Thursday, March 26, 2015

5 Steps to Live Your Dream - Life Advice

((I won't normally be posting two videos in one day but having strong wifi is a gift that I need to take advantage of right now!)) 

I am beginning to do weekly videos of life advice & encouragement just for you. This is something that has been a long time in the making and I sincerely hope they can be a gift to your lives. Sometimes the topics will be fun ones, other times more serious, but always made with lots of love from me. If you have specific things you hope I talk about or questions you want me (or me & Shaun!) to answer, please leave a comment or write me a message and let me know! 

This first video isn't my most favorite one but I needed to start somewhere so here it is! 
((Made in our Barcelona apartment on my trusty iphone. Woohoo!))

Enjoy! Love you guys! 

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Barcelona Vlog - Things You May Not Know!

HOORAY!!! Another VLOG! I think this one is my favorite one so far. 
We had a great time making it together and we hope you have a great time watching it too! 

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

when i hate the journey.

I just want to get there. I don't want to be delayed. I don't want to stop for gas, in fact I actually hate pumping gas, and I just really want to go. If I have have to pee, which I probably will because I'm six months pregnant, I'll hold it. I don't have time for bathroom stops. Quite frankly I don't have time for wrong turns either. I only have time to go the right way, to do the right thing, and to make the right choices. So please let's just get on with it.

Oh... if only life allowed for people like me to have our way. But no. 
This week is reminding me that it doesn't.

Over the course of the last few weeks I have been working on a project that I had been dreaming of doing for a very long time. The initial idea of the project was fun and in the beginning, hopeful. I had shared the idea with some specific encouraging friends and their enthusiasm made the prospect of doing it all the more exciting. Eventually after much praying and brainstorming, I was able to round up the tools I needed in order to make the dream happen. My plan was that when I arrived here to Spain I would begin the long-awaited work of turning my idea something tangible. 
The idea couldn't stay in my head anymore, it was time to take shape.

But it's been exactly that shape-taking process that is currently sending me for a loop.

 I have made several attempts at getting this thing underway. My first efforts were exciting but ultimately didn't work for various reasons. In faith, I tried not to be bothered by the delays. My second full day of working on it proved to be less effective than the first, with literally everything I had planned to do falling through. This time it was harder to ignore the delays. 

 I tried again and after more hours of failed attempts, I still had nothing to show for any of it. 
My great idea was still just a great idea.

Days went by and I continued to direct my energy towards this once sparkly dream in my mind... Each day leaving me more and more discouraged. Which brings me to this day. The one I'm in right now. See, I thought I finally had breakthrough this week and managed to create something I loved, but when I revisited it this morning I decided I didn't love it at all. In fact I hated it. What I saw was not what I had pictured. It was so different. Too different. 
So, once again, I am back at the beginning, determining whether to give up on it or start again.

(( Big sigh.... ))

I'll start again. 

Not because I am remarkably resilient, because I don't actually think I am, but because I am convinced in my heart that this dream is about more than me. Also because my husband is convinced of it too, which means even if I tried to quit he actually, seriously, wouldn't let me. 
I'm thankful for that.

Starting again means facing that yucky impatient part of my heart that really hates the journey. I'd much rather get there than go through this process of finding my way. But I'm learning that the process is necessary. Because it's the process that opens our eyes to things we never would have seen before. 

Being here in Barcelona is helping me to understand how important a journey is, because I really really love to walk. I still hardly know my way around this city but that little detail hasn't stopped me from walking most places. Sometimes I go the right way and end up where I planned, and a lot of times I go the wrong way, still eventually getting where I meant to go, but accidentally discovering a whole new world along the way.

That's how the journeying thing goes. God knows it. So while He could allow us to just get places and do stuff and achieve things. He doesn't. He invites us to join Him in a journey, one that is messily comprised of both successes and let downs, peppered with right ways and wrong ways and a whole array of scenic routes, all ultimately leading us into becoming everything He created us to be.

