Sunday, December 21, 2008


In August of 2006 I had the great privilege of traveling to Kenya to work at a home for children affected by HIV/AIDS. Basically I played with babies and toddlers (under the age of 2) all day. I was in heaven during my time in Kenya. Everything about that place struck me, but nothing more than the beautiful children I met. One particular little girl really stole my heart - Chrissy. Everyday I laughed with her and held her, I fed her and gave her medicine, and in the end she left an everlasting impression on me.
When I was in Kenya she was about a year and a half old and she was HIV positive. On my last night in Kenya I was working with the infants (downstairs at the home) and noticed that the crawlers (Chrissy's group) were all being brought down to the nurses station for their medicine. Chrissy didn't come. I excused myself and raced up to see what was going on. The woman working, Eunice, told me she was waiting for me to take Chrissy since it was my last night. I had a bond with this kid.
Last week I got an email from a friend of mine who is working at this home in Kenya. It was an updated photo of Chrissy. She no longer lives at this home, but now is part of a home on a tea reservation that was started for kids who have not been adopted (the mission of the home I worked at where Chrissy was is that the kids are adopted prior to turning 2). Chrissy was not adopted.

My prayer for Chrissy is that she is happy and the picture above, a recent photo, shows me that she is. She touched my life forever and I will never forget her. If I have the chance to see her again you better believe I will. I hope I can even tell her someday, when she is older, how much of an impact she made on me.

To be honest Amalea reminds me a lot of Chrissy. They both are incredibly active - crawled early and walked early. They both love to laugh and have incredibly charismatic personalities. You can't help but smile when you are around them. They play hard and cuddle gently. Some may say this is how all children are, but a part of me believes that I was given a child so much like Chrissy as a gentle reminder to never forget the children who don't have a mommy and daddy to love on them like Amalea does.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

3 week break

My winter break from work went from two weeks to three as school was closed everyday last week. In my opinion they could have had school open at least 3 of the 5 days because the weather wasn't as bad as the reports said, but I definitely enjoyed the extra time. Since I hadn't planned for it I didn't have any of my stuff with me and couldn't really plan. I am not sure what I will do when we go back after break now, but I can wing something for a week while I get my materials from my class.
The only bummer in all of this is that we only have 3 days built into our school year for closures. What that means is that 3 days don't have to be made up, but anything beyond that will have to be made up. So, instead of getting out June 11 I will now get out later for summer. Jim and I had planned to fly out in the morning on June 11 to attend high school graduation in California as Jim has a lot of former youth group students graduating so now it may just be him going and Ami and I meeting him later. We aren't really going to think about that just yet, but that is the one bummer.
The good thing is that I have loved having the extra time with Amalea and Jim. Both Jim and I had the whole week off since the classes he teaches were canceled too. We had a great week together relaxing as a family.
Today the next storm started and this one is supposed to be much worse. Roads are closed and even the airport is closed. Hopefully it will be open by Christmas because we fly out Thursday morning - the weather looks like by then it will be clearing up. Church is canceled tomorrow too so we will continue to play and have fun indoors.
I really do love snow!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I have a serious problem making up my mind about things. I return things I buy all the time. I bring home new clothes and try them on again once I am home and decide I don't like them so I take them back. I spend forever deciding on a pair of shoes and finally get some, bring them home, walk around a little, and then take them back. It really is quite frustrating that I can never just make a decision and stick with it.
It is really annoying when it is something bigger than a pair of jeans or shoes. For example, I made a decision to get a different car than the one we had. Now I wish I could return it, but of course that just doesn't happen.

Part of me knows I am just complaining and I have a problem in that I am always just a little dissatisfied with things. Maybe my real issue is that I need to be more content with what I have instead of always dreaming of something different.


Another reason I love Portland...Sunday morning it snowed!

I was making breakfast while Jim was sleeping in a little to recover from a crazy week he had teaching. The forecasts had said snow, but when I woke up I checked - nothing yet. As I was cooking I saw out of this out of the corner of my eye...This is looking out our back window. I grabbed Ami, ran upstairs, flung open the blinds, woke Jim up, and starting jumping up and down...yes, I love snow!

After we had a little something to eat we got all bundled up and headed outside to play in the snow. Amalea had so much fun playing and started to cry when we told her it was time to go back inside.The fun didn't stop inside though. We went out on Monday with our neighbors and ran a few errands together. While out we picked up a sled for the snow and Ami tested it out. Jim pulled her all around the house and she loved it.It's Tuesday now and I had another snow day. So, yesterday and today I didn't have to work. The weather calls for the temperatures to drop again tonight and maybe more snow Wednesday night. We'll see what happens. To be honest it was silly to me that the schools were closed today because the roads aren't too bad, but it seems like in Portland when it snows things shut down because people are so excited, which is fine by me.

P.S. Sorry, I don't know how to make those underlines go away. Lo siento

Thursday, December 11, 2008


You know an interesting conversation is coming when it starts like this...
"I have a kind of weird question to ask you"...

