2017: Year End Reflections

Earlier this year, I asked the Lord for a spirit of love. I needed to learn how to love with no limits and no expectations from others. I also wanted to learn how to experience a love that is present in every moment. I wanted this year to embody the kind of love that God has for me. The type of love I was asking the Lord for was one of accountability; I needed the Spirit of Love to keep me grounded—by humbling me and keeping me teachable and authentic to my core. This year, I desired to rise higher in my interactions and dealings with others. I longed to have grace and view the best in ALL things, even in challenging circumstances. As I reflect on the year 2017, I realize that my character has been strengthened through the beautiful art of love, grace, and humility.

Korean Earthquakes: The Workplace

In 2016, my husband and I took a leap of faith and moved halfway across the world to teach English abroad in South Korea. Our move was bold and adventurous, especially coming from the smallest state in the United States, Rhode Island. We had this dream to travel the world, live, thrive, and be exposed to different cultures- be one with the natives of the land. Our time in Korea has been dynamic and outstanding; a season in my life I will treasure forever.

However, my exposure in the workplace has often left me feeling like I’ve been placed in the epicenter of an earthquake; an earthquake that would come suddenly with no warning or time for preparation. This year, my request for ‘A Spirit of Love’ has been tested with the ground shaking viciously from underneath me. I could blame it on the Korean hierarchy system, unruly colleagues, or the challenges of living and working in a foreign country- but I won’t. The Korean Earthquakes I have experienced stem from the lessons I needed to learn to sustain and endure the heart of love I asked for at the beginning of the year.

These Earthquakes chastised me to no end. I’ve been placed in situations where I had every right to defend my case or either accept my fate by exuberating love and mercy. Usually, I did not have a long time to thoroughly think about my response or reaction to any given situation. My only option was to make a choice whether I would forgive the seemingly unforgivable and demonstrate love with grace and humility, or live up to the foolish preconceived notions about Western foreigners. It was never easy!  Just like escaping an earthquake, I often felt like running from the wreckage. But in order for growth to happen, I had to confront the nonsense head on instead of running from it.

I must admit my life in the Korean workplace hasn’t been all bad. I loved my country school. My colleagues, administrative staff, and students welcomed me into their school community with open arms. I never felt like an outsider there. When the headmaster and assistant principal heard the news about my pregnancy they offered their congratulations and constantly checked in with me every week to see how I was doing. My last day there was bittersweet. I will genuinely miss my country school. They were the calm away from the quakes at my main school. So in the end, Korean Earthquakes have taught me lessons about love, grace, and humility.

Foreign Pregnancy: Tough Skin

Being a pregnant black woman, living outside of Seoul, is very rare. I would walk down the street with piercing stares that would make me feel as if I was a freak of nature. I would counter these experiences with the thought, “Okay, I’m probably the first foreign pregnant woman these people ever have seen.” But after a while, the stares started to hurt, and the joy of pregnancy began to fade. I was gracefully broken throughout my whole pregnancy in so many capacities. I’ve learned endless lessons of endurance, steadfastness, and turning of the other cheek. I got a more in-depth understanding and revelation of my process by relinquishing my control; allowing life to open my eyes and reveal to me my inner identity; my deep-rooted divinity.

Eventually, I stopped trying to define happiness through others; and started to see the seed growing inside of me as one of the greatest treasures ever to behold. Soon after, stares did not bother me. I embraced them by flaunting my massive belly. Personal joy was the lesson I had to learn on my own. Joy had to be defined by me. I had to find purpose and the beauty of creation in it. My foreign pregnancy produced within me tougher skin, and I am forever grateful for it.

IMG_3867

My Joy: Micah Isaiah

My son’s story was already being written way before my husband and I were even cognizant of him. Even in the womb, he taught us what it really meant to fight to live. His warrior-like spirit arose first out of a fertilized egg, transpiring into many cells. He then trekked a traverse journey into my fallopian tubes; entering the darkness of my womb; attaching himself to my uterine wall; while radiating his marvelous light. It’s a love untold until fully experienced.

