Beira Brown | artist seeking life's borderless extravagance »

from east to west | part 1

It’s taken me two months since moving to get to this! It feels somewhat like old news and too late to share but given that I’m slow to process life in general, this photo share is right on time.

We survived our cross country move. Nine days driving over 3,000 miles from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania to Bend, Oregon. It was quite the adventure yet very anticlimactic. It felt surreal yet like any driving trip. At times, I got so caught up on driving and breaks and how much further we still had to go until our next destination, that I completely lost sight of “omg, I’m moving to the other side of the country!” Since we had decided to move many months prior, our arrival in Bend was anticlimactic. Perhaps our exhaustion from a trip plagued by pink eye and a respiratory infection may have had something to do with that. Regardless, we were all at peace walking into our house and knowing that we would get to sleep in our beds that same night.

I almost included some details of our trip, but it became apparent that my perspective of our trip was clouded by all the germs in our car. I’ll leave you with some of my favorite photos, many taken from the comfort of my passenger seat. Don’t judge me. Okay? I was in rough shape!

Part 1: Chicago, Badlands National Park, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial



[…] Part 1 of my family’s cross country move  […]

[…] and look at Part 1 and Part 2 of my family’s cross country […]


I introduced my family to the Ungame in hopes of diminishing competition and encouraging the art of listening. I had held on to the board game for years with memorable times with my family in mind. I was interested to see how it would go and I was hoping it would not be a flop considering the years the game sat on our shelves collecting dust.

I love how a simple game can turn into a life lesson, or a confirmation of the things that I’ve learned on my own.

It was Micah’s turn and his card read, “describe what you love about your home.”

I held my breath as the memory of my conversations with his father months prior rushed through my mind.

As we wrestled with the idea of relocating and convinced ourselves that it was not a crazy idea pulled out of thin air, we discussed the impact it would have on our children.

Leaving the geographical location they’ve called home.

Leaving the people that have filled up their physical world.

Leaving all of the safe environment they’ve ever known.

Leaving for the unknown.

Could we possibly go into a new place because of a desire in us?

Could we do so without scarring our kids?
Could we choose a place that they would love as much as us?

Could we handle the pain of their possible disappointment?

The concept of home was shifting inside us, it’s definition being challenged, being redefined.


“”Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you…”” John‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭MSG‬‬

If Jesus asks me to make Him my home, then am I not home where ever I go? If Jesus is home and His Spirit lives in me, then I can be at home where ever I live because He lives in me.

I began to feel my sense of home morphing into something I’d never known. This new way of thinking became a new rationale in looking at home.


My responsibility is to teach and guide my children to nurture and grow their relationship with Jesus. While my children are little and forming their beliefs, I provide home to them. Their father is home to them. Their parents together are home to them. Not a place, not a house, not a state.

Home is in Jesus, and we are home where ever He is. Since His Spirit goes with us, then we are home where ever Home is–everywhere we go.

I can be content here, I can be content there. I find comfort here and there. The grass is green here, the grass is green there. Not more or less. The same in a different way.

Isn’t it silly how we often make decisions based on home, and the wrong one at that? We think we need to be home to find comfort. We think we need to be home to relax and “let it all hang out.” We think we need to be home to have safety. We think we need to be home to find rest.
We hold onto things because they give us the feeling of home. Only they give us a false sense of home. We think we need to build a home when home has already been built for us.

What we end up doing is limiting life, putting up borders where they don’t belong. We can’t enjoy abundant living because we can’t see past our narrow definition of home. But as we allow the light to open our eyes and enlarge our concepts and ideas, we can “enter this wide-open, spacious life” we were designed to live (see 2 Cor. 6:11-13 msg).

I know that my children will have home where ever I am and where ever John is. Most importantly, once they fully embrace their own relationship with Him, they will be home where ever they are in Him.

My sweet lovable boy (and boy is he loved!) washed me with calm as he let his words spill from his mouth describing his father and I. No description of a house, or a place, or a where, but an identification of who home is for him.