Today I was asked by a friend from work if I would be willing to come to her church sometime and basically critique it. Let me explain because I know that sounds weird. Basically the church she attends wants to know what a new person who didn't know anyone would experience when they walked into a service there. Would they be able to find the bathroom or the kids room? Would they be confused during the service about when or how things happen? I think it is actually kind of cool that they are looking at this. So, I plan to take my family and see what it is like.

Another question that started with the same statement...I was asked to help coordinate a wedding of a girl I work with. This actually happened back in October, but I never blogged about it. This girl whom I had never really talked to (besides introductions the first day) came in to my class one morning and asked for my help with her wedding. Apparently when I met her she said she had just gotten engaged and I replied by saying how much I loved weddings and how I had recently helped coordinate a few. So, I am helping with her wedding in March.

So, next time someone starts a conversation by saying "I have a kind of weird question to ask you", be curious because it could be anything.

Friday, December 5, 2008


It's been a long few nights in our house. Amalea has had at least one (but we believe more) new tooth coming in. She hasn't slept well which of course means we have not slept well. Jim and I try to trade off, but even if you aren't the one physically getting up with her you still wake up. I have gone to work with tired eyes all week and haven't been able to take my glasses off.
Tonight I gave her Tylenol before bed and we got Orajel for her teeth also. We'll see if those help. She is also starting to sleep with a night light. I admit my fingers and toes are all crossed tonight - we all need to get some rest.
The great thing is that tomorrow Jim and I are headed away for a night. This will be our first night with just the two of us since Amalea was born. The only other time we left her for the night was when we took 13 junior high students to Mexico - definitely not a "romantic" getaway. So...I am thrilled for this weekend. We'll be on the coast staying at a really cute little bed and breakfast we went to in June 2007. We plan to sleep, eat, sleep, maybe take a walk, sleep, eat, catch a movie, and sleep :-) Should be wonderful.

Also, for those of you concerned about our lack of time alone (Carolyn) we have found a few different people that have offered to babysit to give us a night out. We plan to take those people up on the offer soon.

Happy weekend to everyone and may we all find rest.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Newest member of the family

Today my niece, Adrienne Christina, was born. She weighed in at 7 pounds 13 ounces and was 20 inches long. She arrived a week and a half past her due date and was born in Mexico to Jim's brother John (pictured) and his wife Becca. This is their first child and we are so thrilled for them to finally have her here. We don't know when we will have the chance to meet her (or Allison - see previous post - she was born Oct.31) but it would be great to see the entire family come together sometime next summer.
Two babies in 5 weeks - so fun. I wonder who will be next :-)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gas prices

Yes, I am thankful that gas prices are lower...and yet I am also bitter. I am bitter about the fact that we moved in August at the height of gas prices. Our move consisted of renting a gigantic uhaul that took a lot of gas and driving one of our vehicles over 1000 miles. How is it that gas is literally half as much now as it was when we moved. Oh the pain of the money spent to get us to Portland.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


It has been so interesting for me moving to a new town and trying to make friends again. When I first moved to Thousand Oaks I really struggled to make friends - it doesn't help that I am quiet around people I don't know (though I do tend to lean on that too much at times) and can be really introverted. I did a lot of things wrong in making friends in Thousand Oaks and I see that now. I judged people too quickly, I didn't put myself out there enough, I didn't think I really needed friends all that badly - and in the end I was left feeling very alone without any good girlfriends. I had a lot of acquaintances, but not many people I knew I could share ALL of myself with (the good along with the bad).
In the end I made one really close friend, but honestly that didn't happen until after I had lived there for about 3 years. It was really hard to leave my closest friend in Thousand Oaks because she taught me so much about how I truly did and do need friends that live in close proximity and how important it is to have girlfriends I can share ALL of me with (as sad as it is I have come to realize that even with some of my closest friends I do not share all of myself).
So, here I am now in a new town again and attempting to make friends. My approach is much different this time. To begin with I know I NEED to make girlfriends and I am not too proud to say that. Also, I am being totally me from the beginning and sharing the good and the bad right from the start. I am being real, being transparent, being vulnerable, being myself - and not trying to impress others. I am not judging people, but instead I am being positive and giving people more credit than I have in the past (just being honest with how bad of a person I can be).
I don't know what friendships will develop here in Portland, but I do know that in the short time I have been here I have already gotten to know some really amazing ladies and they are people I truly hope become close friends. I am thankful that I have learned from my many mistakes in Thousand Oaks and that I am making friends here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I have come to realize (and more importantly accept) that I am creature of habit. I think I have always wanted to be characterized as an "easy going" person who can just "roll with the punches", however I see now that those phrases do not describe me. I like routine, I crave a schedule, I need keeps me sane.
Now that we have begun to settle into life here in Portland we have developed a little routine with my work, Jim's work, and life with Ami. I love this. I love that I know when I go to work, when Jim goes to work, when and where I pick Amalea up and what to expect after I pick her up. I feel prepared and ready for the days because to some degree I know what to expect and this keeps me calm.
Now, I say all this and at the same time I do hope I can be more flexible and spontaneous, even in the every day happenings.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Meet Allison

