Merry Chritmas

As the whole universe waits for this blissful day to honor Christ our Savior’s birth; let peace, comfort, gratitude, grace, and joy surround you.
Two thousand seventeen was a year of change, adventure, travel, new experiences, laughter and

L O V E.

We feel blessed beyond measure for our family and friends, for our love for one another, and the gift of this life.
May God bless you richly as we head into a new year.
Merry Christmas!

 

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An Ageless Inner Child

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Two days ago I had one of those days that will be etched into my mind forever. I think every day that I live on this planet, I have something to be grateful for, but this day….this particular day was exceptional!

I woke up and drove down the beach to a neighboring community for a yoga practice. Practicing on the beach, in the sun, with the waves crashing right in front of you, is second to none in my book. Before practice, we talked about having no exceptions and having a child-like sense of wonderment. To not allow “should” to come into your mind, as in “I should be IN this pose” or “I should be able to get into this pose.” Instead….forget it, and allow yourself to be like a child, who, never thinks that they need to or should be doing something. They just do it. If it works out, fantastic! If it does not, what happens? Most often THEY LAUGH! As we went into tree pose, she then asked us to close our eyes, which makes the pose that much harder (for me anyway.) It’s easy to have balance when your eyes are open but shut them, and you have to really find some inner focus. Your drishti. She reminded us that if we fell out of the pose to

laugh

about

it,

and to not put pressure on ourselves OR our practice. *For the record, I am a HUGE proponent of laughter! Even at my own expense (just ask my family.) quotes-the-purpose_5321-1

After leaving that morning, I thought about those words all day. It’s what I took off my mat. Be Childlike. When is the last time you allowed yourself to feel like that? To let go of fear? Of expectation? Of the pressure to be perfect or get “into a pose” To laugh hysterically when something

 DOESN’T

work out? My hubs and I talked about the fact that when we were younger, we just did stuff, throwing caution to the wind…. Build a bike ramp with the neighbor boys, and then have the same boys lay on the ground one after another past the ramp, and see if the boy on the bike can jump them all! Build a treehouse with a Tarzan swing to get down, tied to a limb by your sweet friend from next door, who was just learning to tie her shoelaces. And GUESS WHAT? You tried the swing out on the first try without even thinking about the safety. The fact that you could fall to the ground never crossed your mind. We were fearless. We didn’t even believe that we were incapable of doing things. We were adventurers and crusaders and pioneers of the unimaginable. How about learning something new? We tried, and if we didn’t quite succeed, WE LAUGHED! It never crossed our minds to get upset. Ever!

How do we lose that?

Unknown-1 They say “older is wiser” but sometimes that means “older is limited.” Limited in our thinking, our actions, and our behaviors.

The words from our yoga teacher stuck with me throughout the moring and as we went out surfing later that day. It was late afternoon, and we figured if we only had an hour, it’s STILL an hour on the water! It was so incredibly enjoyable out there. We were having a blast! We were being a little bold. And guess what? LAUGHING! Laughing-out-loud at nothing, other than the sheer thrill of what we were doing right then. Laughing at our stupid mistakes that sent us flying off our boards or being tossed and turned in an underwater washing machine of salt and sand (ahem…me) that had us rolling along the bottom of the sea. We felt like kids. Entirely in the moment, throwing caution to the wind and just being present on the waves in the warm ocean.e9fc788cf15b3f8542f8576b962c87c5--teaching-children-quotes-quotes-children

Then it happened.

As I headed into shore on a soft pillowy wave, I turned to paddle back out. The sun was setting, and I hadn’t even noticed, BUT when I turned around the sky had changed into the most extraordinary work of art I’d ever seen. Brush strokes of bright oranges and

P I N K!

The water in front of me turned the most amazing rose coral, and I sat up on my board and just started crying. Have you ever seen something so beautiful that it’s made you cry? I sat in the rosado water with a sky bursting open, and I just cried. At that moment I was so incredibly beholden by what I was seeing. I continued to paddle out to where my hubs was floating, transfixed by the same sun-setting sky and he said: “Do you see this the same way I am?” We were both so taken by nothing more than the sun, the sky and the sea. I thought for a second that I wished I had my camera; to have a witness to such artistry. Honestly, I could have paddled back in, but I just sat there and knew that it was going to have to be a moment that I simply remember. Like all of the great memories in childhood…we didn’t always have a camera handy. There were no cell phones and selfie sticks….you had to bank the experiences in your mind tucked away to pull out and relive later.
I think living in Costa Rica has allowed for more of a child-like sense of wonder in us. Living in another country, you are continually seeing and doing things that are different from what you’ve become accustomed to. It’s exciting! I love the fact that we can wake up every day and learn and discover something new and most of the time I DO feel like a child, laughing as we speak Spanish that is not always correct, learning the different animals, reptiles, and bugs and being wholly astonished when a Toucan lands in the tree next to you on your patio.

My hubs and I sat until the sky was dark. We just didn’t feel like we could dishonor what we were witnessing by turning our backs. To say this was quite possibly the most amazing sunset we had seen in our lives is understated. We both fell in love with that moment. Being silly and simple and allowing ourselves to stop and do nothing except stare in a childlike way into the sky. Marveling at the craftsmanship of such a generous gift.

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Finding Contentamiento

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-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…..IMG_2017

 

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.

Contentamiento! IMG_2016

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.

 

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Moving Day! Leaving Spokane with our lives in footlockers and suitcases.

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.

 

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Here Monkey Monkey

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.

 

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Meet “Sandy” our Sea-Pig

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!

 

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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.

 

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Thanksgiving Morning- A little different tradition. Eating pie that a sweet friend made for us in the sunshine

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!

 

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Hola BABY!!

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Low tide kissed by the sun!