Danger

Do you ever wish your life was just a bit more…dangerous?

I’m reading the Divergent trilogy and, just as I did when I read the Harry Potter series or Lord of the Rings or what-have-you, I get so pumped up by the adventure of it. Love seems more thrilling in the midst of danger, in the midst of adventure. EVERYTHING seems more thrilling. And suddenly the quiet life of the everyday Joe becomes a burdensome reality once again

I so long for that adventure. That danger and adrenaline.
But in books there’s the security of knowing things are gonna be ok, because the author is going to make it so. Real life doesn’t always carry those guarantees, and that’s where my adventure craving falters. The Author of my life offers me no such guarantee that things will pan out the way I want them to. There’s no guarantee that I or you are even going to be the “heroes” of our stories–that we’re not going to be the token “unnamed crewman in the red shirt” who gets taken out in the first act.

That’s what scares me. I am dispensable, even in my own life. I mean, none of us gets out of life alive, that’s for certain. But I guess what I want to know is will there be enough time beforehand for a good story…?
I sure hope so.

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Paris

“Paris, First Class, International”

It’s one of those movie quotes that repeats itself often in my mind since getting this job.
Personally, I don’t love working first class, but in the movie “View From The Top”, working first class en route to Paris means you have really, truly ARRIVED.

Yesterday I returned from my first Paris trip in years, and where did I work? You guessed it.
And while it’s definitely not as glam as in “the good ol’ days”–and while I still don’t love working with the hoity toities in First–I don’t think I will ever get over PARIS.
I don’t know what it is about that city. Some people say it’s dirty, but having been in many, MANY European cities, I don’t see much of a difference, Maybe because it’s Paris, there’s an unspoken expectation that it should be pristine, but regardless, I still see nothing but beauty.

It was a Sunday morning when we arrived, and my coworker suggested we go to the outdoor market as soon as we got in. Despite our obvious exhaustion, we changed out of our uniforms and hoofed it the few blocks to the market, arriving just as it opened. The crisp morning air woke us up straight away, and the peacefulness of the morning combined with the invigorating sights, sounds and aromas of a quaint, outdoor fresh market were enough to make us positively chipper. I wish we had just stayed up and out rather than returning to our hotel with our market wares and napping for a few hours. But we did, agreeing to meet up again around 1:30 to go out again.

Both of us have been to Paris enough times to know we wanted to be leisure with our activities, but I let it slip that I had never been up the Eiffel Tower–a quintessential Parisian tourist experience–so that’s what we ended up doing.
Unfortunately, every other tourist in Paris had pretty much the same idea (don’t they know it’s not tourist season? Why are they in France in February??), so most of the time we were waiting in line. Nevertheless, it was an awesome experience. The weather was refreshing, the people watching was a delight, and the views were positively spectacular.

How could anyone say this city was dirty?

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The shadow of the Eiffel Tower pointing toward, in the distance, Sacre Coeur

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The Seine, with the French countryside in the distance

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The lawn of the Eiffel Tower (which looks much prettier in the spring)

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Looking up from the 2nd level

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Not the best panoramic ever but what can you do?

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The Seine

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Le Tour Eiffel

Brazil

I had two 5 day Brazil trips a few weeks ago. Back in 1999, I went on a mission trip to Rio de Janeiro and ever since, every time I get a Brazil trip, I feel this tinge of guilt. Because THIS is where we stay when we’re there:

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But this is the Rio I remember working in:

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It’s just such a sobering reality.

“The poor you will always have with you.”

More Brazil:

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Sao Paulo

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Church

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Heavy laden Christmas tree

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Stadium market

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Recreational activities

Adventure and Story

I love a good adventure. I used to joke in college that I wished there was such a thing as a major in it. Even in my early years, watching Beauty and the Beast for the first time I totally resonated with her line “I want adventure in the great wide somewhere–I want it more than I can tell” (hence my blog’s tagline).
I’d never wanted a “normal” life–the sensible job with the husband, dog, 2.5 kids and white picket fence. ADVENTURE was calling, and I intended to answer.

