-Porque yo sé muy bien los planes que tengo para ustedes —afirma el Señor—, planes de bienestar y no de calamidad, a fin de darles un futuro y una esperanza. – Jeremías 29:11
Here I am with a million days gone by and adventures and experiences had and finally getting around to writing some down. I’m a terrible blogger! A terrible “Keep up on the blog” blogger.
I guess in the grand scheme it makes no difference as long as the story is told. I feel like a lifetime has gone by and I have failed to sit down and put pen to paper ..ahem, fingers to keypad, words onto the screen.
I am going to start with today. Or yesterday. Or this past week…..
We moved. The earth moved and I had a slight meltdown.
At the beginning of this year, we decided to take a leap! Greg and I both being “no regrets” types of people, moved from the comforts of our home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to another country that has really felt like home since the first time we set foot here ten years ago. We sold/gave away most of our things, stored what we needed to keep in the States, packed up footlockers and suitcases, backpacks and our dog and boarded a plane for a one-way trip to Costa Rica. The decision was made for this looong ago. Years ago God had planted this in our hearts. Our first trip down here was so life-changing that we knew eventually we would be here full-time. It was that trip that tipped our lives of consumerism, materialism, wants over needs, unhappiness in careers, our marriage, the place we lived, our quality of life, of corporate ladders and shopping madness, the never-ending, un-fillable hole of discontent to where we are now.
After being here that very first time, friends knew and family knew and friends of family knew…that at some point God was going to bring us back. That trip had such an acute and profound effect on us and set the wheels in motion for HUGE life changes! Since that first trip, we have been here 7 times and have fallen head over heels for Central America. We have been to Panama, Nicaragua, and traveled for mission work in Honduras. We know God’s hand was on our first trip here and that He gave us the love and desire for our trips to Honduras, and eventually to take the leap and move here to Costa Rica full-time.
What an adjustment! It’s different being on vacay and MOVING and yesterday proved to be one of those days. Last winter we were here for two months, but we knew we would be going back to the States. I think yesterday I had that “A-ha moment” when I knew we weren’t going back.
Coming off of our first Thanksgiving without family and friends and being in a country that does not celebrate Thanksgiving was tough on me. We DID have an amazing dinner at a local hotel on the beach that was incredible ( I mean here I am whining about having turkey on the beach) but for me, Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday. It’s one I almost always host (with my MIL taking Christmas) in our home with family and friends. The days leading up, I cook and sing and listen to music. It’s a no-pressure holiday for me because I enjoy the prep. I love hosting, the decorating, the setting of a beautiful table. We love food and wine and talking about how thankful we are for the year we have had, sharing stories, and achievements, as well as being grateful for the hardships and struggles that have refined us a bit over the year. IT’S A DAY OF GENUINE THANKFULNESS and GRATEFULNESS! To me its a way of life, everyday, but I love that a day is set aside for giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year <tradition> and expressing and learning to live with an attitude of gratitude and appreciation in all parts of your life, big and small, on a regular basis. The kids come home, my family and friends are present and it’s just a FULL nest. Full-ness.
The sand. OHHHHH MUH GOODNESS let me tell you about the sand that I clean daily. Surfing/Salty Couple + Golden Retriever + Ocean + Sand Rolling = Mountains of Sand! Mountains! (Again, here I am whining about sand. Living on a beach)
The bugs. Oye! We haven’t lived in a climate that breeds a lot of bugs. I’m talking spiders, ants of various varieties, millipedes, centipedes, Palmetto roaches, geckos and huge beetles, butterflies and flying “things” that are for the most part harmless, just ya know…. SCARY! I hear that “we will get used to them” but the jury is out on that. Can’t image that day, but Lord, I’m ready! I’m not a tremendous lover of bugs and have had some pretty interesting and some downright funny experiences with bugs since we’ve moved.
Adding those up with the VERY ground moving earthquake we had 2 weeks ago while my husband was gone, I was feeling a little down yesterday. I know, I know, it’s natural after a move and I fully understand that. I am just keeping it real. Keeping it authentic! There are ups and downs to any move or with any giant life-altering decision. I talked to my mother-in-law yesterday and said to her “even in paradise we have bad days” No one is immune, no matter where you are and what you’re doing. I am generally a pretty easy-going, optimistic, upbeat person…but rest assured, I DEFINITELY have my moments. She understood; they just built and moved into a new house!
So after an afternoon of feeling “not so sure about this” we walked down for sunset. This is something we do every day, as does most of the village. There is something about sitting under a sky that God has painted in the most extraordinary colors. As we walked the beach I was reminded of WHO brought us here. “Look around you Paula and see my goodness” I needed an attitude adjustment and a quick reminder to LOOK. LISTEN. WAIT. HEAR. FEEL.
Look around at His beauty and creation.
Listen to His voice above all others.
Wait for His guidance.
Hear what He has to say to us.
Feel His love and His grace.
I know full-well this is where we are meant to be, I just needed to reset. I mean honestly, I feel like we are living our dream and by no other way than by the grace of God.
WE ARE LIVING OUR DREAM!
This move was not on a whim, this was Him. Yes, this was the desires of our hearts, but we know who puts those desires and dreams there. It was bigger than us! This is the place that He put on our hearts long ago. A change in lifestyle. A call to mission. Sand and sun and surf. Amazing people. A slowed life. A life of adventure, and bugs and iguanas and monkeys and earthquakes and broken TVs. Of parrots that wake us up at 5 am on schedule, every day and a symphony of frogs that serenade us to sleep every night. Of sandy dogs, of knowing and living the meaning of Pura Vida. Of things NOT moving at an American pace but the ground and earth moving A LOT! Of sunsets that set your soul on fire. Of monkeys on the roof and crabs in the house. Of butterflies, so incredibly beautiful they water your eyes. Of mountains, and rainforests and waterfalls. Of people so loving and generous and passionate and genuine that you are immediately family. I have said it a million times, this place is magical!
We are where we are supposed to be.
Is it perfect, no! Is it an adjustment? Yes! Did we think we’d be coming to live in Costa Rica as Americans with our American ways, no! Are we missing family and friends? Only like crazy!! BUT we are grateful to be gaining new family here. Every single day that we wake up here I am SO thankful. I am sold-out, overwhelmingly, falling down thankful to be living in “our” paradise. I am grateful and at ease knowing I can trust God with ALL OF THIS. Even the bad days.
Now I ask a favor….pray for us, because as much as we KNOW that we are meant to be here, we are still looking for the purpose. This isn’t on accident. This isn’t a vacation. The WHY is what we are praying about. Why are we here? I KNOW someone prayed for me yesterday when I was having a bad day and I thank you! Join us in praying for God to show us the path He has for us right now. Show us if there is a need in our community, a way we can help others, a way we can invest in and pour into others here. We are ready. We aren’t here on coincidence.
Just as I finish writing this, I looked out to see the cutest baby coming up our road. No, it wasn’t a baby iguana or baby coati (Pizote) but this little cutie!