Whidbey Island

This past week, John and I went on vacation! We rented a house with my sister, Ranelle and her husband, Brian, and my wonderful nephew, Jacob. We spent a lot of  time relaxing and then exploring the island. The weather was sunny and warm which encouraged us to spend some time outside.

One day, we went to the North Cascades. We drove up to the view of Diablo Lake. The blue sky and green water created a stunning landscape. I enjoyed looking out on the lake, and talking with my husband about the amazing beauty.

I also got to hang out with this lovely family. Jacob had to stay far from the edge, but he enjoyed standing on a rock and looking out at the mountains.

Another day, we went to Fort Casey State Park. The boys played soccer for a bit. Jacob was so excited to get out of the car that he and I went running across the field while his dad and Uncle John got out the soccer equipment.

Always the little soccer coach, Jacob had to set out the cones in a line… and then completely ignored them while he kicked the soccer ball as high up into the air as he could.

While the boys played soccer, Ranelle and I watched and talked. We talked about life and what we’re both learning about ourselves and God during this time. It was awesome to have time to really talk about our lives. I’m so blessed to be so close with my sister. We think very similarly and get along super well.

Then we walked down to the water with the paparazzi (aka Ranelle) snapping away. Man, we can’t go anywhere without people taking pictures of us :)

Well, I guess I can’t blame people. I did marry quite the looker.Jacob’s favorite thing to do is throw rocks in the water. Especially with his daddy watching.

I love this picture of John and I. I think it shows how much we enjoy each other.
Look at that Jacob’s concentration in this picture… Ranelle and I wrote in the sand for a while to distract Jacob from throwing boulders into the ocean.We couldn’t get a full group picture, but here’s the group sans Ranelle.
And then, another day at the beach, Jacob and I stood on the sandiest part of the beach we could find and let the water hit us. Jacob loved it. He didn’t really want to leave. We were both very sandy and salty. I explained to Jake that his legs were itching because of the salt in the water.

It was a great week and John and I feel so refreshed after our week off. Now we are so excited to keep our ministry going for the 2012-2013 ministry year!

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White Puff Poms

This post easily happened a year ago. But, oh well. I’m posting it now!

Ranelle and I had a crafting night. We made white pom-poms from Martha Stewart. We decided that the kit was WAY easier than attempting to make these on our own. Tissue paper can be a finicky medium to work with.

(click on a picture, it’ll bring up a sweet way to view them on your screen!)

They are pretty simple. You just fan fold the papers, wrap wire around the middle, and puff! The puffing does take a bit to get used to, since the tissue paper is pretty easy to rip. (I ripped a couple… but you can just hide it. I mean, no one is going to study the pom to see the torn edge.)

We used these particular poms for my Pampered Chef wedding shower. And then we saved them, by storing them on top of Ranelle’s kitchen cabinets, to use at my wedding! They were supplemented by the lovely poms I got from BHLDN that I wrote about here.

Oh, and I know why I never posted this. I couldn’t get that picture of my sister to not be sideways. Super frustrating.

What’s your story?

I recently attended a Women’s retreat with my church, New Day. It was held at McCullough Camp in Kent. Luckily, the ladies sent out directions with the disclaimer, “It’ll look like you’re turning into a residential area, but don’t worry, you’re going the right way” or something like that because I would have turned around if I hadn’t known to just keep going.

When I arrived at the camp, I checked in, got my super-cute name tag and saw the amazing decorations. Among them was a framed picture that said, “Your story is important… tell it.”

The Super-Cute Nametag

Well, this totally freaked me out. I was going to be expected to share my story during the weekend. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no problem sharing most details about my life including my inability to shop at a store other than American Eagle or my awkward encounters with people (where I am the awkward one, not them), but I knew that wasn’t the story to which they were referring.

A few women shared the first night. As I listened to them bear their hearts: their love for God, their past hurts, their current struggles, I felt so grateful to be at this event, to be entrusted with these stories. Something different struck me about each one, resonated within me, and gave me a profound sense that I am not alone. And each story overwhelmed me with a love and gratitude of God.

But still, I wrestled with whether or not to share my story. A big difference between my husband and I is our openness with people. John wears his heart on his sleeve. He is who he is and he’ll tell you all about it. He has had to learn to be more guarded.

I, on the other hand, can be quite guarded. I worry about burdening people with my problems. I worry about people judging me based on their own biases.

I also worry about sharing because once I open my mouth, I can’t shut up. I’ll dominate conversations with my own issues and I worry about wearing other people out.

So, I did not share the first night in our small group. We really ran out of time for everyone to share, so I just didn’t. I loved listening to others speak and pushed aside that voice inside me that said, “Be brave.”

Breakfast on Saturday was amazing, and we had a great opening session talking about Romans 12. I particularly loved the worship (and by worship, I mean worship through singing) time. The ladies who led worship did an outstanding job and I loved singing along with them.

Then, we had another small group time. We were supposed to talk about times when we’ve seen other women in the group live in community like the Bible tells us to (encourage one another, love one another, etc). However, a lot of our group didn’t know one another, so several women took the opportunity to share their story (or part of it).

