Friday, July 9, 2010

The Only Thing Constant is Jesus

Last month, we celebrated 3 (!) years in Seattle, and next week will mark the 2 year anniversary of purchasing our home in West Seattle. Looking back, a lot of change has occurred in the last 3 years, and looking forward, a lot more change is coming our way! Our "home sweet home" went on the market TODAY (!), and we will be downsizing to move into an apartment in downtown Seattle sometime in August or September (Lord-willing). Yes, this is a LOT of change. Yes, it is a lot of hassle to sell a house in this economy. Yes, we will be sad to leave our neighbors and church family. Yes, we may be crazy ;) But, we strongly feel Jesus calling us to be a part of His new Gospel work at Downtown Cornerstone Church...and since the only constant in life is Jesus, we are packing it up (again) to follow His call to go and make disciples.

More to come soon...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Graduation Day!

Today marks the end of a journey through a year long Masters Program that I have had the privilege of going through. This year has been one of the hardest yet most fulfilling years of my life. Since many of you have asked “how it’s going” along the way, I wanted to take a few minutes to share some takeaways that come to mind.

Jesus didn’t call me to comfort, but to a life of dependance on Him. There are innumerable opportunities to seek comfort, worth, and acceptance outside of Christ, but all of them lead to an emptiness that can only be filled by who God says I am in Christ (Eph 1:3-14). In trying to juggle a demanding job, family, and school, there were many times I wanted to drop out, and instead, ended up repenting of my desire for comfort and believing the lies that there is hope outside of Christ. I am thankful for the grace that Jesus gives to persevere.

God’s Love for me is a Love that I would never choose on my own. When I think of someone loving me, I tend to define it by others giving me what I want, or what I think I need. Instead, Christ continues to show the most perfect picture of love by giving me what I truly need -- The Cross. I continue to see the depths and glory of what took place on the cross (my crap for His righteousness!) compared to anything else the world has to offer. My only hope is continually repenting of the times I view Him as “mean and unloving” (because He isn’t giving me what I want), to one who wants my ultimate happiness to be found in Him! Thank You Jesus.

Pray. Pray. Pray. I have never been more humbled this year, than by the act of communing with the living God through prayer. It is one thing to know that God is sovereign, it’s another thing altogether to humbly come before the throne of grace praying that God would do what He said He would do. Sam Storms says it this way; “We must never presume that God will grant us apart from prayer what he has ordained to grant us only by the means of prayer". Spurgeon writes as well, “The minister who does not earnestly pray over his work must surely be a vain and conceited man. He acts as if he thought himself sufficient of himself, and therefore needed not to appeal to God.” What a privileged and joy to bow the knee to the very one who gives us the air that we breath.

Leaders are readers. I have read more books and scripture this year than I ever have in my life. Through the pages read I have tasted the depths of God’s glory in so many new and refreshing ways. There will always be an endless supply of books to read, but a greater amount of “unsearchable riches” found in the ultimate author of truth. I thank the Lord for His Spirit that opens the mind and heart to understand the Bible, apply it, and lead others to the living well.

Life is a Vapor. James 4:14 says “...yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” I have come to an even greater conviction this year that the only fulfillment in this life is to seek the Glory of God above all else. This life is truly short, and happiness doesn’t lie in the latest technology, relationship, or affinity, it lies in the finished work of Jesus, and making much of Him. All of life is worship, and by God’s grace I want to proclaim the majesty of our great God and King with what’s left of this Vapor!

More to come....

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A "celebravacarecuperavisitation"

Way long ago, far back in the month of April (wasn't that SO long ago?!), we decided to take a little "celebravacarecuperavisitation". What? You've never taken one of those? ;) Well, let me explain the joys of a "celebravacarecuperavisitation" to you. Birthday celebration+vacation+recuperation+visitation = Vancouver Fun! :)
Since Easter was pretty close to my birthday this year, we postponed my birthday celebration, and lumped it up with a vacation/recuperation from all the work that went in to our Easter services at church, and topped it off with the best part...a visit with the Pichura's! It was a great trip, but quite a whirlwind, since we had to squeeze it all in 3 1/2 days!

