Category Archives: Travel

True Love

He loves me,

He loves me not;

He loves me,

He loves me not …

Well, maybe it worked as a young schoolgirl, but I don’t think this is a very accurate way to determine someone’s love!

So, how do you know when someone really does love you?

(And if you love them?)

I’ve been reading through Philip Yancey’s book, Disappointment With God, over the last couple months. When I came across the following quote, it stirred up a lot of emotions and got me thinking about my current marriage – and how it is vastly different from my past marriage. Here’s the quote from page 122:

“Love is most persuasive when it involves sacrifice.”

Sacrifice.

To forfeit (one thing) for another thing considered to be of greater value.

Free Dictionary

It’s a word that has a lot of negativity connected to it. And yet, is the “giving up” always difficult, or is the love that prompts us so much stronger than the sacrifice that it doesn’t feel like anything has been lost?

Looking Back

Originally, our top 5 reasons for moving to Mexico were:

5. To give our kids an overseas experience (and have our own, too!)

4. To get out of the “Rat Race” (which leads to #3)

3. To be able to live off less money than we earn (which leads to #2)

2. To buy a sailboat and learn how to sail (which leads to #1)

1. To travel and recreate our lives!

We have certainly traveled a lot with our 39′ sailboat and 37′ motorhome. Summer trips, sailing adventures, and lots of flights to see family during the holidays have filled our vacation time. We have also enjoyed the slower paced life here (#4 above).

Our Family

But, we had to re-evaluate our priorities after having kids. Realistically, the impact that #5 will have on our ability to see family, especially the grandparents, over the next 18 years of our precious children’s lives, has prompted us to make some BIG changes.

This past June, we decided to move from Mexico up to Flagstaff, AZ. We want to provide our kids with a stable and familiar place to call home. And we want to be able to afford the time and money needed to visit with family. But to do that, we had to consider our financial situation. So, here’s the big question:

How affordable is it to own and maintain a sailboat, RV, and a home?

Well, if you’re a millionaire, it’s probably just fine! But for us normal folk … it’s just not realistic. While discussing this reality a few months ago, I asked my husband which one he would prefer to not have.

And without a thought, he said,

“We’re selling the sailboat.”

He’s sacrificing the dream that led us to Mexico, but he’s replacing it with the greater dream of having a family – OUR FAMILY. (Even now, I’m moved to tears by his love for me and our kids.) I told him I appreciated his sacrifice, but he simply turned it around and acknowledged how much I sacrificed to move here by giving up my booming business and the wonderful life I had in Colorado.

His love is so real to me. Every day I see him working hard to provide for us, spending time loving on our son, giving me hugs and kisses all the time, and telling me how beautiful I am. Washing the cars, taking out the trash, folding the laundry, and the list goes on.

Is it a sacrifice, or is it simply allowing previous dreams to be exchanged for what is “considered to be of greater value”?

“Love is most persuasive when it involves sacrifice.”

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Filed under Life Journal, Living in Mexico, Moving to U.S., Travel

The Importance of Being Earnest

Lady Bracknell: “My nephew, you seem to be displaying signs of triviality.”

Jack: “On the contrary, Aunt Augusta, I’ve now realized for the first time in my life the vital Importance of Being Earnest.”

If you haven’t seen this Oscar Wilde play-turned-movie, rent it for your next movie night at home and be prepared for some laughs! This comedy is set in 1890s London. Two friends use the same pseudonym (“Ernest”) for their on-the-sly activities, which result in confusion and the possibility of losing the women they worked so hard to win over. Ultimately, they both understand the need for earnestness (honesty).

New Beginnings

Another beautiful sailing day in San Carlos

A few days ago, I was thinking of the earnestness these protagonists came to value while thinking about our life here in Mexico. We originally came in 2010 with the intention of rebuilding our lives together after both having gone through divorces. We wanted to have a new beginning and start our own family. We also wanted to escape the “rat race” living of the U.S. and be able to travel.

Before we met in 2009, my husband, M., had the desire to buy a sailboat and live a cruisers life. He hoped to eventually travel down the west coast of Mexico, through the Panama Canal, up the east coast of Mexico, enjoy the Caribbean, then perhaps even sail to Europe.  Most importantly, he wanted to do it all with a woman that loves adventure and also wanted a family.

