I got Dan to agree to serve as a guest blogger for me on our blog. I thought it would be neat for all fellow blog readers to hear some of his thoughts since you have listened to me for the past year. So sit back and enjoy some of Dan’s insights about our time away!
What have you learned the most while travelling?
I guess that God’s plans aren’t always our plans. We did this trip specifically for the financial goal to get out of debt but God has worked in my life and taught me other things that I wasn’t expecting. He taught me to be less selfish with my time. He taught me how important it is to be there for the girls and Julie. One of the biggest lessons was my anger and frustration for ending up here (in Pleasanton) and not being able to save money to pay on our mortgage. I was really focused on the money only. Then one Sunday I really felt the Holy Spirit’s presence and He convicted me to let all that go. He was teaching me that it’s not all about the money. Financial gain can be a blessing, but it wasn’t the soul reason why we were placed here. On another topic, I also learned a lot about parenting techniques. We experimented with some new approaches and developed a better idea of what works and what doesn’t work with our kids. We learned to use discernment and look at where their hearts are at when disciplining. And finally, while being away from family we grew closer together and blended better as a family unit.
What was the most memorable time?
The feeling of freedom and excitement while driving out to California for the first time. We were taking a step of faith and knew that we were in God’s will. It was exhilarating to take the step and actually do this. I’ll never forget what that felt like.
Our vacations in San Diego and Disneyland. I surfed for the first time at Huntington Beach and that was a blast. We also had fun on special trips like Yosemite, Highway 1 and Monterey Bay.
On our way out to California, we had so much fun spending time with the Cutlip family in Arizona.
We met some wonderful friends in California that we are going to really miss. We developed some relationships with some amazing Christian friends (the Chavez family and the Householder family). Their support and friendship definitely made this trip memorable.
What was the most difficult time?
When things weren’t good at work in Stockton. I came up against an ethical issue and I felt like I wasn’t performing at the level that I was expected to because I was trying to do the right thing.
Being away from family and not having support for me and Julie to get away and “date.”
Seeing Julie feel lonely…like in Stockton and Pleasanton when I had to take the car to work. I didn’t like watching things be hard for her. Praise God for two cars when we get back home!
How do you think the kids have grown since you have been gone?
I think they have all matured a lot in their own way. I have seen big changes with Mya’s social skills. Sara has come out of her shell while playing with other kids. Chloe is becoming such a little person. You can see her ornery personality coming out. Their hearts are growing more towards Christ and wanting to do good things. I see their hearts growing in the midst of their sin.
How has this travelling adventure impacted your marriage?
I think it has made us stronger as a couple. Julie has always been my best friend and this time only made us stronger.
Is there anything else you want to share?
I just want to praise God and thank him for the gifts that He has given me and trusted me with (the kids and especially Julie). I am so thankful for Julie’s heart that she has to grow in her relationship with Christ and also as a wife and mother. I want to thank her for all the support that she has given me this last year with the job and doing this whole trip. I can’t think of many people at all that would even consider doing something like this let alone trust me that this was God’s will for us and our family. She went through this with such a good attitude and a good heart. I don’t mean to paint Julie as a saint but she is pretty close in my book. This whole year has been a blessing to me on so many different levels and I praise God for the opportunity to be able to do this with my family. We are so excited to go back home and be reunited with our family and sleep in our own beds again.