Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hand in Hand

A reminder that God put people on this earth because we need each other. Thankful for all the people who have "held my hand" along the way...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


October 2, 2009: The day I celebrated 35 years of living and 10 years of marriage. It's only fitting that I take a moment to brag on my husband. He's a pretty amazing guy! He's an awesome husband who I truly respect and love and the best Daddy to Hannah & Kaitlyn. They're pretty taken with him too!

For whatever reason, I've decided this is going to be a year of trying new things. I started out strong by spending 8 hours at a local spa. They give you free access to their facilities all day on your birthday. How great is that?! Never have I spent that much time at a spa, nor at one quite like this one.

After my incredibly relaxing day at the spa, Dale took me out to dinner. We went to Preservation Kitchen, which is a beautifully restored historic home in Bothell. The food and the atmosphere were great!

The next day Dale surprised me by taking me to dinner at McGrath's, a local seafood restaurant, where there were a few of our friends waiting to eat with us. It was fun getting to visit with everyone and eat more great food! The picture I don't have is the one the restaurant took of me wearing a big fish hat on my head while everyone sang "Happy Birthday!" There's another first!

For our anniversary we stayed at a lodge at Warm Beach, about an hour north of us, for a couple of nights, thanks to Tara who gladly stayed with the girls for us. :) They had a blast having Auntie Tara all to themselves! One fun thing we got to do was eat at the only Chick-fil-a in the state. It is located at Western WA Univ in Bellingham, which was about another hour north of Warm Beach. It was so worth the trip! Oh, how we miss Chick-fil-a!

Here is the view from our lodge.

The amazing sunset the first night.

We spent a day just driving around looking at scenery and stopping wherever we wanted along the way. We drove a road called Chuckanut Drive which runs along the Puget Sound. It provides spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains, as well as some antique shopping and good eating.

Chuckanut Drive ends in the quaint little town of Fairhaven. We found a really cool place to get fish & chips. The restaurant was an old bus with seating out on a deck. Really cute and the weather was perfect for it.

We found some great hiking along the way too.

We hiked to a shining mountain lake...

saw some HUGE trees...

found our way to a bluff overlooking the Sound...

and saw another amazing sunset!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Change of Season

(To the masses who read my blog - all 5 of you ;)- I am attempting, yet again, to write more. I don't know what that will look like yet. All I know is I really miss posting. I really enjoy writing and letting friends & family who don't live near us, especially, have a look into our lives and hearts. So here ya go...)

Fall is here! It seems like just when I am ready for a change in the weather & scenery, it's time for a new season. Although, I admit, Seattle summers are a bit harder to let go of than the summers I was accustomed to in the south! Yet, I am enjoying the briskness in the air, the rainy days (for now anyway - ask me again a month from now!), the warmth of candles and comfort food, and - one of my favorites - the amazing colors. Nature's palette is rich with reds, oranges, and yellows that seem to pop against the background of evergreens. So beautiful!

I don't know what it is about fall, but without fail it brings along with it doses of nostalgia. Just the feel in the air takes me back to high school football games, times with old friends, college all-nighters, youth lock-ins and retreats from our student ministry days... So, I've been reflecting back over different seasons in my life as I feel I'm entering a new season in many ways. Although I love nature's change of season, I tend to buck against personal changes of season. Even the "good" changes bring some level of discomfort at first. I'm such a creature of habit! I'm the mom that sheds a few tears every time I have to box up my babies' outgrown clothes! But, just as I appreciate fall anew each year because I've just gone through 3 months of summer, I'm learning that a change in my personal season allows me to appreciate all of life so much more. If the trees never lost their leaves, we would never experience the joy of seeing the fresh green of spring.

So, what is changing for me personally? Several things.

1) I just turned 35. I've never really been bothered by my age as I've gotten older and still am not bothered much. But 35 sounds older to me than any other age has ever sounded. Of course, I'm older than I've ever been, but do you know what I mean? I'm now in a new age bracket. And my new past time is plucking out gray hairs. They've suddenly multiplied! Scary.

2) Dale and I just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. Yeah us! :) But, wow, 10 years! How did that happen? I think of all we've crammed into the past 10 years and I'm amazed I don't have more gray hairs! Let's see... we moved 7 times and have lived in 4 different states; have gone through deaths of loved ones; had 2 kids; I've had 6 different jobs, not counting my current job as Mommy; and we are currently starting a new church. Talk about changes! Yet, we've happily made it to a milestone year and the horizon speaks of a new season of us.

