finding joy .3

light. morning light, afternoon light, sunset light, sunrise light, moonlight, light, light, light! I seriously can’t get enough of the different ways light looks as it crawls across a floor, sweeps in between the trees, lays across my lap, flickers on the walls, diffuses through the curtains, agh! can’t. even.

heart listening. not physically listening to your heart, but more than just people listening. Really, truly, staying in that space and getting past that fluff and good stuff but oh baby, the richness is inside. Yes, teaching myself to stay in those spaces and wait, and listen, and ask, and listen…wow, the stories that are told! So important!

staying in other people’s homes. okay, I’m not weird, it’s just so…what? so…..honest and gutsy; to invite someone into your home to eat, sleep, use your bathroom, see your stuff, spend the night….it’s so vulnerable. and I just so badly love it! it’s so connecting!

jumping across streams. but you already knew that. BUT seriously, if you ever want to feel alive (and possibly wet)…DO IT. Okay, right, there are some…guidelines:

1. make sure you can almost NOT make it. gives you more of an adrenaline rush, more of a, “wow, I almost didn’t make that jump” feeling afterwards.

2. ALWAYS jump with others. because you get to laugh SO badly if the other person falls in, or you get to join in on the laughter after YOU fall in. either way: laugh.

3. ALWAYS preface your decision to start jumping (once you’ve found an adequate stream and have checked off numbers one and two on the list) with: “Okay, we ALL have to jump otherwise you ARE the weakest link. Goodbye.”


4. ALWAYS take pictures to document.

continuing on….

my sweet kindergartener’s reasoning. as follows (literally, word for word): “I really want the blue swatter, because….well, I just love the color blue, in fact, my SISTER really loves the color blue, actually, you see that blue wall behind you? Well, I love that blue wall sooo much that I just want to put it in my pocket and take it with me wherever I go…there, you see, so can you give me the blue swatter?” i die, every time.

flavoring kombucha with Abby. pure joy!

our small group. man, what am I going to do without those crazies!? I love you guys and have been SO impacted and changed by your honesty, stories, community, and friendship!

remembering memories of my grandparent’s old farm in Wisconsin. it’s the weirdest thing but every time, right before I fall asleep, a new, delightful memory pops into my head about staying on my grandparent’s farm when I was a little girl and man, I just fall asleep so happy and content!

the fact that Richard now likes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. i really can’t explain it, he just…started liking it one day. well, maybe it’s because he said this one preschooler would have one everyday for lunch and he would wonder, “could it really be that good”. well, it is. it really is that good. i am so excited for the future pbj picnics we are going to have!

Jasne. possibly the best soup I’ve ever had in my life, made by my husband. It is so good. google it. make it. so good! *update: you can’t google it, I tried and it doesn’t exist, so you will just have to ask my husband to make it for you 😉

Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap. I could walk around smelling that stuff all day. “Is that soap in your nose?” “Why yes, yes it is”.

DARK CHOCOLATE peanut butter cups. no explanation needed.


With love,























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to Ecuador we….go?!?!

Sorry for the long silence!

I decided to take a break from social media for a while so I could really refocus and “unplug” (such an overused word but SO appropriate!) and just take. a. break.

It was really nice.


Well, a lot of changes and planning has happened and we are super excited to say that:




Now, just hold on a second…

we will be coming back in late August (like we mentioned in this post) to continue fundraising, but we are so excited that we can get started and join in on the different ministries and projects in Ecuador, start ministering as Merge staff and working with different teams coming down, start re-connecting and connecting with our friends and co-workers, and be able to start looking around for a place to rent…which we are all super excited about, but…going to Ecuador also means that:

we get to see our family and friends!!!!!!

It truly is such a blessing to be able to live and do ministry as short-term missionaries in another country where we have family and friends…familia y amigos….conocidos! (as they say!) 

We are pretty excited! and I would say that they are too!

(I, Elizabeth, haven’t seen them in over a year!)

So, as soon as we have our plane tickets purchased, we will get some dates up on the sidebar so you can journey with us during our summer in Ecuador and see where we will be and what groups, ministries, churches we will be partnering with at different times. We will also be updating here during the summer as well!


In other news:

We are still around 30% funded so we are still looking for supporters so please, partner with us today:

Click here: SUPPORT to go to our online giving site.

Anyway, that is our short, but exciting update for today and we will have more details later on for you!

We will also be updating this here blog/online journal AND we will be sending out our FIRST newsletter coming up soon, so stay tuned! 🙂 and give us your emails!

peace and joy,


p.s. here are photos of us jumping. why did I post these photos of us jumping, you may ask….well, other than the fact that jumping over streams is an activity that I think EVERYBODY needs to try at some point in their life, (it is also a past-time of ours, more like a…hobby?)…..it is really significant of the journey we are on right now. steps and leaps of unknowns, in faith. 




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Farewell, Minnesota Christmas…….

I can’t quite let go of Christmas yet.


