It's funny. I set a budget when I started raising support and had a specific dollar amount necessary to be "fully supported." While I got close to hitting that amount, I don't know that I can officially say I have hit "full support." And yet God has provided exactly what I need every month for the last two years. So, while I didn't hit the initial budget of full support, I have been fully supported in so many ways and I can officially cross this off my list! (I probably could have a long time ago, actually. I just didn't think about it sooner.)
Honestly, I'm not totally sure what I was thinking when I wrote "go off-roading" as one of my bucket list items. I don't think I had a specific idea in mind for what that looked like. I just knew it sounded exciting and different. I had seen friends who had taken jeeps through the mountains or ATVs through the woods or simply drove their vehicle off-road for a shortcut. Regardless, I knew "off-road" could mean many things and I kept trying to figure out what that could look like.
And then my roommate mentioned ATVing in the desert.
We are winding down to the finals days and weeks of some of my good friends here and, as a group, we wanted to do something fun and memorable. We hang out frequently and it's always random and a blast, but we wanted something that stood out as unique and something most of us had never done. So when my roommate suggested ATVs in the desert, we knew we had a winner.
2 hours. 8 ATVs. 8 friends. And (mostly) free reign of how must risk you wanted to take climbing sand dunes, how far you wanted to push the speed capabilities of the ATV, and the amount of sand you wanted to wear and ingest. It was PHENOMENAL!! It was by far the most fun I've had here yet. And the option to climb a pyramid (for a small price, of course) sure enhanced the deal.
If you come visit, I promise I'll give you the option of ATVing in the desert. You won't regret it...even in 90˚+ heat.
When I created my bucket list, I knew that I wanted some of it to include traveling to new places. I knew I wanted to see more of the US, but there is something I love about flying into a new country and getting a stamp in the passport. (Honestly...I think I'd be much more motivated to visit other states if I got a stamp in my passport.) I decided I'd make it a goal to see three new countries, but with my current savings plan, didn't really expect I'd cross this one off the list. I mean, traveling overseas is expensive...and time consuming...and typically requires others to want to spend the time and money in the same place. So was it likely to happen? No. But it was a fun goal.
I can honestly say I'm surprised to say it's done! With the blessing of living overseas now, I have been fortunate enough to see a few new places.
My job has allowed me to travel there twice in the last 9 months. What a beautiful country and a beautiful people. (And a beautiful language. Check out my blog about that from April 2012.) I have greatly enjoyed both of those trips. I have had the privilege of seeing Compassion International at work there...in their field office, in their sites, in the lives of their staff, children, and alumni. It's a beautiful ministry that I'm so blessed to partner with.
The benefit of living in this country is that there are a lot of other countries really close by. And because they are close, plane tickets can be a little more reasonably priced. So after many attempts at a trip to see my aunt and uncle, I finally was able to get on a plane that landed in Marseille. I enjoyed 5 wonderful days in the south of France and look forward to going back some day to explore even more.
Italy has never been a big priority for me. Don't get me wrong...I know there is a lot of amazing history there and it would be interesting to see, but there have always been other countries higher up on the list. My job was taking me to Malta, though, and the flight pattern was through Italy. It seemed a shame to fly through and not see it, so we gave ourselves 24 hours in Rome. It was a fast trip and definitely didn't see enough, but I enjoyed it. I look forward to going back and seeing more of Italy at some point.
I have super creative aunts on both sides of the family, so when I was putting together my bucket list, I thought it would be really fun to go to a pottery painting place with them.
Surprisingly, we were able to find a time when we were ALL available (well, on my dad's side) and on New Years Day, we all headed out for a fun day of painting pottery.
It is fun to see how each person's personality shines through their artwork...from what type of pottery they chose to how they painted it.
I had to fly back before we could pick the pieces up, but the photos I have seen look super cute! Who knows...maybe this could become a yearly tradition. :)
It has never been my intention for my family to take over my home projects. I actually enjoy doing them, but being away has made it difficult. Laura helped me finish the living room/staircase last Christmas. It looked so nice! So over the summer, I started dreaming about my bedroom updates. A fresh coat of paint makes such a big difference. I figured if I picked the color out, I could get it done when I was home this Christmas. And then Amy moved in. I told her she was welcome to paint my room or the bathroom upstairs if she wanted, but I certainly didn't expect her to. I shared my thoughts on a color scheme, but knew that whatever she picked would turn out super cute.
