Big Orange Monster

It’s vibrant, it’s bold, it’s creative. We love it, but orange is hard to pull off.

The first paint we bought when we moved into our first house was orange. We wanted our studio office to be bright and energetic — to inspire creative genius. Three coats of paint, and we never use that room.

The family business in the 60’s used big letters to declare itself the “House of Hadley.” Guess what color they were? Last year we inherited them. We love their history and what they represent, but we’ve never hung them.

And now, orange is the color of the airline that’s going to carry us to the Czech Republic.
Okay. We’re getting on that plane.

Mom, Dad, we’re moving to Prague.

We’ve booked our tickets, leased our house, and paid the deposit on our tiny European apartment. We leave Wednesday afternoon, July 14. We plan to be there a year or two, and all we’re sure of is that it’s going to be an adventure.

It all started with a simple idea: what’s life like if you live big? If you take risks, and leap outside your comfort zone?

When we reconnected with an old friend who’d moved to Prague, we took all of 10 minutes to decide to book a flight. It was such a good trip that on the return flight, one of us half-jokingly suggested we move there. We locked eyes and realized we were serious.

“Do you have any monsters to declare?”

This was exciting. We could do this. We could live adventurously, take a chance, see the world. Why not?

But then reality set in, and we started to think about the risks it would require — quitting our jobs, leaving our friends, telling our moms.

standoffThe next thing you know, that big ball of excitement, curiosity, genius, fears, why nots, and what ifs has transformed into a hulking monster of a thing. He stands over you, breathing heavy, peering into your eyes just daring you to make the next move. And although you’re pretty sure he just ate the neighbor’s cat, he still looks hungry.

What to do when face to face with a monster so big it seems impossible to tackle? Maybe we don’t use our creative space because creativity is hard and exposes your guts. Maybe we don’t hang those letters because of the big things they represent – hopes, aspirations, risk, whatever. Maybe we let the monster tell us that some things are just too scary to try.

Or, we realize that this monster is our own creation, made of the very things that spark our souls to life. Those unknown bits – the risks and dangers – those are just treasures, tragedies, and monotonies waiting to be given meaning by our awesome, unpredictable existence.

So one day we sit in a coffee shop, humbled by God, His universe, and the philosophies of Doctor Who. And we decide to decide. We’re doing it – we’re going to try living a different way.

So. First we’ll move to Prague. We’re just going to take that monster with us and hope for the best. When the going gets rough we’re sure he’ll be good in a fight. He is — by coincidence — orange, afterall.

Hello, unknown.


The site looks awesome, guys! So creative, so hip, so adventurous, so you! Even tho we’re some of the friends you’re leaving (tear), we’re so happy that you guys are chasing your dreams. Counting down with you…

How can a monster that is colored Orange be scary? My heart is so filled with happiness for the two of you. I have no doubt that God will be dong some absolutely amazing things with you and that big Orange guy. May your last days here be filled with loving embraces from your family and friends and may you seek new friends with that same loving embrace when you get there. I am sitting on the edge of my seat thinking about all the future adventures I will be reading from the two of you. Blessings, K

Huzzah! I am SOOOO excited for you guys! You’re living my dream – running headfirst into the unknown trusting in God to take care of you, and knowing it’ll be an adventure. Can’t wait to hear all about it!

This is so cool! You guys will have that monster housetrained in no time!

I had no idea! My heart is beating 90 miles a minute right now after reading this! THIS is what we were created for! Adventure, reckless abandonment, romance and faith. I am so excited to live vicariously through you via this site (which rocks!) and Twitter. I look forward to spending the last day of VBS in your wonderful story telling role! Amy, you amaze me!

Great writing! Can’t wait to see the pics and commentary that flow out of your creative adventure!

YESTERDAY, like seriously, i was thinking about how when i’m back in Austin i want to hang out with you guys more – make craft dates with Amy, quit e-stalking your hnwn blog and (scratch that – always e-stalk it, but also…) find a kindred crafter. and now this news… but alas, i will just have to go to PRAGUE! eeek! so sad to criss-cross our transatlantic flights but sososos excited to get to peak in on your journey. it will be awesome! you will be on my list to visit – maybe with that sara (are their any hostels near your sheik teensy little feathered nest?). Dive in to that adventure, we can’t wait to chear you on! – HOORAY!!!

You two are an inspiration in so many ways!
Only the best of wishes for this trip are extended from my heart.
Have lots of fun…
Live Happily….
Stretch Far….
& Love Hard!

Hey, Hadleys! How exciting for you to go on this adventure! You are quite inspiring!! Love the website! Moving tip: Think of new habits you want to employ and old ones you want to drop. Then start them on day one … or when you get your brain back! Change makes a way for that sort of thing. Can’t wait to hear all about. You were made for this!

LOVE this Big Orange Monster (BOM, is that his name?) website! It is so (as your nephew says) “Amy-Dennis.” LOVE the fact that you all are doing what most of the rest of us only dream of doing.
But do I LOVE the fact that not only will you all NOT be in the same time zone, but on a different continent…not so much. Must be a momma thing.
Still, I LOVE you all dearly and am excited for you. MWA!!!

Good luck on your travels! I am wishing you tons of fun and adventure. But, If I had one piece of advice for living abroad it is to remember that you have bad days at home too. Remember that when you have one there (because you will have them) and know that you made it throught them.
Travelling abroad is the best thing one can do- congrats on the big leap!

That BOM looks like he wants to be your friend and give out hugs…go ahead and monster hug him…I have a feeling he won’t hurt you! Way to dive out of your “little r” and into God’s “big R”!

Awesome job on the website. The BOM gives hugs? Sign me up! Daily countdown makes me hyperventilate a little, though. I’ll be more excited to see a coming-back-home countdown. But I know you guys will have a wonderful time, and make memories to last a lifetime. Happy for you, sad for me. :)

Hi friends – thanks for all the well wishes and comments. I’ve heard that the ‘unsubscribe’ link is not being added to emails that are being sent if you leave ‘notify me of followup replies via email’ box checked. Apologies if all these comments are filling up your inbox! I’m working on a fix now…

(an exultant plug for big orange monsters, and their lunches, everywhere)

Great job D+A!

FYI – Comments unsubscribe fixed (look for a link at the end of the any new comment reply emails).

So excited for you guys, and I can’t wait to get updates. (PS. My prom dress was orange ;)

Wow, this could be a reality show!

I’ve been to Hungary and Ukraine… never to the Czech Republic. Experiencing other cultures is addictive once you start. You two are going to have a blast. I can’t wait to read about your experiences.

AMY and Dennis!

I’m so excited for you!

Just had a brainstorm the other day. Did you sell your car(s)?
I might be looking to buy one…..

Call me!

Thinking you’ll be taking Prague by storm, just by being who you are. So very proud of you for choosing to live the adventure. Waiting with a prayer sent from my heart to hear of all the BOM and the two of you come up with.
MUCH love, Trudy

Hello! I am laughing right now :) I saw a comment you made on a blog I read, and thought, “I KNOW her.” I came here to your blog and read a bit about your story, and was still stumped why you seemed so familiar to me. And then I realized it- were you on the news in Austin?? If so, we used to have breakfast with you while you did crazy stunts :) My husband and I are preparing for a move to Prague. Maybe we can meet up sometime :) Happy adventuring! Megan

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