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Friday, January 27, 2006

Destination: Kauai

Here is the fabulous island that I will be visiting later this year!

Thats right folks, I'm going to Kauai! I'm not going till September and boy does that seems like forever away, but I am so excited I can hardly stand it! Probably around 2 months ago Sam and Karl (my sister and her husband) invited me to join them on their vacation to Kauai that they had planned for September. I couldn't believe my ears. They wanted me to join them on their vacation? I felt (and still do feel) so honored that they would want to spend that much time with me, on their vacation. Usually vacations are meant for getting away and here my sister was invited me to go along. I know I keep talking about this but I'm still not over the shock of being invited. As you can tell my sister hung the moon and is down right amazing so this for me was a pretty big deal and one that I jumped on right away.

Anyway, they are going for two weeks and I'll be there for about a week. They know all the hot spots and the fun things to do and where to eat since they've done this several times before. They said the best place to eat dinner is on the back patio of the condo since it looks right out over the ocean, it has the best view of the beautiful sunsets. And the fun doesn't stop there (I know, your thinking it couldn't get any better but it surely does!), Marilee Kelso, a dear friend from college, will be coming over to join us for a few days. I haven't hung out with Marilee in, over two years! Wow, time flies. It will be SO good to see her and catch up, that is almost more exciting than going on to Kauai! And what a better place hang out than on gorgeous, sunny beaches in the islands. It will be so fantastically fun to spend a whole week hanging out with my sister, Karl, and Marilee, relaxing and having some great laughs. And those of you that don't know Marilee, you can't hang out with her without laughing. She is the best story teller and has made me pee my pants on several occasions from laughing so hard (sad but so true). And I know that Sam and Karl will love her as I do. Oh, wait, thats not even all, there is more. Marilee and I will be flying back to Portland together and I'll get to introduce her to my beloved Portland. She'll get to see where I work, where I live, and meet my fabulous friends. All in all, this trip, from start to finish, is just going to ROCK MY FACE OFF!!

And one good thing about going in September is that I'll have plenty of time to build up a tan before I go so I won't turn into a lobster while I'm there (sadly, I'm in the group that has fair skin and burns way too easily).

Well, there you have it. Have a great day everyone!

21 days till the big day!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Okay, these are WAY late, but finally here nonetheless...

Here they are folks, the long awaited Christmas pictures. Sorry it has taken me so long to get them, and sorry there are so many (I love pictures!)
This is our beautiful Christmas tree that served us so well during the Christmas season.

First picture is my brother opening a present from me, my dad getting ready to put the traditional cinnamin rolls into the oven, my dad and I hamming it up for the camera, and my mom and my dad showing off their new bath robes that they got each other.

My sister and I putting the finishing touches on dinner while my brother looks on, the family stuffing their faces with the delicious dinner, me and my siblings, and my fabulous sister and I settling down after the presents have been opened and the food has been eatin to relax and enjoy the evening.

My immediate family and then the whole family (which includes Karls mom and sister). Aren't they all a lovely bunch? Here is my sister with her fabulous Peppermint Icecream cake that I am enjoying oh so very much! YUM!

And just in case you can't see it very well in the above picture here is a bigger and better picture of the best cake my sister has ever made! Doesn't it just make your mouth water?

Well, there ya go. Hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. :)

22 more days...hehehe :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

To go or not to go, that is the question

Well, I have a prayer request for you. As you all know, Missions Fest was this last weekend and conveniently Passports (the info about my church's summer missions teams) came out a few weeks ago. This means that missions are at the forfront of everyone's mind these days. I find myself surrounded by people talking about where they want to go or where they are going and so on. I was not one of these people. You could say I was in my own category of people that were talking about where they would go if they could go but weren't planning on going anywhere (did that make sense?). Two things were keeping me from seriously thinking about a summer missions teams: vacation time and the HS California trip. I am already going to Kuaui in September for a week so that only leaves me with one week of paid vacation left to play around with and since most of the teams are 2 weeks that could pose a slight problem. Also, I've been kicking around the idea of going to Cali with the high schoolers being as I am a mentor and it would be fun to hang out with the kids for a week in sunny SoCal.

