Monday, November 5, 2012

continued thankfulness

Did you think from my last post that I was going to post everyday? Gotcha!

I am very thankful that I am too busy to blog everyday. Is that okay to be thankful for?

I'm thankful that my mornings are busy pouring cereal and refereeing foursquare and mushroom ball. (I may not understand their rules these days, because they have changed since I was in elementary... but I love spending mornings with those kiddos.)

I'm thankful that my days are filled with friends... coffee dates spent learning and growing and enjoying these friendships are the best.

I'm thankful that my days are also filled with office time. Being a natural organizer/recorder, I love spending time filing and scheduling and planning.

I'm thankful that my afternoons are spent with sweet kindergarteners and first graders. I get to teach them to tie their shoes, resolve conflict (ALL THE TIME) and most importantly I get to show them how God loves them... not just in my actions and interactions but I can actually bust out my Bible (or their kid's Bible) and read. Ah, private school. :)

All of these daily activities make me even more thankful for the days that I can sit down and relax. And blog. And sip coffee for the taste and not just for the energy. You know those kind of days? Maybe you don't, but they are nice. And I am thankful for them.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

day one of thankfulness... orting.

I could start an entire new blog that just chronicles my thankfulness day-to-day.
With that being said, I'm giving in to the stereotypical 'thankful' posts this November.

Today I am especially thankful for my sweet town. No one can convince me that they live in a more beautiful place than I do. I am continually amazed at the beauty of God's creation in the PNW, and especially in Orting. 

Take a moment to look at what us Ortingites... is that right?... get to see everyday. 

 Blue skies, gray skies... it is always beautiful here. 

And let me tell you, the beauty of our surroundings is only a small part of what makes Orting so great. 

I have traveled the country, and seen a little bit of the world, but I am so thankful that God brought me back to my hometown. I love being a part of this community... knowing everyone in town, going to each of the little festivals in town (there are so many!), running on the trail, joining the entire population at the high school football games... its all so good. 
 I'm not sure if we have some sort of special bond because we all chose to live under an active volcano or what, but the people in Orting actually act like a community. I love it.
If you haven't been to Orting, you're missing out. It's a gem. And I am thankful.

Friday, October 26, 2012

God knows me well and loves me so.

Every few months, I blog about how much of a failure I am at blogging. 

So my dear readers, I am a failure at blogging. And I'm sorry.

I do have some cool crafting ideas and a crafting party coming up, so I will update with pictures and what not.

Until then, I'll update you on why I'm not blogging. My summer was filled with adventure and excitement. I went to Haiti. I drove back and forth across the state multiple times. I worked at Abundant Life's summer camp for eight days. I had a family reunion/camping trip in Cle Elum and then went to Lummi Island with Aaron's family on Labor Day weekend.

I had no time to slow down between summer festivities and the start of my new job in September. I came home from Lummi and started working the very next morning. 

I have been blessed with a job that I love. It is so perfect for my life right now that there is no way I could have planned or even prayed for something this good. God knows me well and loves me so. 

This post is short and sweet, but I'll leave you with some pictures.
 These are a couple kids from my class on Fair Day. We did some face painting, obviously. And we have a husky fan... which I am a fan of.
 Our theme this week was creepy crawlers. Since I'm not a fan of REAL creepy crawlers, we made cute pipe cleaner spiders instead. :)

 At camp, I hung out in the sound booth everyday. Our campers practiced dramas all week that they performed at Summerfest in the Orting Park that weekend. I played and replayed and replayed and REPLAYED the song for one of the groups while they practiced. It was very fun, and that coffee mug was my very best friend all week. :)

 Of course, Aaron and I made a trip to the bakery while we were in Cle Elum. It is ALMOST as cute as the Orting Bakery. 

Ah, the mountain in summer. Its already completely white again, no beautiful blue peeking out. But that's okay, I have this picture to remind me of its summer beauty.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I've always loved recording. I have a box full of journals in my closet. They are all halfway full, but that is just because I love buying new ones. I like to fill planners with all my dates and classes and activities. There is just something about being able to go back and look at what I've been up to that I love. I have a jar in my room with a ribbon tied around the top. Next to it, I keep little scraps of paper and write down precious memories that I don't want to forget, fold them up and put them in the jar. Then at the end of the year I dump out the jar and read all of my sweet memories from the year.

Blogging is the same. I've kept a blog for almost seven years. How cool is it that I can go back to August of 2006 and read all about my summer? I laugh and my self often. I'm embarrassed even more often. But I just love having everything recorded.

I go through phases where I am more private. Most of my days and memories are scrawled out on the pages of my journal. Then I stick it in my Bible and keep it with me in case I am hit with a verse or a moment that I need to write down. These are the times that my blog is neglected and my Facebook friends think I have nothing going on in my life.

