Living in Luxury


Hot water
Music playing from my iPhone
Drinking water from the tap
Hair tie
Bobby pins
Clean pjs
Clean towel
Face wash
Shower curtain ((double))

How often do I use these items without thinking twice?
Basic needs, right?
Not for everyone.

I caught myself- eh- Papa caught me in mid-thought & gently reminded me “that was not terrible.”
He brought to mind the real life terrible, horrible tragedy I read of someone’s real life less than an hour earlier.
Not a fictional story.
The details were heartbreaking.
Descriptions of the memory forever imprinted.
The tragedy told was of a 16 year old girl & her family who were in the city of Iraq in 1988 that was purposefully gased.
Gas. Gas that attacks the cells in our bodies. Cells that communicate with our internal organs, muscles & finite inner workings of the human body.
Poison attacks these life giving cells, and destruction, havoc wreaks. Vomiting, suffocation, bleeding, blindness, inability to move.

And there I was in a hot shower remedying my sore throat & aching muscles remembering an achy cold I had a few years prior. I said to myself “that was terrible” and Papa promptly reminded me “that was not terrible.”


I live in luxury.
The luxury of a hot shower.
Convenience of drinking from the tap without worry or thought.

After I read the pages of this teenage girl, I had to go in the bathroom & cry.
Undeserving of such evil & malicious intentions.

Stories- real experiences, of which I can never relate & feel so ashamed to be living in such luxury.

It’s like living on another planet & a lifetime away.
But it’s not a lifetime away.

Gas, poison was intentionally targeted to a neighbourhood in Syria. This isn’t the past! This isn’t history we can try to forget about and sweep under a rug. The intentional harm was done this week.

In 2017.


Was a coincidence that I read a real life telling from 1988, the year I was born?
Is it a coincidence I am alive today & drawn to this rich corner of the world?

Papa you’re up to something, let it not only be in me.

Many times I ignore these heart wrenching, terrible stories because I don’t want my heart to feel the pain & suffering. 🙋🏼 Am I the only one?
Papa brings these following questions to mind ::

How else will people like you know the reality of what’s happening?
Are we brave enough to see the raw unfiltered world?
Are we brave enough to let our hearts feel?
We must feel pain, suffering, joy & victory. How will we know to distinguish the two if we don’t experience both?

So what will I do?


What will you do?

We aren’t solely living on a planet all alone.
:: The book I mentioned above is Preemptive Love, pursuing peace one heart at a time authored by Jeremy Courtney. (( Preemptive Love Coalition ))

Please please please, take some moments to read or watch someone’s real life telling of pain & tragedy, hope & love.

:: One other incredible story I just watched & heard, Victor Marx.
(( Victor Marx story ))

:: What stories/people have grabbed your heart? Share them with each other. I would love to hear.


Transparency //


I’ve had some major breakthrough in this area of communicating what’s in my heart over the past 3 weeks. I thought, “Man I could write this in a blog & share the breakthrough I’ve been experiencing… The courage & bravery I had… How I’ve seen the affects of giving my heart a voice.”


I could share a snippet of the mixed emotions & thoughts throughout my days as I’ve been transitioning back into the workplace after 15 months of NOT being In the workplace.


I could share the life & joy I feel to be reunited with my friends in real life. It’s a place I feel loved & important.


I could share all these things & more, but today I’ve been feeling meh.
I’m currently eating cheese & have already had half a glass of wine & kinda feel like shit.

I’ve already eaten my “dinner” (which may or may not be my dinner & just a snack) & it’s nearly 5pm. I skipped my run today bc as I was about to leave, it started to rain & I wasn’t feeling like going.

Am I the only one who feels the pressure to have my shit together all the time? Is that something everyone experiences? Does everyone experience it but feels too ashamed to share it because of their age or status of work or status of marriage & family??

Well, I give you permission to not have your shit together! No matter what your life looks like! You don’t have to have it together!

Isn’t that what transparency is?
Being able to feel allowed to say I don’t have it together without feeling shamed or less than?

You are not less than!

I am not less than bc of what I shared about my afternoon!

I’m not pulling the lazy card here & saying that I didn’t work out just cuz I didn’t feel like it. That’s not what I’m saying. If people think you’re just being lazy, but you feel they are saying “you’re less than”, I hear you.


// I’m back working in an elementary school & I had a realisation today. “Bad behaviour” in school, let’s take the example of not participating or scribbling on a paper or getting frustrated bc you didn’t get an answer right the first time…I have a new perspective on this.