We were blessed with a great deal on a room at the 4 Star Marriot Pinnacle in Downtown Vancouver! We were on the 29th floor, so we had a great view of the city too!

I confess I am a nerd when it comes to fancy hotel bathrooms...and their cool mini-toiletries.
(You better believe these went into my suitcase! ;)

While I was busy doing a photo-shoot of the bathroom, David was busy doing...NOTHING! Quite a blessing after a long season of work and Re:Train!

Recognize this thing? :) It was only 2 blocks from our hotel! No Olympic flame burning anymore though. :(

Shabusen must be Japanese for "really amazing yummy all-you-can-eat food"

This place was so cool -- you sat down, ordered all the food you wanted and then they bring it to you table...any terriyaki meats were brought raw, and then you grill them yourself on your own little gas grill! This was David's favorite part of the trip I think!

Ordering all different kinds of sushi was so much fun...great chance to try new things! If anyone ever comes out to visit us, make sure to bring your passports, because we may have to take a 2 hour trip for dinner one day! ;)
Getting to this guy was quite a wet ride, but we did it.
We're such Olympians! ;)
After our soaking wet excursion to the inukshuk,
we stumbled upon the BEST PLACE to dry off...EVER.
We walked into this cafe and found shelf upon shelf of chocolate bars, with funny names like "Mermaid's Choice" and
"Open in Case of Emergency".

I was almost overwhelmed by the choices, but then one item on the menu caught our eye...

A silver platter of 70% cacao chocolate fondue, a pile of marshmallows, and a mini-hibachi to roast them on... Genius. What better way to dry out on a rainy day? It was the perfect way to warm up...especially when paired with one of the BEST cups of coffee
I've ever had!

This unassuming little gizmo may just make the best cup of coffee on the planet! It's called a Clover press, and I'm proud to say that it was invented in our very own Ballard, Seattle! The machine was bought out by Starbucks a few years ago, but apparently there are other places that have snagged this amazing machine! We both agreed, it wins the award for
best coffee ever!

(David discovered the hibachi grill had another purpose: coffee warmer!)

Fortunately for us, one day of rain brought another day of sun...which was such a blessing!! This city transforms into a beautiful place with a bit of sunshine! We enjoyed a visit to Stanley Park and Granville Island before heading out to visit the Pichura's!

We had a great visit with our nieces and nephews (and Bryan and Kristin too!)...although they took the "relaxation" part out of trip out very quickly! ;)

The Pichura's moved to Canada in February, and their journey has been marked by God's provision all along the way. It was great to finally visit their new home ...and see first-hand how God has provided for them in such amazing ways! We are so thankful they are still only 2 hours away!
The clowns of the family ;)

Caleb was a little squished, hence the frowny face.

Micah and Titus posing for a Kodak Moment :)

This would be the part where the "relaxation" vanished! The kids decided it would be fun to handcuff Uncle David and tape his mouth shut! He was a great sport, even with all 6 of them packed on top of him!...We may need to re-work our next trip to Vancouver to include a post-Pichura recuperation! ;) In all honesty though, we LOVE hanging out with our dear family and are so encouraged by their desire to serve the Lord, wherever that may lead them! Thanks for taking us in Kristin & Bryan (and even giving up your bed!).
We love you!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Just for fun

Our friend Shan celebrated his 4th birthday today...he had a lion/animal theme, complete with a Chinese lion/dragon dance and parade! We had a "roaring" good time! :)
I must admit, making this lion cake was pretty fun too, once I finally got the right color orange (who wants a pastel orange lion?) and figured out how to achieve a "hairy" mane (probably the only time in my life I will work towards that! ;) The outside is cupcakes, which were a hit with a bunch of 4 year olds!
So, there it is, a lion cake...just for fun. :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Boston and Back.

