Through Kentucky to North Carolina

waterfall at ridgehavenToday we arrive in North Carolina for training #3 (only one more to go after this!).  I’m very excited about this week.  Not only are we going to receive some great information and resources to help us in our ministry but we’re also going to be spending time with some awesome people in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina.Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 4.16.31 PM.pngI’ve been to this camp pre-Ryan and I remember being disappointed that I didn’t take advantage of the beautiful hiking trails as much as I should have.  Any place that provides a map like this on their website is basically telling you to go and enjoy exploring the area.  creek at RidgehavenPlease be praying for us this week.  Please pray that God would open our eyes, that we would have teachable minds and hearts and that we would have a strengthening week for our marriage.

The Warm

It finally feels a little like spring and less like winter.  After speaking at a Wesleyan Church yesterday (more on our ecumenical ministry opportunities later), Ryan and I headed up to the Twin Cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota).  Since Sunday was beautiful we took advantage of the lovely day and visited Minnehaha Falls. Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.25.24 AMWe then walked along the Minnehaha Creek, down to the mighty Mississippi.  Well, it is the Mississippi River but since we could obviously (if you look at the picture) see across it, it isn’t the widest point.  Anyway, it was a beautiful day to be out enjoying the weather and getting to visit with Ryan’s brother.Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.25.42 AMAfter our walk, we had a delicious dinner at the 112 Eatery filled with new things to try and enjoy.  And we ended the evening with a fire in the backyard.  This was complete with good conversation, apple pie and ice cream.  It was a wonderfully warm day and now we’re looking forward to another couple of lovely days here in the Twin Cities.Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.25.57 AM

Reasons #63-#65 Why I Love My Husband

This list is first and foremost for me, a reminder of why I choose to love this crazy, wonderful man each day.  But I share it with you because I want you to get a glimpse of the amazing way he was created as well as the many ways he is gifted.  There is a lot to love about this man.

#63- He honors his parents.

This month we are living with Ryan’s parents, yes we have a couple short trips here and there but a month with the in-laws is enough to make many people groan.  However, I really do enjoy being with Ryan’s family and I especially love getting to see him daily interacting with them in special ways.  He truly loves and honors his parents.Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 11.06.10 AM#64- His Hands

Ryan often reaches across the center console of the car and his hand finds a place to rest on my knee.  This is an especially comforting gesture on days that we fight.  Ryan has amazing hands.  Hands that make me feel safe and comforted.  His hands that can speak to me with a simple touch, telling me everything is going to be ok.

#65- His cheesy heart.

Being in Wisconsin is always a reminder of how much of Ryan’s childhood shaped him.  Although he grew up in Wisconsin and has lived in a couple other states, he most recently spent over 10 years in California.  So when Ryan introduces himself he often describes himself as a Californian with a cheese for a heart.  This description is a reflection of his humor as well as an apt description of his history that still influences him today.

Check out my April post for more reasons Why I Love My Husband.

 

Our Plans, His Way

As a planning addict, I’ve always been convicted when reading Proverbs 16:9, “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.”  Seriously, Ryan says that planning is my love language.  And I must admit that a thorough, organized plan is one way to my heart.  But I have to be careful that my own planning or even the desire to have a plan doesn’t overshadow God’s ultimate desires and will for my life, day or even the next hour.Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 8.41.40 AMThis verse doesn’t say, “Don’t plan because God will do what He wants with you anyway.”  Instead it is a gentle reminder that although we work, plan and make choices everyday, we lack ultimate control.  But take comfort because the one who is in control is the loving, personal, creator God of the Bible.

So with this in mind, hear my heart planning our way to Australia in current circumstances.  We hold this with open hands but ask that you would pray with us as we continue to plan and as God establishes our steps.

  • 31 more days in our current support raising and training road trip.  Please pray for hearts to be opened and our support levels to grow.
  • Back to California for a week vacation on Catalina island.  I grew up going to this family camp and Ryan and I are looking forward to a week of rest and refreshment.  Please pray that this time would reboot us for the continued work that needs to be accomplished. 
  • Support raising milestone: 75%.  We have been told that we should be at 75% by the end of June in order to stay on track for our arrival in Australia.  Since we are currently at 60%, this is a big goal to reach.  Please pray for diligence in asking for support and for God to surprise us with how and where the support comes from.
  • A month in Brussels, Belgium for training.  This may sound like a vacation but it’s an important part of the training process and what better place to do cross-cultural training than in a country where neither of us speak the language.  Please pray that this would not be too overwhelming for Ryan and that I would be patient and a good learner despite having been through this training before.
  • University of Western Australia: the latest we could hear about the masters program acceptance is the beginning of July.  Please pray that I would be accepted into the program and that I would be able to apply for and receive scholarships.
  • Travel in Switzerland and Germany.  Since we’re already in Europe for the Belgium training, we contacted friends in the area and will spend some time after the training visiting people and even attending a German wedding.  This is a great opportunity for Ryan to see more of Europe and for me to show him some places where I’ve lived and traveled in the past.  Please pray for safety while we travel and for many fun memories to be made with our European friends and family.
  • Back to California again because I am in a friend’s wedding at the beginning of August and then we have a full month of visiting churches already planned.  Please pray for stamina and for God to continue to reveal what He would have for us.
  • Although we have nothing scheduled past the end of August, this will be a time to work on our visas (student visa for me, spousal visa for Ryan), continue to raise the final support needed and make last preparations for our move.  Please pray for wisdom as there are many decisions that will need to be made along the way.
  • Leaving for Australia after Thanksgiving.  A student visa allows you to enter the country 90 days before the semester starts.  Please pray for God’s timing and clear direction.

