Friday, May 30, 2008

LOST and found

This is the blog where I'm going to freak out about the LOST Season 4 Finale, so if you don't want it to be spoiled, skip this one!

Background info: Okay, so we've never had a TV in the 3 years we've been married. It was a conscious choice, both probably reacting to how much our families of origin used the TV as a babysitter or social crutch instead of conversations... To each their own, so we decided not to have one our first year, and were so refreshed by that time that we just never got one. We use the internet for news, but it's been nice not to feel like our lives revolve around a little box. At times, with sports we love, World Cup or important basketball/baseball/football games, it's been tough; so we've found places we could go (a neighbor or friend or family) to see things we couldn't bear to miss... Then this year we started renting TV on DVD (a brilliant idea) and seeing if there were any series' we'd get into. The first couple were too dramatic or repetitive, but then we heeded the Wood's, Flory's, Kissinger's et al. advice and rented LOST. We were hooked. HOOKED. We started in January and have watched all four seasons in this time! Never before have we seen something so exciting, full of character development and adventure... Oh my gosh, and it was so painful to wait through real-time for a week, after being able to click on or the dvd's to find out what happens next! I hate surprises and the first 3 seasons, we never had to wonder, "WHAT will HAPPEN NEXT?!" because we could just find out! So now, after the two-hour finale of Season 4, what will we do with ourselves until January or whenever it comes back?! Dramatics aside, we'll be fine, and QUITE busy, but here are some reactions to last night that we talked about driving home:

In no particular order:
Michael- don't mind if he's dead, never forgave him for Anna Lucia and Libby (I liked them)
Claire and Jin- we HOPE they're not dead
Christian- since when does he get to be Jacob's spokesman?
Claire's mom- SO GLAD that Jack finally knows Aaron is his nephew
Sun- You go girl, loved how she's getting bolder and laying the smack down with her dad and Mr. Widmore
Desmond and Penny- YAY!!!!!
Charlotte- was she born on the island, what the?! And what was that annoying Cambodian guy sticking around for?!
Daniel- was the boat back before the island disappeared?
Island- you disappeared, what the crap?!
Sawyer and Juliet- left behind... interesting. Love both of them. "Hey, Kenny Rogers," ha ha! His nicknames are amazing.
Keamy- suck it, you deserved it.
Ben- don't be so creepy stabbing him, "You killed my daughter!!!". Felt like a horror flick for a second there.
Locke- or should I say, Jeremy Bentham? How does he get off the island?
Richard- how is he the same age when Locke is born to now? And he wears too much eye-liner. Keamy called him Ben's boyfriend, hah.
Kate- how can she go back with a court order to stay in CA?
Sayid- killing machine, we're sad Nadia was taken from him:( Who's spying on them?
Hurley- LOVE that he's playing chess with Mr. Eko (our favorite Nigerian) and hanging out with Charley.
Jack- "See you in another life, brother." Love it!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Australia Photos

SYDNEY and the Blue Mountains (blue from the eucalyptus oil in the air- love that smell!)

Eating octopus, eek!

Queensland- Cairns, Port Douglas and the Great Barrier Reef

Unspoiled coastline!

The Cairns lagoon in the early morning, what a great place!

I wish I could show you what's below the water!

Melbourne- from the tallest building in the southern hemisphere

Good trip!

Australia- The Land of Oz

It's been a year now, since we flew to Australia. We were reminiscing this weekend, because we did what is now an "annual tradition" of purging out our closets before we left, this Memorial Day weekend. I don't know if we'll ever go back to Australia, but I miss it a lot, too bad I never blogged about it to capture specific things we liked. Metropolitan Melbourne was fun to see. Los got really into watching AFL (Aussie Rules Football) which is an awesome sport, more fast-paced and athletic than US Football. It would've been fun to see it, or cricket, live. By the University and St. Kilda Beach were fun places to wander around, and the public transportation was great. If we'd had more time, we would have liked to do the PCH-esque Great Ocean Road down to the 12 Apostles rock formation.