We call it bad behaviour or acting out & we tell/ask the kid to knock it off, pull it together, make a different choice, whatever we say. If the kid feels they can’t get frustrated or mad (at school or home) those frustrations are pent up inside & they need to get out!
I get it!

If you’re frustrated & don’t feel allowed to express your frustration, you’re going to stuff it down as if into a bottle. Soon enough the bottle won’t be able to hold anymore & an explosion is impending.

Are we allowing our kids and selves to not have it together 24/7??

Do we expect perfection?

Are we so used to performance that’s all we know & anything that’s outside of putting a mask on is not allowed bc we don’t know how to deal with it.



It’s okay to not know how to deal with it!!!!
It’s okay to feel!

It’s okay to be frustrated!

It’s okay to feel hurt!

It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling whether it’s positive or negative!


Look I’m no sociologist or psychologist or counsellor.
One of my major breakthroughs though, that I briefly mentioned up front, has to do with allowing myself to feel hurt & feeling allowed to communicate that.

Actually, for the past 28 years, up until this breakthrough, I never felt allowed to voice my hurt to who hurt me.

I was taught & shown to “just get over it” or sweep it under the rug. I didn’t feel allowed to talk about it until very recently!

// Did you hear me? I didn’t feel allowed to express my hurt. For 28 years. Tell me I’m not solo in that boat. //

I didn’t feel allowed to hurt or voice my hurt until a couple weeks ago!

Boy, let me tell ya it took guts on my part to voice it. Boy, I’ll tell ya when I voiced it, it took a while to get it out & give my heart a voice.

It was received well!

I was heard & not shamed & not made to feel something different.

L I S T E N : : Whatever you are feeling, about yourself, a friendship, a conversation, you name it :: it’s okay! You’re allowed to feel that way!
Now here’s my challenge : : voice it. Take some time to write it down & talk to someone you trust & feel safe with.

I don’t have this mastered by any means. What I do have are two recent conversations to look back at and say, “this is what I did & I want to keep doing it, and I’ve learned this from it.”

You’re heart is important & you need to give it a voice.

This is what courageous bravery looks like. This is what transparency is.

I believe in you.

Wired for connection

Who I am today has been shaped and influenced by the people I’ve met, friends I’ve made, cultures I’ve experienced, new things I’ve done, jobs I’ve worked, who I’ve lived with, and gotten to know. So on and so forth.
The common strand: people.
People have shaped & influenced who Andrea is today.

I was reading through some blogs, emails & journal entries from this time last year. January last year, I didn’t think the places I had been thus far in my time with World Race left a mark on me. I didn’t think I had left my mark on the country & people.
A year later, I see differently. I didn’t know it at the time, and it was not how I expected, but each country & people I got to know have left their mark on me.
I guess, I have left a piece of myself in each country, and a piece of the country gave me a gift.
You see, I expected deep connection everywhere we went. When that expectation was not met after the first month, I felt like a failure. I felt like I was approaching this experience with wrong expectations & for a time I didn’t know how to adjust my thinking & approach.


Memory & the brain is incredible. I can recall moments around a table eating or walking down the street. I recall little moments that may seem too small to remember, but that’s just it, I’m wired to recall those moments I felt connected to another human being.
It’s actually pretty dang amazing if you think about that for a minute.

314 days abroad.


7,536 hours.

425,160 minutes.

27,129,600 seconds.
Here I am 75 days after the 314 days, and I can recall a moment (seconds or minutes in length) in that span of time & picture it in my mind like it was yesterday.
Tell me that’s not incredible.
Brain, you’re incredible. Thank you.


Where was I…people!
I would not be the Andrea I am today without allllll the people I met, befriended, listened to & laughed with this year.


You are people.
Thank you.
Reading how many hours, minutes & seconds make up those 314 days has brought my mind to a halt.
As will this post be brought to a halt.


Want to know more about my time with World Race? Blog site here.

The truth we’re too scared to share


I just read a Facebook post of a missionary to Iraq. I stumbled upon his page and the bigger vision he supports back in the beginning of December.
In a matter of 2 or 3 days, I stumbled upon missionaries active in Iraq, Burma & Kurdistan.
That same week I was trying to keep up with the inhumane conditions in Syria and the people there. My heart was breaking & I felt utterly helpless but wanted to help so badly.
I would share posts of what was going on b/c I was sure 99% of my friends on Facebook were utterly unaware.