It’s funny how that doesn’t always end up looking like we think it’s gonna look, though…
I think that must be why I also love a good story. Tolkien, Rowling, Lewis, the Grimm brothers–all these fantastical storytellers that weave yarns of such immense intrigue and excitement that you feel like you are actually WITH these characters, ON these journeys. I can easily get so caught up in the stories and in these other lives that occasionally I have to remind myself to take a breath in reality, remembering that I am in THIS world, in THIS life and THIS story, and that God is a way better storyteller than all the “greats” combined.

But still, I do love a good adventure epic 🙂
I recently finished reading one of my favorite book series, Harry Potter, for the umpteenth time. It’s always a little sad when a great adventure ends–even when it’s one you’ve been on so many times before. 
Fortunately, real life–even more so, sometimes, than books–is an even more intense story than we expect. Though it doesn’t always feel that way, even in the mundane and arduous times, we should be encouraged: the great stories found in books and movies, rather than making us feel dissatisfied with our seemingly “ordinary” lives, should (and DO) stir within us a desire to embrace the life we’ve been given and see it for the great, adventurous story it really is. 
I think that’s what the best adventure stories do, and how you can tell a good story from a great one. Does it stir within you a desire to see your life as as equally grand a story? Or to make it so?
The greatest stories should.

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Edit: this article is such a great echo of all of this

Baby #4

My sister had another baby today. A boy, Imri. This now makes 3 boys and one girl. My brother-in-law called me this morning with the news, and while we’re all SUPER stoked to welcome this new little guy into the world, I can’t help but feel that I’m not the only one who’s slightly disappointed it wasn’t another girl. And that feels SO very wrong, to feel disappointed by something as awesome as a new life entering into existence.

But you see, the boys in my sisters family have a shaky track record. Aiden, the oldest, has Hypotonia and verbal apraxia, while Xander, the second oldest, is autistic. So naturally the addition of another male feels something like a great leap into the unknown. Will he have any developmental issues, or will he be ok like his sister, Lizzie? What will the family dynamic be like when they all get a little older? There’s so much we don’t know and WON’T know for quite some time, but I have a feeling this will be, if anything, a stretching experience for us all. I know God is in control here, but sometimes that’s not as comforting a thought as it should be…

One thing I truly am a little heartbroken about is that my sister won’t be able to reuse all the cute little girl clothes she’s kept around. What a pity. But I’m sure Lizzie will have no problem with being the reigning princess of the house 😉

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Lizzie, Aiden and Xander, last year

On Mission and Surrender

Why is it we always assume if its the hardest thing, the thing we most do NOT want to do, that it must be the very thing God is calling us to do? Is this just me? Do you feel it too? This pressure for pain, for total uncomfortableness and MISERY–at least initially, until God somehow helps us love the very thing we were once most loathe to do.

Maybe that’s sometimes the case. But maybe it’s not always…?

Early on, when I used to consider mission work, I always had this fear God would send me to Africa. Or Thailand, or someplace just REALLY hot. I don’t do heat well–it makes me crabby and exhausted–and being pale and freckled, the sun is usually very unkind to me. But I figured if I had someplace in my head where I just DID NOT want to go, that would, of course, be exactly where he would send me. Because he wanted to stretch me and make me uncomfortable, and that, in short, required my misery.

But since then I’ve realized an important truth: God desires FULLY SURRENDERED hearts. Hearts that desire Him and His glory more than self and self glory/comfort. If your love for Him is greater than the fear for where he might take you, or the desires you might have for your future, then you are in a good place.

The great George Mueller once said “I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just there. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the knowledge of what His will is.”

Even if that means Africa or someplace that initially seems very awful.

Where is your heart? Is it surrendered? FULLY surrendered?

