Hope is a curious thing.

It’s somewhere between a longing and a plan, something not quite tangible but not at all unreachable, and there are two widely accepted definitions for the word.
I hope to talk about both of them. …see what I did there? 😀

The first definition is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen”.

ex) As she lay on the couch attempting to write her latest blog post, Lauren hoped that her beloved but smelly cat, Mr. Darcy, would not crawl back onto her chest after the first time she placed him on the floor. However, this proved to be a false hope.

If you have read any of our previous adventure posts, you’ll know that Garrett and I are very hopeful about the possibilities that 2017 holds. Although we have given you some information about these possibilities, here are a few more details about our specific hopes (not plans) for the coming months.

As I complete my final semester teaching at Irons Middle School (not necessarily final semester teaching), Garrett will begin his transition from a full-time manager at Yellow House Coffee to a full-time writer. He has already begun working with a few clients and will continue to search for more work as he prepares to go part-time at the coffee shop. As the semester progresses, we hope to begin downsizing our lives by selling some furniture and clothing items that we won’t be needing, as well as finalizing our plans for our first couple of months of travel.

I will be done teaching in May (that sounds so strange to say, not knowing when and if I’ll go back!). June will most likely be somewhat of a hectic month, due to last minute packing decisions and moving the remainder of our belongings out of our apartment and into storage. June also happens to be one of the most hectic and expensive times to travel, since it’s such a popular time for vacation. Therefore, we hope to leave our Texas home sometime in early August, spending June and July traveling to see and staying with our families and friends.

In these “in-between” months I will be searching for an online teaching job (or tutoring, or who knows really) and continuing to build my online Oden Design Co store fronts and SeneGence business. I will also be sleeping a lot. Because, you know, teaching. *sigh*.

Although we have a pretty good idea of where we hope to go first, I’ll save the specific locations we’ve *almost* chosen for another post. What I will say is that I was NOT built for the cold, and God knew what he was doing when he put me in Texas. Thus, we will start our voyage in North Eastern Europe and hope to work our way South and West in the following months to avoid the worst of the European winters. We do know that we want to come home for Christmas, but we are avoiding thinking or hoping too much farther ahead than that.

There are so many things that could happen to change these desires or shift our perspectives, and we want to allow ourselves to be led in this expedition instead of trapping ourselves into our own ideas of what we need or should “get out of it”. I do hope to discover why we have both been given the longing to make this change, and I cling to that hope. Not so much in the Eat, Pray, Love, go find yourself, you were always enough kind of way (not that I have anything against Eat, Pray, Love, I ADORE Elizabeth Gilbert), but more so the anticipation of the next chapter kind of way.

The second definition is “a feeling of trust”.

2016 was a definitive year in so many ways for both Garrett and I. We both began to work side jobs which we hope will become our full-time jobs. We decided to minimize our things and maximize our experiences. We celebrated our first anniversary, and planned our first trips together (other than our honeymoon). Most of all, we decided to trust. We are trusting that we will acquire the tools we need to adjust to other cultures. We are trusting that we will not drive each other completely insane (although there is a decent possibility of it happening at least once or twice). We trust that we were both given the desire for a more flexible schedule and travel to prepare us for whatever seasons of our lives come after this. Above all, we are trusting in God’s plan for our lives, and trusting that years of praying and saving and asking have led us to His plan (for now at least).

We are asking and trusting that this journey takes us the places we need to go in order to discover or realize whatever He wants us to discover and realize. We are trusting that we will meet the people we are supposed to meet, have the opportunities we are supposed to have, and settle down where we are supposed to settle down. Above all else, we are asking and trusting that He use and mold us to look more like His kingdom.

These are our hopes for 2017, and we hope you’ll join us in prayer over this little endeavor.


P.S. I feel like this post was too serious for me (Lauren), so here’s a funny.

A photon checks into a hotel and is asked if he needs help with his luggage.

He responds, “No thanks, I’m traveling light!” 😀



You know, the ones we will squeeze all of our life into for the next year! And I’m not nervous to get them and see what I can fit in them at ALL! …

So expect a post about my reaction soon, and/or Garrett’s logical review of them.

Happy 2017 y’all!


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