Scary Adventures Big Rewards

IMG_4428The other day I confessed that I am different by the sea. And sadly, it is true. I am so much more aware of our Heavenly Father’s presence when there is salt in the air and sand between my toes. Because of this I was not surprised that the Lord spoke so much truth into my heart during our week in Railay.

Railay is known of rock climbing. While I am not really into climbing cliffs, I do love hiking and being adventurous. And our resort was in the perfect location to be adventurous. While sipping our coffee one morning, we noticed two ladders mounted to the cliff. We assumed you had to pay to be clipped in to climb these ladders because of the sheer height of them. From the ground you couldn’t even see where they lead. So naturally, one of the men in our group asked the nearest local. Surprisingly enough, the local told us anyone who was willing to try the climb could go on up. {welcome to Thailand- where anything goes}

Many of you may not know it, but I am terrified of heights. When I thought we would be clipped in and safe I loved the idea of climbing up the ladders to see the view… but without a safety harness?? Luckily, it started to drizzle on us so our potential climb was postponed. After 24 hours I gained the courage to make the climb. And goodness am I glad I did. The view was spectacular. There was a platform tucked into a little cave in the cliff and a rope was attached to the wall so we had something to hold onto.

As I sat on the platform the Lord reminded me that sometimes the scariest adventures give the greatest rewards.

Was I scared to climb up? Absolutely. But was the view worth it? ABSOLUTELY. We had a true birds eye view of the entire beach, the cliffs, and the wildlife. {Literally, a 5 foot lizard that I swear was a leftover dinosaur joined us in the cave… Caleb & I both had a minor freak out moment when he came near us.}

Sadly my camera died while up top. Guess that means we need to go back and take more pictures ;) Hopefully next time will be filled with a bit more sunshine and blue skies!

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Railay Beach {Part 2}

IMG_3962After only a few days back in Nakhon and we are already dreaming up plans to return to Railay Beach. The Lord truly spent extra time designing this postcard worthy scenery. I am so glad Abba thought it was a good idea to put sand and oceans together. There is something delightful about listening to the waves crash onto the sand as you read His Word. While God is the same everywhere, I am different at the beach. I can hear Him and see Him more clearly. It is my happy place- especially when my husband is soaking up the beauty by my side.

In Railay, not only is the beach picture perfect, but the enormous cliffs that frame the beaches are perfect. If you ever want to be overwhelmed by the splendor of the King, visit Railay. The sheer magnitude of the cliffs alongside the turquoise blue water will humble you and remind you just how small you are in comparison to our Heavenly Father and His designs.

Caleb and I traveled to Railay Peninsula with 2 other couples who we have become friends with. One couple is from Ireland and one couple is from England. We stayed at the Tonsai Bay Resort on Tonsai Beach. We absolutely loved the resort. We had a little bungalow with a front porch overlooking the lush palm trees, bamboo trees, and massive cliffs. And each day we had a few monkey visitors. Each morning we would walk to our resorts beachfront restaurant and enjoy a free breakfast and unlimited coffee/tea while soaking in our beautiful surroundings. Oh, did I mention this resort only cost about $26 a day?

While we loved the Tonsai beach and the fact that there were only a couple other people on the beach at any given point, next time we would like to spend more time exploring Phra Nang beach. Phra Nang was a decently short hike from our beach and has only one resort on the entire beach. To anyone traveling to Thailand, Railay peninsula is a MUST! Truly, pictures do not do this place justice. {and our weather wasn’t the greatest, so you can’t tell just how incredible the water was}

{Railay Part 1}

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our bungalow and porchfollowing the monkeys to our bungalowfollowing the monkeys to our bungalow

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Railay Beach Thailand

DSCN3896It’s official- Thailand is quite possibly the prettiest country. It has everything from gorgeous mountains to breathtaking beaches. This past week Caleb & I packed a backpack full of clothes, left our computers and phones at home, and headed out to one of these gorgeous beaches with some of our friends.