After much research, he found that there were many benefits to moving to San Carlos, such as a lower cost of living and a huge sailing community of North Americans. Since M. works by phone and internet, he can virtually work anywhere. So, San Carlos was the next stop for him. The first time we met, he talked about his idea. As you know, I jumped on board and after over a year of dating, we made the move to Mexico and got married.

Now, after two years, we have a fantastic marriage, a little tyke of one year, and another baby on the way (due March 2013)! We have a 39′ sailboat, a 37′ motorhome, and many wonderful traveling experiences. We’ve enjoyed building friendships with people from all over the world.

Family Time vs. Travel Time

We’ve had relatives and friends visit us in Mexico, and have spent many hours driving/bussing/flying to visit them in the U.S. Here’s a typical vacation:

  • Drive seven hours to Tucson (or an additional two hours to Phoenix), AZ
  • Spend the night at a hotel
  • Fly to Spokane, WA or Dallas, TX or southern CA
  • Enjoy several days with family or friends
  • Fly back to Tucson (or Phoenix)
  • Spend the night at a hotel
  • Drive around like maniacs and spend A LOT of money shopping for everything we can’t get in Mexico, from clothes to household items to food
  • Spend another night at a hotel
  • Drive seven (or nine) hours back to San Carlos
  • Fall into bed exhausted
  • Wake up to a house full of purchases that need a home in our home

Essentially, every vacation turns into four travel days, one shopping day, and however many more days M. can afford to not work in order to actually be with the people we are traveling to see. Most of M.’s family lives in Spokane, WA and my parents live in Dallas, TX. The rest of our family and friends are in southern CA and Colorado Springs.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take a trip up to Spokane this summer as originally planned, so M.’s Mom will not see her grandson until Christmas, which will be an entire year from last time. Thankfully, my family has been able to travel to see us several times in the last couple years, both in Mexico and the U.S. this summer (July 2012), but we likely won’t see them for another year until next summer.

Camping with my family in Flagstaff, AZ

We’ve been feeling an aching in our hearts that’s been growing stronger since the birth of our son. And we’ve had to be honest with ourselves about who and what is really important in our lives. We want our kids to grow up knowing their grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. We want them to experience family gatherings, especially during the holidays. We want them to have other kids to play with regularly. We want them to have opportunities in the future for education that are not available here.

So, we’ve been rethinking our lives in Mexico and we’ve decided to make a move. Literally. We are moving back to the U.S. next summer and once again redreaming our lives!

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Filed under Life Journal, Living in Mexico, Moving to Mexico, Travel

To Enjoy List

During my morning run in the beautiful sunshine under bright blue skies with brush-stroked clouds, I was thinking of all the things I’m looking forward to this winter and spring. As I mentioned yesterday, we plan to head to the U.S. for a three month summer road trip in July. Before we go, there are things I’d like to accomplish. And there are people I’d like to spend time with. I’m even hoping to blog about it all!
So, here’s a list of 21 things I’d like to spend time, well, enjoying:
  1. Working on Ethan’s baby quilt (and other miscellaneous projects)  on Tuesdays with a friend during our quilting/sewing day
  2. Sailing on the weekends with my hubby and son (we often invite friends, too)
  3. Running 2-3 mornings a week to train for a half marathon in March and possibly a full marathon this summer
  4. Using Baby Sign Language to communicate with Ethan (hoping that he signs back!)
  5. Directing the Easter Cantata for our church (including 8-10 weekly rehearsals)
  6. Creating an enjoyable home environment (cooking, cleaning, laundry … the regular stuff)
  7. Participating in our church’s six-week journey called, “Hearing from God,” including a weekly devotional and one meal fast (part of the “Touch San Carlos” ministry expansion campaign)
  8. Walking most afternoons with baby in a carrier and dog in tow to get some Vitamin D (which, apparently, you don’t actually get from the sun)
  9. Creating a shutterfly photobook or two to catch up to this year (my version of a photo album)
  10. Blogging at least once a week
  11. Finishing Ted Dekker’s Circle Series by reading “Green” (already on p. 170 out of 392 pages – I read “Black”, “Red” and “White” a few years ago and didn’t know he published a fourth book until eyeing it on a friend’s bookshelf last October! Just looked it up … originally was only a trilogy – behold, Book Zero?!)
  12. Leading worship at church during two weekends (to give our regular worship leaders a break)
  13. Compiling some original recipes on my blog
  14. Making all of Ethan’s baby food, including as much raw food as possible (if you think babies can best digest cooked foods, the raw food world offers another viewpoint)
  15. Completing six months of solely breastfeeding my currently almost 5-month-old baby before starting him on solids (Based on lots of research, it’s supposed to be much better for his health. I sure hope it’s true, because this has been a huge commitment. Not to mention that he doesn’t take a bottle, so it’s just me and him!)
  16. Cooking/making almost all our meals to save money and eat healthier (we have committed to not eat desserts, too – though we sneak in an occasional “undessert” like a banana with PB, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and agave)
  17. Riding my awesome road bike (a gift from hubby!) once a week after a 10-month hiatus due to being pregnant and giving birth
  18. Investing in my son’s life daily through playtime, prayertime, cuddles, and clean diapers (we use cloth, too!)
  19. Investing in my marriage daily through playtime, prayertime, cuddles, and clean clothes (we’ve grown out of our diapers, thankfully!)
  20. Investing in my friendships through walks, phone calls, emails, facebook, lunch dates, and smiles
  21. Sharing God’s love with my neighbors by living a godly life and looking for opportunities to minister to other

