Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Adventure: an exciting or remarkable experience; an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks

 Last weekend at church, my pastor talked about adventure. About how life is a great adventure - one that takes time and presents us with immense challenges. One that, if we have perseverance, is more worth it than we could ever imagine.

And it made me realize how incredibly thematic adventure is in my own life - something I think I have always known, but hearing Pastor Dave's sermon really drove the idea home. I mean, I named this blog "Adventures of the Nalani Variety" - and that was almost five years ago, before I had any idea what an adventure my life would truly become!

Especially over the last few months, I have realized a lot about the kind of person that I am and the things that I am expectant of in my life.

I want to experience exciting, remarkable things!
I want to live a life of passion, of extraordinary.

Really, more than anything, my heart craves an adventure.

I don't want to become a person who just does my job during the week, goes to church on Sunday, and then repeats the cycle over and over again. I recognize that soon, I will have a job and a home a family and a routine - for most Americans, that is reality! And believe me, becoming a nurse and a wife and a mother are all things that I am hopefully expectant of, things that I will rejoice in!

But I want more than that. I want to see beauty and passion and excitement in everything I do, everywhere I go, in every relationship I have.

Someday, most certainly (who knows, maybe even TODAY!), I want to do the thrilling things that come to mind when you hear the word "adventure" - I want to travel to exotic destinations, skydive, zipline in Pi'iholo, Maui, swim with dolphins, hike mountains, explore. But, more than any of that, I want my life to be defined by an attitude of adventure.

I think that, more than skydiving or traveling (or the willingness to do those things), adventure is a matter of the heart. It's being dissatisfied with only this; it's pressing for more, higher, deeper, longer, FULLER.

Not to be mistaken for being discontent with the right now, with this moment, with this place. No, I mean precisely the opposite - I mean endeavoring to make the most out of exactly this moment; I mean being committed to having an extraordinary experience no matter how ordinary something might appear to be. 

I mean walking through Target with one of your best friends shopping for shower curtains and recognizing that you are walking through that moment with one of your best friends. And being so incredibly thankful that you have best friends. 
I mean falling in love hard, head over heels in love, with people and places and seasons and experiences and lessons and right now
I mean expecting exquisite, magical moments in the midst of walking through the day to day. 
I mean dreaming of beautiful, wonderful, bigger-than-life things, and being 100% committed to the journey that it takes to get there.
I mean cherishing and celebrating every single moment, because you're never going to get it back again. And because, someday, you're going to want to remember it. You're going to want to say that you made the most out of every beautiful, or tragic, breath that you took. 

That's the kind of adventure I want my life to be. I want to be surrounded by and invested in people who will go on adventures with me - and I am so blessed to be able to say that's true of my life right now. And someday, when I meet the man I am going to marry, I want him to be a man that will go on these adventures with me, too - someone who won't just tolerate my dreamer's heart, but someone who will come right alongside me and dream exciting new dreams with me. 

And I think the key to all of this is what I said before - I have found, and I believe with all of my heart, that the secret to leading a life of adventure, the secret to walking down an extraordinary path, is being committed to the journey. Not necessarily the destination - so many people are just trying to get there, wherever there is, that they miss the thrill and the beauty of this. Right now. 

So be committed to your journey. Be willing to submit all of your doubts and fears and expectations to a God who promises that His plans will bring you hope, prosperity, a bright future! Be bold enough to take risks and to walk into unknown territory. Let change happen. Look for the beauty and the joy in where you are right now... 

And friends, you'll see adventure all around. 
I'm not saying it's easy - quite the opposite, actually. It's resolving to challenge your ordinary - and I don't know about you, but that certainly doesn't come naturally for me. 
But I wouldn't want it any other way.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Philippians 4:13, and a Little Perspective

I subscribe to a guy named Jefferson Bethke on the YouTube - I have actually been watching his videos for a while now. If you've never heard of him (and if you have!), you should go check him out! He makes a lot of awesome videos discussing scripture and Biblical concepts in a really unconventional way, in a way that is practically applicable in our American culture and society today. (Ladies- you should check out his wife, Alyssa, on her blog as well! It is such an encouragement to read and I highly recommend it! Her blog has been a huge inspiration to the way that I manage this blog.) 

Anyway, Jeff posted a video today on a topic that I have been thinking about writing a blog post on myself! I probably still will at some point, because (as always), I have a lot to say, but I thought this video really hits the point on the head. 

As Jeff says in the video, Philippians 4:13 (I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength) is one of the most quoted verses in the entire Bible. For good reason - it's a great verse! But something that I have felt pretty strongly about, especially in my current season, is that it is also one of the most misinterpreted. Philippians 4:12-13 is one of my absolute favorite passages of scripture, but so many people leave out verse 12 when they reference it and, truly, I feel like it is so critical to being able to understand what Paul is actually trying to say!!

These verses have been such an encouragement to me in the past few months, and have really given me perspective on a lot of the incredibly difficult challenges I've had to navigate recently.

