Oh friends! I can’t believe I haven’t written a general update for friends and supporters since JANUARY. This, I suppose, is evidence that we’ve well and truly switched gears during our sabbatical – trying our best to enter into selah.
We have lots of catch you up on from our Radical Sabbatical so far, so feel free to skim the sub-headers below and read whatever jumps out at you. (I’ve tried to include a ton of photos, especially in the “fun” section.)
Family life and settling into sabbatical.
Our time in America has gone really well so far. We have had a lot of family time and Ryan is especially enjoying more time with the kids. He’s learning what it’s like to care for them more full-time and has found it to be a bit of a transition – which is to be expected, right? The boys love having both of us around more, but are particularly enjoying dad’s creativity and wonderful parenting. He’s such a great dad – our family is indeed blessed.
Adriel’s writing projects.
As Ryan focuses more on family life, I have been focusing on developing my writing. I am nearly ready to begin submitting my first manuscript to publishers – a children’s picture book about a little boy who learns what poverty is and how he can help change the world too. Honestly? Kid Lit is something I never imagined pursuing, but this is a book I felt I couldn’t not write. And engaging people – even little ones – with poverty issues is something I’m clearly passionate about, so from that perspective it’s definitely a fit. I’m still learning how the publishing industry works, and it’s a massive learning curve, but you have to start somewhere, right?! The worst that can happen is rejection – something we all have to face on certain levels anyway. I feel as prepared for that as I can be – the rest will be a faith journey. During this sabbatical, God’s been challenging me to take some risks and so I am slowly stepping out as I gain confidence.
I’m also working on an eBook that I’ll make available through my blog (for free) to help build my online readership (keep an eye out for that this summer – North American summer!), as well as another book for adults that I plan to pursue traditional publishing for. I’m learning that book-writing is not a quick process, nor for the faint of heart. This is hard, but satisfying work, and a wonderful change of pace for me. Believe it or not, it’s a kind of “rest” that has been refreshing in a way that only change can bring.
Ryan’s teaching at YWAM Kona.
Ryan has been in Kona, Hawaii this last week teaching on a DTS there. It was a perfect opportunity for him to do some ministry that he loves while being in an environment that doesn’t bring other pressures along with it. He had a wonderful time of teaching and ministry with the students and it seems is becoming a much sought-after speaker (which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest). And of course, who wouldn’t want a week in Hawaii to be part of your sabbatical, right?!! He was blessed to do a few of the things he loves best in the afternoons after “school” was out – golfing, kayaking, snorkeling, and feasting with good friends on staff there. Although the boys and I missed him a lot, we know that Ryan’s time in Hawaii was not only a gift to those he ministered to, but a gift to him as well.
Blessed by our local church and hearing from God.
Another lovely thing that we’ve been able to participate in was the Well Conference at our church in Bend, Oregon a couple of weeks ago. It was a huge blessing to us personally, and we’re still unpacking all of what God was doing in our hearts and spirits through that time. He is continuing to speak to us about our who we are and what kind of ministry he’s leading us to pursue – ministry that is based on who we are and how we’re gifted, rather than primarily based on “needs to be filled” or simply opportunities that are presented (however good they are). We feel very affirmed that not only are we on the right track, but that we needn’t feel insecure or pressured to rush ahead. In his timing he will lead us, and that is a great relief. We are relaxing into that and have not yet begun to make major decisions about our “next steps”.
Having fun – a lot of it.
We’ve also done some super fun things since being here. Friends gave us tickets to both Disneyland and SeaWorld so we hit up the theme parks when we first got to America. The kids (and adults!) had a blast. We were also able to go to New York for a week, just Ryan and I. Between frequent flyer miles, free accommodation from a friend, and saved-up gift money that we had been given as spending money, we were able to pull of a really awesome week, complete with seeing the Lion King on Broadway and all the classic NYC sights. It was incredible and a really special time for Ryan and I to just have couple time while the kids stayed back with my parents. We had been dreaming about a trip to New York as a 40th birthday celebration for Ryan for several years, but were a little blown away when things came together in a way that actually made it possible. What an awesome gift that we’ll always cherish for a very special milestone. We’ve also had two sets of friends come and stay with us and have three more sets coming in the next little while. It’s a full house, but a wonderful one! (And we feel super blessed that people want to make the effort to come and see us – love that.)
Adriel is going to… Italy?!
Another thing that’s coming up is a new development that we’re excited to share about. But brace yourself, it’s a little crazy… J Next month I will be going to a writer’s retreat in Italy for 10 days. I know – ITALY! It seems to good to be true, and I’m still pinching myself. It’s a small group of 10 Christian authors and writers led by an extremely talented and well-connected literary agent in the Christian publishing world. Most of the writers going are her clients – either published authors or influential bloggers with book deals. Honestly, I feel a little out of my depth and yet also filled with faith that God set this up for me to step into. (The whole thing is a really cool story.) We know it’s a God opportunity that we couldn’t make up even if we tried. We’ll be in Florence and Tuscany and it will be a mixture of spiritual retreat (a pastor from Saddleback is coming to lead that aspect of it), sightseeing and inspiration, and time for writing and connecting with the other writers. I’ve looked at the itinerary and it’s pretty much a dream! (Did I say I’m still pinching myself?! Trust me, it’s hard not to write this entire paragraph in ALL CAPS!!!)
Someone who believes in my writing has already covered most of my costs, so we’re in the midst of fundraising for the last bit now, as well as the airfare. (Since this was so unexpected, it definitely wasn’t budgeted for in advance.) This all happened just last week so it’s been a whirlwind of excitement around here as we’ve scrambled to arrange things so that I can go. (Ryan and the boys will stay in Bend.) Another awesome little bonus to this trip is that a friend from high school is now working as a nun at the Vatican. I’m going to stay an extra two days to visit her there and get an insider’s look at Rome and the Eternal City. Thrilled is an understatement. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
Recalibrating… and welcoming new life.
Overall, we’re just really enjoying this time to shift gears, recalibrate our family and marriage, and grow in our relationships with Jesus and understanding of ourselves. It’s a really special time for us and we’re so grateful to be in this environment for now. We’re staying at my parents’ house while they stay in the granny flat next door, so we have our own space and yet get to see them everyday to share dinner or other times together. It’s so special and couldn’t be more ideal! We are loooooooving it.
Oh and one more thing… THE THING: we just found out we’re pregnant! This is a much longed-for baby and we couldn’t be more thrilled!!! (Baby is due in January and we’ll have him/her back in Australia. I’ve written more about the emotional side of this pregnancy on my blog if you’re interested to know more about our process and how we’re doing with that side of things.)
Thank you for rallying behind our family.
Phew, that was a long update! I suppose that’s what happens when I go six months in-between – oops. Thanks for your support and friendship and prayer. We’re convinced this time is more fruitful due to our network of support and the community who constantly rallies around us, demonstrating Jesus to us. We’re incredibly grateful for you.
Much love from the whole family – Adriel, Ryan, the boys, & a baby xo
*If you’d like to make a donation for Adriel’s writing trip to Italy, please do so here.
Current prayer needs:
1. Continued revelation of what God’s doing in us this season, which we believe will lead to continued revelation of what God wants to do through us in the next.
2. The rest of the finances needed for Adriel’s writing opportunity in Italy. (Trip is June 20-30.) This is an urgent need if you are able to contribute – please call or email me if you’d like more details about the trip first.
3. Healthy pregnancy, healthy strong baby, and healthy emotions as we journey through pregnancy after loss.