Tag Archives: joy

Surprise Trip Home!

We wanted to share in our joy that was a surprise visit back to the states.  We returned to Oregon after 22 months of our Peace Corps service, and our family wasn’t expecting us to return until our service was fully completed. Mamma Nilsen and Andrew have birthdays one week apart, so while our official reason to take a short trip home was to take the GRE, we couldn’t pass up surprising family in the process. What fun!

**It totally sounds like Andrew says he’s turning 20. It was actually his 28th birthday. He might have been excited.  😉

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Surprise! ¡Feliz Cumpleaños!

E's surprise bday party

Andrew told me that he checked with my counterparts and they were too swamped with work to attend/host a birthday party for me this past week.  (It is the end of the school year, after all, so I TOTALLY understood.)   Instead we planned to go out to dinner. Before dinner though, we had to stop and pick something up from Regina’s house. We walked through the door into the dark room and I was greeted to a giant “Surprise!” Our counterparts, some community friends, and a few of my favorite students had planned a party all along, complete with dancing, a “Frozen” piñata (Elsa, of course, because they all think I look like her), delicious food, and my 4th cake of the day!  Happy, happy day!  Joy and gratitude abound.

On Jack-o’-Lanterns and History: Cultural Exchange Chasing Away the Darkness

November 2015 Guidepost to Wholehearted Living
Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

–Max Ehrmann, from Desiderata (1924)

As Emily mentioned in her last post on chikungunya, we’ve had a bit of a rough spell these last two months.  We’ve had some great successes and high moments (among them a great site visit and class observation from our Peace Corps boss, facilitating trainings for trainees and Estelí teachers, and seeing tangible counterpart improvement), but we couldn’t quite shake these dark feelings that’d creep up on us during our down time.

This Saturday, Halloween, was a good example.  Despite a wonderful Friday spending the morning with our community of practice, eating lunch with four trainees from Nica 66 who will be in our region, and chatting away the afternoon catching up with multiple Nicaraguan friends, our joy from the day before evaporated and we found ourselves stuck, focusing on what we were lacking: pumpkin carving with family, pumpkin patching with friends, the comfort of tradition.

We ended the day with a plan of action to make the most out of our Sunday.  We’d reach out to relationships we are cultivating here, bring our traditions to Nicaragua, and snuggle with some babies in the process 🙂 Continue reading On Jack-o’-Lanterns and History: Cultural Exchange Chasing Away the Darkness

November Guidepost

Guidepost to Wholehearted Living – November 2015
Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark  

Our thoughts on this Guidepost:
On Jack-o’-Lanterns and History: Cultural Exchange Chasing Away the Darkness

We invite you to join the conversation:
+ How do you remind yourself to be appreciative and joyful?
+ What fears keep you from experiencing joy and gratitude?