All that to say, I will keep working on my project today. And as much as I wish I could just finish it and arrive at the end goal, I've committed to changing my perspective on this whole idea of "the journey". My goal won't be to simply get it done. My goal will be open eyes and open ears and an open mind to learn everything I can during this necessary and currently really annoying process.

I believe that one day I'll fulfill the dream on my heart. But even when I do I know this journey won't be over. It never is. There's always a new dream to pursue, with new wrong turns to take and new wonders to encounter along the way.

I don't know what kind of annoying journey you might be on today, but as a fellow traveler my humble advice it this: Go ahead and embrace the delays. Bathroom breaks are healthy. Pumping gas is necessary. And unexpected scenic routes actually end up being a pretty good time. 

God bless you friends. 

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Rainy Day Vlog

Hi friends! 
We had high hopes of taking you with us to some favorite places this weekend but the rain changed those plans! Instead we are giving you a tour of our little apartment & an opportunity to share some typical fun with Shaun.. cooking, eating, && learning Spanish. Stay tuned for a new vlog next week as we show you more of our life here in Barcelona. Thanks for tagging along!  

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

a successful life.

This morning I remembered that I’m not going to live forever. Sounds funny right? But it really did happen like that. I was just getting ready, right in the middle of putting on my handy dandy maternity jeans, and the thought crossed my mind… I don’t know how long I’ll be on this earth. It wasn’t a morbid thought or even a depressing one, it actually felt light and kind of hopeful, as if some heaviness was being lifted off of me that I had’t realized was there.

I think sometimes it’s healthy to think about death. It reminds us that our days are precious. I also think that when we don’t remember it, we start to feel all tied up like knots, focusing mostly on temporary things, and stressing over stuff that in the long run probably isn’t all that stressful.

Reflecting on the shortness of this life on earth reminds me not to waste my time with shallow meaningless living. It reminds me that there’s a whole world of hearty and delicious living out there and I only have a limited amount of time to experience it. It's like a big huge feast. As if there’s an enormous assortment of food and drinks in front me, everything from basic stuff like the peanuts and pretzels they serve on airplanes, to the elaborate stuff like fresh sushi and sweet Spanish wine. Now say I’m given just one hour to enjoy as much or as little of the food that I want... obviously you wouldn't find me wasting my time on the pretzels, I’d be heading straight for the sushi bar with a glass of wine already in hand. Right? Because when I know that time is short, I use it wisely. 

((Also... Can you tell I’m pregnant?
The only two foods I just listed eating are the ones I can’t have for at least 9 months… hmmmm)) 

All I really want to do is live a successful life. Not necessarily successful in the eyes of people, because peoples' opinions are so fickle, but successful in the sight of God. This means that my success is not measured by my accumulation of wealth or my ability to get a rock-hard bod, it’s not about achieving some sort of fame or even about preserving my own personal happiness. I believe that a deliciously successful life, a sushi and red wine type life, is simply a life lived faithfully. Faithful to God. Faithful to the people He has placed in front of us. Faithful to the work He has given us to do. 

Success can look different for all of us, because unlike the type of success that’s determined by dollar amounts or the number of followers on our Instagram feeds, God determines our success based on our faithfulness to the unique calling He has given to each of us. 

For my friend Hillary in Colorado, success means staying committed to her sweet growing family, which currently consists of things like diaper changing and toddler chasing. Success also means being diligent in maintaining her blog, because she knows that God has called her to display His love through her social media. 

Then there's my friend Bobby Bo. Bobby is from Chicago and has a big red beard and lots of tattoos. About 7 years ago he moved to Thailand as a missionary and committed his life to demonstrating the love of Christ to the Thai people. He married an adorable Thai girl and they made an extra adorable little boy named Ezra. Success for Bobby means loving and supporting his wife and son and it also means adopting the Thai culture as his own in order to make a lasting impact there.  