Baby season continues... Meet Allison Berlyn Garvin - the newest addition to our family. Allison was born to Jim's sister on Halloween in New York and joins her younger brother Rory. We don't know when we'll be able to meet her, but we are happy she is here and healthy.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


One of the reasons I love Portland so much is that Fall actually exists here. Unlike Southern California that sees little change as one season passes to another, Portland trees transform the landscape and light up the skyline with intense and beautiful colors. It is awesome.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The one I love

I think my husband is one of the most insightful people I know. He makes me think about tough things and he also makes me laugh so hard. He is the perfect balance of goofy and serious. We have been married almost 4 years and it has been one incredible adventure. Much has happened in those 4 years - we welcomed a child, we traveled and served in other countries, we invested in the lives of youth in Thousand Oaks, and of course we made a huge move recently. Jim recently posted on his blog about our move and I love his words. Many people have asked why we moved and for whatever reason that is a hard question for me to answer, but I think Jim does a great job explaining it from his perspective. So check out his blog and see what he has to say.

Monday, October 27, 2008

CA prop 8

I received an email last night from one of my closest friends from high school and I wanted to share it here (I got her permission of course). The text below was actually written by her mother and I love her words - I think they touch so beautifully on what many of us feel regarding homosexuality. She is honest, real, raw, and personal - and I love it.

"As a parent the two most important things I want for my kids are for them to be happy and healthy. So when my daughter came to me and said she was the happiest she has ever been, that she has found someone she loved, then of course I was happy and excited for her. The only thing was, the love of her life was another woman. So I reacted like most other mothers would and I cried. This is not how I pictured her. The thoughts that ran through my mind were endless. I feared for her. I knew she would encounter many obstacles, that people who did not know her and know all her qualities would make unfavorable judgment of her, that her life would be so foreign and different from mine. It wasn't until I understood the depth of her unhappiness and her personal struggle to come to grips with her sexuality that I realized that she was hurting. She hid it well and sometimes even hid it from herself until she met someone who made her feel loved.

I tell you this because California has a proposition on the ballot that will affect not only her but other gay people who like her are extraordinary people who want the same rights and lives as married people. They have the same dreams as the rest of us have and they deserve the same joys and love that married people share. It is time that we open arms to everyone and dismiss our fears and treat people equally. I encourage you to vote No on Prop 8 so that all people have that chance of a happy and complete life with the one they love."

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My new do

It's funny how there are so many little things that go into making a move to a new city. Things such as finding a new doctor, dentist, hair stylist, etc. This week Jim and I both got our hair cut by a girl that we met at our community. We both walked away very happy with our new cuts. I decided to cut most of my hair off in the back because I wanted it to be easy and not take too much time. It ended up a lot shorter than what I had imagined in my head, however I love it. I guess that is why I am not the hair stylist and Joelle is. I don't look like a boy which was my fear after my last two times cutting it short (6th grade and 12th grade). She left it long in the front which helps keep the girl image going. Anyway, here are a few pics of my short hair and you can also see that Ami's hair is getting long. She has great curls which will be fun learning to tame since neither Jim nor I have curls.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Here is a picture of my wonderful birthday cake. My amazing husband and wonderful friend created this masterpiece. I was not allowed in the kitchen while they worked away and then when it was all finished we dove into the cake. It was my favorite - confetti cake with confetti frosting!
My birthday was extra special this year because I had an unexpected visitor. Jim and my dear friend from SoCal, Andy, planned for her to surprise me. Last Thursday Andy flew up to Portland (after being told by her doctor not to fly - what a great friend) and I had no idea at all. Even as Jim was "craving Panda Express" (which is near the airport) and wanting to go shopping for a few things (also at a store next to the airport) I had no idea. When he suggested we walk around a little after eating and shopping "because it was such a nice evening" I thought nothing of it. Even when he suggested we drive through the airport since we were so close I honestly had no thought that maybe we were picking someone up. As Jim pulled to the curb and I saw Andy standing there it still took me a good 20 seconds for it all to register and for me to believe that she was actually there.
I had so much fun having one of my closest friends here for the weekend. She is a friend that life feels so natural with and I didn't feel the need to entertain - we just relaxed, saw Portland, and had great conversations together.
I am so thankful to Jim and Andy for making my birthday extra special. And thank you to the rest of you who sent text messages, facebook comments, called, sent cards, and thought about me. I truly am blessed and felt loved as I celebrated my last 3 years until the big 30!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Crafting Days

I finished a book this weekend and will start the Twilight series tomorrow. I am actually borrowing the book from one of my students since they all keep telling me I need to read it. It is the current most popular teen lit series so I figured I should be a good teacher and read it so that I can converse with them about it.
I am also finishing up making some cards to be mailed out this week.

I guess I am doing better at making time for those things. I haven't gotten out my sewing machine yet, but once Christmas gets closer I am sure I will. I'll be making some budget Christmas gives on my sewing machine this year (so get excited, but also very nervous).