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Filed under Life Journal, Living in Mexico, Sailing, Travel

Summer Road Trip – Part 4 (Garden of the Gods and more, CO)

Quick recap …

We left San Carlos on Sunday, May 29th, and returned 5 weeks later on Sunday, July 3rd.

Day 1-8 – San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico, to Flagstaff, AZ; 648 miles

Day 9-10 – Flagstaff, AZ to Elizabeth, CO; 708 miles

Day 11-13 – Colorado Springs, CO

Day 14-15 – Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, and Elizabeth, CO

Sitting in my living room after a relaxing yoga class, with the AC on and a fan blowing a cool breeze across the room, makes it hard to imagine how busy we were while on our road trip. We had lists and lists, and more lists of things to do, places to go, and people to see.

Balancing Rock in Garden of the Gods

Imagine not doing your weekly errands for six months, then trying to squeeze them all into a few days while traveling around the country. Going to the bank, rotating the tires and other car maintenance/repair, retrieving boxes from storage, washing the motorhome, mailing and FAXing important documents (like taxes), ordering items online and hoping they arrive at the right place in time, purchasing items needed to outfit the motorhome, purchasing items needed for our Mexico home … and the list went on!

We also wanted to enjoy our friends and have some fun! Thankfully, M. was able to go on two long bicycle rides (38 miles and 20 miles) while I hung out with Sharon. I did miss my favorite running paths and hiking the Incline, but being seven months pregnant and living at sea level does not lend itself well to hiking and running in altitude while on vacation!

We also took Sharon and her family to visit Manitou Springs, an artsy mountain community of nearly 5,000 people, located at the foot of Pikes Peak (14,110 feet) and near Garden of the Gods. Manitou Springs is a great place to have a cup of coffee and enjoy watching the locals!

Outside the coffee shop in Manitou Springs, CO

Sharon and her hubby with M. and I in front of Pikes Peak

Before leaving Colorado, we spent our last night in Elizabeth with M.’s friends. We had a great dinner with them, then headed out early in the morning. In a couple days, we would be in Yosemite!

Our last Colorado dinner

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Summer Road Trip – Part 3 (Baby Shower)

Quick recap …

We left San Carlos on Sunday, May 29th, and returned 5 weeks later on Sunday, July 3rd.

Day 1 – San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico, to Buckeye, AZ; 470 miles

Day 8 – Buckeye, AZ to Flagstaff, AZ; 178 miles

Day 9 – Flagstaff, AZ to Telluride, CO; 338 miles

Day 10 – Telluride, CO to Elizabeth, CO; 370 miles

Day 11-13 – Colorado Springs, CO

After all the prep work of getting the motorhome ready for our trip and driving to Colorado, I was ready to hang out and relax! My childhood best friend from growing up in Papua New Guinea had driven out to Colorado Springs to help throw my baby shower. She is an Australian who recently moved with her husband and two beautiful daughters to the lovely state of Alabama for her hubby’s new job. Lucky for me! (Check out her blog here.)

We spent a lot of time at home (she stayed with another PNG friend) baking. Her daughters even jumped in on the food prep! We had the baby shower on Friday night at a friend’s house.

9 ladies + amazing food + cocktails (and mocktails for me) + presents =

Good Times!

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