Friday, April 30, 2010

"Teeth. Everybody's got teeth..."

Yes, Dr. Seuss, but this girl just lost one. And if you read my previous post about her wiggly teeth, you can imagine how excited she was when one actually came out. You would have thought she just won a national prize as excited she has been about it.

Here's her new toothless smile...

...which she admired for quite awhile after the event.

I've never seen Hannah quite so proud. She's told everyone she can about her lost tooth - even one of our neighbors we barely know who just ran by our house. :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Northwest Adventures

The Northwest is known for lots of things, three of which, we've been able to experience just within the last couple of weeks...

Tulips: Tara and I took the girls to the Snohomish County Tulip Festival earlier in April. Snohomish County is where we live, and only about 45 minutes north of us there are fields of tulips that bloom this time of year. I LOVE tulips and this was one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen!

Although we were fortunate to have sun, the wind was cold and the girls would absolutely not take off their coats!

Tailgating at the Tulip Festival!

Salmon: Salmon here is not just a food, but an experience. Last weekend Dale took the girls to a local salmon release just 5 minutes from our house. Loads of baby salmon were brought in. Kids from the area brought their buckets, which were filled with the salmon before they carried them to a stream to release them.

Tonight we had salmon for dinner, which is becoming more of a staple for us. The girls were keenly aware that we were eating the same cute little fish they had in their buckets a few days ago. Hannah's response was, "How sad!" Kaitlyn's response to Hannah was, "But they're dead." This was a fact she enjoyed commenting on throughout our dinner. :)

Crab: Tara's job took her over to Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula today. While she was walking along the water by a pier she ran into some fishermen and worked her magic on them. They offered her a couple of live dungenness crab and told her how to cook them! These are pretty expensive in restaurants. We had a pretty exciting evening getting the lively crabs into the pot of boiling water. But we had a taste when they were done and mmmm they are yummy!

Tara REALLY got into it!

Awww... So looking forward to eating you for dinner tomorrow night!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"I'm growing. Things are changing."

My 5 1/2 yr-old (the 1/2 is very important to her!) has a way with words - silly and otherwise. If she only knew how profound some of the things are that come out of her mouth.

Anyway, I have been rocking her before bed almost every night for her 5+ years. Until recently. (I never thought it would last this long...) So I asked her a couple of nights ago if we were done rocking and her response was, "Yes. I'm growing. Things are changing." Wow. I felt like I had been punched. Did it have to sound so matter-of-fact? I knew the day would come. I mean, rocking is for babies, right? Kaitlyn is not much of a rocker. She could take it or leave it. But, Hannah... it was our snuggle, chat & sing-to-me time. And, apparently, it's gone.

There are other things changing. She's got two loose teeth, as of this week, that she is very excited about. The day she discovered them she squealed with delight and exclaimed, "This is the best day EVER!" She's told anyone who will listen about it. She's even yelled it out to the streets via her open bedroom window. I am sure there are visions of tooth fairies dancing in her head...

Kaitlyn is growing and changing too, of course. I'm super excited about this one. I began my own version of potty training bootcamp on Friday and already she is out of diapers except during nap & bedtime! And better yet, she now tells me when she needs to go.

Yes, they are growing and things are changing. And so it goes...


I realize we're several weeks out from Easter. But it was such a great day for us I wanted to post a little about it and let you see some pics. The week before Easter was very busy. We had a mission team here that we really enjoyed getting to know. And they were such a big help to us. One thing they did was help us in our partnership with the City of Lynnwood in hosting a Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt on the Thursday night before Easter.

The only really good picture I have of the event... Kaitlyn with Noell Fuller.

Here are the girls on Easter morning.

The Connect service went really well. We had about 60 people there total, our highest attendance so far. But even more importantly, the spirit was really great as we came together for worship. As I reflected on the past year the Lord was so good to remind me of all that He had done in that short time. Last year we weren't even holding Sunday services yet. And now we had a room full of people worshiping and celebrating our risen Lord!

