The Secret to Joy

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God is there in the midst of the good and the bad, the new and the old, the exciting and the mundane, moments of joy and moments of sorrow. Choose to seek Him in them all.

p.s. this is our last week traveling Asia. Hopefully next week I will begin sharing photos with all of you!! Continue following us on instagram until then!
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Beauty in the Ordinary

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I was once posed the question, “what if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked the Lord for today?”  Each day is filled with infinite blessings. Big blessings, small blessings, and all of the in between. I don’t want to take any of them for granted. Today I want to choose to look for the beauty in the ordinary.

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No Surprises

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You know what I absolutely love? I love that nothing I do ever surprises God. Everything that happens in my life happens as part of God’s perfect plan, all in His perfect timing. Right now Caleb and I are traveling around Asia- soaking up every glorious bit of God’s creation. We are praying for direction in how the Lord wants to use us. What is His ultimate plan on how He will use our marriage and our lives to further His Kingdom? Right now, we know He currently wants us teaching and loving on our precious little kiddos in Thailand. But what about next? What about long term?

I come from quite the entrepreneurial family and Caleb the Lord has already begun to give Caleb and I an idea as to how He may choose to use us. So as we travel through Asia we are searching, doing research, and praying over these beautiful souls. My heart is at ease because I know that the Lord holds each of them in His hand. God knows every hair on their heads. I cannot do anything for this world on my own. God will open my eyes to His plan. I can have peace knowing that He will reveal His plan in His perfect timing. All I can do is prepare my heart, pray, and serve on person at a time. All we can do is pursue Him, pray for direction, & wait for His loving whisper.

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Truly Artistic

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Over the past couple of weeks the Lord has humbled me- again and again. My heart yearns for the world to know His Glory, but in all reality I am one girl. So instead of focusing on the masses, the Lord has reminded me to focus on loving one person at a time. My goal Our goal should be to love others well. To make others feel treasured- even if just for a moment. Because we are all treasured. And it is an art to love others well.

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Lessons Learned from Traveling

01There are so many reasons why I love to travel. International travel is not for everyone, but few experiences have inspired and transformed my faith like experiencing new cultures or different ways of life. Travel provides the opportunity to see the world, to see God’s beautiful creation, to recognize how vast the world is and how small I am in it. Travel forces you to go out of your comfort zone. It allows your to experience new cultures and to broaden your horizons. These are just a few of the many lessons I have learned from wandering the world.

021.) Judge Less, Love More
Travel is humbling. The more I see, the more I realize how little right I have to judge anyone or anything.  We are all uniquely and beautifully made in His image. Traveling teaches you to listen to others, to learn their stories. When you spend time with others you gain a piece of their story, a piece of their life. Traveling teaches you to love better. Travel helps open your heart in new ways.03

2.) Thankfulness & Positivity
Travel takes you to places outside of your comfort zone. Being away from home helps you appreciate what you have- at home and while on the road. Seeing others circumstances around the world remind you how thankful you are for your story and for the blessings in your life. Travel teaches you terrible stories eventually become funny stories. Travel teaches you that Romans 8:38 can ring true in even the smallest situations. Let your wandering help you to see the good.04

3.) Opportunities to Help
In every new place you visit, you witness different aspects of life where you can help. Traveling is rewarding, but serving is even more rewarding. You can help in orphanages, teach English in schools, volunteer with refugees, and so much more.  Paul wrote and travelled to many places that were struggling in order to encourage and help them. Why not try that out for yourself? Why not meet new people, help others, and serve the Lord by using your God given gifts. You can serve anywhere and you will make friends for life.

054.) Meaningful Conversations
All travelers share a desire to know the world, to learn more about others, and to experience God’s creations. Travelers love to discuss topics that matter. Walking up to strangers to talk about your faith can be scary. But those who are open to experiencing the world also tend to be open to discussing different beliefs. Do all the travelers I meet agree with my beliefs? Absolutely not- not even close. But the conversations are spectacular and I pray the Lord is using me to plant seeds.

