As I sit here typing this, I am in the Waikato area of New Zealand, a beautiful, ever-green region of rolling hills and lush valleys just over an hour south of Auckland. I am attending a PhD writing retreat for a few days, and I guess the administrators either find the landscape here more effective for their students away from the hustle and bustle and responsibilities of the city, or they enjoy the get-away themselves. We're being housed in a beautiful college built on the Marae of a local Maori tribe. There are french doors in my room, and when I look out I feel like I'm home in Idaho--maybe the Snake River valley area outside of Pocatello or the Boise River gorge in Meridian. There are cows grazing near a lake down the hill from where I'm sitting, and I can see the wispy clouds and colors as the sun goes down over to the left of me. Welcome to Albion, New Zealand, lol.
I can't enumerate all the ways I feel at home and love being here. The glowing orb of happiness, joy, and light inside my chest is back, and it's hard to keep from smiling almost all of the time. Of course that doesn't mean that life is ohne Schwierigkeiten, but I can't imagine feeling more blessed, more happy, or having a more sure knowledge that I am where I am supposed to be. Life is truly beautiful.
|[wow! I real life picture of me! haha, I finally borrowed my friends camera :) ]|
Monday, 4 November 2013: Grateful for technology, which among other things enables me to communicate with my loved ones around the world, as if we are still sitting together.
|[this pic is actually from when I was in HI, but the concept is the same]|
Sunday, 3 November 2013: Yesterday I felt especially thankful for prayer, and also for fasting. I was reading a talk entitled "Blessings of a Proper Fast" in the afternoon and the author wrote this: "Fasting can help us overcome personal flaws and sins. It can help us overcome our weaknesses—help them become strengths. Fasting can help us become more humble, less prideful, less selfish, and more concerned about the needs of others. It can help us see more clearly our own mistakes and weaknesses and help us be less prone to criticize others."
Friday, 1 November 2013: On Friday I was grateful for pumpkin cookies, and my achievement day teacher who taught us how to make them and gave me the recipe when I was eight years old. They've been blessing my life and keeping me happy (and chubby :) ever since.