Stolen Hearts

Going to take a little commercial break from my JMT posts. Just brief, I’ll be back at it in no time.


Sunset at Playa Tamarindo


Leaving Spokane for some SUN

We are back in Costa Rica now. Possibly our most favorite place on the planet. We started coming down here in 2007. Our first trip, all three kids in tow, changed us. Changed us in ways we never thought possible. G stayed 8 days before having to head back to the States. Our kiddos and I stayed a month. That sealed the deal, we were so taken by this beautiful and diverse country. So overcome with the climate, the people, the oh-so-chill atmosphere, that I honestly had a hard time coming back to the States after our month stint. I couldn’t even talk to friends and family about our time here because I was so emotional about the whole thing. This country captivated me and stole a piece of my heart that I knew I could never get back. Tears would flow as I spoke about my adoration of this place and felt that gut-pull of wanting to come back.


At the Saturday feria. Photo credit to our sweet soon-to-be daughter in law.

Forward to now; this is our sixth time to this country. It feels like home to us. We feel its ebb and flow in our heart like the swells of the ocean. We catch our grove quickly after arriving. We eat typico, we never miss a sunset, we shop as locals at the feria every Saturday. We walk everywhere, eat fresh, and try desperately to brush up on our Espanol. Living in Idaho doesn’t allow for a lot of language practice. I have learned to watch TV (when we do) in Spanish and read everything I can in Espanol. It comes back quickly, thank goodness. There is nothing better than conversing with Ticos. They are some of the warmest people we’ve encountered. They have infectious smiles and even more contagious laughs. They never miss an opportunity to show their warmth towards us!


Pura Vida

Speaking of Ticos, we just love learning from them. The language and their way of life and love are so simple. They live frugally compared to US standards but you’d never know it. They don’t seem too bothered or interested in making it big. They are humble and helpful to everyone around them. They DO work hard for what they have and they come home happy with what the day has allowed them. They have such pride in what they have, not boastful, but content with their life. They are sweet and genuine and love their families fully. They aren’t over-busy or over-stressed. Every day is full of Pure Vida.

img_0847This time we have decided to stay in Playa Tamarindo. We have been here before a few years ago, but only for a short weekend getaway from Esterillos Oeste. It’s bustling. It’s like the Cancun of Costa Rica. It’s full of gringos and backpackers from all over the world. It’s busy and full of bars and restaurants. It has some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen (although I have YET to see a bad one in CR) and it produces some extraordinary sunsets. Its water is warm (like the rest of CR) and it has great waves for all levels of surfing. There are vendors and shops everywhere. It’s very different from what we are used to in CR. Definitely more touristy but so far we are enjoying it. It’s close to the Nicaraguan border. A plus as we are planning to drive to San Juan del Sur and Granada in the next few weeks. I would say for a quick trip to CR it’s a great place. Long term, may be debatable. For us anyways. We are not accustomed to staying in such a crowded place and prefer more of the laid back, quiet villages to over populated, tourist hangs.


A little SnapChat on the beach because….well, we are just dorks like that AND I laugh hysterically every time I see G’s face in this photo!

As we start our second week here we are definitely getting back into our grove with cooking at home and workouts. We are meeting friends and finding our favorite local shops. Coffee at Nordico is a must after a morning run and surf sesh and as I sit here sipping my cafe con leche I can hear at least 4 different languages being spoken. Incredible!fullsizerender

It’s so nice to be back here. It’s so free and allows us to clear our head of the chaos. It allows me to feel God at a whole new level. To see and taste the goodness of His love every day. To slow down, take a breath and marvel at what is important to us both.To quiet ourselves enough to hear His still small voice. To soak in salt water every day. To be nurtured by the sun. To eat pipa (Pipa fría is fresh chilled green coconut. It’s a perfect refreshment for a hot day – it is loaded with vitamins and gives you an instant burst of energy) and gallo pinto by the truckload! To allow what’s been bankrupt in ourselves to be filled.fullsizerender


Merry Everything and Happy Always

image3Who doesn’t love a fresh start?