If you have ever seen a postcard from a Thai beach or a picture of one of the many Thai beaches on pinterest, I can almost guarantee the image was taken on Railay. There is a good chance Railay is one of the prettiest places I have ever been. Caleb & I spent hours walking around hand-in-hand soaking in the beauty. Truly, God spent extra time making this place. And it is rainy season in Railay which means we practically had the beach to ourselves. Rainy season also brought a cool breeze, refreshing rain,  and unfortunately- few blue skies and choppy water. Even with the seasonal weather, it was breathtaking. We will definitely be back!

I will share more details about the trip soon! Just couldn’t keep these photos to myself anymore :)

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Aha Moments

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Have you ever had one of those ’aha moments’ where the Lord so clearly speaks to your heart? Well recently I was blessed by one of those moments. I recently {very recently} began running again. I have finally gotten used to the 80% humidity and 90+ degree weather. The other day was gorgeous so I decided it was the perfect day for a run through the park. Caleb was off playing sports with the boys so I got to have some personal time alone with Jesus.

Thailand truly is one of the most majestic countries I have ever witnessed. The rolling mountains, lush greenery, and abundance of animals create the perfect setting for a run {until your run gets interrupted by a herd of wild cows like mine did today… at least I didn’t run into wild warthogs again}. The Lord truly was smiling down on my quiet time with Him. In the midst of my run I heard what sounded like an intense gust of wind blowing through the palm trees in the distance. When I turned around to look I realized the “wind” was actually a crazy rain storm in the distance. In the States I had seen the “walls” of rain coming and going- but this “wall” of rain was unlike any I had ever seen. It was so defined, so beautiful. And the mountains sat just behind this wall of rain. A few sunbeams even snuck through the clouds and danced on the mountain. It was breathtaking. 

I stood their in awe and wondered out loud how anyone could see a view like this and not believe in an Almighty God. Almost instantly the Lord humbled me. Abba whispered to my heart, ‘how can you know Me, an Almighty God, and not be completely transformed by Me in every way shape and form?’ Slap.in.the.face.

If I am being completely honest, I have not been allowing the Spirit to lead my every step. There have been multiple instances this past week where I have allowed my sinful, negative nature to take over- and it is not pretty. I needed this sweet whisper- this humbling reminder. It is not enough to simply know God. I need to be pursuing Him, walking according to His Spirit, and listening to His every whisper. It is not enough to simply recognize Him and know that He is Lord. As a Christian, I am called to be born again into a new image- His Image. My every action should bring praise to His name. My every thought should be holy, just, and good. My every word should be a song of praise to His ears.

“And whatever you do,
whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Colossians 3:17

Praise the Lord for moments of clarity and beautiful whispers of truth! Because what is the purpose of life if we are not living it for His glory? I want to make the most of every opportunity. Life is a fleeting gift- let’s make the most of it :)

Have you had any ‘aha moments’ recently?
What has the Lord been teaching you?

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Taking Risk

IMG_1360Risk. Over the past couple of days the Lord has been reminding me the importance of taking risks. The Lord has given me a heart full of big dreams. I want to make a difference in the world- even if that difference only impacts one soul. But making a difference requires taking risks.

It is time to stop wasting time. It is time to let go of the excuses.  It is time to be intentional. It is time to take that leap of faith. It is time to take risks.

Too often I find myself thinking ‘it would be easier if…” And you know what? I am right. There will always be obstacles. There will always be more “ideal” situations.  But the Lord put me here- with my circumstances.  I need to focus on what I can change, not on what I cannot change.

I’ve also learned the more risk is involved, the better the reward.  Some of life’s hardest/scariest choices lead to the grandest adventures.

Risk will never disappear. So it is time we face risk head-on.  Because you know what is scary than facing a risky adventure? Not pursuing your God-given passions. Not pursuing God’s Will for your life.

Let’s be brave together. Let’s take risks!

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Be Brave in Your Routine

 If I were relying on my own strength and abilities, I would have failed a weeks ago. But praise the Lord, He holds this adventure in the palm of His hands. He supplies my energy, He supplies my strength, and He supplies my every ability. The past 2 weeks have been an absolute roller coaster. Between being sick, preparing the students for their 9 week evaluation tests, and our city being almost completely out of water- I am pretty much exhausted.