So, haltingly, then quicker and quicker (like I said, open mouth = can’t shut up), I shared my story including things I feel vulnerable about. And it was great. I truly felt accepted and loved by the women listening to me. It brought me to tears.

I am still processing everything that God showed me over that weekend, but my one big take-away is this: I will not let my own insecurity keep me from building relationships with people. I have a debilitating fear that people don’t or won’t like me. And I will not let this lie that I am unlikeable or unloveable stop me from reaching out to people and making friends.

I’m sure that I will fail in this still and let my insecurity dictate my actions, but I am going to fight that through the grace of God and His power and might.

So, let me tell you: Your story is important. Tell it. 

—–

How did John and I find this church? Well, John was looking at websites of churches in the Federal Way/ Tacoma area and stumbled onto their website. We identified with their Value Page:

VALUES

We have identified seven core values that define the way we do church at New Day. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a clarifying one. We try to measure everything that we do in light of the following values:

Worship is central.
The heartbeat of the church is found in giving praise, honor and our full attention to God.

Truth must be well-told.
The gospel is powerful and authoritative without our enhancements. Our task is to communicate it clearly, creatively and carefully.

Every Christian is a minister.
All believers are called to full-time minstry – whatever their life’s work. It isn’t just the job of a pastor.

The church is a mission outpost.
The real work of the church is out in the world — not in programs and committees. We come together to get what we need to go back out there.

Authenticity rules the day.
Transparency is key in a hypocrisy-sensitive culture.

The church must lead the way in reconciliation.
According to Jesus, loving one another is the most convincing way to show he’s real.

The Who question outranks the How question.
We want to be more concerned with knowing the Christ of the Bible than anything else.

After looking at this, we visited and then we were hooked :)

Confession #4: I want to be a hipster.

Psst… This is part of a series: Part 1 here, 2 here, and 3 here.

Confession #4: I am such a hipster wannabe.

I am not this person.

It’s true. I wish I were hipster. They look so cool, drinking their soy lattes from independent coffee stores as they blog about taking down the establishment on their MacBook Pros… And despite the fact that I bought a pair of Toms for my birthday this year, I still fall woefully short of true hipster standards.

I’d love to think of myself as edgy, artsy, and intellectual. Sadly, I have a few things holding me back from embracing true hipster-ness.

I present the evidence:

1. If I wear thick-rimmed glasses, it’s because I actually need them. And the glasses I have are not big enough to overwhelm my face in true hipster fashion.

2. I don’t own a nice SLR camera with removable lenses. And I dislike traditional camera film. I think digital cameras are amazing.

3. I still love American Eagle. I can try to claim ironic preppiness, but let’s be honest, who is going to buy that? There is nothing ironic about my love of good old AE (that’s right, we’re so tight, I use a nickname for it).

4. I’ve never gotten the scarf thing down. When I wear a scarf it’s made of wool, its from Ireland and my sister got it for me. It’s not a light, plaid thing that I wrap around a t-shirt.

5. I do not own ANY Apple products. My music player is a Zune. My computer is a Dell that has a broken battery, so it only works when plugged into the wall. And my work computer is a Lenovo. My phone is some HTC Android phone that ramdomly decides to turn itself off and back on.

6. I’ve never shopped at Whole Foods or Urban Outfitters. And thrift stores hate me.

The situation appears hopeless, but maybe, just maybe despite these hindrances, I will one day be able to join the movement.

How about you? Do you consider yourself hipster? or are you so hipster that you’re above such an establishment thing as the label of hipster?

Let me know in the comments!

Image credits:

First One

Second One

I’m awkward.

Awkward Corset illustration

I am a seriously awkward person if you are meeting me for the first time. It’s something that I’m working on: Making better first impressions. But I have totally failed on the streets of Tacoma…

A while ago, I was walking to the office from my car, rolling my suitcase behind me. Why I had my suitcase, I don’t remember, but I definitely felt ridiculous  rolling  bumping it along the uneven sidewalk.

A guy working on the roof of the house yelled down to me, “You brought your own tools and everything! Well, let’s get to work!” Followed by a good-natured laugh.

I found this comment genuinely witty and funny. But what did I say?

“Uh…er…no…this isn’t…I mean…” Which I then attempted to save with a half smile and walking out of eyesight.

FAIL.

ASL for Awkward.

Then, a few days ago, I was walking up the hill from the office (no awkward luggage this time) and walked past a table on the sidewalk. The table had a red silk tablecloth, and 6 fine-china place settings complete with gold-rimmed wine glasses. Now, this table was in front of a business called, “Trendy Event Rentals,” so it isn’t the oddest thing in the world.

But I was staring at the table, when a lady in a car drove past and said to me, “Ready to eat dinner?” and chuckled. Now this comment made me smile, genuinely amused by her comment.

But, what did I say, “Um…I don’t… eh…” Then the light changed and she drove away.

FAIL.

So, if you run into me on the street and you say something witty, funny or amusing to me, expect some stammering and tongue-tied muttering from me. But, know that I did find your comment amusing!