However, lately I feel like I've been hearing more about summer mission teams, specifically the Slovenia team. Let me tell you why. First, my roommate Annie went on the team last year so I've heard all about her trip and how great it was and the fun she had. Before Christmas I went with her to hear a guy (David maybe?) that was working with the Josiah Venture team in Slovenia share what he had been up to for the last year and a half. That was fun, I was able to see what they do over there and find out just what kind of ministry they have. It looked very interesting. A few weeks ago she asked me if I was thinking of going on a team this summer and I told her "not really" (for the above mentioned reasons) and she told me that I should think about the Slovenia team because it seemed like it would be right up my alley. I also hang out a lot with Kristin Gibb who not only works with Global Outreach but is also helping lead the Slovenia team this summer along with Brandon Gentry who just happens to be the leader of my high school team (GO BLUE TEAM!). So, when I think about it, I am totally surrounded right now with people who are excited about the Slovenia team. I should add that I know some of the other people that are going and they would be super fun to be on a team with.

Anyway, I sure don't want to presume anything but I wonder if the Lord is trying to tell me something by putting these various people, events and experiences in my life right now. I love working with kids and I REALLY love doing camps so maybe Annie was right about this particular mission being right up my alley. Oh, and did I mention I love Europe? I know that shouldn't be a deciding factor, but it can't it play a role? Even a small one? :) And I just love being on a team and building that commraderie with each other and all the fun and growing experiences that come with it.

I don't know how well I've done at getting all the thoughts in my head out to you but I tried and I hope it all makes sense. So I would just like to ask that you pray for this decision that is weighing on my mind right now. It's a pretty big decision and I don't want to treat it lightly. I want to totally surrender to God and do what He wants me to, be it going to Slovenia, somewhere else, or staying home and supporting those that go. And I know if He wants me to go He will provide a way for it to work out, He's pretty amazing like that.

So, thank you for your prayers! I love you all!


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Music to get me moving...

Alright, with this new iPod that I have I'm always on the look out for new music to add to my little music library, particularly music than can keep me entertained while I'm working out. I need some good music for running, something upbeat, with a good rhythm and lots of words for me to sing to or my mind will wander and wonder why I'm being so mean to my body by making it move so much. Now I do have mucis on my nano that I love but I feel that I am still lacking something in the tunes department. And that is the reason for this blog. I thought I would ask my music savvy audience to help me out since I'm just not as up on the music scene as I should be. So, please let me know what you listen to when you're sweatin it at the gym or rockin it out in your car. I'm open to whatever you've got, be it country or rap (I'm not a huge rap fan, but you never know). I'm just looking for ideas. Or at maybe let me know of a good artist to keep my eye on, I never know their names and it's quite embarrassing sometimes. Well, thanks everyone! I'm sure you will all be a big help!

Have a great day!

24 days and counting...

Monday, January 23, 2006

What a great weekend!!

Well, this weekend was quite amazing. I was able to hear Steve Saint speak 3 times, saw the movie that is based on his and Mincaye's story (it was very good), and got into the book that he wrote. I, like Stu, feel like I'm totally immersing myself in this great story.

Anyway, I went to the service at Good Shepherd Saturday night with my parents along with about 1700 other people from the area. It was PACKED!! There were people standing along the walls and sitting out in the foyer. Then I high-tailed it out to New Hope where they were having Missions Fest to meet up with Kristin and hear Steve talk again. It was packed there too. People were standing in every doorway. Thankfully Kristin had an extra seat just for me. That was a great time. I got to hear Travis Vice lead a couple of worship songs, Rescue sang(I haven't heard them in so long, they are good!) and then it was time for Steve to talk. He shared about how he is equipping the the Waodani people with the knowledge and the instruments to fly their own "planes" and do dental work on people in their area. Mincaye said he wanted them to be able to fix the peoples hearts as they fix their teeth. Wow! Talk about an amazing heart! It was powerful stuff! Then Kristin and I decided we would get to church on Sunday before the early service to see if we could get Steve to sign our books but when we got there we were told they weren't going to be signing. Steve and Mincaye were exhausted (a month of traveling around the country can get a bit tiring I imagine) and the church wanted them to feel comfortable and relaxed here. I was kind of disappointed but also completely understood. Since I was already at church I decided I would go ahead and stay for the service and I'm so glad I did because every time I heard Steve speak he always shared something new and different. Then when Steve, Mincaye and Randy Alcorn (Randy was sort of interviewing him up on stage) were almost done Randy announced that Steve would indeed be in the back signing books following the service. I couldn't believe it! I was so happy I had stayed. And he even signed my book Tabs. How fun is that! Here are Kristin and I with out signed books. We know, we're dorks, but we love it!

