Tag Archives: Adventure

Parenting Through Fear

16 Oct

I used to be fearless. Well, maybe not completely fearless, worries and doubts still plagued me, but overall my philosophy on life was:

You can’t let your fear paralyze you.

You have to move forward and choose your own adventure.

And so I did. Throughout my early to mid-twenties I threw aside normal ideas of what life should look like, such as college and a career, and went on some crazy adventures. I lived a day at a time, trusting God for what I needed and that still small voice to guide me to the next step. And He did. I lived on a bus traveling all over the U.S. and later to ten different countries. It was never easy, but it was always worth it.

Adventure Girl.

I remember waking up to voices shouting in Spanish, which I could barely understand. They were angry. I looked out the bus window. It was dark, the sun barely beginning to rise. We were in the middle of thick, uninhabitable jungle, driving through the edge of Costa Rica to make our way to the Panama border.  A man had got on the bus and was arguing loudly with the bus driver.

Oh my God. Are we being hijacked?

The thought entered my mind and left it immediately, peace washing over me.

Whatever happens, I will be ok. I am exactly where I need to be.

It turned out it wasn’t a bus-jacking, but rather an accident miles ahead that had left traffic halted on both sides. A Semi-truck had tried to cross this dilapidated bridge and broken it, getting its tires and front end wedged into the few slats that held the whole poorly designed structure together.

Vehicles stopped in the middle of the jungle

It was about 4 am and we were told to get off the bus, get our backpacks from below and hike through the jungle, across this broken bridge. We then climbed a rickety ladder to the shore on the other side, where another bus would be waiting to take us to the border.

I was thrilled. Honestly. I couldn’t hide my grin.

Danger! Excitement! Who gets to do this?!

Fast-forward 7 years later, I am pushing 30, married with a kid. I haven’t left Texas in two years. Now I see news stories about ISIS beheadings and Ebola and I am gripped with fear.

It is a foreign feeling, icy and paralyzing in the pit of my stomach.

Something happened 4 months ago when I went through labor and held my precious daughter in my arms for the first time.

Suddenly, fear and worry and anxiety took on a whole new level because I am have been given the beautiful burden of parenthood.

Nightmares come, usually where I am somewhere adventurous and my daughter is in danger.

All at once the carefree girl I was came crashing head-to-head with this grown-up woman who loves her child more than life itself.

Love that is fierce and crushing and overwhelming and full of all the best and the worst possibilities.

I’ve always been someone who has always believed the best about people, always given them the benefit of doubt. Suddenly every stranger who looks at me the wrong was is a potential criminal or terrorist or psycho that could hurt my baby.

I’ve always been very nonchalant about my health, never had any major medical issues, or worried about sickness and injury. Now, I lay in bed at night fearful of going on a plane or even to the grocery store because this horrible disease is spreading and so close to home.

I know nothing I am saying is new, it is a deep God-given instinct for the survival of our species.

I must protect my young.

But I don’t want to project my fears on her. I don’t want her to grow up assuming the worst or being overly cautious.

After all, life is a risk.

We never know what we could face when we chose to walk out our door into the sunlight.

Pain and loss is inevitable, you can’t escape it.

Maybe I shouldn’t try so hard to escape my fear, but rather push through it to the other side and choose to live life anyways.

Maybe that is true bravery.

Now that I am a mom, there is always going to be something to worry about. No matter the situation, or what the news blares loudly.  Whether they find the cure for Ebola tomorrow or it turns into this century’s black plague. Whether or not we defeat terrorism far away, or it rears its evil head within our borders.

Perfect love drives out all fear.

I don’t think this means fear goes away completely, it just means it’s pushed out of the spotlight in your heart because Love takes over and there isn’t room for both.

When love is in center stages, the light it radiates shines into every dark corner, illuminating the bad things as smaller than we thought they were.

And then I can say with confidence once again,

Whatever happens, we will be ok. We are exactly where we need to be.

