My Recent Vacation: Colorado Springs

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I recently went on vacation. I went to Colorado Springs to visit some friends. It was an absolutely wonderful trip. We slept in, enjoyed great food and drinks, and simply relaxed. I did not realize how much I needed a vacation until we got there.

The weather was warm your heart perfect fall weather. In Kansas, we don’t really get to experience fall. It lasts about four days to a week. Then, all the leaves fall, things turn brown, and winter sticks around for about five months. In Kansas, the only seasons we experience to their full extreme are summer and winter.

All this to say, though, it was a rarity for the trees to not change yet in Colorado Springs. The fall weather lingered longer than usual. I praise God He allowed us to see such beauty. Not only was the fall weather wonderful, so were the mountains. Kansas is the home of flatlands, so it is always a treat to see the mountains.

We did not hike the mountains or anything of that sort. However, we did hike the Red Rocks. We got a little lost along the way, but it made the experience that much sweeter. Plus, it was an added bonus to see beautiful scenery along the way.

Nearly everywhere we went, I took photos. I wanted to relish the moment, but also not forget it either. This was the first time since being married that I’ve stayed in one city for more than three days while on vacation. We went to two different places for our honeymoon and only took weekend trips until our vacation to Colorado Springs.

Needless to say, it was quite the experience to embrace a city or town for all it had to offer. The more time we spent there the more I enjoyed the area. It simply felt like a place I could call home if God ever led us there.

Not only did we experience Colorado Springs, but we also visited neighboring towns. We spent part of an afternoon in Manitou Springs. We went to a few shops and I even got myself a Colorado shirt! I figured after three different times in the state, I should get one.

My husband has family in the Denver area, so I even got to experience all that IKEA has to offer. Let me tell you…wow! That store sure can be exhausting. Yet, it is filled with limitless possibilities for design, which only made me want to have a house even more.

Unfortunately, we did not purchase anything, which probably would have made the time a bit more complete. Oh, well, we’ll just have to visit the location nearest us in Kansas City later.

Aside from seeing our friends, my favorite part of the trip was being able to tour the Olympic Training Center. As I’ve previously mentioned, one of my life goals is to attend a summer Olympics.

Knowing this, one can imagine how exciting it was for me to be there. I was like a 10-year-old kid in a candy store. Everything was so exciting and truly moved me. I definitely recommend the tour for anyone near Colorado Springs. Plus, all the proceeds in the TEAM USA shop go towards the athletes preparing for the games.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. I could not have asked for a better vacation. It was such a blessing to see dear friends and share in fellowship with them. Without a doubt, we will go back again one day. I hope you enjoyed seeing the photos, too! Although, they do no justice for the captivating beauty of Colorado. Anyone who has ever been there will agree. Trust me.

I close with this: Each time I go to Colorado, I am reminded yet again why it is a frequent vacation spot for many Kansans. If you haven’t been there, go. See the mountains. See the leaves change color. Relish in the masterpiece that is God’s handiwork in the land. Go. Wander. Enjoy. Welcome to Colorful Colorado.

Blessings,

Renata

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Emotions: Hurting Alongside Others

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More often than not, what I publish isn’t always the first idea or draft that comes to mind. I had a different post I wanted to discuss, but I decided the idea could wait another week or two. Much of what I write details about my life, which means the topics closely resonate with what’s going on at the moment.

With that, I must tell you, I learn something new about marriage every day. I learn what it truly means to love someone else more than yourself. I learn what it truly means to put someone else first. I learn what it truly means to be one with another human being.

As I have previously mentioned, my husband recently had his gallbladder taken out. Although the main hurts and pains are gone with his organ, the lack thereof his gallbladder can still cause trouble. Looking back now, I don’t think that was something either of us truly understood. We knew he would have to watch what he ate. Yet, we did not know to what extent his body would respond if it acted up, regardless of how well he cared for himself.

This past week, I went on vacation. During part of it, my husband’s stomach acted up and caused some problems. His stomach problems often come sporadically. They can last a few hours or they can last a few days. While on vacation, they lasted nearly two full days.

Let me tell you, nothing breaks my heart more than to see my husband in pain and knowing I can’t do anything about it. When his stomach acts up, only time, sleep, and limited amounts of food help.

It can be scary to trust that God will take care of him. But, I do. I trust that He will. But, trusting God will care for my husband does not take away the sadness. When my husband’s stomach acts up, he is sad and sluggish. He simply isn’t himself.

It’s hard for me to not be sad when he is sad. It’s crazy how God continually intertwines our lives. I’ve learned that being one with my husband can sometimes mean simply being present with his emotions right alongside him.

It means crying simply because seeing him in pain can be unbearable. It means taming my emotions, if I have had a good day and he has not. It means constantly reminding him he is not alone.

In this moment, I am sad and my heart breaks for my husband to be relieved of his pain. In this moment, my heart cries out that God may heal him and give him rest. In this moment, I am grateful for emotions, no matter how messy they may be at times.

I praise God I have a lifelong companion who will laugh, hurt, and cry alongside me. I praise God we are not meant to live this life alone. I praise God for my husband and the wonderful gift of marriage. Most importantly, I praise God for any and all future lessons He will teach me through my husband and our holy union.