And can I just say that I love the book. It is so very good. I just love the way Steve writes. He totally lets you right into his head, his heart, and his life. He writes whats on his mind and shares his story without trying to make it some huge genius work of literature. It's simple and to the point and very easy to get into and follow. I very much recomend it as the next book you buy.

Also, the story is so amazing. You don't have to read this book, but read one of the others that has been written about these five guys story. Elizabeth Elliot has written some and I think some of the other wives as well. I have so many thoughts on this but I can't seem to make them all make sense and I can't get them out to share with you at the moment cause I just don't have the time right now. But I will share one of the things that I learned from this (there are many, but I'll only share one). God has a plan and it's perfect. He doesn't make mistakes. As crazy as it might seem, His plan was for these 5 guys to die by the spears of the Waodani. Things would not have happened the same if it had not happened just like it did. And so many people have been changed and will be changed because of this event. God will use ordinary people to do extraordinary things in His name, even if they don't realize it at the time. He has us where we are, doing what we are doing or dealing with what we are dealing with for a reason, and that is one amazing reason so why should we mess with it. But I know this is stuff that most of you know and I did to but it was just brought back to my attention in light of this weekend and I think it's something I have to constantly be reminded of because it's so easy to feel sorry about where I am or where I'm not and throw myself a pity party. We just have to remind outselves that His plan is perfect and we have to surrender to that and "follow his trail." I hope all that made sense, sometimes it's hard for me to make my thoughts work outside my head.

I'll end on this thought that I had this morning while getting ready for the day. Mincaye is getting pretty old and will die someday, maybe even soon. That is a sad thought becuase he is the sweetest man to walk this earth. However, it isn't sad when you think about the amaxing homecoming he is going to have when he gets to heaven. And I just bet (and this was the thought I had this morning) that Nate Saint will be one of the first people that welcomes him home with a great big hug (probably followed by Ed Mcully, Roger Youderin, Jim Elliot, and Pete Flemming). Gives me chills.

Well, I hope everyone else had a great weekend! Oh, I almost forgot, I also saw an old friend who some of you might recognize. I had to get a picture with him just to document that I actually saw him. Josh, we've missed you, come around more often please! :)

This was going to be a short post, oops :)

25 more days! :)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Squinting is nice

I looked like a huge dork on my drive home today. Wanna know why? I had the hugest grin on my face cause I was having to squint. And want to know why I was so excited about squinting? Well, I was squinting because the sun had finally decided to show her beautifully bright face and was shining her heavenly rays right into my eyes! Yay for the sun!!! Early this morning, as I drove home from the gym, windshield wipers goin on high (at a stop light, mind you) I was certain we weren't going to be getting any sun today and it would be another rainy, dreary day to tack onto the rising number we had already had to endure. But, the Lord, in His infinite grace and love, shooed away the clouds and let the sun come out. Like the poem says "it dried up all the rain." It's amazing what a little bit of sun can do for someones mood. Not that I wasn't in a good mood already, but honestly I felt my spirits rise just as soon as I saw the bright blue in the ski and felt the warm sunshine on my face. It was so glorious!

Hope you are having good weather wherever you are!


28 days till my birthday!

Dear friends

Right before my new years adventure with Kristin, I spent an evening with a few of my closest friends from high school. Now that most of us from this circle are married (I tell people that my closest girlfriends married my closest guy friends) and babies have come into the picture it can be difficult for us to get together on a regular basis. However, when we heard that our friend Tyler Ellis would be in town, someone whom I personally haven't seen almost since high school, we decided that it was about time to bring the old gang together. Sadly, not everyone was able to be there but we pressed on and had a good time of reminiscing and catching up.

And now for the introductions:

The first picture is of all the boys. Left to right: Little Sam Deuel, his dad Mark, Erik Granberg, his son David, Julian Hess and Tyler Ellis. The second picture is of the girls: Left to right is Lisa Granberg (married to Erik), Stephanie Hess (married to Julian), Rachel Deuel (married to Mark) and myself (married to no one).
This is cute little David. He is a year and a half, walking and into everything. He's a hoot!

