Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lord of ALL

Too small children living their lives in cribs, tortured, teary eyes as full as their bellies are empty, families beaten and battered by life and simple geography.............these are images that fill my mind and my heart. I want to heal these hearts, fill these bellies and bring joy to these eyes. I cry out to the Lord........let it be me, let it be me, let it be me........................


Lord, have you found something in me lacking? Is it that I can't handle it......that you wouldn't give me more than I can bear? I can, I can with the help of you, Lord. Let it be me..............


But, Lord, my heart, my heart cries out for these lost, these precious children of yours that have no other. There is death and destruction and loss because of the simplest things - water, medical care, food, shelter. Can we not provide this? Am I not worthy?

And in my heart and my mind, God answers................






Lord, humbly, I ask your forgiveness. I forgot who it was that is in control, I forgot the bigger picture. Instead of rejoicing in the blessings that were given to me, I was ashamed for the abundance that was given to me. Instead of looking to where I was, I looked to where I felt I was needed. Instead of giving all power and control to you, I felt I was more important and needed to take control. I mistook skin color and health and comfort for contentedness and peace in you Lord. Help me to serve those around me for everywhere mothers need a break, a bit of peace in their lives. Everywhere there are the lonely, needing a reminder that God loves them but more than that they need to have a visible reminder that they are not forgotten. That life while infinitely slower is still going on about them and that they are part of the living. Everywhere they are children whose hearts need tended. Everywhere there are friends, loved ones who need a word, a word of love, of comfort and well, of course, a bit of humor. Lord, let me rejoice in the task you have set before me...................

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Big Beautiful Baby Boy

Did you know that Joe and I expected to be parents of 4 girls? I am not sure when or how we came up with this idea but we really wanted girls. Luckily our first was a girl, thereby taking all pressure off any ensuing children. So when we were pregnant with our second we were not at all surprised when up popped a beautiful baby boy on the ultrasound screen. What DID take us by surprise was how much out world changed with the coming of our big beautiful baby boy...........

Can I tell you that Nico has been our easiest child in so many ways? And that was the most surprising thing. We would lay him down to sleep and lo and behold he would sleep. He enjoyed other people. You could set him down. You could put him in a swing. Nico's needs were simple - he needed to eat and to sleep. If those were fulfilled you had a happy baby. We did not think was possible after our first experience. To this day, I always say that Nico is JOY. God's gift to that child has been to infuse him with JOY. Yes, nowadays, there are temper tantrums and loud NOS! and all the other frustrations of 3 year old but oh, the joy that is held within that tiny body made up of cheeks and lips and big blue eyes.

It is Nico that can cheer Fia up at a moment's notice. It is Nico that cuddles his mama each morning and is always ready to be read to when a lap is available. It is Nico that sets off on adventures each morning whether riding his bike or simply heading off to the toy closet to see what adventures he can make for himself. It is Nico that during play by yourself time can create whole worlds of cars and dinosaurs and superheroes and spin dialogue out of nothing at all.

I can't imagine this family without the comic relief that is found in my boy. He is sweetness and light wrapped up in a messy, muddy package that comes with permanently tousled hair and a sturdy pair of boots regardless of the season. He keeps us from getting too comfortable in our quiet little world of girliness - this house that would revolve around crafts, tea parties, school work and reading has had to expand to include dirt piles, wrestling, sports of all kinds and baking that involves leaving no area of the body or kitchen unscathed.

And, I must say, I have a newfound respect for mothers of grown boys. For while Fia is my heart, Nico is my joy. In knowing him and loving him, I experience such joy. I can't imagine the day that I will have to share that joy with another woman - will she be worthy of my little man? Will she care for him as I have always cared for him? Will she make him his favorite pesto pizza and homemade jam? Will she love his complete lack of awareness? Will she treasure those lips and cheeks and big blue eyes? Will she experience the same joy in knowing and loving him?