Cosmopolitan Sydney was a fun place to explore. We met up with Steph (a senior Theta in my Core Group at UW) who was studying abroad and she showed us all around. Bondi Beach was beautiful, the harbor with it's sparkling water and myriad sailboats was a great place to picnic. We ate lunch one day at their fish market, and even tried things like mini octopus that I would never have otherwise. I was excited to see the Ian Thorpe (Thorpedo) Aquatic Center. He wasn't there, though:(

Going to the Opera House, for a Handel performance was a memory I'll never forget. We also took a day hike in the local Blue Mountains, gorgeous, and rode up the World's Steepest Railway (so scary, but fun!) We went to church at Hillsong, one of the world's biggest and most influential churches, that was an interesting experience. We had Kangaroo pizza by the Harbor Bridge one night, but our favorite meal, by far, was downtown at a restaurant called Selah. I painted that word on a canvas for our living room, so we spoke with the owner and asked him about the name; he was a Christian as well, and we came back the next night for dinner. Australians don't eat until super late, so at 7, we had the place to ourselves. Every single bite, from my vegetarian entree to the last scrape of dessert plate, was sumptuous and delectable. Because we didn't have the chance to visit all the fabulous local wine regions, the sommelier educated us and let us sample regional specialties. We're not really sweet wine people, but for dessert, he poured us the award-winning Margan Botrytis Semillon which was like heaven in a glass. We definitely brought a bottle home with us.

Of everything we experienced, I crave the simplicity and beauty of Queensland the most. Even in the "winter" there, it is fabulous weather. The "biggest" city, Cairns, is only 100,000 people... We stayed in a boutique hotel that was like apartments, and you could walk pretty much everywhere you needed too- I love that kind of life. They had a great public park with a lagoon that all kinds of people were playing in, and a miles-long boarkwalk and selection of restaurants and nightlife along the water. We met an ex-pat on the boardwalk, early one morning. I forget her name, but she was probably in her late 60s, and from Ohio. She lived in a high-rise condo across the street from the ocean, retiring there. She had multiple kids and grandkids spread across the US, but she was just doin her thing in Australia. I thought maybe she'd be lonely or sad, but no, she was full of life and had lots of community; and flies back yearly to see the grandkids. Interesting character. But what an unbelievable place to retire- it is so peaceful there and has mountains, ocean and tropical beauty everywhere you look!

The coastline was just like California and Hawai'i, except without the people and development, it was amazing. The Great Barrier Reef was the singular BEST thing I have ever seen or done in my life. I was so full of joy and astounded by the brilliant rainbow of aquatic life there. I loved quaint and sleepy Port Douglas and the Animal Preserve we went to there... Petting koalas and kangaroos was too cool- a definite life goal of mine checked off the Bucket List. We went to an aboriginal village, but it was too commercialized (hey, everyone's trying to make a buck, I get it) for our taste, however, just the drive up there was so great. I made Carlos drive most of the time. In the States, I drive us a lot, but I didn't feel comfortable driving on the other side of the car, on the other side of the road, it was too disorienting. After I took us down the wrong way on a one way street, I was traumatized. Luckily Los had driven in Japan before and it was kind of normal to him. Let's just say that I'm glad we're not getting a car in London:)

So unless for some reason, we ever go back to the Land of Oz, these memories and photos will sustain me:) Thanks for reading of our adventure:)

Recommendations for London-town???

I asked for "must-do's" in London on Facebook, and tons of people have been messaging me their fave places, from opera, to the world's biggest antiques market, to cupcake shops. Thought I would do the same on here, to see if any more hidden treats can be uncovered. We leave June 22 and are very excited to go to Wimbledon and explore the city for a few days before heading down to Greece and Turkey. We'll hopefully connect with my brother as well, since he just moved to Amsterdam for the baseball season...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wanting to Become Parents...

In the fall I wrote a blog about my cognitive dissonance over parenthood. We (or should I say I, Los has always been on board) have moved a long way toward wanting (and getting excited) to enter that chapter of life in the past 7 months, all because of this young man.

Judah turned 7 months old this week, and Los got to visit him at his new home in Jacksonville, Florida; lucky Los.

Isn't he so cute?!

Even Burly is ready to be a big brother. Here he is practicing with Z and baby Audrey this weekend:)

We will be excited when that season of life comes for the Evans fam...

Read All About It!