It feels good to finish a book and to get lost in it while I was reading. It feels good to create cards for others to enjoy. I'm happy to say my crafting days are dusting off the cobwebs and beginning again after a much too long break.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The cutest boy

I think Amalea is the cutest girl, but today I saw a picture of the cutest boy...Seth Webber.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Seth Edward Webber

At 2:01 this afternoon my very dear friend, Sarah, gave birth to her son Seth. When I talked to her around 5:00 this afternoon she sounded incredible, like it was any other day. I am so proud of her. She didn't it completely natural. Seth weighed in at 7 pounds and was 19 3/4 inches long. I haven't yet seen pictures, but I am anxious to see the boy I know will be beautiful. Seth joins his twin sisters who Sarah and her husband Carey are in the process of adopted. They are a beautiful family and I am so excited to meet Seth one day. I'll post a picture when I get one. Welcome Seth - I love you already.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


There are three things I have really been missing in my life.
First, I miss scrapbooking and sewing. I was never great and either one of those things, but it was something I enjoyed doing. I didn't start sewing until I was pregnant (after giving it up in high school), but I really liked it. Both sewing and scrapbooking were times when I would focus on the project before me and put everything else aside. For Amalea's birthday she got an incredible home made gift that really made me miss sewing. I often have project ideas in my head, but they rarely ever get made.
The other thing I really miss is reading. Reading is one of my biggest hobbies and I haven't read anything since August. That is a really long time for me. The pile of books I intend to read is growing as is my list of books to get at the library, but I am currently reading nothing.
I feel like I need to make time for these things again. I find myself often overwhelmed with all that is going on in life. I know I need to have more balance and I am sure if I did I would be a better parent and a better wife. I hate that I get frustrated with those around me when they have done nothing to deserve it. I am stressed and therefore incredibly crabby to people who don't deserve to have to deal with me.
I miss taking out a project and working until that feeling of being overwhelmed disappeared. Sure, it often came back after I finished, but that hour was blissful. I miss getting totally lost in a book and staying up way too late because I can't make myself put the book down.
I guess I've complained enough. I suppose my problem is my own fault. I mean I could have been reading or crafting instead of writing this blog to complain about the absence of those things.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

One year

I can't believe that Amalea is already turning one. The time has gone by so quickly. I see the girl she is becoming and I can't help but laugh. The kid has a great sense of humor and already loves to make people laugh. We are headed to the Zoo in a little bit to celebrate and I'm excited to see her reaction to the animals. We went in April and she was pretty indifferent to the whole thing, but maybe this time she'll care that she is standing next to a lion!!

Monday, September 22, 2008


This evening I got the worst news I have received since we got to Oregon. To many of you this won't seem like horrible news, but for those who know me you will understand that it is. I realized tonight that I have to take 3 tests in order to get an official teaching license in Oregon. I am currently teaching on a temporary license, but I have a year or a year and a half to take these tests. Two of the tests are for Language Arts and one is multiple subjects. I am a really bad test taker. I took the tests in CA multiple times in order to pass. It's been like 8 years since I took a history or math class. I can handle myself in Language Arts (kind of), but in all other subjects I hardly know anything. For whatever reason this news has brought me to tears as I not only feel inadequate, but incompetent, frustrated, and confused. How can finding out I have to take tests make me feel this way? It really is sad that I have such bad test anxiety. I guess it's time to study...good thing my husband is smart and can help me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Words of wisdom from teenagers

There are a lot of reasons why I love working with teenagers. Even though some days are incredibly challenging (refer to last post) I learn so many things from my students and for that I am so thankful. A student I have been spending a lot of time with recently asked me to read some of her thoughts and some of her friends thoughts and I was so inspired by the things they had to say. Thus, I share them with you:
"I don't think being a teen is about what they make it: relationships, defiance, alcohol, drug use, partying, attitude, change in sexual preference and waiting to move out.
Sure, it involves that, sometimes, but it's about finding a few more pieces to the puzzle.
Sure, you'll do stupid stuff, but for your own reasons.
That's what they don't understand, when you make a bad decision it is your decision.
For your own reason.
So, in turn it also means experiencing shit that at the moment is so many emotions you want to scream, and cry, and hit, and run, and yell.
But yet also laugh, and joke, and play.
Strange, isn't it?"

Here are words from one of her friends:
"We've been duct taped into silence for our whole lives. No matter how much we struggled against the oppressive nature of our parents, our opinions were never heard and never mattered. So now, when we're about to be pulled apart, we're ripping the duct tape off and saying what's on our minds. We're politically charged, musically endowed, and 14."

I love it!

Friday, September 12, 2008


I cried because she cried
I cried for the unfair treatment she receives at home
I cried for the violence she has to view in her home
I cried because life isn't fair
I cried because I didn't know what to do or how to help
I cried because she is only 14
I cried because she told me her secret of 4 years
I cried for the love she has never felt
I cried for the hope she has in the midst of so much pain
I cried because she trusted me
I cried because I want it to stop
I cried because she still loves her mom even while she hates her
I cried for her and every other teenager in her position

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Now that school is back in session I am at work and starting to get into my routines again. Last year I didn't stay on campus for lunch, however this year I do stay. Therefore, I have set a goal for myself to produce the least amount of waste that I can when making my lunches. Tonight I made lunch for Friday and managed to not bring anything that will become trash. It's somewhat healthy too :-) but that's another goal to tackle later. Tomorrow I will have a turkey sandwich, a few slices of salami, mozzarella cheese chunks, a plum, and water AND I won't have to throw anything away.
I probably am way too proud of myself for this small feat and I am sure many other people have been doing this forever, but I'm getting there at my own pace :-) Now if only I could ride my bike to work (it's over a small mountain though so it's just not going to happen) or even our scooter (of course I should probably get my license first and stop being lazy). thing at a time I suppose.