10259882_10152073547636821_801363247511330180_n5.) Inspired Prayer Life
Travel can be intimidating. You may find yourself in a new culture where you don’t speak the language and are not used to the cultural “norms.” And as a traveller, one of the last things you want to do is offend others unintentionally. Travel allows you to meet new people, to try new experiences, and to find new passions. Few things will ignite your prayer life like a terrifying first drive on the back of a motorbike taxi in Asia or meeting a precious family who invite you to enjoy a meal with them- even when you don’t speak the same language. Daily struggles may bring you to your knees. Travel allows you to grow passionate about other countries, cultures, and people. Travel will open the doors to a plethora of terrifying moments- many of which you will laugh at later. But so many of these moments will inspire communication with our Heavenly Father. Your prayer life will be inspired through fear, thanks, and love. A piece of your heart will forever be left in another city and your heart will always long to pray for them.

066.) Intentional Relationships
Traveling, backpacking, or living abroad often forces you to live without a constant Christian community. You may find churches or other “Christians” in your travels, but that does not mean that they pursue true doctrine. Traveling teaches you the importance of digging into the Word for yourself. People will likely ask questions about your faith which should inspire you to read your Bible more- to know more about what you truly believe. Listening to podcasts from home is a huge blessing, but nothing can replicate the feeling of being in a church surrounded by the body of Christ. It is humbling to stand among foreigners listening to them worship Jesus in their native tongue, but it is hard to be fed when you can’t understand the message. A lack of community make daily quiet times even more necessary. Community is important. Traveling teaches you that you must be intentional with your relationships. You must be intentional with those you meet in your travels, be intentional with your friends and family at home, be intentional with your new friends around the world, and most of all- be intentional in your relationship with Christ.

07Travel should leave you inspired to know more of the world- more of God’s creation. We are each made in His image. The more I see how vast and unique our world is, the more I am able to recognize how omnipotent our Heavenly Father is.

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Off We Go

I cannot believe this day has actually arrived. Schools in Thailand don’t follow the traditional Western school calendar. Our school is basically year round with one month off in October and one month off in April. Caleb and I have been planning our October trip for months and today we board our first of many flights, trains, and buses. Over the past 5 months the Lord has begun to reveal some true struggles our city deals with. These struggles impacted our decision on what to do and how to travel in the month of October. We are curious to see if other cities share this same struggle. We cannot wait to meet the locals and spend time in other cities.

Over the next month we will be staying in guest homes {our new favorite way to travel- more on those later} and small hotels as we travel through Bangkok, Cambodia, and Vietnam. I will be a little MIA on the blog but please follow along on instagram! We won’t be bringing a computer so we won’t be able to receive Facebook messages {my phone doesn’t have storage space for the silly new app} so email is the best way to get ahold of us. Cannot wait to share the trip with you when we return!!
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It’s Your Choice

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It’s official, Caleb and I have completed half of our contract here in Thailand. How in the world are we already in month 6 of living in Thailand? There are days when my heart is so overwhelmed with thanks that the Lord invited us to be a part of this adventure that tears flow from my eyes. But there are also days when I am so overwhelmed by all of the broken, lost, and dirty ways of living in a third world country that tears flow from my eyes. Either way- the Lord is teaching me.

In the past few months I have learned so much about perspective. One of my dad’s favorite quotes is,

“life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” 
Charles Swindoll

Before moving to Asia I loved this quote- but now I love it even more. Life in Thailand is dirty. Living in a smaller city in Thailand I can guarantee you WILL drive your motorbike during a downpour, you WILL be served questionable meat, you WILL lose electricity, you WILL run out of water. But as Charles Swindoll states, life is only 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

One of my favorite pieces of advice we received prior to moving abroad was to laugh… at everything. There are so many triggers in Thailand that can cause frustration. And as much as I may want to complain and be frustrated, I have learned it gets me absolutely no where. Laughter however, lightens the situation and makes even the most frustrating experiences seem brighter.

I cannot wait to see what else the Lord will teach us in the next 6 months, where He will continue to lead us, and how He will continue to transform us. Life is too short not to make the most of every moment. Your reaction is your choice.

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