travel, Uncategorized

If You’re Not Living Like A Local, You’re Missing Out

I wrote this recently about blooming where you are planted. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about living like a local and please feel free to share with others!


A Change of Season: Expect the Unexpected

Ecclesiastes 3

New International Version (NIV)

A Time for Everything

3 There is a time(A) for everything,     and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2     a time to be born and a time to die,     a time to plant and a time to uproot,(B)3     a time to kill(C) and a time to heal,     a time to tear down and a time to build,

Recently we attended church and heard a sermon called “Change of Season = Change of Heart” and it certainly struck a chord in light of the fact that we were about to move overseas. We are now in our overseas location-Okinawa, Japan– and figuratively we are in a new season, but also the season is literally in transition. It’s that time of year when Spring feels a little bit like winter and almost like summer. It’s too cold to jump in the ocean but it’s also too warm to bundle up in cozy coats and scarves. It is also warm enough for a multitude of spring flowers to reach out from under old winter growth and into the light of the sun so we can enjoy their cheerful blooms. Yes, in spite of the discomforts that are brought about by seasonal change, a change in season is undoubtly beautiful!

As I was reflecting on the seasons, I decided to do a little scientific research on season changes. We all learned in school that the Earth rotates around the Sun and the Moon rotates around the Earth and the location of the Earth in relation to the Sun determines the seasons. What I didn’t realize though was that Earth’s hemispheres are actually closer to the Sun in Winter and further from the Sun in the Summer. This is contrary to my line of logic–I didn’t expect to learn that.

So goes our journey here. We expected to stay in Georgia longer or possibly receive orders stateside; we received sudden unexpected orders to Japan. We expected a drought in Texas when we went home to visit; there was a drought but there was a huge downpour of rain just before we left. We expected cloudy rainy weather during our stop in Seattle; it was the clearest, sunniest day of the week. We expected a hot humid island; well it probably will be soon but for now it’s chilly.

What is more intriguing is that the weather is not the only factor of unexpected happenings. Along with the weather, our circumstances have been met with unexpected surprises. We expected to spend time searching for a church; we have found one we are already in love with. We expected a long car search; a car has already been offered to us and it’s just what we wanted.We had hoped for a home in a specific neighborhood, we were offered something different and not at all what we wanted (which had us feeling discouraged), then we unexpectedly got offered a newly renovated home in exactly the area we wanted to be in (that surprise was undoubtedly the answer to our prayers, Thank you Lord). We are expecting more things as we transition into this new place and while all outcomes are not always perfect, I think it comes down to trust. Throughout this moving process in the past few months, there have been a lot of uncertains, unknowns, hopes, dreams, fears, etc–There have been many reasons to expect disappointments and let’s face it, they come. The good news is that with every few steps a little more is revealed and there are more opportunities to put faith in God and I find more often than not that things work out better than I expected.

In summary, expectations are relative. It is okay to assume the weather might be cold in the winter and hot in the summer, but don’t crumble if you have a hot day in the winter because it can happen. My grandfather used to say, “You should always have a plan, but understand that things might not go according to plan.” What he meant was that it was wise to always be prepared yet flexible. Coming from a man who was in the Army for 30 years, he knew what he was talking about. There is truly a time for everything even though it doesn’t always fall into our anticipated schedules.


Wrong Turns and Second Chances

“The Lord really blessed us today” said Brian. “Yeah, cause we did everything wrong!” Said Marissa

Have you ever been on a less than perfect vacation? You know what I’m talking about. You forget cash and get stuck on a toll road. You are going to the beach all day without sunscreen. You arrive at your destination only to find that all the rental cars in the city are gone. So you throw your hands in the air and say, “it’s an adventure!” Right?

Well my husband and I are on one big adventure and can’t help but stop for mini adventures along the way whilst on our pre-change-of-duty-station vacation. The destination? Texas, our home state. Current mini adventure? South Padre Island. Expectations? Sunny Texas Spring Weather and peaceful mid week environment. Reality? Cloudy with winds of 20 miles per hour and college students still on spring break livening up the hotel. Am I complaining? Not too much. I’ve seen some really cool birds, I’m getting outside, and we have encountered a good bit of grace along the way.

For starters, we misread the directions and by the time we rerouted a few hours were added onto our trip. But then on our alternate route, we saw a Roadrunner, a Caracara, Hawks, and a rustic Texas scenery we would have missed if it hadn’t been for our detour.

Next, we discovered that there was a birding and nature center right across from our hotel. When you see as many birds as we did on a bad weather day, you know it’s a good place.

Then, towards the end of our day we drove down to the beach. Apparently the wind blew the sand dunes into the road and we starting driving into some sand. We were too bold and managed to get the tundra stuck in the sand! I thought, “help us Lord” when a jeep with two Hispanic men pulled up. They said something to Brian in Spanish and then without further comment backed their vehicle up close ours, tied heavy duty rope bands to each vehicle, instructed Brian to back his truck up while they also backed there’s up, and within seconds we were out of the sand. There are few times in my life that I can recall having a prayer answered so quickly. What you have to understand is that we were in an isolated place and it was miraculous that they were driving by just then!

I told the men, “perdoname, pero mi espanol no es bueno, pero muchas gracias para ayudar!” Translation: “forgive me, my Spanish isn’t very good but thank you so much for your help!” They said that it was okay and to have a good day!

It was then that we said that the Lord still blessed us after we did so many things wrong. This was a humorous silver-lining take on the day!