Oh yeah, our famous dog is on the shelves of every grocery store in the nation today! See his cute mug while hiking in the North Cascades (amazing) in Budget Travel's June issue, page 64! Woo hoo, we are proud parents:)

Our Fave Fam- the Cumminses

This weekend, we also got the chance to spend lots of good time with the Cummins family, our favorite models of an amazing family. Carlos has a man-crush on Scott, the dad, who has more interests than anyone I know, and I have literally written papers before on how much they inspire me, as a team, and as parents. They love Jesus and each other, and change this nation and the world with their interests and gifting. They are involved a lot with Invisible Children and Uganda, as well as in the arts and business in Seattle. They are constantly mentoring people, and opening their home to host people. They are the MOST hospitable people ever. I will be blessed if our family can be as awesome as them. I have known them since the girls were 7 and 2, they were both in our wedding, and are now about to be 15 and 10! Mallory is in ASB at her high schoool, and in the musicals/plays, Savannah models for Nordstrom, plays soccer and both girls play guitar and piano. They're so cool, so other-centered and fun to be around, not petty like other teens/pre-teens their ages. Can you tell I love them? I am so proud of them and who they've become in the past 8 years.

Front yard, painting nails with Savannah's friend Lily

We got in trouble for painting Burly's nails (but had fun doing it)

At the Magnolia Village ice-cream shop Cocoa and Creme

Saying goodbye

They love Burly and we love them

Until next time, we love you guys!

Going For It- Urban Assault and Fremont Market

Making memories with the weekends we have... Here's a pic from the Fremont Market

We've been talking about getting Burly a sister, and I thought a black Frenchie would be fun. Until I heard how much this one snorts like a pig. (her tutu didn't help either) I guess we'll go with a black Pug after all.

Some pics from Seattle's Urban Assault after-party

It was a team cycling obstacle course/scavenger hunt all around Seattle

A bunch of Pi Kapps did it, and our squadron-mate J-Dub as well

Gotta love lesbians with punk rock mohawks, I saw my fair share of tattoos there too (notice the Texas flag tat on the gal to the right)

Good morning!

The Death of My Evangelical Computer

First off- a little history lesson: I am a smidgen evangelical, mostly Reformed Christian. Among other things, this means I resonate with Luther, Calvin and others, who, 500 years ago, stood up to the Catholic Church and said, "no, people- we aren't saved by paying off our sins (the purchase of indulgences was quite popular back then, the richer you were, the more you could sin- a good gig if you were wealthy)." Rather, as Scripture says, we are saved by grace, through faith.

Reformed Christians, then, put a lot of weight down on that grace, given to us at the cross. This is fleshed out differently than our evangelical siblings in faith, who place a heavy weight on a "personal decision," a "come to Jesus" moment. Those are the people that have altar calls. That memorize four spiritual "laws" and knock on doors. That go "bring Jesus" to the "unevangelized" in our cities and around the world, without authentic relationships or context. For them, that singular moment takes the cake. "When were you saved?" is a question that evangelicals ask. And God forbid you die without "accepting Jesus as your personal savior," though you'd be hard-pressed to find that kind of language in the Bible...

Reformed Christians, however, put more weight on God's sovereignty; it's not about when I accepted Christ, but about living into the identity, the freedom that we can have because of and in Christ. I wasn't saved on Feb. 20, 1994 when I heard the gospel, I was saved 2000 years ago on a cross at calvary, I just happened to realize it in 1994, and then only by God's revelation. And I am continually learning what that means and the rest of my life will be discovering how to "become what I am."

All this to say, my computer died yesterday. It has been "dying" for a while now, but I was hoping it would make it through the summer- call me stubborn, but I freaking wanted to finish my Master's with it. Alas, it was not to be. I had just installed Biblical software in the morning, which was the last thing it could take. Carlos came home and when I told him what had happened, he joked that my computer was waiting to accept Jesus on it's deathbed and then it was at peace and ready to go.
If you were a theology student like me, you'd appreciate the irony there. So RIP, my iBook G3. You've lived a good, long life. Now MacBook here I come!!!

Settlers and fun friends

As we start the countdown toward moving to TX, we're trying to make the most of all of our weekends, getting good time with great people we will miss. Saturday and Sunday we had plenty of that as we hung with old college friends. It is amazing to go from being in the same place as single graduates to where time has taken us. Keith and Beth have little cutie Paige, who's 5 months old, we're married without kids, Jonathan and Lynnea are (finally) getting married this summer (which will be a grand celebration!), and Carl and Mike are finishing Ph.D.s in Computer Science and still (remarkably) single. We'll continue to soak in all our sweet friends for the next few months until our lives radically change from what we know to the unknown.