I leave you with this: If you are like me and deeply hurt and feel right alongside others in their greatest need, do not be ashamed. It may be confusing and embarrassing at times, but do not be ashamed. It is in every situation filled with laughter or tears we learn why community matters, why human relationships matter.

I challenge you: If you ever need to just cry, do it. If someone you care about simply needs you to sit and not say a word, then sit. If someone you care about needs a hug or shoulder to cry on, let your shirt get salty with tears.

And for those of you who share in the wonderful gift of marriage, continually strive to be one with your spouse—in every intricate way. Let God mold you and shape you as one. Pray that He may teach you more about Himself and yourselves through each other.

Blessings,

Renata

My Stuffed Dog: Inspiring Imagination

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This may sound extremely cheesy and dumb, but my husband and I have a stuffed dog. His name is Moe and we treat him like family. We got him to help with my depression and overall dog fever since we are not at a place in our lives to own a dog.

When we first got Moe, my sister somewhat looked at us weird. So, I thought she didn’t like Moe. However, the next time we saw her, she asked where Moe was. She cared about him simply by the way we treated him. She saw, yes, he may have been a stuffed dog—but he was family nonetheless.

As cheesy as it sounds to have said stuffed animal, I think there is something to be said about learning to love and care even the silliest parts of life. The way we love and care for Moe is the same way little girls love their dolls. They carry them around everywhere they go. They comfort them, feed them, and love them. The dolls are a representation of the real-life possibly of being a mother one day.

I think society is so fixed on trying to make sure everything is real and tangible without leaving a possibility for imagination and playfulness. It seems as if there is a moment when being playful is only reserved for when children are around. Looking at my own life, I can see some tendencies of not wanting to be silly or a child at heart, and that’s not healthy.

There is a time for the carefree joy and laughter that comes with being a child without responsibilities. There is a time to let oneself remember the reality of owning a dog can live inside of a stuffed pet that will never respond or love you back. There is a time to shatter society’s stigma that there is no time for free, imaginative fun in adulthood.

Having a stuffed animal and treating it like family may be odd to some but Moe has sure helped with my depression and dog fever. Moe has helped soften my desire to have a real-life dog. He has helped me show my sister what family is. He has helped me learn the power of loving something or someone that may never love you back. He has helped me see that loving simply to love with no other intentions is healthy, honest, and good.

I leave you with this: If you have a childhood stuffed pet or even eyed one as an adult that you must have, get it. Remind yourself what it is like to be an innocent child who loves without any preconceived notions or intentions. Remind yourself what it is like to live with an unstoppable imagination. Most of all, do not be ashamed if you consider it family. After all, you may never know who may truly begin to see family can come in many shapes, forms, and sizes.

Blessings,

Renata

Loving Difficult People: Heart Attitude

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I’ve wanted to write about a certain topic and life lesson God taught me for quite a while now. However, I haven’t for so long because I thought I needed to read a book I saw in Barnes and Noble to reiterate what I’ve learned from my life experiences.

Then, I recently realized, if I still want to write about this months later, I don’t need a psychology book to back me up. The reason why I wanted to write about it in the first place was because of my life. Nothing else. All this to say, I am not holding back anymore.

In the past year, God has taught me the power of loving people for who they are and where they are in life. He has taught me the power of being at peace with the difficult people in your life. I mean to say, the people you may have trouble loving with a Godly love because of something they may have said or done to hurt you, or simply because your personalities don’t mesh well.

I know the description of people may sound harsh and cold, but it is true. We all have people in our lives we wish could be different. People who we wish could love us more or love us differently. Or people we wish would see that what they say or do is hurtful. Or people we wish would shower us with the same grace we shower them.

It is inevitable in this world because we are all fallible, sinful human beings. If we loved everyone with a deep love instantly, without any form of negative feelings, we wouldn’t need God.

Knowing God does not make loving difficult people easier. It does not make all the difficult people in our lives bearable. Knowing God causes our hearts to change, not the people whom we want to change. I realized the only way I was going to love the difficult in my life for who they are is to change my heart attitude towards them.

Ultimately, a dislike or love of an individual lies in the heart. Everything about us flows from our heart—whether it is a heart that knows Jesus Christ personally or not. No one else is to blame. Yes, difficult people will probably always remain difficult. It is our attitude towards them that can change.

Changing one’s heart attitude does not mean completing letting go of all the reasons why the person may be difficult. It means realizes you cannot change him or her, only God and His mighty work and power can. Only God can create a new heart in someone. Only God can ultimately cause someone’s heart to be so moved that he or she wants to take the lifelong journey of striving to be more like Him.

Difficult people will inevitably be extra difficult if we believe they will change or if we walk into a situation with unreachable expectations. Loving difficult people means walking into a situation with them with honest eyes and ears. Sometimes, learning to love the difficult people in our lives means accepting they may always be that way and that praying for them to change will only make the root problem worse.

My call to you is simple: Love with an honest love. Love from a distance, if you must. Love people for who they are, not whom you want him or her to be. Pray that God may renew your heart and help you see those difficult people in your life as God sees them.

Trust me, you will begin to feel a sense of peace you have never felt or known in this regard. You will begin to understand that changing people is out of your control, but allowing God to change your heart is not.

Blessings,

Renata