I mean, every year when December and the Christmas season are coming to a close, we begrudgingly get back into the routines of daily life, but this year, knowing that this is probably our last white, Minnesotan Christmas for a while, I am even more reluctant to dismantle the tree, the greens, the hanging cinnamon stars, and the cozy, stringed lights.

I am even more reluctant to end the daily gatherings at my parent’s or siblings’ homes, sitting by the wood-burning stove, playing games, reading together, going on morning, winter walks or evening moonlit strolls.

I am reluctant to let this season end, literally and figuratively speaking.

I know it is a process, of letting go, of holding on, of saying goodbye, of saying hello, er…hola. But still….it’s hard. It is a PROCESS. Just like much of life; growing up, getting older, experiencing sorrows and joys and mountains and valleys and days of triumph and days that feel like a failure.

This process of life, of seasons…..it’s hard stuff. It really is, but to resist it, I think, would only make it worse, as hard as it is, I am learning to be fully aware and to be consciously and intentionally apart of it. To be awake to the changes and the feelings and emotions of it all, to not let it drown me, but be okay with feeling sad or feeling excited. To be okay with it being messy and not exactly what I thought.

But the hope of process for me is, we do not have to do it alone. We are all in process, in different seasons, in motion, in change, but we are not alone. I am so thankful for the community of support around us, for our friends and family who have known or know that seasons and different processes we are going through and offer us their space and time to process with them. We are so thankful!

I am so thankful for Christ and how he intentionally and purposefully chooses to travel with us through every season and process, daily.

Just today, as I was spending sometime alone, thinking on the past year and how some parts of it were so hard and ugly and thinking to myself, “what a waste that time was, I wish I could re-do or re-live those moments and do things differently” or, “I wish I never had to go through that season, that I could have erased that moment in my life”. Instantly after I thought that, I felt in my heart, God saying:

“It was not for nothing, it was not in vain, it was not lost. The things that you think are dead are breathing in life again. In silence, I was and am there. I am in the grief. I am in the seemingly wasted years, in the mistakes, in the ashes, in the pain, in the unnoticed, in the broken…look closer, look closer, I was there and am there. I am there. There is no “wasted” or “lost” in me. I am NOT a passive Father”

And it is so true. He isn’t passive, in the waiting, in the silence, in the proceses, in the different seasons, he is not passive, he is right with us, walking with us. Oh, that my eyes would be open to Him. OH, that even when I don’t see or feel, that I would choose to believe. Oh that I would choose to believe!

So, in this process of “lasts” and in this season of change and bittersweetness, I am going to try to have my eyes wide open to each moment, to intentionally be apart of the process and the season, whatever one it may be, I want to be apart of it, not wishing it were over, or trying to blur the days away, but through the mountain highs or valley lows, singing out to remind my soul, that I am not alone and I am not alone.

So maybe we’ll keep the tree up just a little bit longer and we will linger just a little while longer in the moments we are together, and be thankful for this season and the next.


The Santanas
















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Still climbing: Antisana

Hello friends!

We wanted to give a quick update:

First Peak- Antisana (1) copy


While we were still in the process of creating this “challenge” we had two generous friends donate in the Antisana category. We are so thankful!

That just leaves us with 8 supporters left to give in the Antisana category! Woohoo!


Click here! to support us today!


Remember, you can give either 100 dollars a month for a commitment of two years OR a one time gift of $2,400. Of course, you can give whatever you feel compelled or called to give as well.

Thank you so much for your support and hope!


the santanas

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First and Last Minnesotan Summer


I’m watching the tops of the already 9-foot tall corn bend and sway, all in uniform, as the gentle summer breeze passes by. I’m sitting in our car as my husband drives along on a backcountry road, somewhere in Minnesota. The sky is a perfect blue with white, puffy clouds and I…am perfectly content.

This is my first, sweet Minnesotan summer since six years ago and it will probably be my last for a while, not forever, but for a while.

Like you probably already know from the video we posted, my husband and I are in the process of fundraising to partner in Ecuador as short-term missionaries with Merge Ministries for two to three years.

I’m not quite sure how to explain what we’ll be doing or what we’ve experienced so far in our journey of becoming short-term missionaries in a way that isn’t an overload of information or that does not do justice to the faithfulness of our Father. Maybe bit-by-bit is better.

So for now, I will say that we have been so grateful and humbled by the love and support we have been shown thus far. Truly, we have learned a greater depth of grace and love as we have experienced overwhelming support from families, friends, and individuals as we walk this journey together. We are so grateful, so, so grateful.

So, until the next blog post, I will continue to watch the summer corn grow, enjoy evenings eating dinner outside with my family, bonfires with friends, fireflies blinking in the night, camping with my brothers and sisters, humid summer nights sitting outside talking with my husband, slapping at mosquitos, canoeing down rivers, swimming in one of the 10,000 lakes, spitting out watermelon seeds, walking around barefoot, reading under the shade of familiar trees, walking in fields, stopping to pick wildflowers on the side of the road, and truly trying to be present in each moment, lifting my heart in thanks to the One who’s timing is always right and who offers us peace and rest as he leads us through the quiet and rushing waters of life.

love, the santanas


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