Having the Time of My Life

Oh this past month or so… It’s been tough at times, with me picking up the pieces of my shattered expectations. Then it’s been fun, as I chunk them in the air and pretend they’re glitter. Life really is what you make it, and joy is as unconditional as you allow it to be. It is, after all, a fruit of the Spirit, not a fruit of situations.

You’ve probably noticed how I’ve been writing less blogs and posting less on social media. It’s not that I’ve been less vibrant, but I’ve been selective, protective even. This is the time I’m alive, aka the time of my life. I am having the time of my life, yes? Yes.

In the beginning of June, I traveled quite a bit. I spent a week in Las Vegas, ventured out to Mt. Charleston and it was fun and restful. I got a full tour of Vegas and saw all the cool, shiny, fountain splashy places.

Then I spent a week in Texas, and had the honor of teaching at the 2014 Song of Solomon Revival for girls. I was a leader last year, and it was awesome to visit my girls a year later, and meet new faces. I saw quite a few of my World Race friends along the way too, from 4 different squads. Time with my family was good! Made it to the lake a couple of times, ate some great food, toured around quirky shops, rode around in the 1925 Dodge, and explored Austin.

Being home these last two weeks has been challenging, but rewarding. It’s been a big time of prayer, listening, discerning, and communicating with Jesus. I’ve had to make tough calls, have even tougher conversations, and really stand my ground. Lots of tears, but God, has it been worth it. Phylla House is going through changes, and it is not comfortable! I’m shifting into learning again, and I’ll post about more of that soon. I’m learning that obedience is a dance, and I just have to look good spinning and not look down at my feet, just the Savior’s eyes.

dancingdad

It’s sweet to not be on my phone as much, and just be present. It’s nice to give people my undivided attention, and to shift my notification settings so that my phone isn’t always blowing up, because let’s be honest, my phone is always blowing up. It is INSANE. I’d love to be known as someone who ‘always answers’ and ‘texts back quickly’ but then I’d have to give up my presence everywhere I go… I can’t do that anymore.

On my free time, my sacred circle gets me: that’s 4 people. Family gets me. Emergencies, yes. Everybody else, when I can. Anything else, when I can. I love y’all dearly, but if you want time with me, plan on meeting me. Get lunch. Get coffee. Be in person and I’ll put my phone away just for you… or skype me or schedule a call. I love scheduled calls! I cherish and honor those!

It’s 2014, and the era of smart phones and high-speed is in full swing. I will be selective and protective of my time, my memories. I’m having the time of my life, and I’m making it count!

Weak Sauce and 27

I couldn’t wait to raise my hand this morning when the pastor asked if anybody needed God to be their Defender with a certain battle in their life. My hand shot up. As he asked for us to come forward for prayer, I practically power-walked to the altar.

Dear God, do I ever need help. I had a deacon pray for the lies in my head to get out. That was necessary. My pastor was practically yelling the prayer in my face haha, needed that. The tears just coming down, just like the stance I take to keep myself on guard. My surrender and weakness and vulnerability were visible for all to witness.

I am weak sauce, hear me roar.

sissysauce

I’d like to think of myself as a low-maintenance person. Not quite “I am titanium” bullet-proof, but a darn good shot, someone who can hold her ground and man-handle an assault rifle. I think of myself as a defender, and a very willing mama bear when I’m needed. I’m someone my friends can count on to stand up for them, to hold their hand through tough stuff. I fight for my people.

Lately, my strength has been sapped. I’ve needed people to come alongside me and fight for me. I’ve been extra needy. Ew. I’m needing a good cash-in of the golden rule, needing that zesty zing fight to be returned for me now.

Good news? It’s coming around. I am fought for. I am welcomed in my weakness, nurtured, and counseled.

The hard part about being in this situation is the innate assumption that it’s a permanent state. That I’m down for the count and that is just who I am? I don’t think so. I was raised in the ‘levanta, sacode a poeira, da volta por cima‘ culture, infused with Cowgirl Up, and a mix of fall down seven times, get up eight even when everything feels like it’s gonna snap.

This hard spot is temporary. You better believe I’m making a comeback, and I’m choosing into the right things. God is sifting through my life, and I gotta let Him. There are some epic things coming up ahead, and He’s not sending me without discipline and testing. The refining fire.

There is sufficient grace for my weakness. I am seeing it in my loved ones, the ones who are lavishing me with grace and prayer. God is using those willing ones to minister to my spirit and my heart.

This will pass, and I get to remember the bold love that was shown to me in this season of difficult growth. Blessings have been released from heaven to me. Every love note. Every careful thought. Every word of prophecy. I cherish it. God, how I need it.

Two weeks ago, I got a card from a sweet WR alum whom I’ve never met. I cried. It was exactly what I needed to read. She even drew a crowd on one side, and said that every person was a life I was impacting. I soaked that in.

I am loved, and I know it. I already knew, but thank you again and again for showing me. Isn’t that what this life is about? The again and again of the love of God, displayed to us and through us?

The Lord is my Shepherd.
I lack no good thing.

The Lord is my Defender (He fights for me).
I need only to be still (and rest in His peace).

