A Sobering Day

My day started off with a relaxing morning with my family and my friend who was here for a few days to visit. We wanted to take her to VooDoo Donuts for one last cultural experience before she left town. We got a good laugh at the VooDoo Monster in the bushes and at the crazy hipsters and Portlandites around us. Never a dull moment.


After saying good-bye to my friend I headed off to meetings for work. About 4 pm I got a text from Matt saying that our dear friends and staff team members were at the mall where a shooting had just taken place. My heart sank. An hour later as my phone started ringing and getting texts to make sure we were okay started coming in my emotions were raw. The tears were rolling; afraid for my friends who I didn’t know were out of the mall or not, for the people I knew had already been shot, for the horror of it all really.

Our friends are okay although shaken by the nightmare they have just experienced. I’m hugging my family tighter tonight knowing that this was just too close to home for us, literally.

Our world is messed up. The day started out with pretend monsters in the bushes and ended with a real monster yielding a gun and taking lives. It makes me sick to my stomach. But I was reminded as I sang Amazing Grace to Isaac as I put him to bed, whether in life or death, God’s grace is amazing and He does indeed save. I’m so thankful for that. I have hope in a good God who saves even when terrible things happen.

Join me in praying for peace for those who experienced this terrible tragedy, for my friend who was in the mall to not go into early labor (she’s 8 months pregnant), for the family of those who lost loved ones and for God to do something good out of this.


Tis the season for Christmas parties. Our Portland Christmas party was out in the suburbs of Wilsonville. Let’s just say that I’ve adjusted to life in the city and forget what it’s like out there in what Jenna likes to call, “the middle of nowhere.” The houses are so BIG, there are two car garages, it’s so dark at night and I felt a little nervous when there weren’t many cars on the road. I began to feel a little bad for making fun of a staff friend when he moved to Montana, which is actually in the middle of nowhere, from Seattle. I’m beginning to see what he was afraid of talking about. But in all seriousness, we had a great time. And although the burbs have their perks I’m loving life in the city. Who would have thought?!

In other holiday news. We’ve started reading through our advent book again (although 8 days late, we’ve had a busy week) and love it all over again. I love this season of pausing to remember and wait for the celebration of the greatest gift the world has ever been given, Jesus.

Here’s some pictures from our festive household.

PicMonkey Collage

Here’s the wreath I made from our Christmas tree scraps on the front of our house and my favorite decorations on the wall, Isaac’s hand print from last year and Jenna’s finger print in a heart, along with a beautiful bead wreath my mom got me.

Here’s some advent reading happening.


I love this one of Isaac admiring the tree (between the moments of him trying to kick the “ball” aka Christmas ornaments and throwing balls into it. Boys.

Screen shot 2012-12-09 at 2.59.37 PM

15 years ago I sat in the ballroom at the Double Tree Hotel at a Cru Conference as a sophomore in college (I cannot believe how long ago that was) and felt the hardened edge of my heart beginning to soften. I had so many wounds from the past 4 years of my life, many due to my own bad choices and giving God lip service and a stiff arm all the while doing my own thing, seeking my own pleasures in all the wrong ways. So there I sat, broken, hating who I was in so many ways, guilt ridden of the lifestyle I had been living and God spoke to me. I remember the room, the speaker, all of it as if I were still sitting there. I knew in that moment that God was saying, “You’ve tried it your way and now you can bring your broken self to me and we’ll try it my way.” I made a decision at that conference to give my life to God; Not just say that I believed in Him, but actually follow Him. That was the best decision I’ve ever made.

This is why I believe in conferences like the one our ministry does every year after Christmas. Not because it’s fun, although it’s incredibly fun (See the crowd surfing picture below to prove the fun part. And yes, that is Jenna’s pink helmet that Jason is wearing.), but because it can be life changing. It can change the trajectory of your life. It may not be as drastic for some as it was for me, but each year that I am there (still, 15 years later) God does something new and great in my heart; He changes me in different ways each time. It’s something I look forward to every year.

So, if you’re a college student, come join us. You won’t regret it. You’ll only regret not going. If you know a college student tell them to go. If you like to pray, pray for that time we’ll be there. You could be a part of someones life changing just by praying. If you want more info. you can find it here.

Four Days, For Change, For Life. It’s not just a slogan, my life is a living testament to it.

**If you want to see more amazing photos from last year check out this site.

Holiday Joy and Sorrow

We traveled to far off lands (At least that’s what Jenna thinks these days. She’s become such a city girl.) and traipsed through the beautifully groomed Christmas tree farm to chop down our Christmas tree this weekend. We had such a great time enjoying the scenery on the drive, picking the perfect tree, and excitedly decorating once we got home. I would sit back and revel in my sweet girl decorating the tree (even when it wasn’t perfect) thinking about how I had to treasure these moments. Because as I watched her decorate, another family that I’ve prayed for over the past year is not decorating a tree but planning a memorial service. A woman I knew (who is my age) from my time at OSU died this past week of cancer, leaving behind her sweet family. Those precious kids won’t be decorating a tree with their mom again and my heart aches for them. I think of my other friend with cancer who is struggling and it makes me sad for her and her family. I picture my friend Erin and her two sweet kids having to go through another Christmas without the husband and dad that was there just two years ago, robbed also as a result of cancer. Even in my own family there is hard stuff happening that we have no control over and breaks my heart.

