Roman Wind

Good morning! In my Facebook memory feed the other day was a reminder that it’s been five years since I was in Italy with a friend. I looked back on some of my writing and memories from that trip, and thought I would re-share an original post from here, called Roman Wind. Enjoy my little journey through Rome and what it taught me that day! (and boy does it make me want to pack up my little family and explore Europe!)

Bike, Rome, Italy

There’s this picture that I have framed at home that reminds me of a special day. A moment in time I will never forget. It’s a portion of a bike, the one you see to the left. Let me take you to that day …

I visited Rome, Italy with a friend last fall. We had six days filled with pizza, pictures, and people in masses. It. Was. Delightful!  On the final day my friend and I decided to go our separate ways for a few hours. I had been doing some research on Trip Advisor that week and REALLY wanted to rent a scooter. Hello Audrey Hepburn. I had envisioned a scarf-adorned up-do with large sunglasses and an ice cream cone in hand whilst whipping through Roman traffic. Well, not really. But the thought of driving a scooter in Rome sure appealed to me! Everything I read online however cautioned against Rome traffic with eager foreigners and I ultimately opted for safety over adventure.

Feeling a little bummed, I received a text from a friend in London about it all. He said the most brilliant thing that set me free to do what I pleased that final day. He said, “As long as you remember some things are coolest because Lani found them at 4:58pm with her own wind.”

It may not have been a scooter, but it did have two wheels, a basket and a dingling bell that made me smile! So, for several hours on that sunny Friday I was the happiest girl on a bicycle meandering Rome’s cobbled alleys as I passed pizzerias and leather shops.  I nearly hit several people in my glee-ish state, but I didn’t even care.  Scusi.

After I risked my life winding through some traffic, I decided I’d better stay on the quiet and narrow streets of Rome! During my bike escapade I stopped in Piazza Navona . This square of artists and musicians is surrounded by restaurants and the waiters stand outside, charming and beckoning you to enjoy their services. Cappuccino per favore.

I leaned my bike up to the restaurant while he steamed me a delicious beverage, and then took this photo. Coffee break, I call it.

I sat by the fountain outside the restaurant sipping my latte and enjoyed the live music. I was soon on my way towards the river, as that was my destination. After bartering for two purses with a persistent man on the bridge and nearly being attacked to purchase said purses, I turned around towards “home”.

On my way back to the bike rental place, I stopped in a leather shop and bought a purse. I was excited and savoured the Italian leather smell. About 20 minutes later, I stopped at a cash machine to get more Euro and as I reached into my backpack, my heart stopped. My camera was gone. My first thought, rationally lacking in rational, was that it had been stolen blind off my back. I kicked myself mentally and started saying “Jesus. Jesus. NO! My camera. Jesus.”  Glee was gone. My camera and the whole week of memories were ruined.

As I walked (yes, walked) my bike past the crowds surrounding the Pantheon, people stared. Mascara running in streams down my face no doubt. I returned the bike, paid my 10 euro reluctantly, and found my friend. As I talked through with her when I last used my camera, I remembered the leather shop and thought maybe, just maybe I had left it there.  To me it was a miracle, because half an hour later we retraced my sobbing steps back to the leather shop, and lo and behold there was a relieved sales lady holding my camera.  How we ever found our way back there is beyond me. Thankful for honest Italians, we hit up an espresso bar and ate some chocolate. As you do😉

I had found a piece of my own wind on the bike that day. I nearly lost my wind on the bike that day. And I believe God led me right back to where I needed Him to … on that day.

That day two wheels and a map of Rome, with no specific plan, will stick with me always.

You know, I think God sets in each of our hearts little things just like that. That makes us smile. It’s like a little gift meant just for us.

Psalm 139 talks all about how He has intricately woven our hearts, and knows our every thought.  He says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are deeply known and created with such love and intent, that I think it’s a shame if we live our lives with the wind knocked out of us.

That bike picture will always be a reminder to follow my heart and of my God that sees much more than my eyes can see.

Whether it’s meandering happily on a bike, or something else that you need to find that makes you smile like it does for no one else, then do it! Try new things. Because I believe that even along the way, God is with us in that pursuit and makes it so memorable.

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Pursuit that won’t let go

From now until Christmas I am offering copies of my book for $10 – all proceeds going directly to Home of Hope, Rwanda. Here is another chapter from my book, Bright Red Trousers.

Chapter 16: Pursuit That Won’t Let Go

She looks into her bedroom mirror one last time, dabs the sweet perfume carefully behind her ears and smiles. Perfect. Well, as perfect as it’ll get. Her flawless complexion and tight brunette ringlets would leave any man weak in the knees. But she still tries endlessly. It never hurts. Even though he’s shown her his interest, his affection, his desire, she still tries to make him pursue. Am I lovely to him?