I hesitated publicly sharing this before our move, wondering if I would believe the same in the west as I did in the east. As the boxes have been emptied, the closets filled, and the rhythms of our family restored, I’ve had time to reflect. The belief is still the same.

Do I miss my parents, siblings, and nephews? Absolutely.

Do I miss my friends? You bet.
Do I miss my GT church family? For sure.

Do I miss being home? No.

I was there in the east and I am still there in the west.

Home is not a place.

Home is not a house.

Home is not a state.

Home is a Who and we are home in Him.

JohnJune 28, 2016 - 7:12 am

Love it!

JolynneJune 28, 2016 - 8:15 am

So true, amen

JaimeJune 28, 2016 - 12:12 pm

Beautiful photos, beautiful heart. Love and miss you all!

JoniJune 29, 2016 - 4:34 pm

So Beautiful!! Love you’s!!

CarriJune 30, 2016 - 1:19 pm

Absolutely beautifully written! Love it! Love you all xox

Broken to Beautiful

We had sat on our bed with blank pages and the prompt to dream after reading a chapter in John and Lisa Bevere’s book The Story of Marriage. After ending the crazy busy in our lives we found ourselves searching for what it was we used to do with our free time. Reading marriage enrichment books had been a thing we did early in our married life. So sitting side by side in bed we filled page after page with our dreams, dreams to accomplish together and individually. As we inked our life vision across those pages, we discovered a deep desire to create art together.

I’m used to letting John bounce ideas off me as he is developing the concepts for his paintings. He asked for my thoughts on a new project, a mosaic, he was asked to create for GT’s New Normal series. We went back and forth conceptualizing the mosaic and you could feel the energy building in our car as we drove along I-176 with the kids in the back.

Why am I sharing all of this? Because yesterday I got to release a fulfilled dream. John and I created the mosaic side by side. Inspired by scripture in Revelation 21, we poured our hearts out and released that energy that had built up inside us to create the 4’x8′ mosaic “Broken to Beautiful”. Of all the creative projects I’ve ever completed, from personal photography projects to commissioned commercial work to sewing little dolls for my daughter, this by far was the most satisfying and fulfilling project I have ever completed. Getting to work on it with my best friend took it to a higher level. John feels the same way.

We were both greatly impacted by all of the stories that went into creating the piece and all of the individual ideas intertwined to convey a singular message: God takes our brokenness and makes beauty out of it.

While we created this artwork with love, we released it with hearts full of joy. We are humbled and honored to have been able to play a small part in God’s story.

This is only the beginning for John and I. We are super excited about the joint artistic endeavors that lie ahead!


it’s happening

How silly of me to have thought that He’d hand over control before final landing. All along He wanted our acknowledgement that it was not our doing, it has not been our doing, and it will not be our doing. It was, is, and will be His doing!

It’s such a paradox in which we live. Living freely and lightly does not mean sitting on our hands waiting, not doing anything. No. Living freely and lightly means we move our hands with acknowledgement it is not our doing. It is movement in the waiting for it to be done for us.

It doesn’t make sense until you give up on striving and let Him work it all out for you. The motion of the hands is not one of closing down around what we can get from Him, but instead an opening up to receive what He has for us.

““If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” Matthew‬ ‭6:30-33‬ ‭MSG‬‬

We came home from Bend knowing that trying to find a house while on the east coast would be an impossible task on our own. We surrendered and decided to trust God’s plan because we would not be going to Oregon without a miracle.

We continued pursuing the house search surrendered to His timing and not our timing. Yet, recognizing His specialty in the impossible set off in motion His miraculous ways of working out the impossible for us.

We’ve been relishing in our miracle for almost two weeks, still in awe of how He did it. See, that’s all He wanted all along. “Walk with me, work with me, WATCH HOW I DO IT.” (See Matt. 11:28-30) It’s been His way of saying you don’t have to strive. This all gets worked out when you let me wear your load and you simply walk along going for a ride. And while in motion, we do not carry the weight of the impossible situation. No, He just wants our company as He works out the details of the life He has for us.

