Reader Survey Results

2017 First Annual Reader Survey I’ve been thinking about doing a reader survey for over a year and finally stopped being a little scaredy-cat and just did it. I want to thank all the people who responded freely, all my friends that received reminder messages from me, and all of my “insiders” that subscribe to my newsletter and filled out the survey from there. Thank you for taking a few minutes to give me your feedback! If you haven’t subscribed...

Premarital Counseling: Helpful, but not necessary; Provocative Joy; #LoveBlog2017

Premarital Counseling: Helpful, But Not Crucial

#LoveBlog2017 I’ve been looking forward to joining up with #LoveBlog for the past few weeks! If you already subscribe to the Provocative Joy newsletter, you know what I’m introducing! If you haven’t subscribed to my monthly update, you can find the sign-up box at the end of this post (it even counts as an entry in the giveaway). It’s where I get a little more personal, share blog-news and how I’m living out what I write about. I’m linking up...

My Benin Bucket List: 10+ Things To Do Before I Leave

life is a wisp of smoke I woke up, January had turned into February and I had a lot of living left to do. I’ve been on a ship docked in Cotonou, Benin, but I feel like I’ve been sitting around for 6 months. There’s so much left to see and experience! Alright, I need to calm down and be easy on myself. I HAVE been living. I’ve been working and orienting new ship nurses, and working on my marriage. I’ve...

Managing My Depression; Provocative Joy; West Africa Benin; Life Overseas

5 Essentials: Managing My Depression Overseas

Third time’s a charm This third season with Mercy Ships is the best so far. Last year was the perfect storm as lots of factors combined to make a sucky year culminating with a season of depression that lasted too long. I entered this third season back in August optimistically because it could NOT get any worse. Things HAD to improve. After my service in Madagascar came to completion, it was so much easier to see what I could have done differently to...

My Plan After Mercy Ships? Swim Upstream

Airport life these days The man at the front of the queue went up to the airport desk clerk pointing and looking toward the end of the counter. He was describing someone –a woman, red hijab, with black polka dots. Just as the clerk hopped down to look for her, she came running around the corner with two massive suitcases on wheels. At first I thought it was the man’s wife and he had lost her, but as she rejoined her pile...

Provocative Joy Anniversary This Dust Never Settles Reader Survey

First Annual Reader Survey!

Reminiscing on the past This virtual corner of property has come so far! Do you remember when I first started? Back in 2014 this place was called This Dust Never Settles and it was primarily a way for me to work through my thoughts in writing and keep my family and supporters updated on my journey with Mercy Ships. I suspected this blog would exist longer than my volunteering abroad. That’s why I didn’t name it “Ivanna’s Journey With Mercy Ships”....

Enjoy Christmas While Flat Broke; Christmas on a budget and first Christmas home; DIY cheap gifts

I’m Trying to Enjoy Christmas (While Flat Broke)

Pull out the maletas. draft a packing list… we’ll be home for Christmas! The Figueroa’s will enjoy Christmas at home! A bold prayer I’ve been trying to claim for the past 12 months is finally being realized. I’ve missed two Christmases with my sisters and family and I wanted to be home this time and enjoy Christmas with them. In October when we were deciding, we didn’t have very much money in the bank and it seemed foolish to consider flights...

How To Benefit From Counseling (Even If You Don’t Want to Go)

I remember the first counseling appointment I ever went to. It was almost 20 years ago. My parents brought me as a young girl so I honestly don’t remember their concern, but I DO remember the counselor telling my parents I was fine; there was nothing to worry about. My parents explained that it was something they had to fix, not me. The psychologist advised them and that was the end of that. A few years later, in my early...

Brilliant Videos on Sex and Marriage; Provocative Joy; Esther Perel; Ran Gavrieli; Adina River; Brene Brown

4 Brilliant Videos on Sex and Marriage

A couple weeks ago I asked my Facebook friends and fam why it seems to be difficult for Christians to talk about sex, even sex within marriage! I understand sex is deeply personal and elicits extreme opinions. I totally relate with anyone who feels wary to share such personal opinions or experiences with someone who will likely misunderstand when there isn’t time to give a full background or context. These conversations probably take place more than I realize. They might not...

Marriages that inspire; marriages done right; Chaz and Roger Ebert; Kim and Krickitt Carpenter; Jason and Crystal Crawford

Marriages Done Right: 3 Amazing Couples Prove It’s Possible

Crystal was in denial about her relationship with her best friend. “I began chatting with him online constantly, at first only when Jason wasn’t around, but then even when he was, pretending it was only friendship,” she says. Jason was spending more and more time with his colleague from school, and projects turned into relaxation time which turned into going out to clubs together until late at night. Since his wife made him feel worthless, unattractive and irresponsible, all he wanted...