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You Make Me Brave

This is usually one of my most favorite times of year. That week between Christmas and New Years where the kids are engrossed with new toys and I get the urge to organize and dream.

This year not so much. This year when my favorite annual goal setting posts popped up in my RSS feed I didn’t even click it. I couldn’t bring myself to plan and dream right now. But then another blog popped up today, one about choosing a word for the year. And I remembered what I’d chosen last year.

BRAVE

I’d had a lot of anxiety surrounding the move…Questioning why we were here, terrified to attempt to speak Italian, and fearing something terrible would happen to a family member. At first choosing the word meant that I’d will myself to be brave in the new year. Then a few months in I realized I had to trust the Lord to make me brave.  There’s an incredibly popular song floating around in the Christian Music world that I listened to on repeat during my times of fear. I slowly realized it’s not me making myself brave, but leaning into the strength of God that does. Trusting that he’ll be my rock in the storm – be with me through the fears and then again when I come out on the other side of them. Sometimes he helps them fade faster, and other times I just hang on to him while the waves crash.

Who knew that the word brave would carry me through a year of anxiety and small panic attacks, and then up to the tragedy we faced on December 18th? Who knew my constant questioning of why we felt lead to move here would be answered on December 18th?

God did.  Read More

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The tale of crab dip and a pashmina

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I hope some day soon I’ll look back on last night and laugh. For now I’m still mortified and perhaps telling you the story will allow the healing process to begin.

It’s quite ironic that this post immediately follows the one in which I told you how I don’t care what people think…

Last night Nick and I attended a dinner party. It was the annual couples dinner for the international ladies group in town.

I’ve attended lunches, cultural tours, and just earlier this week a coffee morning at someone’s home with this group.  At the coffee morning I brought along a store bought cake (which I felt a little embarrassed about, but there were other non-homemade items as part of the spread) When I arrived, I was greeted by the host and taken to the kitchen to grab a plate for my contribution, offered tea or coffee, and then left to mingle with the ladies. I figured this dinner party would be similar.

Now, I’m an introvert. Small talk is not my thing. But I’ve managed to enjoy these little gatherings and for now it’s learning about the ladies and hearing some of their stories, and I can do that.

But then last night. Read More

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I don’t care what they’re going to say…

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I’m not sure quite when it happened. Maybe when I turned 30? Or when I headed back into the working world and I had more to occupy my time and thoughts than I’d had at home for two years? Or maybe the move to Italy took the focus off of petty things.

Maybe some of it just comes with my life stage? Married 11 years and my family is complete. Who do I need to impress? We’re happy together. Let’s just enjoy our life without comparing it to another family.

Whatever the reason, somewhere in the last few years I’ve stopped caring what other people think. I’ve stopped comparing myself to the instagrams and pinterest pins and pretty pictures from photographers. Read More

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One Year in Italy

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One whole year. Wow that was fast.

As I reflect on the last 365 days, I have mixed feelings about it all. In some ways we are living the dream we’d wanted for years. And in other ways it’s not quite what I expected that dream to look like. And still in other ways parts are challenging.

Yes, we’re living the dream.

Our city really is the perfect size. It’s a city with a population of 214,000 yet it has this small town feel – especially living in the city center. Read More

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How Instagram changed my faith

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Yeah, you read that right. Instagram. The social medias changed my faith and relationship with God. How crazy is that?

The story goes like this…

In April of 2013 I found a hashtag #mth2013 – “Making Things Happen 2013”. This led me to finding Lara Casey’s blog and walking through some of her goal setting posts. Because goal setting is my jam. One line hit me: “Time with God is never unproductive. What is unproductive is when you try to do everything on your own. That leads you in circles.” As a perfectionist who needed control, that line began a big change in my relationship with God.

From others who posted using #mth2013 I came across more hashtags and users who taught me how to study the bible. Then I found so many books to read. I followed the authors on their blogs and Instagram. I’d see who else they followed….. it just . kept . going.

Recently I’ve discovered the world of podcasts. Yes, I realize I’m late to this game. I’m not sure why. Learning is also my jam. Sidenote: I’d also like to mention this has changed my laundry hanging and folding time – I don’t dread doing the chore anymore…it means learning time!

Anyway… Read More

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Six Months in Italy

And just like that, six months in Italy has come and gone.

I knew the milestone was approaching, but somehow April 18 slipped by without my taking time to really let it sink in.

I think it’s because the “everything is new” phase has worn off and we’re in the groove of our new normal. I’d been waiting for this period in the transition – waiting to mark the normal life moments. Here it is. We’ve arrived. And like most things in my life, I have mixed feelings.

In some ways our move here has been everything I dreamed it would be. We’ve embraced the European city life. Walking everywhere, seeing the same families and people as we walk our kids to and from school. Shopping at the market and grocery store multiple times a week. Eating meals outdoors at cafes in the piazzas. We live near family, and while they’ve traveled and worked a lot, we see grandparents, cousins and auntie and uncle more than we have in the past few years. We’ve opened our home to an intern from the US, and we regularly have friends over for meals or hangouts.

All of these things were in the dreams and plans in my heart for years. They’re the things I wanted most for our family. Read More