His wire-framed glasses slip down his broad nose for the fifth time since class started. It’s been three minutes. He is staring intently at the synopsis of their next assigned piece of literature, but not digesting what is printed on the cover. He smells the book. Ah. It reeks of adventure and knowledge. The teacher does roll call as per usual. English 30 begins and he has high hopes that this will be the class when Mrs. Reinhard notices his hand and acknowledges that this “nerd”, as the others have dubbed him, may just have some answers. That maybe behind the poor hygiene and second-hand clothing, lies a genius. Perhaps she will ask for his input. Or perhaps, once again, she will choose a student that “appears” brighter. Maybe next time. Maybe next class she’ll see I have something to say.

I am sipping my coffee, waiting for my flight home. My eyes stop on a red-haired boy that looks about 5-years-old, fervently trying to get his father’s attention. “Daddy, Daddy! Daddy! Did you know….Daddy, Daddy!” He crawls around on his seat like he has ants in his pants. “Daddy, Daddy?”  His father, looking everywhere but his son’s eyes, seems to be intent on NOT focusing on his child. Why? I ask myself as I watch this family affair unfold. You’d be blind not to notice that this boy craves his dad’s attention more than anything else. More than the latest Cars toy. More than the red gummies laced with sugar. He is pursuing his daddy’s attention – and not winning.

As humans, it’s in our nature to pursue, chase and desire. Or want the same. We pursue acknowledgement from our boss, the admiration of the girl next door, our parents’ approval, or the fast food we just have to have at 10 o’clock at night. Every day we are after SOMETHING.

The dictionary definition of pursue means to overtake, capture, to follow close upon, to strive to gain or to continue.

Genesis says we were created in God’s image. Man and woman. If God created us like Himself, and if pursuit is in our nature, then why wouldn’t He have that same trait as well?

A line in my devotional has never left me:  Jesus still pursues people.

He passionately engages with His creation.  He came to rub shoulders with us when He could’ve stayed on His throne. He came to dip bread, laugh by the sea and be a carpenter for the first 30 years of His life, so that He could know and save you.

The moment I woke up this morning He was anxiously awaiting my first words, hoping they’d be to Him. He waits with the excitement of a child at Christmas time, or so my imagination leads me to believe, for us to drop a knee and worship him – be it five or sixty minutes of our day.

With pursuit, comes some form of love. Or what will eventually lead to love. Correct? We don’t pursue things we don’t naturally desire or like.

I’ve often pondered the thought of love – Christ’s love and how I am really supposed to love all these crazy, amazing and not-so-like-me people that surround me every day.

The Bible states that we will never be able to fully comprehend Christ’s love, though we can experience it. We can know God, but only in part – as much as we seek to know Him, really. So, on this thought of love and pursuit, what does it really all boil down to?

In Mark 10:51 Jesus is talking to blind Bartimaeus. Bart is so excited to hear Jesus call his name that he throws off his cloak and goes to Jesus.

“What can I do for you?” asks Jesus.

“Teacher, I want to see.”

That’s the question. That is what love, pursuit, and seeking anyone and anything boils down to – what can I do for you? What can I offer, give, contribute, do, help.  That is how Jesus still pursues us. To Him, it’s all about us. And the moment we stop pursuing or giving into a relationship, it dies.

He says very simply and out of complete commitment and passion for His creation, “What can I do for you?” As if dying a brutal death on the cross and going to hell weren’t enough, Jesus still asks what He can do for us.

Pursuit doesn’t give up. It doesn’t let go. It constantly asks “what can I do?”

And that is where a dream becomes powerful. What can I do to make society better? What can I do to solve this problem? How can my life make a difference?

We’re all after something. Every day. For me, sometimes first thing in the morning it’s the toilet. The coffee perk. The thermostat. The snooze button.

I think that when our dreams become the most powerful is when we realize that Jesus dreams for us to. He is still asking “what can I do for you? I want to work with you to make your dream come true!”

So maybe it’s just a matter of figuring out what kind of trousers you need to pull on, where you need to wear them, and then not letting go of them – no matter what.

There is a quote in my quote book that says “The place where God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

But just like the little boy I saw that one day in the airport, don’t give up asking. Pursue. Full heart.  Jesus will work at it with you.

Just do one thing for me? Pursue something. Desire something great. Don’t let life pass you by without pursuit.