One really special thing we did was have a band lead our worship for the first time. That was really fun!

Afterwards, several families joined us for lunch at our house. It was a great time to just relax and hang out with friends and made for a good ending to a great week!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A time for boasting

2 Corinthians 12:9. "But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

So, boast I will. The best way I know how to most effectively get you up to speed on what's going on with us is to use the above verse as a backdrop. It's been almost 2 years since we uprooted our family from Nashville to move to the Seattle area to start a church. That decision has brought up and magnified almost every weakness we have personally and as a family. We arrived weakened by the grief of leaving what we knew as home. We felt very intimidated by the task before us - to sustain ourselves here while starting a church from scratch, something we had never attempted before. In the past few months we have felt the depths of loneliness, financial strain, anxiety, doubt about our calling, the reality of our own sinfulness & inadequacies, frustration, rejection, disappointment, pressure.... Weakness at an intensity we had not experienced before. We have been stretched far beyond what were once many of our comfort zones. There have been many dark moments when we have thought, "If anything comes of us and of this, it will undoubtedly be the Lord's doing."

And there's the point. In the midst of it all, God has been working out His purposes. In the midst of some of my most depressing days, relationships were being established, connections were being made, ministry was happening. In the midst of doubt and feelings of inadequacy, there has been peace. In the midst of intense emotional pain, He has comforted and given strength. Ultimately a foundation was being laid that we would desperately need to build upon. An unwavering dependency on our Savior.

I can gladly boast in these weaknesses, not because they are all in the past - they are very much still present, but because of what I see God doing despite them. It honestly fills me with great joy! Our family has been sustained physically, emotionally, spiritually. We have seen God provide for our family as well as Connect again and again when the outlook seemed impossible. The vision of Connect, which begun in the heart of my husband about 4 years ago, has been transformed into a reality. We launched in September of last year and since January have witnessed steady growth, both in the amount of people attending as well as in individual spiritual depth. People who once had a disdain for anything related to church, are now faithful attenders, growing in their relationships with God.

I could write pages about God's transforming work in people's lives that we've gotten to witness first-hand, as well as the massive amount of details He has orchestrated to provide for us and to bring us where we are now. It's absolutely amazing! And it has absolutely nothing to do with us or the faithful partners in ministry God has blessed us with here. Just as we are more aware of our weaknesses than we have ever been, we are more aware that it has everything to do with God. Funny how that works.

So, we are grateful for this season of blessing and encouragement. It is a time for boasting in the Lord and praying He would keep us ever mindful of how incredibly dependent we are on Him.

Finally, if you are in a place of weakness, no matter the form, be encouraged if you are God's child. He is working to do something mighty in your midst.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Well, it happened again... Life has been moving full-speed ahead and I've taken no time out for the blog. That's not all bad, but it wasn't planned. I have fun posting and it makes me feel like our friends and family, especially the many who do not live close to us, can have a deeper look into our lives. I had every intention last fall to be more consistent, so my words here may have less impact. But, I'm going to strive to post once a week - for anyone who wants to hold me accountable to that. :-)

I think it's important. First, because there are so many who have invested in our lives - either by the fact that they are family and have helped to raise us, or who have spent countless hours in friendship, prayer, encouragement & support of us. For these people, I think it means something to see what is going on in our lives here, and to see how our family is growing and changing. At least I know that's true for me - I so enjoy seeing pictures of and knowing the significant things that are going on in the lives of friends around the world that I can't physically see on a regular basis. And, second, it's good for me on several levels. I love to write and it gives me just one more opportunity to do that. But it also gives me a platform for boasting in the Lord, which we are all called to do. And I want to be about that more. He's done so much for me and for my family - even in the worst of times He's worth boasting about. And He is in all the details of our lives - big & small.

So, I'm going to be intentional with my intentions this time to share more of those details. :-) Something I've been learning to be more of anyway - intentional. So, stay tuned...