Just a Few Simple Things

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We are apart for our first Valentine’s in twenty-six years. We’ve never been much to celebrate the day because we feel that an everyday love is better than one day of Hallmark devotion. Still,, we are apart….

I DID notice when I unpacked a few weeks ago that a little, secret card slipped out from between my shirts. It’s just like you to sneak that into my bag when I wasn’t looking. It made me smile BIG. IMG_4959

Of course, I am thinking about you today. So I thought I’d be sappy and syrupy and sentimental.

Sometimes it’s nice to show you the funny, quirky ways you have made our lives into this extraordinary love story. 

 

*The way we can sit in a restaurant talking for hours like we’ve just met. 

*Encouraging and celebrating the wild, independent, adventurous young woman in me. 

*How we showed our kids what true love is. 

*Our endless supply of inside jokes.

*The way you sit and really listen with incredible, curiosity when you ask about my day. 

*That one night at that one BBQ when our knees touched and we felt enough electricity to light California. 

*The way your muscles flex when you wrap your arms around our grown kids. 

*The way we can have nothing and everything and it’s never mattered. 

*The way you hold my hand when I need a good cry.

*Our first kiss as young adults. 

*The Japanese love notes you mailed me before we had email. 

*Your bold, expectant prayers.

*When you laugh so hard and I see your retainer and it reminds me of being kids together. 

*Your never-ending sense of adventure. 

*You are truly the biggest romantic I know.

*Our nightly foot rubs before bed. 

*The deep, profound love you have for our children. 

*That first cup of coffee that you bring me and we share in bed together every morning. 

*The tiny specks of silver in your hair. 

*How the simplest things in life matter the most to you. 

*Your passionate, on fire, love for God. 

*Music. 

*The way you find the best Speakeasies.

*Our ease of traveling the world together. 

*The way you make everyone feel at such ease around you. 

*How you always share your last bite with me. 

*Your complete adoration of our kids. 

*That you always have been and always are my biggest cheerleader, supporter and advocate for any and all shenanigans I cook up. 

*The way you have animated my feet with voices. 

*The way you love to hide scary masks in our house to frighten the living daylights out of me and then run to hug me when you know I’m terrified.

*That one night grocery shopping that we can always laugh so hard about. 

*The way our feet find one another under the covers in the middle of the night.  

*Your sweet lips. 

*When you laugh so authenticity and slap MY knee over it. 

*The sweetness when you kiss my forehead every day. 

*Your incredible work ethic. 

*Your remarkable generosity and willingness to help people. 

*Your skin. 

*Your sincere smile. 

*The way you take me by the hand and parade me into a room. 

*The way you get excited about our date nights after all these years. 

*Our cooking show date nights. 

*The love we both share for hitting up hot new restaurants.

*The way you love our fur-kid. 

*When you leave our home and come back to pick me up for a date. 

*Our 3am Netflix binges.

*How you have a way of making me feel like I’m the only woman on the entire planet. 

*Your respect, admiration and, love for your parents. 

*The way we laugh so much and so often together.

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*Our kitchen dance parties. 

*Your unfailing, steadfast and intentional faith. 

*How you always empower and encourage me and make me feel like I can conquer the world. 

*Your easy going and peaceful presence. 

*Your extraordinary culinary skills. 

*How we don’t need anything at all to have a perfect evening together. 

*The way you’ve never expected me to change the person I am deep down inside.

*The way you allow me to cheat a little when we play board games but act like you don’t know. 

How even though we are apart I feel your heartbeat. 

Love~

Your PJ

Restore Me

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What a year it has been! I spent the last year with BE ruminating in my mind. That was my word for 2018. I am so not into New Year’s resolutions. Never have been. But what I DO, is pray. Pray for a WORD, a word to focus on and to set me on fire. To fix my heart on intentions, meaning, and hope. Don’t get me wrong, though, I am not bashing on resolutions, and I think they work for many. I think sometimes we get so off course during a year that giving yourself a resolution is incredible! It creates a fierceness in you: a determined heart and a purpose. I am, however, about goals. The type that allows growth but is not over-reaching and unattainable, so that you set yourself up for failure. Pliable goals that move and flow over the year. Some quick and some that are going to require some hard work. Maybe repairing a relationship, running a 5k, picking up an old project you were frustrated with or picking up a discarded passion that you allowed to fall away for whatever reason.

Last year was the year of “BE,” and I have been put to the test. Two thousand eighteen was an unbelievable year! In 2017 we had decided to sell off, donate, bless others with our excess and pack up and move out of the country. We dedicated to a full year. The year brought so much growth, challenge, joy, change, and transformation to both G and I. It was pretty magical, and we learned a lot. We learned that things are indeed never in our control. Something that sometimes both of us struggle with, obviously, because we continue to be challenged on this. We were blessed in a multitude of ways that we never imagined. We learned to BE more present and trust more. We learned that being comfortable and BE-ing comfortable means entirely two different things. We learned to BE more gracious and more thankful. We learned that to BE content doesn’t mean materially or always easy. We learned to BE more patient and to navigate problems without allowing annoyance to slip it’s ugly fingers in.

Going into this year as I nestled down my heart to await my word, I was excited! I was also exhausted and frustrated. We knew the time G and I had spent apart due to his career was not working well. Although living abroad, he had a lot of travel to the States. More than we anticipated. We knew that my complete retreat from racing and triathlon was not working. Coming off of several years of constant competition and endorphins to “hammocking” was not feeding my soul and my inner fire.
I prayed for a few months for my word, and just like always, in the early, dark hours of the morning while lying in bed, it was there on my heart.

