Highs and Lows

Brian and I ventured up north this weekend. It was so nice to have a quick get-away and enjoy his sister's family (and their lovely water view). The older cousins were so sweet to Elli and she had a ball playing with the "big kids". Brian and our brother-in-law ran the Seattle Rock n Roll half marathon and had what they classify as a "great time". Running for 13.1 miles sounds more like torture to me, but you have to be proud of husbands that can do something so difficult and still smile at the end! Overall the weekend was a high note. This afternoon, however, things came to a screeching halt. Texts, phone calls, drama and discussions revealed things weren't quite so awesome on the homefront while we were gone. People are broken, humanity fails and revealing Jesus' grace through the dirt is our job...no, our PURPOSE. Unforunately, with the purpose come some serious disappointments. When the lows come, however, I'm always reminded of lyrics I hold deep, "The shadows prove the Sunshine...". When we see how dark we are, we can more easily see how lovely He is to love us. Grace will always prevail when we accept it. Highs and lows. On both ends of the spectrum, Jesus was here. Grace came through. God is good.


Saga of The Beast

FINALLY! We have had an official break in the clouds and have basked in all of the sunshine glory! Our tiny back yard even offered a little toddler adventure... It was a bright and sunny post-lunch/pre-nap afternoon when the beast appeared...

He. Was. Huge. I'll admit, we were intimidated at first, but curiosity rang supreme.

He was a fast bugger...but we were determined. Little did the he know we had a beast of our own waiting in the wings.

You're going down now Beast! We laugh at your attempt to escape! We speak your name with contempt! We scratch at you in the manner of the animal kingdom. You. Are. Finished....or are you?

We have conquered the beast! He shrinks away from our attacks. The only thing we fear is licking the slime ridden leaf we used for capture. (ok, well...that only bothers mommy)

The worm..eh-hm..BEAST is done for.

Moral of the story: On occasion sacrifices have to be made for knowledge...or at least a toddler's curiosity. Our apologies to the entire worm population and the offense they may feel upon viewing this film.

End of an era

Despite the weird November like conditions outside it is now officially summer!  Our summer calendar is already jam packed as usual. From this point on we don't have a free week or weekend until August.  This has been our life for 11 years now.  Summer for us has never been as it was in childhood, a time to be lazy in the warm sun (HA!) enjoying otter pops and buckets of fresh Oregon berries.  No, our summer is filled with teenagers.  Amazing, incredible students that have changed our lives for the better. 
This is our last summer as official youth pastors.  It's hard to believe, really.  I'm sure as our church plant is still in its infancy we will be deeply involved with youth next summer, but it's not going to be our main focus any longer.  It's strange.  Students have been our life.  We have had our hearts broken by them, our fill of fun with them, our house brought to life by them, a renewed understanding of grace through them and a solid belief in hope established for them. 

While I am more than ready to move out of youth ministry, I will never ever be one that says it wasn't worth it. I have LOVED being in the youth ministry.  I have LOVED how passionate teenagers are about EVERYTHING.  I have really really loved seeing some of our students grow up to be faithful, passionate, generous adults who are now raising their own kids to love Jesus.

So, this summer, as I begin to complain about our crazy schedule I will stop myself.  I'll treasure the hilarious/delirious moments that are sure to happen during fundraisers.  I'll savor every life-changing, albeit late night, prayer whispered at camp.  I'll relish in the texts and emails about the latest friend-lationships. I'll pour out words of hope and belief with joy.

I'm overwhelmingly excited for all of the new experiences to come as a lead pastor's wife,  but there is a bit of me that is sad to close the youth chapter of our lives.  So, bring on the summer (with the appropriate weather, please) and the crazy schedules!  Bring on the teens and their crazy lives!  I'm ready.


Friday Favorite: Polished Piggies

I'm thinking about running away with this nail polish. I'm not typically a nail polish type of girl...mostly because I'm a perfectionist and it bugs me when I can't maintain salon perfect polish. (or maybe I'm just far too impatient to wait for my nails to dry AND cure and do whatever else they have to do in order to avoid waking up with sheet wrinkles imprinted on my nails)
This product, however, has shed a whole new light on getting a shiny new set of nails. It has a great brush, a nice thin (but not too thin) polish, tons of fabulous colors and best of all (insert fanfare here) it DRIES IN 60 SECONDS!!! What's better than that?!
I no longer have to wait around with my hands waving in weird positions while my toddler tries to redecorate the house. I can even fix a nail here and there without any real hassle. LOVE IT.
It also dries so fast that even cute-ever moving-little piggies can get in on some beauty action.

