Saturday, October 25, 2008


In honor of our anniversary, Dale and I had the amazing opportunity to spend 3 days in Victoria, Canada a little over a week ago, thanks to my parents who came up to stay with the girls and gave us a generous anniversary gift! We traveled by way of the Victoria Clipper, which sped along at a steady 30 miles per hour or so, getting us there from Seattle in about 2.5 hours.

These next 2 pics were taken from the balcony of our room on the 11th floor of The Executive House.

We were told that High Tea at The Empress Hotel was a must-do. So, we did, to Dale's chagrin. Actually, he was a pretty good sport and we had fun. But, it's quite a dainty and upscale affair. One we'll probably only do once! This is the Empress.... We were told that there is actually a hotel within this hotel that is very exclusive - only for those who can afford it, such as the Queen of England, who stays there on her visits to Victoria.

The tea and "crumpets" were wonderful! What are crumpets anyway?

Gratefully, this was our only scheduled event.... We enjoyed wandering around Victoria on foot, exploring streets full of shops and restaurants. Some of what we saw on foot....

1) Parliament - Victoria is the capital of British Columbia

2) Craigdaroch Castle - We took the very interesting tour and learned a lot about the Craigdaroch family and their rise from poverty to immense wealth by way of the coal industry. Interestingly enough, the wood used in the elaborate woodwork all throughout the castle is white oak from Arkansas!

A view of the city from the castle tower room.

3) Seals! - 3 seals had made their way to the pier by some houseboats and restaurants and a woman was feeding them fresh fish.

We also took a "harbour hop" on a Harbour Ferry, to the relief of our exhausted feet that had been walking all over the city for 3 days!

While on it, we spotted this boat, which was used in WWII for something (now I don't remember for what), and on which Winston Churchill has traveled.

After our tea experience we rented bikes for a couple of hours, which boosted Dale's sense of manliness a bit I think. This is my favorite picture from our ride.

I must add, that on our ride back from Victoria to Seattle, we met a woman from TX. There are Texans EVERYWHERE! :) Ironically, her name was Tina.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Our Little Trouble Maker

We had just finished our core group meeting Sunday night when Laurel, one of our childcare helpers, brings me her cell phone and says, "It's a 911 operator and she wants to talk to you. Kaitlyn dialed 911 and hung up." At first I think it's a joke. But the minute I get on the phone I know it's not. I was immediately and sternly asked for my address. I quickly apologized and explained that my 19-month old accidentally dialed 911 and there was no emergency. She had to follow protocol and put me through to the sheriff's office, where I had to verify what had happened. The interesting thing is that the cell phone had it's key lock on. So, not only did Kaitlyn push just the right combination to unlock the phone, but she dialed just those emergency digits and stopped pressing buttons long enough for the call to actually go through. What are the odds of that?!

And just earlier that same evening she decided to take her diaper off and walk around mooning everyone. Hmmm.... Should we be worried?

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Birthday

So, a week and a half ago I turned 34. I don't mind saying it because my age has never really bothered me. Maybe it will one day, but right now I'm just thankful to be alive and healthy. It does sound weird to me though - 34. It sounds older than I feel - at least most days! Does that make sense to anyone else but me?

Anyway, this year I got a really great gift. One of my oldest and best friends - not in age, but in number of years I've known her - came to see me!


Having lived in Seattle less than 5 months, it was a true gift to spend time with someone I have a history with. And what a history we have! We grew up living 2 blocks from each other and have done so much together over the years.... walked to school, rode bikes all over our neighborhood, went to church, had sleepovers, watched a lot of Alfred Hitchcock, old musicals, and shared a crush on Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables for awhile :) .... We've been in each others' weddings and walked through the ups and downs of life together, despite the many miles that have been between us for the past 15 years.

