New year morning routine; Provocative Joy blog;

My Morning Habit For the New Year

Dear problem, I’m going to conquer you. This visit to the (free!) ship thrift store connected me to a pendulum clock shaped like an owl that ticks just like the big, fancy clock in the house I grew up in. This one is less fancy, more fun and cost nothing! I was so excited to find it. It looked brand new and would make my cabin feel a little bit more like a home. I quickly discovered it would be...

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...

stock_photo_parlor_self-examination_journal

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...

Provocative Joy Ivanna Overseas Volunteering with Mercy Ships in Cotonou, Benin West Africa This is how to drop it all and just do it

Overseas Volunteering: 3 Tempting Reasons to Try It!

overseas volunteering I arrived on this ship full of energy to pour into the lives of others and I was so psyched to live abroad on a ship for a full year (although it turned into 3 years). It wasn’t a huge sacrifice for me; it was something I couldn’t wait to try. I heard so many people say, “I could never do that. I’d never be able to live far from family with no steady source of income.” I...