Masthead header

Yes to Italy, Days 3 & 4: Bad One, Good One

 

I interrupt posting about this epic adventure to thank you, my friends, SO MUCH for being so kind and encouraging. Thank you for cheering. Thank you for reading. Thank you for loving us with such big, expansive love.  I adore travel and will always want to see and appreciate beauty in the world, but nothing in my life compares – or even comes close – to the joy I have in the people who make my journey on this spinning globe so fun and funny and kind and weird and wonderful. Now, onto Day Three.

 

Day Three: The One I’m Mostly Skipping

Okay, so real talk: Day Three was a toughie for me.  It was emotional and weird and I didn’t feel well and I’m just sharing that so  you know: You can go as far from home as you want, but you still take yourself and all your internal issues with you – so there’s that.  The interesting part about hitting emotional snags while spending a month in Italy, is that I feel I shouldn’t.  There’s this thing I do when I feel sad or frustrated that I believe is called Invalidating My Emotions by telling myself I don’t get to feel that because I have so much other awesomeness in my life. However, the whole reason I’m spending this extended time away is to dig a little deeper and discover what’s inside of me – so I grabbed some alone time and my journal and poured it all out on the page. I came away with two things I really need to learn and grow in moving forward. I’m not telling you what they are, but I think the whole situation was a net win.

 

I will say that the bad day was capped by a truly beautiful dinner at this amazing restaurant  to celebrate my birthday and it was just so fun and wonderful.  Tori and I split a gigantic steak and I don’t really think you need to know that, but it’s fun to relive.  Irene is the bistro at the very hip, very beautiful Hotel Savoy.  I loved it, loved it, loved it.

 

(Not gonna lie: these are google images of the restaurant/hotel because I forgot to take any. )

 

 

After dinner, we strolled home slowly, stopping to admire the Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) up close.  It is just unreal. It’s exquisitely beautiful and it’s dome creates the iconic Florentine skyline you’ll see in a second.

 

Florence is an amazing city at night.  Everything feels magical, almost like a theme park but real (sorry – my American is showing) – and it’s so far felt very safe as well (Hi, mom and boyfriend!  I’m safe!  I promise!)
Day three was not an easy day, but it was a good, good one.

 

Day Four: The Day I Found My Pilot Butte

 

Day four dawned bright and early again because I’m still working through the time changes.  I always get up early, but  5:30 and not 3:30.  I will be glad when my brain adjusts to this time zone because while I love the mornings of solitude, I’m reeeeeallly dragging by midmorning.

 

The upside to early moorings is that it’s the only time I’ve been able to work phone dates in with my sweetheart, given the 9-hours between us and the fact that he’s, you know…working. For the past few days, I’ve sat out on my terrace in Italy at the very beginning of my day, talking to Cliff in Portland at the very end of his.  True confession: it took a few days to be able to get a phone call in and I was so happy to hear his voice and it sounded so close and so normal that I may have cried a tiny bit. Sappy, I know, but true as true.

 

Oh, breakfast! I have been loving antipasto, like proscuitto and bread and olives for breakfast rather than the traditional Italian breakfast of pastries or  American bacon & eggs.  It’s easy and a fun change from my regular life to throw a few pieces of salty meat and crusty bread or focaccia on a plate, brew up an espresso and call it good. This may be a tradition that comes home with me, or perhaps Paleo will prevail.

 

After breakfast, Tori and Stef invited me to go to SECOND breakfast and who can say no to that? We ran into a small, pretty cafe serving crepes and cappuccino and enjoyed happy food and fun conversation.

 

Later in the day, while Stef and Tori toured L’Accademia, me and Josiah and the Metcalfs launched out on a long walk to Piazzale Michelangelo.  Located on the south bank of the Arno river, this is the highest point in Florence and the view are epic.  The walk is short, but steep – and there are about a million steps, but it was so worth it.  The views are incredible, the exercise was great, and it was all just really good for my soul.

 

A couple of lovely churches are at the top as well:

David and Josiah are always exactly this excited to get to church.