Divine Unknowns

2 Sep

In the stillness of the morning
I close my eyes
and feel covered by a peace
that warms the sensitive
skin of my soul
fragile and yearning for comfort
a warm cup of obsoletes
in a room of shivering uncertainties

I don’t have a clue
but I’ll stay inside the mystery
this land of unknowns
it’s wild and open and free

I’d rather be here then the bleak, cold bus station
thinking I know my destination
riding in circles to fake conclusions
living half-awake with no anticipation
drifting into a monotonous drive
where everything looks the same
all is safe and colorless

I’ve forgotten how to be alive:

be here
where I don’t have a clue
inside the mystery
the land of unknowns
where it’s wild and open and free

I’ve been down this road before
a clear map in my imagination
pale faces line the highways
and I don’t turn to see
I am too focused on my destination
I forget the point of the journey

there’s no time for ignoring humanity
no room to fall for the same old spiel
lies to fake what’s inside of me
fear is a traffic jam in my head
and the noise is unprecedented

but love is the driving force
love makes room
for the swirling apprehensions
and the deafening doubts
love doesn’t fear them
love resists forcing a hand
or controlling a plan
loves steers off the wide road
and brings me home

so right now
I don’t have a clue
but I’ll stay inside the mystery
this land of divine unknowns
where It’s open and wild and free

Confessions of an Adventure Junkie

26 Sep

Last night in my dreams I wandered around some beautiful, unknown country. I spotted an old building, adorned with history and personality and lush green vines. I snapped a picture.

I didn’t know anyone. I wasn’t sure where I was.  I was filled with joy.

I woke up with that old disappointment. That buried ache.

I walked my dog around my apartment complex, ignoring the cool breeze and everything else around me.

I came back inside, brewed some coffee, sat on my couch and sulked.

I allowed that feeling to brood.

What was I doing here?

I stared out the window, and tried to count my blessings.

The very idea felt painful.

Does anyone else have mornings like this?

Where you can’t stop questioning your life?

Where you live in the thrill of the past, remembering the excitement and forgetting the cost?

Where you just want a change, now, no matter what that change looks like?

It is good to move forward, good to seek out new horizons,

But the same wanderlust that drives you to seek out adventure can also be mental torture.

A few years ago, I was absolutely convinced I would not live in America for any long period of time.

In fact, after visiting most major cities and every state (besides Alaska and Hawaii) living on a bus, I was done with this country. It no longer held a thrill. I was a missionary and that meant giving everything up and moving to a foreign country.

After some failed relationships and major heartbreak, I needed to do it.

For God. For me.

“It is just who I am,”I thought.

And it became my identity.

Because the moments I was somewhere different were the moments I felt truly alive.

I never stopped to think,

Maybe I am just running away.


I got my cup of coffee, and half a banana chocolate chip muffin. I sat on the couch. Wrote a few difficult, honest thoughts in my neglected journal:

How do you know when you are going after your dreams, or just chasing after the next high, the next pot at the end of the rainbow?

At times that panicky, choking feeling comes up. I can’t handle watching certain movies or even following certain nomadic people on facebook because I compare, I get jealous, and I start to question my life.

I wonder if I made the wrong decisions.

I wonder if now I am stuck.

I stop writing. I need to get out of my head. I need truth.

I slowly read a few words in my dog-eaten bible,

When a woman gives birth to a baby, she has pain, because her time has come. But when the baby is born, she forgets the pain because she is so happy that a child has been born into the world. It is the same with you. Now you are sad, but I will see you again and you will be happy, and no one will take away your joy.

I breathe in.

Close my eyes.

And breathe out an instant of joy.

That day is now.

Now is an adventure.

Now is love.

Now is everything I’ve been looking for.

I don’t need to run away.

The places will come. Traveling will happen. The world is open, mine to see.

Just because I am physically in one place, doesn’t mean I am not on a journey.

What matters is the here and now.

What matters is relationships.

With my God and with those closest to me.

That is the real adventure.

That is life.

(And I’ll keep repeating these truths until I finally believe them.)

When You Come To The Edge

30 Aug


“Is it safe?”

I asked, nerves coming out. I had tried to act all cool and adventurous, like I used to be, like I didn’t have a care in the world. But all of a sudden that pretense was falling down, like I imagined my body falling into a herd of Longhorns grazing below, as I went down the 1500 foot zip line,  the skies of a Texas summer storm darkening in the distance.

“Well, it is metal, and lightening is attracted to it,” The skinny collage guy guide said with a slight smirk.

“Thanks. That’s reassuring,” I quipped.

I gulped. Jean-Thomas was waiting on the other side. It looked miles away.