Bearing One Another

I've been reading through Galatians this week, which turns out to be perfect timing for my current state.  God is always so faithful to me as I read His word, bringing alive the familiar verses that have been underlined and scribbled around.  He has brought to light quite a few verses to me, but today the one Holy Spirit chose to point out was a little more difficult to chew.
Bear (endure, carry) one another's burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it]. Galatians 6:2 (amplified bible)
I have read this verse over and over my entire life and until the past year I thought it simply meant when people were in need or sad we were to support them.  I now realize it means much much more.  We are to bear, endure and carry one another's burdens and the things we don't like.  This is easier said than done to say the least.

Over the past two years some of the relationships I hold most dear have crumbled.  These are people who know who Jesus is, people who have experienced His love and grace and celebrated His victories.  Yet, circumstances shocked, choices were made, hurts accumulated and old defenses were shouted over the whisper of  Holy Spirit.  They ran and my heart waits, heavy and troubled.

I have experienced the spectrum of grief including anger.  My body has felt the physical ache of loss and the weight of wondering.  I could spread my hurt.  I could let it turn bitter and sour on my tongue.  I could let it fester in my mind and lead to general distrust.

There are other options.  I could obey God's word and bear it.  Endure it.  I could carry the shadows of people I once knew deeply and pray, covering with love.  I could ask for a heart like the One who has had to bear, endure and carry my choices, defenses and hiding all the way to the cross.  By grace, this I choose.
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self.  Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.  Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle,  Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,  Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,  Puts up with anything, Trusts God always,  Always looks for the best,  Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.  1 Corinthians 13 (the message)


Eating Frogs

I did it. I officially crossed EVERY SINGLE THING off of my to-do list two days in a row! I know what you're thinking. How could this be? Is this not the perfectionist turned procrastinator we know and love? Is this not the "I'm just so busy I can't keep up but the truth is I'm just facebook stalking too much" girl? Yes, yes it is...sorta.
I'm choosing to declare now and forever...I'M A WHOLE NEW ME! (please note this blog is in no way legally binding or prohibitive of the occasional backslide)  I don't exactly know how this happened, but over the last few weeks things have been beginning to click (not to mention I HAVE to keep my house clean for showings).  I could compare it to being lost in a deep thick fog for a really long time and then !BLAMO!  everything becomes clear. 

How did this happen you say? Welp...it all started with this post.  I needed help.  I needed motivation.  I needed an inner Billy Mays to smack me with a shamwow and snap me out of my apathy.  Like magic, this post appeared in my beautifully organized google reader (yes...my closet is messy and my google is organized..priorities people!).  The entire post is full of good stuff and fantastic links to other posts that have helped me tremendously.  One point, however, stood in large bold typeface above the others and it was this point that I believe pushed me around that last corner toward a complete about face.  Are you ready to read it?  Are you sure? 
Ok...here it is...I realized I need to

Eating frogs you say?  Yep.  Each day I get up and I start chowing away on frogs.  Ok, well not literally, but I am focusing on doing what I like least at the beginning of each day before I dive into what I like or simply don't mind doing.  I realize for all of you super scheduled, organized, over achiever types this is not a brilliant nor new concept.  I had even heard it before myself.  We even have the book accumulating dust in our office!  For some reason, though, it just clicked this time.

So, by creating a daily docket the night before, focusing on a morning routine, avoiding perfectionist disease and eating my daily dose of frogs first thing I AM A WHOLE NEW GETTING THINGS DONE KIND OF GIRL!



I think I'm in love. This pretty little gem shop was shared on Pioneer Woman this weekend and I can't stop looking at it. Who knew I would like something so modern and unique, but that is exactly why I like it! The prices are just as lovely as the product. Which one would you buy?