 

There’s something about sitting in a place where others have come for centuries, thinking about the God they loved or the God they didn’t or the God they misunderstood. Centuries of pray-ers and mourners and seekers have whispered out their hearts and dreams and fears on these benches. They have felt the same hopes for their children and fears for their country as those I whispered yesterday to the God I love and the God I hope to understand. I won’t try to tell you that this church felt warm or homey, but it did feel sacred and it stirred my soul again toward a deeper love for our beautiful God and beautiful gospel.

 

Well, there’s no good way to segue from the spiritual, except to just steamroll through the transition to…stopping at a little cafe for a glass of wine on the way back to the center of the city.  Now, I talk a lot about the amazing restaurants we’ve found so far, and this was not one of them. It was not a great find and our server needed a fresh infusion of passion for her job, or maybe she was having a tough day, or maybe she was tired of serving silly Americans.  Just know: not all the discoveries are great ones, but they all present excellent photo opportunities.

 

 

It was during this mediocre happy hour, that David got a wonderful, brilliant idea:  Wouldn’t this be the best night for pizza in front of the TV?  We all said yes & amen to that excellent plan and off we went.  We have a great restaurant in the alley by our apartment, so Tess and David stopped to get the food, while I photographed from above.

 

I spy with my little eye: Tess!

 

And this completes day four. And it was good.

 

With hope,

 

Bo

 

September 22, 2017 - 11:41 am

Dawnette - Oh Bo, I am so happy to have popped back on to your blog, only to find you on an adventure. Happy for you. Love reading the details! I like you, always feel a certain bit of anxiety when I travel, not sure why. I too, am taking a trip next week. Not nearly so far or so glamorous. But I’m looking forward to the serenity I always find in the San Juan Mtns of Colorado. Blessing on you and your time with your children.

On Leaving Behind the Busywork (and why it’s kind of hard)

Welcome to the Day Three not-recap.  I might post an actual recap later, but here’s the thing: It was sort of a mixed bag of tricks.  Lest you think Italy is all glory and no grit, I assure you in advance that Day Three was sort of a toughie for me.  Until I write that recap, here’s a bit of what has been going on up inside my head, just in case you’re wondering how I’m processing during my time away. I’ve thrown in some pretty Italy pictures just to keep  it interesting.

 

On sabbatical: 11 days.

Checked work email: zero times.

Wanted to check work email: 40,382 times. (<—approx.)

 

I’m finding that walking off the map of Bend is much easier than walking off the map of Busy.  Busy makes me feel valuable and validated and it gives me something to do with my awkward self.  It even gives me something to complain about.  Busy fills the brain space with auto-thoughts which all come from the Land of What Has Always Been and therefore keep me from being forced out into the wild frontier of What Is Yet to Be.  It’s dangerous to move out from what’s become routine, because beyond robotic movements and default mindsets live the unthought things and the undreamed possibilities. I’ve been alive long enough to know these undiscovered things are beautiful and exciting, but they come with strings attached, like Risk and Effort and Letting Go of Certainty.  It’s less sexy, but far safer to keep the machine moving, the whirligigs whirling and the widgets coming off the conveyor belt, even if I don’t remember exactly what those widgets are for anymore.

 

 

If that paragraph and all its word-meandering made you feel tired and confused, the bottom line is this: It’s hard not to check my work email. Not because I worry so much about work or that someone will need me, but because I worry about who I am without that piece of my identity, which keeps so many of the other pieces wedged in place.  Also? I bore easily and work is an easy diversion. Diversions might not be bad if you have ten minutes to kill in line at Costco, but I suspect they can be epically, game-changing bad when you have thirty days to spend in a foreign country. Because these days – though they feel endless right now – are precious and few and having time set aside to become something I haven’t been before is a brand new thing.  For this one handful of minutes, I am living in a city with streets I’ve never walked,  a language I don’t speak and a culture I don’t yet know or understand. It’s so beautiful in the guidebooks, but when I’m actually out there in it, I can easily feel spinny and inadequate and unintelligent (*see footnote).  And those feelings make me want to reach back for the known and familiar, even though it was just ten days ago that I celebrated leaving behind that very thing.

 

 

I know this is an entire blog post about checking email, but it’s stirred some thoughts in my head that are pushing me around a little and challenging me to figure out ways to disconnect from busywork less dramatically but more regularly in my post-Italy life. I am scrawling mind maps on napkins and journal pages, sketching out ways to open up to new ideas and say yes new dreams and the chance to invent some wild new widgets.  With one section of my brain temporarily closed for business, perhaps the halls are clear for the new and the true and the beautiful to arise.  Wouldn’t that be something?