Monday, September 8, 2008

First year

I feel like a first year teacher again. All of a sudden I am not teaching the curriculum I got so comfortable with. I have no idea where to take these students or even what to start with. I'm reading short stories like mad to find the best ones and then I have to create lessons. Sheesh. It really is overwhelming.
I am really liking middle school though and think it was a great decision to make the move from high school. It's a lot of work and I feel like I have so much to learn and so much to do. I am trying to stay sane and find time with my husband and daughter whenever I can...but it's hard. I have to learn the routines of a new school, try to meet people, create lessons for a whole new curriculum, learn the systems of a new state, and try to make it so my students actually like coming to class. I'm overwhelmed just writing about it!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Why I don't get politics

As strongly as I support one specific candidate in this next presidential election I am still frustrated. I really do dislike politics. I don't understand why we have political parties and why people choose a side and pledge their vote to that side no matter what. I don't understand why candidates can't just state their policies and views about real issues and leave irrelevant things out. I don't understand why candidates can't just say what they think rather than saying how they are right and the other side is wrong. Why the heck are we on sides anyway. I have a hard time believing that the founders of this country would be happy today if they say how politics are conducted and the fighting and lashing out and attacking of character that takes place. Every four years I cringe at this time. Up until this year I have never felt strongly in favor of a specific candidate (it's more like I have felt strongly against one) and even with how strong I feel I have a hard time getting involved in discussions and debates. I feel like they always turn ugly. People don't listen to the other side because they are so convinced that their side is right on every issue and that the other side is always wrong. And what really bothers me the most is when candidates say they are more religious than the other. As a religious person this really ticks me off. Who has any right to say their faith is better than another person's. We are not God so why are we so obsessed with judging others as if we were. Everyone says "God bless America" at the end of their speech. What!!!! If we are truly followers of Jesus we would ask that God bless every person in this world. Jesus didn't have allegiance to a nation or a flag...his allegiance was to God. Imagine that. A world in which people actually worked together and didn't divide into teams. Of course I understand that all people can't agree on every issue, but I still believe that people can exist without dividing constantly and fighting against one another. I will remain confident in the candidate I support because I do support his views on issues, but I will not buy into any of this ridiculous fighting and character attacking from the media. I will not buy into dividing into teams and I definitely will not buy into believing that one candidate has a better faith than the other.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Snapple and chocolate

Today I did an embarrassing thing...I left the lights on in the van when I went to work this morning. Needless to say when I came out this afternoon the van wouldn't start. I called Jim and begged him to come help as I was beyond exhausted (I had worked later than usual and been in meetings ALL day) and just wanted to get out of there. And Jim came and rescued me...but he didn't stop there. In the midst of leaving the house very quickly (since it was very obvious I was frazzled) he managed to get Amalea together (and all her needed gear) and to bring me an ice cold Snapple and chocolate. It was exactly what I needed after a long day and he thought about me. Sometimes the simple things mean so much and today the Snapple and chocolate meant the world. I sure do love my husband.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Our leap

When I stop for a moment and think about all that has changed in the last few weeks I am reminded just how big of a leap our family has taken. And yet at the same time I am reminded that some things will always stay constant no matter what major life changes take place...and that brings comfort. In the midst of this giant leap my friends have stood by me and given support, encouragement, and love. Some friends have traveled to say goodbye, others have helped us move in, some have shed tears of excitement and sorrow with us, they have called from other time zones to check in, my friends have been constant and proven that distance doesn't mean friendships have to be lost. In the mist of this giant leap my family has showed up to play and love on each of us. My mom (and a friend) spent the weekend with us and allowed Jim and I to have two evenings out in Portland which was necessary for us and we are so thankful for the time we had. In the midst of this giant leap God has remained faithful. I am always amazed at how God shows up and I wonder why I ever doubt. My goal on this new adventure in Portland is to find more time with God - I want to listen more, study more, ask more, discuss more, and find out more about the amazing God whom I have dedicated my life to.
So, while flying through mid-air I am comforted. Though everything around me has changed some things have not and for those things (friends, family, and God) I am forever thankful.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


On our last Sunday before our move (we left Tuesday) Lindsay and Andy (pictured above) threw us the most incredible going away party. So many people showed up to say goodbye to us and they put together a unique, fun, personal, meaningful party for us. I felt so honored by the people who came to wish us well (including one friend about to go into labor at any moment). I don't know how we would have ever been able to say goodbye to everyone if this day hadn't happened. So, family and friends - thank you for coming. I don't know how to say thank you to these two amazing friends for all of their hard work because thank you just feels so insignificant - I am truly grateful for the love and friendship they both showed me and am honored to be friends with them.

