Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why I'm excited to have kids

I love him so much that it makes my heart hurt. Won't he be the best dad some day? 

Will our kids know how blessed they are to call him "dad"?
Will their little hands disappear inside his bear paws?
Will they know from his eyes how much he loves them?
Will they feel cool knowing their dad could totally beat any bad guys?
Will they refer to his bearded-years as his "mountain man phase" (just like we did to my dad)?

Will they love his little baby birdy hair? Or will that just be me?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I am the specialest girl in the whole world

(Courtesy of Greg's iPhone.)

David threw me a SURPRISE party because he loves me and wanted to celebrate my going to grad school. We went to Farmer's and when we got home I opened the door to little Sally Loo, the Manuele's cute little pooch. I was immediately confused, and couldn't figure out how Sally got into the apartment without a key and opposable thumbs. I must have verbalized my confusion, because I heard a couple of giggles coming from the bedroom. I walked in, and there were Sada and Matt, Carrie and Greg, Jen and Brandon, and Erin. Many of my dearest SLO friends all in the same room!

They set everything up while we were at Farmer's: got the pizza, got candy out of hiding spots and put in bowls, moved furniture, lit candles, and on and on. David left a letter with instructions like, "Lay bed sheet out like picnic table, unless it looks stupid. Then skip it, or whatever," and, "Take matches. Light candle by front door and candle in bathroom (in case anyone does a dookie)."

My favorite instruction: "Oh, almost forgot. GET CAKE OUT OF EGO." David drove across town with a cake in the back of his electric scooter! And not just any cake, but the amazing chocolate ganache cake from our wedding. It even said "Congratulations" on it.

I feel so loved and so special.

(We look like a bunch of goobs, but I love these goobs.)

Friday, April 24, 2009

A crown of beauty instead of ashes

I am usually thankful for tears. The welling up of feelings and pain finally overflows into an exhale of relief. Then there are other times when the pain is so big and so terrible that tears don't help. Instead of relief, you feel exhaustion and bitterness and a terrifying lack of control. My sister Kristin died almost 4 years ago, and I still feel those tears. And then sometimes, when the tears are far away, I feel guilty that time has passed and I have moved past too. And I worry, did I grieve properly? Am I grieving properly?

These past few days stories of death and loss have been all around me. One of the volunteers at my work has lost 5 people this year. This week she came into the office, and I overheard her say, "It is good. I know that doesn't make any sense, but it is good. It only makes sense in God's kingdom."

I know it is the experience of pain that makes other moments sweet. And life is rich when we live in all sides of it. When we breathe in the pain. When we do not rush to replace it with fleeting joy. When we can sit, feel, grieve, and accept.

God is weaving our lives' experiences into a tapestry of redemption and reconciliation. One day we will see the pain there with the joy, and we will see God's spirit through it all. What seems so arbitrary now will be shown as a piece of a plan much bigger than ourselves. This is not the end. No, this is a step on the way to a much better end. There is more. We must hope.

" bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair...." Isaiah 61:3

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happy Earth Day

I love Earth Day, and I wish I could have celebrated with an adventure to a hidden place and by seeing that movie Earth. I know I've already seen all the footage about 15 times (from Planet Earth), but I don't care. Except that they don't use David Attenborough's voice- I do kind of care about that. But I'll forgive. Afterall, it was Earth Day yesterday, and people are on earth, and people need to be forgiven. Clear?

Anyway, every time I watch I am blown away by the incredible beauty and tragedy of our planet. I have a soft place in my heart for the plight of animals...especially humpbacks.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

We did it!

After a month of poison oak, sprained ankles, guest hikers and dogs, lack-of-time-induced arguments, fear of mountain lions, and a friend who passed out on the trail (no names), we have officially completed the Bishops Challenge 2009! At times it was tough, but always it was beautiful and awe-inspiring. We would remind each other, "It's pretty up here," so we wouldn't forget to take in our surroundings. I will miss being forced to experience nature every day. God uses the hills and the ocean to bring a little perspective. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Day 28

The closer we get, the sillier we get too.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Eva and Jonathan

(Photos courtesy of Emily and Phil.)

A little story from Emily- you know, my amazing, beautiful friend in Sudan. The other day, Jonathan and Eva were watching a movie on a laptop in Jonathan's tent. Emily overheard him say, "You have beautiful hair," while stroking Eva's head. Then he added, "Say 'thank you!'" She did.

I have come to believe that's what big brothers are for. Playing with hair and teaching manners.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Decision's been made

We're going to Baltimore! I know I'm a nerd, but I officially accepted at Hopkins today and that's my excited face. I'll study international health starting in the fall, for a year (thank goodness, because I don't know if I could handle Baltimore for longer than that), and then we'll go overseas for a 4 month practicum. I'm already dreaming of the possibilities.... 