Now, I hardly ever share news & world events. I honestly don’t keep up with news & happenings unless there’s one story or video that grabs onto a ventricle of my heart & I can’t ignore it.
Imagine that– someone grabbing a ventricle of your heart. That figurative hand is stopping your heart from functioning properly and you FEEL the effects immediately. You are immediately affected. You can’t ignore the hand, b/c if you do, you’ll die!
If there’s an article or video or story that grabs my ventricle, I have to do something about it. I will read more. Educate myself more.
I will probably share the article or video b/c I FELT something.

I think so often we scroll through our Facebook feeds, or selectively read what news we want. (Don’t worry, I too am guilty of this)
There’s so much choice & mediums of information, we can literally go through a day without FEELING anything.
I can go through a day deciding that I want to only find things that make me laugh, so I will only FEEL light.
Maybe I don’t want to FEEL discouraged or helpless, so I purposefully won’t read or watch the news.

What is that?
Are we too scared to SEE reality? Are we too scared that if we are exposed to the reality of something other than the one I am creating for myself right now, that I will actually FEEL something and I will have to DO something about it?

I swear- since I’ve come back from my “world tour” (as some people have called it) people will only ask me the superficial questions. The ones that don’t make them FEEL anything but good. By people I mean people that aren’t willing to ask how I’m really doing. People that are my relatives or acquaintances from church.
These people tip-toe around and frolick in the field that makes them FEEL good.

I have become so angry at the American church. Yes. Angry. At the American church. I admit it! I’m guilty. 🙋🏼 Judge me all you want, criticise me, think what you will. Tell me I’m wrong. But let me tell you more first, okay?
Let me expound on why I FEEL angry.

One of the most difficult things I had to come back to in America-materialism, consumerism. The constant messages of “buy this new product,” “you need this vacuum because it sucks 10x better than our lady model,” “make your life easier with laundry detergent that does all the work for you.”
Seriously? Like, that is what Americans are so consumed & concerned about? Stuff. Clothing. Makeup. “Make your eyelashes longer & sexier.” Cars. Phones. Televisions.

Oh but Andrea you came home just before Christmas when those commercials and adds are at the highest & most advertised.
Okay, make the excuses all you want. Are you denying American culture revolves around STUFF? Are you trying to make this argument so you can avoid the topic of its influence in your life?
It’s okay! This is where you live! This is your culture. Admit it.
I admit, not proudly, this is the culture I live it. It’s where I come from.
THANKFULLY I have new eyesight & can SEE it. I’m not denying its existence and influence in my life. (I just got an upgraded iPhone b/c I could get a discounted new phone. I am not exempt, okay?)
Look, I’m not here to slap you in the face or punish you for living where you do, if in fact you do call yourself an American.
I’m not here to generalise and say that “all Americans are so freaking self centered and you all suck, get your heads into a different worldview.”
I’m not here to tell you that I hate all of you and wish I was never born in America.

I’m here to say- HEY WAKE UP! FEEL something!!! FEEL angry! FEEL helpless!! FEEL something! FEEL something for the nations & world outside your own!

I’m not giving you the right to complain about the government.
I’m not giving you the right to be upset with your family.
I’m not giving you the right to argue simply to argue.

I’m saying- have the GUTS to look somewhere difficult.
Have the GUTS to consider “what would it FEEL like if I was born & living in Iraq? What would my thinking be if I were a Christian in Morocco? How would I SEE people if I were a refugee?”
Have the GUTS to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

But Andrea I am not passionate about the world like you are.
I’m not telling you to be passionate about the world.
I’m begging you to see the world from a different perspective than solely your own.
I’m begging you to BE HUMAN.

Why are so many people afraid to travel? Let me be more transparent and honest in my real question… why are so many AMERICANS afraid to travel? Why are CHRISTIANS afraid to travel? Not to any western country in Europe or the exotic, sexy tropical places were you can relax and have a restful time.

Why are CHRISTIANS afraid to travel? Why are Christians afraid of the Middle East? Why are CHRISTIANS afraid of Muslims?
Why are CHRISTIANS afraid of Arab people?
Why are CHRISTIANS critical, judgemental and weary of people- just like you and me- from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, anywhere?!
Are we afraid that if we meet them, we will be WRONG about our ideas of them?
Are we afraid that we are wrong about the world?
Are we too scared that we’ll be found out as fakes? Hoaxs?
Are we afraid of being found out & exposed to who we really are?