My little Isaiah does this thing where he stares intently at his mama during feedings. He knows when my attention is focused on him or elsewhere. Through his little eyes, he sees the reflection of the images I’m watching. His innocence is a direct reflection of what my husband and I expose him to. The way in which he sees the world around him, his surroundings, and the sounds that consume him; references back to his father and me. The tone of our voice, the beating of our hearts, our interactions with each other and others– is a mirror of who we are in him and who he is in us.

Love At Every Turn: Saeronam EM

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.”~Matthew 5: 7~

My husband and I have been fortunate to be a part of an amazing faith-based community, Saeronam English Ministry. There were a lot of women from the church that helped me tremendously after giving birth to Isaiah. Their love, presence, and kindness towards my family have meant the world to me. My transition back home from the hospital with a newborn was very smooth because of them.

God looked out for me by allowing me to be pregnant at the same time with one of my dear sister-friends from church, Jane. She was five weeks ahead of me. She had a girl. We both were first-time moms experiencing the highs and lows of pregnancy in a foreign country. I genuinely appreciate Jane and her husband, Paul. Anyone who knows me knows I ask an endless amount of questions. Thankfully Jane has always been patient enough to answer them to the best of her ability. It was great to have someone to talk to that understood the season I was undergoing, because they, too were going through it themselves. Post-Korea, I’m sure we will all still be connected with each other because of our shared experience here.

Then there is my Chinese-Jamaican-Canadian Mama, Joanne who went above and beyond to make sure The Thompsons were situated well at home. One of the most significant lessons I learned from Joanne, W’lynn don’t be afraid to ask for help there are plenty of people here willing to help you.” Her sound advice was what made me adjust to motherhood so quickly.

img_4586

I can’t forget my Jamaican Queen Heather and my Bajan beauty Tisha who traveled about two hours to assist me at home throughout this month. Heather — in the midst of preparing for her final exams, graduation, exit out of Korea, and just the overall chaos of transitions — made time for me and my growing family. My Bajan beauty Tisha was committed to helping me. She always gifted me with endless laughter and joy.  A rare gift for a first-time mom that’s often sleep deprived. These two women made me feel at peace as I adjusted to my new role as a mother.

I cannot forget the elders that serve at EM: Lovely Sue, Grace, Heather and countless others that kept on checking in and sending meals our way- the love was remarkable and unprecedented.

Although 2017 has had its ups and downs, it will always be my most memorable year. Out of the challenges, there were always endless blessings of love waiting for me to acknowledge its existence. Life lessons I will cherish forever. As the dawn of 2018 approaches, I look forward to my family’s transition back to the United States but more on that another time. Happy New Year Everybody!

Signing Out,

~Esther Lynn~

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

Advertisements

The Shattered Pieces of Womanhood

I always felt jaded growing up female. I would often hear mixed messages from adults that were supposed to love, encourage, and teach me about care. Love manifested itself in short phrases like, “don’t cluck, cluck like a chicken.” “You’ll follow the footsteps of ‘her’ and never amount to anything.” “You’re a failure and a disgraceful child.” I grew up female thinking; perhaps I am unworthy. Maybe I am just shattered pieces that can’t be made whole. My future means nothing because I am nothing.
insanity.jpg

As a young girl, I learned early on how to devalue my being. A truth that penetrated and hunted me throughout my process into womanhood. Neglect was the ‘N’ word that no adult in my care circle was bold enough to confront. Instead, image took its place, and I was taught to lie without speaking words. I was taught to embrace my silence, masked in this unspoken concept of beauty. Externally I looked good, but internally my heart was devasted, shattered into a million broken pieces as if I was a million piece puzzle. As a young girl, I tried so hard to find the matching pieces but had such a hard time getting it right.