I suppose I will have to trust God on this one. I will have to prepare now a bit for the eventual leaving. For one day, if we do our job right, this precious baby boy will grow and leave and start a family of his own (although at this point this seems an impossibility). For today I will eagerly await his getting up so that we can cuddle, content in the knowledge that joy will rest it's head on my chest for yet another day. And perhaps, I will be a bit more aware that I have another mama's boy, another mama's joy in my house. That the growing and leaving has already taken place for another woman, that another woman's treasure was given to me. So not only will I cuddle my little man, but also my big man knowing that as I do I honor another woman's sacrifice and gift to me.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Look Back....

Getting ready for village I was thinking that I can, that our family can, look so good when one is looking in from the outside. We have chairs, a table, fruit, 2 frittatas, homemade banana pudding, activities for the kids and other assorted items that we cart to village. Our kids are looking cute, we most likely will get there early and we can paint a pretty picture for all those at village without kids, without spouses who most likely don't know what does on behind the scenes. Even when there is chaos at village it seems to be a happy chaos most of the time. However, in the last 10 minutes Francesca has crawled on my lap and we wrestled over the keyboard, she ran into the kitchen and took a chunk out of the lovely tomato, basil and feta frittata I made, the other two are zoned out in front of the TV after Joe and I admitted that we are too tired to play for another 45 minutes before having to round up the kids and be on for village. So today I was reminded of this e-mail I sent out to friends after Easter 2010 and thought it was worthy of a repeat.

Just today I was thinking about all the feelings of inadequacy I have been having lately. If the house is clean I feel like I haven't spent enough time with the kids. If the kids and I have been playing then the house is a mess and dinner is hurriedly made. If there is fresh baked bread and a great dinner on the table then I wasn't taking the walk with the kids that I wanted to. Everything comes with a price and there is a balance to life - you can't do EVERYTHING perfectly. And while, yes, we all want to just play and be in the moment with our kids the family must eat and sleep in clean beds and have clean clothes to wear and well, they have to learn to help with this stuff and play on their own.

But I was thinking of how things may LOOK perfect in our lives sometimes. We had a bunch of people over last night for Easter dinner and it was wonderful and I am so glad that we did it. But man, it looked like I had everything together. There was the fresh baked bread, the homemade dishes, decorated cake, easter crafts on the wall, bible verses out and memorized by Fia, kids behaving well and when they didn't they were promptly moved to timeout (Nico........). Francesca went to bed and stayed sleeping at 7:00, the kids got their jammies on without screaming and yelling about going back outside. They ate all their fruit and veggies without comment. Wow, what a great family we are, huh? I guess they missed it when Joe got ticked off at me because I wouldn't take 2 seconds to hug and kiss him while I was making those delicious mashed potatoes. I guess they weren't there when I was freaking out on my family Saturday morning because I wanted to try to get everything prepped for Sunday dinner that morning so I wouldn't have to do much on Sunday and the house was a mess and I was thinking I took on too much. I guess they didn't see Sunday morning when the family went to sunrise service (usually 45 minutes, right?) and it was AN HOUR AND A HALF!!!!!! and Nico and Sofia were quickly turning into these beasts in a totally silent service that we were not prepared for and I was thinking just smile, just smile because today Jesus is alive and that is the important thing!

My life, our family is not much as I strive for it to be! But it's ok. I read this passage today:

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. " Romans 8:38 (NLT)

and usually when I read it I think oh how nice for those other people that don't know God that they can read this and think that God is so present in THIER life (yes, that is how self-centered I am! this is for OTHER people!) But today I read that and I just was amazed at it's message to ME! All my worries about today - all those thoughts of inadequacy, all those worries about the house, about dinner, about my weight, about spending time with the ever increasing brood, about not honoring my husband the way I should be doing - all that STUFF isn't keeping God's love from touching my life. Even when I am not thinking of Him because of all the crap in my life He is constantly with me. I just rested in that today. The dishes are piled up, the laundry is really very overwhelming, I am not dressed and the kids are in play by yourself time for an extra ten minutes but it's ok - life goes on and I have no one to look PERFECT for today!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Oh My, How Things Do Change....

When Fia was 3 weeks old we had to leave her to go to a wedding, my brother's wedding. It was decided that it would be better to leave her at home during the ceremony so that her screaming and anger at not being with her milk supply would not interrupt the event of my brother's lifetime.

I was a wreck.

