September 25, 2009

Tired of Pretending

Sorry I haven't been writing much. I haven't been feeling very inspired. I also haven't felt much like being transparent or vulnerable. I think I'm feeling a little overwhelmed right now.

We have a lot of going on in our lives. A lot of decisions ahead of us. All made more serious by the fact that we will soon be entrusted with the life of a little boy - sweet Milo. (He's kicking up a storm as I write this.)

I could not be happier that I married the man that I did. Yesterday we talked for a long time about the decisions ahead of us, and I just rejoiced inwardly in how godly my husband is, and how much alike we are in our adventurous spirits.

We have two potential paths ahead of us. One is secure, familiar, esteemed, requires little change, and is basically safe. The other could not be more different. It's unfamiliar, unknown, scary, completely different, and requires complete and total trust in the Lord to head into unchartered territory.

We don't know yet concretely what the Lord's direction is, but we have a good idea, and we're both pretty sure it's not the safe route. But both of us desire that. We'd rather error on the side of having to have faith and sacrifice. You know, I'm always hesitant to try and describe what I'm like, and what my dreams are, because I'm afraid people may get the wrong idea. I'm afraid that when I'm describing what I'm like, or the things that scare me or make me sad, they think I'm saying those things are wrong.

Make sense? I'll try to explain.

For me, I have an innate sense of adventure, and desire to go new places and do new things. Traveling in new cultures and visiting different countries is part of what drives me. I love the thought of living life for the Lord, doing His work, in various different countries. I simply can't explain the depth of it. From literally the first day that Matt and I hung out, it was a part of our conversation. And the same is true of Matt (praise the Lord - He knew what He was doing).

When I think of simply buying a house, "settling down", raising our children in a safe and predictable environment, living the Christian American dream, it literally makes me so sad, I want to cry. But here's where I fear people misunderstand me. I'm not saying those things are wrong, and people are less in my mind for doing that or for desiring that. I don't think that all. I'm just saying that it could not be more different from who I am and what I desire.

And for fear of offending people, or misunderstanding me, I simply try to stay quiet, and pretend that all Matt and I want to do is have this baby and finally get what it means to settle down. But for both Matt and I, expecting a baby has only deepened our convictions that the way the Lord has fashioned us, and the desires and dreams He's given us, is to go out and do the adventurous, pioneering thing. And please don't misunderstand me. Not for adventuring and pioneer's sake, but for Him. To invest our lives in eternal work, not our own fleshly benefit.

As much as my dad and I can disagree, this is one area that I know he understands 150% because he's the exact same way. The other day I finally told him some of the things we're thinking, and he could not have been more supportive (not that I expected anything different), and simply said, "I understand completely."

So I don't know. That's where I'm at. Where we're at. Unsure. Tired of being misunderstood, or not understood at all. But tired of pretending too. I am not discontent. I am totally and completely content where we're at, and with what we're doing. But I know it's not the end. And the process is part of the journey.

September 18, 2009

How to Be Travel Savvy

I realize on a daily basis how much traveling absolutely terrifies some people, and really y'all, there's no need for it. So I was inspired this past week to write a post that hopefully helps some people as they begin their travel adventures. Not only as somebody who has traveled extensively, within and outside the United States, but as somebody who works for the airlines, I consider travel and air travel something I know a little something about.

To Be a Savvy Traveler:

1. First, RELAX. It's easy to get stressed out in an airport when it feels like there's a lot of demands (confirmation number! driver's license! liquids-under-3-ounces! how many bags?! etc...), but simply relax and take it one step at a time.

2. Arrive at the airport at least an hour before your departure time. I am an airline employee and am not subject to lines and extra screening, and I still show up an hour before. And by hour, I mean that our car is parked and we are at the counter an hour prior (most of the time). You never know what issues may come up (ticketing, long TSA lines, staff shortages, etc.), and it's best to be prepared. (I'd also like to note that in my travels of 19 countries, many of them multiple times, and nearly-monthly travel, I have never missed a flight. Ever.) Play it safe, get there early.

3. Take everything out of the ordinary in stride, and do not use "you" language (i.e. You lost my baggage, you canceled my flight, you made me miss my plane, etc...). Very rarely have I ever flown to Yemen, found your bag, and lost it. Also very rarely have I ever tied you up, locked you in a closet, and made you miss your plane. The same is true for the person standing in front of you. Use respectful language and common sense. If a flight is canceled, the agent in front of you had nothing to do with it. He/she is merely there to help and get you to your final destination as soon as possible.

4. Have back-up plans, and plan your trip a day early if possible, in order to give breathing room for any sorts of issues that may come up, especially during the winter holidays. Not only do you have record amounts of people traveling in every airport in the world, you have the propensity for winter weather to compound any problems.

5. Have entertainment available. Bring movies, games, books, etc. These help pass the time. Related to this, become a people-watcher. You wouldn't believe what this does to pass the time and makes anywhere you are infinitely more interesting.

6. Pack smartly. If you have two 50lb. bags, I sincerely hope you're moving to Venezuela for two years. And if you're not, then I more sincerely hope that they're packed full of shoes for children in Vietnam. You do not need as much as you think. I'm as fallible as you are in this area, but it makes your travels run a lot more smoothly if you are not bogged down with things.

In summary: relax, arrive early, be respectful, plan ahead, have back-up plans, bring entertainment, and pack smartly.

May your next adventure be amazing!