These are two faithful friends living vastly different lives from one another, but both are richly successful. They aren’t wasting their days here on earth, they’re soaking them up, drinking them in, and savoring the yummy goodness God has for each of them.

That’s how I want to be. That’s what I remembered today. 
I remembered that my time on earth is short. 
And I remembered that I am only as successful as I am faithful. 

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Gender reveal party!

I made a video of our Gender Reveal Party from a few weeks ago! 
It was so much fun I thought you should be able to be a part of it too. 

...I know... look at me getting all video savvy :) 

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Fly to Spain with us -- VLOG

Guess what guys! 
We made our first official Vlog from our flight to Spain!! 
Hip hip hooray!
More will be coming soon! Enjoy!!! 

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Saturday, March 7, 2015

I'm going to be an introvert for now.

Thanks to jet-lag we were awake at 3:30 yesterday morning which made for the perfect opportunity to walk to the beach and watch the sunrise. It was SO beautiful! Excuse the slightly crooked photo! My fingers were frozen. 

I am a super extrovert married to another super extrovert, if there is such a thing. We are such "people people" that we make normal extroverts cringe. Really. We are constantly surrounded by friends— we love making friends, we love inviting friends to sleep over, and we love sleeping over. When we travel we are often asked whether we would like to stay in a hotel alone together or in someone’s home, we always prefer the home because we love getting to know the people who live there. Last year we were given a weekend vacation in Palm Springs and when we arrived to our little condo it took everything in us not to call our friends and ask them to join us because the place was so cool. Most nights we have at least one skater sleeping over, this past week we had around 15 there every night. Whenever we go to a new country I can’t help but invite my friends who live nearby to come visit. My thought process goes something like this, “I’m going to Spain! Perfect! I should tell every European friend I have to come see me!” or “Yes! We are going to Korea! That’s close to China! Let’s ask my friends there to come stay with us!” I do it in America too- I am always inviting different friends to come stay with us in Michigan for Christmas, and whether we are visiting Shaun’s fam or mine in Colorado, they are both accustomed to us spending every waking minute hanging with people we love. We love each other. And we love friends. That is how we do life. 

But something new is happening for us. Maybe it’s the baby girl who is growing inside of me right now or maybe it’s all the words in my head that desperately need to be written on paper and spoken on camera. Maybe it’s simply a need for balance. Whatever it is, Shaun and I are both certain that right now, this time while I’m in Spain, is a time for me to be more introverted. It’s not a time for me to round up everyone I love and invite them to come stay with us. It’s not even a time for me to hit the streets and start making new friends. I don’t need to pack my days with coffee dates and lunch dates and I don’t need to launch a small group or start a ministry that will last beyond my time here. Actually what I need is time to write, time make the videos that I’ve been planning to make for months and months now, and time to rest. We hope I’ll blog a lot while I’m here. We hope I’ll finish my book too. We hope my Spanish will improve and that our marriage will be strengthened and that the few visitors we do have coming will feel richly blessed by my focused attention. We also know that I’m not an introvert. So as much as I will love taking time to focus on these few particular things, I’ll also treasure the time I get to spend with the friends I already have here in Barcelona. I don’t have many. But the ones I have are gold, and hanging out with them will be one of my favorite things to do.

So that’s that. 

You’ll hear from me more than you normally do on this little blog and I’m sincerely looking forward to that. There is so much I have been wanting to say to you and I feel grateful to finally have the time set aside to say it. I pray that this place remains one of genuine encouragement to you. As I’ve said before, I won’t pretend to be perfect here and I hope you don’t either. What you’ll get here will be real thoughts about real life. I’ll continue to share openly about things as I see them, and I’ll do my best to keep reminding you about the living God, Who in His tender love, is working everything out for our good and for His glory.

You are precious. Thanks for visiting my blog. And please forgive me in advance if I don’t invite you to sleepover over during these next few months. I hope you understand.   

your super-extroverted, attempting-to-be-introverted, 
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