God's Faithfulness and Me Moonlighting as a Florist

This weekend our church had it's biannual college ministry networking conference- Ascent. Since this is UPC's 100th year, and the theme is Celebrating God's Faithfulness, the conference took on that theme as well. The speakers addressed God's faithfulness throughout generation to generation, to us personally, and into the future. I remember sitting in the conference in 2000 as a student. It was a powerful time, as many of us went into full-time ministry from that group. It is a fun reunion to see people who've gone from Seattle to CA, CO, TX, GA, TN and NJ- literally around the country. One of our group of graduates, Jeff, came back and spoke at this conference from Atlanta, where he works now. WHEN did we grow up? I am so used to esteeming elders, it is so weird and cool to be the age of retreat/conference speakers now!

One of the fun ways I could be involved in this conference in my limited capacity is to take a budget and a group of student volunteers and do the floral arrangements for the room where 400 people were eating. It is so much fun. I wish I'd had my camera with me, because everything turned out gorgeous! If I didn't know my vocation already, floral design would be such a fun one- painting with nature, love it! I went crazy at the wholesale florists, buying white peonies, bells of Ireland, hypericum berries, freesia, roses, mums and other stuff... perhaps some day, this will be a side career, since I've done a couple weddings and a couple of conferences already? One of the sweet students I worked with is a sophomore at SPU and asked if I'd come back to WA and do her wedding. I smiled as I left and said, "you bet, but you've only been dating one month, so work on that for a while and I'll come back when you're ready." Gotta love students!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Death is not Victorious

So the story behind my story. I didn’t tell the judge, but I will tell you guys. The day I got my ticket was my saddest day on-call at the ICU. I didn’t even really know how to write about it, it made my head spin. Instead, I stopped writing about my time as a chaplain at the hospital all together- not a good thing, but my coping mechanism. Recently, we went out to a great dinner at Quinn’s Pub (highly recommended!!) with our wonderful friend Jodi, who is a therapist. She made me consider illuminating this to get closure on that piece. So here is what I wrote about that day and why my head was elsewhere when I was pulled over:

What is it about when young people die that impacts me more than when older people do? My heart reels- it seems like such tragedy when young lives are lost. This past week I’ve spent time with the family of a 20-year old WWU student. He just thought he had a cold. A COLD!?!? People get those all the time, why would you think twice about it? But then it morphed into pneumonia, and before he asked his buddies for help, it became too late. What is it about our pride that gets in the way of asking for help?

By the time he made it to the hospital, his organs had started shutting down. He looked healthy and handsome, like your average vibrant student… but the inside of him was slowly dying. And what makes me so upset is that it could have been prevented! The value of community is another blog to be written, but augh!!! To see machines keeping him alive was devastating to his friends. They wept at the sight of him; and there’s something about strong, young males weeping that stirred me.
(segue: I’ve only seen my brother cry out of sorrow one time, and it was also at the death of a friend. Why does our culture say it isn’t okay for men to cry? That is ridiculous, because the squelched sorrow usually turns into anger or depression. I am all for free-flowing tears, get the emotion out people!)

By the time Chris’ parents disconnected life-support, 20 people had gathered into their son’s room. People were coping very differently, pacing up and down the hall, wailing and shaking, or frozen numb. His sister’s eyes were flashing with anger and she berated her parents for not matching her level of emotion. Melody, I will never forget her. Her parents are Christians, and although devastated at the loss of their youngest son, they also had a “peace that passes understanding.” Death is not victorious in their mind and while they will miss him like crazy, at least in the hospital, they seemed to have perspective that was a consolation. Melody, on the other hand, doesn’t share their faith, and had nothing to root her, so her powerful emotions were blowing her around with hurricane force.

I tried my best to be strong for her and for them, as well as all of Chris’s friends as they grieved in their varied ways. In all of my time at the hospital, I have never cried with a patient. Some times I would cry on my way home, or later in a day that something powerful happened. But not that day, I had barely stumbled back to my office when I couldn’t hold my sorrow back any longer. That feeling of helplessness just sucks. I imagine that’s something I’ll encounter a lot in parenthood too, people need to go through what they need to go through to grieve, learn, and heal, and there’s nothing you can do to rescue them- it would actually be dangerous and unhealthy to do so.