 

With hope,

 

Bo

 

 

*This, by the way, is the reason I would encourage people to take sabbatical somewhere other than their home.  Not so they feel unintelligent, but so they are forced to use a new part of their brain.  It’s proving to be a really big deal for me and I’m so glad I did it.

 

September 21, 2017 - 5:27 am

Susan - You have so perfectly described my newest season of life!!! It’s been 3 years now since I went on a permanent sabbatical! I’m still trying to figure my new life out. What I realize now is that I should have given this season more thought then. So, you are doing the right thing to recognize your need to plan for those days and, yes, years ahead when who you really are without all those busy distractions cannot be hidden anymore! Here’s to the best season ever!!!

September 21, 2017 - 9:59 am

Edie - You’re hitting a little close to home for me, sister!!! Thanks for making me think, and living out a good example.

September 25, 2017 - 11:11 am

Jewl - I hopped on to see what I was missing in your life, and, oh, boy! I was missing a lot! It was worth waiting to move from a phone to a desk top to take in the winsome and beautiful pictures of your trip. You’re descriptions filled in the expected wonder and rough edges of exploring another country. I like your “Move from Bend Easier than Move to Busy” paragraph so much that I’m going to quote it on FB, but it’s the line diagram which helps me face the hard reality of a squiggly project begging attention. Happy belated birthday, Bo! Steve would be proud of you!

Yes To Italy Recap Day Two: Rivers and Reunions

 

When last we talked,  my scrappy band of weary travelers had just emerged from the cocoon of a weird little hotel in Schiphol Airport and were ready to take on the last leg of the journey.  So, the story of Day Two actually begins with our evening flight into Florence which was flawless – except for the fact that it was the exact moment I began having about one thousand second thoughts.  I questioned my judgement in choosing a place so far away, in staying so long, in going at all. Swarms and swarms of doubts gnawed at my stomach and my happiness.

 

I don’t know how you handle the big, internal No’s that want to swamp your yea’s.  I guess I don’t know even IF you have problems with pesky No’s like I do, or if maybe you have a fantastic trick that works to dispel them upon contact. For me, the only thing that works is to gut it out and talk myself off the ledge by remembering why I’m saying the Yes that I’m saying and that Yes’s rarely go uncontested and that there will be moments like this, but they do not mean I’ve made a mistake.  By the time we landed, I felt better, but I knew everything would not be okay until we were safely lodged in my Florence apartment.

 

 

 

—-> Here’s the part that would be really boring to you about a cab driver and 32 euros and our airbnb hosts being a little late while we stood on a crazy busy street with our hoards of luggage, looking for all the world like The Clampetts Take Italy.  I don’t want to bore you with the details but I also don’t want to forget that those two things happened, so now I can move on.

 

 

 

I love my apartment!  It’s smack dab in the middle of the most bustling and (in my opinion) beautiful part of the city, Piazza de Signoria. It has soaring ceilings, incredible hardwood floors and huge, heavy doors that creak when you open them. There are old, paned windows that push out wide, letting in the fresh, fall air.  I have a little terrace outside the kitchen and living room and my very own Nespresso machine cranking out perfect, morning espressos.  This morning I awoke to the sound of church bells and happy chatter from people below. Oh, it’s just joy I tell you. Joy, joy to be living in the heart of this magical city. And I know that Belle danced through the streets of France, but I still feel a little like her here.  Like a more wrinkled, more American version of Belle, living in a more Italian version of France.  The comparison breaks down a little, but it still feels like it works somehow.

 

 

 

Since we arrived at night, I didn’t have much context for what was in the neighborhood of our house .  I was SO excited to go exploring, but I didn’t want to go alone, mostly because my sense of direction is on par with my sense of long division.  Everyone else was sleeping off jet lag, but I still snuck into Josiah’s room and asked him if he would go on an adventure with me.  He was so tired and I’m not certain he knew what he was agreeing to, but he said yes.  Now, he didn’t say yes because he wanted to go, or even to going…he said yes to me.  I really adore him.

