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.

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.


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.

Are you in Australia yet?

Are you back from Australia already?  How is Australia?  What’s it like living down under? Back so soon!?  These are all questions we receive on a somewhat regular basis.  It’s especially prevalent in areas where we have spent a lot of time but now are mostly gone.  If we didn’t leave for Australia, than where did we go?IMG_0821Coming back to Camarillo is a little strange for me and almost surreal.  We lived here for the first two years of our marriage, and Ryan had lived here for a few years even before that.  We use to have a home, jobs, friends, church and community.  It was all here.  But since early February, we’ve been on the road working towards the goal of serving in Australia.  We even had a good-bye party in Camarillo because we wouldn’t be living here any longer and of course we’re not at church every Sunday anymore.  So it’s understandable that some people in are confused about where we are but no, we’re not in Australia…yet.  We’re working towards it!

Our home is currently wherever we are together.  We knew that going into our marriage.  Through prayer, the wisdom of our organization and God’s timing, we are working towards getting to Australia.  This requires more financial support as well as training among other things.  Since you’re a blog reader you know that we’re still here in the US and you’ve hopefully been following our adventures.  Please pray for peace for us in God’s timing.  We may not be in Australia yet but we definitely feel that God has already started our ministry.

Reasons #57-#59 Why I Love My Husband

It’s been a couple months since I posted reasons why I love my husband (From January- Reasons #54-#56).  Since February Ryan and I have been spending so much time together on the road and like many things in life, it’s wonderful, terrible, challenging and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  But it still seems like a good time to remind myself why I love this man so much.  IMG_20160316_152739#57- He is a hard worker.  He would much rather be outside enjoying the sunshine and hanging out in the beautiful mountains pictured behind him.  But he knows that this is now his job and this is how he is able to provide for us as a family.  I’m very thankful for my hardworking husband.

#58- His positive attitude.  I say I’m being realistic but it’s often quite negative.  And as much as I am trying to work on my own attitude it’s helpful to have a very positive husband.  Ryan’s amazing optimism is a nice balance for me.  He helps me to remember that rainbows, sunshine, gumdrops, piglets and puppies all make the world a better place.

#59- His confidence in God’s ability.  Just like my lack of positivity, I also tend to limit God’s ability to work in our lives and be in and of himself the impetus for change.  But Ryan is confident in God’s ability to be the omnipresent, gracious and powerful, all-knowing and loving God of the universe.  This is amazingly encouraging for me while we walk through a daunting time of tasks and work that will not be accomplished in our own finite power.

For my single friends: The list I had of what I wanted in a husband didn’t include many of the things that now I am thankful to have in order to promote a healthy marriage.  If you desire to be married, I would encourage you to pray for your future spouse and pray that God would be equipping them with the traits and abilities that you can’t see you need now but that God knows you will need in the future.

For my married friends: What are three things that you love about your spouse?  (You don’t need to make a public declaration, unless you want to, but I’d love to encourage you to think about it.)

My Love-Hate Relationship with Google Calendar

First of all please excuse the random technology posts recently.  But whether good or bad, I heavily rely on my phone as well as my computer for work and I am becoming increasingly reliant on Google Calendar.  While not perfect, we’re using Google Calendar because it’s what my husband uses and it is rather convenient to both have access to a mutual space that we can each edit and view.  Planning road trips and scheduling meetings is a lot easier when we’re both on the same page.IMG_20160315_144958-2This month I’ve gone pretty much paper calendar cold turkey.  Rather than try and do both, I’m giving Google Calendar a chance.  However, I miss the feel and ease (in some ways) of my paper calendar.  I really just like paper and the way my muscle memory somehow remembers dates and names I write down better than dates and names I type in.  And in some way the messiness of a paper, handwritten calendar (at least my typical calendar) better reflects the messiness of life.  And it’s also easier for me to look at, refer to and instead of clicking multiple times to make a change, I do it with the swipe of a pen.

Our current Google Calendar looks orderly and precise even though it’s full to bursting this week.  Each new addition files in neat and orderly by time of the event, not scribbled over in the order of making the appointment.  Things can be moved with a deletion or change of date or time but now I can’t see what was swapped out or who gave up what time to make room for someone else’s schedule.

I’m sure over time I will find more and more benefits to Google Calendar but I’m reluctant to give up my paper schedule.  Maybe one day when Ryan and I are settled in one place, I will have the luxury of a paper calendar on my desk or a white board calendar for the family to see and use but for now I’m doing my best to embrace the benefits of this technology that can easily fit in my purse or pocket.

