Saturday, May 29, 2010

Summer Cake

To celebrate Memorial Day weekend and to welcome the summer, I made a chocolate cake with pink frosting, topped with delicious blueberries from our freezer that we had picked last year.

Haircut Day!!

Second time's the charm! Steve cut my hair this afternoon. He did a really good job! The first time he cut my hair, I was so nervous I almost gave him a heart attack. Brave man to try again!

I was pretty happy with the outcome.

One more -- a funny thing: While we were out for a walk this morning, we saw someone's makeshift caution tape deterrent. Way to reduce, reuse, and recycle! How Oregonian of them! haha

Friday Night Fun

What a busy week! It's hard to remember that we celebrated our second anniversary at the beginning of this week! It feels like it was so long ago already. We really enjoyed a laid back day that culminated in a beautiful dinner at Lum Yuen's, one of our favorite Asian restaurants in town. Their black tea and egg flower soup is so delicious!

Steve had taken a day off on Tuesday as well. We spent the evening at Jon & Kari's. I think we can officially qualify their house as our second home, at least on weekends. Thanks, guys! =)

I can barely remember Wednesday. There were a few tears throughout the day, but we (mainly me) survived. Bible study was great. It's so encouraging to see new faces, and to have such great discussions. We're so thankful for even the smallest green leaves of growth in our church. Praise God!

Thursday was full of one-year-old madness! I watched a little girl from church, and we had a blast. I watched her again yesterday, but it was a much more relaxed day. I'm planning to have her Tuesday through Friday of next week as well. Oh, the adventures we'll have!

Last night we were back at Jon & Kari's. Jon put together a really good photography lesson. He's the "King Genius" instructor of our recently created small, yet exceptionally bright photography class. It started with a great Goofy video. After discussing aperture, f-stops, shutter speed, and ISO, Jon had a special, surprise guest. (I know! What an awesome teacher!) Kari was sitting nearest the patio window and suddenly was surprised by the appearance of a masked, gloved little thief. I caught his smug little mug with Steve's iPhone camera.

Now they know why all of their cat food has been disappearing so quickly! Steve thought it would be cool to shoot a photo of this little guy without any glass between them. So, if you watched the Goofy video, you may see some humorous parallels. ;) He headed stealthily out the front door to sneak around and get what I'll call a "paparazzi shot". The rest of us stayed glued to the patio door, watching the theif nibble away at his loot. Out of the silence of the stalk, we hear a loud clanging and clunking. As he was tip-toeing out the front door, Steve managed to slip his sly foot right into a pot, which caught him off balance. Seeing the Goofy part of this?? The raccoon, hearing the raucous, bounded off into the dark night. Steve returned empty-handed, but with a big smile. Of course, the thief returned a few more times, since the eating was too good to pass up.

Fun times!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer is slowly rambling into the Willamette Valley. Steve and I decided to go grass-sledding one day. Let's just say that didn't go so well.

The other day the Department of Emergency Services held a Life Flight demonstration at the Capitol Mall Park. It was pretty cool!

I started babysitting a little girl from church, and while on a walk today we saw a lady feed this squirrel a Fiber One bar. Pretty funny! At first he ran away from it, but then he must have decided that the health benefits outweigh the taste.

After our walk, the little girl found my stuffed dog and became enamored with it. He is currently her napping buddy. I love being able to nap on the job! Talk about great fringe benefits!

That's a little bit of what we've been up to lately. I'll try talking Steve into posting some of our better photos later on. Hope you all have a beautiful weekend! Happy Memorial Day early!

Good Grief

After 25 years of research (my life), I've come to the conclusion that each of us is in a different stage of the grieving process at any given time.

These steps are defined on as follows:

Five Stages Of Grief

  1. Denial and Isolation.
    At first, we tend to deny the loss has taken place, and may withdraw from our usual social contacts. This stage may last a few moments, or longer.

  2. Anger.
    The grieving person may then be furious at the person who inflicted the hurt [even God - italics are mine], or at the world, for letting it happen. He may be angry with himself for letting the event take place, even if, realistically, nothing could have stopped it.

  3. Bargaining.
    Now the grieving person may make bargains with God, asking, "If I do this, will you take away the loss?"

  4. Depression.
    The person feels numb, although anger and sadness may remain underneath.

  5. Acceptance.
    This is when the anger, sadness and mourning have tapered off. The person simply accepts the reality of the loss.
Grief can happen for many reasons, not just the death of a loved one, people or pets. It can occur after moving away from a familiar place or a close group of friends, when a relationship fails, after losing or changing a job or career, or even when your favorite coffee shop closes... It can occur at any stage of life: childhood, college years, career age, middle age, empty nest age, and especially in the senior years. Grief is something we all have in common, and no one is exempt from. This scripture is of special comfort to me in times of grief.

Lamentations 3:22-26

22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."