Here are friends doing friend things and being entertained by little David.
Well, those are my dear, dear friends whom I love and thank the Lord for every day! Aren't friends are a wonderful creation of God? I am so glad that all those years ago sitting in the cafeteria on the first day of school a couple of girls decided to take a chance on the newbie sitting by herself (and order me to sit at their table cause it wasn't right to sit by myself; pretty bossy girls, huh). Thank you so much for your friendships girls (and boys), its been pretty darn fun and I'm looking forward to what the future holds for all of us! Should be interesting!

Welp, I'm out.
Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Ps. We missed you Krista!!


Thursday, January 19, 2006

My adventures with Miss Melanie Shackelford

This is a bit late in coming but oh well, thats what happens when there are things for me to get distracted by and ramble about.

Anyway, over Christmas break, Melanie Shackelford and I went out for a night of shopping, dinner and Starbucks. We both had gift certificates to spend so we figured we could help each other out and hit the after-Christmas sales. Just a little background for you: Melanie is in 8th grade and attends the Good Shepherd school. She stops by every day to say hello and give me a hug. We chat about life for a moment and then she heads off to lunch with her friends. She is a sweetheart and it is a bright spot in my day. Also, her dad Jeff worked with my dad for many years in AMF so our families have known each other for quite some time now, practically since her birth. Boy does that make me feel old. I have to take a moment here and say that I just love the Shackelford family! They are a fun bunch of people and I am glad to call them friends. Anywho, we went shopping at Gresham Station, ate at Burger King (my first time in several years), grabbed a drink at Starbucks and then I showed her where I live and introduced her to my roommate Annie, who was gracious enough to take this first picture. Aren't we a colorful pair with our yummy Starbucks drinks?
We also took a few (well, I'm only showing you a few) silly pictures. Which I might add is another thing I enjoy doing with friends. In fact, I'm sure some of you who are reading this have done this with me before.

To cap off our evening, we went grocery shopping!! Woohoo!! Hey, Melanie said she wanted to go and I had a few things to get so why not. :) We had fun walking around Winco and trying their honey (yum, but don't tell anyone). When we got back to her house Melanie wanted me to wait till her parents got home so we could show them our fabulous finds (did I mention we bought matching shirts? cute polo's from Old Navy for $2.99, can't beat that). I wasn't planning on it since I was pooped and it was getting close to my bed time (I know, I'm acting so old) but I'm glad I did because it gave me a chance to chat with Julie who is such fun to talk with. Then I was off to get myself to bed since I wasn't on Christmas break like Miss Melanie. All in all, it was a fun night. At least for me anyways. But something tells me she had a good time too. :)

Hope you are having a wonderful day!

29 days till my birthday


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I think I'm addicted...

It's true, I love to blog, maybe to the point of addiction. Who wants to start the intervention meeting. But seriously, I think it's actually quite enjoyable, to take a moment to sit down and share thoughts, pictures, and experiences with friends who are near and far. Some say it's theraputic, some do it because they are in far away countrys as this is one of the best ways to keep people updated on what is going on in their lives, and some are great writers and have meaningful things to share. I, however, do not really fall into the afore mentioned categories. I mainly have a blog because it is a great venue for me to do my babbling. And I admit that sometimes I can be a crowd follower. Everyone else had a blog and it looked like so much fun, why shouldn't I have one? I know, it's not the best thing to be, but at least the crowd didn't jump off a cliff. :) I would like to say that by rambling here on my blog it gives my friends a break from having to sit and listen to me ramble in person (this way they could choose to read it at their leisure or not read it all) but I still babble to them about all these things and more. So, I'm sorry dear friends who see me regularly and read my blog, poor you. But I'm not forcing anyone to read this. I leave that up to Rakel, my personal publicist, who has gotten the whole church staff and their families keeping up on me. Also, here is a place where I have the luxuery of talking (aka rambling) about anything thats on my mind, whatever stricks my fancy. However, I have to make a confession to you. I love it when people comment (hint, hint). In a strange way, its exciting to see what people think about what you've said or make a comment on your pictures. Sadly, I think this is really where the addiction comes in.

