I Give It To You!

In late March 2018 I found myself in a spot of restlessness. I was very happy with my life, I love my husband, my son was growing into a sweet young boy, I had a good job, a beautiful house, and many things to be thankful for. But I still had this feeling in my heart that I was made for more than this cookie cutter simplicity. This is the true story of how I not only conquered that restless feeling in my heart, but opened up a whole new world of possibilities I couldn’t have even imagined .

I was always a child who would dream of the amazing things I would do with my life. I was sure that I was going to be a triple threat performer in Los Angeles or on the Broadway stages in New York. I would do movies, TV shows, and musicals all over the world, and I knew that God made me for something special. There was nothing in my young life that compared with the feeling of performing in front of an audience and the rush of confidence that soared through me was addicting! So with the help of my family, at the age of 18 I packed my bags and drove down to Los Angeles California to put my dream into motion! Of course, being the naïve, small town girl that I was, I found out the hard way that it’s nearly impossible to break into this industry without connections. So I never ended up getting any acting, singing, or dancing jobs. I did however get to work with some amazing people in the post production world of entertainment that allowed me to barely scrape by. It was a wild ride that led me to an understanding that I was not made for that industry because I’ve got way too soft a heart and way too strong a conscience. Looking back now, I believe the whole purpose of this radical time in my life was to build my first really personal adult relationship with god. I had been raised in my church and always believed that Jesus is my lord and savior, but it’s that moment as a young adult when fear overcomes your heart and mind and you just need someone to love you, so you reach out to the lord and he provides that safety net that soothes you and reminds you your never facing these fears alone! This moment happened at my very lowest point on my Los Angeles adventure. I found myself unable to pay the $400 rent for my tiny room in one of the scariest parts of downtown. Going home as a failure was not an option in my mind and I considered doing jobs that would corrupt my soul and cause me to have true regret, so I broke down and started praying in a way I never had before. I felt hopeless and scared so for the first time, I gave all of my fear and doubt to God and simply asked for help. I was pouring my heart out to a god that I had been raised to trust but never had to, and that’s when I experienced my first mini miracle. I awoke the next morning with puffy eyes and a broken heart to an oddly chilly room. Which during the month of July in L.A. was extremely rare, so I reached for the only heavy sweater I had on the top shelf of my closest and as I pulled it out a little white envelope fell to the floor. I honestly had no idea what it was because all of my office supplies were neatly organized in their own cutely decorated tote. So I scooped it up and headed toward my “professional corner” to put it back in it’s designated file. It wasn’t more than a second when I realized there was something inside, and to my amazement I pulled out 4 crisp $100 bills. I instantly tried to justify what I was experiencing but was quietly overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude that was unmistakably the holy spirit! Wow! What an amazing moment that really is, and worth all the struggle and heartache in this world!

With my renewed love of life, I moved to Lake Tahoe to play music and sell real estate. I definitely played a lot of music, and wasted a lot of time and money on the night life scene Tahoe is oh so famous for, but did not sell any real estate. The night life full of drinking and drugs was becoming my way of life. I was heading down a dark road here, but skiing in the Sierra’s was my reminder of the beautiful creation that God had so perfectly placed me in to see just what I needed to see. I was skiing by myself, which is very dangerous but had become my normal weekday morning routine, on a double black diamond run with 48″ of fresh powder. No joke… an Olympic quality mountain with 4 ft. of fresh “pow pow” and only you and about 50 other locals are there to enjoy what might be the most epic day of skiing ever! So I headed to my favorite run and took the leap of faith into the fluffy white pillow below. I had about two good turns and then came to a dead stop. I was stuck. My skis were pointing straight down on an almost totally vertical run and I was motionless. I stood for a second in disbelief and then tried to wiggle free, and as I realized my wiggling was causing me to sink further and was most likely going start a little avalanche, I felt that fear sink in. Not an “I’m gonna die” kind of fear because I had taken my avalanche course, but a fear that I wasn’t doing what god had put me on this earth to do and he was troubled by it. I realized that this most epic ski day was a symbol for my life. There is such a thing as too much fun, and it lead me to a life where I was constantly trying to top my last extreme experience. I had become selfish and complacent and therefore could not truly enjoy life’s amazing moments the way God wanted me to. I looked straight up to the beautiful blue bird sky and said, “I’m so sorry Lord, I want to live my life with you! Can I just give you all this life and start over?” After pausing for a moment to compose myself and deal with my “being stuck” issue, another mini miracle happened. The snow in front of me for no logical reason just gave way, and I felt myself being lifted to the surface of not only the deepest snow I’ve ever had the luxury of skiing, but the dark hole that was slowly consuming me. With ease and grace and God as my wings I floated through the powder, tears of gratefulness streaming down my face and made plans to move shorty after that. In Tahoe I was focused on all the wrong things, but I was taught to love and respect nature and that you should enjoy everything in moderation. And once again through my struggles, I had become closer with God.

