I still remember the exact moment. Christmas Eve 2015. Drying my hair, and getting ready for Christmas Eve services. The presents were wrapped, the services were planned, and I was feeling a crazy amount of anxiety.
Decembers have been hard for me. I go into them being aware that they’ve been hard and really trying for a great attitude. I try to prepare what I can in advance so I can have an open, grateful attitude.
But I just don’t.
Sometimes it’s hard.
2015 was no exception.
Thanksgiving weekend started out great and ended terribly. I was filled with anxiety all of December. I felt like I was surviving day to day, moment to moment. And some great friends I expected to be there for me during this horribly hard time just weren’t. It was just me. And my kids. Making our way. Surviving each moment.
And there I was, bent over & head upside down, blow drying my hair. The thought entered my head. I shut off the blow dryer & flipped my hair around. I looked at my daughter laying across my bed and yelled for my son to join us.
“We need to adventure. I need to teach you how to adventure. Spring break. That’s our goal. Let’s find adventure for spring break. I’m going to cut our budget. We’re going to save like craxy. (That’s a word I use that’s like crazy on crack) and then we’re going to travel. It’ll be on a serious budget, no Disneyland craziness. And we’ll probably be going to a foreign country, because we can experience more for less. We’re going to do this!!”
They looked at me like I was half craxy. But they said, “ok! Let’s go!”
That in itself is almost a miracle. In the past when I’ve talked to them about traveling I’ve asked where they want to go. Dream! Dream big!! “Can we just go to grandma’s cabin on the coast?” Is their standard response. Yep. We’ll travel to the Oregon coast. Where else?!!
This time was different. This time they were ready.
So we started dreaming. And exploring locations. And managing debt. And cutting expenses. And saving as much as we could, because we had a common goal.
And now, here we are.
In Costa Rica.
While it’s amazing to take your kids out of the country on a mission trip, I also think it’s important to take them out of the country just to explore. Just to play. Just to experience life. It’s vital for families to eat, pray, and play together. While we have our littles (or not so littles) still in the nest, we need to explore other countries, other cultures. Just get out and explore the world. Let’s help them realize it’s not so big and not so scary.
The other night at dinner my daughter said, “it feels like we’re sorta still in America. Everybody’s like the same. They just speak a different language.” Yep, baby gIrl, you’re kinda right. We’re all citizens of this world. And we’re all created in His image. And we’re all here to glorify Him.
So let’s explore. Let’s adventure. Let’s connect with people just like us, but not. Let’s interact. And laugh. And love. Because this world of ours needs more love. Always.
And we’re here now. I love the crazy adventures when I travel. But this is their first time out of the country, so I’m letting them set the pace. And we’re still creating memories. Like wave jumping in the ocean at sunset, and losing my sunglasses in a huge wave, and eating fresh red snapper with eyeballs still attached, and a hillside next to us on fire, and playing our reality of seahorses in the pool, and the emergency plane landing because of someone freaking out & the FBI coming on the plane to arrest them, and zip lining through the jungle, and wild monkeys all around us, and laughing like craxy at our silly jokes, and just being okay with getting lost in this big world.
And creating experiences, stories, that are going to last a lifetime for them. For us.
Life happens in the stories. In the shared experiences of our families. This life was meant to be lived and experienced, not caught and taught.
Go. Adventure. Explore. Create some wanderlust in the hearts of your kids.
And in your heart too.
Go… And live in the joy of every single moment.