I also enjoy blogging becuase I love to read what other people are up to and thinking about. Even people I don't know (probably weird, but I told you I'm addicted). I love reading about what has been happening in peoples lives and seeing pictures from their adventures. It really is a great way to stay in touch. I've come across so many old friends from college that I haven't talked to in years and it's been wonderful to find out just what they have been up to since graduation. And, as a more specific example that some of you can relate to, we can keep up on Sara, Melissa, and Bekah, all who are close to our hearts but out of the reach of our arms. To take a quote from my friend Tamara (that I got from a comment she made on someone else's blog), "It makes for the best reading material." What better things to read than whats going on in the lives of our friends around the world. And as much as I love reading comments on my own blog, I love commenting on others blogs. It's fun to have my interest sparked by what someone is saying about a topic and be able to throw my 2 cents in there. The funnest thing for me is when a conversation starts amongst the commenters. And that is the beauty of blogs. They are not cold and impersonal. They are full of life and community. They keep us connected. Stu, it's right up your alley.

So there you have it, my new addiction (although, not my only addiction, I'm still pretty excited about my nano). I hope this has spurred some of you to get yourself a blog, to get to posting on your blog or to get to reading and commenting on the blogs that you read regularly (I know that I am not the only blogger that likes to recieve comments). Anywho, if you took the time to read this I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you have a fabulous day!!

30 days till my birthday (and till Dunes!)


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A night in Tuscany

Okay, I know I'm not the biggest world traveler (and by that I mean I don't travel a lot, not to be confussed with the huge desire to travel that I have) but I would love to go to Italy, Tuscany to be exact. We have friends with a villa there, I really need to go. But who wouldn't want to go? The country is gorgeous, the people are fun and friendly, and the food is absolutly fabulous! But since tickets to Tuscany aren't exactly in my price range at the moment (since I am already going to Kuaui this year) I will have to settle for our Good Shepherd Staff dinner party that we had last night entitled "Dinner in Tuscany." For those of you that weren't there, let me just tell you that it was an absolutly fabulous night! The highlight of the evening? The AMAZING food! We had yum garlic bread (with whole cloves of garlic cooked into the bread), olive oil for dipping, antipasta platters, and salads like they serve at the Olive Garden. Oh, it was all so very good. And now for the the pièce de résistance: we had spaghetti served buffet style. Now your probably wondering why I would say this is the pièce de résistance, it's just spaghetti for goodness sake. Oh, you would be so wrong. No no, my dear friends, this was no typical church spaghetti feed. We had 4 different types of spaghetti sauces that had been cooking and simmering all day in our huge kitchen being watched by the careful eyes of some amazing cooks (Kelly Loos for one). There was an olive oil based clam sauce, a marinara sauce with italian sausage, the Sirianni family spaghetti recipe all the way from the old country (which I had, SO GOOD!), and an alfredo sauce. We ended our night o' food with petit four type desserts (little cut up yummy cakes of different kinds) and an assortment of biscotti to choose from. There was also live music and some live entertainment (Rakel was crying she was laughing so hard). The evening was capped off with the book End of the Spear by Steve Saint being given out to all the staff members. How cool is that?! I couldn't wait to get home and start reading (which I did even though it was past my bed time).

All in all, it was quite the fabulous night! Good friends and great food, you just can't go wrong! I sure do love every one that I work with and I'm so glad we could take a night to tell each other that in a fun setting. Thanks to everyone that put the night on, it was amazing and you all outdid yourselves.

Here are just a few pictures from last night. Actually, that is a lie, there are more than a few so bare with me. But please, enjoy! :)

The first picture is of our wonderful MC's for the evening, Donna Stuart and Lidna Sirianni (the Red heads). They did a great job! (sorry you can't see them very well, I was sitting in the back of the room) The next picture is Ruthie and I. She is such a sweet lady and I'm so glad that I get to work with her and see her every day! Her smile and laugh are quite infectous, I love it!

Here are Pat and Rakel Thurman, they are a wonderful couple who love the Lord and everyone they come in contact with! Below them are Mark and Michelle Rubio. I work with Michelle and she has helped me out on more than one occasion. She knows all these computer programs backwards and forwards, she is pretty amazing.

Here are a few pictures of the people that I see every day right in my very own office. First is Ryan Moffat and his wife Michelle, followed by Trina Chase and her husband Seth, and last but not least Lenny Martin and his wife Debbie. Now when I talk about Ryan, Trina, or Lenny you will know who I'm talking about (those of you who don't live around here and/or go to Good Shepherd). These are all wonderful folks and I think I've said it before but I'll say it again, I feel very privileged and blessed to work with them!

