Ukraine & lessons learnt

DSC_0042-1

In January I, spontaneously, booked a trip to Ukraine. Normally I wouldn’t spend money on organized traveling, I prefer to go cheap and do it myself. However, this wasn’t an ordinary trip, it had the purpose of handing out food parcels and spreading some warmth among the Ukrainian Jewish communities.

We left at the end of February to Ukraine’s capital, Kiev. After a 2 hour flight we arrived and were brought to the so-called shelter. This house is literally a shelter for people who have fled the eastern part of Ukraine where a war is taking place. The next day, after visiting the atrocious mass grave Babi Yar, we were on our way to our ‘home base’ for the week in Vinnytsia, from where we would drive each day to a new destination so serve the community.DSC_0016-2

My idea of going on this trip was to bless those who were in need of love and food, yet I found myself to be the one blessed beyond I’d imagined. It was touching and inspiring to meet people who have nothing and yet are the most grateful and happiest people I have met. We were able to spread some love, give them food to endure the winter and pray with them. I never left a home without receiving love and kind words back.

Some valuable lessons were learnt that week. If all else fails, there are 2 things we need in life: 1. friends and family – a loving environment – and 2. music. Every home we entered had instruments to be played and it seems like everyone can sing. Music is a universal language and brought us altogether despite language and cultural differences. At the end of each day it was music that connected us, and we could sing all troubles away. Children would dance for us and it was like they were not aware at all of the financial struggles their parents go through, making so many efforts to put bread on the table, or that they are refugees. It were these two components, music + people, that make life worth living for when you have nothing materialistic.

Advertisements

RESOLUTIONS 2017 + how to continue

Month 6 of 2017 has arrived! How fast has this year flown by? We are midway the year and as promised in January time to reflect on my resolutions of 2017. Perhaps a good time for you as well to check how you have done and perhaps time to make some new ones?13706888_168553690232326_1928711869_n

My list consisted of 5 things that I wanted to continue with or change.

  • Travel more and more and more
  • Find myself and what I am passionate about even more
  • Go back to Finland
  • Do more things that scare me
  • Seek the Lord more

DSC_0925ea

  • travel more and more and more

It is so funny how at the beginning of 2017 I never knew where life would take me and looking back I am pleased to say that so far this resolution was successful and it will become even more successful during summer.  In January I traveled to Germany and in February + March to Ukraine. Next month I will travel to Estonia, Finland and Austria, and in August to France, yay!

cropped-13267730_10209880926399397_2207115066907917578_n.jpg

  • find myself and what I am passionate about even more

This has been quite the challenge, because I am more complex than I thought. I have been working a lot with and on myself, as to say developing and discovering who I am, parts that I feel like I need to grow in. As far as passions, this continues to be photography, yet this clashes with my perfectionism, which takes the fun part out of everything I try. I need to learn a difference exists between striving to be the best version of myself and delivering photos that are ( in my own eyes) perfect.

dsc_0432

  • Go back to Finland

As you read under the travel section, I will be going back to Finland next month! I just booked my tickets four days ago and am super excited to be seeing my friends and my favorite country! I wrote this down as a resolution but knew it was a long shot, since time and finances are always under pressure, and at that point I had just visited in November, so was there really a need? But it was a little dream of mine, which happens to come true!

14693910_179020279218096_228997769208004608_n1

  • Do more things that scare me

I am not sure whether I meant that I wanted to do things that literally scared me that bring adrenaline rush or that I meant stepping out of my comfort zone, cause I really need both to grow as a person. I enjoy getting my regular shot of adrenaline, I prefer that over stepping out of my comfort zone cause that is usually connected with a social setting. I have grown as a person and developed my personality more. I have become a volunteer for the International justice mission, and I will give lectures (yikes) to students at middle schools. Let me tell you, this is way out of my comfort zone, so taking on this challenge is considered as scary.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Seek the Lord more

This resolution was very personal, but I have definitely succeeded. I feel like I have grown closer to the Lord and gotten to know him better, as well as develop a deeper relationship. However, this is a resolution that needs to be continued because you can never not stop growing in that relationship.