I was worried because I was breastfeeding and pumping was not going well (Joe stood behind me with a hand pump and pumped like you wouldn't believe to get out a few drops.....can you imagine these things when you are dating or just married? That someday you will stand behind your beautiful bride while she has a piece of plastic attached to her nipple and you would be squeezing this plastic piece of equipment so that you can feed your screaming, starving newborn.....). Now if you are insecure and new at this mothering thing the prospect of giving a bottle to your then breastfeeding infant is something akin to setting their hair on fire, injecting them with heroin or other such things. This is something that nurses, websites, other mothers warn you about.........NIPPLE REJECTION. If a bottle touches your baby's sweet lips than WATCH OUT......NIPPLE REJECTION.......she will NEVER again nurse on your breast because she has had the goodness of a bottle.

Add to this I hadn't slept in three weeks and I had to fit into some sort of wedding clothes so that I could see all these family members and friends that had gathered for this happy occasion (mall shopping with a 2 week old was SO fun - again, a screaming, angry, HUNGRY infant - nursed in a tiny dressing room in Dillard's while staring in a mirror at my post baby body - SO PRETTY, I guess the tears running down my face didn't help matters at all.......). Plus I was pretty sure that Fia was torturing my mother-in-law for the 2 hours we were gone.

We ran home after the ceremony, nursed her and went to the reception - things were good while she was sleeping...then the beast awoke. It was ok but then we had to admit defeat and take her back home to Sharon. We went back to the wedding reception and, may God and my brother and sweet sister-in-law forgive me, all I wanted to do was curl up on a couch and sleep.

We left her sporadically over the next few months with the grandparents. Zia Maria made the short list, too. But other than that we were the caregivers. It was impossible to think of leaving her with anyone would she do without us? Who could we trust besides Zia Maria and Grandma Goats, my mom, my dad, nana? No one.

Five years later, 2 more kids and a lot more sleepless nights later...............this is who babysat Friday night for us. No list was left, no instructions typed out, nothing laid out, just see you later, THANK YOU SO MUCH I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU ARE SO NICE TO DO THIS FOR US.....

Neighbor Steve and Joe, my hubby

** On a side note - neighbor Steve is a TREASURED neighbor, as is his wife Yumiko. Nico's first word was "TEVE!" He would yell this in the backyard and try to make a break for Steve's house whenever possible when he was about 18 months old. All the children LOVE Steve and Yumiko - at this point in the game we worry more about the sitter than the kids.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Said No...(but I REALLY, REALLY want to say yes)

All I want is for my children to be happy and to see their smiling faces, it would make life simple and easy, right? I mean who can resist this face? But, here's the hard's not REALLY all I want. On the surface, sure, a happy kid makes a happy mom which makes a happy home but I want more. I want to look past this moment in time to their future and I know what makes them happy now won't ensure the best person in the future. One of the hardest things I have had to do as a parent is say no when all I want to do is say yes. I want to buy them everything, have McDonald's for lunch (you should see the joy that comes from the mere mention of chicken nuggets - it's become a grandparent fav) every day, watch Dora until it's no longer fun, I want to clear every path, soften every blow, I want to absorb all the hurt and pain that they will experience so that they will remain untouched, innocent and happy.

I don't do this, of course, I don't absorb all the hurts........I could, at this age, probably pull this off. I don't give them all their heart's desires.........this, too, is possible at this age, especially with all the wonderful family members we have. Why don't I? Because their heart, their character will always trump their happiness. What kind of person does a child become when they know no hardship, when everything is given to them, when there is nothing to work for? I hope I don't ever find out.

And when I say this, when I think gives me pause. For doesn't my Father love me the same way? When all I am looking for is a simple yes and I get no - why? I imagine that He wants to say yes, to give everything, to create utter happiness. I imagine His heart is much BIGGER than mine and He would love nothing better than to say YES! He would love to see expressions of joy and happiness on our faces. But what happens when we are given everything we want? We lose track of what brings us true joy and contentment and start to rely on what is given to us, on the circumstances of life and not God. Do our things, our health, our friends bring contentment? In a way, yes. But not true contentment. Toys break. Friends leave or disappoint. Health deteriorates. What are we left with then? What if all our life we have depended on that to make us happy? In the end we are left with what we had in the beginning. A Father's love, an unchanging, never ending, always there kind of love - whether you have everything you want or nothing. That is what I want for my children.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

For Ashley (and the other two people who read this).......

