May 31, 2008

It has been a tumultuous week full of held breaths, heavy sighs and shrieks of joy. Sometimes all at once.

I was offered and accepted a job working as a labor and delivery RN. Truly a gracious gift.

Josh and I decided upon an apartment not far from the hospital and we are able to move in right when we return from Costa Rica. It offers much relief to have a place. A place we can call our own. (Although we are extending the welcome to call it yours, too.) It is on the edge of the mountains.

Friday we reorganized our packing and put even more of our belongings into our storage space. We are now traveling the lightest thus far.

We left Jeremy and Joanna’s home in Denver (they were expecting even more company. they are saints.) and were offered to stay our last two nights at the home of some friends of a friend in Longmont, CO. Having never met them , we showed up on their doorstep needy. They have let us sleep in their basement which is unfinished and has no electricity. It is as nice or nicer than many of the hostels we have stayed in (we had hot water!). Last night we read by candlelight and the dark, quiet night was lovely, simple relief from the business of the past week.

If you haven’t checked in on Josh’s lack-of-grooming progression, rest assured, it’s getting interesting.  This week he had his school ID card made.  With bed-head.

Today we laundered our remaining dirty clothes and purchased some last-minute necessities. The sun was warm, the sky blue and the mountains clear.

Josh drove to Fort Collins to visit with Rich and left me here at a coffee shop in Longmont. I’m making final arrangements for our “free time” in Costa Rica. And enjoying the alone-ness.

We are reading a book called Pagan Christianity and it is frustrating, challenging and something we need right now. If you’ve read it, are reading it or plan to read it, we’d love your thoughts.

Tomorrow we fly to Peru and, I suspect, will not feel comfortable or complacent for the next 6 weeks. I covet your prayers. I am tired, worn down, restlessly longing for stability when there is little on the horizon. Adventure lived is drastically different that adventure planned. Although I know for certain that the former is more beneficial and transforming. Not always in the way I expect or desire.

Last night I shuffled through Ragamuffin Prayers. I found it on one of the dusty bookshelves in the basement. I ran across this:

“Faithfulness requires the courage to risk everything on Jesus, the willingness to keep growing, and the readiness to risk failure throughout our lives.”-BM

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May 29, 2008

We’re back in Colorado for the few days we have before flying to Peru.  Monday we left Great Falls, Montana and made the very long, very rainy trek back to Denver.  790miles.  Rain and flash flooding the entire drive. We made it.

It was very strange to come back from such a long trip and still have no home to return to.  Josh and I have both commented that most parts of this adventure don’t seem real until we are right upon them.  It’s easy to forget you don’t have a home until you’re ready to retreat.  We told Jeremy and Joanna that their apartment is the closest thing we have to a home.  They are becoming family.

So we’re back in Denver planning, resting and praying.  Tuesday we were able to do one of the Denver-based accomplishments on my to-do list.  We ran in the Red Rocks amphitheater.  Every one of the 54-ish levels back and forth.  Which by my estimate adds up to just over two miles.

The view is fantastic.  The air is thin.  It was my first run in nearly a month.

The next day we went back to do a little hiking.

It is simply a relief to sleep in the same spot for more than one night.  And Denver isn’t a bad option, either.

Today I had my first official interview and we’re seeing an apartment this afternoon.  Things are coming together.  By God’s grace.  Alone.

Sunday we board our flight for Peru and won’t be back in the United States until mid-July.  That, too, will become a reality when we’ve arrived.  I’ve come to realize that this lifestyle is best lived moment-by-moment.  Each one given acknowledgment.   And then surprised by the next.

May 25, 2008

Because this is what you do in Great Falls, Montana when they are in the midst of a deluge.

Watch tv in Jon’s kitchen because you can’t figure out how to use the one in the living room.

Give a terrifically embarrassing attempt at Guitar Hero in the middle of a store.

Buy your husband steak. Because he eats it only twice a year. And we’re in Montana. And he’s been eating sandwiches out of the cooler in the back of our Honda for 90% of the past 2 weeks.

…And enjoy Jon’s hot tub between episodes of Arrested Development.

Thankful for the rain.

