Following our calling to the Dominican Republic


Afternoon coffee


Remember how I said that I wanted this be an honest, vulnerable view of our journey?  Remember how I also said that I wanted to share it all with you, even the victories (because, gosh, who wants to just hear the hard stuff?!)?  THIS is one of those posts!

I will just begin by saying that our marriage took a HUGE hit while being on the mission field.  I will talk more about this at a later time.  We truly had lost the ability to speak tenderly to one another. Suffice to say, our marriage was pretty torn and tattered by the time we touched down on U.S. soil.

This season in our lives has been brutiful (beautiful and brutal).  There truly have been some amazingly, beautiful gifts that have come, and are still in the works, during this time.  This is one of those gifts.

Going from having our kids with us 24/7 to being, what we call, “semi-empty nesters” has been an adjustment for sure.  With one kid living in another country, and the other one in school and working, we have lots of extra time for just the two of us.  Also, our home in the DR was always full of people coming in and out.  We loved that because we wanted the mission house to be a safe place for our sweet DR community.

However, we realize how valuable our solitude is for us now. God has used this gift of time to restore what the enemy tried to destroy.

Most days, I make a home cooked lunch for Mo and I.  He schedules his day around this.  It is a time that is just for the two of us.  Occasionally, because of life, we can’t do this but we usually have this time 4 out of 5 days.

Then, between 3 and 4 o’clock, Mo comes back home, and we have coffee together, either at our kitchen table or sitting in the rocking chairs on our front porch.  We have really taken this time to unpack some tough stuff, some hurt emotions, and some dreams and desires for the future. We have learned to listen to one another (mostly) and laugh together again.

These two times in each day are so valuable and precious to us now.  We are so thankful that God is allowing this time of quiet, stillness in our marriage.  We are so thankful that our marriage is so important to Him that He would give us such a gift of time. He really does love us THAT much!


***I would love to hear the small ways in which you connect with your spouse***


Just Visiting


I guess this is segment 1 to publicly writing about our transition, the victories and struggles that have come from returning from the mission field and the messy aftermath of it all.  I will write about the physical challenges that I have *hopefully* begun to overcome, the various emotions that come from readjusting to a known, but now, unfamiliar culture, and working through spiritual wounds that have ripped so many of our beliefs wide open.

One of the hardest parts of returning from the mission field to the city from which you left is this subconscious belief/expectation that you are simply returning to your old life. BUT, you’re not…not even close.  We were gone for almost 5 years. Although our life here had been paused, no one else’s had.

For us, also, EVERYTHING has changed.

Our home is MUCH smaller.  Our bank account is MUCH smaller. We are restarting our business from the ground up AGAIN. Our friend circle is (necessarily) MUCH smaller.  Since we left our former church, we no longer have a church community, which has been necessary for certain healing to take place right now.


The BIG one that we are learning is that WE are no longer the same people who left this city and this life. We are trying to navigate a familiar place and space with unfamiliar selves. Until we learn who we are now and what we now believe about church, religion, money, and the U.S. lifestyle, we will continue to feel like visitors of our own lives.

This is our current rumble.  It is messy and beautiful all in one.  God is meeting us where we are.  He is speaking to us.  Sometimes, He gives us the answers, guidance, and kick in the butt that we need.  Other times, He just pulls up floor space next to us and sits in the sludge quietly with us.  And…that’s ok too!



A Wall of Warriors

warriorOne thing that I hope everyone knows about me is that I am real.  What you see on social media will be the same thing that you see in my “real life”.  You won’t hear spiritual platitudes coming from my mouth.  I won’t say things just to placate you.  That is both a blessing and a curse.

The reason that I am saying this is because I need all of you to know that.  I hope to show as much of the good, bad, and ugly of me that is socially acceptable.  (Let’s all face it…only your closest of friends see it all!) My hope is that by being honest and vulnerable that you can see God at work.  My hope is that through my own personal struggles and angst that you can see God working in and through me.  My hope is that this gives you hope and points you to the one that seeks your heart!

