Tag Archives: good life

The Good Life

Standard

Here’s a bonus for you this week.  This is a classic song by Audio Adrenaline off their album Underdog.  Here you go, folks, “The Good Life”.

[vs. 1]

I’ve watched my dreams all fade away and blister in the sun

Everything I’ve ever had is unraveled and undone

I’ve set upon a worthless stack of my ambitious plans

And the people that I’ve loved the most have turned their backs and ran

[chorus]

This is the Good Life

I’ve lost everything I could ever want and ever dream of

This is the Good Life

I’ve found everything I could ever need here in Your arms

[vs.2]

Loneliness has left me searching for someone to love.

Poverty has changed my view of what true riches are.

Sorrow’s opened up my eyes to see what real joy is.

Pain had been the catalyst to my heart’s happiness.

[chorus]

[bridge]

What good would it be if you had everything, but you wouldn’t have the only thing you need?

[chorus]

Don’t You Get It?

Standard

Every year in my English class I make my students do an assignment with the verb “To Get”.  Rather than me explaining the thousands of uses of the verb, I make them research it on their own and report back to the class what they find.  (Look it up in the dictionary sometime and you’ll be shocked at all the ways we use the verb Get.)  One of my favorite uses is the phrase, “I don’t get it.”

Have you ever found yourself wandering aimlessly through life and thought, “Is this all there is?  Am I missing something here?”  I want to be sure that I “get it”.  I want to get it RIGHT and I want to get it ALL.  I want to squeeze every last drop out of life.  I want the Good Life- every ounce of it.

I have no doubt that someday I’ll be in heaven (so I know I got that part right).  But I don’t want God to say to me, “You didn’t get it.  You had all those years on Earth and you didn’t get it.  I was always with you.  I surrounded you with immeasurable beauty every single day.  I was calling to you every day.  I was trying to get your attention.  I wanted you to see me and admire my beauty.  I wanted to fill you up with my beauty, which would have made you so happy.  But you were too busy.  You were too focused on the pointless details.  You were too frustrated to look up.  I wanted to give you the Good Life, but your hands were already full.  I was trying to show you, but you didn’t get it.”

How many sunsets have I missed?  How many loving gazes have passed unnoticed?  How many times have I been looking down when I should have been looking up?  How many days have I spent scratching around in the dirt when I should have been soaring through the clouds?  How many times have I felt sheer joy rise up inside of me, threatening to swell and burst my heart, but I’ve pushed it back down again because I’m a grown up now?  Children never do that.

When a child is bursting with happiness she sings and dances with abandon, she squeals with giddiness, she claps her hands happily.  Her eyes shine with joy and her smile stretches from ear to ear.  Then what happens?  She runs into her Daddy’s arms and hugs him tight around the neck… she is thankful.  She “Gets It”.   She gets that the Good Life is a life full of thankfulness.

Thankfulness both causes and results from Joy.  It’s a beautiful chicken-and-the-egg cycle.  Noticing beauty makes me happy.  Happiness makes me thankful.  Expressing thankfulness makes me even happier- Joyful even.  And with that Joy I find even more beauty in the world, which makes me overflow with thankfulness.  I worship.  I wrap my arms around my Father’s neck and squeeze- extracting every last drop of Joy from life.  I get it.

I Double Dog Dare You!

Standard

Could you make a list of 1000 things to be thankful for?

After my water bottle leaked in my bag one day and totally saturated a book I was carrying around, a friend of mine gave me a new book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (here’s her blog).  I don’t normally read much Christian writing, but this had a pretty cover and I usually judge a book by its cover… and so do you, I’m sure.  I was pleasantly surprised at what an amazing writer this woman is.  She really has beautiful talent!

I’m reading it slowly to savor every sentence.  This is the best book I’ve read since Annie Dillard’s American Childhood back in college.  It’s beautiful, lyrical, poetic and deep.  I cried on the second page!  How is that possible?!