How do I go from here?

Alright, the dreaded resolution will happen folks!

  • weight loss

I know right, how original. In January I didn’t need this resolution and thought it was too superficial, but 6 months later, believe me, this needs to happen! Where did I go wrong? I had a lot of moments where negative thoughts came into my brain and in order to ‘heal’ those I would eat, like a lot. At some point I became aware of this and am currently working on establishing a healthy lifestyle which means separating food from emotional well-being. If I experience negative feelings or insecurities I do not grab food to deal with those, but need to focus on the core of the problem. If you experience this as well or have tips, feel free to message or contact me!


INSTAGRAM

Love, Jess

Giving thanks

dsc_0437eaEight years ago, while living in northern Texas, I was introduced to the holiday of Thanksgiving. Unsure what it was exactly about, I was excited about the time we got off from school, and the preparations of food I was witnessing. Now, almost a decade later I am a little sad I don’t get to celebrate it, because the meaning of this festivity is so beautiful! Focusing on the good in life, the little things we are surrounded with that carry smiles to our faces. Each day should be a day were we are thankful for the life we are given and all blessings around us. Some days are difficult or too much to handle, and happiness seems to be so far away. But be aware, you are always surrounded by blessings in disguise. So today, tomorrow and next week, be thankful for little and big things. For family, friends, your pets, a glass of wine or cup of coffee. Whatever may give you a smile or makes your day brighter, stay thankful. Enjoy the company, the food and your day off.


Love, Jess • instagram

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY

whatsapp-image-2016-11-14-at-15-30-29Technically, yesterday was my birthday, but I keep my tradition of writing important mile stone posts a day later. Why? Because on the day itself it never really hits me. Same with new years, I write my new years resolution a couple of days into January, because I need time to think about what just happened. But yesterday, I gained one year of life experience, one year with 365 new clean pages to add bright colors to.  Continue reading “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY”

Happy Birthday

dsc_1099eaea

I know the birthday girl herself will not be reading this, however, she certainly deserves a special shoutout! This – not so – little one turns 5 years old today, and the years have flown by. It feels like it was just yesterday we got to take you home, you used to fit into my hand and were a scared little being. Now the only thing that scares you is riding along in the car, and water in which you cannot stand up. You have brought a lot of joy into the family, although barking a little less wouldn’t hurt anyone. Nevertheless, cheers to many more years together!


Love, Jess • Instagram

Fall is here

14360046_328662887486347_5856697922577498112_n1

Wow, time flies! Three weeks into university and it seems like a crazy rollercoaster that I have stepped on and won’t get back of until Christmas. The past weeks were a crazy mixture of lectures, settling back in a city that I left in January and meeting up with people whom I hadn’t seen for a long long time. And I hate to say it but summer is over. Fall has arrived, and the leaves are already changing color!

By all these lovely tokens September days are here, with summer’s best of weather and autumn’s best of cheer.

Every year when Fall turns up I am surprised by the miracle of nature, and how year after year it knows what to do. Getting rid of the old and making space for new life. And you know what, that is a free life lesson right there. Is it not amazing that nature gives new chances? Should we not follow the example that nature gives us? Get rid of the old, and make room for the new. New adventures, new goals and clear thoughts. Why not remove negativity from your life, or anything you consider ‘dead’ or unneeded. When the leaves start falling, try to let go of things that keep you from being the person that you need or want to be. New season, new chances. And so much to enjoy during fall! I cannot wait to make and eat my pumpkin soup, go to the forest and be astonished by fall colors, and maybe the best of all; not breaking a sweat when going for a hike or bike ride. Scarfs, bonfires, smores, friends…I LOVE FALL!


Love, Jess

INSTAGRAM