One Week in our new home, and things i'm loving lately….

Monday, February 1

We've lived in Northern California for one week now. It's been beautiful and overwhelming all at the same time. As you saw on Friday, we bought a house. And as exciting as that has been, owning a home also comes with it's own challenges. When something's broken, you don't call the landlord…you fix it, haha! So, we've been filling our house with furniture (yeah craigslist!), and hooking up appliances, and washing clothes and linens to put away, and of course fixing leaks:)  Amazing, but time consuming.

I also decided to go off Facebook this last week. It's an idea i've been toying with for a while for a number of reasons. I'd say the biggest one is that I wasted a lot of time just scrolling the newsfeed, and never feeling necessarily the better for it. My desire with my life is that it is intentional, filled with real relationships where I am connecting and loving and being loved in return. I also have found that FB has become less and less personal. I want the people in my life to feel special because i'm sharing something sacred with them, and only them, as opposed to the hundreds of people online. So my goal is that every day I will have made one good and personal human connection filled with love and intentionality. This might be a hand-written card, a walk in the park, a phone call, coffee date, or even a text that I love them. So that's that:)

In a lot of ways the last week has felt like a warm and familiar embrace. So many people have stopped by our house to say hi and bring cards and flowers welcoming us back to town. We've had so many invitations to dinner in the last week as well as numerous texts of people asking us out to coffee. My sweet dad put together a women's basketball league at our church, and it's been a blast playing on his team the last 2 Sundays. It has just been so so good and filled with the connection that my soul was made for. I'm so eternally grateful for this sweet town and the incredible community that has already surrounded us, and look forward to so much in the future.

A few things i'm LOVING lately:

This Jacket: The jacket i'm wearing in this post is from SheIn. I literally have worn it 3 times this last week because I don't have to compromise style for warmth! It's both warm and stylish.  It's such a great piece because in the winter months it can be worn over a sweater as a jacket for more warmth, and in the other seasons can be worn with a light tank or t-shirt. The other great part about it is that it's only $24! Score! I'm just generally a fan of it's cheery color in these rainy months!

The Nightingale (by Kristin Hannah): Ummm…. have you read this book? I took it on our most recent trip to India and Nepal, and Ladies, this book is crazy addicting. It's about two sisters during WWII that in their own way helped the French resistance. The story line will keep you up into the wee hours of the night with a flashlight…or maybe that was just me? But to it's credit, it has a 5 start rating with over 17K reviews!! That means a LOT of people feel the same way as I do!

Serial (Season 1): I know, I know…i'm like 2 years late on listening to this podcast. But if you're a little behind the times like me and haven't listened to the podcast called Serial, you must. Kevin and I listened to it when we made the LONG drive from Southern California to Northern California, and we both agreed it was the fastest trip we'd ever made because time flew listening to the gripping tale. It's a true story and very interesting.

New Morning Mercies (by Paul David Tripp): This might be one of the best daily devotionals i've ever gone through. The author someone manages to take you so deep even in just a one page devotional. He's made me think about things in a different way, and i've truly hungered after the Lord in a more intense way after reading it each day. Absolutely worth purchasing:)

We bought a House!

Friday, January 29

I've been dying to share this news for a long time, but the cat's out of the bag now!!
We bought a house!

The Lord has been so good and so kind to us in this process and I'm excited to share the story with you.

The past year i've been looking pretty seriously at houses in my hometown. I never saw anything I loved that was in our price range. In the Fall, we hired a great realtor and one weekend we planned to drive up and look at houses. Our realtor told us there wasn't really anything in our price range in the area where we wanted to live, but he told us he'd take us to a few in different parts of the city. We figured it couldn't hurt.

A few days before driving up, my mom texted me letting me know that one of our family friends knew a couple who were flipping a house in the exact location we wanted to live. They told us to call Frank, and see if we could check it out while in town. So I called Frank up, and he invited us over to look at the house.

Friends, it was amazing. The perfect location. The perfect size (a bit bigger than we even expected to be able to afford!). And it ticked so many of our boxes…TONS of natural light, hard wood floors, a sun room, 3 beds, 2 baths, and a nice sized yard. We couldn't believe it.

It was as if God had lovingly dropped this home into our laps.
We prayed a lot about it, and before they even listed it, we made an offer.
After some negotiations, they accepted.

Escrow closed in mid-Dec, and by mid-Jan we are now moved in!!
(After 2 international trips, and a TON of moving!! whew, it was tiring!)

I am so incredibly grateful and thankful. We have been praying for over a year now that God would put us in the right neighborhood, the right house, and with the right community. He has answered our prayers in such a beautiful way. Like all journeys, there are always bumps in the road and not everything is perfect, but we are thankful for it all!

We have been in town now for 5 days, and already have been shown so much hospitality. So grateful for this new chapter or our life, being right where God wants us:)

Thank you for all your prayers and sweet thoughts!! xoxo

Back from India and Nepal

Wednesday, January 27

We just returned from 2 weeks in India and Nepal. It was a very unique trip. One week of work in India, and one week of visiting family and friends in Nepal.

Both countries had their challenges and their rewards. 

Kolkata was all sorts of chaos. It was gritty and dirty, loud and very stimulating, but we found so much beauty working with the women of Sari Bari. It was bucket showers, spicy foods, and pollution. But it was also communication with body language and laughter (smiles and hand holding with the women). It was hearing stories, watching women make beautiful quilts and bags. It was sensing a freedom in the midst of oppression. 

Nepal was relaxing and nostalgic. Walking down the street of our old apartment, wandering through the fruit and vegetable market we used to buy all our produce at, and generally soaking up all the memories we made in that beautiful country. It was also grand reunions, first with Kevin's sister and brother in law who live there with their 3 kids, and second with all the sweet girls from the aftercare home we worked at. There were happy tears, and much laugher, lots and lots of stories, and just good fellowship. It was also cold with little electricity and not much gas. If you didn't know, India has stopped the petrol and gas from going into Nepal (because Nepal changed their constitution to a secular nation and not a Hindu one, so India was not too happy about that), so there is little heat.  I slept in my jacket and threw a few hand warmers into bed just to cozy it up. But cold or not, it was such  delightful time of reunions with old friends and family.

I took next to no personal pictures on this trip. Because I was shooting 8 hours a day for Sari Bari in India, the last thing I wanted to do when I left was take pictures. And once in Nepal, I just wanted to fully be present and not distracted with my camera. So, here are the crumbs of pictures I took:)

I am so grateful for this trip in many ways. I hope to share more about my time there, as i'm still processing. But this will do it for now:) Happy Wednesday friends!