Black Swans and Prayers

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 4.32.07 PMOn a southern bend of the Swan River there is a sandbar that leads to a little island.  It’s hard to see in the picture above but the island is the little scrap of land about an inch to the left of my head.  The river in general is pretty shallow but we walked out across this sandbar all the way to the island and only our knees down got wet (my knees a little more so than Ryan’s).Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 4.30.28 PMWalking along the sand bar was kind of fun because you usually don’t just get to walk out into the middle of a river and the black swans seemed to be enjoying the sandbar too.  Black swans are an important animal here and were almost wiped out when the river wasn’t being taken care of.  But they are back and since I had only ever seen white swans in the US, I think the black ones are very elegant.Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 4.31.21 PMOnce we made it out to the island, we sat down and spent some time in prayer.  We previously set aside time to pray every Wednesday but with our new schedule have had to find a different time.  So now we pray on Thursdays.  We don’t always find a new spot to explore and pray but sometimes it’s nice to have a different view.  I’m sure we’ll come back and pray with the black swans again.

Reasons #78-#81 Why I Love My Husband

Just because I haven’t posted an update to this list since November (Reasons #75-#77 Why I Love My Husband) doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped loving this guy.  But I’ve recently been reflecting on how amazing Ryan is especially when, during a Social Work class, we’re given a list of ways that true love typically manifests itself and Ryan hits all 4 main points.  So this post is dedicated to us falling more in love with each other, falling in love with Perth city and being thankful that I see signs of a healthy functioning relationship.  Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 10.07.50 AM#78- Ryan cares for me and for himself practically.  I’m thankful for a husband who loves me not just with words but with tangible, practical, visible actions.Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 10.04.46 AM#79- Ryan sees the good in me.  I’m always blown away when I catch Ryan looking at me and I see something in his eyes that I don’t deserve in the best way possible.  He sees what I bring to our relationship, he sees my potential, he sees my beauty and he doesn’t question it.Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 10.50.09 AM.png#80- He forgives my errors.  I don’t remember the last time we had a perfect day with no arguments, disagreements or harshly exchanged words.  We aren’t by any means proud of this but it’s our reality.  We’re working through it intentionally but forgiveness is crucial every step of the way.Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 10.03.52 AM#81- He’s good at maintaining intimacy.  Intimacy is way more than just sex, intimacy is all the little signals, touches, smiles and exchanges throughout the day.  It can be a challenge to maintain this but Ryan is great at reaching out and doing the small things which keep us going strong.Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 10.08.26 AMI am so thankful for my husband and all the reasons he gives me to love him each and every day.

*All the pictures in this post were taken outside the Royal Perth Hospital at Kirkman House which is a spot we regularly pass on the bus ride home.  These cage swings hang from a tree known as the “Kissing Tree” because it’s where nurses would say goodbye to sweethearts before returning to Kirkman House where they were living as they worked at the hospital.  In order to commemorate this spot someone hung these two people-sized birdcages complete with a heart and birds kissing on top which you can see in the second picture of Ryan by himself.  Anyone can stop, swing and hang out in these cages which are especially lovely in the afternoon shade.

Happy Anniversary!

4 years ago yesterday Ryan and I met for the first time after finding each other on OkCupid.  After that first (5 hour!) date, we both knew there was the potential of something more but had no idea where this relationship would take us.  Now we’re celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary in our new home in Perth, Australia after traveling around the US and around the world too.

3 years ago today, Ryan and I got married in Santa Barbara, California at beautiful Franceschi Park.  If you missed the wedding because we’re new friends or you want to re-watch our wonderful ceremony, you can check it out on our webpage: Ryan and Joy’s Wedding or directly on Youtube: Ryan and Joy’s Wedding.

Happy Anniversary to my favorite husband!  You drive me crazy but I wouldn’t change this life with you.  I’m looking forward to many more years and many more memories together.