I hold on to the promise of Jesus’ resurrection, that in the end all things will be made new, and that death does not get the last word. But that only helps so much when you’re watching people writhe in pain. There’s no neat and tidy way to end this blog- it is what it is; and it took me 3 months to even say this much, so I’ll leave it at that. But I will say go hug someone, be intentional with those you love and for God’s sake, TELL someone if you’re not feeling well!

Judgement Day

This morning I got up early. I have been feeling anxiety about this day for 3 months, ever since I got my speeding ticket and decided to mitigate. I have rehearsed my story ("I have a really good reason, sir...") over in my head 1,000 times. I got dressed in a professional outfit, considered which shade of lipstick a judge would most likely prefer and went on my way.

When I got to court, I was quite entertained by the irony and comedy of the situation. I was corralled into a room of about 25 people, all of whom you would never naturally place together, so it made for great people-watching. There were business professionals in suits, glittery, gum-smacking teens just a hair over 16, and 'trailor park trash' to boot. We were all brought together by breaking the law, how sweet, the nervous energy in the room was palpable.

We all arose when the honorable judge entered the room and I began listening to everyone else's story. It was amazing how many people were kissing up to him (e.g. "I am ashamed to be standing here, sir. I am a Canadian citizen and it is a privilege to be a guest in your country," etc.) What a load of crap this guy must hear every day! How does he keep a straight face? I did the math, thinking that if he comps everyone's tickets to $100 just for showing up, what's the point of telling a story- the court is making thousands of dollars an hour! The 25 of us were just the 8:30 group, there was another herd of suckers coming in at 9 and again at 9:30.

By the time it got to me, I decided that I'd rather not follow the mold of everyone else- not having a ticket on my record/insurance matters more to me than getting a deal. So I took the deferral, which says if I don't get another ticket in 1 calendar year, this one will be kept off all records. It's a pretty cool option that WA has, I don't know about elsewhere. I figure that since we're moving in 4 months, my odds are pretty good (since I haven't had another ticket this decade).

As I left, I thought about all the biblical parallels of the Judge and judgement. I am glad that the Judge we have is not only just, but loving, merciful (not giving us what we deserve) and gracious (giving us what we don't deserve). Unlike this judge, Christ paid the price on our behalf. It is costly grace, yet it is offered freely. I drove away feeling grateful.

How to: prepare vegetables

If you are anything like me, and have wondered what the deal is with Raw Food diets and what is lost in cooking vegetables, you may be consoled by this article from the NY Times.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Books for some day...

I have been reading for school for 25 years. That will end this summer. While I think I will always read theology books, and want to remain intellectually growing, I can't wait to read novels, fiction and non-fiction a lot more. My professor today said that he reads 5 books a week. I'm thinking more like 1-2 a month, but still, I am excited. Anyone have a suggestion for me? I am starting to keep lists (in my head and otherwise).

Auto/Biographies I Want to Read:
Alfred Nobel
Albert Einstein
Billy Graham
Jackie Robinson
Nelson Mandela
Abraham Lincoln
George Washington
Martin Luther
Martin Luther King Jr.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

History I want to read:
U.S.- Howard Zinn
American Indian

What Happens In Vegas

We went on a date night last night and laughed our heads off... If you're looking for a silly movie, check it out!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What will they say about you?

Last week I went to the funeral of a woman I had never met. Her name was Carol, and she had been through a 10 year battle with cancer. I was kind of nervous to feel like I was 'intruding' on this piece of closure for her family and friends; but I really wanted to go, so I sat in the back and pretended I was invisible.

The tributes people gave to her life were so moving that I started crying. Her neighbor shared that her 5 year old daughter, upon hearing of Carol's death, declared she would "never be happy again." For a 5 year old to say that about anyone, let alone an elderly neighbor, is pretty amazing. Countless people stood up and testified to Carol's graciousness and hospitality. I was impressed that she, as a white woman, had been married to a black man for over 40 years; interracial marriage was rare in the 60's. She couldn't have her own kids, so she opened her home to many international students for conversation practice and hospitality. Two whole rows of Asian students sat there weeping quietly. Many of her co-workers and small group members shared accounts of her positive impact on them as well.

As I left, I felt so full of gratitude for this marvelous woman's life. The few hundred people there painted such a beautiful picture of her through their words. It made me think about what people would say about me when my time comes. If someone sat in the back and pretended they were invisible at my funeral, or at yours, what would they learn? What are our lives about? Who would come? What would people say, what choices are we making now that will translate into touching a person later? I wonder if we thought about this more now, and lived our lives accordingly, if we wouldn't be more generous, more gracious, more kind, and more apt to reach out and welcome others with the time we have.