Florida

I returned the other day from a week of Florida sunshine awesomeness with my dad and stepmom. God really brought out the big guns this time and gave us some truly BRILLIANT sunsets during my visit:

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And as the wind picked up in the evenings, we were privy to some seriously cool dolphin jumping


(you see them swimming all throughout the video, but the best jumping parts are from 1:45 to 4:15ish)

On my journey home, I also did something I don’t think I’ve ever done before: I carried on a conversation with my seatmate for the entire duration of my 1 hour and 45 minute flight. I don’t know what prompted it–perhaps a simple desire to not want to be rude when he asked me a question–but I was pretty impressed with myself, regardless. I’m normally a more shy, socially-awkward person, particularly when it comes to talking with strangers in tight quarters, where there’s no escape.
But it was ok! I really should quit being such a slave to fear. You miss out on so much.

“A life lived in fear is a life half lived”

A REVELATION

I had a mini revelation yesterday–one that, on one hand, seems very obvious, and on the other hand seems so mindblowing and…well, revelatory.
I had been praying in recent weeks (months, years…) for more of a servant’s heart. In my line of work especially, it’s easy to get frustrated with people and to resist doing even extremely trivial tasks simply because it “isn’t my job”. 
This carries over into my home life too. I sometimes find bitterness creeping into my heart when I do yet another task that no one else ever seems to tackle but me.
I WANT to not mind, I WANT to be joyful in serving my roommates, coworkers, and the passengers on my planes…but it’s just so HARD to give and give and give some more, gaining nothing in return.
But that’s what servant-hood is.

So yesterday, the day of my revelation, I was vacuuming. One of my roommates recently moved out and the last item they were going to take was their vacuum. So I was doing one last run through with the vacuum before we no longer had one. I vacuumed the stairs, my room, the hall…and then I came to my other roommate’s room and office. I knew I didn’t HAVE to vacuum her stuff. Heck, I had plenty of excuses ready-made in my mind for why not to: she might find it intrusive (super weak. I knew she wouldn’t mind), she was going to be home later that night and could do it herself (but our other roommate might need to take the vacuum before then), and lastly, I just didn’t WANT to.

But then a small little voice in my head whispered one word: “SERVE”

Sometimes I like to act like that little voice isn’t really God, but this time I knew it was.
So I listened and obeyed. I did the vacuuming, and as I was finishing up, the revelation came:

This whole time, I’ve made excuses for my lack of servant-like behavior, saying to myself “I’m praying for more of a servant’s heart but it’s obviously not happened yet, hence why my attitude is so crummy”. But maybe a servant’s heart comes FROM serving, and is developed–and therefore, given–rather than something to be waited for. I was waiting to have a servant’s heart so serving would become a joyous thing rather than a begrudging thing. But maybe, like the fruits of the Spirit, it’s something that God develops in you AS you serve, causing you to eventually, through serving, find more and more joy in the act.

The Unknown

Vacation has officially ended. After 10 days straight with the most amazing friends, it’s back to the grind. But as much as I love flying the friendly skies, I’m kind of wishing I could keep my feet on the earth for a little while longer.

Do you ever wonder if the job you’re working is the one you’re meant to work for always? Oh, what am I saying, of course you do. We ALL do, don’t we? We ponder the grander scheme of life and wonder just where we’re meant to be and what we’re meant to be doing. I went to bible school and studied missions, with the hope of one day being a missionary. And now I’m a flight attendant.
How did THAT happen?

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”Proverbs 16:9

Here’s a revelation, though, that i had a few weeks ago:

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Really, only adventure lies ahead. Always, for all of us.

Here’s to the thrill of the unknown!
Thankfully, what is unknown to us is fully known to our God.

Denver

Denver is a strange bird. It’s October 18th, but it’s only 38 degrees outside, and this morning we woke up to a decent little snowfall.

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I’m not complaining though. I love it out here. And when the sun is shining, there’s coffee in the coffeemaker, and you’re playing a rousing game of Dutch Blitz with friends, it’s definitely a good day.