3) Connect Church. We just officially launched last month and what an exciting time it is to see the beginning of something placed on our hearts almost 3 years ago. Yet, this is completely new. I am continually stretched in new ways. I don't know what to expect, except that change is inevitable as we grow.

4) Acceptance. I might expound on this more later. But, in short, I am entering a season of accepting where I am and who I am a little more than before. Not that I have it down. But my tendency to buck change is calming a bit. I am coming into a place of contentment that has nothing to do with my circumstances or with myself. It has everything to do with Jesus Christ. Why? Because as I reflect on the different seasons of my life, He is my constant. He is the same yesterday, today & forever, has faithfully walked with me and has promised to continue to do so. He has been abundantly good to me, whether I've liked the season I've been in or not. He is my comfort when the season is sad. He is my strength when the season is wearisome. He is my companion when the season is lonely. He is my firm foundation when the season is calm. He is my delight when the season is happy. And He gives joy and peace uncomprehendable through them all.

So, on the doorstep of a new season I can walk into the unknown accompanied by a little more trust and confidence than I've ever had before. I accept what I have been given, as well as what I have not, because He's just that good. A lot is changing for me, and that is a good thing. It's kind of like spring. I wouldn't think this new season nearly as wonderful if I hadn't lost some leaves along the way.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sister Moments

Hannah and Kaitlyn have developed such a fun sister relationship. There are definitely moments... Some of Kaitlyn's favorite phrases right now include, "Mine!" and "Stop Hannah!" But most of the time they love playing with each other and having each other around. Hannah has recently begun to call Kaitlyn, "my best friend who lives with me". And most of the time Kaitlyn wants to do whatever Hannah is doing. Below are a few sister moments captured over the last few months...

Some are playful...

Some are silly...

And some are really sweet...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Spring Highlights: Travels

Back in February Dale and I attended a seminar in Vancouver, WA, thanks to our sweet friends the Fullers who kept the girls for 2 days! Vancouver is just across the river from Portland, OR. So, we spent part of an afternoon exploring this beautiful city.

We found an awesome park on top of a hill that we explored. This is one of the roads inside the park.

This is a picture (not a very good one) of Mt. St. Helens, which we could see on our way back from Vancouver.

Thanks to some generous and thoughtful friends the girls and I had an opportunity to travel back to Nashville at the end of February to spend a week with our Nashville "family" - some of our very best friends. It was so refreshing and we had the best time! I didn't get nearly as many pictures as I would have liked. Too busy having fun I guess! But here are a few highlights:

We stayed w/ the Shrums - Here we are w/ Kevin, Janet & Big I. :) We sure love this family!

On Saturday, Janet, the girls and I took a road trip to Louisville, KY to spend the day with Sarah (Janet's daughter) and Keith (Sarah's husband). Sarah and Keith were high school seniors the first year of Dale's stint as youth minister at Inglewood. Well, they grew up, worked under Dale one summer as interns and got married almost a year ago! Hannah was upset at first as she had told Sarah when they were dating that she was going to steal her boyfriend. :) She's always been especially fond of Keith. But, she got over it! We all had a great time spending the day with them!

Aren't they a cute couple!

The Three Musketeers! These are 2 of Hannah's best buds, Ethan and Naomi. They've all known each other since birth. She was so excited to get to have a couple of days of play time with them. And I was excited to get to catch up with their mom, my dear friend Saundra - who forbid me to show the pictures we took of us. :)

Another family we love and got to see are the Wallers. Here's the girls and Janet w/ Beth at Chili's. I had to have a meal there while I could. Oh, what we are missing up here w/out a Chili's!!

Here we are w/ Beth, David & Josh at Baskin Robins.

We saw countless other friends and enjoyed making more memories with them before heading home to Seattle.

Two weeks ago Dale and I got to go to a pastor & wives retreat in Seaside, OR. The girls got to stay home and have Grammy time. (Thanks Mom!!)

Here we are at Cannon Beach, just a few miles south of Seaside, with the Pacific Ocean behind us.

This is Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach. Beautiful!

At the retreat we ate some great food, experienced really great worship, and got to connect with some other church planting couples. It was refreshing and we are so thankful we were able to go. On the drive home we took the scenic route up the WA coast. Here's some of what we saw.

Our trip home brought us up the opposite side of the Puget Sound from where we live, so we took the Kingston Ferry over. It was a beautiful day for a ferry ride!