As a teenager, womanhood was known to me as a projection of harsh words. I no longer was living in silence. I became loud, obnoxious, with an extremely ‘off the cuff’ attitude. I cut people with my words. I hurt them with my eyes. I demolished them with my actions. After all, that is what hurt people do to other hurt people. I projected the ‘neglected child’ to others in hopes of healing a piece of me. This way of living, thinking, and acting taught me a lot of harsh life lessons. I used to think I was above certain situations. I would look at other young girls and say, “How did they get there? I’ll NEVER get to that point.” Never say never; that was the beginning of my ‘house fire‘ phase. My life as a teenager started with a spark, and by the time I was nineteen, I became engulfed in flames of pain. The pain of feeling like I was never enough. The rage of anger against my community at the time. The failure I felt within myself and the darkness that kept on sweeping me under; deeper into my ashes, as the house that I once thought would protect me came crashing down on top of me.

As a young adult, womanhood meant independence. I was determined to rise higher than my burnt house and my pain. I set goals for myself and worked tirelessly to achieve them. I found love and solace in dance, writing, and acting. Again, in the midst of my independence, I found myself lost in this patriotic duty to perform perfection to a society that once taught me I am nothing. My whirlwind of pain increased and the pieces of me that I did have a hold of were once again shattering before me.

As an adult, I surrendered it all to THE VINE, the creator of my soul. I just had enough of my darkness, and the inflictions I placed on others, the feeling of neglect that hunted me throughout my life; and the haunting lie that I wasn’t good enough to be made whole. I had to get to a low point before calling on MY VINE for help.

You see, womanhood has taught me two things. It showed me the importance of healing and wholeness. My surrender to THE VINE has elevated me to the woman I am today. At times, I still sometimes feel like I’m a bunch of scattered pieces. But, just today, I woke up and heard MY VINE’S voice so clearly. He whispered so softly the one phrase that birthed this story, which is my history into conception, “Scattered pieces are fragile pieces made whole.”

scatteredpieces.jpg

As a result, of HIS ultimate love, I am made whole and set free from the bondages that tried to beset me. Today, I define my womanhood as the process of becoming whole and speaking out loud my truths. I hope my authenticity can set other lost souls free from their house fires. I desire to guide them to the SOURCE of complete surrender and wholeness, for that was how I found my peace. After all, “Scattered pieces are fragile pieces made whole.”

I’m just speaking out loud in my process of becoming.

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Signing Out,

Esther Lynn

The Fledge Method

In recent months, I have been fascinated with the mother eagle, particularly on how she cares for her young. Several times I found myself asking, how is a young eaglet taught to fly? At what stage in life do they start learning how to use their wings and eventually maximize them? At what point does the mother eagle decide that it is time to let go? I believe a series of events prompted these questions– Lately, I’ve been thinking about my son. I’ve been imagining what his childhood, adolescence, and adult years will be like and this short story was created in dedication to him.

The Fledge Method

When I was just a seed, mother prepared the nest for me. She worked diligently to find the sturdiest of branches. Gliding through the winds to build the nest that would one day house me. I was her priority, her joy, her heartbeat.

Then I was born. I was white, frail, and extremely needy. Mother nursed me; in her wings, I was comforted and warm. We delighted in each other. For me, life was mother, and somehow, mother was me. I saw the world through her eyes. I understood in part by what she seen.

One day mother started acting strangely. She flew out of the nest with a look of determination in her eyes. My eyes followed her as she soared high through the winds. That is all I could do, after all, life was mother and mother was me. But something about that day, made a chill go up my spine. Before mother left the nest, she kept repeating one thing,“The time to fledge has come.”

Fledge, the one word that kept imprinting itself in my mind. Curiosity was starting to overtake me, so I stood at the edge of the nest protected by its borders, awaiting mother. I thought maybe she just went out to get me food. Surely she will come back soon. The sun relentlessly beat against me; slowly hours turned into days, no sign of mother or the sound of her voice making way in the wind.