Seattle would be the next place I was to call home. Here I was determined to broaden my knowledge of dance and come back to my performing roots, and that’s exactly what I did! I was hired by a ballroom dance company where I learned not only how to dance all of the standard genres of ballroom but teach and sell lessons to very high end cliental. I was not allowed to indulge any personal information about myself so that I would maintain the companies’ ideal dance instructor/idol persona that every student aspired to. So I basically became a Barbie doll. I was so focused on my career of planning dance programs that saved marriages and fulfilled childhood dreams that I was forgetting to take care of my own emotional and sometimes physical needs. Most importantly I was neglecting my relationship with god, but without missing a beat, god was unraveling his plan for me even when I didn’t deserve it. This ballroom dance company is where I met my husband. He had become a teacher there as well but saw through the not so great policies within months and went his own way.  I in turn cut my ties with this organization, and took with me a new appreciation for serving others whole heartedly. As well as a new desire to do just that without a veil of makeup and costumes to sell this product of happiness. So now that I had found the love of my life and another renewed thankfulness for reality, I was ready for the next adventure, and I had no idea what an adventure it would be!

My husband Nick had a strong desire to live on a sailboat, and now I think you’ll need a little background on Nick to bring this crazy dream into perspective. He too was a go-getter from the start! He had gone off at an early age to become a underwater welder and ended up being much higher on the totem pole because of the knowledge he had about fixing anything and everything. Now I’m definitely not exaggerating hear… My husband was raised in an old-school fashion out in the garage with his grandfathers and father and has the mentality that there is nothing he can’t figure out and I wholeheartedly believe him! So with his amazing, and sometimes maddening  knowledge, and my love of adventure we embarked on our first home together which was a 1960, 30 ft. Rawson sailboat named Bora Bora. Unfortunately, at the time we had no idea that she was not a good sailboat! She was a great boat to live on, after a year’s worth of work, but to take her out sailing was a major feet that did not happen often. Once again we fell subject to God’s greater plan and our perfect little live aboard boat became a prison of loud baby cries and poopy diapers. Yes you guessed it, Nick and I started our family on our beloved Bora-Bora and that alone was all the adventure we needed at that time. So when Walker was born the boat instantly became way too small, and Nick and I knew that we had to make a decision! We wanted to raise our son to appreciate the gift of nature and the blessing of a simple life that living on a sailboat granted easily, so we made a 5 year plan. We would sell the boat and use the money to buy a fixer upper, then turn around to buy the boat we needed.

We were a young family with very little savings and jobs that could take us anywhere so we decided to buy a fixer upper in a place that we could actually afford. We headed east to my hometown of Spokane Valley, WA and moved in with my very gracious parents. At the time we were not particularly pleased with our living arrangement but it was nice to have Walker so close to his ever so loving Grandparents!  Nick easily landed a very well providing job so I was able to stay with our little Walker and spend countless hours looking for our new home that we would use to put our plan into motion. This is when my third mini miracle began to take shape though I wasn’t aware of it at the time, I got to spend 3 months with my dad who was by far the most inspirational and godly person I’ve ever known. He had retired a year earlier due to his health interfering with his work and therefore was a constant in my daily routine. Nick, Walker and I grew so much closer to him during this time and I thank god everyday because he passed away unexpectedly 6 days after Walker’s 1st birthday. Which was the first party we were able to throw in our new home. Thanks be to god for that incredible memory with my dad!

I believe our little 1954 rancher was just the project we needed to starting mending our broken hearts and sewing new seeds of prosperity. There is no way to fill the gap of losing a loved one but this hard work and dedication distracted us long enough to help us to grow into people that we respected like my father. It was here that we took up many new hobbies like gardening, making beer and cider, even tapping maple trees and making maple syrup. We prided ourselves on our homemade Christmas gifts, and we also taught our son to weld and work in the wood shop with only the hand tools to start of course. But when every spring would roll around, Nick and I would stand in the driveway of our beautiful home and wish so badly to be back on the water because we had had that salty taste of how beautiful a simple life can be and ours was anything but simple! But for four years the time was not right, we had more to do on the house, Walker had another year of preschool we wanted him to do, and most importantly I had taken my father’s spot as “the rock” in our family. So we pushed through and worked jobs we weren’t inspired by, fixed up a house that seemed daunting and never-ending, and looked for anything to distract us from the reality that we had lost our happiness. That’s when God started stepping in again, and I happened to run into a very good friend from my high school days at Walker’s new preschool, and she invited me to a ladies bible study group. I quickly immersed myself into this group of amazing ladies and they became my angels! There was so much inside of me from losing my dad that I was pushing down and trying to hide so that I could be the strong one in my family, that I didn’t realize I was distancing myself from God. I wasn’t mad at him for taking my Dad because I trusted that it was in his plan and even though I didn’t understand why, I knew everything would work out. But I was blocking out the pain with useless noise and therefore not listening to what God wanted me to hear.