Last but not least, here is a picture of Kristin and I, aren't we cute? :)

Oh, and there is just one more. Here is Ryan clearly enjoying his "Dinner in Tuscany." Maybe a little too much, though.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Only a month from today till my birthday! :)


Friday, January 13, 2006

Rain, rain, go away, but do come back another day

Okay, I love the rain, I really do. I pride myself on being a true Oregonian for being able to appreciate the weather that keeps it looking so gloriously green around these here parts. :) I love the smell that comes with the rain, the smell just before it rains and then the wonderful smell just after it stops. My friends always laughed at me at school cause I would get so excited when it rained (it didn't rain as much in Oklahoma, hence the brownness everywhere). But seriously folks, its been raining for something like 22 straight days, maybe even more but I've lost count; and without even so much as a sun break that I've been priveledged see (Rakel says that she saw one yesterday, lucky!).
Here are some pictures of what it looks like around Portland today (and the last 22 days) with all the rain. Like I said before, I generally am all about the cold, rainy weather but this has gone on long enough. I'm tired of getting wet every time I step out the door. It's already hard enough to get out of bed and get to the gym in the wee hours of the still dark morning, let alone when I'm getting rained on to boot. I think it's starting to affect my mood and that doesn't make me happy. See!?! Thats what I'm talking about right there!! I want to keep this love for rain and I feel it slipping away with each passing rain drop that hits my uncovered head. We need a break for crying out loud!

And you know what? I think we might get one. I just looked at the forcast on news channel 8 and they assure me that we are going to get some sun on Sunday (with a chance of showers, I guess you can't get everything). How appropriate, though...sun...on SUNday. :) And the Lord's day of all days. Makes me look all the more forward to it. Anywho, just wanted to share that with all you lovely folks. Sorry to rant a bit but I decided that things had gone on long enough. I had been silent for far too long and it was time to speak my peace. But I feel better now. Thank you for listening.

Hope you all have a great day (even if we are still being rained on)!

35 days till my birthday!!


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Now you can see it for yourself...

Well, here ya go. This is the Dunes banner that we had made for the retreat. Just thought I would show you what I've been talking about and working on these last few weeks.

Have a great day everyone!!

36 days till my birthday!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Dunes update for ya

Okay everyone, I would just like to let you know that I have mailed out the Dunes flier! YAY!!! It was proofed, printed (sheesh that took for-ev-er), tabbed and labeled (by our wonderful volunteer staff that I love so dearly), stressed about and mailed out today. I even personally drove it to the post office just to make sure that those babies made it to their many destinations in a timely manner. One less thing to think about! And all that stressing and worrying for nothing. Not that I'm saying it looks great or anything but its decent, it's done, it's gone. Now we can move on to the finer points of Dunes. Like, how much sleep am I actually going to get on this four day/three night excursion to the beach with 200+ kids?

Oh, and only 37 days to go...till my birthday. :)

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

visit this site and view the movie trailer


Like I said above, wow. It's been awhile since I posted. Okay, well, for me at least since I was practically posting twice a day there for a while. Things have picked back up since school has started and DUNES is coming at a not so slow pace. A couple of things I am excited about in the coming months: ABS bible studies for high school, Missions Fest, my birthday, DUNES, my birthday. I'm sure there is more but that will do for now.

In case some of you aren't aware, I am a mentor for the high school group. That means that I (along with a bunch of other folks) have a group of kids that I try to connect with, invest in their lives, have bible study with, and just try to be there for them if they ever have questions or need help or want to hang out. It helps out Ryan and Trina since it would be rather difficult for them to connect with each of the 200++ kids that come out on a Wednesday night. Anyways, we have condensed our 13 teams down to about 4 so that our bible studies can be a bit bigger and have more energy and create what we like to call togetherness and fellowship. I'm excited cause the kids are excited. They share their opinions and make comments, pray and lead worship, and actually want to be there. Let's just say this is a bit different from the bible study that I was part of last semester. It’s so fun to watch these kids take a role and own their bible studies. Mentors aren't here to run things, we are here to encourage the kids to step up and take charge and it’s so wonderful when they do that. You can actually see the Lord working in their lives and their hearts, I'm so glad I get to be a witness to that. We will be going through Hebrews, pretty intense stuff but perfect for the upcoming Missions Fest, and our goal for our time together as a bible study before DUNES is to have three bible studies, a social activity together and a service project. Should be great, I'll keep you updated.