The past week specifically was rough. After being sick I felt drained of energy and emotion. I felt as though I was in a rut- stuck in a monotonous routine. I began to wonder how the Lord was using me. Thankfully, the Lord blessed me by having my parents remind me of stories that brought Him glory. They reminded me of sweet, lightbulb moments my students have had. They reminded me of some of my conversations with students about Jesus and who He is.

Then, the Lord blessed me again through my sweet friend Katie. She reminded me {and all of her internet friends} the importance of our callings- even when they are boring.  Jesus had boring days filled with routine and monotony. But they were all part of His bigger picture.

Sometimes we need the reminder that it is okay to be stuck in a routine. And it is okay to be bored by the monotony of a routine. But during this time it is important that we seek the Lord. It is important that we pursue Him and listen for His whispers. Because He is preparing us during these times. He is building our strength and preparing us for something greater. He is helping us build character.

We need to imitate Jesus and remain steadfast in our calling. We need to be brave with our lives- even in the midst of routine. Be brave with you life, be brave with your love, be brave with your passion, be brave with your forgiveness, be brave with your grace. Be brave in your routine.

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First Thai Hospital Experience

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This past week I experienced my first Thai hospital experience. This is one of the two reasons why you have not seen a blog post in quite a while.

First, my MacBook charger saw its last day… and Apple products are stinkin expensive out here! So my mother came to my rescue and mailed me a charger. Praise the Lord my computer stayed alive as I completed my last grad school paper {literally with 15 minutes to spare- Praise Jesus!}  And of course, Caleb’s computer started acting up around the same time…

Second, I got sick. Really sick. As in, I can’t remember the last time I was this sick- sick.  After reaching out to some coworkers, I learned that when you get this sick in Thailand it is best to suck it up and go to the hospital. We have some crazy illnesses/diseases here, so while we don’t legally need a prescription to get any medicine from the pharmacy- you can’t always rely on Dr. Google to diagnose you and tell you what medicine you need. So after a lot of hand gestures/pointing to body parts, some testing, and countless hours in bed, I finally found myself  with 6 little ziplock bags filled with my prescriptions. Yes, ziplock bags filled with individual little pills. Welcome to Thailand ha. But I am doing better and I am incredibly thankful.

And then I finally returned to my precious 3rd graders. Kind of funny story- Yesterday when I finally got back to school I could only speak quietly, so my poor students had to be even quieter than normal. Unfortunately, one of my sweet little girls {named Ice} did not want to be quiet. When my students decide they would rather talk than be respectful students they must stand in the front of the class or do planks/squats for 5 minutes {the later is mostly for the boys… and don’t worry- I take it easy on them :) }. So I made her stand in front of the class while I continued to teach. Ice was mortified and silently cried during her punishment. It was heart breaking and sweet at the same time. Finally, I let her sit down. Today, when I entered the classroom Ice approached me with the biggest bag of fresh fruit I have ever seen. In Thailand we skip apples and go straight to the good stuff- tropical fruit. So today’s fruit was something called mangosteen and it.is.delicious!! When I asked her what it was for she said it was because I had been sick and because she was sorry for yesterday. Can we just sit back and laugh about how sweet that is? I made her cry and yet she brings me treats?

I couldn’t help but think about how this reflects the Lord. Regardless of how many times I let Him down or offend Him, He continues to bless me with His love and renewed grace. Do I deserve it? Not at all. But Abba gives it just the same.