With my angles beside me and a few months of bible study to take a lot of the weight off my shoulders we started a series called Restless by Jeanni Allen. That’s when my mini miracle #4 took place. This study inspired me to dig deep and find a passion inside myself that I was so proud to share with the world and it must have been beaming out of every pore because without prompting I quickly found the pew seats around me on Sunday filling up with my lost and hurting family members. One by one I was joined in praising our creator with the people I cared about the most, and I know my Dad was right there with us! My sister-in-law came back to her faith, my brother proclaimed his for the first time, and even my husband who is Mr. facts was contemplating the possibility of Jesus being the true son of God. What a miracle!!! And on top of all that which is already pretty amazing, I was able to hear God again, and he was speaking to me in every aspect of my life! He told me exactly what to do and it was exactly what I wanted so badly to hear!

It was time to sell everything and move back onto a boat! Which was much easier said than done at this point! We had now lived in our house for 4 years and 9 months and because we had bounced this idea back and forth so many times, I half-way think Nick, and the rest of my family, thought I was crazy. So he told me that he was all for it, but I would have to get the ball rolling. So I did! I started knocking out the last projects on the house without the normal supervision of my super helpful hubby and learned that I had gained a few of these skills as well. I caulked, spackled, painted, oversaw carpet installation and proved that I was serious this time. And Nick jumped right on the band wagon. He wanted to go east and look for a boat that would take us on the Great Loop, a 6500+ mile cruise around the tip of Florida, up the East Coast, through the Erie Canal, to the Great lakes, down the Mississippi, and back out to the Gulf. And to top it off… he wanted me to be Captain of the boat so that if anything happened to him, he knew Walker and I would be able to manage things by ourselves. I took the challenge not having the slightest idea of what I was in for as captain. We had our estate sale on the 4th of July weekend and had a full price offer on the table a week prior to listing our home on the market and walked away one week after our 5 year house anniversary. We did it! Our 5 year plan had worked! We were walking away from our little suburbia life debt free with a chunk of change in our pocket. It was definitely gods plan!

Now this is where the story gets juicy! We packed all of our camping gear and road trip necessities in our less than attractive 94 Dodge Designer Van fondly named Miss Biz, and proceeded to drive west through the scorching mid-Washington dessert in this old van with no air conditioning! We now had the chance to spend some quality time with our friends and family in the Seattle area before heading east to the great unknown. So we made the trek in the van with the heater on over the passes and our water bottle fans spritzing often, enjoying a couple of weeks visiting loves ones and of course looking at boats… lots and lots of boats! I mean, if you’re hanging out at one of the hottest places to be a sailor then you have to check out the scene! We looked at every marina from Tacoma to Blaine and couldn’t find anything that would work for us. So one night while sitting around the camp fire, Nick and I realized that God was telling us to hit the road and follow our path. Of course right when we thought we had God’s plan all figured out, it happened, the very next morning Nick found an add on craigslist about a Catalina 36′ that fit our needs in every way, was half the price of the last one we looked at, and was 20 minutes from the campsite! We joked on the way about this being the boat and how crazy it would be to be back on the Puget sound and not have to trek across America in an old sweaty van. When we arrived at the marina, Nick and I both had a feeling that this was different and the whole experience almost felt seamless. Everything fell into place so easily (as only God can do) that we made the plunge and bought “Grace” in July 2018.

All was well in the world! We didn’t make it to the east coast (yet), but we were happy and healthy and living on the sparkling blue waters of the Salish Sea. Nick and I watched the sunset every night and giggled in disbelief that our plan actually worked! We spent our days fixing up our new home, riding bikes around town, beach combing, and just enjoying each other! Then it got real… we had to move the boat to a new marina and the only place we could find that was somewhat affordable in the summer was in the San Juan Islands. Most people would be chomping at the bit for the opportunity to cruise through some of the most beautiful and unique islands in the world with no time line, but I was terrified! I had no idea how to captain a boat and sailing is a serious endeavor in the Pacific Northwest, not to be taken lightly by the inexperienced sailor like myself. But from the very 1st time I stepped behind that shiny ships wheel I have felt the same need to simply close my eyes, give all my fear and doubt away, and pray for calming strength. I give my anxiety to God and in return he’s blessed me with a calm, confident stature every single time. It is the hardest thing I have done in my life so far and I’ve barely scratched the surface, but it continues to get easier the more I do it just like riding a bike! So far we’ve spent 4 months in the islands and we have so much more to explore! It’s definitely not all sunshine and roses but it’s 100% worth it! I feel so blessed to have this guidance in life and I work everyday to stay focused. I’m ready for whatever adventure lies ahead, and I strongly urge any and everyone to pursue a dream. It doesn’t have to be a huge life changing pilgrimage, but just living for a greater purpose is all you need to build the confidence and love for life that make it worth living! I’ll continue to share my journey with the hope of inspiring others to do the same.

Good luck and God bless!

 

 

 

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