My life is a random as this blog; making a home in Ethiopia, tiny living adventures in a bus, faith in the midst of doubt, bravery through brokenness, the expat experience, cooking from scratch. I have tried to have a central message for my blog or brand it better but just as I am honing in on what I want my blog to be about my life changes and my message and branding fly out the window. In this next season, I have decided to just embrace the randomness of my life— the uncertainty and ambiguity that we have found ourselves thriving in (sometimes crying in). I have decided to just go with the fact that I am all over the place and I love it most of the time.
I am a writer, mother, wife, cook, wannabe yogi and I have surfed twice. I can be as messy as my baby and as organized as my mom (who alphabetizes the baby books). I prefer slow over fast. I love wine and working-out usually in reverse order. I am a low level-hermit that has a lot to say. I am trying to become a morning person since my baby is but somehow I just find myself starring blankly at the coffee pot at 6am in the morning. My puppy drives me absolutely crazy but she completes our little family. Sometimes I love not knowing what is around the corner and other days I just want to hide in my bed until the way is clear. Our baby Rowena River is a miracle straight from heaven and I can’t imagine doing life without her.
I have made more mistakes than you can imagine. I thought my life had floated out past the point the redemption and then God swooped in to save me from myself (Yes! True story for another day). I am a walking miracle and testament to the resurrection power of Christ in our lives and that is my central message— the common thread in my life. And there is one thing I want; for everyone to encounter redemption and grace as I have. That is why I have written a book to tell my story and I am currently trying find the right avenue for publishing. Some days I love my book and can’t wait for the world to read what God has done and other days I want to hide the book in a far away place because I am overcome by fear and shame.
But here I am; still writing, still learning, still becoming and being made brave daily in the hope of Christ in my life. Thanks for reading and following along.
Hike: Moderate, 1 hour to reach the church.
Church Structure: Completely rock-hewn.
Paintings: Well preserved, sometime between 13thand 17thcenturies.
Views: Open view of the Hawzen plain.
What I like: Moderate hike, great view, and unique church.
Overall Experience: Top five.
Hike: Easy, 1 hour to reach the church, no climbing.
Church Structure: Only partially rock-hewn.
Paintings: Vivid, end of 18thcentury beginning of the 19th.
Views: No views but beautiful landscapes and farms.
What I like: Great for people who can’t do hard hikes.
Overall Experience: Top ten.
Ethiopia has been an amazing place to start a family. We have been so lucky to have had amazing adventures in this place. Here are the top ten things I will miss most about Ethiopia.
In the last ten years, I have lived in four countries and six states. At one point I had my belongings stored across three states and one country. I have no permanent residence—unless you consider four boxes in my parents’ attic a permanent residence (that is where I get my mail). In the hypothetical situation that I am moving, I decided to make a step-by-step list to keep me on task. Read the rest of this post on the Taking Route Blog.
It is easy to get burnt out while living overseas. I know that, you know that, but are we doing enough to make sure we don’t get burnt out? The answer for me is almost always “no.” Read the rest of this post on the Taking Route Blog.
Food is a central part of my family living overseas. There aren’t movie theaters, nice parks to stroll through, or hipster roof top hangs to watch the sunset from; so, we spend our time eating. And when we aren’t eating, we are figuring out how to create the food we don’t have access to. We have gotten good at it—a little too good for our waist lines. Read the rest of this blog at the Taking Route Blog.
Working out is the blight of almost any mom—we put on weight to have these precious babies, and then these adorable babies leave us with no time to ever go to the gym again. Working out seems especially hard for moms living overseas. In many western countries there are workout classes that incorporate the kids and help to keep the moms motivated. But where I live—and I am sure where you live too—there is no such thing. Read the rest of this post on the Taking Route Blog.
Hike: Moderate, 1 hour.
Paintings: 14th century, lower paintings faded, but the ones out of reach are still vivid.
What I Like: Different views, manageable hike, unique church, great painting.
Overall Experience: Top five.
Hike:Difficult, Steep 1.5 hours to reach the church.
Church Structure:Basilica style, six columns and two aisles, completely rock-hewn, locals claim that it dates back to the 4thcentury.
Paintings: Vivid, possibly the early 19thand maybe retouched in the 20thcentury.
Views: Incredible, totally different views than that of the Hawzen plain.
What I Like: I love the hard hike, unique views, and paintings.
Overall Experience:Top five, worth seeing if you have the time, great for people that can do hard hikes.
Time: Allow at least 4.5 hours for the drive, hike, and visiting the church. Allow an extra hour if you plan to take your time.
Hike: Level–Difficult. Steep with a few slippery spots, 1.5 hours to the top.
Church Structure: Large.
Paintings: 13th-14th century, damaged due to water.
What I Like: Best all-around hike for active people.
Overall Experience: Top five.
He wants me, all of me. He wants my fidgeting hands and tear weld eyes. He wants my brokenness, that is where He loves to shine. His power is made perfect in my weakness. Grieving does not mean I am not trusting, in fact transformational and healing grieving require trust. Who would let their insides pour out if they did not trust the goodness of the one in front of whom they stood? Distrust causes us to stuff pain deep within, trust in Christ is an invitation for weeping.
If your baby had a passport before it was a month old, you probably have an expat baby. Expat babies, also known as third culture kids or tcks, are a rare breed—they will have some of the most unique experiences that they will never even remember. Read the rest of this post on the Taking Route Blog.
When I was able to see past the frustration of no internet, it was interesting for me to see what I did with my time and how my creativity awakened during these periods of a forced connection detox. Read the rest of this blog on the Taking Route Blog.
- Hike: Level–Difficult. There are two sections of free climbing. For safety, I recommend asking your guide to bring a harness and ropes, but I have always done it without. One hour climb to the church.
- What I Like: I love how treacherous it is to reach this church and what treasures await you at the top.
- Overall Experience: Top five, I would only recommend this for children over twelve and please request ropes.
You don’t have to be a person of the Orthodox faith to enjoy this deeply spiritual pilgrimage past pastoral farms, up through canyon walls and into the mountains in search of these ancient treasures. The physical act of hiking to these hidden churches mirrors for me the life-long journey of the pilgrimage toward God. It is a unique opportunity to see yourself, away from the busyness of routine and habit, as you climb up into the ancient mysteries that these mountains hold.