May 24, 2008

Since we last corresponded:

Josh, Huster and I enjoyed a movie at the Kennedy School (Portland, Oregon).  They converted the auditorium of the school into a movie theater by lining up comfortable, worn leather couches and end tables up in rows and hanging a large screen in front of the stage.  It was funky.  And nice evening to relax.

That evening Josh and I dropped Huster off at the Portland airport, gave him a hearty GOODBYE and sent him on his merry way back to the east coast. See ya!

And then we made our way to Centralia, Washington to stay in an old railroad saloon converted into a bar/restaurant/hotel/hostel.  Olympic Club Hotel.  It was classic and had character.

Thursday morning we drove BACK through Seattle to make one last stop at Pike Place Market!  Fresh seafood, bubble tea and Piroshky’s Rhubarb pastries!!  We couldn’t resist!

In the afternoon we drove from Seattle to Spokane, Washington.  Spokane is not my favorite city.  We camped there one night and moved on.

When we woke up Friday morning we were set to make the drive from Spokane to Great Falls, Montana to stay with my good friend Jon Black.  We were on the road nearly 20minutes when we realized that Friday was the 23rd…not the 24th.  This happens when you travel.  No concept of dates, days and schedules.  This meant we had a whole 24 hours free to do as we pleased.

We looked over the maps and decided to make the drive slightly north to Glacier National Park in Montana.  The drive there was beautiful but we arrived to find much of the park still over snow cover (and therefore closed) and the general area under flood advisories.  We passed entire campgrounds submersed in water.  We were able to take the main road through the park 16 miles in before the road closed.  It was mainly rainy, cloudy and flooded but we did get a pretty good idea of how beautiful the park must be at peak.

So there we were, Friday night, no plans for where to camp or sleep for the night, in a cold, wet National Park.   Our first choice hostel was closed, and the second was sub-par.  We lucked out by convincing a tiny motel to give us a room half price if we only slept in one of the two beds in the room.  No problem!

So we enjoyed a warm night of free wifi, television and mirowaved mac and cheese.

This morning (the REAL 24th) we drove down to Great Falls, Montana to see Jon Black!

It’s still raining and cold but we’re enjoying Jon’s company.  And warm house.

May 21, 2008

Our last day at Cannon Beach, Oregon, was enjoyable. Besides the San Juan Islands, the Pacific coastline has been my favorite to explore. There’s something about the ocean.

We found a welcoming little coffee shop to spend a few hours in catching up on emailing, uploading pictures and reading.

Yesterday we drove into Portland and, predictably, our first stop was Powell’s Books. Truly a “city of books”, 9 rooms, hundreds of thousands of new and used books to browse. It takes up an entire city block. The stars aligned. The universe was there to greet us.

From there we were graciously hosted in Vancouver, WA for the night by a family Huster knows through Wycliffe. Our first night in a home in 12 or so days. They fed us a delicious dinner (and dessert!), provided great company and gifted us with a warm bed and shower. We were blessed.

This morning we explored the Traditional Chinese Garden of Portland.

And, as the weather has turned cool and rainy, we headed to a local microbrewery. Portland is the “Microbrewery Capital of the World”. Which led us here to McMenamins Kennedy School. An old school converted to hotel/movie theatre/restaurant/coffee shop/brewery.  It looks remarkably like my old middle school, only in their restrooms they play loud 70’s music and offer organic hand soap.  And their teacher’s lounge has a “soaking pool”.

I’ve been asked if I am becoming travel-weary, yet. Travel-weary is not an option this early in the ventures. Next week we will launder clothing, repack, pray and leave for Peru. And then Costa Rica.

I’ve been asked if we have jobs lined up. (No.) Do we have a place to live? (No.)

Uncertainty. It’s amazing to me how much I can handle as long as I know Who is certain.

For now we are seeing ourselves far and wide. Coming and going and becoming strong. These days seem to be showing me so much more than I anticipate. More than I imagine I can handle. I am discovering and becoming even in the moments I try hard to stay the same.

Fitting all of our unlovely, unkempt, blundering parts into our puzzle is a challenge of the most ambitious variety.

I want health and healing and holding close. I want treasures. I want similar souls. I want passionate yesses. I want to be blown away. I want to trust. I want calm gladness and prayers and deep talks. True breaths.

We are on our way. Leaving and arriving.