We praise God that He has been guiding us and remains faithful. I look back at our newsletter from February 2015 when we shared what 10 things needed to happen before we moved to Australia and it’s wonderful to see how, by God’s grace, we’ve been able to accomplish 6 of the steps already.  Despite the changes which include this new opportunity to study and learn at UWA, we see His hands at work.  And we look forward to seeing how the Lord continues to establish our steps.  Thank you for uniting with us in prayer and being with us on this road to Australia.

State Capitol Tour Part 1

It started with a random afternoon free in Sacramento.  Ryan said, “Let’s go see the capitol building.”

And now we’ve toured a few capitols on the west coast and visited a few more on this trip.  We have another couple capitol buildings on the list during this road trip because if we’re in the area, we will at least stop for a capitol selfie.  Can you name these capitols?

The Cold Part

snowdrivingIt’s the last day of April and I drove today through the snow.  Maybe I’ve done a little snow driving before in California but nothing that I can really remember and definitely not in April.  I can now say that I’ve driven through the Rockies in falling, blowing snow.  The coldest it got was 25 degrees according to the temperature gauge on our car.  But it was a beautiful drive (at least what I could see when I wasn’t needing to focus solely on seeing out the front windshield) and the light flocking of snow made everything look lovely.therockiesWe’re hoping that this is the coldest it will be on our road trip so it can only warm up from here.  There is snow on the ground in front of Ryan’s brother’s home but it didn’t stop us from having a great evening with some of Ryan’s old friends here in Colorado.  It was a night for Rook and catching up.  We’re thankful to have arrived safely and are looking forward to a lot of work this week mixed with good family time.

Just be Still

“The Lord will fight for you.  Just be still.” Exodus 14:14

These words, from the kid’s church verse from last week, are a powerful reminder to me in this season of business.  Ryan and I have gone from place to place, speaking engagement to speaking engagement and this is just the beginning of our busy summer.  We swing from low, exhausted lows to energized, determined highs and back again.  Yes, this is our job but we have to be careful that we don’t start relying too much on our own abilities and forget the underlying foundation of our work.ExodusI’m not good at being still.  I’m not good at resting.  Case in point: As I type these words, I’m actually feeling a little guilty because it’s Sunday afternoon and I should be napping or otherwise really resting but instead I’ve convinced myself that writing a blog entry to maintain my blogging schedule is more important.  And although I am going to finish this,  I’m reminded that I need to remember the words of this verse even more.

“The Lord will fight for you.  Just be still.”  The deeper we get in this process, the more convinced I am that my own words and abilities are severely inadequate.  It’s only by God’s grace, through the Lord fighting for us that we will see everything fall into place, raise the support we need, finish the training we have to complete and make it to Australia.

We have a loving heavenly father engaged in this battle, we have his son Jesus who is also in on this fight and the Holy Spirit is constantly doing battle on our behalf.  We have a whole army fighting for us…now to just be still.

Reasons #60-#62 Why I Love My Husband

There is no shortage of reasons why I love my husband.  Even on the difficult days, I still find that there are many reasons to celebrate our marriage and how God is working in us together.

#60- His ability to focus on the moment.  Although frustrating at certain times, I wouldn’t change my husband’s ability to be in the moment, enjoy what is currently happening and not be weighed down by all the other stuff that can easily crowd out in-the-moment joy.  This is one of the things I truly wish I could glean from Ryan, even just a little.

#61-He’s a cat whisperer.  No, not every cat likes him but he has an uncanny ability to connect with cats and other animals too.  He’s amazed a couple people who thought they had cats who don’t like anyone but by the end of our visit, Ryan had them purring.  RyanCatWhisperer#62- He doesn’t yell.  I really don’t know what it sounds like for my husband to raise his voice.  I’m very expressive when frustrated or angry, however, Ryan chooses his words carefully and rarely even raises his voice.  Sometimes I wish he would just yell and let it out but we both know that yelling is probably not the solution.  I love Ryan for his gentle, not yelling ways.

As much as I do love singing Ryan’s praises, this list is as much for me as it is for anyone else.  Marriage isn’t easy and I need these constant reminders that God brought us together for a reason and that there are indeed, many reasons why I love my husband.

A Day in LA

IMG_20160402_111504-2We love to take advantage of beautiful California days and hike whenever we get a chance.  Today we hiked from Ferndell up to the Griffith Observatory, a beautiful scenic hike in the middle of LA.  Last time we visited the Griffith Observatory was Valentine’s Day 2014, a week before we got married.  And this morning we got together to celebrate life milestones with Ryan’s friends from Pardeeville, Wisconsin who live in the LA area.  One couple is newly engaged, we got to meet the other couple’s 8 month old son and we shared more about our adventures getting to Australia.  It was a great LA day.IMG_20160402_114527