The fourth day I decided to peer at the edge of the nest. My feeble legs somehow lifted me to the peak. Then a blustery breeze overtook my balance. I was falling out fast, uncontrollably with no awareness as to where I would end up. Swoosh was the sound of the wind, and I found myself laying on mother’s back. “Mother you saved me!” I beamed with contentment and joy. But all mother said was, “The time to fledge has come.”

mamandyoung.gif

“Mother?” I asked nervously. “What does that mean…fledge?” Her only words, “The time to fledge has come.” Mother’s wings guided us back to the nest. However, the nest that once housed me was destroyed. “Mother, what happened to our home?” Her only words, “The time to fledge has come.” “Mother, I don’t understand what does that mean? Why do you keep saying that? You’re scaring me.” She looked at me with her potent eyes and began to hover over me.

It was at that moment; I begin to be entranced by her wings. They were dazzling. It was like they were singing a song to the wind. Mother said nothing. She just simply fluttered her wings above me. I was transfixed at all that was happening. Suddenly I had this urge to stretch. As I started to extend my feathers, Mother’s flutters became faster. Her eyes glued to me and my–feathers. My feathers. I was mother and mother was me, so I began to flap them.

Mother rose higher. In the still air, she watched me intensely as I started flapping uncontrollably. Then slowly but surely, the wind lifted me. I had the look of terror in my eyes. I’m almost certain of it. Yet, I felt carried by something bigger than me. I looked away from mother, and through the distance, I noticed others; other eaglets that were taking their first flight away from the nest.

eagle.jpg

My eyes zoned in on them. Until I finally heard mother say, It is done. The fledge method is complete.” On that day, I learned, I was no longer mother and mother was no longer me. She was my first foundation and will always be the steady force behind who I am. But she is her own entity, and the same goes for me. Her wings were taught how to mount through the dangerous of winds courageously; so that one day, she, in turn, can teach me. She destroyed the nest for me to understand life in its wildest, windswept form.

Now that I am older, I later learned more about that day when my mother glided through the winds  and just left me with the words, “The time to fledge has come.” She flew to the peak of the highest mountain to watch me and what I would do. She recaptures her side of the story with only a few words, A mother learns early on in life the art of waiting on her young.” I asked mother, “What made you decide that it was time to let go?” She simply responded, “It was time.”

eaglewaiting.jpg

So, as I prepare for my son, I imagine his life through stages. When he is first born, I will be like the mother eagle caring intently for her young. In my son’s young eyes, he will be like his mother, and I will reflect him. But he will someday grow to become a man, and I must be prepared to release him to the winds. I will someday have to recognize when the time to fledge has come. In that realization, I pray throughout his upbringing, his father and I will help him to see himself as his own entity. I hope at an early age he comprehends the power of his wings.

Because, son, if years later you find yourself reading this short story, mama and papa always knew the weighted significance of time and you, son, was created to soar high.

-The Fledge Method-

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Signing Out,

Esther Lynn

Inklub

My husband, Micah and I started a new YouTube channel called, the Inklub. Below is a description of what the Inklub is all about. I hope all my readers will check out our new channel and subscribe.

Inklub is a channel where we will share our writings to inspire, encourage, and sometimes even challenge our viewers to think differently. Most of our videos will be spoken word pieces, but we also plan to share songs, stories, and various other creative presentations.

Our writings are inspired by the world around us; whether it be our experiences or others. As we observe, we listen, we write and then speak out our perspectives.

We believe there is something undeniably therapeutic about words–the right words. That is why we are so adamant about sharing what we’ve written. We hope you enjoy this channel. Feel free to subscribe and connect with us.

Till Next time Friends,

Esther Lynn

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Grateful Heart

I will and forever be grateful for the time Micah, and I are spending abroad in Korea. This journey has been nothing short of a blessing. We both grown tremendously in our faith, giftings, and overall love for life and people. We traveled to different countries and exposed ourselves to various cultures across Asia. Although we still have a lot more traveling to do, the short time we’ve been living abroad are filled with endless MicNillyAdventures.