Well, I came home for Christmas and the bedroom was nearly complete. She is just finishing the fun stenciling on a column in the corner and it will be complete! It turned out so cute. I LOVE IT!
Thanks for all your hard work, Amy!!
I don't know what specifically made me want to do it, but the idea of driving around and seeing amazing (and sometimes awfully overdone) Christmas lights displays from a limo just sounded fun.
People put so much time and effort into their displays. And I'm fairly certain it isn't because they think the hours of work is fun. There's something that just makes everyone smile when they see an inflatable snowman, a candy cane lane, or twinkling icicles hanging from the rooftops. It's that "Christmas Cheer."
Lucky for me, I have a pretty amazing group of girls in my life who are up for such an adventure. So, nine of us packed into a limo and spent three hours enjoying the many Christmas light displays of the East Metro. It was time to catch-up, laugh, ooh and ahh. We met up with Santa and the Grinch at one home. Some homes orchestrated their lights so that we could tune into a radio station and watch them blink along with the music. A lot of the big displays use it as opportunities to collect food donations or money to support area charities. So while it's a lot of work, it is for the benefit of those in need. Pretty cool.
I'm so glad we did it. It's not something I would need to do every year, but the night was a blast and wouldn't have traded it for the world.
26 movies starting with each letter of the alphabet. Done!
Are We There Yet?
(The) Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Good, but heart-wrenching
Charlie St Cloud
Yeah...I bought it.
Great! Buy it!
Just Go With It
AWFUL! Totally inappropriate.
Karate Kid (2010)
Little Miss Broadway
Mr Popper's Penguins
Night in Rodanthe
good, but CREEPY!!
Queen at Play
good, but I don't know why
a great "feel good" movie
(The) Ultimate Gift
okay, but don't need to see it again
We Bought a Zoo
a confirmation that I don't like comic movies
You Can't Take It With You
It is not unusual to find me at Target on December 23 or 24 trying to find the last part of someone's gift. It's not that I haven't thought of the gift for each person. I often have it all planned out. Somehow, though, I don't quite get things purchased in time. I end up scrambling to find the last piece of a gift that will make it "perfect." I don't enjoy the scramble and every year promise myself to be better the next year. That next year comes and goes, though, and I'm making the same promise.
Well, this year is different. It is December 7th and I'm DONE with my Christmas shopping. None of it is wrapped, of course, but that's easily done last minute. And lets face it...Christmas wrapping is way cuter in the US and the gifts wouldn't travel well wrapped anyway. Excuse? Yes. A valid one? You bet! I'll take what I can get. :)
My parents are amazing. They have spent time, money, and energy blessing others...and often when they didn't have any of the three. I know I will never be able to repay them for all they have done for me, but as I was creating my bucket list, I knew that I wanted to try. For a couple who goes...goes...goes...I wanted them to give them time to relax together. Just have fun. Everyone should have time like that, right?
I originally built my list before moving overseas, so I thought I'd be able to accomplish this goal a little more easily. I had grand plans of planning a scavenger hunt-type date night. They'd receive a stack of envelopes with specific times written on each envelope for when it was to be opened and they'd be led through dinner and some kind event, whether a concert or show or activity. They'd have no decisions to make other than what they wanted to order and would simply enjoy a random night out.
And then I moved overseas. It turns out, it's pretty hard to organize these grandiose plans from a couple thousand miles away.
So on to plan B. Concert tickets.
I was excited to see "The Story Tour" was returning to Minneapolis this Christmas. I had the opportunity to attend last year when it came to my church. I LOVED it. Quality music. A well-done multi-media production. And all focused on the Good News of Jesus Christ - from Genesis to Revelation. It still is a go-to album on iTunes even a year later.
As most of you know, my parents love high-quality music. They would probably never go out and purchase tickets to a concert like this, but I knew that the quality of the music and the production would be right up their alley. I made a quick call to make sure their calendars were open and after a visit to Ticketmaster's website, they were on their way to the concert. Goal #97 - "It's a secret!!!" was accomplished.
a simple girl on a