Redeeming December 7th

December 7th will always be a day that will live in infamy.  But this doesn’t mean that it can’t be redeemed on a more personal level.  Today is also the day Ryan proposed to me 3 years ago.  And now 3 years later we have our tickets and are headed to Perth together.  If you want to look back and see, Perth was always the intended plan (Here’s the Plan) even if we were holding it rather loosely and praying, a lot.screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-8-15-01-amI’m so thankful for this man, our families and all our other friends and supporters who have been with us along the way.  Life is a crazy journey.  I’m also abundantly thankful for the faithfulness of Jesus who gives us much needed grace and mercy to keep moving forward.  Ryan and I will celebrate 3 years of marriage this February in Perth.  And to think it all started with an online date, a kangaroo and a ring.screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-8-15-23-am


Reasons #75-#77 Why I Love My Husband

This list is getting longer and I hope to never run out of reasons Why I Love My Husband.  These three reasons are all things I do love but at certain times they also can drive me crazy.  It really is my attitude, heart and outlook that often impact how I view and treat my husband.  I’m so thankful that he really is super lovable:-)  My last Why I Love My Husband update was during our month of prayer so we invited you to pray for our marriage.  If you are a person who prays, please continue to pray for our marriage.  screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-10-22-37-am#75- His positive attitude.

Although this really has the ability to drive me crazy (when I’m grumpy, I want everyone around me to be grumpy too), I shouldn’t complain about my husband’s wonderfully positive attitude.  He definitely has a sunny disposition and can often find the good in even the most bleak situation.  His positivity keeps both of us going.

#76- Cold hands, warm heart.

I love my husband’s hands but they are often extremely cold.  Maybe because it is more difficult to get the blood to his fingertips on his 7 foot+ wingspan.  However, even when he shocks my system with a cold touch, I know that he’s reaching out with his warm heart.  Cold hands, warm heart may not be true for everyone but it’s wonderfully true for this great guy.

#77- His ability to live in the moment.

I’m in awe of my husband’s gift of just enjoying the present, living in the moment and being fully in that specific time and place.  I often wish I could turn off my mind, tune out the distractions around me and just enjoy the moment at hand.  However, that ability is pretty much beyond my pay grade.  But not for Ryan, he enjoys where he is, what he is doing and tries to make the most of every situation.  I’m thankful for his ability to be fully present with me when we’re together and his ability to be fully present with our friends and family too.  It’s a great gift.

Visas in Hand

Ryan and I will be leaving for Australia sooner rather than later because we have our visas!  After an extra stressful week, we finally were able to provide immigration with what they needed and we were approved about 24 hours later.  For anyone looking to move to Australia, know the process is fair and challenging.  Ryan and I will be in Australia while I get my Masters in Social Work at the University of Western Australia.  We are looking forward to getting to know this beautiful country better, especially Perth and the areas around Perth.screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-8-35-04-amMy program begins at the beginning of February so we are looking to move in December in order to allow time for transition and settling in.  This has been the plan for awhile but now with visas in hand, we can start working through the final departure checklist.  For anyone who has moved overseas before, you know this list can be long and daunting.  But Ryan and I will keep taking things one day at a time.  We are excited to be on this crazy journey together.  We are excited to be able to live in an amazing country like Australia.  And we’re excited to see what the future holds for us.

Australian Beginnings

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-7-47-13-pmBack in 2012, I was hanging out in Perth.  I ate Kangaroo meat, met a Quokka and made a decision that would change my life.  I said yes to joining the Perth team in Australia.  Although Ryan and I hadn’t met yet, that decision to join the Perth team, paved the way for our relationship.  screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-5-26-46-pmIn the fall of 2012, God was also working in Ryan’s heart.  Ryan had been praying about where in the world God was sending him.  He had known for awhile that he was called into overseas missions but the world is a pretty big place.  However, around the same time I was saying yes to the Perth team, God was putting South Africa and Australia on Ryan’s heart.screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-5-25-33-pmLittle did we know that 3 months later when we met, we would be contemplating life in Australia together.  And now we’re about a month away, Lord willing, from moving to Australia and beginning this new face of our life.  God’s faithfulness continues to be sweet as we continue on this adventure together.