Go. Explore. Adventure. 

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.    

Life happens. 

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. 

Spring break. 

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. 



Oh, My Heart

food-pot-kitchen-cooking-mediumSome days in the life of a family are just hard. It may not be a major catastrophe or difficult illness in the family, but rather just all of those little things that overwhelm and wear you out. Those days may leave you with little patience and perhaps the tendency to overreact or lash out in harsh words.

This evening in our house has been one of those hard moment days. Plans weren’t solidified, but we’re all feeling nothing is going right. I was out of town for several days. Sarah was at a friend’s, Jacob was given the opportunity to stay on his own. His chores were undone, causing me frustration. Even though I’ve been on a retreat I see the 108 page application I need to start on. Grandma is on her way to stay for a few days too. I think we’re all tired, out of our routine, and feeling worn out.

My afternoon was readjusted, so I thought I had time to go to the gym, get in some much needed brain exhaustion via cycling. Then I was diverted to pick up duty after practice. I don’t mind carpooling, I was just trying to get it done before the rpm class started. And then traffic. Just through our town. Sarah could sense my tension. I tried to ask about homework and school. I could see the anxiety on her face. And then the tears came. She felt behind in Japanese class and like she was a burden for me adjusting my plans to drive her around. She doesn’t want to feel bad, but she just does. Then moments before home, the real words came out. “I just miss my daddy. Why isn’t he here?!” Oh, my heart. I asked what she needed in this moment; a hug was her quiet reply.

So we pulled into our tiny townhouse parking space, others outside around us, and I got her out of the car and just held her. Right there, in the middle of the neighborhood. Through the sobbing she quietly asked me to pray for her. Oh, my heart. I had been silently praying over her and now, of course, I let the heart of God pour through me. What a joy to have my daughter seek comfort in my arms and ask for me to pray over her. In that moment, with the Holy Spirit comforting us, that’s all we needed. Family.

Our evening continued to be a mess of bumbling fools. Jacob arguing, because he’s always right. His chore of bathrooms, to him, means squirting some blue stuff in the toilet. The end. I was helping Sarah with some homework while I had onions caramelizing on the stove. Of course I got the burners mixed up and turned them up too high while I turned my attention to Sarah. So they are now burned little black things that filled the house with smoke. Jacob says they made the house smell like cat pee. Yay us. Then he was getting his pizza out of the oven (it’s an ASD thing—every night recently) and it slipped off the backside of the rack. Yes, it ran down the backside of the oven. Awesome. Ov Glove to the rescue. And my house that was clean this morning is covered in mail and school projects, tennis shoes and coats, bits of dinner and groceries yet to be put away.

These moments and situations can wear a person out. Especially a single mama like me. But we covered the day in prayer. And I trust that the Holy Spirit is giving us grace in these moments. So there were more hugs. No harsh words where there could have been a lot. No wounded feelings, where we could have really hurt each other. Instead, now there’s laughter, teenage burping, and a dance party is about to go down. Because this family dances just because we can. And we laugh, because it’s good medicine for our souls. And the burping…it’s a teenage thing. These may be hard days, but I know the years are slipping away too quickly. So I’ll take the tears, prayers, laughter, and dance parties with my growing babies any day. Oh, my heart.

Jesus Giggles Over Me

Do you have back and forth conversations with Jesus?? I mean, beyond the petitions of prayers and reciting scripture back to Him. I always help students understand prayer is just a conversation with God. It’s a mode of communicating with Him. And the Holy Spirit can prompt us when we don’t know what to say, so just be open. But sometimes I think we get the idea that it’s all one sided. Us talking at Him, rather than with Him.

I love to have daily conversations with Him about what’s going on in my life. I think He loves that. I recently heard a speaker share about her Tuesdays with Jesus. She spent a season of her life actively engaging with Jesus each Tuesday. As if He was right there with her.   She had back and forth conversations, bought a soda for His place at the table, and even turned around to go back home one Tuesday when she realized she hadn’t invited Him to get in the car with her that morning.

I think that’s awesome. I haven’t really had Tuesdays with Jesus, but I do chat with Him regularly. Just talking about the thoughts rolling around in my head and asking for understanding on some things, and just sharing silly observations with Him. He wants to know it all, right?!.

One day I was challenged to ask Jesus what He thought of me. I had been struggling with my own identity issues and where exactly my place was. It seemed awkward to ask Jesus what He thought of me. I mean, He has to love me, right? But what does He think of me? Yet, in this moment of challenge, I kind of felt like I was shaking a magic eight ball for some sort of answer.  Unsure of what I would get.   Again, I have the head knowledge that He loves me, and the belief that my identity is rooted in Him as His daughter, but what does Jesus think of me now?

So I asked. Out loud. “Jesus, this is kinda awkward, but what do you think of me??”

Without hesitation or missing a beat, He was right there in conversation with me.  Actually, He giggled. Jesus giggled. Over me. And that made me laugh. And our conversation continued:

“I love your giggle and your joy. Your passion and enthusiasm for this life I have given you. And I love that you talk to me and want to know me. You are mine and I love seeing you adventure and enjoy your life, knowing that I am always with you, and I always love you.” 

Giggles With My Daughter

Giggles With My Daughter

That’s a little different than a magic eight ball answer. I love that I can talk with Jesus. And I love that He giggles over me.  Have you taken time to ask Jesus what He thinks of you?  Or have you encouraged your kids to talk to Jesus regularly and ask  Jesus for themselves what He thinks of them?  I know He’ll be right there with an answer for you, and I pray it brings you much joy.