Or are we just too afraid that we have feelings we’re not sure what to do with and we don’t have a solution?

Stop letting fear rule you.
Isn’t there a verse in the Christian Bible about not letting fear rule you…

Are we afraid we will SEE & FEEL the brokenness of the world? Are we afraid b/c we won’t have a solution?
I’m not asking you to FIX the world! I’m not asking you to have all the solutions or even just one solution.
We live in a broken world. Systems will be screwed up.
But be brave enough, have the guts to feel something. Don’t be indifferent to anything that doesn’t affect you personally.
Just because it doesn’t affect you doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant.
People are relevant.
People are human.
You are human.
You have feelings.

WHEN you travel, IF you travel, people won’t ask you to come fix their broken worlds.
People will invite you into their homes. People will want to share stories with you. People want to eat with you. People want to hear your stories.
People want to be human.
So be human.

Back to the original post on my Facebook feed that started this… He was talking about Christians that are persecuted 100% of the time in 21 countries.
He listed those countries.
Guess what? Those countries are not in Western Europe. The list didn’t include Australia or Canada.
The countries are those countries Christians don’t talk about casually. Why not?
Have the guts to educate yourself. Have the guts to read stories from these places. Have the GUTS to feel something other than “it doesn’t pertain to me.”

The 21 countries:: North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, India, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Kenya, Turkmenistan, Qatar, Egypt.

The original post::

// I know not everyone falls into the generalisation I made of Americans & Christians. //

// Comment. Thoughts? What are you FEELING from this post?

words for the year

With the new number of another new year, it’s a chance to refocus.
It’s a chance to re-evaluate, take a look at yourself, set goals, & set values back in their rightful spot.
I usually get excited about adventures & dreams. Those are the typical words I focus on. I’ll make some journal pages for adventures I want to go on & dreams I want to see become reality.

Sometimes I feel one word sticking out in my mind; I’ve seen many friends & strangers do this. But I usually approach the one word with less excitement & usually don’t come up with one. I feel focusing on one word is ignoring other areas that need attention not neglecting.

Today, however, I wrote three words I want to re-incorporate into my daily life.







Lately, I’ve felt my daily life lacking in these values.
I would use all three of them to describe the kind of life I want and the kind of person I want to be, but lately my thoughts, emotions & feelings have outweighed these characteristics.


This past weekend, I got to visit a friend I hadn’t seen in over a year.
We’re both in the same boat of figuring out life after being abroad and what we want, so we met up for a weekend of fun. I expressed how much I need fun & fun is difficult when my friends are hundreds & thousands of miles away.
So fun is what we had.

I was outside of what my day-to-day has been the past month. I felt more hopeful. I laughed all weekend. We played games & I really had fun. Friends have that amazing quality to bring hope & fun into life. 🙂
The weekend was intentional. I had driven miles to visit and would only have until Sunday to have fun. We had to be intentional.

I would use all three words to describe the weekend, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence those three words came to my mind again today.

Can I let you in on a secret?

. . . . . . . . .

I don’t know what I’m doing.
I don’t have my life figured out.
I don’t have my emotions and feelings in order (they seem to be all over the place). Myself & my life feels pretty messy & disorganized. (Thanks Papa, you started this messy undoing last January. You’re taking my life that I’ve tried to keep as neat boxes and told me to get out of the box. I’m learning mess is okay. Let’s unpack the boxes and go through the stuff.mthrow out what is not healthy. That’s an entirely other post)
Do you feel me?
Is anyone else in this season of life? Coming from an adventure, having to figure out what your life is now, readjusting, refocusing, asking yourself what you want.

Well, I know that I’m not alone in this season. I want you to know you’re not alone in this season.

Now, if you have your life figured out, have a vision you’re moving toward, I commend you. Tell me, how did you figure it out? What was your journey like to get there?

If you feel you’re moving but don’t know where, I would suggest taking time to write down and answer, “what do I want?” Self discovery is a continual journey. I’m only 28, but I feel like as soon as I discover something about myself, I discover something else. It’s a continual self discovery journey.
It’s a journey that takes time. Time we often rush through in the instant gratification culture of the West we live in.

Can I share one more secret?
I discovered there’s people on the other side of the world not rushing through life. They value time. They taught me (through my impatience and frustration) to slow down. They value people. They value relationship. They are less task oriented and more people oriented. Maybe this is partially the reason my brain has been firing slower since I got back to the States. Haha!

