•8:07 PM

We are living in an in-between place.

On one hand, we're totally grateful for it. We prayed relentlessly for this job and situation, and are thrilled to be in our current dwelling, managing 24 town homes in return for free rent and pay for odd jobs. We are set up better than we ever have been before to save a significant amount of money every month for school in Paris. Plus, no lease! We can be up and out in two weeks flat.

On the other hand, we're uncomfortable. Our living space is, unfortunately, ugly (it doesn't seem to bother DH, but it does chafe on me quite a bit). We don't have a yard of our own, can't let the boys play unattended for more than a few minutes, and we can't form real friendships with the neighbors. We are always unofficially 'on duty', taking calls about apartments and being caught by tenants who need repairs while going out to the mailbox. All the while, DH is itching to expand his career and experiences, and it grates on him. It doesn't help that he recently saw one fellow CIA alumnus win a chef de cuisine position aboard a Caribbean ocean liner, and another classmate pop up in a Food Network program. Time and opportunity is tangibly passing us by.

The truth of the matter, though, is that our income is not spectacular enough for this to be a speedy process. While we can save a decent chunk of change every month, it will still take several years to accumulate enough by traditional saving alone. We are not prepared to be here for 3-4 more years. It's nearly unthinkable.

It is unthinkable.

It's tempting to consider school loans. Impatient people like me in imminently unthinkable situations are predisposed to find this notion pretty darn appealing. But God just spent two years teaching us how NOT to be in debt. I can't convince myself it's His will that we throw all that to the wind and fall back into borrowing.

We have to fall back into Him instead. We have to pray for something extraordinary.

I hit this same roadblock so many times during the past few years while we were clawing our way to debt-freedom. We were always at God's feet, asking for another job, for a break, for help with a bill, for help selling this or that and finally our house. I continually felt guilt about the righteousness of praying for such things. It felt so selfish. What good does selling our house quickly do for the Kingdom of God? What ministry is there in having a healthy financial situation and two reliable cars? Yet He granted it all. He explicitly answered prayer after prayer after prayer, and we got out and beyond.

I will be open about this. While I knew that God had said 'yes' to our request for help in becoming debt free, and also to selling our house in a timely manner, I do not know what He has to say about Paris yet. It's not exactly written in the Bible whether one should or should not strive to study cooking abroad. But it does say we should bring all things to God in prayer.

So I'm a little embarrassed to say I haven't really started praying about it yet. It's scary, because we've wanted this so badly for so long, and soon after we begin seriously praying about it, we will know His answer. It will become very obvious.

It is a fact that we will not make it to Paris without God's explicit blessing. The mountain of time and money is too large for us to move alone. I'll begin to bring this huge request to Him now, knowing that He is the one who created DH with this passion for food and learning. Also for our will to match His, to make sure we go (or *gulp* stay) where and when He wants us. And of course, for obedient hearts to accept whatever answer He gives.
•2:19 PM

    “Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.” - Dale E. Turner





 Our dream has been simmering for more than a decade. Today we are renewing it, taking it out of 'dream' status and upgrading it to a 'plan'. DH is going back to culinary school. In Paris. And he's taking us all with him.


Truth is, this would have been easier 10 years ago. Before we had two kids, three jobs and believed in not borrowing money for anything. Maybe even while we were young enough to still expect our parents to pay for it all.  


DH is 29, and I am 28. We may have married too young, and we may not have thought it through just how long kids tend to stick around when we started throwing caution and birth control to the wind. We might also not have realized that moving home to Minnesota 'to be near Mom and Dad just while the baby is young' is a surefire way to slip into a comfortable half-life that hazily passes until that baby is 6 years old, while also adding a second baby to the roster. 


Through the hometown haze, though, we've kept one eye on that plan we didn't fulfill after he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 2004, that stint abroad to work in Michelin-starred restaurants that was postponed until... when? 


If not now, when? 


Will someone knock on our door and tell us it's now the absolute perfect time for DH to spend a year continuing his culinary education in Paris? Will we get a gift check from Great Uncle Olaf for $75,000 with a note that says, 'Take a year off on me, guys'? Well. We hope so. Fingers crossed.


But while we wait, we are going to pretend like that check isn't coming. (Besides, I don't think we have a Great Uncle Olaf.) We have to save a sizable amount of money before we leave - enough for our family of 4 to live for 11 months in Paris. We will apply for scholarships and grants and financial aid. We will enter contests. We will sell things. We will save. We will go without. We might beg when the police aren't looking. 


We do have some things going for us, though. We have God to give us wisdom on this journey. We work and plan together like pros. We have passion for our goal and for DH's craft as a chef. We're relatively young, our health is good, we have no debt, and the kids still do what we tell them to. 



Knock. Knock.