Gratitude and Tea

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Last weekend I took a little trip across the border to Oman with some friends from work. To be honest, I was actually dreading it. It had been such a busy week ,I just couldn’t get my head around leaving the country and spending the weekend away from the comfort of my home, but…I’m so glad I went!

As I woke to the sun rising, I stretched and smiled… a night of sleeping on the beach, under the stars, snuggled under blankets, feeling the ocean breeze whip around me. Bliss. After breakfast we eased our way into the cold water and braved a morning swim. As I floated in the clear, cold water, looking about, it hit me…I am in OMAN, swimming in the ARABIAN SEA! How in the world had I, a little country girl from Australia, ended up living this life?! It was a life I had always wanted: travel, adventure, new friends, challenging job. Yet it was a life I never thought I would have.

My primary school teacher had told my parents that I was a nice friendly girl, but that I wouldn’t amount to much. Maybe he was right, I probably shouldn’t have amounted to much. I didn’t come from a wealthy family, I came from a broken family with alcoholic parents and a house that held lots of anger, fear and resentments. But I have also belonged to another family, a heavenly family with a heavenly Father. A Heavenly Father that loves, protects, defends, guides, blesses, cares for and calls me out of darkness and into light.

As our journey through Oman continued, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude. Tears kept filling my eyes (behind my sun glasses, thank goodness) as I thought about all the wonderful things that have taken place in my life over the last 12 months. A few days later, I was sitting at a dinner table with friends (new friends, but friends I feel as if I’ve always known). We were drinking tea, playing music and complaining about the taste of Stevia and the same thing happened- it hit me. An overwhelming joy and gratitude for life, all of it! The joy, the pain, the disappointment, the rejection, the uncertainty, the anger, the fun, the adventure, the laughter and the people. The people that shape us, challenge us and add a rich blessing to our lives.

As I survey my life, I look about my family and marvel! We survived the trials and we are succeeding. There is great love and affection and a fierce loyalty among us. I have an amazing Mum who fought for consistency, diligently took us to church and taught us Godly values even in the midst of chaos. I have siblings that I love and whom inspire me. I have a Dad and extended family that are resilient, caring and always put family first. I have friends that love me just as I am and make me want to be a better person…What the world said was ordinary and destined to fail, God has turned for good.
You never know when the next answer to prayer is just around the corner. So no matter where you are, what challenge you are facing or what success you just achieved, don’t forget to stop, have a cup of tea and be grateful. It might just be the re-focus you need.

Love
Amy xo

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Who else tries on their outfits before they pack them?!
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Oman, what a view!! ❤

The view

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I’m sitting in my lounge staring out the large windows over a new skyline that represents my new life. Everything is white and beige and the city stands tall, proud and oddly shaped. From my room I can hear the call to prayer (Adhan) that rings out across the city four times a day and I can see a river that runs out to the ocean. There are also trees, lots of trees! To be honest the trees have surprised me the most, who knew the desert could be so green?
I’m in Abu Dhabi. Capital of the United Arab Emirates, it is a young nation of only 43 years (as of the 2nd of December 2014). Before its formation it was just 7 tribes, brought together by Sheikh Zayed. Him and his family are much loved here, and to be honest I can see why! In just 43 years he has made a young nation into a global talking point. He has invested heavily in health, education and infrastructure and with that has come a burst in expats and business unlike anywhere else. In just 43 years it has gone from a primitive society, to a cutting edge technology driven one. It’s a change western society has taken lifetimes to develop and cultivate. I’m not sure why exactly I’m in this crazy, beautiful place, but I feel that I was made for such a time as this!!

I’m coming to the end of my third week and boy has time flown!!! The weather is beautiful (clear, sunny days with a slight breeze) and things have gone very smoothly for me. I am making some beautiful friends at both work and church, and I’m loving hearing so many accents and learning about so many different cultures. There is lots to learn and navigate with work but I’m just excited to be part of such a ground breaking venture in health care in the UAE.

I feel peaceful, I feel blessed, I feel settled. I’m not feeling home sick yet but sometimes just missing the depth of friendship and seeing people regularly. In the quiet times though, I’m remembering I’m never alone. Jesus goes before me, stands with me, cheers me on and leads me through.

Off to a Thanksgiving dinner party tomorrow!

Much Love
Amy x

 

A few photos from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque…Imagine what Heaven will be like!!!

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