Friday, September 12, 2014

Blog News and Chelsea's Golden Thirty Party

I have made the jump to Wordpress for my personal blog, combining all the different places I write into one and adding in Robby's business venture Unfolded Designs. Our new site is (similar to this address, minus the blogspot addition). I'll be posting everything on that blog now, so if you have this blog bookmarked or follow it somehow, hop over to the new space and get the new link! You can also follow by e-mail (it's in the sidebar on the new site) and get something in your inbox whenever I post.

My first real post is all about Chelsea's Golden Thirty, so head over and check it out. Here's a teaser photo:

Monday, August 4, 2014


Last week we were at camp with our junior high and high school students from church. This makes my 4th time as a counselor at this particular camp, and (I think) my 13th time serving as a counselor in general for weekend and weeklong retreats and camps. Fun fact: If you add up the days, that's about two months of my life! :)

When we arrived at camp, one of the first things the speaker said is that for the six days at camp, our lives at home would be on pause. My first thought was Right. Pause? I can't go an hour without thinking about something we have to do or plan or fix. But quickly, I embraced the paused life. I became absorbed in camp life, in our hilarious students, in the loud music, in the energetic games, in what God wanted to tell me while away from home. I can't fully explain why, but this year seemed easy. I absolutely loved being around our youth group and found myself wanting to be more involved than I usually am. The lack of cell and Internet service felt strange at first...and then it was wonderful. No dings to announce that I had an email to respond to; no concern with what others were up to on Instagram or Facebook; no conversations that weren't held face-to-face. I was the most present I have been in a very long time.

And then Saturday came, and we packed ourselves up and drove back down to real life. All too soon, life was un-paused. My mind immediately shifted to work, to upcoming travels, to church ministries, to family concerns, to house and yard work, to our adoption plans. Once cell service kicked in, all of our phones woke up with the week's activity, and we scrambled to get caught up. For the first time in my many years of serving as a counselor, I wished I was back at camp. Me! An adult who normally is counting down the days to sleep in her own bed in her own home and have her own life back–I wanted a few more days. I wanted life to be paused again.

Of course, that simply cannot be. We are not made to live our lives on pause. Paul's words ring true today as they did when he wrote them: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God's heavenly call in Christ Jesus. We're made to run, to give everything we've got to reach the goal of Christ.

I think that's the key, though. Too often, I find myself just running, pouring out all my energy into  whatever challenge or task is in front of me. But that's not what Paul said. "My goal is to know Him," Paul writes. Our goal, our prize, our purpose is all the same, not simply to overcome the challenge in front of us but to get as close to Christ as we possibly can, running with all of our might to reach Him. The goal isn't to make it just beyond the obstacle, though I often live that way. The goal is Christ. And the amazing thing is that for those of us who love Him, our goal and prize are the same: Christ Himself.

I hope this truth stays close to my heart this year, and that I find myself closer to my prize than ever before.


Monday, July 14, 2014


A little over a week ago, our head pastor was in a serious bicycling accident while making his way back from a morning ride. As far as we know, he somehow lost control of his bike and crashed head-first into a boulder. His injuries are serious, and although he is making great progress for the type of trauma he experienced, he still has a long journey ahead.

Please pray for him and his family, specifically his wife who is at his side every moment she can be. Pray for our church and for my husband, Rob, who is the associate pastor of our church. A great burden is on his shoulders to keep everything up, and he needs wisdom and strength as he continues to lead the church.

We see God's hand in all of this. God spared our pastor's life and is already working mightily in his healing. He provided help quickly in spite of cell phones not having reception. He orchestrated people, including our pastor's children and some extended family, to be home and nearby when needed. He blessed us this past week at our VBS and youth event, and He even prepared Rob and me by allowing us to get the majority of our adoption work finished so we can be present with our pastor and church in this time.

It makes it all the easier to trust the Lord when He is already proving Himself faithful! If you are interested in keeping up with the progress of our pastor, you can follow the updates on this Facebook page.

Thank you for your prayers and support!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy birthday, Steph!

Last Friday, Steph turned 31, so we ditched their kiddos and headed out for a birthday dinner at Bravo Farms. The meal started off fantastic: we love their cheese curds (basically fried mozzarella balls) and sweet potato fries, so we wasted no time ordering one of each. Or two ;)
Sadly, the dinner went downhill from there, though. Steph's steak–which was supposed to be well done–was grossly rare. My steak was the opposite: overcooked, when it should have been a perfect medium. After sending them back, they still weren't right! That, in addition to the awkward waitress who brought us the wrong ticket twice, will likely mean this will be the last dinner we have there. We won't rule them out for lunch, though–always good and a much better price.

The evening was still fun, though. How could it not be? I gave Steph a new necklace and top, we had time to catch up and laugh and celebrate, and we even managed a successful group photo, something we haven't done in years.

We think the above photo will work for the band we start someday. 

Steph, I'm so lucky to have you in my life! I hope this year is full of many blessings! Happy birthday!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Development of a Photo

We've been working on our Adoption Profile (the large scrapbook-portfolio that birth parents view to get an idea of who we are) for the last week straight. I realized that my photos were lacking in a couple of areas, one big one being that I didn't have a recent and complete photo with my side of the family!

As luck would have it, Chels and Roger had planned to come into town for two days of fun this weekend! So before things got too crazy with the next level of our pool volleyball game, we attempted to take a photo.

It started with bossy pants. Pink bossy pants, actually.

After a few attempts, we got one!

Then began discussion time for the next pose. (I'm dying at all of our faces. Me, Chels, Robby with that serene smile. And of course Mom with her green-casted leg.)