Coming to a Newsstand Near You!

Keep a watch out for the new issue featuring our beloved puggybear! His money is going to earn him some new toys and treats (all his are gross anyway).

Hi Casey,

Congratulations! Your pet’s photo was selected for publication in Budget Travel’s 10th Anniversary issue. The June issue will hit newsstands later this month, but in the meantime I wanted to touch base with you regarding payment for your submission.

Our rate is $50 per photograph. I’ll be delighted to send you an advance copy of our 10th Anniversary issue with the payment once I get all your information.

We appreciate your interest in Budget Travel, and I look forward to hearing back from you as soon as possible.

Sara Morrow
Editorial Assistant
Budget Travel
Phone: 646/695-6713
Fax: 646/695-6707

Sunday, May 11, 2008

From down on the Evans Farm

Okay, so 3 months behind my fam in Cali, we FINALLY planted vegetables and fruit today. I am excited, this is what we'll have this year:
Green Beans
Snow Peas
Vidalia and Red Onions
Romaine and Red Leaf Lettuce
Heirloom and Roma Tomatoes
Green Bell Peppers
Crookneck Squash

It may be too late for some of those, we'll see. I can't wait to grow citrus and other things, once we get to TX, but this will be fun for this summer. It is so great to eat things and share with neighbors, friends and family from our own garden! Looking forward to it:)

10 on 10

If pictures are worth a thousand words, I'd need far too many words here, since we didn't take any pics; but a recap of our day:
1. 9am- Woke up and went to the doctor to get blood drawn (always a great way to start the day, or not!) Ever since I went off b.c. my body has been a little screwed up. At the risk of TMI, here's a poem I composed- (p.s. guys can skip to #2 for testosterone)
Dear Aunt Flo,
where did you go?
We want you to know,
we miss you so.

2. 10am- Carlos and Justin went on a 20+ mile bike ride to Big Lake and got to chat along the way, a good "man-time."

3. 11am- I pulled weeds in our glorious garden. I'm pretty sure we have more weeds per-square-inch than the rest of humanity.

4. 12- Burly played incessantly with Gwen and Miss Parker, neighbor dogs. He had so much fun that he didn't even know he was missing Pugmania in Seattle. Phew...

5.1pm- Pastrami and Provolone melts for lunch

6. 2pm- instead of planting my vegetable garden we watched a movie in bed, one of those things we're grateful for, knowing that when we're parents those lazy afternoons will be few and far between:)

7. 5pm- Ran some errands to Home Depot and AT+T, where we contemplated getting iPhones yet again.

8. 6pm- We went with our favorite friends Nick and Lindsay to our favorite restaurant, Seeds. Once there, they told us their exciting news, they're MOVING TO AFRICA! To Malawi, where Lindsay's parents have been doing Young Life. Their pay will actually increase at this private school, crazy. We can't WAIT to visit them, and to do other stuff in Africa like climb Kilamanjaro (Los) and rest on Zanzibar (me).

9.8pm- Instead of paying high prices for dessert, we went to Haggen and bought ice cream then went back to our house.

10. 9pm- We played Settlers and chatted for hours. Nick won. Big shocker.

Good day...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Top 10 Reasons I'm Excited to Move to Texas

1. Everything's Bigger in Texas- seriously. I love the state pride there, always have, it's unparalleled. I love the interesting state history (six flags) and the fact that MY FAMILY has a town named after us in Texas (Euless, it's where the Dallas-Fort Worth airport is). My great-great-great-great grandpa was the first sheriff of what is now Tarrant county (Dallas and Fort Worth) back in the day. My roots are there, I can feel it:)

2. Cheap real estate by the beach and the water is warm! We are buying kayaks! And we can ride horses on the beach there:)

3. Speaking of warm, the average temp. is 71 degrees, that's perfect to me, none of this 50-degree crap, where I'm thinking it's MAY, for the love, why am I still wearing a light coat outside?!?! angst. We will be able to swim, run and play tennis OUTSIDE, as it should be.

4. I will use my Spanish way more in South Texas than I do up here by the land of the Canucks. Maybe some Mexicans can teach me how to grow an awesome fruit/veggie garden down there in the warm soil.