We are now getting pretty settled into our new place. I haven't had a chance to upload pictures yet, but will post some soon. It still doesn't feel totally real to me that this is our home and this is the town we live in. We are learning our way around which has been fun and confusing. We had dinner tonight with the couple that lives next door and I have gotten to know a few people at my work that I could definitely see myself being friends with. It definitely helps to have friendly neighbors who invite us over - they are really great. At times I do feel sad about having left behind such wonderful friends, but thankfully many have already purchased tickets to come visit (if you haven't yet, you need to!).

Leaving comes with very mixed emotions. Saying goodbye to certain friends was emotional and it was hard to let go, but I remain confident that distance cannot break up friendships. I trust that this is the place where God has brought us and I am excited to see where the adventure takes us.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Together in Austin

One friend is missing in this picture, but it's the best I have. I had some other great pictures from the weekend on my computer, but my hard drive decided to crash so I lost them all. This one was from my cell phone.
Austin was great (not the place, but being there with friends) and we had a great weekend together. Since I've been home it's been non-stop packing, but moving day is coming quick.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


I am currently in Austin, Texas with six of my girlfriends spending the weekend together catching up and hanging out. When I left to come to Austin my hope was that everything would be finalized with renting out our house and finding a home in Portland. Wednesday night we signed the lease for our house in Moorpark and Friday afternoon (after I got here) we found out that we got the townhouse we wanted in Portland. Relaxation - finally! I feel like a huge load has been lifted off my shoulders. We leave in 11 days and it is great to know that those things are finally taken care of. I feel like I can enjoy my weekend here in Austin now because I am not worrying anymore about the logistics of moving. Thank God!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The process

The process of renting a home from a distance is incredibly challenging. As we attempt to find a place to call home in Portland while living in Southern California we keep running in to some pretty large walls. We found a place we really liked and applied via fax and mail, but we were not picked. As I called places today a number of them keep telling me that they will not rent to us unless we, or someone we know, walks through the property. Well, we don't know anyone in the area that can run around town walking through houses for us so we are a bit stuck.
I guess I didn't think the whole process would be this challenging. I know we could make just about any place work, but if we aren't even allowed to apply it makes it hard.
We leave in two weeks and it would be really nice to have a place to live when we got to Portland. I am trying to remain hopeful, but honestly it's discouraging at this point.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I love baby fever

Babies are in the air...and I love it. This week I got news from a dear friend that she is pregnant. When she told me I cried and got so excited. I get to add her to my list which includes two other very dear friends in Santa Cruz. Not to mention two sister-in-laws who are also expecting. The current total is at 5, but I don't doubt that it may grow in the future. (and no that is not a hint that we are planning anything soon :-)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nap time

I have realized that napping shouldn't just be for babies so I have decided to try and join Amalea whenever I can.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


So often I say I wish that the days had more hours so I could get more done. However, lately I have been wishing for less hours. I want the move to Portland to come quickly (and to happen smoothly of course) so all the time between now and when we move feels so long. Of course we do have a lot of people to spend time with, packing to do, and parties to attend so I guess we will fill the time easily...but I just get so excited when I think about it and I want moving day to be here!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Life of an introvert

This week I came face-to-face with one of my faults. You see, I am an introvert, and though that in itself is not exactly a fault, it can be. Since I am an introvert I tend to not be very outgoing until I really know people. Rather I am shy and a bit reserved until I am comfortable. This also means that I don't really approach others and I definitely rarely initiate conversations. The reason this can be a fault is that on several occasions others have decided that I am mean or cold or even a "bitch". They have come to this conclusion because I keep to myself and though I smile and say hello or wave at times that is as fas as I go and therefore it is decided that I am not a very nice person.
This is something I want to change. Not the fact that I am an introvert, but the fact that I am not outgoing upon initially meeting new people (of course there are always exceptions and at times I can be my totally zany self from the start). When we move to Portland my goal is to push myself to talk to strangers more and to really put myself out there when I meet new people.
It makes me so sad that people around me think I don't like them or that I am mean and I want my true heart to show - the heart that loves and accepts all people.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

We made it

Amalea and I are back home from our crazy week of travels. We are now awaiting Jim's return on the 1st - we miss him a lot and can't wait to see him. Amalea is super close to walking, but I think she is just waiting for her daddy to get home so she can do it for him. The picture above is me and Amalea in Santa Cruz, where I grew up. It definitely wasn't really a beach day, but I was loving the weather!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Traveling week

The next few days Amalea and I will be on the go as we keep busy while Jim is in Peru. Sunday, we will be driving out to Brea to see Jamie (visiting from her new home in Texas), Lena, and Erin. Monday we'll drive to Santa Cruz to see my parents. Wednesday we fly to Portland (thankfully my mom is coming too) and then Thursday we fly back from Portland to Santa Cruz. Saturday we drive back to Moorpark from Santa Cruz. It will be a busy week of traveling, but we will get to see lot of very special people and that makes it totally worth it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008

Here we come...