Further proof that I am, indeed, the messy mom........

Even Fia got in on the action..... excitedly catching worms for the garden.

Nico's collection of worms, you CANNOT believe how many worms there were....HUGE, FAT worms......

Nico playing in the neighbor's "pond" after the morning rain......

And, as always, Francesca would rather be eating. Here she is double fisting it from the garden.......

And, yes, as I assured Ashley, we did give them baths afterwards because of something called pinworm? Thank goodness, as a messy mom, I know a classy mom and I mean that in the best of all ways. We all need a little class in our lives and, quite frankly, it's not a strength of mine.

Monday, July 18, 2011

What's Your Thing?

Everyone has their thing, right? That thing that sets them apart from other moms. Sometimes you get to be the cool mom or the mom that always has good snacks or how about the sporty mom? My mom growing up was just "mom", she collected kids - all our friends always just called her mom. Diane, my next door neighbor, was more the fix it type mom - she untangled hair, had ingredients on hand for my infrequent forays into cooking. I still call her about things and I think that we had her and her husband over to the house several times within the first year of home ownership to help us out.

Well, this past week at camp I learned what kind of mom I was - I think I knew before this week but it was confirmed at camp. My first indication came when Amy asked me the first night what my nighttime routine was at camp - did I do baths before or after Vespers, did I visit the snack bar with the kids before or after bath? Hmmmmm........bath. At camp? Ummm, let's see. I totally was thinking the pool counted as the bath. They put chlorine in those things, right? Isn't that a cleansing type thing? I always feel way better after a dip in teh pool and I am assuming my children do to. Well, I thought Amy was going to pass out when I mentioned that my kids averaged a bath a week at previous camps (I was fudging just a bit - I don't think we gave them a bath/shower at all one year). She had certain ideas about putting clean kids into clean beds at night - which I must say was validated by the smell that was emitted from my children's room by the end of the week. Maybe next year we can shoot for 2 baths during the week.....we'll see.

Then came the question of proper footwear. Let's be honest, here. I have a hard time keeping the children fully clothed at all times (mainly Nico but Francesca has been known to strip down at times) so that shoes don't seem nearly as important as, say, underwear or pants. So at camp this year I would say that Francesca wore shoes less than half the time that she was at camp. She would walk into the dining hall with sucker in her hair, bangs all askew (we are desperately trying to grow them out since we are not very good at keeping up with the trimming - note the lack of showers, people - how on earth can we keep up on actually cutting hair.) and no shoes, by the third day we gave up the pretense of even putting them on before meal times.

However, I think one of my favorite moments of the week was on Thursday night. It's towards the end of the week - the kids have been engaged in NONSTOP PLAY and SUGAR CONSUMPTION and have had a TOTAL LACK OF SLEEP. So at this point it's all about keeping the peace. Francesca and I are at the Talent Show in Zimmerman (picture a glorified picnic shelter/elongated garage) and she has a bag of M&Ms. She decides it would be a great idea to pour these out on the DIRTY, FILTHY, STICKY floor. Then she lays down with HER FACE on that same floor and begins to pick them up with her grimy little fingers/tongue and chomps them up in her mouth. It is at this point that it becomes abundantly clear to me what kind of mom I am...........

I am the messy mom. Fingerpainting? Mud pits? Glitter in the house? Baking without worry? Collecting worms/bugs/cicada shells? Come to the Codispoti's house. And yes I realize that messy doesn't quite cover it but putting the dirty mom seems well,...........dirty.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Living Sacrifice

9 months, 5 years, 18 years.............milestones that stick out in a mother's mind. The nine months spent in your body - a time when things happen that you never thought possible - stretching and aching and mutations like none you have ever known. Then one day out pops a baby (yes, for some it is that easy, I am so very sorry if you are not one of those - just think of me on me knees hunched over a public toilet retching into the bowl while peeing myself - it might make you feel an eensy bit better).