Yesterday, I posted a plea for prayer on FB.  Over the past month, we have been getting attacked from all sides in ways that we have not made public.  The same thing happened when we were entering the mission field.  We have been a bit shocked that it is happening as we are leaving the field to enter a season of rest and healing. We feel that we aren’t much of a threat right now and couldn’t understand why we were under siege.

Hermanas en Cristo has been doing the War Room bible study, and our recent Women’s Retreat’s theme was “This is War!”, with our focus on becoming Prayer Warriors.  For anyone that has not read Priscilla Shirer’s book, Fervent, she talks about how satan attacks us in all areas of our life to distract us so that we will lose our focus on God. He uses problems in our marriage, our relationships and our finances to distract us.  He wants to take away our passion and our energy so we won’t have the strength to fight.  He uses others to remind us of who we were in our past. Once he distracts and weakens us, then he goes in for the kill.

That is where I was yesterday…distracted and depleted!

How can we fight against that?  Through prayer and scripture!!!

I heard God say, “Ask for help!  Surround your family with a Wall of Prayer Warriors!”.

I needed to “practice what I preach”.

As I reached out on FB, I was nervous for laying it out there for all to see.  I was weak, vulnerable, and sinking! I was nervous about being judged for “being weak in my faith” (<—don’t get me started on that! That is for another day, another post).

We were overwhelmed by love and support! We received so many private messages and words of encouragement, and so many people began praying for us. It did feel like we had a Wall of Prayer Warriors all around us.  It gave us strength to refocus on Him.

There are going to be times in our lives where we don’t have strength to fight alone.  God is always with us and always faithful.  I believe that is why He also provides us with Prayer Warriors to surround us and protect us as we refocus on Him.  God also uses these times to grow and mold us.  He will never let our pain occur in vain.  He always uses that for His good.  God is teaching me to be vulnerable, bold, and to live without fear of judgment. He is teaching me not to listen to what others say about who I am, but to believe who He says I am.  He is showing me that I am not the sum of all of my past mistakes and failures. I hope that my moments of weakness can serve as a testament for Him.  I hope that you can see that no one is perfect in their walk with Christ.  Yes, I definitely hope that you do not see a “perfect Christian”, but that you see a broken person that NEEDS Jesus! I hope that you can see the new story that God is beginning to weave into our lives. I hope to continue to focus and rest in Him.  I hope that you can see that He will always turn something beautiful from the ashes to glorify His name!

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Pushing our birdies out of the nest

baby bird kicked out of nest

Motherhood is truly one of the greatest experiences of my life. My daughters fill my heart with love.  I honestly never thought that I would say that about my teenage daughters.  I can remember how they always wanted to be with me when they were little.  My husband would say, “They are both Momma’s Girls.  I want them to be Daddy’s girls”. I would laugh and say, “Please give this to me.  Soon they will be teenage girls.  Teenage girls and mommas don’t mix”!  However, here we are…and we still, not only love each other, but really like one another!

Today is the first Mother’s Day without my daughters.  BOTH of my little cherubs are in a different country than I am. Although my heart is filled with a bit of sadness, it is also filled with knowing…knowing what is coming in the next season of our lives.

I can remember, when they were babies, and seeing other mommas sending their kids off to Kindergarten, and thinking…”Nope, I could never do that. Those mommas are so brave”!

But, I did and it was one of the hardest things in my life that I ever did!

I can remember, when they were primary school aged, and seeing other mommas sending their babies off to middle school, and thinking…”Nope, I could never do that. Those mommas are so brave”!

But, I did and it was one of the hardest things in my life that I ever did!

I can remember, when they were middle school aged, and seeing other mommas seeing their babies walk across the stage to graduate high school, and thinking…”Nope, I can’t do that.  Those mommas are so brave”!

Yet, here I am…in that season of our lives.  I am looking down the path to graduating high schoolers.  I feel like I am spending every day filling them with knowledge to send them off into this world.  “Did I tell you this?” “Did I tell you that?”  “Do you know how much you are loved?”…and so on and so on…

This year, I had to put BOTH of my babies on planes several times to send them to another country for end-of-the-year high school tests. They were scared.  My husband and I were scared. My babies had lots of trepidation and hesitation. This was the time…the season…that we were dreading.  We had to push our babies out of the nest for their own good.  We had to push them beyond what they thought that they could do without parents there to catch them.