Restoration.

res·to·ra·tion
/ˌrestəˈrāSH(ə)n/Submit
noun
1.
the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition.
synonyms: repair, repairing, fixing, mending, refurbishment, reconditioning, rehabilitation, rebuilding, reconstruction, overhaul, redevelopment, renovation; informal rehab
“the restoration of derelict housing.”

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This is always the part of the story that gets me excited because I never know where these words will lead. I always look forward to the transformation that they bring each year. I love that it gives me something to focus on and center myself on. Pray about and REALLY listen.

Restoration/Restore can mean a million different things. We do know we both love living abroad. We both agree that we are still dedicated to that. We are both wild-gypsy souls with an unquenchable amount of wild and wanderlust. We know that beyond the shadow of a doubt had we not decided to move, we would’ve regretted it later on. We are still happy we leaped when a lot of people would instead remain comfortable in their box. We know that no matter what, we will usually always take the road less traveled. We will never take things for granted and never say no to an opportunity. We won’t “live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” Travel, seeing other countries, visiting places in your own country, meeting people, exploring, eating foods that are questionable (HAHA) smelling, tasting and feeling the pulse of new areas, we think, intensifies the richness of your life. You realize how small you are on this vast globe. You learn a lot about adaptation and resilience. You learn there are a million paths to happiness, and none of them look the same.

img_3408So we start over. A new year. A new word. A further purpose. A fresh new love. New expectations and possibilities. New promises to lean in to. New vistas. With a renewed sense of wonder and curiosity and a fully open heart for RESTORATION, whatever that is going to look like. Ready to flip the flow (thanks Pastor Steven) Laying everything down for an inspired and passionate start line with a fresh eagerness and inquisitiveness for two thousand nineteen.

Happy Festivus -Airing of Grievances

Take a look at your life. What do you see? 

I try to keep my social media positive and inspirational all while being authentic and real. OF COURSE like everyone I have bad days and situations and I definitely SEE them, acknowledge them and accept them but they never destroy me and I don’t see a need for complaint. So often all I see on social media is complaining.

”The house isn’t perfect”  But does it hold a loving family and friends? Do you gather around a table for incredible meals and talk and laugh and make memories?

”The government isn’t perfect”  When has it ever been? George Washington owned slaves and made mistakes on the battlefield due to his lack of experience as a general. Those mistakes cost him the lives of many soldiers. They almost cost him the independence of America. Or Hoover’s belief that raising taxes would somehow fix the “Great Depression”

”The new car isn’t perfect” Neither was my 1989 Honda Civic that I bought in 2002, but that car represented my freedom from domestic violence and is still my most favored car. 

”My marriage isn’t perfect” How can you ever have the expectation of living with someone other than yourself and have it completely copacetic? How completely boring.

“My kids aren’t perfect” Thank goodness kids aren’t clones and they all have individuality and their own identity. 

”My body isn’t perfect” 🙄🙄 It is strong and healthy and capable? 

The list goes on. Oftentimes things aren’t as we planned and that’s part of life and growth.

 We ARE NOT OUR CIRCUMSTANCES. 

To live in a constant state of compliant really shows a lack of happiness and gratitude all around.

 Ya know what’s perfect? Nothing. 

So it’s either a situation where you honestly can’t be happy no matter what the outcome and you’re completely unable to please OR maybe you feel so out of control that you need to control everything to create perfectionism OR maybe you just love the drama. Maybe you’ve never been in a situation where you’ve dedicated time in your life to something other than yourself. 

I can’t be certain, but it’s heartbreaking, honestly. 

We live in a society bent on being perfect, which has created nothing but stress and drama. 

Stop and take a look at your life. 

There is a laundry list of things I could be adding to this but I’m trying to keep this short and sweet. More than likely my passion will run more wild on this than the crazy curls that grow unruly out of my head.. but I digress. 

As Greg and I travel the world and meet people the one thing we notice is the perfectness in imperfection. We travel to places where people are (to American standards) struggling, without complaint. I fact it’s more often the people who have less-than are the ones more likely to invite us for dinner. It’s the people who worry about their water sources being polluted, knowing it could be worse, invite us for tea. They smile, they tell stories and they don’t complain. They know things aren’t perfect but have decided to rise up and see the greatness, not to strive for perfection but to see things through another lens. 

Over the years Greg and I have had more times of looking at one another and thinking Whiskey Tango Foxtrot than you can imagine. We raised kids. HaHa, that right there should reveal our skill-set.  We’ve built houses for ourselves and for others in foreign countries. We’ve had no money and an abundance. We endured sickness and long-distance-moves. We’ve served on missions, we’ve lost friends, we’ve had delays and bad flights, we’ve had plans change that weren’t in our control to begin with, BUT we’ve always ALWAYS been grateful. In the 5 seconds after a tragedy, we may look blinded, but within another 5 we think… 

“Wait, look at our life!” 

This year I have had an abundance of friends suffer. Through decades of marriage that came to an abrupt end. Through the diagnosis of cancer that has decided to take a young, healthy body and ravage it. Through losing a home to a natural disaster. Loss of a spouse and children. Unexpected moves from an area they love. Loss of jobs. 

Stop and take a look at your life. 

I can’t help but think 100% of us have something better to do than complain.  EVER! 

Please stop. Please stop making mountains out of nothing. Please stop feeding drama on social media.  Please stop being petty. Please do something for someone other than yourself. Please look around you to those who are REALLY hurting. Please get out of bed and stop complaining about your health and DO something to move towards change. Please see someone and/or admit that maybe you’re depressed and seek help. Please stop posting things that make people roll their eyes. (Ok maybe it’s just me) 

Please be delicate with one another. Please forgive someone. Please spread kindness. Please give to someone in need.  Please agree to disagree (HONESTLY) Please extend grace. Please be humble. Please love without condition. Please…. just be a kind human.