Even in my times of weakness, my times of uncertainty, He makes sure I lack nothing, and that my fill comes from Him. I was worried about my birthday, not gonna lie. Worried somehow that I wouldn’t know how to receive, how to embrace. You ever have those dreams where you show up in your pajamas and everybody kinda laughs? Thankfully that was not the case 😉

My birthday was so special. I saw turtles, and got flowers, and a necklace, birthday meals, margaritas, love notes, cards, a mug, stationery, chocolate, a puzzle, Easter eggs, ca$h money, desserts galore, phone calls, and enjoyed a fun dance party. I got to go on a roadtrip, and play at the zoo with two of my besties.

zoo2


#turndownforwhat

Thank you, friends and family, for your grace and extravagant love to me.

I’ll share with you one last thing I had written into my notes::
The Lord does not rule out suffering in the fulfillment of His promises.

Maybe you’re going through a hard time right now too, where you don’t quite know what’s in store, you’re trusting blindly, and grieving all at once. Take heart. It might look like you’re falling apart, but God is walking you through toward the fulfillment of His promises –His GOOD promises to you.

Places To Visit in 2014

In no particular order, here are some places I want to do my very best to visit, so help me God, in 2014. Yes. Within the next 9 months.

  • BRAZIL. It’s overdue time to visit my amazing family. I’m due to have a new baby cousin super soon, AND there’s talk of wedding bells in my immediate family aka I need to be there. Hoping that I won’t go alone, ay?? Let me take you to Rio, Rio…
  • UGANDA. My yearly visit to see my people I love so so much, visit my church families and friends and the beautiful ladies of Dorcas Widows. Hoping and praying that in July there will be 5 of us going. We have a meeting on the 11th to plan this thing. Prayers appreciated!
  • CALIFORNIA. I’ve been before, but this time I feel a divine appointment to meet a few sisters in Christ and set up Phylla House in a new location in the Fall. Oh and visit my teammate from the Race who just had the cutest baby boy ever aka hopefully I’ll have a daughter and they’ll marry.
  • THE GRAND CANYON. Come on. How have I not seen this before. Let it be this year.
  • NASHVILLE. Never been. My next getaway destination.
  • TEXAS & ALABAMA & MYSTERY LOCATIONS. Visiting the familia, floating the Guadalupe, hey Summertime road trip to see my besties and stuff. 😉

We will see…. this is a hopeful list, some is certain, some is still up in the air. I’m excited to see what God makes happen in the meantime, and how He puts it all together. He’s the best Dad ever. He’s still gonna take me all over Europe, to Haiti, to the UAE to see Dubai (world’s largest performing fountain, I will be weeping), to Mozambique (again, weeping), back to Asia, and wherever else He sees fit. I rule nothing out, I just know the journey will be incredible.

ImageWhere do you dream to go? Where will you go?

Dream Vacation

I’ve traveled the world and grew up in tropical paradise Rio, and I’m telling you this: Savannah, GA is awesome.

I went on a much-needed, budget-friendly getaway with my friend Robin, and we stayed with a friend of a friend, who is now our friend Cheryl. I have so many pictures and memories. Allow me to share a few? It’ll all make you want to go there!

It was 3 days and 3 nights, the perfect amount of time to get away but not get carried away. Who knew we lived 4 hours away from all this? :]

My feet dipped into very cold ocean water and were delightfully covered in sand. I found the perfect souvenir seashell to remember Tybee Island. The sunrise covered the water with a golden shimmer. It was therapeutic to watch it, to know that God set it up to be breath-taking, knowing how much I love it. Oh how sweet He is.

savsunriseAt the park, I took a turn at the swing set while the playground was still mostly empty. I swung high enough until the chains would give that scary jolt, when the tension loosens and catches. Freedom. And yes, sometimes freedom looks like going backwards and forwards, next to other people just going backwards and forwards, just enjoying the breeze and moving nowhere, gripping chains. How odd, right? Feeling free while holding on to chains? I felt like a small child, as I closed my eyes and breathed it all in. I didn’t feel so much like a child after stopping, realizing my hips didn’t quite fit and my hands smelled of rust, and one of my feet tingled from falling asleep. Worth it. Still one of my favorite things in the world: swing sets.

folkduoI ate delicious food, drinks, and desserts. I had a chocolate waffle cone at Leopold’s. I had my favorite dessert: creme brulee with a bellini at Lulu’s. We went to a ships and sea museum, and got a tour of the first African church in North America… yeah! Rode in trolleys through the city, hearing about all the history. We had horchata lattes and croissants, and actually had good coffee. We had amazing omelettes at The Breakfast Club. I laid down on a park bench and stared up through oak tree branches to a bright blue sky. We walked and marveled that the squares were so romantic, so lovely! There were French fountains, gazebos, old brick buildings, and weddings going on all over the place. We walked into the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and tried to take in all the details on the walls and ceilings. It felt so nice to walk around in a long skirt and sandals, to not be cold. I had the joy of meeting up with one of the girls from my summer trip to Uganda, Katelyn. She might be coming with me to Uganda again this summer, here’s to hoping! It was a wonderful surprise to meet Alice, one of the girls who had followed my World Race blogs, and is now gearing up to go on her World Race! Can’t wait to follow her stories and return the blessing. How cool to have a late lunch with them at Soho South Cafe!!! So many worlds colliding.

sohoAnd we returned to good ol’ Gainesville on Monday. Robin now is on her way to Malaysia for the month, and I am gearing up for a mighty leadership training weekend for Phylla House leaders. Full submersion into the deep waters of God, being fully out of control. Apparently, starting a ministry is like spiritual drowning? That’s what God is telling me. He will surround me and completely overwhelm me in the best way. So here’s to having the perfect vacation and now… onto breathing under deep water!