And now we can say we've decorated a house in Seattle together! Tara has always had a gift for making things beautiful and is now a very talented decorator. When I told her we'd be moving to Seattle, one of the first things she said was, "I want to come up and help you put your house together." And that she did in such an extraordinary way. I felt like I was on one of those home makeover shows. Although she had never been to Seattle before, instead of seeing the sights, we spent 3 days unpacking more boxes, pulling out my own stuff to use in fun ways I wouldn't have thought about, doing some shopping, painting, organizing, hanging curtains..... And in the process my lifeless house was turned into a warm and inviting home that I enjoy living in, with little expense, which is the best part! (I'll show some house pics in another post for you curious ones!) And that was my b-day gift - one of the best ever!

We did take some time out to go out on the town to celebrate too. Dale found an awesome restaurant, called Pasta Freska in downtown Seattle on Lake Union. Here's the fam....

This is one of the most unique and fun restaurants I've ever been to. The owner/master chef greets you when you arrive as if you've just come over to his house for dinner. He walks around constantly interacting with the guests, including having fun w/ the kids. Here he is with Hannah.

There are no menus. He simply asks you if there is anything you don't like or can't eat and then the culinary adventure begins! Throughout the evening cooks come out of the kitchen to deliver a variety of food. We had an assortment of fried eggplant w/ cheese, the best spaghetti and meatballs I've ever tasted, chicken marsala, stuffed chicken, salmon, prawn.... It sounds like a lot, but they were small portions just handed out here and there, so you got a good taste of everything. It was amazing! And the price is not what you'd think it would be!

And then there's dessert. A large plate of 4 different types of dessert was set in front of us and each of us sampled it all. The funniest part of the whole night was Kaitlyn's reaction. She reached for the plate with both hands shouting "happy, happy, happy!" As if the essence of "happy" was on that plate! :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

9 years

Dale and I were married 9 years ago today. On that day we were surrounded by such wonderful people - our family, more complete then than it is now as some have gone on to be with the Lord; some incredible, lifelong friends that stood by us; minsters that had an eternal impact on each of us; others in the crowd - friends, parents of friends, teachers, coaches.... all people who had given something of themselves to us and in doing so, had helped to shape us on some level. It was a great day and one I enjoyed and remember vividly, despite being told it would all be a blur.

I am so thankful for that day and all it represented. As we stood before God and friends, vowing to love each other for life, we felt blessed beyond words. We chose to end the ceremony by walking out to Stephen Curtis Chapman's song "Speechless". We had to have SCC there in some form in honor of Dale's admiration for him and his music (mine too, but his bordered on man-crush at the time). And he was busy that day, so he just sent us a recording. ;) Here's the lyrics to the chorus:

And I am Speechless
I'm astonished and amazed
I am silenced by your wondrous grace.
You have saved me
You have raised me from the grave.
And I am Speechless
In your presence now.
I'm astounded as I consider how
You have shown us a love that leaves us speechless.

At the time, it was appropriate as we had each experienced God's amazing love and grace in our lives and were so thankful for His salvation. And yet, He would do even more for us and give us each other. And I am so glad He gave me Dale for a husband! He loves me, balances me, makes me laugh, challenges me, serves me, inspires me, is the best Dad to our girls, is my best friend, makes me proud......

And I am still amazed by God's love and grace towards us. Together we've packed a lot into these years. It's been a never-ending adventure as we've lived in 4 states, with Tennessee getting the most attention. Although, we have left family and friends scattered in each of them. We left Texas - the true homeland :) - just 3 months after marrying, and passed through Alabama for our seminary years. Nashville quickly became our first real home together as we settled in, bought our first house, and began having children. Hannah and Kaitlyn have changed us forever, as only 2 sweet little girls can. And now we find ourselves starting again in Washington - a new home, new ministry, new friends.... and a new phase in our marriage as we learn even more about each other while trusting the same God who has been with us from the beginning. We have shared great joys and accomplishments as well as intense losses and disappointments.

And now we stand together in a place that holds a lot of uncertainty. But, what I am certain about is that I wouldn't want to be in this place with anyone else.