The Holidays (especially Christmas) bring out the best and the worst, the joy and the pain. They can be full of delight and also bring reminders of hopes or dreams not met in the past year revealing heartache in raw ways.

I don’t want to be a downer or only see the hard stuff because there are many joys in life and in this season. But, there is also great pain all around us because this world is a broken place.

Even in the midst of the constant heartache that surrounds, I just have to look to my tree and one of my favorite ornaments to remember that “Unto Us A Child is Born” and because of that, because of Jesus, there is hope. He is enough. On a dark night, a Savior was born to bring hope and light into all the dark places.

I’m praying that even in the dark places of this world, in your world, the heartache, the brokenness, even when I don’t feel joyful, or you don’t feel joyful we can remember together to celebrate the small mercies of each day, knowing that one day the world will again be made right thanks to that child that was born in a manger.

Thanksgiving Break

We’ve had a great Thanksgiving break around here. We had a fun visit with Matt’s sister and her husband. Dinner was delicious and I’m pretty sure I’m a few pounds heavier as a result. The weather on Thanksgiving day was amazing and so for the third Thanksgiving in a row we went down to the river to enjoy it. The water was so high we only found a small piece of beach to play on but the kids had a great time none-the-less.

For the first time in many years I didn’t do any black Friday shopping and instead we all went to OMSI. I think that was a winning decision and we had a great time.

Today we spent many hours watching football and of course the Civil War game was totally depressing as I really hate seeing the Ducks win (ever). Jenna read for 4 hours, yes 4 hours. She has found a new addiction and I’m okay with this habit. We had to make her put her books away at dinner time. Is she really just 5?!

Also over the break Jenna and Matt have made a couple videos. They’re pretty funny. Here’s one for you to enjoy.

Matt’s also discovered a new app called cinemegram. It’s pretty funny and he’s been highly entertained with it lately. Here’s a clip of Isaac at the park. It’s so funny and so sad at the same time.


Created with cinemagr.am

Tomorrow we’re off to get a tree. Yay! Let the festive Christmas season begin!

Taking Time for a Stroll

It has been a slower pace around here the past few days and it’s been so nice. We have the week off and Jenna doesn’t have school so we’re enjoying some extended time together, getting in some extra reading and time with the Lord, play dates with new friends and even a lovely stroll in the rain. (I know that it’s not the Portland thing to do to walk around with umbrellas but sometimes a walk in the rain with a cute umbrella is good for a girls soul.) Life is always lived at a crazy pace around here so it’s nice for things to slow just a little.

We’re looking forward to our first holiday with Matt’s sister and her family. Her husband is from Scotland so hopefully he’ll enjoy his first Thanksgiving here in the states and at our table.

Hope you all have a blessed and restful Thanksgiving.

A Week Full of Blessings

All weeks are not created equal. Some are just better than others for some reason. This week has been filled with sweet blessings all around and I’m basking in the sweetness of it.

Here’s some of the highlights this week, I have so much to be thankful for!

My friend Katie (yes the same one that took me to the concert last weekend) took me to a Blazers game this week. I had no idea that we would be sitting down by the floor and it was so fun. I’m not a huge basketball fan but I’m not gonna lie, it was fun. We sat right behind the “Free throw guy,” were on the big screen a few times because we were right behind the basket, and the best part is we had a great time talking about life and getting to know each other. I know, not game talk but that’s how we roll. I just have to say too, those players are seriously so young. Some of them looked like they were 15, but in a very large body. Now, I’ve got to find a fun activity I can take Katie on. Any ideas for me friends?

My kids have been exceptionally sweet this week. Isaac has actually turned a corner and has obeyed. It makes all the difference to not be giving time outs (recovery time) all day. Here are two pictures that pretty much sum up the kids and what they like to do. And they’re adorable, but I’m not biased at all I know.

The weather has been amazing this week and I can’t help but take pictures of it. It won’t last much longer so I’m loving every last day of beauty. Matt even mowed the lawn again this week. It’s weird that I’m thinking about when we’re going to go get a Christmas tree and we’re still mowing the yard.

I’ve also enjoyed a long walk and good talk with my friend Rachel, went to the cafe for music time with Jessie and the kids, had a great MOPS meeting this morning, and our life group with our church was so fun and refreshing last night. We had a new gal come that is a new Christian and she was so refreshing to be with. She is trying to eat Vegan and when I told her that the brownies I made were indeed vegan she was pretty excited. See people, my new crazy eating habits are in fact blessing the lives of people around me. Who knew that would happen?! One of the guys in the group even ate two saying he would have never known and really like them. It’s the little things that make me happy 🙂

For those of you who like crafty things here’s a link to some great Thanksgiving ideas (Thanks to Pinterest). Many of them are quick and easy, fun, and you still have time to do one before Thursday if you want. I did mine while making dinner last night. Nothing fancy but a reminder to be Thankful and makes it feel a little more festive anyway. (Don’t mind the fact that I’m in the picture. Just focus on the cute banner.)

This weekend is the first weekend in 7 weeks that our whole family has been together at home. Whew! I’m ready for that. To celebrate that fact, Matt and I will go on a date, Yay! And we get to have dinner with friends tomorrow night.

Seriously people, I’m feeling incredibly blessed this week. Our lives may be crazy but we are so rich in relationship with others and I’m soaking it all in.

I hope you all have a blessed weekend.