A is for Adventure!
Adventures are awesome.
Whether I'm adventuring in my own yard, at Whistler, in Hawaii, or right here on my blog intertwining the A to Z challenge and my own 365 Blessing Challenge, April is going to be a month of Adventure for me. And I love adventures. Most of my favorite books have an element of adventure in them, and I love to write stories of adventure.
We all know what adventure means to us, but let's look at the official version for a moment: According to Dictionary.com, Adventure means:
1. an exciting or very unusual experience
2. participation in exciting undertakings, or enterprises
3. a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome
Life is an adventure. Every day, we have uplanned, or sometimes unusual experiences that are out of the ordinary. We participate in risky undertakings when we try new things, meet new people, or even just experiment with a new recipe.
For me, adventure means to step out of the humdrum and into life lived fully.
What does adventure mean to you?
Here are some adventures that I'm giving thanks for in my intertwined 365 Days of Blessings count, and A to Z Challenge:
1. Adventures in cooking: my experimental banana cocunut muffins turned out really yummy! As a mom with food intolerances (means I don't digest many foods without pain or major discomfort) with kids and a hubby with food intolerances, I've learned that taking risks in the kitchen can lead to some sweet rewards. (and some flaming disasters)
2. Adventures in education: our family has used three very different methods of home education in the last 7-8 years. We started with fun and games with a little curriculum (preschool and kindgergarten for my oldest), then took part in a state run home study program for four years, and then switched to homeschooling with two home school co-operatives, and a mix of different curriculums. Every day is an adventure for us, and we are learning all the time, and loving it.
3. Adventures in dance: my daughters are dancers. They've been dancing since their preschool years, and in the last 2 and a 1/2 years, they've been part of a tap company at Action Dance Academy. They perform at least six times a year at competitions, company productions, and community events. They have ups and downs, and they tap everywhere they go. They've always been movers (our whole family has a need to fidget), and now they are tappers. They tap their feet in classes at our co-ops, in line at the grocery store, in the library, the bookstore, the car, at amusement parks, at their friends houses . . . everywhere.
4. Adventures in writing: I talked my daughters into participating in the NaNoWriMo young writer's program in November, and now my oldest has persuaded me to participate in the April Script Frenzy. I don't know what I'm doing, and I don't know that I'll finish, but I'm trying something new and exciting.
5. Adventures in faith: Nearly three months ago, we experienced a painful church split. During this split, my family and I prayed through all the struggles, and felt called to be part of a new church, a church plant that is just now gaining steam and direction. I've been called to a new ministry in this new church as a worship and music facilitator. We don't have a Pastor yet, but we have been getting guidance from visiting Pastors and Missionaries along the way. These adventures in faith are stretching my abilities in all kinds of ways, and I feel blessed to be a part of a growing, loving, welcoming church group committed to working together and blessing our community with the message of Christ's love and salvation.
6. Adventures in friendship: Recently, I have been blessed abundantly by friendship. A wonderful friend of mine has called me nearly every day to check in with me, and share her ideas, her troubles, her fun stuff, and to listen to my ideas, my troubles, and my fun stuff. I really appreciate her friendship, and how it has grown over time. It makes me appreciate all of my friends more, and want to check in with all my friends more often than I usually do.
7. Adventures in marriage: To many, marriage doesn't sound adventurous, but it is. Faithfully sticking by your spouse's side through joys and sorrows, agreements, and disagreements is an adventure. Laughing together, crying together, praying together, playing together, and occasionally stomping around the house together is all an adventure. Marriage is a time when two become one, and in that process, the two rub against each other like sandpaper some days, while other days are just one giant hug.
8. Adventures on family vacations x2: My parents took me on many adventurous vacations while I was growing up, and I feel that adventure is a necessary ingredient to any good vacation. This month, courtesy of my in-laws generosity, we will ski and snowboard at Whistler in Canada with the whole family - from my nine year old daugther to my 72 year old father-in-law, from our physically fit nephew who plays water polo to my sister-in-law's husband with MS - we will all ski and snowboard. Believe it or not, you can ski at Whistler even when you can't move from the neck down. They have ski tours where an individual can strap into a chair on skis and be skied from place to place by a tour guide. It's an awesome experience for the whole family.
Then, in a wild, adventurous turn of events, we will travel to Hawaii for most of the last two weeks of April, where . . . get this . . . we will Swim with Sharks. This is a big dream for my oldest daughter, who has loved sharks since age two when we first took a trip to Pt. Defiance Zoo and Aquarium and watched the sharks swim by us on the other side of two inches of plexiglass. I'm probably going to be terrified, but the Shark tour company we've decided to make reservations with has a 100% safety rating, and I liked the pictures of the very safe looking cage that we get to swim inside (with the sharks outside).
9. Adventures in blogging: You may be wondering how on earth I'm going to keep up with the A to Z challenge this month with all these amazing adventures taking place at the same time. Well, I admit, I'm going to write some in advance, and I'll have time to write on our car trip to Canada, and our plane ride to Hawaii. It will be a challenge, and an adventure to blog all month, but I intend to succeed. In addition to both the A to Z Challenge, and my Blessings Challenge, I'll be at my 2nd Blogaversary this month. . . . I'm thinking of a contest giveaway of some kind, but I'll have more details on that later.
10. Adventures in community giving: A few years ago, I realized that my daughters didn't have a way to serve in our community. I asked at the food bank, and they said they had enough kid help and needed more adults. I was interested in Habitat for Humanity, but they can't take children because of safety issues. I asked and asked, and I looked around the community, thought about my daughters' interests, and finally came across a newspaper article about Harbor Hope Cat Rescue. We've been volunteering there for nearly two years, sometimes weekly, sometimes just once a month, and we love our time there.
Adventures in Scripture Blessings:
"What anyone else dares to boast about - I am speaking like a fool - I also dare to boast about. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendents? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received forty lashes minus one.
Three times I was beaten with rods, onces I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day on the open sea. I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.
I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face the daily pressure of my concern for all churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness."
2 Corinthians 11:21-29
Paul's adventures in faith, his boasting of his own weakness and the Lord's strength, in response to accusations that he is not enough of a "super-apostle."
For me, this is a recounting of both spiritual and physical adventures . . . of hardship and risk for faith.