I will be posting regularly again soon!! Missed being part of your lives while I was MIA! Hope your week has been filled with blessings.signature-smaller-300x1931

 

Beauty in Details

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Have I mentioned that I love our city? Yesterday we ran out of water almost everywhere in the city {including our school- hello dirty children} and power is not always consistent, but it is home. Caleb and I have learned to just laugh when our power goes in and out. But despite the flaws and the dirtiness, there is so much beauty. The architecture around our city is incredible. We finally pulled over so I could take a couple pictures of a white temple in our city. It was starting to rain, so I had to take the pictures from odd angles so I wouldn’t get too wet. But can we just sip a cup of tea together and talk about how stunning the details are? IMG_1460 IMG_1462 IMG_1466 IMG_1468 IMG_1473 IMG_1474IMG_1477 signature-smaller-300x1931

 

Embracing Simplicity

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First, let me apologize for being so MIA! Most of last week I did not have internet access at home and therefore the blog was a bit neglected. On a positive note, this allowed Caleb and I to spend a lot of intentional one-on-one time with no distractions. It was lovely.

IMG_0341  This weekend I was reminded how nice it is to embrace simplicity. Life here is simple. Truly, all you need are the basics. Food, a place to call home, some clothes, and good company. I did not realize just how caught up I had been in the American standard. When Caleb and I began packing up our lives into boxes I realized just how much we owned. We ended up with a lot more boxes than we had expected.

As we packed up I began to realize just how little we actually used or how little we actually needed. So many of the items from around our home or from in our closets began to feel like clutter. And now they are sitting in storage. And quite honestly, I haven’t missed anything in there. If I am being completely honest- I can’t even remember most of what is in there. We brought over 3 suitcases each. Now, having been here for a month we realize we don’t even need our 3 suitcases worth of items. Life can be so simple. And when it is simple, it is so much easier to enjoy.

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Now we don’t have clutter to distract us from the beauty of a sunrise or sunset. There is not clutter to distract us from the bird singing. We have so little to clean or organize that we have more time to go out and make memories. We spend less money on decor, clothes, and frivolous items that we have more money to spend on adventures, memories, dates, and time with others. We’ve realized that the less we own, the more we glorify the Lord for what He has given. Each little blessing seems like that much more of a grand gift from Abba.

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Simplicity is wonderful and so rewarding. After almost 2 months of living simply I am overwhelmed with the amount of free time, joy, and thankfulness the Lord has blessed me with. Less time is spent worrying about or taking care of things and more time is spent loving people and embracing life.

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p.s.- If you tried visiting the blog in the past 24  hours you may have noticed that it was down. I attempted, and failed miserably, at redesigning the blog through coding. In my attempt of giving the blog a facelift, I locked myself out and shut down the site. Praise the Lord for actual coders and web designers for fixing my mistake. I believe my coding days are over… Thank you for being patient with me. Any website designers out there who can design on a Thai Baht budget? ha ;)

Open Markets

IMG_1235One of the things I love about living here is the fruit. I truly think I could live on fruit alone. It is too good. And what makes the fruit even better, is how you buy it. Trips to the “market” are an adventure in themselves. The closest thing I can compare them to in the States are weekend farmers markets. Vendors crowd together from all around town. Fruits and vegetables are piled high on the tables or on their banana leaf “plates” on the ground. Or you can track down stalk individuals who carry fruit around on their shoulders. It is far too fun and such an experience. Everyone is speaking Thai {and yelling ‘hello’ at you, since as a foreigner you clearly stand out} and prices are negotiable. And if you realize you need some new clothes, some flowers, or a full meal while you are there- you can definitely find that too. Honestly, everything you could ever need is sold on the street. And it. is. awesome! Oh, and did I mention there are at least 10 of these markets open around our city? Most of them are open every day! So if one doesn’t have what you need you can hop on your bike, drive down a few streets, and dig through the treasures of the next one.

We have begun building relationships with a few vendors so we try to go exclusively to them. We laugh together as Caleb and I attempt {and usually fail} speaking Thai. After much pointing, smiles, and laughter we get our food and continue on our way. Each trip is more exciting than the last. Our vendors now remember us, know what we like, and usually give us a little more than we pay for. We are friends- even though we don’t speak the same language. Truly, these trips bring so much joy!

 

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{my sweet friend. when i asked if i could take her picture she nodded and covered her mouth because she only has a few teeth}

{my sweet friend. when i asked if i could take her picture she nodded and covered her mouth because she only has a few teeth}

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