Pursuit That Won’t Let Go

I am having the “first edition” of my book printed locally as a fundraiser for my church’s orphanage/church in Rwanda.  As you can imagine, I am super excited about this and hope loads of money is raised for the kids. Below is a chapter from my book, Bright Red Trousers.  Enjoy 🙂

She looks into her bedroom mirror one last time, dabs the sweet perfume carefully behind her ears and smiles. Perfect. Well, as perfect as it’ll get. Her flawless complexion and tight brunette ringlets would leave any man weak in the knees. But she still tries endlessly. It never hurts. Even though he’s shown her his interest, his affection, his desire, she still tries to make him pursue. Am I lovely to him?

His wire-framed glasses slip down his broad nose for the fifth time since class started. It’s been three minutes. He is staring intently at the synopsis of their next assigned piece of literature, but not digesting what is printed on the cover. He smells the book. Ah. It reeks of adventure and knowledge. The teacher does roll call as per usual. English 30 begins and he has high hopes that this will be the class when Mrs. Reinhard notices his hand and acknowledges that this “nerd”, as the others have dubbed him, may just have some answers. That maybe behind the poor hygiene and second-hand clothing, lies a genius. Perhaps she will ask for his input. Or perhaps, once again, she will choose a student that “appears” brighter. Maybe next time. Maybe next class she’ll see I have something to say.

I am sipping my coffee, waiting for my flight home. My eyes stop on a red-haired boy that looks about 5-years-old, fervently trying to get his father’s attention. “Daddy, Daddy! Daddy! Did you know….Daddy, Daddy!” He crawls around on his seat like he has ants in his pants. “Daddy, Daddy?”  His father, looking everywhere but his son’s eyes, seems to be intent on NOT focusing on his child. Why? I ask myself as I watch this family affair unfold. You’d be blind not to notice that this boy craves his dad’s attention more than anything else. More than the latest Cars toy. More than the red gummies laced with sugar. He is pursuing his daddy’s attention – and not winning.

As humans, it’s in our nature to pursue, chase and desire. Or want the same. We pursue acknowledgement from our boss, the admiration of the girl next door, our parents’ approval, or the fast food we just have to have at 10 o’clock at night. Every day we are after SOMETHING.

The dictionary definition of pursue means to overtake, capture, to follow close upon, to strive to gain or to continue.

Genesis says we were created in God’s image. Man and woman. If God created us like Himself, and if pursuit is in our nature, then why wouldn’t He have that same trait as well?

 A line in my devotional has never left me:  Jesus still pursues people.

He passionately engages with His creation.  He came to rub shoulders with us when He could’ve stayed on His throne. He came to dip bread, laugh by the sea and be a carpenter for the first 30 years of His life, so that He could know and save you.

The moment I woke up this morning He was anxiously awaiting my first words, hoping they’d be to Him. He waits with the excitement of a child at Christmas time, or so my imagination leads me to believe, for us to drop a knee and worship him – be it five or thirty minutes of our day.

With pursuit, comes some form of love. Or what will eventually lead to love. Correct? We don’t pursue things we don’t naturally desire or like.

I’ve often pondered the thought of love – Christ’s love and how I am really supposed to love all these crazy, amazing and not-so-like-me people that surround me every day.

The Bible states that we will never be able to fully comprehend Christ’s love, though we can experience it. We can know God, but only in part – as much as we seek to know Him, really. So, on this thought of love and pursuit, what does it really all boil down to?

In Mark 10:51 Jesus is talking to blind Bartimaeus. Bart is so excited to hear Jesus call his name that he throws off his cloak and goes to Jesus.

“What can I do for you?” asks Jesus.

“Teacher, I want to see.”

That’s the question. That is what love, pursuit, and seeking anyone and anything boils down to – what can I do for you? What can I offer, give, contribute, do, help.  That is how Jesus still pursues us. To Him, it’s all about us. And the moment we stop pursuing or giving into a relationship, it dies.

He says very simply and out of complete commitment and passion for His creation, “What can I do for you?” As if dying a brutal death on the cross and going to hell weren’t enough, Jesus still asks what He can do for us.

Pursuit doesn’t give up. It doesn’t let go. It constantly asks “what can I do?”

And that is where a dream becomes powerful. What can I do to make society better? What can I do to solve this problem? How can my life make a difference?

We’re all after something. Every day. For me, sometimes first thing in the morning it’s the toilet. The coffee perk. The thermostat. The snooze button.

I think that when our dreams become the most powerful is when we realize that Jesus dreams for us to. He is still asking “what can I do for you? I want to work with you to make your dream come true!”

So maybe it’s just a matter of figuring out what kind of trousers you need to pull on, where you need to wear them, and then not letting go. No matter what.

There is a quote in my quote book that says “The place where God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

But just like the little boy I saw that one day in the airport, don’t give up asking. Pursue. Full heart.  Jesus will work at it with you.

Just do one thing for me? Pursue something. Desire something great. Don’t let life pass you by without pursuit.