September 15, 2009

I Can't Think of An Appropriate Title

We kicked off our Breaking Free study last night. Holy cow. We had about 35 women show up last night, and have about 8 more signed up that couldn't make it. I'm so glad I'm not in this alone, I'd be tempted to be overwhelmed to the point of paralysis.

I'm praying that I see the women as individuals and have a heart and passion for them, and don't get lost in the size of it. I don't want any of the women to feel lost in the crowd either. The small groups are going to be so instrumental in that not happening.

I also don't want any women to come and have it "together." None of us have it together all the time, and authentic community happens when we let our guard down. But I did challeng the women last night to be trustworthy so that each of us feel it's a safe place to come and share.

On a different note, Baby Milo has been kicking more and more. Matt got to feel him for the first time two nights ago. So amazing.

We also had a very successful shopping trip to Portland. Our deal of the weekend/century: a $175 NorthFace fleece sweater for Matt on sale for $37. Amazing.

Milo is now also outfitted with a stroller to match his free carseat (thank you airport mistag), a crib, and a dresser. Plus the cutest outfit to bring him home from the hospital in. I fell in love with it. Oh yeah, also the softest fleece polka-dotty blanket you've ever seen or felt in your entire life. And about a million sweet outfits my mom got him. We're going to have to have approximately 3 outfit changes a day so he can wear them all.

Please be praying for this Breaking Free study. We want to see the Lord do some amazing, reviving things in each of us women, individually and collectively.

September 09, 2009

To Be At Home

My mother-in-law got me a magazine subscription for Christmas last year to Real Simple. It mainly talks about food and house and creative ideas and so on and so forth. Very informative and I enjoy it quite a bit when it comes in.

Every month it asks readers a different question and we get to hear back from dozens of people all over the nation. This month the question was, "What does home mean to you?"

The answers were pretty varied; everything from the smell of her mother's perfume to baking pies with mom and grandma.

But it hit me as I read it that I may have a pretty detached view of "home." I don't know if it's because I've moved so much my entire life, or have always had a pretty carefree adventurous mentality, but I didn't feel a single attachment to the traditional concept of "home."

I left to Costa Rica for three and a half months without shedding a single tear. Matt and I will have moved five times in our shortly married life alone. We are not the home attached type.

But I do know what makes me feel like I'm at home. But it would be more aptly described as when I feel the most like I belong.

I feel at home any time that I'm with or near my husband. I can be in a very unfamiliar place, and only have to look at him or touch him, and I immediately feel like I belong.

I feel at home any where that I get time for just the Lord and I.

I feel at home amongst friends that value me, that encourage me and stand behind me. Friends who uplift me, and make it easy to love and be loved.

I feel at home anytime we are with our families, because I know that we are deeply loved and cared for. There's a history there that nobody else has.

I feel at home in Costa Rica and Peru and Romania and Kenya and Fiji because I value their close-knit communities and family emphasis. It's more common to share and fellowship after a meal for hours then to do, do, do.

I feel completely at home when I'm deeply engrossed in a book (which is usually all the time), and have only to read a sentence before I'm carted off to another world.

Home comes in so many different packages, so many different forms, for so many different reasons.

How about you, what makes you feel like you're "home"?

September 04, 2009

A Long Weekend

I could not be happier about this weekend. I have 4 days off, and any sort of holiday weekend is always exciting.

I'm just sitting here chilling with House Hunters going on in the background.

The bad thing about loving House Hunters and What Not to Wear so much is that I have neither a house nor the resources available to make myself over like Clinton and Stacy make me feel the need to. Sad.

But really not so sad either. I'm over it.

Next weekend we're going to Portland to hit up some IKEA! I could not be more thrilled. Total girl's weekend. IKEA and outlet mall and a little baby boy to shop for. I sincerely hope that my colleagues feel the need to go crazy shopping for themselves as well, so I don't feel like such a crazy woman at the store.

I have to post pictures of our Peanut sucking his thumb. Too cute.

Okay, I have to get focused so I can actually get our bathroom and house cleaned today, and do the laundry. I want to full enjoy this weekend without any chores to do.

Okay, one more quick thing. Please read this book. It's completely amazing and totally challenged my view of modern-day Christianity and eternity. It's called Rescued and it's by John Bevere and Mark Andrew Olsen. Amazing.

September 01, 2009

An Update

An update on my life...

First and very foremost...

We're having a BOY!!!

He will be called Milo Justice.

Because, really? That's just a cool stinkin' name and nobody else has it.

2. He already has the cutest little outfits awaiting him.

3. I made the most delicious BBQ ranch chicken wrap today.

4. We just vacayed in Albuquerque and it was oh-so-refreshing.

5. I am now 100% equally yoked with my husband - I love Pei Wei's as much as him since I've discovered the Honey Chicken and fried rice. (Makes me want to hop right back on a plane and have me some more.)

6. I've been sick with a dang cold that has stubbornly held on for going on a week.

7. I'm researching gyms to membership in. No unnecessary pregnancy weight gain for me, if at all possible.

8. I got a brand-new Bible today. I've had my study one for years, and it's easy to lose the freshness when you're studying the same translation for so long, so I'm mixing it up.

9. It's a beautiful day in Missoula today.

10. I could not be happier that it's September 1st. I love fall.

11. My stomach is on the verge of growling, so I need to heat me up some more BBQ ranch chicken wraps. Yum.

12. I wish I had more earth shattering updates, but that's all there is to it. Except for our sweet baby boy. Sweet Milo.

13. Oh wait. One more. I just found out that Milo means "gentle, beloved." And Justice of course means "just."

Cool, huh?