Anyhow, the book is about finding things to be thankful for and unlocking the secrets of the Abundant Life that God has planned for us and promised to us.  It’s really an amazing book and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone… but I encourage you to read this book and to start making a list of the Gifts in your life, things you are thankful for.  Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies are going on my list for sure.  I think I just heard the angels singing!  🙂

I know that hanging clothes on the line is a nostalgic experience, but here in Costa Rica where things never dry I am thankful for my washer and drier EVERY SINGLE DAY. Most Costa Rican’s don’t have both a washer and a drier.

Fringe Benefits: The side of missionary life that doesn’t make newsletters

Standard

A couple years ago I had a Facebook friend that I had to “hide” because her posts were making me so jealous.  Her husband has his own business and she spends her life shopping and lounging on tropical beaches.  But the weird thing was that it wasn’t so much that I envied her life of luxury and leisure- it was that I envied her freedom to share those cool things without being condemned by others.  I figured, my life is just as cool as her life (in different ways) but I don’t feel the same freedom to talk about it like she does.  She doesn’t have supporters back home reading newsletters, I reasoned.  So rather than deal with my own jealousy, I just hid her so I didn’t have to look at her beautiful pictures anymore.

The beach where we spent our best day ever.The truth is that although often times I write about how difficult missionary life can be, most days I wake up and feel like the Luckiest Girl in the World!  Most days I still can’t believe that I GET to live here and to do what I do (When I’m not flying around in a cape saving the world, I’m a mild mannered English teacher).  I feel so blessed and spoiled by my Father God.  I live in a tropical country where the beach is just a 2 hour drive away.  Parrots fly over my head every morning.  I pass palm trees and people selling tropical flowers and street vendors with trucks full of mangos and Jeeps with surf boards strapped to the roof every day in my commute.  I shiver when the temps drop to 60 degrees Farrenheit.  And my “cup runneth over” with the best coffee in the world!  I live in Costa Rica.  I am a Blessed Girl!

So today I am going to be THAT girl who revels in her wonderful life.  I’m going to write about the best visa trip we ever took.  We used to have to leave the country every 90 days to renew our visas (now we’re in the process of getting our residency- so no more visa trips).  Here in Costa Rica we are bordered by Nicaragua to the North and Panama to the South.  This particular year our visas were coming due in December.  We didn’t have the money to go all the way to Minnesota for Christmas, so we scheduled a trip to Panama during our kids’ Christmas break.  Christmas overseas is not as exciting as Christmas in America.  Tamales and Bull Fights just don’t say “Christmas” to this Minnesota girl.

So since we were feeling “blah” about Christmas we decided to spend a bit of our Christmas money and stay somewhere nice with some of our friends while in Panama.  We chose Bocas del Toro, a string of islands on the Caribbean side of Panama.  On the map it looked like we could take a boat from the last port in Costa Rica directly to the island.  In reality the trip down was more like the deleted scenes from “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”.  Ports were closed, water taxis were hired, busses and taxi vans meant crowding in shared transportation without air conditioning.  Basically the trip down was horrific.  But once we arrived… it was all forgotten.  We found paradise!

We stayed on Playa Tortuga.  With our friends we were two of about 5 other families in the entire hotel.  The rooms were nothing special, but the ocean was literally right at our toes.  I love looking for shells on the beach.  I’ve always dreamed of finding a perfect conch shell.  On this trip I found several small ones right on the beach.  I was thrilled!

Lucy finds Patrick StarOne day we decided to hire a taxi to go to the other end of the island.  From there we hired a water taxi to take us to another island that was famous for it’s giant starfish.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when we arrived at the beach!  There were starfish every few feet!  It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced.

Unfortunately about 10 minutes into our stay at Starfish Beach, the children started crying.  There was something sharp and pokey floating around in the water.  It was like fiberglass strands!  They got between our toes and in our swim suits.  We started picking out the slivers (and didn’t stop for the next 2 days).  After about 10 more minutes we couldn’t stand it any more.  We hailed another boat and asked to be taken back to our island.  For the rest of the afternoon we snorkeled and swam and built sand castles on the most perfect secluded beach.  We had the whole place to ourselves.  It was my best day ever!!