As the clock rolled over into another new year, we were surrounded by love, laughter and friendship, good food and champagne. I took a brief moment, almost as if I was standing outside and looking in, to take it all in. I saw a lot of happiness. I saw a lot of joy! I heard conversations. Heard screams of cheer and saw fireworks. I always seem to get nostalgic and semimetal in the New Year. I have always loved talking and thinking about the past year. It’s lessons. It’s losses. It’s new and second chances. What great things happened, how far we’ve come and what we have to look forward t0.

The hubs and I had one last official date of the year on the 30th. In a restaurant full of people, I love that somehow it can still be only us. A hundred people swirling around us and it’s simply he and I. Alone. We talked about the incredible year we had. A BIG year! A graduate. A lot of travel. The sell of a house. A move. A new career move.

Starting it off we had our last baby child gradate high school. That in itself was huge! Empty-nesters.

You know when you’re just starting out and you’re building your family…that word seems like an eternity away and then one day you wake up, and you’re there. It. Goes. By. So. Quickly.

image6Over the years of our life, he and I have had dreams and goals. We’d talked often about life after our chicks were gone and out of the nest. I am grateful and thankful that we have remained a constant with one another. Best friends who have grown up and grown closer over the years of raising a family. Always putting God first, then one another, then our family. We will no longer have carpools, school calendars, dance recitals, swim meets, football games, gymnastics meets, ski club, co-op, homeschooling, trips to craft stores for projects, teacher meetings and the mountain of other actives that accumulate while raising kids. What would life be like when it’s not full of running errands and helping with homework? We dreamed, he and I. We always have. We made goals. We looked forward to the future, all the while LOVING the time raising our kids, but looking forward to that chance to become just a couple again, someday. Isn’t it fun to dream with your spouse? To reach in and pull out one another’s heart and examine it? As we stepped into 2016, we knew that time was upon us. We did it! We celebrated our success at raising the last of our three kids to adulthood.

One of the plans was to sell our big house and downsize. After all….we would both rather collect memories, not things. Travel more and not be tied down to a house that is way too large for two. Not to mention maintenance; lawn care, snow removal. Not our thing. We’ve always thought there are better ways to spend our time. Mission accomplished. The move was tumultuous to say the least. The binging and purging was taking way longer for us than expected. We both felt as if while we were paring our house down, we were paring our life down. Letting go of “things” was so refreshing and it allowed for evaluation of every single aspect of our life.

image1After my JMT trip, I had already come back a changed person (more when I continue that post) I came back ready for change, ready to purge…everything. I had lived 3-weeks out of a tent and backpack. I had nothing but time to process unwanted garbage out of my life. When I returned I had a new focus and new zest for life, that when shared with the hubs, motivated him just the same. He didn’t need to be out in the wilderness to catch everything I was getting at. Taking 6 days to drive the coast after that trip was the best debrief I could’ve asked for. I shared my journaling with him and it came as NO SURPRISE that he and I were both on the same page. LET IT GO!! A fresh start was about to take place. The move….well, it was just the icing on the cake. It sealed the deal that everything we had talked and dreamed about all these years, was about to break free and come to fulfillment.

Our words for last year were Patience and Prepare. Every year instead of resolutions, we wait and listen for ONE WORD. Isn’t it just like our God to give us those two words? Patience and Prepare. WOW! Our ENTIRE year was lived out and based on the fulfillment of those words. I learned patience like I’ve never had before. Through all of my training and racing last year, through injury and sickness, I HAD to be patient with myself, with my body, with my health. Hiking days on end for long hours in the Sierras instills patience like I’ve never encountered. Selling a house…pushes it to the brink. But I knew that God had prepared me/us for all of it.

