Saturday, June 28, 2014

Relationships Q & A with Shaun & Jess Hover - Part 2

Hey guys! Here is part 2! Don't be confused by the intro, it's the same as Part 1 but I promise this is a different video. Hope you have a great weekend!

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Relationships Q & A with Shaun & Jess Hover - Part 1

Hi friends :) Yesterday Shaun & I went for coffee and brought our laptop along so we could answer some of your relationship questions on video. The first 5 questions are just for fun and the later ones are more serious. The footage is like 30 minutes long so I am breaking them into smaller pieces to make it more enjoyable for you to watch. I'm excited for you guys to get to know us better, especially for you to get to know Shaun! I'm still learning how to make these videos so there are a few editing issues but overall I think it's a good start for my vlog-making career!

Thank you so much for watching and thank you guys for submitting the questions!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Marie's house. Some thoughts on living a meaningful life.

Marie's house in Switzerland is almost 500 years old. It is older than America. It is big and beautiful and built right next to the church that her Dad pastors. Actually it is on the same property. Outwardly it is a work of art, historical and ready to be photographed. Inside it hosts a wildly passionate family of at least 5, and usually 10, on any given day. Marie's family is extravagantly hospitable, making you feel at home the moment you walk in their perfect old door, so naturally they almost always have guests.

One day last week we were all in her backyard having lunch together and we talked about the builders of that house. They must have been incredible. Think of how hard they must have worked to build with such excellence so that we could still enjoy it today. Its extra hard for me to fathom as an American, visiting from the land of microwaves, iPhones and instant... everything. But it's obvious that nothing about this home's contstruction was instant. Its sturdy and secure. It stands strong in the hot summer sun, and the Swiss winter snow, and everything in between. The families who have lived life within its walls have continued to update its appearance. It is neither drab nor outdated. There's a nice kitchen with all of the current amenities, a big upstairs bathroom, and everything inside is adorned with simple and stylish decor- which I'm confident can be attributed to the very fashionable Bader/Kim women.  ((Oh, Ps. I've deemed the Bader girls "wonder-women" when it comes to being everything I want to be when I grow up. They are ultra-loving, magazine-worthy cool, and faithful beyond words. I hope one day to have daughters that turn out like Marie & her sisters. Just so you know.))

Spending time in Marie's house reminded me of something Jesus said.

"Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse because it is built on a solid bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and does not obey it is foolish like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash." (Matthew 7:24-27)

Marie's house was built on a solid foundation. It has sustained generation after generation because of the quality that went into it from the very beginning of its contruction. After spending a few nights in this glorious place I realized that my life, our lives, are not meant to be so different from Marie's house. We have an opportunity everyday to build something that will bless future generations. Often we are short sighted in the way we make decisions though and so we miss the potential to leave a legacy beyond our years here on this earth. We prioritize temporary things like personal feelings of happiness and comfort, at the cost of building a meaningful life through uncomfortable things like hard work, discipline and sacrifice.

We forget that our decisions have consequences or like the Bible says, that "we reap what we sow". So we have become a generation that wastes our days twerking and drinking and flirting and taking selfies and making shallow goals like "I just want to be happy, or I just want to make more money, or I just want to travel"...  as if emptiness is something that goes away when we relocate or get a bigger salary. Sorry homie. You are still you and your garbage goes where you go. Even if you dress your empty self in a punjabi and drink your weight in Indian Chai tea somewhere in the glorious Himalayas, you'll still be empty... your stomach might be full (or sick) but your heart will still be empty.

Living for yourself promises emptiness.

But Marie's house reminded me how awesome it is to the lives of meaning, and vibrance and color that we were born for. By choosing daily to do things like trust God and honor each other and live with integrity, we are building something. In staying faithful to our spouses, or walking in purity until we are married, or being honest in how we speak and how we deal with our money, we are constructing a foundation that will serve those around us. Whether it is our own children who benefit from the God-fearing choices we make, or our friends and coworkers, or it could be simply strangers who stumble upon our life-giving posts on Facebook, when we look outside of ourselves and prioritize the God story, over the "ME story", something beautiful is being built.

Like with Marie's house, those strong men who built it almost 500 years ago were excellent and faithful, and because of those qualities we are able to enjoy the fruit of their labor today. I hope that years after I'm gone other people will enjoy the fruit of my life too. I probably won't leave behind a house I built... because i'm not so handy... but I pray that I leave behind a foundation of faith, that other people can look to and build upon.

I hope my life, my love, my faith, and my courage will inspire greater life and love and faith and courage in others.

True happiness is found in trusting Jesus and loving others.
It's available to all of us, no exception.

"...the joy of the Lord is your strength." Neh. 8:10

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

6 things. like weddings & friends. & my dad's birthday!

1. I have mastered the art of smiling, nodding, and saying "Si, si," as if I understand Spanish perfectly. I do understand a lot of things, but I also don't understand a lot of things... which makes my days more adventurous.
Also I have a friend here who teaches me Spanish once a week. She is learning English too so our conversations are really.... cute. My favorite part is when she is trying to tell me that she loves something... like a certain type of music, or a food, or a place... she doesn't know to say "I love it" or "I love them" so instead she always says "I love you." It's perfect and feels so good I actually don't want to correct her. She will say things like, "Do you know Hillsong? I LOVE YOU!" or "My friend from Australia- I LOVE YOU!" or "Do you eat this food? Es so good. I LOVE YOU!"
Haha. I love Spain.