Last weekend, I flew to Boston to accompany my sister on a crazy, chaotic wedding dress hunt. I call it crazy because the women there were definitely a bit insane! It was an event known nationwide as "The Running of the Brides" at Filene's Basement...except they outgrew the basement so now it's held in Boston's Convention Center, which is huge! It was a whirlwind of a day, but I'm happy to say that we found "the dress"! I can't say I'd recommend this event for the faint of heart, but if you really want a good deal on a wedding dress, then this place is for you!! To get an idea of the insanity, check out the video we took.

I needed a LOT of coffee that morning! ;)

Instead of getting in the line that was probably 1/2 of a mile long, we decided to check out all the "teams" that were already in line. These gals were our favorites! We found out that the women in the front of the line had been waiting outside since midnight (and it's below freezing at night here!!). There were all sorts of props for these teams-- many had matching T shirts and headbands/hats, and some even brought lawn chairs and whistles!

Yes, you see right. There was a first aid station right by the entrance! Although, in their defense, I didn't see anyone needing first aid while we were there...which was all day!

By the time we made it in the room, the racks were bare!

A picture says 1000 words, right? ;)
Well, maybe it needs a little explanation. There were no fitting rooms, so brides wore bathing suits or spandex so they could just try on dresses in the main room! This bathing suit was just hysterical though, especially with the birthday hat. Her whole team had those on so they could find each other! This picture also shows the army girls from the previous picture-- they probably grabbed about 40 dresses, and were holding them all for the bride to try on...and if they didn't fit, then they would barter with other groups to trade for a new dress! It was quite an elaborate system...which we didn't take part in. We just decided to camp out by the army girls, since their bride was the same size as Lisa. Once their bride found her dress, we were able to seize all their other dresses...genius!! :)

After 7 hours, she finally found THE ONE! This was part of the pile of dresses she tried on.

The moment of truth: a $1500 dress for $253.63!! a free T-shirt that says "I survived the running of the brides!" :)

The triumphant bride-to-be, posing with her dress in downtown Boston.

We also tried on bridesmaid dresses, but fortunately that was a much calmer experience! It was a cute little shop that waited on us hand and foot!

Lisa and her fiance, David.

What trip to New England would be complete without Dunkin' ? :)

No, those aren't Boston clouds; they're Olympic Mountains! :) This was actually taken in SeaTac airport while I waited to fly to Boston. It was one of those perfect, blue sky days and all the mountains were "out"...and I was so thankful I had a window seat! I could see Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Hood! They were such a beautiful reminder of our amazing God!

Everytime I fly, I always have to listen to a certain song when I leave Seattle...the words so accurately describe how I feel when looking out at this beautiful world.


Friday, February 12, 2010

29!! (and 28)

Today we celebrated David's 29th birthday! He had a quiet day at home with Re:Train reading and paper-writing, but he did get to enjoy a nice surprise in the evening...some friends...and chocolate cake...and go karts!! I thought that after all David's hard work with Re:Train, a fun evening racing might be fun...he has always had a need for speed! :) We also celebrated Paul's birthday as well (David's brother...They are exactly 1 year a part!). It's hard to believe this year we are turning 29...last year in our 20's!! Time goes by fast!

Our sweet friends, Cliff and Hyun Ju, hosted a little birthday party for David and Paul...they were pretty excited about the cake! :)

I am so thankful to have such a wonderful husband...He is such a blessing to me!
Happy birthday dear!

Let the racing begin!! (L-R: Alan, Paul, David)

Paul means business.

David is in the head of the pack!

This was the score board..."BB Tops" is David. He made it to #3!!

Our friend Alan...fighting to inch up the list (he is "AA" on the board)

David rounding a corner...he got "pulled over" for bumping people ;)