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Be Kind


adjective, kind·er, kind·est.

1. of a good or benevolent nature or dispositionas a person: a kind and loving person.
2. having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence: kind words.
3. indulgent, considerate, or helpful; humane (often followed by to  ): to be kind to animals.
4. mild; gentle; clement: kind weather.
5. British Dialect loving; affectionate.
Someone recently said I have kind eyes. 
That felt good. 
I like the word ‘kind’. 
I want to be a kind person. Not always nice necessarily, in a people pleasing sort of pressured way, but kind. 
If the eyes are windows into the soul maybe some kindness is seeping through. Maybe internal transformation is happening. This is an encouraging thought.
As I looked up the definition I was reminded of an interaction with a therapist many years ago. I had been in counseling alone for a few session then my husband joined in and we continued for many months. We struggled through difficult conversations and faced uncomfortable truths about ourselves.
One day I told the counselor that I thought my husband was threatened by him (by his ability to help me). Then I asked ‘What should I do?’ His response, was ‘I think you should be kind.’
It’s so interesting which words I remember and which words I forget, from all those hours of discussion. The thought of choosing to be kind was something I hadn’t thought of in that situation. And now I think in most situations kindness is probably a good response. 
”..proceeding from benevolence..”
I just looked up benevolence and was struck by the synonyms (my favorites are in bold): 
kindness, kind-heartedness, big-heartedness, goodness, goodwill, benignity, compassion, consideration, thoughtfulness, decency, public-spiritedness, social conscience, charity, charitableness, altruism, humanity, humanitarianism, philanthropism, generosity, magnanimity, mangnamimousness, munificence, unselfishness, open-handedness, free-handedness, largesse, lavishness, liberality, beneficence, indulgence
Big-hearted, compassionate, considerate, charitable, open-handed, indulgent - that’s the kind of person I want to be. That is the way God is with me. 

Filed under kindness benevolence

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Cry from a Woman’s Heart: Memoirs of a Geisha

We watched ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ again, I’ve lost count, maybe my 6th time. We watch it before we take guests to Kyoto, it’s a tradition and gives insight into the old Japan that is still visible there.

I’m stirred to tears by the story that is told and still amazed that a man wrote it. So much insight into a woman’s heart and longings. There are many beautiful, painful and insightful scenes and lines but one section has been coming back to me since my last viewing. (Minor SPOILER Alert.) 

"I am not worthless! I am not worthless!" 

The deep cry of every woman who has been abandoned, overlooked, used, mistreated and/or abused. Isn’t this all of us? The women who tell me their stories have all experienced some tarnishing of their beauty. Some more horrifically than others but no one seems exempt.

And then this morning I read this excerpt from a book on Masculinity and Femininity,  I want to rest in God’s delight and draw others to be consumed by His beauty. It takes courage to rest, to give up the striving to please and instead freely live a life of love. Be courageous. 

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Capturing the Cherry Blossom Season in Japan

To view more photos and videos of cherry blossoms and hanami parties throughout Japan, browse the #, #花見 and #お花見 hashtags on Instagram.

In Japan, sakura (桜), or cherry blossoms, stand as the symbolic flower of spring and start appearing all over the country as the seasons change. During this season, rows of cherry trees with their pastel-pink crowns transform the country and shower the streets in falling petals. People go out to gardens, streets and parks for hanami (花見), or flower viewing, to appreciate the beauty of the cherry blossoms and the mild weather after the long, cold winter. Often, hanami involves picnicking in the best sakura locations and enjoying food and drinks with friends under cherry trees. The blooming of sakura begins from the south around late March and spreads northward through the beginning of May.

Want to see more photos and videos from some of the most famous sakura locations in Japan? Explore the location pages below:

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Cherry Blossoms, Kyoto, Japan
photo via vidya

Can’t seem to be in Kyoto on the right day to capture this stunning beauty, but I can imagine it after seeing the beginning of Sakura Season. 


Cherry Blossoms, Kyoto, Japan

photo via vidya

Can’t seem to be in Kyoto on the right day to capture this stunning beauty, but I can imagine it after seeing the beginning of Sakura Season. 

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Capturing the Beauty of Wagasas with @atsuko12

For more photos and videos from Atsuko, follow @atsuko12 on Instagram.

"My first encounter with wagasas (Japanese umbrellas) was when I started working at a shop that sells them,” says Kyoto Instagrammer Atsuko (@atsuko12). “When I first held it in my hand, I was immediately drawn to the beauty of the traditional craftsmanship that shines through them.” For Atsuko, this was not only the beginning of a job, but the start of a mission to spread her passion for the umbrellas with their hand-carved handles and oil-paper tops.

Through her work, Atsuko came to discover the decline in the overall traditional craftwork industry and felt alarmed by it. “Currently, the number of artisans who produce the wagasas are decreasing, and they are aging with very few successors. There are only four stores left in Japan that specializes in selling them, of which three are in Kyoto. As much as we want to preserve these traditional crafts, it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so.”

Atsuko decided to start a series on Instagram to express the elegance of wagasas and send this message to the world. “I want people in and outside of Japan to understand the beauty of the traditional umbrellas and familiarize them in people’s lives. That’s why in the photos of wagasas I share on Instagram, I like to intentionally go outside of the classic Japanese settings and arrange them in artistic or everyday scenes.”

Atsuko takes the wagasas to the historical and modernized districts of Kyoto, where she captures them in the seasonal landscape of the city or blending in with the surrounding architecture. “Most of the portraits with the red umbrellas are self portraits, but I also have friends and other Instagrammers who shoot me and model for me,” she says. The figures with the wagasas are often dressed in western clothing, fusing modern and traditional cultures. “When I shoot the wagasas, I always keep in mind to tell at least one interesting thing about it in each of the photos I take.”

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There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve — even in pain — the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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God’s mercy is greater than our sins. There is an awareness of sin that does not lead to God but rather to self-preoccupation. Our temptation is to be so impressed by our sins and failings and so overwhelmed by our lack of generosity that we get stuck in paralyzing guilt. It is the guilt that says: ‘I am too sinful to deserve God’s mercy.’ It is the guilt that leads to introspection instead of directing our eyes to God. It is the guilt that has become an idol and therefore a form of pride. Lent is the time to break down this idol and to direct our attention to our loving Lord. The question is: ‘Are we like Judas, who was so overcome by his sin that he could not believe in God’s mercy any longer and hanged himself, or are we like Peter who returned to his Lord with repentance and cried bitterly for his sins?’ The season of Lent, during which winter and spring struggle with each other for dominance, helps us in a special way to cry out for God’s mercy.

Henri Nouwen, Show Me the Way, p. 14 (via recycledsoul)

"…winter and spring struggle with each other for dominance.."