2. I listen to podcasts from Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC when I go for walks.

3. I have LOVED watching my friend Grace's videos on youtube to help with my Spanish learning. She is from Madrid but we did YWAM together almost 7 years ago and went on outreach together to Thailand. Since then she has literally become a youtube sensation, and its a delight for me to watch her vids. Not only are they helping with the language but I also get me new ideas for how to dress cute and what to do with my hair. Yessss. Here I'll post one of her videos so you can see how lovely she is...
4. Today we are having a group of girls over from YWAM Australia. Kate is making a yummy lunch for them and we'll be encouraging them Beauty Arise style- I'll share my story & speak specifically on things like body image & identity. It's going to be awesome.

5. I am SO excited for the weddings happening this summer. I love weddings! And these weddings are even better because some of my most favorite people ever made get to be the brides! So many prayers have gone into seeing these stories happen, its a joy to be celebrating all these precious friends all at once! Two of them are even having weddings on the same day! Shaun and I want to be at both weddings so badly but since we can't, we have decided to tag-team- He is going to celebrate with Lauren & Davy in Michigan, while I'll be holding it down in Washington with Beka & Nolan. Then after the parties are over we will come together again to get ready for my sister's wedding on August 9th! Woohoo!
 And now let's take a moment to soak up the cuteness of these couples. Ahhhh. 
((First is Beks & Nolan, then the middle is Lauren & Davy, & last is Meredith (my sister) & David.)) 

6. This weekend was my Daddy's birthday!! Which brings me back to another thing I love about weddings... they bring people together! My Dad is living in Korea right now which is pretty far away, BUT I get to see him soon because Meredie is tying the knot and our whole family is going to be there! My Dad is coming and so is my older brother, his wife & my nieces Rosie & Sasha. This means Dad will get to be with both his daughters, and both his granddaughters at the same time... now if that isn't a recipe for a wonderfully girly time I don't know what is. (Plus there are rumors that Disneyland is going to be involved, which you know is the key to my heart soooo.... its bound to be an amazing pre-wedding week.) Anyway I praise God for giving me such an amazing Dad who loves my family the way he does. He is selfless, hardworking, extra funny, brave, and has always been committed to seeing us become our best. It's an honor to be his daughter & I'm thankful there is a whole day on the calendar that's highlighted just for us to remind him how incredibly important he is. 

And those are my 6 things on this Wednesday!

PS. Tomorrow I will go to Switzerland to visit Marie & DK & Dodo!
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Monday, June 9, 2014

vlog from Barcelona.

a video blog from outside our apartment.
haha... its a bit all over the place but its something! 
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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Barcelona beautiful.

Barcelona is a place of beauty. I like it because it's different from home. I like home too but at home we value efficiency. We build it to get it done, the look of something isn't our top priority. We want to make things that work well. Aesthetics are secondary. 

But here they place a high value on beauty. It is enough for something to simply be beautiful. Art is everywhere. The buildings are colorful and different shapes. The streets and sidewalks are adorned with curvy ledges and bricks and marble and metal sculpted pieces. Shaun is convinced the whole city was designed by a skater, because everything is skate-able, and even though he probably isn't correct, I love that he loves it here so much. He probably appreciates the architecture more than most. 

Being in Barcelona reminds me how much God cares about beauty. It is a reflection of His heart and invites us into His peace. Beauty points us to His glory and magnificence. It brings quiet comfort and a sweet joy, sometimes subtle, but undoubtedly sure.

I think the beauty of humanity is designed to do the same. Being here has helped me pray better for girls and women everywhere. I'm praying that our beauty would be a gift to those around us. A beauty that invites freedom and peace. Not a striving competitive beauty motivated by pride or insecurity, but a beauty that says, "I am enough. I am created by a beautiful Creator and my very being reflects His glory." I am praying that we would display a kind of beauty that actually encourages the beauty in others, a wonderful and contagious Barcelona-like beauty, that makes even skaters feel closer to heaven. 

I'm convinced that with humble grateful hearts we bring glory to our Maker in both creating and celebrating beauty. 

That is what Barcelona is teaching me this week. 

Here are a few photos from my anniversary date with Shaunny. We would have celebrated our 5 years of marriage on Saturday, because we were actually married May 31st like my grandparents, but I was as sick as can be. It's really okay though because Monday June 2nd turned out to be just as good. Also we intended to sit on the sand for part of our date but we must have somehow stumbled upon what Shaun and I, through hysterical laughter, called "Naked Man Beach"... named after... well... exactly what it sounds like. I have never seen so many old, TOTALLY NAKED men in my life. There were also a few people in swimsuits and one naked old woman, but they were invisible to me. I was distracted by the fact that there were like 10 naked old men dangling their treasures at me. Wow. So naturally we ended up on big cement blocks... far away from Naked Man Beach.  

What a warm welcome to this glorious city. Haha... I'm literally laughing as I type this. Ohhhh my.......

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