Hobbies and Health?

Uncategorized

Opposites. My little sister and me. I’m three years older and yet I’m much shorter. She’s dark haired and olive complected, I’m fair and freckled.

I adore Tex-Mex food, she hates it. (What?! Are we really related?)

Our hobbies unite us. Okay, we’re sisters and we love each other to death. But we have a blast with our common interests and sometimes learn from each other’s hobbies.

Sisters

Sisters

For example, she is an avid coin collector. She has an insane knowledge of coins and history of coins.

At first I thought: Snoozeville… But I enjoy history and she’s teaching me a thing or two. Plus I like her passion.

What relaxes or energizes you? Designing, watersports, reading, playing, cooking, organizing, skating, or knitting, perhaps?

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Hobbies are crucial to our health, wellness, and overall well-being. If you think you don’t have time for a hobby, then you probably REALLY need to get some. Just sayin.

Here’s an article from our Facebook page with more on hobbies from stress.about.com: Importance of Hobbies for Stress Relief.

Hobbies are FUN! We spent a relaxing Friday night coloring while watching the recorded GOP debate. Partaay. Now that is how an introvert likes to spend her Friday night!

ICYMI: Repost from WholeRai.com 2015

cat image source: pinterest.com

Hope Remains no matter who is President

Uncategorized

“The Church should never panic.”

I’m gonna add to Brian’s words and say that no matter what happens on Election Day or debate nights, Jesus is King.

Jesus is seated on His throne and His kingdom will reign forever.

Meanwhile, here on the ground in the US, I pray that we keep our perspective.

Use our voice as voters. Make intelligent choices. Pray for our leaders, whether we like them or not.

Brian Haynes

Last night at Bay Area Church we gathered for an amazing time of prayer for our Nation. It had little to do with politics and everything to do with the glory of Christ. On November 8, everything in America will change, like it or not,  but the LORD never changes. Hope remains brothers and sisters. Take 20 minutes to hear the Word of God applied to such a crucial time in the life of our Nation.

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Jesus in a corner

Christianity, Christmas, Uncategorized

Sometimes we put Jesus in a corner. Or an attic.

I find myself doing that sometimes, literally and figuratively. I was ALL happy with myself three days after Christmas when I took all the decor down and put almost all of it in boxes.

Since I’ve de-glittered the house, and still had packed up boxes of Christmas decor out in view, I’ve thought about how we treat Jesus sometimes.

I packed up my nativity scene from the dining table and had Baby Jesus tucked safely in styrofoam. You could still see him because I didn’t put away the styrofoam completely in the box for a while.

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I’m missing a piece, but I don’t think anyone noticed this Christmas. The most important Person was in the scene….Jesus.

After I procrastinated a couple of weeks, I taped up the tired Christmas tree box and put it all the way in the back of the attic. We won’t need it for 11 months, and I wanted it out of the way.

I wonder how often we do this with Jesus in our lives. We have seasons and times that we give Him the spotlight. He’s the focus, the reason, our everything. We may give Him full and complete access to every part of our hearts and lives.

Little by little, though, sometimes we put him in a corner. Subtly.

It doesn’t happen on purpose. At first.

But when we begin to struggle with anger, or disappointment, or hurt, we may shun Jesus a little because we don’t want to forgive. Or we don’t want to face our part and change. Or we want justice, and that feels right.

Jesus may be put into a corner because we begin to get busy. It is, after all, a new year. New goals, health focus, workouts, check my social media feed, work, sports, kids activities, hobbies, gotta check my phone again.

Distractions. Not on purpose, but it happens sometimes.

Sometimes giving Jesus full access to our hearts feels scary. Paradoxically. Because there’s no one more trustworthy than the One who crafted and created us. He knows the deepest parts of us, every longing and worst thought, yet lavishly loves us.

Intentionality. If you and I want to keep Jesus front and center in our lives, it will take the choice to be intentional. Carving out time to be with Him. Choosing to focus my thoughts on Him during my everyday tasks.

Brother Lawrence in Practice of the Presence of God explains this much better that I can. It’s a short and sweet, very practical read.

Will you and I put Jesus in a corner, or way back in the recesses of our heart’s “attic”?

May we people who seek Him with our whole hearts, forsaking other stuff that doesn’t really matter. May we be people who REST and soak in His presence.

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I know I was thinking this the whole time. How about you?

A day at the beach

Parenting, Uncategorized

 

She is bold. She’s confident. She’s everything and so much more than I’d dreamed she’d be at her age.

I had big dreams. Dreams for her that she wouldn’t be like me, and that she would be like me.

That she would learn to love. Love herself and keep her heart open.

She laughs without hesitation. She loudly gives her opinions. She’s not a wallflower.

I am happy and I am sad. I’m not losing her but I’m losing her.