Five years or there about signal another BIG change - off to kindergarten, away from your loving arms and prying eyes for many hours of the day. You are done wiping, dressing, monitoring every moment. Then comes the big one - 18 and off to
something whether it be college, job, schooling, etc. - it signals an ending of some sort in a young mother's mind (do you see how I labeled myself young - I have been noticing grey hairs and many wrinkles and ice cream that stays on my hips when not on my lips - I figure if I label myself as young maybe others will believe it too). I am sure that there will be other moments that pop up in the future where I will say....ahhh, this, this too was a milestone but for right now I think of these as the biggies.

And when you say 18 years, doesn't it seem like a lifetime away when you are momentarily paused at 5, 3 and 2? Sometimes I slip into a mode of thinking that places me far away from what is important right now. I want to do bigger and better things. I want to serve and make a difference.......and let's be honest, be a rock star of a person. I want recognition, I want to be the one who is at the forefront, who is a living, breathing version of a modern day Paul or Mary (the one prone at the feet of Jesus - not the one giving birth in a barn - it was easy but really loved that epidural
(don't tell Eric)). But 18 years is not a lifetime, it is a blink of an eye. And what if in my pursuit of being a rock star of a person or in my pursuit simply to be what I think I need to be RIGHT NOW causes me to miss the growing and guiding of my children? What if 2, 3 and 5 are just the beginning of when my children need me? What if 5 would signal Fia moving on a bit and then I feel as if it's time for me to move on? What happens then? Is it time?

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

- Romans 12:1-2

Being a mom is hard. It's answering the hard questions and going against the grain for the good of your family. God is asking for a sacrificial love, a sacrificial life that doesn't always include exactly what you want, when you want it. Sometimes I feel like I am waiting, waiting for something to happen and then God reminds me that in that waiting there is to be found life and love and joy and contentment. In that waiting there is space and time for my children to come to me at any time and ask questions or to be silly or to have cuddle time.

And the wait time becomes not so hard, not even seemingly sacrificial but right where I want to be. For in that time my children are learning, they are discovering who they are and who they want to be. For children never work on your time schedule, it is when you least expect it or are the least prepared that they want to talk to you about
where babies come from, why God wants us to love our enemies and how hard that is, why our friends don't always want to be friends with us. Why oh why aren't children ever asking those things during those nicely planned moments of Bible study or journaling but rather when eating lunch, in a car or walking the neighborhood................because they ask them in the moment, the moment where they have the time and space and comfort that comes from simply being with you. And I can think of nothing better to do with this life that God gave me than to be there for those years that He has blessed me with these beautiful
children................may 18 not come too soon.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Girl

It's true......

what they all say and you don't quite believe......

when you are stuck in the midst of sleepless nights...........

when you are pregnant with the second and third and wishing SOMEONE would please just get a little bit bigger....................

the realization strikes when once again you are in Marcs (this time with your underwear NOT showing)......

the school supplies are being placed on shelves.......
and then you realize it really does.....
go way too fast.
It takes your breath away and leaves you with an aching heart for the girl that has grown and is growing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

You Have My Permission.....(as if you need it or even asked for it....)

Last night I was up after the kids were in bed getting stuff ready to put in the freezer. This has become one of my new favorite activities......this storing up of good foods for the winter, especially because most of it is free from our garden. I was blanching spinach, peas and green beans. Then laid them out all neatly on the counter in their baggies so I could admire my work. After I was all done I thought why on earth didn't I do this last year? This is so easy! Oh wait.....hmmm.....what was last year? That's was this...........

And this..........

Having a just turned 4 year old, 2 1/2 year old and 9 month old is much different from having a 5, 3 and almost 2 year old. It was kind of a crazy time, an exhausting time. Life is much different now - there is more time and energy and even help in doing all the things that I need/want to get done. We can pick together, shell peas together, make jam, etc. It seemed last year there was a lot of attention that was needed, lots of hands to hold, arms that were outstretched to a stretched out momma.