Monday, April 13, 2009

We'll miss you, Hannah

Sweet Hannah was put to rest today. She was an excellent pup, and dalmatians were better for having her around. Jen brought her into our family as a baby, and she quickly bloomed into a mature, patient, and loving dog who always seemed ready to give a listening ear. She will be missed.

Comment to your heart's delight

For those of you (like 2 people) who've tried to comment and been unsuccessful, I have fixed the problem. Stupid blogger. Sorry for the frustration. I know you were so excited to comment about everything, and you must have felt discouraged. No more! Be encouraged! And let me know if you have problems again.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I stumbled upon these pictures from last year's Red Bluff weekend, and my heart made me post them. Can you beat that sweet little face? Or that outfit?! You can't see it, but she's wearing red Crocs with socks. Clearly, Avery is one of the best things David brought into this marriage.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Weekend in the country

Last weekend we had an honest-to-goodness redneck experience, and I say that with nothing but love. Skeet shooting, 20 person four wheeler adventures, bulls and horses, sleeping in a camper, tri tip and get the picture. And to be honest with you, I loved it. David's dad jokes that I'm a city girl and he's trying to turn me into a hill billy, which is especially funny when you realize that this place is less than an hour from where I grew up. 

There's something to be said for a life spent outdoors with a view of the mountains. 

(The old abandoned barn on David's grandpa's land.)

(First time shooting a shotgun. I decided to shoot the clay pigeons at the exact same time as my partner, so no one would know who actually hit it. Good idea, right?)

(David's beautiful  little cousin.)

(David's sweet dad.)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

More sleep talking

Another sleep-talking-David-ism:  "Oooo yeah. Oooo dee yum yum."

Good thing he's so cute, because he's crazy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Day 20

Today it rained on Bishop's, and the misty air made me feel as though we could step off the mountain and on to Aslan's breath. We would swoop down to touch the blades of grass and twist between the trees. We would soar over the green hills, and over to the ocean beyond the coastal range. We would go so high that the islands became tiny dots on a sea of blue. 

"Jill looked behind her. To her astonishment she saw the cliff already more than a hundred yards behind her, and the Lion himself a speck of bright gold on the edge of it. She had been setting her teeth and clenching her fists for a terrible blast of lion's breath; but the breath had really been so gentle that she had not even noticed the moment at which she left the earth. And now, there was nothing but air for thousands upon thousands of feet below her...." The Chronicles of Narnia, The Silver Chair

Monday, April 6, 2009

What it looks like to blow a tire on I-5

David: "I hate when you can't tell if it's just road noise or if it's the car."

It was the car.

David running for help. This picture makes me laugh.

The one plus side: we got to experience Patterson, CA. We would have never known that Patterson has a nice, family-owned tire store with 3 taco trucks outside. Oh, and eat at the truck closest to the store. It has the best burritos.

Friday, April 3, 2009

David says I can't run anymore

Yesterday, day 18 of Bishops Challenge, I fell. Not just a little fall, but a full, sprawled out fall. David and I were running down the trail, I lost my footing, I grabbed a branch to slow myself down, and David looked back just in time to see me hit to dirt with the broken branch in hand. 

To some of you, this might sound familiar. Maybe because I did the exact same thing about 6 months ago. Last fall, I was racing in a 10K up San Luis Mountain. Most people chose to do the 5K around the lake, and only the elite runners opted to participate in the journey of death UP the mountain. Needless to say, I was near the back of the pack. David ran with me to keep me company. So we got to the top, and I decided to go fast on the downhill to try and catch up with all the old ladies who beat me on the way up. As I passed this guy, I realized that he was the disabled guy I talked to before the race. He did a little stumble, but managed to stay up. He seemed embarrassed, so I said, "Good catch. This downhill part is hard, huh? It would be really easy to fall." 

I got about 20 yards in front of him, sprinting, and my ankle gave out. I flew like I was sliding into home plate. David was a little bit behind me, and he and the other guy saw the whole thing. My hands and legs were scraped, and my boob felt like it'd been ripped off. I got up and kept running, my entire body covered in dirt. I finally made it to the finish line after about 7 years, and as I was getting water, a guy said, "Are you okay?" I said, "Did you see me fall?" And he said, "No, but it's pretty obvious," pointing to my dirt-covered body.

(San Luis Mountain on the left, and Bishop's on the right.)

To some of you, this might sound familiar. Maybe because I did the same thing, but on a bike, about a month before that. 

I could go on like this for a while. 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Stapler Mystery 2009

Yesterday morning all of the staplers in the office mysteriously disappeared. We first noticed when Sam came out of his office saying, "There's been a stapler rapture. Where are they?" As the morning went on, more and staplers disappeared. Laura's red one, the one from Lisa's drawer, Julie's electric one, the big ones by the mailing center, all gone.

(Their hiding place.)

8 hours, numerous "I need my stapler!" cries, and 1 angry email later, they reappeared just as mysteriously as they had left. I love April Fools' Day. Also, I had no idea how dependent my coworkers are on staplers.

(To the shock of many, they reappeared on the meeting table.)