During the process of moving, we took the advice of those friends who have gone through the same thing. The ones who have dreamed big and had those dreams become reality, some selling their homes to travel and live by RV, some selling and moving different states to chase the sun and some who sold homes to live their dream of living on a boat. Talk about having to purge! We loved the encouragement. Loved the inspiration! The purging became so much more to us than getting rid of our stuff. I literally became clearing out EVERYTHING we felt was holing us back, holding us down, holding us hostage. Baggage. The trunks dragging behind that were getting too heavy to haul. Bad, unhealthy relationships, bills, toxic unauthentic people in our lives, old unforgiveness, walls that were built over time, that needed climbed over or broken down, unhealthy eating and drinking, missed workouts and missed opportunities, resentments. You name it, it was flushed out. God worked on our hearts as a couple and individually. He guided and showed us the way. And when it was done…..we felt a whole new sense of freedom. We felt …. Light. And as 2016 slipped away and 2017 came flowing in God whispered my word for the year: Intention. Be intentional.image2

image4Living with intention to me means, to live with purpose. To continue to foster the REAL in me, verses what people want of me. Live deliberately. Instead of thinking “I don’t have time” really evaluate if it is a priority, and move on from there. And if it’s not, to not allow guilt of any kind creep in. I want my actions to speak more than my voice. I want to be intentional with friends, giving them the undivided attention they deserve while we are together. I want to surround myself with people on fire for life. I want to be intentional in my food choices, my exercise, and the time spent doing the things I love: traveling with my hubs and soaking in salt water. I want things in my home to have a use and a meaning, not just “because its shiny” I want to wake up each morning with my aim focused to my Creator, to listen to what He has in store for me. I want to be a magnet for miracles and notice them everywhere, every day. I want to continue to notice the beauty and abundance that’s all around me. I want to dig deeper and deeper into the Word of God. I want to be intentional in my relationship with my hubs, honoring and respecting him everyday and being acutely aware to his needs and interests and fanning those in him. I want to believe good things are happening everyday. I want to be intentional to giving, to doing everything with a good heart and expecting nothing in return. I want to inspire others in my walk with God. I want to watch less TV and be outdoors more. I want to drink more water. I don’t want to “settle” for anything, realizing life is short and fleeting. I want to NOTICE more. I want to journal and pray more. I want to serve more and be aware of others needs. Spend time with those I adore.image5 I want to take more risks and love fiercely, even if others can’t return that love. I want to let go and let God, knowing I cannot control the uncontrollable. I want to soak in the knowledge that each day starts with new grace and fresh mercy.

This journey into a new year will be radical. Exciting and challenging! I already know it will be filled with more joy than we will know how to contain. Join me in raising a glass, to your ONE word, to your resolutions, to your new year, new you, new career, new marriage, new baby, new chapter or maybe even a whole new book. Get excited!  Flip the page.Processed with VSCOcam with p2 preset