 

 

We raced down the long stone stairways of our apartment (which is the whole second floor of a beautiful old building in the heart of Florence) and then pushed the heavy, black doors out into the Florentine morning.  The streets were already filled with people shopping and drinking coffee in quaint cafes and tourists snapping photos of Neptune in the piazza (Michelangelo called the sculpture of Neptune a waste of perfectly good marble, which is really snarky for a renassaince man, right?)   We walked along the cobblestone streets, trying to take it all in – trying to comprehend a world where gelato stores are open at 8 a.m. and centuries-old statues dot the landscape. We found a grocery store and bought essentials: pastries, cheese, proscuitto, Nespresso pods and  eggs.  Josiah used my GPS to navigate our way back  to our apartment, because I couldn’t A) understand how to read it and B) was too busy looking at ALL.  THE.  THINGS!  Remember, this was my first glimpse of Florence in the daytime and I now certainly and absolutely believe in love at first sight.

 

We made it back to our place, cooked some lovely little breakfast sandwiches to eat on the terrace with more espresso while listening to the church bells chime through the courtyard behind our apartment.  You know how moments get lodged in your memory and you realize you’ll probably still be talking about them in heaven?  Yeah, this was one of those.  And it’s funny, because it didn’t involve museums or landmarks or any of the seven wonders of the world – it just involved me, my son and a small journey off our well-marked map.

 

 

Later in the day, when Stef and Tori got here after a 40-hour trip (it felt a little like they were crossing the finish line of Amazing Race when we met them in the piazza outside) we went to lunch at a little restaurant across the alley from our apartment called GustaVino.  We shared delicious food, a bottle of wine and ended the meal the Italian way: With icy cold shots of lemoncello.  Tori and Stef then left us to catch up on badly-neeeded sleep while Josiah, Tess and David and I went to do a gondola ride on the Arno river.

 

 

These boats are a relatively new addition to the Arno, and only run through September.  It was a cool and different way to see the city, while our tour guide served glasses of prosecco and told us about the history of the things we were seeing.  I’m always reminded in these moments that America is still so, so new.  It’s like we’ve barely just taken the price tags off our furniture, while Italy is worn and weathered in the best possible way.

 

 

After the boat tour, the Metcalfs and I did a little shopping and then shared a meat & cheese board on a terrace overlooking the Ponte Vecchio and the Arno River.  Such an amazing place to sit and visit and remind ourselves that hey! We’re here!   With the evening still young, we decided it was time for some real, Italian pasta (all three of us had ordered salads for lunch) so we wandered happily, looking for a choice that seemed right for us.  I cannot explain to you how many restaurants, bistros, cafes and bakeries line every street and alley in this city.  They are everywhere and it can feel overwhelming – like anything you pick might mean you’re missing what you should have picked.  We finally landed at Trattoria Borgo Antico in Piazza San Spirito.  Our meal started with a copper tin full of warm bread and a dish of spicy, purple olives.  Maybe I haven’t mentioned this: I adore olives. ADORE them. So after those beauties showed up at my table, it wouldn’t have mattered what came after them.  But what came after them?  House made spaghetti carbonara with truffles.  Cooked perfectly al dente, with a rich, buttery sauce, crispy pancetta and dotted with truffles, it was unbelievably delicious.  One thing to note about European restaurants: they generally have lovely outside seating, but you’ll likely be near someone who is smoking, and in America we’ve forgotten what it’s like to be around strangers who are permitted to smoke.  I’ve come to associate the smell of cigarettes with European vacations so I don’t have a serious aversion to it, but I know plenty people who just can’t enjoy a meal while the smoke wafts over their pizza.  I say it’s a small price to pay for the perfect plate of pasta served al fresco, but that’s just me.  Bottom line: This isn’t America and it doesn’t need to be.

 

 

After pasta, we were winding down.  It was a long day with lots of walking and navigating and we were tired and ready for home.  This was a good day.  A good, good day that I will remember for always.  I read a meme this morning that said, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”  And, yes, I think I believe it.  I can’t begin to tell you how much money this trip is costing me and I’ll be honest: I’m spending money that I should be saving for my old age. When Steve got sick, so much of my financial picture got hazy and I started quite frantically saving and storing and making plans that seemed solid and secure.  I was wise and careful and…fearful.  But when I decided to say yes to this adventure, I also decided that the return would be worth it, that moving toward the unknown would actually create a more secure future in ways I won’t even fully know until I get there.  So far, every single penny has paid me back in some beautiful way.