+   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +

What are your words you want to describe yourself and your world this year?

Take time to ask and answer What do I want? Let the answering be frustrating if it is. Let it be painful. Let it be exciting. Go big baby! You’re worth it.

Dear 2016

Dear 2016,

On this day of 31 Dec, I am almost taken by surprise our time together is coming to a quick close.
Each month of you brought surprise, adventure & choice.

In January our first hello was had in sunshine over a cup of coffee in a newly gifted mug. I welcomed you with excitement and wonder in my eyes. We cheersed to the adventures that were to come. I met you in the state of Colorado.
Less than a week and we were in the state of Georgia trying to prepare for the coming travels, community & experiences. I snored and laughed in my sleep (so I was told), thus jumping into a wild ride.

You took me on my first plane ride across the Pacific, dumping me in Indonesia. The sights and sounds were so many, I was unsure of which window to look out as we squished into the Angtuk that first torrential rainy, humid day in Bandung. We were all wet & without much space, but so happy to be where we’d never been.

I took many a selfies during your first few weeks.
I was awoken by the call to prayer for the first time & never knew horns would make me laugh so much.

We saw the lands of Asia, and I fell in love with Asia more than I thought. Asia doesn’t get the credit they should, it’s a beautiful place, with incredibly hospitable people.



We rode 19 long distance trains, the longest ride being 60 hours. 🚂

We flew in 24 airplanes. ✈️

We sat in 16 large buses and 9 minibuses. 🚌

We got to ride 2 ferries, 1 legit boat on the Caspian Sea, and a taxi boat in Bangkok. ⛴🛳

And too many taxis for me to even remember. 🚕

We rode trams, metro, tuk tuks in India, bicycles in Thailand and China. 🚎  🚲  🚡


We walked miles of streets with sidewalks and non-existent sidewalks; trails up mountains, trails of mud; roads of dirt & dust; we slipped and pretended to ice skate on China’s wet sidewalks; we wandered cities & markets; we touched beaches, seas & a couple rivers; we crossed bridges, did a couple handstands & kartwheels, skipping and splashing in puddles; we danced on rooftops, in a wedding & on a boat deck.

We saw city views from above; I pointed out the moon nearly every time he made an appearance. We stargazed. We laughed, we cried. We watched the sunset and the moonrise.


Ate the best food, drank the best juice in Marrakesh. The best fruit in Thailand, biggest carrots in Bishkek, freshest bread in Georgia…

We sweat, had to carry our own toilet paper, used countless squatty potties, smelled many a fragrances, talked to strangers at train stations, made friends on the train.
We got sick a couple times, slept in a tent in the mountains of Nepal, twirled kiddos long after I got dizzy, ate and ate and ate.

We cried on the floor of a hostel after realizing we weren’t going to Turkey.

Broke a pair of flip flops getting off a train in Burma.

Had rocks thrown at me by a kid in China, stepped on a thorn barefoot, peed on my own foot and flip flop.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — – – – – – – – – – – – – –
2016, you were full of adventure, the unexpected, pain, memories, and the least amount of alone time ever. You were a year I’ll never forget. I got to experience cultures & life like never before.
I cried for Syria, I cried for Turkey.
I cried for leaving my friends in Kyrgyzstan & Morocco.
I met the most amazing people, heard stories on the edge of my seat.
I met sweet babies in Greece, a sweet papa in Nazareth.
I got to live, eat, travel, cook, walk and sweat with brothers and sisters that have my back. I got to experience true community and Papa redefined family.

As this year ends, I encourage you to think of the good this year. Remember the sweet moments, remember the amazing people you met or realized you have. Think of the ones you talk to the most, how they’ve loved & valued you this year.

Let your mind ponder the good from this year. End on a good note, start in a good note.

Cheers to you 2016! Thank you for what you taught me. I’m better because of you & the people I crossed paths with.
2017, I’m excited to see the adventures and wild rides we’ll take together.



beauty full

Hello beautiful, astounding ones!

I apologize for the lack of blog posts.

Since my last exciting post (see previous post), I have continued blogging on my world race blog.

I am considering copying and pasting those blogs here, because this format makes my eyes happy! The format on world race, is not as creative and visual. But it will suffice it’s purpose.

Check it out in link below! I will be blogging from there and here when I have the uRae to see a blog that makes my eyes happy where words and visual photos are paired. 🙂

// Andrea’s World Race blog