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Aaron and Abby's Adventures

World Wide Wonderings

It's a Big World ~ Think About It

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Sun
20
Oct '13

Brevity

If I had to pick a favorite quote (which would be next to impossible for me), this one would probably take the cake:

“The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter.” –Blaise Pascal (or Mark Twain, but he’s attributed to most good quotes the world over)

While many would pick something a little more motivational, inspiring or witty, I find that this is one of the most useful quotes in my life. As many of you know (and those who don’t should count themselves lucky), Aaron and I have a tendency to be rather wordy people. We love to talk. We’ll spend hours at a coffee shop, a bar, the car, our living room, or pretty much anywhere discussing everything from where the next technological revolution will occur to why that most recent TV ad was so successful.

While I do think there is a time and a place for discussion, I have come to enjoy the challenge of making a concise point. I have sat in many a meeting that would have been well-served by the implementation of this quote (by me and by others). People like to talk, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but if you can first take the time to figure out what the point is you are trying to make (rather than figuring it out as you speak), everyone is better off. You come off sounding more confident and others are able to better understand your position. Plus, it saves everyone a whole lot of time.

So, for us, brevity is a virtue. We’re being forced into learning this quite quickly through Aaron’s MBA program.  It started with this assignment: “Identify the top 3 global challenges best addressed through an entrepreneurial approach, and examples in the industry.” While for us this would be the topic of a dissertation, Aaron had a week and 2 pages to make his case (check it out here: The Refrigerator Door)

Then, this past week, Aaron had 10 minutes to present on the market opportunities surrounding subsistence agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. I can’t even explain the assignment in under 10 minutes so you’ll just have to join us for coffee if you’d like to learn more.

With these two assignments, we’ve been forced to learn how to get to the meat of an issue as quickly as possible. It requires a lot more preparation and research to be able to accomplish this, but in both cases, we’ve found that the shorter version is exponentially better than the longer one.

In light of the theme of this post, I’m going to leave you at that. I’d love to have a long-winded conversation about your thoughts on the subject. 🙂

 

Thu
23
May '13

The Adventure continues

So many options, so little cupboard space

So many options, so little cupboard space

May 31 marks one year from the day that Aaron and I returned to the US. One year after the “excitement” was supposed to end and “real” life should have kicked in again.

However, after almost a year of being home, I’m still waiting for the letdown. While I do often long for some ripe-off-the -tree avocados and Costco is still a completely overwhelming experience, our transition back to America has been anything but boring.
Our ESL Class

Our ESL Class

Over the past year, we were able to be volunteer ESL instructors at our church, teaching English to an amazing group of women. We also were part of a financial education training class becoming certified to teach a financial education course to lower income families, an issue that Aaron and I have become very passionate about recently (if you have time for a coffee, we’d love to talk about it!).

But, probably my biggest accomplishment this year is that I have just completed my first year of teaching. I was lucky enough to be offered the perfect position for my first year of teaching. I worked Part time at a private Christian school, working under a mentor who is truly a master teacher and taught me skills that will guide my teaching for life. The kids I worked with were incredible, keeping me laughing and amazed at their insatiable curiosity of the world. While I’m excited to be able to take advantage of my first summer as a teacher, I’m actually quite heartbroken to not be teaching everyday!
But now, as always, the Lord has a plan, and it seems as though the journey continues. This summer, Aaron and I will be moving to Ft. Collins, CO. Starting in August, Aaron will be pursuing an MBA in Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise at Colorado State University.The decision to go back to school was one of the main reasons we returned home from South America and we are so excited to begin gaining the skills we’ll need for the next stage in our lives.
While we’re still working on our elevator speech for our plans with this program, this quick video will give you a sense of what we’re working towards (Video link: GSSE MBA program)
We feel very much called to pursue this new direction in our lives and will be keeping the site updated with what we’re learning and what we’re looking to do. We hope all of you are doing well and hope you’re able to pursue your calling as well!
Wed
1
Aug '12

Great South(west) American Adventure Highlights

We have just returned to Texas after our whirlwind wild west tour. It was such an incredible trip that we don’t know where the time went and while we have tons of great stories, we wanted to share our top 5 highlights with you (in order of occurrence, not importance)

1. Camping at Molas Lake

After leaving balmy Texas, we headed West to find hopefully cooler lands. We met up with Abby’s mom outside of Durango, CO at Molas Lake, elevation 10,850 feet. We spent a few nights camping and hiking and poking around Silverton, CO. Other than forgetting blankets and the heater in our pop-up trailer not working (us Texans struggle to fathom this thing called “cold” in the middle of summer…), it was an amazing stay with views that can’t be beat.

2. Celebrating the life of a great man – Grandpa Benny

While we were in Durango helping Abby’s mom recover after back surgery, Aaron’s grandpa passed away. While the man was almost 94 and had been living with bone cancer for years, until very recently you would never know it from meeting him. His enthusiasm and love for life were absolutely infectious.  If you’ve been around our family long, you will undoubtedly have heard stories of this incredible man.  He was always the life of the party, staying up later than the rest of us and still beating everyone to breakfast the next morning.  We were able to join most of the family in Denver for a wonderful celebration of life and Christ’s victory over death where we were able to share our favorite “Benny-isms.” My personal favorite: “I’m so old, I don’t buy green bananas,” a saying that I’m sure I heard him say for more than 5 years.

3. My first ATV ride

After Denver, we were able to spend a few days visiting some good friends of ours from Albuquerque who have a cabin outside Pitkin, CO. In addition to the cabin, they also have four-wheelers and one morning, they took us out for a ride. Some of you may know that I am not very good at four-wheeling in a car, jeep or anything else where I happen to be the passenger. I’ve been known to simply open the door and step out if the road looks too steep for my liking. So, I was a little afraid of how I’d do when I was actually the one in the driver’s seat. But, I’ve been all about facing my fears lately, so out I went, stepped on the four-wheeler, pushed the gas and never looked back–I absolutely loved it! I’m pretty much hooked now and just need to find an excuse to buy myself one of these…

4. Aunt Abby and Uncle Aaron

My sister just moved to Sacramento in May and one of the main goals of our trip was to make it out to California to spend some time with her before the birth of my very first niece, Taylor Sophia. Well, turns out that Taylor wanted to meet us and so she decided to show up early. We had driven to Reno and were planning to spend the night and lose some money at the slot machines before heading to Sacramento the next day. We had just settled into our room when we got a message from my sister saying that she was heading into labor. We quickly checked out of the hotel and were able to be there for the entire birth-What an experience! We spent the next week oggling over baby Taylor and just enjoying time with family.

If this picture isn’t enough for you, you can check out the video slideshow we made for them to announce her birth here.

5. Big Trees

For our last big hurrah of the trip, we decided to spend a few days at Sequoia National Park. It was incredible to see such a unique part of nature and I don’t think I’ve ever said, “Wow, that’s a big tree” so many times. We loved camping and hiking in cool California (are you seeing a theme here..) and thought it was a great place to relax for a few days before the long drive home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Oh there they are! Thanks Sign!”

After Sequoia, we headed back through Arizona and New Mexico, stopping to visit Aaron’s family in Albuquerque for a couple days, and finally making it back to Texas on Friday night. We stayed in 15 different hotels, houses, campgrounds, etc., drove over 6500 miles and only got stuck twice with Jeep troubles (not bad considering it has over 225,000 miles on it). It was an incredible journey, but we are glad to be back and ready for this next phase of our lives!