 

 

Okay, that’s it.  I’m going to stop writing about day 2 and start living day 3 (which, if I’m honest, already started with a phone date with my beloved so there’s truly no way this day can be bad! Also – it’s my birthday! Double win!)

 

If you made it this far, thank you for reading and caring and not wanting to smack me with spaghetti for posting so much. I love you.

 

With hope,

 

Bo

September 20, 2017 - 7:34 am

Julie Denton - Love love love reading your blogs. I feel like I’m there experiencing it with you. Such a treat! Thank you for being so descriptive. Enjoy every moment, you so deserve it!

September 20, 2017 - 7:42 am

Gloria - Dreamy~Rich~Investment~Life~Leaping~Yes~Sharing~Making the World a Better Place

September 20, 2017 - 8:09 am

Beth Yoder - Oh Bo, I am loving this so much! After just being there in Italy, it is a flood of pictures and emotions of everything you are writing. Bringing back every memory of bites of pizza filled with a bit of smoke and all I adore this and that you are saying yes to Italy. Happy birthday

September 20, 2017 - 9:18 am

Kathy Reinmuth - Bo—
I enjoyed reading your blog and your wonderful descriptions of Italy bring back my memories of many years ago when I visited this country. The other day, I ran across a copy of one of our first emails to each other—- another look back memory experience. It was a sad one— I am glad that you and I have been blessed to go through what we did and now are in a different place in our lives. One that does not negate the sad times but allows us to move into happy times. Speaking of happy…
HAPPY BIRTHDAY–BO!!

September 20, 2017 - 5:55 pm

Marnette - Dear Bo ~
I am so happy, HaPpY, HAPPY for you and this grand and wonderful adventure you are experiencing! Go *Y*O*U*! And YaY to our incredibly amazing God for making it possible, giving you courage, and flooding your heart with His love in the midst of it all. Happy Birthday, dear one, and blessings galore to you!

September 21, 2017 - 9:25 am

Janelle DeCelles - Loving this! I’m right where you are in spirit! I can see and smell and taste your descriptions! Virtual travel:)

Yes to Italy Day One Recap

 

I’ve decided I want to write recaps regularly as I move through this month of adventure, but I don’t want to write too fussy, you know? I just want to write and not worry about being a writer or I’ll put off writing and then I’ll forget altogether.  So bear with me or skip the posts marked “recap”, K?  If I decide to try to be a good writer instead of an efficient one, I’ll let you know. 

 

DAY ONE: Weird Things Abound in This Great Big World of Ours

 

Day One of my Big Fat Italian Adventure begins in Portland, Oregon at 8:00 a.m. and ends in Schiphol, Amsterdam at 8:00 am. The first leg of this trip involves Tess & David and Josiah.  Tori is also coming – but she took a different flight that traverses a whole lot more of the globe than ours.  I ran to Starbucks while my kids woke up and got ready, and I ran into this weird little French/Vietnamese bistro in a strip mall and bought a breakfast sandwich there. Whatever you might be imagining right now about the wisdom of merging those two cultures into one sandwiches, you’d be right. It was not pleasant, but for some reason, it felt like the right way to launch a day of globetrotting.

 

Cliff took us to the airport which was so kind of him and snapped this photo as he drove away and it’s already one of those photos I know will always be dear to me.  (Josiah had just jumped through the big revolving door and missed the photo.)

 

 

Our flight from Portland to Amsterdam was ten hours and ten hours is a long time to be squished into a seat, hurtling through the air at unnatural rates of speed.

 

SEE?  Josiah came too! The in-flight entertainment selections included a documentary that I had really wanted to see and that would be really great news except I watched a full season of Real Housewives of New York instead.  It’s not culturally enriching, but it does make me really happy for my comparatively drama-free life.