But, we did and it was one of the hardest things in my life that we ever did!

Thanks to wonderful in-laws, we have gotten several messages this week telling us how much they are enjoying spending time with our daughters, and that we have pretty awesome kiddos! Those words are music to this momma’s heart.

The point that I am making in all of this is to say…”Mommas of college kids, graduating college kids, getting married kids, having babies kids, and so on…I am watching you!  I am watching your bravery, and I am pulling from that.”  Just the same as I hope those mommas of those babies are watching me and pulling from my bravery!

Motherhood is the greatest blessing that God have ever given us.  It comes with enormous responsibility with the MOST AMAZING rewards!  God equips us along the way.  He helps us to take baby steps forward…

…as He prepares our hearts, give us strength, and helps us not to be fearful to take the next steps…

…even if it means having the courage to push those birdies out of the nest!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 
10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real

I recently posted on Facebook about being scared during my marathon training…scared of all the miles…scared of not being able to finish.  I saw one of my cousins shortly after that post and she said “I couldn’t believe that you said that you were scared.  You aren’t scared of anything!”   I had to laugh because I am scared of ALOT of stuff!  I am also amazed at how these fears have caused me to miss out on some really great experiences and memories!

See…when my dad died in 2004, I went through almost a year of anxiety disorder and panic attacks.  I had lost my rock…the one person that could keep me grounded and that I knew that I could count on for anything!  I was like a helium balloon without someone holding it down on earth.  I felt lost and floating around unable to attach myself to anything to anchor me to reality.  Instead, I had panic attacks and believed some pretty scary thoughts.  Luckily, I was able to heal from this and am forever grateful for that.  However, I held on to one big fear…for all this time…for 8 years!!! My first panic attack happened while driving…on the interstate!!!  Driving on the interstate became my trigger spot…so I just avoided it!  I don’t have panic attacks or generalized anxiety at all anymore but the thought of driving more than 2 hours alone on the interstate would cause my palms to sweat…so I just continued to avoid it.  Until now…

God is asking us to do a VERY BIG, VERY SCARY thing right now!  If He is asking this big thing, then how can I continue to hold on to these small fears?  If I can’t trust that He is going to give me the strength and protect me while overcoming these small fears, how am I going to trust Him to give me strength and protect me during this big thing?

While doing my devotional recently, I felt God nudging me to “just get over these fears”.  Every verse that He was pointing me towards was “Do not fear!” (Deuteronomy 31:6Isaiah 41:10,Psalm 118:6).  I also kept hearing Ephesians 6:11: Put on your armor of God.  I knew that I would be protected!

So…I put on my big girl panties and planned a trip to the beach with my 2 daughters…by myself!  There would be no safety net…there would be no one to drive or come get me!  I got a few scriptures to repeat to myself, packed our bags and away we went!!!  And guess what?  I was fine!  No problems driving at all…and guess what else??? We had a blast!  We made so many amazing memories!  It amazed and saddened me that I have allowed fear to rob me of many fun times and memories.

We even had to sleep in the car the first night because there were no hotels to stay in for an hour’s radius of Destin

Doesn’t this look like fun!!!
My babies and me!

I figured while I was in “dragon slaying mode” that I might as well tackle a few more.  Two others fears that I had were: open water swims (mostly in the lake) and riding my bike with clips (clips attach special shoes to the pedal of your bike).  Well, I am proud to say that I completed a triathlon where the swim was in the lake, and I wore clips on my bike!  Mind you, it sucked…I sucked!  The swim was just short of doggy paddling.  I fell over on my bike right smack on my hip…with the bike still attached to my feet.

What I realized while out slaying dragons was that I will be ok!  I didn’t die and no one got seriously injured (just a bruised hip and bruised pride)!  With the armor of God, we can do great things…we can do really hard things!

What things do you have fear about?  What things have held you back from completely enjoying life?