Our Journey through the Desert and Back Again

It’s been a while since I’ve given an update on our journey across America. In fact, it’s been a full ten months since I wrote the last blog post. (You can find that here.) I know many of you have been wondering, “What about Hawaii?”, “When will they get to Hawaii?” And to be honest? We were wondering the same thing for almost half a year. This is one of the reasons I’ve taken so long to give an update–any update–on where/how/when we were going. It’s hard to tell others what the plan is, when you don’t even know yourself, right? Right.

To sum up the past few years (for those that my have missed it or just plain forgot!) our adventure west began shortly after Tim’s mother, Irene, passed away in 2011. Over a matter of months both Tim and I felt led by God to begin selling our stuff and pairing down what we owned. We also sold our house and moved into a rental so we could be ready to “go where God led” when the time was right. Fast forward to January 2015, and we finally felt like we got a clear answer on exactly where to go: Hawaii. It took a year and a half and countless confirmations to finally get us out the door and headed in that direction. We landed in Phoenix, AZ simply because the logistics of moving a family of five (and the possessions we still had) across the pond to an island was much easier said than done. We decided to move in faith and let God handle the details, as He had been doing thus far. 

But what do you do when God has given you a direction and then things don’t turn out the way you had planned? What is a family supposed to think when God has laid it on their hearts to adopt a child, yet at every turn the paperwork is denied and the process seems to move backwards and not forwards? Or what about that person who feels led to begin a ministry, yet each time they seek to begin the work, something stands in the way and brings things to a halt? For years I’ve known countless Christians that have faced these very situations, even though God has clearly given them the desire and motivation to do what they were called to do. What do we do with that?

Where has God gone when He falls silent? Continue reading

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Doors.

Three weeks.

That is how long we have left to live in our little town of Lititz. If you’ve been following my previous posts about this bigger than big plan that God has laid on our hearts (which you can find here, here and here) you will know that in less than a month, my family of five will depart our home on an adventure! And my, how God has opened doors we never imagined would be opened, when this all began… 

First there was the calling… Just over a year ago, my husband and I felt that God had answered years of prayers with one little word: Hawaii. Neither of us had ever lived there, or even visited for that matter, and we certainly didn’t have any family there. But that location was repeatedly laid on our hearts and we were confident we’d received (numerous) confirmation that we should head there.

The only problem was, when? There had never been a specific timeframe given in which we should go, so we did what any crazy-excited family of five would do when called to a tropical exotic location that people only dream of living: We set our own date. Our family and friends were informed that we’d likely be gone by end of 2015, and we even began to sell off our furniture. Except that God hadn’t actually given us a date to leave. So, when the end of the year rolled around and we had no urgency to leave we were… confused.

Then we finally had peace in our hearts for a date to leave… Spring. This was confirmed through various other sources (although the exact date in spring changed from early April to late May). But there was one single door God had ‘forgotten’ to open – a job in Hawaii. So, after much prayer, we decided to ‘think outside the box’. How might God get us there? Maybe a move in the right direction would be a good first step? Tim started applying for short term positions on the west coast and immediately had his ‘dance card’ full of interviews. Yes! Confirmation that we’d done something right! 

And then came that moment when I needed to stop controlling the situation… Tim had accidentally applied for a long-term position and they were very interested in him. ‘Oh no! What if he was hired!’ It would be so hard for us to turn down a job (when he’d been applying for 9 months solid!) just because it would hold us in our temporary place for too long. We were supposed to go to HI, right? Right. But God is good, even to those of us who are a bit slow at times. He spoke to me through a good friend of mine: Don’t limit God’s plans. If He gets you to HI a little later than you thought, it doesn’t mean it’s not His will. 

Whoa, hold up. Had I been limiting God with my assumptions? Continue reading

the same faith

Today is April 2. That means May is less than a month away. Our departure date to move across the country is supposed to be sometime in May. And we still don’t have a job, or a place to live, or even a destination.

Talk about scary. 

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Let’s go back to the beginning… Five years ago, my husband and I began to feel an urging to downsize, an idea that was planted in our minds that we were meant to move somewhere, but with a lot less stuff. So we started the arduous task of sifting through all the junk in our garage. A year later, we felt like the Lord opened the door for us to sell our house and we eventually moved into a rental. Again, there was some serious downsizing, as our family of five moved to 1000 sq. ft. of space. Fast forward to February 2015 and we finally got a clear call to where we were to move our family: Hawaii

You may have seen other posts on this topic, and to answer your question, no, we’ve never visited there and have no family in that area of the world. So, when I say this is a leap of faith, it’s some serious stuff. After talking about it for a few months, we truly felt that God told us to quit a perfectly good job and leave the only place we’ve ever lived. (Well, in our 16 years of marriage, anyway!) To do this would require that we sell almost all of the rest of what we own, and move to a brand new place empty handed. But we were definitely on board. This was a big fat adventure led by God, right?