 

 

We landed in Amsterdam at 11 pm our time and 8 am airport time.  Our flight to Florence is only 90 minutes so it would seem that we’re going to make it with our hope and happiness and sanity in tact, except –  plot twist! – we have a twelve-hour layover here.  And “here” is Schiphol Airport which is almost impossibly hip and cool, but we are TIRED. And CRABBY. And not the good kind of crabby, the “Why did I ever agree to this?” kind of crabby.  We wandered the airport in an aimless stupor for about an hour, searching desperately for any horizontal surface on which to rest our crabby heads, but alas, other savvy travelers had beaten us to them.  We ended up finding a little hotel in the airport that was equal parts weird and wonderful.  We got rooms there, where ‘rooms’ = ‘sleep pods”.  Tiny climate-controlled spaces comprised mostly of a bed with excellent linens, cool lighting and a see-through bathroom.  We booked our sleep experience for four hours, which was very expensive and very, very worth it.

 

Upon waking, we visited Starbucks yet again (before we got Euros, so one small coffee + one small tea + international transaction fee on my card = $12 American dollars.)  One thing I’ll say about Starbucks: they’ve nailed consistency. The first sip of my coffee felt like home and at that moment, while immersed in the great unknown, a little taste of home was exactly what I needed.  We next visited a little Dutch bistro where my kids had dutch babies and I had another weird little sandwich, but this one worked somehow. Now, we’re reading, recapping and waiting for our next and last flight.  In fact, this will be my last flight for a month and if I’m honest, I’m feeling…exciety.  Some mix of excitement and nerves.  Can I do this? How will everything work? Will I love this place as much as I did the first time?  So many emotions, plus a fair amount of tiredness – but I do feel ready. Ready to see what’s next, to remember that His voice is clear and real even when my circumstances aren’t.  I’m ready.

 

And as I sit in this airport, surrounded by all kinds of languages and accents and people, I am nearly overcome with the beauty of this big, weird world of ours.  It’s breathtaking, really, the way we flow together and apart, moving in and out of common spaces and creaky corners, hoping to catch a glimpse of beauty and life and truth.  Because really, it’s those three things.  If I have a soul-deep awareness of those three things, then I can lose everything and still have everything. Beauty. Life. Truth. You may want to add love to the list, but I suspect that love IS the list.

 

 

So, here I am 5900 miles from all that I know best, but already seeing the ways He came ahead of me to decorate the walls of this world so I’d spot ‘home’ when I saw it. His goodness has gone before me, I know it for sure.  He left His fingerprints all over the place.

 

Next stop, Florence.

 

With hope,

 

Bo

 

 

September 18, 2017 - 12:07 pm

Elizabeth - Bo, This is the beginning of the next phase – whatever that is. You are in one of the most beautiful places in the world (apart from Edinbrugh, UK, of course) and not knowing what’s next is the brave thing to do. But heck, you are on the set of a Room with a View.
Just one thing, please promise that when you get to Italy, you will not go to any multi national coffee shop. Leave that “taste” of home 5900 miles from where you are and savour (savor) the deep tones of caffee doppio. Enjoy 🙂

September 18, 2017 - 2:45 pm

Jody Collins - Bo, I love to read things where you’re not trying to be a writer, but the awesome way of your words comes through. I am totally stealing the word ‘exciety.’

September 19, 2017 - 3:23 pm

Claudia Gilliam - I love ~ love reading your posts! Especially since I lost my husband in 2010 to pancreatic cancer! We were married for 38 years and had five children.
I love to hear how God is directing your steps and the avenues and adventures He is taking you on!!
Thank~ you for being so transparent in sharing what you are going through!!
Blessings on you!

September 19, 2017 - 4:14 pm

Dani - I teared up. Efficiency works for you! Thanks for sharing.

September 20, 2017 - 4:48 pm

Debbie Hammagren - “He came ahead of me to decorate the walls of this world” ~~~ Oh Bo, I love the thought and visual of that!!!!! Enjoy each lovely moment ;o)

September 23, 2017 - 6:57 pm

Pat Whitson - My heart and prayers are with you and yours as you continue to go and grow and bless others w the Lord’s love as He fills you up and flows His grace thru you to touch others as well….

Project YesToLife Goes to Italy

 

Heyo,

 

It’s been awhile, yes?  I know.  I never call, never write.  I’m sorry.  Life has been full and busy, but more than anything, I’ve been holding words close to my heart for the past few months.  Sometimes you feel ready to chisel your thoughts into the stone of social media, and sometimes you don’t.  Recently, I just haven’t.

