefully, you had some time to catch up on some posts if you needed to, or took some time to apply or ponder the application of previous posts into your own lives.
My oldest daughter returned home last Friday (9/12) from a service and proselyting mission for our church. She was called to serve in the Alpine-German Speaking Mission, which allowed her to serve in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and a very small corner of Italy.
The three flags of her mission
I knew I would want to focus my attention on her and her re-adjustment into life, so I prepared some thoughts that would allow us to keep moving forward in our journey. Strangely, Kori’s arrival back home shifted my perspective just slightly and for some reason, I had a difficult time posting what I had prepared. So again, thanks for being patient while I gave myself time to focus on her and her needs!
Kori started her Senior year of high school in California; she was the captain of the school swim team
and was a youth leader for our church- in charge of planning and implementing social and spiritual activities for several congregations in our area. She had an awesome job as a lifeguard and swim teacher, had a huge group of friends and enjoyed weekends at the beach- to say she felt on top of the world would be a complete understatement.
We moved to Texas in October of that year and her world came tumbling down. It was not intentional and hit all of us right between the eyes. In every way possible, she struggled to find her way and found herself lost and distant from all that she loved. She left for college and answered the invitation welcoming 19 year old girls to enter the mission field. Being called to Germany was a dream come true for her! She has loved Germany for as long as I can remember, loving the language enough to study it as a 7th grade student in Minnesota. Once again, despite any hardships or struggles she faced, she was on top of the world.
So returning to Texas has been a difficult thing for her emotionally and mentally. One night, as we sat on her bed, she said that she was worried about who she is, who she was before her mission, and who she became! She expressed her desire to not be a NEW person, just a BETTER version of who she already was! We’ve discussed many of her fears, doubts, concerns, and apprehensions- as well as all of the things that she learned to implement into her life in Germany and how she can keep hold of those ‘improvements’ that she loved about life far from home. I know it can be very easy to be who we THINK we need to be. I also know it is easy to let the wrong people or circumstances dictate WHO we think we should be.
I’ve thought a lot about her and her concerns. I’ve thought a lot about the journey of life and the experiences that shape and mold this journey. I was advised on two different occasions to go back to a past event and gather the pearl of wisdom that maybe I had left behind. It might sound a little strange, but I have found this to be an incredibly useful tool in both situations. This isn’t about rehashing old hurts or pains- this is about gathering the beauty we gained from an event in our past!
A pearl is formed when a foreign substance enters an oyster’s shell. In order to protect itself from irritation, the oyster covers the substance with thin layers of nacre, slowly forming the beautiful gem! I love that nacre is not something hostile or defensive, used to attack a foreign substance. Rather, nacre is the mineral substance that the oyster’s shell is made of- nacre is the natural beauty of the oyster itself! Our pearls, those things we form and create when challenges come our way are often the very beauty that comes naturally to who we are. Something unexpected enters our lives and we begin to grow and develop to prevent irritation- but our growth is so natural and instinctive that often times we cast it aside, disregarding its worth and value.
As young children easily understand when walking through a park, life’s journeys are about treasures. Little treats here, little tidbits there… here a little, there a little- until a beautiful and abundant bag of gems becomes the life we treasure! It isn’t only about the good times, it is about what we formed and created while enduring the rough times. I love listening to other people’s stories, I love when I get to look at their bag of treasures. Often, I learn and grow from another person’s treasure trove as much as I have from my own journey. I think this is the lesson Kori is learning. She is taking a few days to go back to those days she remembers as painful and gather in her pearls. She may have cast them aside temporarily, but her service in Germany has taught her the value of every single gem! I love that at 20 years old, she is gaining this wisdom-
Having experiences is called living; sharing experiences is called loving; valuing both is called pure and simple joy!
Simply travel back through your life experiences, looking for pearls of wisdom, pearls of experience, pearls of joy- that you may have cast aside. Pick them up and gather them safely into your sachet of life. My wager to you is that you can find at least a handful as you learn to look for these, you will be less likely to continue casting them aside.
- Brussel Sprouts
- Red potatoes
- Butternut Squash
- Beets, red or orange or both
- Olive oil
- Fresh rosemary, Dill, or Thyme
- ** optional ** red pepper flakes (to taste)
- Cut all veggies so they are about the same size. Coat with olive oil. Toss spices- using the flavors that you like best. We LOVE the red pepper flake kick, so those are a staple at the Peterson house. This is our go to dinner and side dish all fall and winter long.
- Roast at 375 for 25-30 minutes, until veggies are done to your liking.
- This is truly a 'get creative' kind of dish!! Do what you like and you won't be disappointed.