Just One Word

I've had a single lyric going through my head all week. The problem is I'm not exactly sure what the last word is. I thought I was sure...then I began to doubt. Either way the meaning is incredible. Option #1 (what I originally thought the words were) Just one word, just one word, just one word from You can shatter a thousand lives... As this line echoed through my brain my thoughts instantly went to Psalms 29. Before we had Elliana, I was a mama with empty arms. My heart was bruised and broken from loss and deferred promises. I clung to this Psalm with all of the strength I could muster. It speaks over and over of the power of God's voice. His voice can thunder over the water, split trees into splinters and move mountains as if they were pebbles. His voice can also bring forth life and fill His temple with glory. Just one word and our hearts can become melted and molded and never the same. In that long, barren, time and space I knew all I needed was one word from Him to bring forth His promises. One word from Him and my heart would be satisfied with whatever He had for me. One word and all I thought was real would fall away in order to make way for His truth and love. Just one word and we are ruined for anyone else but Him. Option #2 (what I think may be the actual lyrics) Just one word, just one word, just one word can shatter a thousand lies... Once I realized this may be the correct version I was a little disappointed. Then as I began to think about it the truth sank deeper and deeper into my heart. Hebrews 4 says God's word is like a sword diving into the deepest part of our nature, exposing our hearts, dividing human perception from the truth of the Spirit. For years I have struggled with lies. Lies about who I am and who I am not. Lies about what others think or don't think. Lies about what I can or cannot do. Filthy, rank, entrapping lies have bombarded me over and over. When Brian and I officially decided to start Hopecity Church these lies became so heavy I felt I could no longer escape them or even breath. Then God spoke His word and the lies began to crack and shatter. That's all it takes. Just one word from Him and I can see clearly. Just one word and I can hear truth over the mind spinning noise of the enemy. Just one word and God lovingly brings in His scalpel and cuts a line between the tumor of lies and His creation. Just one word shatters years of lying and manipulation. Just one word and suddenly I can breath and have room to bring Him pleasure. Just one word.


Update Shmupdate

It's been far too long since I've posted something. To be honest, I've started a few posts here and there over that last few weeks, but ended up getting distracted and there they lie, incomplete, in my drafts folder.
In my last post I mentioned our "little" issue with rain. Brian and I were desperate for some good weather in order to complete some projects so that we could get our house on the market. Thankfully we had enough clear days (and a ton of help from great friends) to get everything done and I now sit in a spit shined house praying God will send a lovely family with lots of money to buy it. Sidenote: Isn't amazing that a 5 year old to-do list can get done in 10 days when you're no longer going to be around to enjoy your hard work? Weird.
Before(5 y.o. handiwork of the Becker's) After (ONE day's work by Jose. If you're local I'd be happy to give you his number) The amazing Chris helping Brian line our floors up just right :)
Beyond a crazy streak of house stuff our days have been crammed full with getting to know the fabulous team that has formed to launch Hopecity Church. I can not even describe how blessed I feel that anyone is willing to join us on this insane adventure let alone the incredible individuals that have signed on.
This past Sunday we held our very first Hopecity Launch team meeting. Everyone except for two were there. My husband, being the sentimental guy that he is, had the whole event photographed and we even signed a special keepsake document. As each one took turns signing we all shared why we were glad that the individual was on the team. It was one of those mushy gushy squishy moments that I'm sure we have all tucked away in our hearts for keeps.

This past week we also officially decided to become a part of Growing Healthy Churches Network. They are awesome! Brian and I went through there assessment this past January (in order to find out if we were crazy enough to do this whole church planting thing) and I fell in love with the leaders and their passion for church planters and the spread of the gospel. A few weeks ago we had a regional cluster with other church planters and I was again reminded why I'm thankful for GHCN. It's a weird and insanely hard thing to do, church planting, and it's great to meet and pray with other people who know exactly what this strange role is like.

Beyond the house and church stuff, we have one great big little thing keeping us on our toes...ELLI! She has officially learned to walk (WHEW! Barely made that 15 month old mark) and has decided that this walking business gives license to get into everything that was once off limits. Yep. This morning Brian caught her in the cupboard under the sink chewing on a banana peel she had pulled out of the garbage (YUCK!). We had only been out of the kitchen for less than 15 seconds! Needless to say I've been scouring every parenting book I own for strategies to keep her occupied and me sane. On the flip side I've never met a funnier toddler. A day doesn't go by that I don't crack up at one of her funny little quirks. Here are a couple peeks at what Miss Elli has been up to lately...

PS...uh...daddy was in charge of Elli's hair in video #2...