 

Today, though? Thoughts!  I’m sharing ’em!

 

Remember when I launched Project Yes to Life?  It came on the heels of my husband’s death when I was reeling with uncertainty and lacking in courage.  I read a book that caused me to commit the next year of my life to saying YES to hard things, scary things, exciting things.  Some people pushed back a bit and said, “But saying the right ‘no’s” is important, too. And yes.  They are correct.  In fact, in order to say Yes to anything at all, No to something else is usually necessary.  But I have in the past, used No as an excuse to stay stuck and so for me, for 2016, YES was the right word. And I used it, y’all, I really did.  I said Yes to all sorts of things including – a six-week sabbatical from my job in 2017. My job graciously allows a sabbatical every seven years.  I took one right after Steve died, though it maybe didn’t fit the definition exactly, and I’m taking one now, having just passed the 15-year mark at Westside.  I’m now on Day 6 of said sabbatical and I have to say: it’s going great!

 

My goals for this time are a little squishy right now.  Mostly, the plan is to regroup, refresh, probably write, take in new sights and sounds, see the world and Jesus and life from another vantage point. The vantage point I’ve chosen for my time is Florence, Italy.  Ever since my first visit in 2011, I’ve wanted to go back and spend significant time there.  I had it in my heart to go when I retired, but when I got rolling with the whole Yes situation, I decided I needed to do it now.  I booked an apartment last December, and have been waiting anxiously, second-guessing, anticipating, regretting, hoping, dreaming ever since. It really has been a roller coaster of “I’m so excited I’m doing this!” and “Why the heck am I doing this?”

 

 

But, now, on the brink of stepping off the map of this city I’ve called home for the past 23 years and into the great unknown, I am nearly 90% Yes. I am nervous, for sure.  But I am ready.  I am so, so ready.

 

I’m hoping to document my time away on the blog or Facebook or something that will some day provide me with evidence that I really did do this thing, but I’m also not promising anything right now.  I want to live in the day and in the moment and in the gelatto.  So, we’ll see.  Please don’t be mad at me if I don’t post much.  And please don’t be mad at me if I do.  Please don’t be mad at me in general.  I know what an extraordinary gift it is to be able to travel and to have a job that gives me the time to pursue this dream, and I think there is enough dream-fullfilling power in our Great God to satisfy all of us. All I know for sure is, without Him none of this would be possible and I am so, so thankful.

 

So, follow along if you’d like to see more pictures of cappuccino than you know what to do with.  I hope to share them and to share some bits of what I’m learning, feeling and experiencing as Project Yes to Life goes to Italy.

 

I love you.

 

With hope,

 

Bo

 

 

September 14, 2017 - 12:24 pm

Susie - Bo – have a WONDERFUL month exploring all that life has for you in Florence. What a fantastic choice of a place to “adventure.” I will be praying that this time brings all that God desires for you to pass.

Grande Avventura!

September 14, 2017 - 3:15 pm

Rebekah Stewart - Love, love, love your thoughts. God is so fond of our “yes!” And I love the adventures He gives us when we let him plan the trip!

September 14, 2017 - 5:35 pm

Robin Mock - Blessings to you Bo as you embark on this journey. Whether you post or not no worries–just breathe it in, enjoy, and be well.

September 14, 2017 - 6:35 pm

Kimberly Alexander - YES!!! to all of this. every part. every moment. every step. every sight. every sip. every bite. ENJOY, and be refreshed, my dear friend!

September 14, 2017 - 10:14 pm

Cindi - Ahhhh, Firenzi!!! I know you know it some already…but it will welcome you back with open arms & a warm hug! I love Firenzi!!! I have such precious memories of our few days there! So soak up some sun for me dear lady…throw a pebble off of the Ponte Vecchio…try to catch a sunrise from the far side some morning! You will be missed here at home, but you will be far richer for having drenched your soul in that amazing culture, when you return! ❤️ You are loved!!!

September 15, 2017 - 6:16 am

Elizabeth McColl - I sent you an email … but was too late in sending it before you were off. How about dinner in Florence sometime? Or coffee or cocktails or all 3?

September 15, 2017 - 6:58 am

bo - Elizabeth – emailing you!