Other times I am so excited about the things going on that I record it everywhere. I blog about it, write it in my journal, Instagram it, Facebook it, tweet it... you name it, I've got it out there for all my friends to see and read and like and retweet. Its great that social media keeps us connected with friends close and far away, but I am more thankful for the recording and chronological organization of it. That probably makes me a super nerd, whatever.

I want to take full advantage of all the cool technology available to me. My parents are pretty much limited to school pictures and family vacations when it comes to looking back at their lives. I've got pictures of homemade salsa and wildfires and tanlines and hockey game dates that all have dates attached to them. And that's just from this year. Why do I love this so much? I am such a recorder.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Haiti- 2012

[View over all of Port au Prince.]

This summer, God called me to go to Haiti. I had no idea why or how this was going to happen, but He made it clear that I would be part of team heading to Haiti at the end of June. Meetings and training dates flew by, and with each financial deadline that approached, the Lord provided the exact amount of money that I needed to go on the trip. The way He works things like that out is beyond my understanding!

[My boarding pass and my first real time leaving the country!]

In the weeks leading up to the trip, I joked that I had only ever left the country to go to Younglife camp in Canada. And we can all agree that that doesn't really count as leaving the country. I got my very first passport and carefully flipped through the blank pages. I purchased 98% deet bug spray (SO GLAD I DID THAT), a mosquito net and Malaria pills. My bag was packed with shorts and hair ties and an abundance of sunscreen. I was definitely prepared on the outside, but the most important and useful preparation was how my heart was prepared. Through our team leader's who had already been to Haiti, and others who have been on other mission trips, the Lord readied my heart for the kind of devastation I would see in Haiti.

[This is right outside one of the orphanages we visited, and a very common site in Haiti. Both parents died in the 2010 earthquake, so a grandmother was taking care of four grandchildren (ranging from toddler to teenager) and living in this tent. Despite their living conditions, they were a joy to talk to and the kids were very spirited and playful.]
 [This is their pet dog. He was pretty cute.]

[This is the grandmother. Each day we returned to the orphanage, she greeted us with a beautiful smile and huge hugs. She washed laundry once a day (the yellow bucket) for a neighboring family and made about 50 cents per load. To put that into perspective... individual serving water pouches are sold on the streets in Haiti for somewhere around 12 cents.]

[This explains why the water pouches are sold. The waterways are polluted with trash and waste.]

I am so thankful for everyone who prayed for me before and during my trip. It was hard to walk around Port au Prince. The city is completely ruined, trashed and broken. But before I left, I was told to pray that God would show me the hope in Haiti. I did, and He did. Between a church service and visits to orphanages and a tent city, the Lord clearly showed me where He is working. The majority of the Haitians we interacted with had so much joy, I was amazed and humbled. It was a HUGE reminder that things do not equal joy. True joy only comes from Him. 

During our time in Haiti, my team built benches and a gate, put up new tarps in a nearby tent city, did handiwork around one of the orphanages, and administered immunizations to orphans. I even got to give shots! The best part about this was that with each job or task, we were able to teach the Haitians how to do these things themselves. Sure, each task took a bit longer than it could have, but men who had no job and little education were able to learn a trade that could help them get work. 

I'm obviously not a builder. So going into each place, I knew that I would spend a lot of time with the kids. Being a nanny, I was in my element. I really had no idea how important of a job that is. By the end of the week, with the little bit of Creole I'd picked up, I could understand the kids arguing over who's mom I was going to be! Even though I wasn't able to take them home with me, I was able to pray over them and rock them to sleep... even if it was only for a short time.

 [When I asked this sweet girl what her name was, she replied in an equally sweet voice, "Lovely!" And she was definitely lovely. And apparently a model with my shades.]

 [We took clothes, shoes, pillow pets and a bunch of other little necessities to the girls at the Sarthe orphanage. This picture was right before we passed out their bags. They didn't know what they were getting, but they sat patiently while we wrote down their names/ages for sponsors at home.]

 [I'm pretty certain boys are the same everywhere. This boy, Bryon, loved pretend fighting with Aaron. The littler one did too.]

[This sweet girl, Allene (sp?), was one of my favorites. I played school with her, and she was amazed at my ability to copy numbers. :) She kept saying, "Bravo! Bravo!" Each time I correctly copied what she wrote.]

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 2012: new foods, storms, hockey and babies.

Remember how I said that I probably shouldn't tell people I want to try new foods unless I am really going to do it? Well, just as I imagined, sharing my new year's resolution with the entire internet has caused the people close to me to force me to try new things.