5. LIVE MUSIC. We love Austin, which is the 'live music capitol of the country.' We can't wait to go to the Austin City Limits Festival. Amazing, see this year's line up here.

6. Not only good live music, but great barbeque everywhere, which I've alreadyconfessed my love for. So far, one of our fave places in the nation is Stubb's in Austin (you can buy their sauce everywhere too!), but we're excited to try new places.

7. Simple living- Texas will be a mellow place to live as we expand our family. And since we have friends around the state (Houston, Austin, San Antonio), someone can help me fulfill Bucket List goal #42

8. We've never been to the Caribbean and will DEFINITELY explore some islands, since it will be so close and cheap.

9. My fave food is watermelon, so you can better believe we'll be going to the awesome Watermelon Festival in Luling:) I can't wait to travel around to small towns like that and make memories.

10. I have naturally big hair

I might-could get my hair did BIG!

That's right friends, we are moving to the LONE STAR STATE.

I can hardly believe it myself. It is far from what we had on our list of priorities. But I'm starting to get excited... We love adventure, and it will be one more grand adventure before we consider "settling" anywhere.

Here's a golf course by where we're considering living Cinnamon Shore, a new community being developed.

So dad, come golf with us, maybe we'll get good? We are THRILLED about being somewhere where the average temperature is 71 degrees!!


This weekend is Seattle's annual PUGMANIA celebration... Complete with a parade, competitions and even an agility course- all benefiting the Pug Rescue organization. Burly has yet to be subjected to a costume such as this... but some day, his day will come... Yes, I am going to be that dog mom. When our kids trick-or-treat, Burly can go too:) How obnoxious am I?:)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Can I Get an Amen?!

Celebrating 100 years of God’s faithfulness
It is hard to put into words what our experience last night was like. University Presbyterian Church of Seattle had it’s Centennial Celebration, it’s 100th birthday party, and it was grand. 400 volunteers and 2,000 people had an all-church picnic on Saturday. Then yesterday, the whole church was decorated with a timeline of photos and events in Seattle and the church, chronicling the past century. Larson Hall (gym) had a huge feast and lots of fun things for kids and adults.

It was an amazing party, and though we will leave this year and perhaps never come back, the past decade here has been so rich, and I feel so grateful to have been here for such a time as this. Remembering God’s faithfulness to people in the past (a la Hebrews 11 and in our own church family) helps propel us forward trusting God with the future.

The music team put together a medley using the song Amazing Grace, but singing different tunes from an array of genres in the past century (big band jazz, blues, Elvis-esque rock and roll, the Police, etc.) It was so fun. And while we sang songs like: In Christ Alone, How Great is Our God and Great is Thy Faithfulness, I felt like a blanket of prayers of the saints of old was laying on top of us. I am not a very charismatic person, but this felt like palpable blessing.

It made me grateful for everyone who has prayed for me and contributed toward my growth, and it made me excited to do the same for others. Earl preached on the beginning of Hebrews 12 (what I like to call a home run passage- how can you not do well with that?!) and talked about how just as people were faithful to their callings in the past, we are to be in our generation as well. Some things we have control over in our lives, and some things we don’t; and we can use both (what we perceive as) advantages and disadvantages to better ourselves and the kingdom of God.

A story he told weeks ago, that has stuck with me, comes from Einstein’s new biography. He shared that when Einstein graduated from college, full of brilliance and ideas, he couldn’t get a job in research with any scientists. A friend of his offered him a post as a 3rd-grade junior assistant in a mailroom in Bern, Switzerland. It was there, in the midst of his disadvantageous situation, that he had the time, and wrote his theorems, for which he is now famous. Likewise, in our lives, things we may perceive as setbacks, disappointments, or irrelevant to our goals, may in fact be the best thing that could ever happen to us.

100 years ago, on the edge of a then small university campus, some people from another church believed God could make something from nothing, and paid it forward in faith. 5000 members today (and countless others that have been sent out around the nation and world) are the harvest of what those few planted. I pray that we in turn, will steward our lives in such a way that will bless the generations yet to come. Can I get an amen?!

Air Force One update

Yeah, so Los has to tell the story, but let's just say he was no more than 'a stone's throw,' 30 yards away from it when it parked on the puny Waco airstrip and was subsequently flanked by a small train of secret service SUV's and no less than 5(!!) helicopters... Unreal.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Ole (o-lay), ole ole ole, ole ole!!!