Do you use Google Calendar?  What are some features you most appreciate?  Any tips or tricks that have improved your Google Calendar experience?  If you use something else, why would we switch?  I’d love some positive feedback:-)

Shorty and Slim

Ryan and Josh first met at Trinity Bible College.  Josh came up to Ryan in class and said “Hey Shorty” to which Ryan replied “Hey Slim”.  They’ve been fast friends ever since.  If you couldn’t tell these pictures are from their college days.SlimDog2I met Josh 2 1/2 years ago on my first Pacific Northwest road trip while Ryan and I were dating.  It was important for Ryan that I meet Josh and get his stamp of approval.  Needless to say I passed his rigorous testing process.  Josh and I met again when he stood next to Ryan as his best man at our wedding.  Although now many years removed from Trinity, Ryan and Josh remain close friends.  SlimDogTomorrow (Sunday the 28th) we will be there to witness Josh’s wedding to his fiancé Cathie.  Just as it was important for Ryan to have Josh with him at our wedding, it is important for Josh to have Ryan at his wedding.  We are thankful for the timing and that we are able to be a part of this special day.  Please cover Josh and Cathie in your prayers as they begin this new chapter in their lives as husband and wife.

Anniversary in Astoria

Yesterday Ryan surprised me with more than just a trip to the Washington State Capitol.  You can see that picture if you follow me on Instagram (joycandee).  He warned me that it was a bit of a drive and I was slightly worried after we spent some time rambling around Aberdeen, driving by Kurt Cobain’s childhood home and the bridge where Kurt Cobain drew a lot of his musical inspiration from.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that but Aberdeen was definitely more of a treat for Ryan.IMG_20160223_073244~2However, once I figured out that he had booked a place in Astoria, I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful drive and even laughed as we got to sing along to a little Cindy Lauper that was serendipitously on the radio.IMG_20160223_084908For those of you not familiar, Astoria is a little town on the Oregon coasts where the Goonies was set and filmed.  It also boasts the location where Clark Gable began his acting career and also a few places where outdoor scenes from Kindergarten Cop were shot.  I’m sure there are a few other noteworthy things but since I really shamelessly love The Goonies, this was just a fun place to be if only for one night.IMG_20160222_170247We drove by some of the places you can see from the movie.  However, the Goonie house is privately owned and tucked away on a hillside that is currently closed to traffic.  But we still got to see the jail and walked by the intersection that is highlighted during the police chase in the opening credits of the film.  Recognize the car?  That’s the one (if not the actual car then the same style) the Fratelli brothers were driving.IMG_20160222_170915~2As much as I enjoy the Goonies, the highlight of the day was time with my husband in the beautiful, romantic hotel.  He chose very well.  We enjoyed the amazing views, the welcome complete with a wine and cheese bar, the relaxing sounds of the Columbia River, a bubble bath including complementary champagne, fluffy white bathrobes and a cozy fire.  We just stayed in, ordered pizza (after all it was Ryan’s anniversary too) and played games all evening.IMG_20160222_173442~2This beautiful view is what we woke up to.  I’m so blessed by my husband who took the time to plan something special even in our busy season of travel, moving towards Australia and support raising.  We’ve known each other 3 years, been married 2 years and I’m excited to see where the future takes us.

Traveling- Married and Single

This morning Ryan and I took a walk in an area I probably wouldn’t have explored on my own.  It was a lovely beginning to our work day.  And a needed reminder how much I truly love and am thankful for this man.IMG_20160217_091216~2.jpgThe 8-ish hour drive yesterday gave us lots of time to be thankful for each other as well as become frustrated even to the point of anger.  Of course, we don’t like being angry with each other but it happens.

When I was single road trips were lonely.  However, I was able to stop when I needed to stop, eat when and where I wanted to eat, listen to whatever I felt like and when I got lost, the only person I had to blame was myself.

But now almost every decision requires discussion and it’s very obvious that Ryan and I think differently, pack differently, plan differently and give directions differently.  But at least we’re doing it together…right.  Some moments I need a bit of coaxing to believe this.

As a single I idealized marriage in many ways but I’m thankful for many friends who continually gave me a reality check that either choice we make comes with positives as well as negatives.  When I’m not angry and being truly honest with myself, I would not give up my marriage with Ryan for anything.  I am in love with this amazing man who loves me, inspires me and has given us a beautiful vision for life and ministry.  I’m thankful for the many reminders that the partnership and life we have together is worth working through the challenges.