Things are falling in to place for our family to make the move to Portland in mid August. I was offered 2 teaching positions and ended up choosing the one I felt was the best fit for us. I will be teaching 8th grade Language Arts in North Clackamas. We hope to live in the Southeast end of Portland. I was totally amazed that I went from having no serious job prospects and was thinking that maybe I wouldn't teach when we moved to having 2 job offers. I'm really looking forward to teaching junior high (the school I am at is still a junior high, but will split into two middle schools in 2009). The school was awesome and they are doing some really forward thinking things so I am excited to be a part of that.
I will be flying up to Portland the end of this month with my mom and Amalea to sign my contract and do some house hunting. Jim will be in Peru with some of his students so we are going to try our best to find a home we like.
More and more I feel so confirmed in this decision to move and I can honestly say that even though I am a little scared I am excited more than anything else. So, Portland we come...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I got home late last night from a 2 day whirlwind trip to Portland. I had 3 job interviews, drove all over, found some sweet eateries and shops, got to hang with a great friend, and most of all fell even more in love with Portland. I'm really excited for our move this summer. Hopefully one of the jobs will work out and all the necessary pieces will fall in to place and we'll be making our move in August.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


As I was walking through our house tonight after putting Amalea to bed I couldn't help but think about how much I do love this house. I will miss this house. It has been the perfect first home for us - not too big and not too small. In all honesty we have talked already about the things we would want different in our next house and how it would be nice to have this or that new thing in the next place, but in the end I really do think this place is great. We aren't selling it yet so we may end up here again, but I really feel like when we leave in August it will be for good. We'll sell it eventually, but it will always be our first home and the home in which Amalea came to when she was first born. Those are things I will never forget.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Yesterday Jim and I looked at getting a new car and selling our truck. Well, the car we looked at really isn't new - it is actually 10 years older than the truck we have. When we were talking about doing this last night Jim made a comment about wanting to simplify our lives. I loved that he said this because it made me realize that sometimes we love the things we have so much and getting rid of them can be hard, but that there is value is simplicity. He made the comment with excitement in his voice even though it meant selling a truck that he loves. I love Jim so much and his desire to live more simply makes me smile.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I feel so many emotions all at once about our upcoming move. Now that it is public knowledge it feels a lot more real which heightens everything I feel. I feel excited about the new adventure, I feel ready for change, I feel nervous about meeting people, I feel anxious about finding jobs, I feel scared that we won't like it, and overall I feel like it is the right thing for us. However, even trusting it is the right thing doesn't mean that all the other emotions are eliminated.
From the moment we began seriously talking about moving it has been a lot of up and down emotions for me. Some days I cannot wait to get out of here and other days I feel sad to be leaving wonderful people and a good job. I guess the biggest thing that makes me nervous is that neither Jim nor I have found jobs yet. To be honest that has been discouraging for me - I have applied to a lot of teaching jobs and have not gotten any calls or interviews. I know I am a good teacher and not getting interviews makes me feel like maybe I am not. In this area I am trying my hardest to stay positive.
Lately, my prayer has been for Jim to find a job that pays enough so that I don't have to work. Then I could tutor or do something small on the side until the kids are in school and then I can go back to teaching. We don't know what is in store for us, but we know that it is an adventure that we are excited to embark on come August.

Monday, April 28, 2008


I've decided to try and be more crafty these days. I'm currently making some gifts and it has been a lot of fun. I've noticed that I am so much more excited to give these homemade gifts than to give things I buy. Even though most of the things I make are far from perfect I still love them. Today I made 6 cards for upcoming birthdays and mothers day along with two mothers day gifts. Tomorrow I plan to sew 3 upcoming birthday gifts - should be exciting. I've realized that even though I am not the most creative and artistic person around I still should try. When I put forth the effort to make these gifts I feel better and the process of making them helps me to relax and take my mind off the crazy day. Not to mention the huge benefit of saving money!!!! Thanks to the people who inspire me to find my creative side and encourage me to try even if I'll never be as good as them :-)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Currently Me

So, I'm not sure anyone ever reads this, but I guess to some degree it's more for me anyway.

Anyway, I stole the following questions off someone else's blog. In fact, I don't even know this person (sure hope she doesn't hate me for stealing) but was reading her stuff because she is a friend of a friend (you know the whole blog community idea). I enjoyed reading what she said and started to think about my own answers to these questions. I have many other things I should be doing right now (laundry, making baby food, packing for another wedding weekend, cleaning up, working in the yard) but its nice to sit and ponder my life for a bit. Here goes:

1. What have been the proudest moments in your life?
My wedding and when my daughter was born. I always thought I wouldn't get married and when I met Jim I felt so lucky and honored. Committing my life to him before family and friends was a very great day. When Amalea was born I have never felt more proud. It was a tough day, but she is so amazing and beautiful and I feel proud of her everyday as she grows.