We are SO going to the BRAZIL-CANADA soccer game on May 31, at Qwest Field. Fifth row!! Los is gonna wear his Kaka jersey (thanks Patton!) and it's going to be awesome... The beautiful game in person, sweet.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Summarize Your Life in a Paragraph

I hate when people tell me to do this, I am way too verbose... But alas, this one is for the graduation brochure, so I'll do anything for that! Since most of you can't come to my Seattle or LA graduations, here's my lil snippet.

During my 5 (long) years at Fuller, I: lived in 3 corners of the country, went abroad 4 times, married my best friend Carlos, bought a house and the world's best dog, Burly. Needless to say, it has been a full, rich, stimulating time in life. I have been inspired, challenged, blessed and formed by so many professors, classes and readings. I am grateful. When I entered seminary, I had only a vague idea of what the future held for me. I heard God very clearly, while doing an assignment for a FNW class, and now I know and anticipate my vocation as a Presbyterian minister. Thank you all for your passion, wisdom, humor and grace.

p.s. If you DO want to come, LET me know, I'll get you tickets. And we'll have a party both places, yet TBD. It's so amazing to reflect on everything that's happened in 5 years! I grew up so much and am so stoked for the future now...

Stranger than Fiction (Bush Twins, again!)

So Los is flying a plane from TX to FL today. Our conversation earlier went something like this:

Him: Yeah, I'm trying to get out of here within 1/2 an hour before it gets crazy

Me: Why would it get crazy?

Him: Because the President is flying in.

Me: The President? Of the United States?!

Him: Yeah

Me: Is flying into the same little air field you're in?

Him: Yeah

Me: Why?!

Him: Because his daughter's getting married this weekend right by here.

Me: (obsessed with the First Twins) Well ... if you can't get out right away, please tell him I want to be friends with the girls.

Him: Uh, okay, will do.
When does that happen?! You couldn't plan for something like this...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Flippin the Turns

And p.s. Carlos and I were in the pool for 45 minutes last night, and we can now officially check #20 off the list. Ah yeah!

Food for Thought: CSA and Urban Sprawl

Today I read an awesome article about Dog Mountain Farm, a local place that supplies Canlis (one of Seattle's nicest restaurants) and other places. From May-September, for $75/person, they have a monthly dinner served by top chefs, on their farm. It's four hours long, with a tour of the property and wine pairings with the courses. That sounds so fun to me...

and it got me thinking whether or not I wanted to join a CSA for a half-share this spring-fall. I do want to grow our own vegetables, but I like the idea of supporting local organic farms too. We've been eating a lot more vegetables recently and both of us notice the difference we feel in health and energy. I know you readers are all around the country, but here's a shameless plug to check out Local Harvest, an awesome website that tells you about potential farms, farmer's markets, grocery stores and restaurants with locally grown produce. Not only is it healthy for you (read the NY Times article that's their top hit right now), but it also supports your community and healthy practices for our land.

I was reading a farm's website from my hometown in CA this evening and found this portion about urban sprawl to be disconcerting. Check this link out. Yikes.

Just some food for thought:)

Expecting miracles

My whole life I've wondered what it would be like to have straight hair. When your parents have curly and wavy, coarse hair, respectively, the best a kid can do is wonder. When I was in middle school, women held my head to an ironing board to straighten my hair with an iron, before taking some modeling photos. Though traumatizing, it was miraculous to look in the mirror and see the result.

Well beginning next week, perhaps miracles will be the norm. Once again, motivated byAnnie, I finally sucked it up and bought theChi, the Mercedes of flat irons.

My hair is shorter than ever before, so it shouldn't be too arduous of a process to tame my goldilocks. We shall see:) I'm expecting nothing short of greatness.


Just so I can find some allies, I'm gonna throw it out there: I think waking up at 5am should be illegal.

Burly and I had to take a 3 hour nap to recover from waking up to take Los to the airport this morning. He is a natural morning person (read: alien) whereas my eyes can't open fully until at LEAST 6 (though, let's be honest, I prefer 9am).

So anyway, he went to wacko Waco, TX today, and is heading to Jacksonville (jealous) tomorrow. Pray he comes home quickly, our friend Forrest did this plane repossession trip once and he didn't come home for 3 weeks!