25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;

26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Day in May

Rain and clouds cannot dim the lively fire of youth. It simply evaporates upon sizzling contact drowned out by the shouts of joy and mirth, and maybe a little psychosis (per Steve). Such is childhood in the Pacific Northwest. I'm listening to little kids out for recess.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Little Thought

A person you know well and regard with affection and trust.

Commune (verb)
To converse together with sympathy and confidence; to interchange sentiments or feelings; to take counsel.

Everyone needs friends. Everyone was created with the need to commune. Our humanity is what cries out for us to be "a rock" or "an island", insulated from the risk of pain. Our souls are what cry out for companionship and relationship. I believe God created us with these holes that can only be filled by another living being, whether that is an animal or a human. Ultimately God created us with a need for Him that only He can fill.

Thinking about relationships and community, I began dwelling on the great civilizations of the past, the beginning of life, and God. It all comes back to community. God longed for community and for creatures who would choose to love Him. He saw that it was good and began creation. Every great civilization began with, at the very least, two people. Community and support from friends is required for each person on earth to be successful. As Sanctus Real sings in their hit "We Need Each Other" (click here to view a Youtube video of the song):

I think I caught a glimpse of
Life without friends
Bitter, empty, hollow, dark and lonely
We never meant to hurt each other
So can't we trust again
And take it as a chance
To keep on growing

I don't know why it doesn't come easy
But I know that we could be happy
If we'd only learn to love

Oh oh we need each other
So what's the fighting for
Oh oh we need each other
Please don't close the door
Oh oh we need each other
Through all the highs and lows
Oh oh we need each other
Cause no one's meant to live alone

Life revolves around the need
Of having someone
Causing every complicated feeling
Oh and I don't want to lose you
And there is nothing wrong with
Telling me what you need
To keep our love strong

It's just a part of being a family
Taking the good with the bad and the ugly
If we could only learn to love

Oh Oh we need each other
Fathers and Mothers
Oh oh we need each other
All your sisters and brothers
Oh oh we need each other
We need friends and lovers
Oh Oh we need each other

Well I need you
You need me
Cause that's the way
It's meant to be
I need you
We need each other
I don't want to be alone

Catching Foxes: A Look At Marriage

I recently read a devotional that focused on Song of Solomon 2:15 NLT

Catch all the foxes,
those little foxes,
before they ruin the vineyard of love,
for the grapevines are blossoming!

This was a warning to the groom and bride to be on their guard against those things which will sneak in and destroy their marriage. Foxes are mainly nocturnal animals, and have been characterized throughout the ages as sneaky and sly. They are omnivores, eating both small animals and fruits or vegetables. They are not stupid, but rather quite intelligent and patient, waiting out their prey or outrunning it.

In marriage, the foxes are the little things that build up over time. I like to think Steve and I have a very happy, healthy marriage. However, we have to work daily to keep our relationship flourishing and blossoming. We have to tend to it, like a vineyard, pruning back selfishness and guarding each other's hearts from those things that disease and destroy. This is a good rule for any relationship, not just marriage.

What are the foxes in your relationships? They can be as simple as forgetting an important date, unfulfilled promises (even taking out the garbage or fixing dinner), or being too tired to meet the needs of your spouse or friend. It's better to start catching the foxes late, than never! If you forgot an important date, do something special to apologize and celebrate. If there are promises you have made and haven't followed through on, do it now! Save some energy and enthusiasm for your special someone at the end of the day. The fruit of your labor will be rewarding to you both.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Total Comfort Food

Steve and I LOVE these enchiladas. In fact, we are probably having them for supper tonight. Wishing I had some homemade guacamole and pico de gallo to go with it!

Courtesy of

Chicken Enchiladas II
recipe image
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Ready In: 45 Minutes
Servings: 6
"No tomatoes here, just a satisfying cheese and chicken filling with a creamy sauce over all."
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream
of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
6 (12 inch) flour tortillas
1/4 cup milk
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking dish.
2.In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the green onion until tender (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the garlic powder, then stir in the green chiles, cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. Mix well. Reserve 3/4 of this sauce and set aside. To the remaining 1/4 of the sauce in the saucepan, add the chicken and 1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese. Stir together.
3.Fill each flour tortilla with the chicken mixture and roll up. Place seam side down in the prepared baking dish.
4.In a small bowl combine the reserved 3/4 of the sauce with the milk. Spoon this mixture over the rolled tortillas and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.
Printed from 5/18/2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Blessed Out Our Ears!

I can't begin to tell you how blessed we've been over the past couple of weeks. I was able to fly home to visit friends and family, and watch Matthew Siler marry his sweetheart, Mareike. What an amazing honor!

I got to see my beautiful niece, Maya, and how much she has grown!

I was also able to see my amazing nephew, Eric, and all of his many talents, which included baby bouncing, trampoline jumping, swing surfing, t-ball playing, tooth losing, and bird chasing. He is also morphing into a transformer expert. He recently purchased "Stratosphere!!" entirely with quarters. What a patient cashier! :)

There's so much more to share, but I'm in desperate need of a nap. Check back for more pictures and maybe even some video later!