This is what she’s supposed to do.

Learn from me, learn from her dad, then spread her wings and fly.

Why, then, do I suddenly feel so sad? The emotion came out of nowhere like a tidal wave.

Like a sunny day at the beach, we are frolicking and laughing, then a thunderstorm came without warning.

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Tears welled up but got stuck and stayed in my throat.

I want to stay playing in the sun forever, enjoying the beautiful day.

But reality beckons me, at the corners of my mind it calls me to the light rain that’s beginning to fall.

It’s all going to be ok, I tell myself, as I open my umbrella and walk into the soft sand.

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Have you ever wanted to freeze a moment in time?

Maybe not just a moment, but a sweet season.

Our youngest is going away to college soon. I found myself declaring today how happy I am for her. A little too emphatically, and I realized that I’m really trying to convince myself that I’m not sad. But I am. I’ll miss her so much.

But today, I am thrilled with helping her with a school project. I happily listen to her voice as she does homework with a friend in the kitchen.

These are the moments life is made of.

 

Christine

 

Strabismus surgery

God, Uncategorized

I’m having eye surgery tomorrow. So what, you ask?

  1. Please pray for me and for my surgeon for a successful outcome.
  2. This is an opportunity for me to be a voice for the goodness of God, even when circumstances aren’t so good.

For 3-4 years now, my vision has been impaired. Often times I cannot drive or do my regular activities because of it. Even so, I believe NOW, more than ever, that God is faithful and good.

One year ago, my eye doctor said that the impaired eye muscle was inoperable. This spring it has healed to an operable state, and I’m a good candidate for the strabismus surgery that I’m having tomorrow.

Did you catch that? God, in his infinite wisdom, has answered my prayer for healing. From inoperable to operable.

What are you praying for and waiting for God to answer?

Will you trust in His goodness if He doesn’t answer the way that you are asking?

Whether my vision is impaired or not, God is seated on His throne.

Whether my vision is impaired or not, He is loving and merciful.

Realistically, I shouldn’t even be alive, much less having a full and incredible life with people I love and an annoying vision/migraine problem.

Yet here I am.

Photo on 3-30-16 at 9.21 AM

Here I am, alive, in spite of destructive choices, addictions, in spite of trying to kill myself when I was young, and years of depression.

All because of Jesus and His mercy to save me and free me.

I’m praying that the strabismus procedure will be successful and that I can ditch the glasses for good.

But even if not, I will still praise and worship the great God who loves me and gave His life so that I could be saved and free.

Not problem free, but free from bondage. We may never be problem free.

If your circumstances don’t ever line up the way that you desire, do you believe that you can have the abundant life that Jesus offers us?

 

If you’ve ever been broken: Kintsugi

suffering, Uncategorized

Are you broken? Suffering, hurting? Going through a trial and wondering how it could all work out okay? If you feel that your situation may be beyond repair, then consider kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art of mending broken pottery:

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The 400+ year old Japanese art of kintsugi (golden repair) or kintsukuroi (golden joinery) is a pottery repair method that honors the artifact’s unique history by emphasizing, not hiding, the break.

An art form born from mottainai – the feeling of regret when something is wasted – the cracks are seamed with lacquer resin and powdered gold, silver, or platinum, and often reference natural forms like waterfalls, rivers, or landscapes.

This method transforms the artifact into something new, making it more rare, beautiful, and storied than the original. source

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Wood-fired broken bowl

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Wood-fired bowl restored with gold

source

I am broken. Yet God has put me back together and mended the broken spots.

If someone were to look at my life before I surrendered my life to Jesus, they would have simply seen broken shards, like pottery in the picture above.

You would assume that these broken pieces were useless, and not fit for repair. You would throw them out, without further thought, and even be responsible in doing so.

Some pieces of my life were thoughtlessly or maliciously broken by others. There was rejection, abuse, and degradation.

Some of the fractures were caused by my own doing. Self-harm, bad choices, self-loathing, and destruction.

No matter how many tiny pieces of shattered fragments were scattered along my life’s path, God has filled in the missing places with His healing resin, His presence and peace.

Even now, there are hurting places that don’t make sense to me. I am sure, because of the kintsugi type of work that God has done before, that it will result in something more precious, even though I cannot yet see it.

You may feel beyond repair, but you have a Great Potter, God, who says that you are surely not, and your pain will not be wasted.

If you and I submit our hearts to God, He will restore and mend our broken places. He will ensure that our suffering has a purpose and our lives will be a beautiful display.

Will you allow God to come in to those broken places? Like kintsugi, your life and story is even more beautiful and has more value when it has been restored.

Kintsugi is a process. At first, it simply looks like what it is, broken pieces glued back together. It must be refilled with resin and sanded several times before it’s ready for the gold dust to illuminate and beautify the scars.