It’s not that I am afraid of heights. I’ve always prided myself of loving them, adoring the adrenaline rush, the feeling of flying.

No, I wasn’t afraid so much of falling.

By the time we reached this last zip line, this grand finale, the wind was blowing fiercely, against us. I watched Jean-Thomas go down the zip line and come to a stop before the platform, hanging like a shirt on a clothes line, only to grab onto the line and pull himself in.

That is what I was afraid of. That I would get stuck.

That I would have to pull myself into the other side, that I wasn’t strong enough to do it.

And while I was stuck, the rain would pour down and the thunder boom, and there I would be, a human lightening rod, dangling in the thin air like a skewered piece of meat over a barbecue, ready to be zapped and fried.

Fear used to control my life. I spent time worrying about dying, about having no one to love me, about being alone.

When I was set free, I began to live like I never thought possible. My inward reality reflected on my outward decisions.

I decided to live.

I sold everything I had. I quit my job. I trekked across foreign unknown lands. I shared my heart with strangers.

I lived with abandonment and uncertainty, always moving forward.

Always choosing adventure.

There were plenty moments of terror, but plenty moments of joy.

But faith and risk needs to be exercised, or you become weak again.



“You’ve got to go now,” I heard the guide telling me, “The storm is getting closer.”

I gulped. Closed my eyes for just a moment. I could feel the wind on my face, cool and inviting.

On the other side, my love was waiting. Waiting for me to jump. Waiting to help pull me in if I got stuck.

The guide reassured me, “It’s ok. If you get stuck they can throw you a rope.”

I realized then, even if I was too weak, it didn’t matter.

I wasn’t alone.

“1…2… 3!”

I jumped. And flew, free, into the storm.

“When you have come to the edge of all light that you know, and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen:

There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly”

-Patrick Overton

Mmm, Tastes Like A Story

19 Jul

I really, really like food. I mean, who doesn’t?
Food is so much more than sustaining, surviving.
It is also more than temporary pleasure.

The best food tells a story.

I mean, that’s what it’s all about right?

Food and drink, together-ness.


I love how Jesus fed people with physical food to represent the spiritual nutrition they were receiving.

Bread and wine and receiving life in Him.

Fish for breakfast and speaking how all things were now new.

Food and story go hand-in-hand.

The other day I made some  Chinese dumplings for lunch.

I dipped them in soy sauce mixed with ginger.

They invoked a memory, a story.

A tiny upper room in one of my last days in Urumqui, Western China.
Following a new friend through mad, winter-y, chaotic streets as night was approaching.

An introduction,
“This is my family,”

A kind, shy woman.

Small boys with big almond eyes, brown hair, tan skin, giggling.

“You are the first people from US they have seen.”

The kind woman gently placed three bowls on the floor where we sat cross-legged on a beautiful blanket. A tapestry hung on the bare wall, color and design.

I had eaten so many type of dumplings the past couple months,

Pork, chicken, fish, shrimp, vegetable, some undefinable meat. A thousand types.

Dumplings are good luck for the New Year. I spent Chinese New Year in an apartment with another girl on the other side of the country laughing as another kind mother attempted to teach this western girl how to make dumplings, and I failed. Completely.

“We cannot eat yours, it is bad luck if they fall apart!”

That night, I sat alone of the rooftop of our hotel and watched the sky light up with fireworks, more bright and colorful and numerous then I have ever seen before or since then.
I smiled at the two giggling boys and the shy mother and took a bite. The pungent, strong flavor of lamb I was so accustomed to after spending time in the west, mixed with the delicate home-y taste of sweet potato.

I grinned.
“Tell your mother, I have eaten a lot of dumplings while in China, and these are the best ones so far!”

Our friend translated and the mother blushed and smiled. I felt so much love for these people, this minority group of Turkic descent bared no resemblance to the “typical” Chinese in appearance, religion, or culture.

Our friend proudly showed us her family’s copy of the Koran, one of the few possessions in the small room.

“This is to us what your bible is to you.” She said proudly.

After dinner and good byes, she led us back through the dark, cold streets to our hotel.

There, we talked. Our friend picked up the bible written in Chinese and English I had been carrying across the country with me, wondering who I should give it to.

She began to read,

“In the beginning, God created the heaven’s and earth…”

For the first time, she read our story.
What food tells a story for you?