It felt like it all slipped into place as we least expected it. Just hours after I shared about this impossible problem the solution was set into motion in the natural. What would have taken months to do on our own, He did in days. We have no other explanation for what just took place except to say it was truly a God miracle.

We have a house waiting for us. He made a way where we saw no way. He worked out the impossible for us even better than what we had asked for or imagined.

Another fulfilled promise.

This keeps getting better and better!

*You know we had to celebrate as a family at the place where it all started. We got our kids ice cream and cuddled together on our picnic blanket to sit in awe of God’s full beauty. They are just as excited as their parents about the adventure that lies ahead.


clouded journey

It was no surprise rising through the dark clouds as we jetted on our journey to the west. Visibility consisted of a dense cloud cover. Sort of like the cover we felt when this season of our life was first unfolding.

Had I simply listened, read my own words that were speaking to ME, that were birthed to guide me in a shift of perspective, perhaps I may have seen the beautiful truth sooner.

Her bath had wrapped up and she was now cuddled up beside me with her story Bible. I felt so at rest, soaking up her every little touch coming from her gentle little digits pressing against my arm.

We opened up to the story she had just learned that last Sunday morning. We went back because we wanted to know what happened before the walls came tumbling down in Jericho. As I was soothed by the sweet aroma of my freshly cleaned girl, the light of the words opened up my eyes to the perspective shift revelation.

He covered His people with a cloud by day. They didn’t move until the cloud moved. They didn’t know their next step but God was with them every step of the journey. He guided their steps.

And you might as well have hit me over the head with a Jericho brick for having missed the truth that surrounded me the entire time.

It was not simply fog. It was the cloud of God’s presence surrounding us, resting all around us. He’s been closer than we’ve known.

One step at a time, He seamlessly transitioned us from one to the next and the next, never fully disclosing the final destination.

But that doesn’t matter. Clarity is overrated when we have a vision of the One with us.

And a deep sigh of regret left from my chest as I wished I had recognized His close proximity sooner.

Nevertheless, the lesson is there for me and for you so we don’t forget because we are good at forgetting. But I want to be good at remembering.

Remembering that He is with me.

Remembering that He is trustworthy.

Remembering that His promises have no expiration date.

Remembering that He loves me so much that He hides me in His cloud because He loves to protect me while working out dreams for me that I have not even dreamt up yet.

If He gave us full disclosure, He knows we would sabotage His doings.

He knows us so well. He knows that if we see where he wants us to arrive as our destination, we will look at where we are and the distance we must transverse and our wails will be HOW?!

Remember, you must let go of “how” when choosing to walk the unknown.

He knows that our limited minds have limited capacity and we would be completely consumed with our questioning instead of with our motion from one step to the other.

He knows that we get distracted with the details and might not move at all. He doesn’t want us to be paralyzed analyzing the enormity of what he is trying to accomplish in us and through us. Take note that it is He who is trying to accomplish it, not us.

He just needs us to cooperate with him. To move when he says move, and wait when he says wait. One single act of obedience after another.

His cloud works like a shield that is protecting us every step of the way so we might not lose our way even when we don’t know where exactly we are going. The cloud shields us from becoming bound to unbelief because our eyes cannot yet fully see.

And while we are moving not fully seeing, in the cloud He’s restoring our vision. He realigns our purpose with our originally intended purpose since the words for our creation were spoken.

The restorative work only occurs when we lift our eyes off ourselves and fix our eyes on Him, seek Him, draw close to Him, and search out with listening eyes and ears the secrets that He wants to share with us.

More than anything else we could see, He wants us to see Him.

We went east to west and back again and we remain in the foggy cloud. We still don’t know how.

We never imagined that we would be this close to crossing over, yet waiting for a door to open. We thought we’d go and come back with a clear date. Not so.

We are still walking in the unknown.

We are between a hard place and impossible, but we continue trusting because impossible is His specialty.

JohnApril 9, 2016 - 9:28 pm

I love how you paint our journey in words.

BeiraApril 12, 2016 - 8:58 pm


[…] felt like it all slipped into place as we least expected it. Just hours after I shared about this impossible problem the solution was set into motion in the natural. What would have taken months to do on our own, He […]