For example, Ashley, my 'daughter' (Long story there, and actually I'm not even sure anymore why she began calling me mom), made me cookies. They were peppermint, which I have never tried. When she first told me about it, I definitely made the eh-no-thanks-that-sounds-gross face. But... I tried them. AND, they were delicious!
A couple weeks later, Aaron made some sort of vegetable goodness for Talicia, Cameron and me that included zucchini and squash. Both of which I now love. I also love peppers, which I had tried before this particular meal. I could probably eat bell peppers, cooked or raw, at every meal.

Next up, magic tofu. Which is seriously the very last thing I thought I would ever try. I mean, what even IS tofu? I still don't know. Anyway, its a bunch of vegetables... peppers, onions, mushrooms... cubed, fried tofu... and this really good orange-y, spicy, sweet sauce that Aaron created. I'm pretty sure I ate almost all of it. (Except maybe some onions because I still don't think I like them.)

Some other things I've tried, but don't have pictures of: chili, indian food, red spaghetti sauce, polenta, brussel sprouts, goat cheese, quinoa, sprouts... I know there is more.

Shifting gears a bit, we had a major winter storm a couple weeks ago. Real snow and ice and power outage kind of storm. Followed by wind and tons of rain, and now this weekend calls for 60 degrees and sunny. Oh how I love Washington!

Anyway, on the first day of the power outage, we hopped back and forth between both my parent's houses. My mom's house is tiny and cozy and has a fireplace. So even with no power, we were warm. The neighbors boiled water on their wood stove for us to have hot chocolate, and we played games by the fire. Right out of a movie, huh?

That night we ended up staying at my dad's. He had a generator [TV, ability to charge our phones] and a fireplace and they have a huge living room. We watched a ton of TV (which I don't get to do at my own house), played Bananagrams and drank of ton of coffee. The next morning, we walked around the golf course to survey the damage. All the snow and ice was falling off the trees. It was beautiful and a little bit scary. Talicia and I were literally one step away when a HUGE piece of snow and ice fell from a tree we'd just been underneath.

Flash forward again. [January was a long month.] This past weekend Aaron took me to my first ever hockey game. (Annnnd to The Buttered Biscuit in Sumner, which was so good it deserves its very own post!)
The game itself was cool. Who doesn't love seeing people beat each other up on ice? Those boys are brutal. And I love pretty much all sports, especially when you're at the game watching it and not seeing it on TV. But I think I got more of a kick out of the people around us, and the little things they did between playing hockey. We happened to be there on the night that fans threw teddy bears on the ice to be donated. Bears were flying EVERYWHERE. There's always that one guy that has to wait until all the bears are picked up to throw his down.
They also had a dance off. And an 'unfreeze this t-shirt ice cube with a water bottle and then put it on' competition. And a thing where people tried to throw foam pucks into the sunroof of a car on the ice.
We ended up losing to Portland, which was fine because they are number 1 and we are pretty much at the bottom. But I had so much fun! :)

Another new thing in my life, working with the kids at Abundant Life. I've been easing into doing a bunch of stuff for the children's ministry. Usually I'm just doing a bunch of administrative stuff... checking kids in and making sure all the classes are good to go, and then slipping into the main service. This week Brad ended up needing my help with the big kids. He talked about washing feet, and the kids played a game that involved taking off their shoes.

I decided to end this blog with a picture of the cutest baby around. Ashton's cousin, Finn. I nanny for Ashton every week consistently... and every now and then I get to watch his precious cousins as well. Finn is the sweetest, happiest, chubbiest, cuddliest baby I've ever known. He's pretty easy going, hence the Spiderman costume he let me dress him in this afternoon. He crawled all around the house in that costume, and didn't take it off until he could no longer keep up with his older cousin and siblings. What a sweet boy!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Confessions of a really picky eater.

I am really picky. Duh. If you know me at all, you know that. Once before a dinner party, my friend texted me and asked what I didn't like. My reply went: burritos, tacos, beans... okay anything mexican, soups, meatloaf, casserole, burgers... and before I finished, she reponded: actually just tell what you DO like. Ah, much easier.

But, being 23, I've started to figure out that not only can you NOT live off grilled cheese and raw carrots, but that kind of palette is often embarrassing when eating out with friends. Yes, grilled cheese is the cheapest item on most adult menu's, but usually its only found on the kid's menu. Lame.

So... one of my 'new year's resolutions' is to try new foods. It is seriously scary to me. In the past, I have only really tried new foods when a boy I like suggests it. And even then I kind of pretend to try it, and usually just stay hungry until I can eat something I like. I can't believe I'm telling all my secrets, but oh well... now you know.

So, friends, family... other people I may eat with... if I make a face at a food that I've never tasted, crinkle my nose at the smell of something new or say I'm not hungry when you hear my stomach growling, remind me to try new foods!! Please and thank you.