RightContinue reading

What about Hawaii?

A while ago (a very, very long while ago) I posted about a bigger than big decision our family had come to: our move to Hawaii! Since that time, many of you have asked how plans are going, and more importantly, WHEN it will happen?! Here’s an update on the process and what God is doing in our lives.

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It was exactly one year ago that Tim and I felt a peace from God that we were to pack up and move our family to Hawaii. Why Hawaii? Well, we had no idea. Neither of us had ever visited and it definitely wasn’t on our radar to move there. But, in obedience, we chose to continue to pray about it and allow God to lead us where He chose. Fast forward a few months and we made the official announcement to family and friends.  Continue reading

2015 Year in Review – Caffeinated Fiction

Is it my imagination, or did we just celebrate New Years Eve a couple months ago? I feel like I blinked and another year is gone. In reflection of all the changes that have occurred in my life, I thought a Year in Review was in order for the blog! Enjoy!

2015 Year in Review – Caffeinated Fiction

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The Blog – I wrote 54 blogposts this year and had just over 1200 visitors to the site. Not bad for it’s 2nd year in existence!

My Books – I wrote two complete manuscripts this year. One that will likely never see the light of day – that’s ok, because it was my first exercise in learning to be a “Pantser” – and another which I hope to see published in the near future! I also edited a book I had written a few years ago and got good feedback from my beta readers. That book is on the shelf right now, since it needs some major revision before I will pursue publication.

Conferences – This year I attended three different Writers Conferences: Lancaster Christian Writers Super Saturday in April; Greater Philly ‘Write His Answer’ conference in July; and Keystone Writer’s Conference in November. All were integral in changing the way I write and how my perspective has changed regarding my journey (both past and future.) I hope to get a couple more conferences in before we move to Hawaii!

Groups – One thing I gleaned from the LCW conference was the need to really get connected with other writers and organizations. In the spring I joined American Christian Fiction Writers, which put me in touch with 2 separate writing groups that help encourage and keep me accountable – one for writing and one for editing. My writing has drastically changed, thanks to these groups! I’ve continued to attend Lancaster Christian Writers on a regular basis, and I also joined Scribes Oasis – a weekly writing group where we encourage and critique each other’s work. Once a month I try to make it to Re:Create Art Initiative’s writers group, too!

Publishing NewsWhat? Did you read that right? The answer is… well, maybe! After the Philly conference, I realized my passion for writing had nothing to do with whether I ever get published (traditionally) or not. I decided to focus on getting better at my craft and allowing God to do the work. In November I had the opportunity to turn my most recent manuscript over to an agent who in turn asked to ‘meet’ with me to discuss ways I could ‘clean up’ my work. We had a 45-minute conversation and I was extended the opportunity to resubmit my work to see if this agent would like to work with me. So… maybe! I must admit, I’m very excited for this ‘maybe’! And I’m not lying when I say, even if the answer that comes back is a flat ‘no’, I will still be thrilled! I had an agent appreciate my work and tell me I had something to work with, so I couldn’t be more pleased. We shall see what 2016 holds in regards to publishing news! 

Reading – I read 41 books this year, according to Goodreads. Not a lot in comparison to other years, but all I can do right now. I love to read but know it needs to take a back seat if I’m going to focus on my writing now.

The Move – And of course, my family has felt a call to move far, far away. No, not to a another galaxy, although that would be super cool! But to the island of Hawaii. The plan is to leave sometime in the late spring. Hopefully I’ll be blogging the second half of the New Year from the beach!

Overall, I did and I didn’t meet the goals I had set for 2015. They actually changed throughout the year, which made it hard to meet some of them. But what I did accomplish (with God’s help) certainly surpassed my expectations! I can’t wait to see what 2016 holds for my family and my writing!

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How about you? How was your year and did you accomplish the goals you had set? I’d love to hear feedback in the comments section!

Happy reading, friends!

Aloha Hawaii (or Learning to write with sand between my toes)

Caffeinated Fiction is moving to Hawaii!

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Yep, you read that right! At the end of the year, my family will be pulling up roots and heading to the islands off the west coast of the U.S. of A.! Woo hoo! (No worries. The actual Caffeinated Fiction website will still be found in the same place, albeit with a few  extra coconuts.) 😉

Why, you ask? Ummm… quite a few reasons, actually. Most that have to do with the fact that we feel like God has been leading us to a big transition, for many years. There has been a leading of our hearts to do something big for a while and through much prayer and consideration, we know the time is now. We are going into this as a permanent transition, but are open to wherever God would lead in the future.

What does this mean for my writing? Good things, I hope! Continue reading