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Moving to Belize has been a huge step for our family, comprised of a million little steps. We did what we could to prepare in the weeks, months and years leading up to the move, but once we stepped on the plane Sunday night, it was out of our hands.

To get a great deal on airfare we drove 3 hours to Vancouver, Canada to fly out. When we got there, 5 out of our 7 suitcases were overweight. Eddie worked on redistributing weight between the 5 suitcases and 4 carry-ons and ultimately we didn't have to leave anything behind. On top of that, the Delta crew checked our carry-ons for us for free, so we wouldn't be squished on our red-eye flight. Then they gave us a greeting card when we boarded our flight, wishing us good luck. We felt so encouraged and blessed and that was just the first leg of our journey.

We arrived in Atlanta having slept 1.5 - 2.5 hours each. We had to pick up all 11 pieces of luggage and go through immigration before heading to our gate. Not only did we breeze through immigration, but our suitcases were already taken off the belt for us and some had even been checked through to Belize. Being so exhausted, having several less suitcases to contend with was amazing. At our next gate we met a friendly woman, Angie, which helped us pass the time. Brooklyn passed out sprawled on a few chairs and AJ played on his DS.

The flight from Atlanta was uneventful and even arrived 20 minutes early. We deplaned and went through immigration and customs for the second time that day. Once again we experienced divine favor, not having to claim anything to import into the country.

We stepped into the Belizean sunshine to see some friends of ours, who had come to pick up someone else from the airport. Eddie has known this couple and their father for 15+ years and they live in our new town. What a surprise! They promised they will reach out to welcome us properly soon.

Pastor Allison, a young Belizean pastor, who I met 15+ years ago, drove a few hours from where he lives to pick us up from the airport. We were blessed to ride in his truck and stop for lunch on our way to our new home. We look forward to getting to know him and his family better over the coming months. They have two young daughters, who will hopefully be good friends for Brooklyn.

At the end of >12 hours of travel, we reached our new home and it's better than Eddie and I expected it to be. It's in a neighborhood of the country's capital that has lots of kids to play with. Brooklyn was especially excited when she saw her own room and it was exactly what she had designed in her head. The house also has a garden bed, which was #1 on Brooklyn's wish list. AJ is thankful for his own room, but it still adjusting to Belizean-style homes.

Today, our first in Belize, Eddie got our utilities changed over to our name, phones, cable and Wifi hooked up. It all went through without a hitch. Quinton, another friend from many years ago stopped by with our new vehicle, which we bought from him. He took Eddie and AJ to get the title and insurance switched over and he and his wife plan to have us over to their house soon. Best of all, he has a 12 year old son. AJ was excited to hear that.

The preparation stage has concluded and the real adventure begun. We are beyond relieved at how well we've been received so far and how well the travel went. Now that our basic needs are set-up we can slow down and start to settle in. Please be in prayer for AJ and Brooklyn as they adjust to this new life.

For pictures of our new home and frequent updates, like our facebook page: SATTbelize

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I've been told I'm hard to read. Once I was on a 6 week jury and after we rendered the verdict, lawyers for both sides approached me to ask my opinions on the case because I was so inscrutable. In other words, I play my cards close to the vest.

Sometimes, while I'm keeping to myself or "just minding my own business," I'm really closing myself off from people. While I'm observing, I'm calculating risk. Is this person friend or foe? Are they safe to open up to? Do they need help or are they offering it? I guard my heart.

In certain circles, believers (especially singles) are admonished to "guard their hearts" when it comes to relationships. This presumably comes from Proverbs 4:23, which says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." But Proverbs 4 isn't talking about relationships per se, it's talking about wickedness, violence, perversity and corruption.

We are to steer clear of evil enticements so that evil won't, in turn, flow out of our own hearts. It does not say to steer clear of people so we don't get hurt. In fact, as Christians (aka Christ-followers), we are to do just the opposite. Christ knowingly and intentionally spent time with Judas who would betray him, and Peter before and after he denied knowing Him.

Jesus didn't look for ways to buffer Himself from others. He waded in. He welcomed and accepted. He was (and is) a friend to the friendless- even those who are sketchy to be around. If I am going to model myself after Jesus, I can't hide behind a twist of scripture to validate guarding my heart from others.

Jesus was (and is) hard-core. He runs into fire to rescue us, without giving thought to Himself. He draws us near even if it means rejection, betrayal, apathy. He is forever putting Himself out there, turning the other cheek and asking us if we're willing to do the same.

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Life can be overwhelming. Work stresses, financial and relationship strains take their toll. There are hurts, past and present, that may also carry weight in our lives. For me, in recent months, it's been the weight of the unknown that has felt the most unwieldy. We can research and plan, but ultimately the ins and outs of our future are largely unknown.

So what do I do with these weighty feelings of uncertainty? I've prayed, read my Bible and (most often) resorted to bingeing Netflix. Yesterday I watched the last episode of a 7 season series. I started it in September. I feel a mixture of accomplishment and embarrassment. That's just over 123 hours of mind-numbing distraction.

I could have chosen to work out. I could have volunteered more. I didn't. I didn't particularly feel like helping others or pushing myself; I already feel exhausted. Netflix doesn't require any effort, so I turned it on whenever there was a lull. It was a very effective distraction from worries and boredom.

We all have our pet distractions; our crutches that numb us from feeling. They can be risky, self-destructive, wasteful or even productive. Ultimately it's part of the human condition to need a break every now and then when the weight of life feels too heavy to bear.

Matthew 11:28-30 says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I know from experience that when I lean into the presence of God and meditate on Him, the weight becomes lighter. My perspective changes and I feel energized. That practice takes time and intention. It's a discipline that I sometimes don't have the attention-span to do well. What I can do is recognize and forgive myself for indulging in gluttony, sloth or any other dysfunctional way of numbing myself. I can admit where I've gotten off-track and chose to do better. Netflix bingeing isn't going to get me through the tough times. It isn't going to give me reserves of strength, hope or love, but God promises that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

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