Also, Missions Fest is in a few weeks and Steve Saint is going to be there (and here at church I think) with one of the very guys that killed his father, Nate Saint and 4 other men (including Jim Elliot) in Ecuador 50 years ago. What an amazing and powerful story! That same weekend the movie The End of the Spear will be coming out and I can't wait to see it. If you haven't heard much about this story do some research and make it a point to see the movie. More on this to come.

If you've been reading my blog then you all know about DUNES and as nervous as I am about getting everything ready I am super excited to go and see what it looks like and how it all takes shape. I know the kids look forward to it so it must be pretty fun. I'm sure I'll be posting much more about DUNES so stay tuned.

And last but not least: my birthday. Just in case you all don't remember, and I'm sure you all don't, my birthday is February 17th. Can anyone guess how old I'll be? I was going to tell you but I think I will actually let you guess. It's much more fun that way. And do not worry; I won't be offended by any guesses. I'm a crazy person about my birthday, birthdays in general really. I love having birthday parties, especially surprise parties. And so the count down begins: 38 days till my birthday (incidentally, it is also 38 days till DUNES, yikes; but at least this way I'll remember).

Well, I hope everyone has a great day! Hopefully I'll blog again soon! Love you all!

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

The Big Race...

Well, guys, we did it. Kristin and I ran the First Run in downtown Portland at midnight New Years Eve. It was a blast! We started out the evening at Jer and Lisa's for a few appetizers with friends (here we are looking all pretty, didn't last long)

We left Jer and Lisa's soon to be old house in search of our pre-run meal, something light of course. But wouldn't you know it, all the restaraunts we wanted to go to were closed. Even Subway was closed. What is this world coming to? Anyway, we went back to my place and had settled for Pb & J's (great food for running by the way), changed into our clothes that would hopefully keep us warm and somewhat dry, and headed downtown. Aren't we cuties?

There were 930 people that participated in the 3 mile run/walk. Kristin and I huddled together in the masses and counted down the clock until midnight, celebrated the new year for about 3 seconds then heard the starting buzzer. We crossed the starting line and we were off. We ran up Broadway, turned left on some street that I can't remember, turned left on Front St. and stayed there till the Steel bridge then turned a U and came back up Front St. and back up the street that I can't remember and then back on Broadway for the big finish. It was great, when you cross the finish line they call out your name. It's great to hear your name over the loud speaker, almost makes the whole run! :) Kristin and I got split up near the beginnning and didn't meet up again until after the race. This was Kristin's first race and she did fabulous!!! She said that she ran almost the whole thing and only walked for just a tiny bit at the end (which was up a hill, totally understandable). She did it in 32:35 minutes which is definitly not bad for a first race. WAY TO GO KRISTIN!!! Hopefully, this has peaked her interest and she will run more (maybe even with me again even though we don't actually run together). I did mine in 25:51 (which breaks down to 8:37 minutes miles, not bad but now I can't wait to run another race and try and beat my time. Oh, and I should add that the iPod worked great until it froze at the end of the race. Sunday was spent fixing it and redownloading all my music (fun times). But don't you worry, everything is working properly again. It was so nice to have music while I was running, helped a lot, thats for sure.

We capped off our evening with soup and roasted artichoke at Doug Fir and about a hundred other very interesting folks. Let me just say that it was a fun place to people watch. We had a couple of gentlemen join our table and ended up talking to them about Christ and about our relationship with Him. Very interesting conversation. I forgot to mention that we took turns changing our clothes in the backseat of the car while the other drove around the back neightborhoods. A little risque but doesn't it make the evening and the story that much more fun? And we cleaned up rather nicely, wouldn't you say? :) Anyway, I didn't roll into bed til about 4:00, wwaaaayyyy past my bedtime. :)

All in all, it was a very eventful New Years! I'm glad Kristin wanted to do the run cause it was a blast and something new and different. It was a night full of memories! Thanks for a fun night Kristin, another eventful new years with you! And now, maybe we can do another run together. Let's get Trina too. :)

Bye for now!