"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge it's rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Proverbs 24:3-4

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Costa Rica (Part Three) And Coming Home

Well, it sure has taken me an awful long time to blog about our trip to Costa Rica!


I certainly didn't mean to drag it out like this! Haha...

But you know how life can get...

Between homeschool lessons, meals, childcare, laundry, etc... I struggle to find time to sit down and write.

But! As I tell my kids... "No excuses!!!" Haha!

So, here I am again, wanting to share a little more about our trip...


I know this is supposed to be a blog on home living.

I truly hope you haven't minded that I veered off a little and have been blogging about travel.


My goal for today's post is to bring it full circle, and write about home life once more.

When I leave my home for an outing, I like to pay attention to the things that can give me a fresh perspective on my own home.

Does that make sense?

In other words, I like to make observations and get ideas that I can bring home with me, to make my home better!

I notice gardens and flowers and think, How can I make my garden better this year?


I notice small, intentional details and think, This would be a good thing for me to do the next time I  host guests...


I notice decor items that evoke a feeling of home and think, How cute! Feels like home. See? Using lovely things everyday is always the right thing to do...


I notice meals that are beautiful and think, I wonder if Walmart sells small paper dollies. What an adorable way to make supper even more appealing...



Get what I mean?

I told you in my previous posts that we rented a car while we were there and were out and about a lot, so we really got to see the country. 

One observation that I made was that all the homes there were extremely colorful!

They just didn't look like the homes that are here in the U.S.

It didn't matter if we were in a city or in the countryside... Driving through an upscale neighborhood or a run-down one... 

The homes in Costa Rica are lime green, bright blue, and hot pink!

I had Micah pull over when I spotted this cheery yellow home...



It just looked like such a happy place to live!

It was well-kept and there were beautiful flowers of all different kinds in the front yard.

When I stepped out of the car to snap a picture, a couple of little kids ran out to see what I was doing. 

And that just made the whole thing even better!

Do you see them looking at me? Haha...

Adorable!!!


I thought to myself, What a beautiful place for them to grow up. Their mother sure made it colorful and cheery!

And then that led me to my next thought which was this- It really is cool that there are women everywhere in the world that are making the most out of where they are and what they have! You can travel to a far-away land and  find women anywhere making their homelife beautiful!

That thought encouraged me!

Of course, I don't know these people and didn't step inside. But, it was a great reminder for me about the importance of first impressions!

This also convicted me and challenged me!

Would a complete stranger drive past MY home and be able to draw the conclusion that it must be a happy place to live?

Hmmmm......

Yes, I feel convicted.

Well, all this thinking about being back home made me miss my kids. So, when Micah and I were bumming around Montezuma one hot afternoon, we slipped into a few shops to purchase gifts for them...



The loneliness I felt for my kids was not helped when I realized that the children of the shop owners hang out with their parents at their shops. So, I saw a lot of children! And that just made me miss mine all the more!

This little guy looked to be about Roman's age.

He was just quietly entertaining himself while his mama ran her shop...


I stood here and watched him for a few minutes. 

He never noticed me.

I asked Micah, "So, do you think he'd let me hug him?"

Micah just rolled his eyes and said, "C'mon, let's pick out souvenirs."


Well, eventually the time came where we had to bid farewell to this wonderful place...


It was bittersweet.

I don't know when I'll return or even if I ever will...

But, there's no place like home, and that's where I belong... So, off we went to board our plane...


Once home, we set up our kitchen island with all of the Costa Rican treats and gifts...


We bought each child a little wooden box to house the tiny sea shells we hand picked for them...


They made sure they all got divvied up equally...


If you're really observant, you'll notice in the background my ivory poinsettia. 

It's from the holidays!!!

I can't believe I kept it alive and well for this long!

But once we got settled back into the swing of things at home, I pitched it and re-decorated this corner for Spring. I used lavender and a little green piece of pottery that I brought home from Costa Rica.

See it up on the shelf here?...


I found it in a pottery shop, thought it was cute, and figured I needed something to bring home that would remind me of the happy times we had on this trip.

I will forever hold dear the memories we made, but it sure is good to be home!

We're back to enjoying our trails and our trees...


Taking trips into town for ballet class...


And hand-washing dishes from having friends over to dinner...


Life just goes on as if the trip never happened.

But that's ok.

~ Home was never sweeter than now ~



xo,

 ~ Courtney ~











Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Costa Rica (Part Two)

Hello sweet friends!


Welcome back to Costa Rica!