That night as we wandered into town to find something to eat we were surprised to find that the town was preparing for a parade, complete with fireworks and “floats” made from pickup trucks and delivery vans, Caribbean music and firefighters tossing candy to the children.  It was fantastic and carefree!  We had so much fun.  What a perfect end to the perfect day, not a bad way to spend Christmas.  Back at home, I have a conch shell that I keep as a reminder of what a Blessed life I lead.  I really am the Luckiest Girl in the World, but that’s a story you’ll never read in our newsletters.

Happy Wife, Happy Life

Standard

10 things I love about my husband (I had to limit myself to 10 or you would all quit reading my blog!)

1.  I still get butterflies in my stomach when I see him across the room.  Sorry Ladies, but I have the best looking husband around.  Your guys might be nice, but they just can’t hold a candle to My Man.

2.  He buys me flowers for no reason, just because I love flowers.  And he knows which kinds I like the best and why.  One time he mentioned that he liked a particular flowering bush that we walked past.  I told him, “That’s a gardenia.  I wear gardenia perfume.”  He replied, “Oh THAT’S why I like that bush so much!”  Gardenia is one of my favorite flowers.

3.  He works.  He’s responsible with money.  He pays the bills on time, I never have to worry about that.  He puts away money in savings for us and our kids.  He doesn’t believe in having debt.  I can trust him with this part of our lives and I never have to worry about it.  He’s also a really good Father.  He’s involved in the kids’ lives and helps out around the house more than most husbands I know.  He works for the good of the family.

4.  He’s generous.  When we looked for a house to rent we agreed that it needed to be big enough to host large groups of people.  We have people over for dinner all the time.  When we chose a vehicle we agreed that it needed to be for more than just our family.  We wanted to be able to give people rides and haul stuff for ministry.  My husband’s thoughts are always for the wellbeing of others.  He is generous with his time, money, resources, and talents.

5.  He’s athletic.  I know I give him a lot of teasing about watching a sport for every season, but I actually like that in a guy.  Being athletic, to me, is synonymous with MANLY.  I may not enjoy sports personally, but I enjoy watching my husband enjoy sports.  (And sometimes when he’s not home, I turn the game on just to make it sound like he’s in the living room watching TV.)

6.  I miss him when he’s not around.  If we go for too many days with out spending time together I get really cranky.  When I’m with him, everything feels better.  Even if we have to be apart, we talk on the phone every day.  We just like being together!

7.  He makes me a better person.  Left to my own devices, I’d be a pretty difficult person.  He keeps me from saying things I’ll regret later, he helps me see the other side of the situation, he takes me down a few notches when I need it.  He lets me talk through my thoughts even when he thinks my ideas are crazy.  He encourages me to develop my dreams and talents.  One time when I was upset about something he actually told me, “You should go paint, you’ll feel better then.”  He’s my soul mate

8.  He knows what I look like first thing in the morning and he still loves me.  He has seen me pregnant 3 times and knows the havoc that wreaked on my figure and he still loves me.  He has seen me with really bad haircuts and he still loves me.  He has seen me in the hospital all drugged up and sick and he still loves me.

9.  When I was facing cancer treatment he cleared a month and a half off his calendar just to be with me the whole time.  He had to call and reschedule meetings and preaching engagements with pastors and churches.  He had to UNDO literally months of work to be with me when I was sick.  He took care of the kids while I slept for days and days.  He was there when I would wake up.  We walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death together, and I love him for that.

10.  Finally, he makes me laugh.  I laugh nearly every day at something he says or does to entertain me.  He does funny little dance moves with the kids.  Together they play with their stuffed animals and make them dance and sing.  He loves lip syncing to 80’s music which cracks me up.  He messes up EVERY movie line and punch line and story he tries to quote… and it’s always funnier when he does it.  He makes me happy.

I love you Josh!  I’m a happy wife.

Orosi Valley, Costa Rica on our Anniversary