Explore {istanbul, that is}

Wednesday, May 21

Today Kevin and I walked miles and miles around both Europe and Asia, as Istanbul is the only city in the world divided between two continents. We trod new ground, hand in hand, wide-eyed and a little sleepy from jet-lag, but no less thrilled by how magical the air sits in this exciting place.

We woke this morning to a million dollar view of the city {you an see a pic from our balcony on instagram here}, thanks to some sweet people who opened their home on AirBnB. We soaked in thousands of years of history, liked and disliked a few new foods, and capped the night off sharing a meal with a sweet Turkish couple who shared about the ways God is moving int his place.

The world opens my eyes, and I am so very grateful. I am in "explore" mode and I feel fresh and free. Here's to being explorers today friends,

Happy Wednesday with love and hugs from Istanbul,


Thursday, May 15

Like I mentioned here, we shared our dreams in Mexico. I had spent that morning sitting on the beach, listening to the rhythm of the waves crashing in and exhaling out. It was my music as I sat soaking in the vision we have for our life. The bottom line is that only God knows what will actually transpire, but here are some of the special desires of our hearts as a couple (and a few individual ones of mine!)

- We both want to move abroad and serve God wherever he calls us. When we lived in Nepal, it felt so right, so ordained, and as thus our lives burst with meaning. It was not easy or glamorous, but it was good. Kevin has a special heart for Indonesia (where he used to live and coach basketball at a university there), so we are praying into this dream of possibly going back there. Or to Nepal…our hearts ache to go back and visit the girls we worked with. We'll see:)

- I want to finish my MFT program and get licensed (MFT stands for Marriage and Family Therapy…I am basically becoming a counselor). It's a long road, especially as I'm just in the beginning stages now. But my dream is to walk alongside and love people who need a listening ear. I especially have a heart for missionaries, so we'll see where God takes us!

- Kevin and I so desire an open home, where everyone is welcome. No matter where we live, I want a home that anyone can walk into at anytime and feel loved and welcome. When we lived in the neighborhood, we tasted such joy of living in community, kids wandering into our house every day. I desire my home to be a sanctuary of peace and joy. Right now we are living with Kev's parents, which is a huge blessing (as I finish grad school!), and we are feeling the love and welcome by them. I want to reproduce that!

- And like many of you, I want to be a mama. I don't know when that will be or the circumstances, but I pray that one day I will hold my babies in my arms and love them fiercely. And, I must say, I cannot wait to see Keivn as a father…he will be the best, I know it:)

- I also secretly want to move to Europe for a year. I've done a lot of traveling there, and lived in Italy during college, but I hope one day the Lord will give us a year (or more!) to soak in a special culture's life. I envision living in the Alps, but then Kevin reminds me I hate the cold, so maybe i'll settle for just vacationing in them while we are there:) We'll see where he takes us:) 

There are many more smaller dreams, but these are some of my bigger dreams. The bottom line is we just want to be used by God to shine His love into this world. We'll see where we end up, but i'm sure it will be more of an adventure than we can imagine…it already has! {just look at 2013 for instance!)

What are some of your dreams friends? Dreaming is good for the soul, right? 

Well, today I have 2 finals today! Pray for me…i'll need it (wink wink!! haha). Then after, I'm driving to Santa Barbara to have a spa weekend with my mom and sisters (and aunts and cousin!!). I am so looking forward to some early morning yoga, hiking, pampering, yummy food, and of course great company!! 

Happy Thursday friends,
ps- we leave for Turkey Monday! epp!!! I'm so excited!!

Rosarito Beach, Mexico

Monday, May 12

In Mexico your wishes have a dream power.” -William S. Burroughs

And so we spent 3 windswept days in Mexico with our closest friends, our life group. It was a retreat of sorts, a time to rest and just "be" together. A rare lapse of time, away from the busyness of life, to talk and laugh and play games, and eat with one another. And dream. Saturday night we gave everyone five minutes to share their dreams for the future. Can I just say how refreshing it was? Dreams are a part of our souls. God gives us dreams for the future, and He is the one who breathes life into them. There was a completeness to people after they shared their dreams, as if we were given a window into their soul to know them more. For some it was leaning deeper into their artistic talent, for others it was adoption and foster care, and for yet other it was living in community whether in the US or abroad. Some of our dreams overlapped, and that connection point meant something. For one of our dear friends, Erika, it is a dream of using art as an expression to bring peace in the middle east {you can read more about her endeavors here}. 

The sum of its parts is that we are a group who God has lit individual and communal visions in our hearts. And a synergy pumped heavy as we prayed into those dreams. 

I'll share more of Kevin and my dream later this week, but for now, enjoy the colorful pictures of Mexico. It's only a few hours from our house, but it is another world. 

Many happy thoughts towards you today friends:) Happy Monday! 

 Can't go to Mexico without stopping at a taco stand! yum yum:)

 My husband and a friend were a little "too" adventurous and slurped down some muscle soup. yikes!
 I stuck to a more traditional taco!

Surf time for the boys! 

{1st and 5th photo of me were taken by my lovely sister-in-law Jenna Cook