Breathe….Slowing it Down

Here we are after week one in our home away from home. Esterillos Oeste is just as magnificent as always.
Flying in last Monday we had a later arrival flight. We opted to stay our first night in San Jose rather that driving over to the Pacific in the dark. We had already decided that we would take the “old highway” over to the coast the next morning. One of these times, we will brave the drive over at night. We are getting there. And you would think after all of these years here, we would. Especially now with the new highway finished. But for this time….we waited until the next morning.
When arriving at the airport, we headed right through customs and immigration quickly. We didn’t have checked bags, so this always goes fast for us. I had made the taxi reservations from the States and quickly realized that I gave them a time for pick-up an hour too late. Coming out of the airport there are always several shuttles and taxis waiting. Someone approached us about calling for our ride. I just have to laugh at my sweet hubs. He speaks not a lick of Spanish, so all of our conversations with people go like this…. They look and speak to him, and he stops and looks at me. I had my contact info for the hotel, but they were having a hard time contacting them. Shortly thereafter, I heard someone calling my name and asking about a ride to our hotel. It was an older gentleman (all in Spanish) I scooped up my bags and my family and jumped into a waiting van. The look on Greg’s face was priceless. Glad he trusts me while traveling in a foreign country to make sound decisions.
We got checked into our hotel, and immediately changed into some shorts, tank tops and flip flops (muy caliente aqui) and went down for our first meal. After traveling all day we were tired and ready for some good food, sleep and a nice, cold, cerveza. We had a sweet little waitress who taught me a new Spanish word “Disculpe” after she asked me some English. She complimented me on my “hat” (the cute little fedora I was wearing) she asked if she says “hat” correctly and then asked me what was the difference between “hat and hot” in the English language. She explained in Espanol to me that she could not hear the difference. It was fun to work with her on pronouncing it differently. Although, her way of saying it sounded a bit “southern” kind of with a drawl. I always wonder how we sound to others. Our accent. Obviously when I say “hat and hot” it sounds similar but “hot” sounds like I have an amazing southern twang to muh voice. I have yet to figure out the word I was asking about….”Excuse me” As in getting our waitress’ attention. With the various translations of words she explained “excuse me” (disculpe) but that meaning is as if I didn’t hear what she said, and needed to say, “excuse me or pardon me” Anyone know this??
Our rental auto was coming in the morning at 9am. We thought we would have time to get up, have some breaky and a swim. 7am our phone rang and our car was there. Diego, who is our car contact was early. This was our first lesson of peeling off our “American rush”. (This takes us a couple of days once we arrive) Of course, we quickly got dressed, packed our things into our bags in a hurried and rushed fashion and headed down to the front desk. Knowing this is not typical, but still having a hard time in making someone wait. We got down to the front desk 15 minutes later and the man at the front desk pointed us in the directness of Diego who was lounged on one of the couches in the lobby. The man at the front desk asked if we had enjoyed our morning and some breakfast. We told him Diego was early and we did not want to keep him waiting. He laughed! And let us know what we already knew….Diego would not have minded waiting for us, even if we would’ve had breakfast. He said, that’s not typico here. I laughed and said, “you know us Americans, always rushed and in a hurry” as I said this I snapped my fingers. We both had a good laugh!!!
We decided that we were going to skip driving the old highway and take the new. We have used it coming FROM the coast into SJ but never the other way around. Could we even find our way? We took a chance and figured it out pretty easily. We are always up for the adventure anyways. And for some reason here, it always seems to find us, one way or another. We were on our way.
As always we made our stop in Jaco for groceries at the Maxi and took the drive through Jaco to take in the smell of Costa Rica. The heat, the sand, the ocean. Relax.
We finally made it to Esterillos Oeste and settled in. This was a busy week on the Pacific because of Semana Santa. Our quiet little village was teeming with Tico’s from all over enjoying their week off with their families. There were tents, tarps, campers, and people all over the beach. Bonfires and picnics and parties. Kids, dogs and dancing. It is so fun to see the families enjoying one another. Greg has never been to EO during Semana Santa (only our kids and i have witnessed this celebration) and he was AMAZED by the amount of people that flood the village. We took this time to acclimate to the climate and get our “chill” on. We just hung out in the village and puttered around the beach and relaxed. We surfed one day, but with the crowds it’s a little harder.
We have been beach running every morning, trying to get out as early as possible. The heat and humidity are stifling, and to run in it is tortuous. One morning I went out late (around 6:50am 5:50PST) the humidity was intense and the sun already too high in the sky. I thought I was going to ignite into flames. It was all I could do to manage 4 miles before just diving into the ocean.
Yesterday was Easter and the first time we were not celebrating with our family back home. That was a little hard. Missing our big kids. We went to service at the Pura Vida church and felt so welcomed and so blessed to be able to attend and worship God in this setting. The service was bilingual, but there was something about standing in this little church service, where we only knew a few people, and singing worship in Espanol. It was moving and God’s presence was heavy. I followed the whole service with my Spanish Bible (reading in the books of Efesios, Juan y Mateo) and was moved to tears a couple of times. What a celebration!
This week as things return to normal here, we will be out exploring some new things. Possibly heading to Panama or North to La Fortuna to Rio Celeste. We will see where the ocean breeze blows us.

¡Hasta Luego!

My morning run and prayer time.

My morning run and prayer time.