Let Me Tell You A Story

3 May

I am sitting down to write this morning because that seems to be the way I get my lungs and heart to work.

Writing sometimes feels like riding a stationary bicycle. You approach it with resistance, maybe a little boredom. You don’t really feel like you are getting anywhere, but later you feel the ache coupled with a sense of accomplishment.

You are getting stronger.

On better days you feel more like Captain Cook traversing over unknown lands, embarking on great adventures to go where no human has gone before.

At least, that’s what it seems,  until you see footprints in the snowy tundra.

Because really, there is nothing new under the sun.

But I don’t say that cynically.

The world can always be seen as new, it’s all a matter of whether we open our eyes or not.

So, as writers and artists we dare to portray ancient truths in new light. To make connections, build swinging bridges over deep and dangerous chasms.

We write to make sense of life. 

When you forget this, you begin to live like life isn’t very extraordinary. You begin to get into this routine, chugging through hours and days, waiting for something exciting to come your way.

You forget that being a writer and being an adventurer go hand-in-hand.

You realize you can make your own way,  so you do, slashing through thick proverbial jungle green, pointing out that bright yellow bird along the way.

“See that? Look at the way his feathers shine. Look! Look how those droplets of dew glisten in the sun on that green bud!”



And the party you are leading, (because you are never on this journey alone) “Ooh” and “Aww” because they were so focused on the mosquitos and overwhelming foliage they couldn’t see the beauty right in front of them.

And so eventually you come upon a clearing in a valley. Inevitably, somebody starts a fire. The weary travelers take off the loads they have been hauling and rest, staring into the flickering flames.

And you all feel like maybe you are just like  generations of people who lived this way, who found themselves journeying and  suffering and reminding each other of bright birds and water droplets right in front of them.

Then someone stands up, energized by thoughts of those that have gone before them, and speaks, those sacred, exciting, life-giving words,

 “Let me tell you a story…”

Then all goes silent.

Words tumble out, dancing upward with the firelight.

And the world becomes new.

Smudgy Pictures of the Future, AKA "I have no idea what I am doing."

10 Jul

Here I am again. This is too familiar, but each time I go through the same old worry, same old freak-out, same old resolution and finally, a sense of peace. The future feels  blurry, and in my humanness, blurry feels scary. I have vague impressions, colors and smudgy lines. Words and songs, faces, images. But the actual tangible time line in my head is at a stand still. The “logical” preparatory part of my brain shuts down, otherwise anxiety will set in.

When people ask me the “whens,’ “whats” and “hows,” I don’t have an answer. I’ve learned to just smile and say “yes,” to try to choke out all the “what-ifs” churning, taunting, trying to control me, to rob my peace.

I can’t let them.

I laugh at my 21 year old smug self who figured by the time 26 came around, everything would be so sure.

The older I get, the more I realize it never is.

Because we equate sure with plans, with actions, with what fills up our 9-5.

I wish I could erase these ideals that say in order to be happy you must have some sort of “stability.”

Again, stability is equated to career, finances, house.

In that sense of the words, I have nothing sure, nothing stable.

How many times have I uttered, “I have no idea what I am doing with my life.”

But saying this doesn’t have to be tragic. Maybe it can be… releasing.

Maybe I can remind myself for the billionth time, I can find joy in the unknown.

The unknown is where I start to live.

The world is open. It is my playground. Anything is possible. Anywhere is possible.

Stability, sureness, they revolve not around my source of income or where I lay my head at night, but the people in my life, the relationships.

And ultimately, my Savior.

I forget this, and it’s like forgetting what I look like, who I am. And so, I need to be shook up. I need to run out of time on my lease, run out of money, wonder what I am going to do next. I need to go on a road trip having no idea what my life is going to look like in a few months. I need to walk forward, love, let my passion (not my worry) carry me.

I need to give everything to projects I fully believe in, things I know deep down in the core of my heart, “If I don’t create this, I am cheating myself. I am cheating the world.” I need to spend my time and energy cultivating meaningful relationships, whispering thank yous  to my creator, laughing with no fear of the future.

Then, and only then, I will be free from the “what-ifs” and the lame cultural ideas of success and stability, from the lies of what happiness looks like. Then I will be free, with an open road, an open heart, I’ll have room for so much more beauty and meaning in my life.

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