raulesprza raulesprza

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Raul Esparza  • #AnEsparzaAdventure • Married to @arielraee • Creator at @psalmsthirtyfour • Contact: raul.esprza@gmail.com

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : And just like that our first trip to Europe ends in the most beautiful way. I love it whenever we get to share our story with new friends. It makes my heart fall more in love with God and you. Our new friends couldn’t have said it any better, “a progression of faith.” Our faith in Jesus should always keep us moving forward, our faith should always progress forward. Our choices led us to this point, now cemented in time, to celebrate within an evening a honeymoon and a anniversary. We are so grateful to God how He blessed us on this unforgettable trip. Funny to think it all started on a wedding day and now we’re going back to the states, where we call “home” for now. Both France and Italy, captured our hearts. We had a few hiccups along the way, but for keeping it spontaneous, we did outstandingly awesome for booking last minute places to stay, learning to get around and activities. We couldn’t have done this without our dreams, our parents, our prayers, our discipline in saving and paying off our debt and our hearts to travel. Literally a match made in Heaven. As much as we will miss the culture here, we can’t wait to go back for tacos and going to the movies. Well, at least for me anyways. Thank you so much for following along our Europe adventure. We cannot wait to share what we experienced in the weeks to come. As we both said, “it definitely gets better.” Onto the next one! ✨

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : Buongiorno! After a few days here, we’re starting to get into the Italian groove. There’s definitely a language barrier here more than France but throw in a smile and the Italians will love you. It has definitely changed our perspective after landing in Naples, they’re a little rough around the edges but very passionate people! Today, we concluded our Rome trip and took the train to Mestre, a small metropolis outside of Venice. We found a great #airbnb right in front of the main bus line into the heart of Venice. We took a stroll over the canals, had a quick bite to eat and came to this beautiful pink sky view of San Marco. Beyond grateful for this artistry by an Awesome God! ✨🇮🇹

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : Our trip is coming to an end but it’s the beginning of something grand to come. We’ve been blessed with amazing encounters through our travels and this trip is no different. You won’t be able to see the faces of the people we’ve met but we’ll carry their stories in our hearts to share. We believe that’s the beauty of traveling besides getting to visit historic places and eating really amazing food. I’d like to think of it as a “mission” trip. People open the doors of their home to us and we get to be apart of their world. We get to listen and the best part there is no agenda. Shouldn’t we all do that in a sense, instead of being so focused on labels and agendas. Let’s just travel and reflect Jesus. Writing this reminds me of a sweet English lady that hosted us in Pontorson, France. Oh my goodness, we can listen to her for hours and she’s an artist. I was hanging onto every single second of her presence. I honestly don’t remember when I had moments like these back in the states besides my parents and a few friends. It seems everyone is going at a comfortable velocity and I’m trying to just pause and be still in the beauty of what’s surrounding us. It’s amazing what a trip outside your comfort zone can do to you. Like eating your favorite food dish. We’ll definitely be having more of this in Jesus name! 🇮🇹 (Photo by @christinaskilbred)

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : Today is not only Mexico’s Independence Day 🇲🇽, Micah’s Birthday 🙌🏻 but also #nationalwifeappreciationday 💁🏼‍♀️. Talk about a stacked eventful day. So I can’t miss this opportunity to talk about how much I love... pizza lol. Just kidding! This trip has been such a blessing for us. Before the trip, I wanted to get in the habit of praying for favor and grace over our month long Europe trip. Everyday I started by thanking God for favor and grace in all the encounters we may have. Ariel and I would look at each other with huge smiles every time we were surprised with a tremendous blessing. After a couple of days of thanking God, it became natural to thank Him in advance. It didn’t matter if my prayer would be answered now or later, I just wanted to put my faith in God that He has the best for us always through gratitude. I’m so thankful that we are getting to experience a multitude of perspectives through this trip. It’s opened our eyes and of course deepened our taste for God’s kingdom. When you live according to God’s will in every aspect of your life, the adventure that is life begins to taste better. God desires to be invited and involved in your life. We’ve seen His blessings abound in our lives and we desire that for you. Now, I’m ready for another slice of pizza! 🍕#positanobeach

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : The big picture. I strongly believe that to live a healthy lifestyle aside from any beliefs you may have, we must step back to see the big picture. My faith in Jesus came through a selection of events that started out as ripples then into waves. Back in 2007, I was captured in a deep spiritual darkness. It reflected in my outer appearance. I was at my heaviest weight and my spirit had no backbone. I was easily convinced and confused by others. Which allowed me to be in a toxic relationship. I don’t use the word, toxic as loosely but I was in a spiritual crisis. My parents were aware and in God’s will they intervened. My dad and I went on a road trip to Minnesota and in the months to come my blindfold came off. My chains became loose and I found my footing. The enemy knew what was happening. I was his BUT I belonged to God first. During this time, my dad and I worked odd jobs in Minnesota. One night after work, my dad fell asleep and I decided to watch a movie. As the movie ended, I prepared to go to sleep. I turned off the lights and laid my head on the pillow but I saw something in the corner. A dark figure. It was tall and looming in the corner. I thought nothing of it. It seemed strange that this particular shadow was darker than the rest. I got up half way on the bed and that’s when I was attacked by a demon. It moved fast and started choking me. I couldn’t speak at all. I tried to move but it was too strong. Little by little I moved to the side of the bed, to grab my dad. My body was paralyzed but I was able to drop my arm to tap him. “Dad, dad!” I somehow couldn’t get a hold of him. So I tried to yell, but I couldn’t. “In the name of Jesus Christ,” slowly began to echo in mind to manifest in my mouth to speak. I had to hear it. Then I said it as loud as I could and the demon left. My dad woke up and turned the lights on. That right there was the spiritual image of God rescuing me and opening my eyes. That ripple would later become into a wave. I’m sharing this with you because there is no darkness that can’t stop God from rescuing you in order to experience life. Because of Him this adventure exists! ✨