2. What would you do if you won the lottery and money were no object?
First, I would go back to Kenya and work with the kids there more - that was one of the best experiences of my life. I would adopt children. I would buy a house that could be filled with multiple families and start a communal living situation. I would buy my friend Lindsay a new car (and selfishly probably buy myself one too). I would go visit friends I haven't seen in awhile or pay for them to come visit us. And I would put money aside so my children could go to college one day.

3. What are the roads you didn’t take because at the time they seemed wrong to you, unfamiliar, too rocky, or just less traveled?
Initially I didn't take the road to becoming a teacher, but instead pursued something else. It didn't take long for God to get through to me though and now I teach and absolutely love it. I couldn't imagine doing anything else with my life.

4. What did you daydream about as a kid?
Camping and being at the lake. I have always found peace when sitting by a lake.

5. What childhood pursuits or pastimes would you like to pick up again?
Riding my bike everywhere. I used to ride all around the neighborhood and adventure all over - I wish I did that more now.

6. What makes you feel free, serene or full of nervous excitement?
This sounds silly, but I feel free when I am playing with Amalea. I am totally crazy and weird, but I don't even care at all - it's wonderful.

7. What would your perfect day contain?
Chocolate, my husband, my daughter, lots of laughter, adventures outdoors, and good food.

8. List the women you most admire.
My mom for her strength in fighting a disease every day and my grandma Lorene for her attitude and spirit when life was hard.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Friends and kids

I don't have a lot of friends that have children yet and the friends I do have with children I hardly ever see. I got to spend time last week with two of my friends and their kids and it was very refreshing. I needed that morning with other moms. We didn't do anything terribly exciting, but that is what I needed. I needed to spend time with another mom doing normal daily things. It was so nice to watch the kids eat lunch, to see them playing, to see how it's ok to have toys all over the floor, how to handle it when the kids get a bit out of control, and most of all it was great to be with people I love and can learn from.

Monday, March 17, 2008


My students are writing an essay right now about a dream that they have and how they plan to accomplish it. One thing I have noticed is that so many of them talk about lacking confidence in themselves to actually achieve their dream. I have started to think about what confidence is and why so many people, myself included, lack it. How can one balance having confidence in themselves without becoming too prideful or arrogant? Why is it that a lack of confidence comes across as shyness? Why is it that people who lack confidence are often characterized as "quiet" and sometimes even "bitchy"? What exactly is confidence and how does one gain it - or can it be gained?
These are just some of my thoughts.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I've been spending some time struggling through some commitments for Lent this year. I started by doing the traditional giving up of something and though that was going well it wasn't really helping prepare me for Easter in any way. It ended up being really easy to give up what I chose. So, then I decided that I would try to be more intentional about spending time reading something "spiritual". I read a lot for my job and often that leaves me not wanting to spend more time reading, however that also means that I don't really practice the discipline of reading and studying. For the purposes of Lent I choose to read a spiritual classics book, however I was really struggling with it. I felt like a lot of it went over my head and I didn't feel like it was leading me into a spiritual experience. Then Jim gave me the book Praise Habit and I have been faithfully reading it every night. For a lot of people the idea of a daily reading is not a big deal, but for me that is really huge. It's something I honestly haven't done in a lot of years. I read novels and things for fun, but I am not good at reading spiritual things - however, so far Praise Habit is going really well and I am enjoying the challenges it is presenting and enjoying the time of study and reflection it provides.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Copy the link below and watch this great video made by Obama supporters. Imagine America through new eyes, imagine change.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Jim and I went out for the first time just the two of us on Friday. My parents were in town and we finally decided to take them up on the offer to watch Amalea so Jim and I could have some time together. Of course we talked often of how odd it was to not have her there with us and we wondered what she was doing (and called to find out). It was really good for Jim and I to have that short time together and it really reminded me of how important he is to me. I am the kind of person that gets so wrapped up in things that I forget about everything else around me so the time with just us was very needed. Of course Amalea did wonderful and had fun with her Oma and Pop - it's not like we had anything to worry about.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Answer to prayer

When Jim and I were first married I had a hard time adjusting to life in a new town where I didn't really know anyone or have any friends. Yes, I live with my best friend, but I always knew that I needed a girlfriend because it's so important to me to have another female to talk with and spend time with. From the time we moved here I prayed for a friend - not just someone that I could hang out with, but someone I really connected with, someone I could be honest with, someone who I could be my weird self with, someone I could screw up around and know that they didn't judge me or think differently of me, someone like the friends I had in college. That is what made it even harder for me - my college friends are some of the most incredible girls I have ever met and now they were not just around the corner available on the spur of the moment to hang out.
Luckily I found a friend. Ha, that sounds so funny, but it's the best way to say it. Over the summer two of our friends got married and moved to Thousand Oaks. I have bonded with this new friend and she is just around the corner and ready to hang out anytime. I am more honest with her than I usually am with new friends (or any friend for that matter) - I don't feel like I have to be all together - I can just be me and we have amazing talks. We talk about marriage and everything that goes with that, family drama, theology and our faith struggles. We have cried together and laughed a lot together. I am so thankful for this new friend - she is a breath of fresh air for me and an answer to what I have prayed God would bring for the last 3 years.