Check out this video, and see what Jeff has to say about it! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

For The Record

There have been a lot of people reading this blog lately - for which I am so grateful. Thank you so much!! But it has made me want to share something really important: I never write anything here that is not 100% from my heart. I don't think about the best way to say things so that they sound the nicest - I spend a lot of time reflecting on my life and on my lessons, and that is where everything I share here comes from. It's all real, all organic, all completely me. Sometimes, I've got happy stuff, and sometimes I've got not-so-happy stuff. 

But I share it because it matters. Yes, this is a great outlet for me and I love being able to chronicle what I'm walking through in my life, purely for myself. But my hope is that, just maybe, something that I am walking through is something that you're walking through, too. Yes, you

Not that I mean that I hope any of you who read this are going through a hard part of your life - I pray that isn't the case! 

But trials are a huge part of life - I read somewhere once that if you aren't going through a trial right now, you either just got out of one or one is headed your way! That can seem a little discouraging, I suppose, but it's true - life is full of just as many downs as it is ups. 

And so my hope is that, at any point in my journey, something that I share here might encourage any one of you. However you happened to stumble upon this little blog, I hope that you've been able to relate to me, to my thoughts and feelings and experiences. I hope that this blog might be a way for me to walk alongside you; that you would know - just maybe - that I've been where you are and that you are not alone!

And just as we go through struggles sometimes, there are also so many wonderful things in this life to celebrate - and I want to celebrate with you! Again, I hope that my story, whether I'm currently in a chapter of joy or of sorrow, encourages you.  

Whoever you are, thank you so much for coming here and reading this blog - even though I may not know that you are, or I may not even know you at all!, you are sharing my life with me and I so appreciate that. 

My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long - though I know not how to relate them all. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone. - Psalm 71:15-16

Saturday, July 6, 2013

My Inheritance

Last week, I spent the day with one of my dearest friends, who is leaving at the end of the summer to spend a year doing missions work in Austria. We went to church, where she shared her beautiful heart for the people of Austria and the work she will be doing there, I helped her move, we went shopping, had coffee and dinner and a whole lot of heartfelt conversation.

Lindsey is one of the people that I have been most blessed by in this season. She has always been someone that I have looked up to. Her wisdom and discernment are qualities that I highly esteem, and the time that we had on Sunday to enjoy each other and reflect on the way our relationship has grown in the past three years was like salve for my soul. 

And it made me think - because it wouldn't be me if I didn't find something deep to think about, right?

It made me think about relationships, of all kinds. Family, friends, acquaintances, significant others. They're probably the most influential force in our lives. The way we connect with other people, and the way they impact us, is huge- relationships can be one of the most life-giving or most destructive aspects of life. In my own 21 years, I feel like I've seen the effects of almost every kind of relationship you can have.

I've experienced the way that getting caught up with the wrong people can cause pain and heartache.
I've felt the frustration of growing up with a bratty younger sister.
I've carried the hurt that comes from parental shortcomings.
I've battled with the bitterness of being let down by someone I trusted.
I've walked through the devastation, confusion, and loneliness that follows a messy and heart-shattering breakup.

But I've also felt my heart swell with pride as I watched my baby sister graduate from high school.
I've been held up by the soft-heartedness, wisdom, and support of parents who love me.
I have thanked God for the outstanding quality of my closest friends.
I have known the bliss of being deeply and truly loved by someone, and felt the freedom that comes from being deeply and truly in love.

More than anything else, I have seen the way God uses relationships - like mine with my friend Lindsey - to change our lives.

In this challenging season of my life, I have learned so much of the Lord's exquisite love for us through my community. I have found that in surrounding myself - constantly!- with people who share the same love of Jesus as I, He has been working through those people in my heart. Through my relationships, God has shown me his love, his compassion, his favor, and his joy - and that is so incredible.

So incredible that, even in this time where I am lonely so much, where turning constantly to God's promises for me is the only way that I could possibly get through my day, I feel so much goodness. I feel loved. I feel wanted and celebrated and cherished; I feel like I have a place. A place to call home in an amazing group of men and women that God is using to bless me in a time where so much has changed and been lost.

And this is the truth about my life that I have learned lately: that even when nothing is the way I wanted it to be, even when there is brokenness and pain and sorrow, God still has beautiful things for me. Because I cherish relationships above almost everything else, the Lord chose to show me that beauty through prosperous, encouraging, fruitful relationships, and I'm so thankful.

Maybe it doesn't look that like for everyone - maybe God is working in your life through your job or your ministry or even your solitude. But the point I'm trying to make here, is that I have tasted and seen of His great love for us. And it is so, so great; so much so that even when everything seems like it is falling apart, there is truly so much joy to be found in the treasures that our Father lays up for us to find.

What treasures are you discovering in your life?

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. - Psalm 16:6

Tuesday, July 2, 2013



Sarah Dessen knows her stuff.