What all this means is that there is a time for everything - a time to freeze/can/preserve, a time to be that mom who has crafts prepared, games to play, a time to lead bible study, a time to volunteer at school, a time to entertain BUT then there is a time when you let your kids watch more tv than you ever swore you would when you were pregnant with your first, a time when you just go buy the jam/sauce/bread, a time when you swear off any volunteering opportunity, a time when you wonder if you will ever be able to be the mom you want to be because getting out of bed to feed/snuggle/comfort that baby one more time is just about putting you over the edge and this just might be the time you crack.

It's good to have perspective. It's good to be past the first baby, the first year and realize that truly it doesn't last forever and regardless of whatever that child's association group says your child WILL NOT be harmed FOREVER if they spend some winter months eating kraft macaroni and cheese while zoned out on sesame street for a little while everyday. Because while we CAN certainly make wonderful homemade meals everyday, engage our children in meaningful activities, blog about what wonderful women we are and then record every moment in a scrapbook that is not what makes a mom. It's simply that you love on your kids, you hug them, read a few books, eat dinner with them whatever it might be and just be there. So you have my permission to let your kids watch tv, feed them whatever you can find/buy in a box/bag/can, let the house get a bit disorganized, don't make your bed in the morning, buy digital scrapbooks that contain the 20 decent pictures you managed to take of your child's first year and then in a little while you will be begin to find your new normal and get into a groove and you will be able to do more, have more time for what you want to do so much so that you'll almost forget those hectic, sleepless, exhausting days................until the next one....................

Sofia at 1 month. I am still amazed that I had another one after the screamfest that was Sofia - truly a testimony that you do indeed forget what it is like - so much so that I was pregnant again 8 months after this picture was taken.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Not Every Moment is a Glorious One

Otherwise known as Confessions of a Bad Mommy...........

1. The other day I actually held the phone to my ear and pretended to be talking to my grandfather while lying in bed in the middle of the afternoon. I just needed a tiny break and felt that was the only way everyone would leave me alone.

2. I have turned away from my child and done the whole silent scream/stranglehold motion thing to keep from having my own emotional breakdown.

3. The only way laundry has gotten done this past month is when Nico runs out of underwear or shorts.

4. Francesca has pooped in two different yards this summer.

5. My kids get a dumdum sucker every time we leave grandma and grandpa's house (they keep a bowl there for them) because it is just easier that way - bribes work.

6. I have come to accept that fact that I may never dust this whole house (do you like how I make it sound as if we have the MASSIVE place to dust - it's about 4 rooms that really ever need it, 4 small rooms) at one time again until everyone is in school. (I would like to pretend it's because I am SO busy but it's really because I just cannot find it in me to care about the dust on the mantle.)

7. A few weeks ago Joe had been working at the farm all morning and then working in our garden for most of the afternoon and evening. He comes in about 7:00 and says what do you need, can I do anything. I say oh I am getting what I need (not one of my finer moments....). I walk out the door, do not say goodbye to anyone in the house and leave the house - just one of those days. I ran an errand, then went to my parents house, took a bath and read a book on their porch until I was certain that the kids would be tucked in. To his credit when I came home he didn't say a word just asked how everything was......that's what 7 years of marriage and 3 kids can do for you!

8. Nico is probably naked more often than he should be - the other day he asked me if I wanted to play nudo soccer. I told him that wasn't really going to happen, nor should it EVER happen.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Post of Many Pictures

Dare I say, as adults, that we complicate things? That we tend to muck up the works by thinking that we need to entertain, socialize, teach or occupy our children each moment of the day. One of the joys of having small children is the simplicity of the joy that is found in being with them. There is so much delight to be found in the extraordinary yet ordinary things of this world.

There are amusement parks, stores full of the latest and greatest in kid's stuff, whole buildings devoted to the entertainment of children through bouncy things and what not but in the end the things that stir my children the most are found in the simplicity of the world around them or through the process of creating something. And why not take this time - when they are young and carefree - to be young again yourself?

Go.....go........jump in puddles, dig in the dirt, fingerpaint, go on bunny hunts, play games and cards all day in your pjs.........just don't waste this time when they are young being old and stodgy.

Abandon all thoughts of keeping clothes clean, of ever catching up on your to do list, abandon what's not important and become a kid again, enjoying the simplicity of this beautiful world. Why wait 2 hours in line for one roller coaster when right out your back door is a world of adventure?