When we allow Jesus’ presence and peace to come into our broken places, He will redeem them and our lives will gleam with the gold of His healing touch. Our pain need not be wasted.

Just ask Him to come in, and He will.

 

Christine

 

 

 

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29

Isaiah 64 says:

Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

Read all of Isaiah 64 here

 

 

Women of the wailing wall

God, Uncategorized

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We are all different, from several generations.We are the women of the wailing wall.

We are rich and we are poor. Worn hand-me-downs and crisp new trends. Some young and vibrant, some with weathered skin and silver hair, like me.

Although we are diverse in every way, we come in solidarity for one purpose.

To seek answers from G-d.

Purposefully I stride, in my trousers, with large handbag in tow. I pause to grab Torah, the very words of G-d, and slow down as I approach the wall.

Old and feeble, but strong in prayer, beseeching for my granddaughter.

She breaks my daughter’s heart as she is lost and tries to find herself.

I weep, sobbing softly for my daughter’s pain, and cry out for my granddaughter to change her course

To come back to the place that she knows is true.

My heart bows low in reverence though my posture remains standing.

My hands shake as they always do. I gently roll up the message that I’ve scrawled out with my request, tenderly and firmly sticking it into a crevice in the wall.

My lips move as I pray and silent tears fall. My cares and anxious thoughts of the day seem to fall to the ground with each tear.

I look up in thanks. Thankful to the One who hears. The One who sees. The One who cares. I bow my head and smile, then gently walk out backwards.

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Post Script: I wrote this in July when visiting Israel and going to the Western Wall. I was struck by the variety of women that I saw.

Eastern and Western worldviews, from every socioeconomic group and age. Yet many seemed so earnest in their pursuit of an answer from God.

I was struck by the thought of each woman as an individual; each woman had a story, a prayer that they earnestly prayed and wrote, putting the prayer requests into the wall’s nooks and crannies.

I saw many women crying. Some quietly and reverently, some alone, and some with friends or loved ones. I imagined a woman, weeping with expectant hope that God would answer her fervent prayers for her granddaughter.

She is the woman I wrote about.

Christine

Living Out The Journey of Your Calling

Christianity, mission, Uncategorized

Do you feel like your life’s calling is a mystical thing?

Maybe it’s a very simple, practical thing that we can all do, every day, no matter where we are on the globe.

God calls us to Himself. The rest is geography.

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Keeping it simple and practical.

Be with Jesus.

Know him.

Love him.

Allow yourself to BE loved by him.

When those things happen, we will be compelled to evangelism, and to service.

But first we must BE with Christ. Geography will be less of an issue.

I’m convinced that there’s not a wrong answer of geography when we’re truly abiding in Christ.

This watercolor was inspired by this video on Calling by Propel Women.

Living Out The Journey of My Calling

Whole Rai

Uncategorized

Recently I served dinner and just before I sat down, as usual, I grabbed my phone to snap a quick picture. There were a couple of groans letting me know that my husband and daughter weren’t exactly thrilled that I was holding them up from chowing down because I thought that the food “looked so beautiful”. Herschel told me I need to start a blog for all of my food pictures, so I did! It’s about much more than food. It’s about Whole Life, or whole living. Our body, mind, and spirit. Come check it out at wholerai.com

Whole Rai

Do you need a miracle in your life?

Uncategorized

DON’T GIVE UP.

Does your marriage look hopeless? Does your wayward child or addict relative seem like they won’t come back? Are you depressed or anxious and have battled it for years? Keep on praying and persevere. Joey and Lauren are living proof that God is still at work doing miracles. Just last year I posted this video from our friend Brian Haynes’ church. It encouraged me in a dark time when I was feeling very down about my own circumstances.

Over the last couple of weeks, I went with my husband and two kids to Israel. Guess who was on the trip, too? That’s right, Joey and Lauren. It took me a day or two of trying to figure out where I knew them from, and it was this video! If you are contemplating divorce, take heart, God can work in the hardest of hearts. Just ask Joey and Lauren.

Joey and Lauren seated together on the right

Joey and Lauren seated together on the right

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If you need a miracle, I hope that you’ll be encouraged like I am by Joey and Lauren’s story. It’s not just a story, it’s a reality that I had the joy of seeing lived out in front of me for two weeks as I hiked with them and twenty-something others in Israel. They are real, authentic people who are in the process of loving God and loving each other. It is beautiful and a joy to see!

This is the repost:

Today’s text from our friend Brian Haynes will speak for itself: God moments happen all around us all of the time. I love that God is constantly at work in people, in marriages, and in churches. If you need hope for your life, your family, your marriage or your church, take 6 minutes to watch this short documentary. It is a God story.