Thus far, 2017 has been a fantastic year.  I enjoy the company of my colleagues. It’s nothing like last year at all. All the bad apples are finally gone, including my selfish, independent American mentality. A new set of fresh minds started this academic year, and it has been such a joy working with them and getting to know them in and outside of the classroom. It’s always good to have good vibes with the people you work alongside. It makes the whole work environment so much easier and less stressful. After all most of my time is spent at work during the weekdays.

My students are overwhelmingly cute and super loving towards me. This school year, I teach first through sixth graders. My first and second graders call me Moana and are often intrigued with my hair and skin tone. I’m sure I’m the first black person they ever saw, LOL! My sixth graders are not that eventful but not too bad for teenagers.

The weather is getting nicer and the yellow dust season is hopefully almost over. Air pollution in Korea is horrible, to say the least. When I lived in America, I use to wonder why people in China wear mask over their mouths. I understand now. Korea has taught me to appreciate the clear air days. I will never take it for granted again.

In any case, life is great and full of wonder. Grateful to God for the community of people we have around us and the endless experiences we have had in the past few months. This blog post just serves as an update. Life is good and changing us for the better.

Till Next time,

Esther Lynn

Westernized Eyes

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

As 2016 quickly comes to an end, I can’t help but reflect on how my westernized eyes have changed since this year started. I started this year full of hope, ambition and gratitude. I left all that I knew behind to start anew in a foreign land. My process of becoming entered the next level. I thought the things I read in books about Korea was enough to prepare me for actually living here. Boyyy, was I wrong. Nothing can prepare you for the next level. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to be prepared and fully aware of your next move. But, experience will always trump book knowledge any day. In this blog I hope to give a brief snippet of my 2016 year abroad.

2016abroad

I made a huge mistake. I entered the Land of the Morning Calm thinking I knew everything I needed to know to live here. I must admit, I was not teachable in the beginning. In my westernized eyes, there were too many things that were backwards. For instance, the communal soap bar in the public bathroom to wash your hands, the lack of napkins in the restaurants, the extremely cold hallways at school, the twisted perception of women roles- that’s just a few things amongst the plethora of examples I can give. I thought the problem was them, but in retrospect the problem was me.

My westernized eyes valued independence; separation from the crowd and my own personal opinions. I cringed to have to do anything mandatory- to not have an option was societal suicide. Yet, I found myself living in a foreign land where the pressures of community were absolutely necessary and prevalent to life. Everyone was a part of something. When one eat, we all eat. When one speaks,  we all contribute to conversation. When one is by themselves, we all come together and join them. Community, the backbone of the Korean life. There is no such thing as independence here. Separation from the crowd means you don’t care and personal opinions, if they are not relatable to the situation at hand, keep them to yourself. My beginning stages of life in Korea was a constant collision of resistance of two different cultures battling one another, instead of learning from each other. In retrospect, I was just being stupid. Comparisons can be a deadly force, especially when the similarities are hidden behind the blind spots. Again, I thought something was wrong with them, but the real problem was me.

introspection.jpg

The first three to six months of 2016 I was in a constant battle with myself. I used to think it was the people conspiring against me- but, in reality, it was my westernized eyes. It was how I viewed them, their world and culture as a whole. I entered this new level of life abroad all wrong. As mentioned, comparisons can be a deadly force, especially when the similarities are hidden behind blind spots. In the western world, the bathrooms don’t always have soap. School buildings don’t always have heat. Gender roles in the west are just as twisted as it is in the eastern hemisphere. Personal opinions aren’t always welcomed, especially when it’s not benefiting anyone or the situation at hand. I had the same challenges when I lived in America, so what made them so different or alarming living in South Korea? It’s the fact that the experience was unknown, unfamiliar and never experienced.

unknown

As for community, in the West we emphasize the differences between introverts and extroverted people. If you like to talk, you’re a social butterfly and you’ll thrive in any situation. But, if you’re an introvert, like me, people will just think you’re a loner, snobby and super weird. I struggled with community too, when I lived in America. What makes it any different now? It’s the fact that I had to finally confront my issues with community, instead of hiding from it or acting as if it doesn’t exist. I actually have met extroverts that still struggle with community. Extrovert or introvert, it means nothing. We all have our own separate challenges. We are all somehow resisting change. We are all in the process of becoming.