We left off last time at Tango-Mar, a beautiful resort right along the coastline of Tambor.


This place was like magic!


I never grew tired of being here...


(Because who could get tired of magic?! ;)


"It is perhaps a more fortunate destiny to have a taste for collecting shells than to be born a millionaire." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

But of course, I did begin to miss my kiddos. So, I sent them a message in the sand...


I am very much not used to being without them!

They are by my side from the moment I wake up each morning, until they go to bed around 7 or 8:00 at night.

This of course, has always made early morning quiet times tricky!

I've heard pastors, teachers, and older mamas say to simply, "Wake up before the kids" in order to get a daily quiet time in. Well... I've never known my kids to sleep as late as sunrise, so whenever I wake up, (even if I set my alarm to get up early...) they're up! (And asking for juice... and whining that they're hungry... and relating to me every excruciating detail of last night's dream... etc, etc...)

SO...
To have a truly quiet "quiet time" each morning while we were here, was something I did not take for granted!!!


I'm not a journal-er normally, but I packed one for this trip along with my bible and devotional. 

It was such a treat to begin each morning in beauty, tranquility, and nature... 


Sipping hot Costa Rican coffee, reading scripture, and jotting thoughts down along the way...


But after a few days in this paradise, it was time to pack up and get on the road again.


Costa Rica is such a beautiful and mountainous country!

On curvy, dirt roads we made our way over to Arenal.


With car windows down, listening to a mix of Spanish guitar and Jack Johnson, we enjoyed our little day trip.


Stopping only for necessities along the way!


This is the only proper response to being given a hand-picked, roadside flower, ya know!


~ Enjoy the journey ~

Once we spotted Lake Arenal, we knew we were getting close!


Just look at how close these drop-offs are to the edge of the road!

And no guard rail or anything!

This was truly an adventure!


I was so happy to get off these roads and checked into our resort!


The same resort and the same room that we stayed in ten years ago!

I was over the moon! 


Very little had changed...

We felt 
~ Lucky! Lucky! ~

This place is a little different from our previous beach resort, it is a rainforest retreat in the middle of the jungle!

Our balcony overlooked mountains and a volcano!

Isn't it breathtaking!


We thought we'd sit for a bit.

We were weary travelers in need of some rest...


But we didn't stay here long!

There are trails to explore you know!

As a person who loves nature walks, this was quite exciting!


Lush trails all over the place!

Medicine for the soul!

Doesn't it make you think, I wonder where it leads?...

There's only one way to find out!


Sometimes I had options! Haha...


But I always ended up in some cool place...


Sometimes while I was walking I would pass one of these pink day lilies that had fallen to the ground...


I began collecting them as I walked to bring back to the room with me.

There! A second chance at life!

~ It's the little things ~


You know, we were talking about quiet times before... This balcony was such an amazing place to have an early morning quiet time!

I savored every minute of sitting in this spot...


Our first morning here happened to fall on a Sunday. 

When I poured my coffee and assembled my materials to sit down, a great feeling of guilt swept over me. Because it was Sunday morning and I was not in church, I began to feel awful.

"What kind of person are you that you are missing church to be on vacation? You know better than this. Don't you know the bible calls Christians not to be seekers of pleasure, but seekers of God?"

On and on these guilt-ridden thoughts took over my mind.

I said to the Lord in my heart, "I'm so sorry that I'm not in church."

It about ruined my time here on this balcony until I opened my bible and began to read...

I recorded what happened next in my journal. I invite you to read it, however when I wrote it I was caught up in the moment and wasn't thinking anyone would read it, so I was not mindful of writing neatly...



What a wonderful way for God to meet me in this place!

"You will go out in joy, and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you." 


I realized our entire trip thus far had been joyous and peace-filled, and the vibrancy of the birdsong really did sound like the mountains were bursting with music... My guilt melted away as I realized that we really did have God's blessing on our time here and I was exactly where He wanted me to be!

(One bird even came right to our open window to sing for us! ;)



Has this ever happened to you? Does God ever gently remind you that the guilt you are feeling over something is not from Him, but an unnecessary burden that you placed upon yourself?!

And does He ever lead you to the perfect verse at just the perfect time to reveal it?

I feel sorry for Christians who don't read God's Word for themselves everyday. It is how the Lord speaks to and comforts His people. And who would want to miss out on that?!!!


Well friends, I've got to go for now, but I'm having so much fun documenting our vacation photos, that I might be back here soon with Part Three!

Love to you all!

To be continued...

xo,

~ Courtney ~