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : Everyone at some point in their life MUST visit this place. If a random stranger I met from Alabama can explore the Amalfi Coast by himself then you can too but more on that story later on. Now, I can go on sharing photos from France forever but I think it’s time to transition to our time in Italy. When we started “planning” for our Europe trip, we immediately decided on France and Italy. The thought of catching the end of summer in those two countries was pure romanticism. We knew right away that the anchor of our Italy trip would be the coastal town of Positano. We had endless photos and stories saved. Daydreaming about stepping foot on the sands of Positano came natural. We started counting the days as soon as we discovered this heaven sent place through our Instagram feeds. We followed vloggers, Kane & Pia and Steph & Neal (go subscribe to their channels!). As soon as we stepped foot on the former fishing town, it felt like a dream. It exceeded our expectations and was worth all the hype. If we could camp on the beach we would. It felt unreal and we hope one day you plan to visit this very special town. 🇮🇹✨ #positanobeach

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : Reading the book, “Everybody Always” has been heart opening. @bobgoff eloquently simplifies learning to love better through his own personal experiences. I love how both @arielraee and I are learning from two different perspectives. We stop each other whenever we read a nugget of wisdom. Well, when it comes to @sweetmariagoff and Bob, there are several. So excitingly we wait our turn to share. Imagine us on beach chairs going back and forth with huge smiles on our faces. Sometimes I love to share photos that correlate with the caption but instead I just want to share a photo that shows a woman who is beautifully changing before my eyes. During our dating we carried into our relationship a lot of unhealthy habits from our families. Some that are still works in progress but like our faith in Jesus we continue to invest, stretch and be adventurous in our relationship. There’s nothing quite like being in the front row and seeing the person you love the most change into the words God constantly speaks over us. It’s beautiful! During premarital counseling, we were convicted with so many patterns that we knew we had to let die in order to create something new, something that was us, something God foresaw. I love that this trip was birthed from us celebrating our first year of marriage and how much it has opened both our eyes. I love this woman so much because she’s helping me become better at being better for her. She deserves it! I cannot wait to see her as a mother of our children and the adventures we’ll go on! 🇫🇷

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : On our last day in France, as we hung out at a Açaí spot, I pointed to Ariel a mother with her daughter on a bike. The mother was carrying a painting, while the daughter rode on the bike eating an apple. I told her let’s bring our daughter here when she’s 4 and live here for awhile. Ariel quickly gave me the warmest smile and we both felt at peace. There’s nothing quite like France! 🇫🇷

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : During this trip both @arielraee and I brought books to read. I surprised her with @sweetmariagoff’s new book, “Love Lives Here.” While I finish reading @bobgoff’s book, “Everybody Always.” There’s so many little nuggets of wisdom, that I’d love to share with you one of my favorites. You can find this in Chapter 7, “A Day at the Museum.” “Have you noticed when people take photographs of each other,the person taking the picture is usually smiling too? Check it out for yourself. I think God does the same thing when He sees us. He’s not trying to bust us when we fail or when we act like posers. He doesn’t hang photographs of our mess-ups on the refrigerator. God isn’t in the business of punishing us with reminders; instead, He pursues us with love. He doesn’t grimace at our failures; He delights in our attempts.” So good, right?! Aside from the beautiful photos we share. What you don’t see is the hiccups we’ve encountered but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying each other or the time we have together. It encourages to be in pursuit of what we love. In our attempt, God graciously blessed us with grace and favor through our hosts, our drivers, our waiters, our transportation, etc. In our attempt God surprises us into something memorable and that’s the best souvenir to have. 🇫🇷

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : When I was a kid to my early twenties, I would read countless art books. Study paintings and figure out how these artists achieved their techniques. The Impressionism movement caught my eye from early on. So when I had the chance to visit @museeorangerie to see Monet’s masterpiece, “Water Lilies.” I was eagerly too excited. We missed going the first time around, so we had to make sure to visit as soon as we got back from Le Mont St-Michel. While Ariel waited for me at the cafe, I got to explore and experience the last painting strokes of Monet. Yet again, I got to step back in time to view such beauty. At a time during war. Monet kept working on this till his death in 1926. Since the 8 panels, 2 room exhibit is overwhelmingly amazing. I decided to document the people viewing the works of art. Grateful for this experience! 🇫🇷 #museeorangerie

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : Because Grammy requested more photos of me in front of the camera. Love her too much! Today we finally visited Le Mont Saint-Michel. The day I was looking forward to since I discovered the place earlier this year and the very first place I bookmarked to visit. There is no other place like this that we have visited before. We literally stepped back in time to walk around the cobblestone streets of this 8th century island. According to Wikipedia, the population here is only 50. Crazy right?! I’m so grateful we visited the countryside and split up our time than staying in the city for our entire France trip. It was exactly like all the photos I saved, pure magic. Unfortunately because we went on a Sunday most of the businesses were closed, as well as the main tour. But we still got to experience the beauty of this special island. We definitely recommend checking it out and staying there for the full experience. Tomorrow we return back to Paris then catch a flight to Naples, Italy! 🇫🇷

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : Love all the cafes we’ve visited. Especially how the chairs face the street. Great for people watching! Today was our last day in Paris and we definitely needed more time in the city. We’ll be back on Monday to explore a few more places before we leave to Naples, Italy. We also planned it to venture out into the countryside to get to know more of France. Mainly inspired by finding an 8th century town named, Mont Saint-Michel. Tomorrow we get to explore the historic town and finally eat some crepes! 🇫🇷

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