2016 has taught me  a valuable lesson: confrontation with self. The ability to take a deeper look with what’s going on inside of me. My resistance to things that can actually produce growth. This year has given me a deeper understanding of my root system. My western eyes has caused much dissension with  my surroundings. But, it’s not all bad, valuable life  lessons were learned throughout it all. I can see my progress. Who I was in the beginning of 2016 is not who I am now. I have learned and understood that all created things need community in order to survive. My westernized eyes did not fail me completely. It actually opened my world view. There is more to life than just me, my experiences and culture. It’s all about being honest with yourself and seeing the purpose in the life you’re experiencing.

At the end of it all, 2016 has been a great year. I had challenges but I also had a lot of memorable moments. I still end this year with hope, ambition and gratitude. I learned so much. My process will continue to grow my character. In that regard, I end with, “Happy New Year.” Let’s learn how to be honest with ourselves, so that we’re authentic with the community that surrounds us.

I’m just speaking out loud in my process of becoming…

Date: Saturday, December 31st, 2016

Signing Out,

~Esther Lynn~

 

To The Runner

To the runner:

If God was to tell you everything that is to come, would you be able to bear it, handle it or would you run from it? Chances are you would run. This letter is to the runners. The young soul that allows fear to grip them. The women that tends to say yes, but really wants to say no. The men that struggles with consistency. This letter is to the runners that numb their senses, in order to distract themselves from experiencing reality. My message to you is, Stop running aimlessly!

runner

To the runner: you’re capable of achieving great exploits. You have the power to go above and beyond where you stand now. The problem is your motivation. You get caught up in the expectations and opinions of mere man. Don’t you know what they say about you, they actually struggle with too? Or are you so blind to their manipulative words that you fail to see the hidden truth?

To the runner: you’re better than you think. Your mind can easily twist a mere occurrence and make it bigger in your imagination. Your body lies to you too. The truth is you’re not feeling lazy or unmotivated, what’s really happening is you feel distance from what is and what potential could be…

sunset-runner

To the runner: your heart is desperately wicked. You must protect it from the lies that looms over it. If not careful, we too can be master manipulators, dictators and crazy control freaks. You think, as long as you can control a situation it won’t get out of hand. But, Usually the very things we try to control, are the very things that spiral uncontrollably. Let it go! It’s important to allow things and people to find their own way. After all, everyone has their own journey and their own process of becoming.

To the runner: you’re beautiful, you’re enough and your value is far beyond any materialistic thing that you use to define your beauty. True beauty is found from within. Take the time necessary to learn the treasure that awaits you deep within your soul. It’s in your soul’s treasure box you will find the tools you need to confront the very things you run from.

runnerconfront

To the runner: stop running aimlessly, run with purpose, run with a direction already set in mind? All runners are really messengers. You may think differently, but the way in which you portray your message, a mere onlooker will find it easy to profess your story.

Pause and think about that

Runners are stolon branches, stemming out of its ends are roots in constant development, making enough space to produce new plants. Runners are grounded, hidden beneath dark soils. Runners are a representation of this stolons growth process. Others may not see your transformation, but the be process is on the verge of becoming. Soon you will rise above the surface.

stolon-root

To the runner: Stop running aimlessly. You’re more than enough. People’s expectations do not define you. Your life is your story, be aware of your message; your be process is on the verge of becoming, Soon you will rise above the surface.  

So, Run with direction; run with purpose.

Signing Out,

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

Willynn Sanon Thompson

Writer’s Name: Esther Lynn