Fake laughing photo, to show that we're a fun family.

It may have started off with fake laughter, but soon it became real...

 ...until Scott took it a little too far! Hand on the belly and everything.

Then I realized that my pink suit under my white cover-up looked no different than pink underwear under my white cover-up, so I borrowed a nearby dress.

Finally, Camille proposed we do something more natural, like sit by the pool. Brilliant! Almost there...

Got it!


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Visiting Sequoia National Park

Last weekend Robby and I decided to head up to Three Rivers and then Sequoia National Park for the day. It has been quite some time since I've been up to the giant trees. I'm sure it goes without saying that they were awesome! I forget how insanely humongous they are.

The weather was a bit all over the place, which we were not expecting. Luckily Robby had thrown in a couple of light sweatshirts as we headed out, and I'm so glad! Some people were there in their full on winter gear. I did good to have changed out of sandals for tennis shoes. The sun was in and out, but that made for some really awesome sights along the way.

Part of why we went last weekend was because the dogwoods are in bloom in the month of May. We saw blooming dogwoods last year in Yosemite, and last week when we were in Ohio (another post sometime), they were all abloom there! I love them so much. Totally worth a drive up to the park just to see their butterfly-like flowers everywhere.

The whole day was wonderful, and we hope this will be first of many trips this year!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Under the Lights

Can you believe it's May? May 10 to be exact. How did that happen? And how is it that the last time I posted was in March? I've been posting away at Citrus and Cream, but this blog (and other things...) have taken a backseat :( I hope to change that soon. School is out in just four weeks, so I'll have a summer to dive into some hobbies I love and miss.

This photo makes me smile. Yes it's posed. (Of course it is.) But it's a natural posed, if you know what I mean. Set the camera up, run out in the few seconds before it takes, then do something you want to do anyway, like wrap your arms around your hub and stick your leg up because you've always wanted to do that. :) We took this on our trip to Avila last summer, when we were still picking up the pieces from our IVF and wondering how in the world we would move on. A lot changes in a year. Now we're in the adoption process! I still can't believe that sometimes.

(By the way, we have a giveaway going on at C&C to win a canvas print. Of your own photo of choice, not one of this photo, ha! Only a few people have entered, so there's a good chance of winning.)

I look forward to writing more soon! There is so much to share!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Thoughts on a Houseplant at 6 AM

It's 6:00 am, and I've been up since 4, unable to sleep. I've always been a good sleeper, except for college and that was clearly because of the perfect combination of papers, dorms, caffeine, and a boyfriend.

These days the cause for my lack of sleep isn't as clear. There are a number of major things going on in our lives, one of them being our beginning steps of adoption, so that's likely part of it. I also don't have a very straightforward schedule for my life, and that's probably part of it too. And then, (I hate to think this), the fact that I'm getting slightly older may be contributing as well.

Whatever the reason, I'm up, and I've spent a good amount of the last two hours catching up on blogs. Not writing blogs (except for this post), but reading them.

One of the blogs I enjoy reading is You Grow Girl, a blog about gardening and more. Every so often, the author shares writing prompts to help inspire garden writing. She calls it the Grow Write Guild. I have often looked at the prompts and thought them through, but I have yet to actually sit and write a response. Being that it's 6:09 and my hub won't be up for hours, I'm going to join in.

Grow Write Guild

In our music room, a striped ficus plant sits in front of the large window. Its two small trunks grow tightly together, one overlapping the other, and bright leaves hang off the branches. The green is streaked with yellow, providing a lovely contrast in a nearly all-white room. When the afternoon sun shines through the window, the leaves glow softly.

This was the first plant I purchased when my husband and I moved into our house. I knew from watching HGTV and reading Martha Stewart that adding houseplants was what you did to make a home beautiful. I didn't put much thought into the choosing of the plant; I simply went to Lowe's and picked up the one with interesting leaves. I potted it in a small container, set it on the mantel, and there it remained for some time.

But it didn't grow. It didn't die, mind you, but it didn't grow. It stayed the same height, never growing, never changing, except for the sad dropping of leaves. Finally, when I had tossed yet another wilted leaf, I decided it was time for it to go.

I set it outside, waiting for the right moment to chuck it in the green waste.

And there, it was rescued. My husband, one who has a soft place in his heart for just about anything, found it. "Are you getting rid of this?" he asked. I knew he looked at it with sentimentality (it was our first houseplant, afterall), so I explained as kindly as I could that it was dead.

It wasn't dead, though, and he knew it. For the next half hour, he worked quietly, repotting the plant with fresh soil in a larger ceramic pot. And then for the next days and weeks, he tended to the plant, moved it around the house so that it got enough light, made sure its water was just right. He did for the plant what he does for so many people and living things: he loved it, and he wanted to see it thrive.

Soon, there were fresh leaves budding. And soon after that, there were more leaves. And then months passed, then years passed, and it grew two feet. It has indeed thrived, tripling in size, a permanent yet changing part of our home, a reminder of what care and attention can do for something.

About a month ago, I gave it its new space in our music room, moving it from our bathroom to the prime place in front of the window. As I walked down the hallway carrying the plant, my husband smiled. "I saved that guy," he said. He was right; he did save it. He loved a dying plant (silly man), and that is precisely the reason why I love him.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Blessings in Monterey!

It's always fun experiencing a first with my hubby. This past weekend, we went to Monterey together for the first time. What a place! I am falling in love with the northern coast of California. The trees are unbelievable, so different than what I'm used to seeing in the southern and central coast areas of California.

Although we were drawn by the sea and sand, our primary reason to visit Monterey was to see friends. One of Robby's college roommates had just moved back to California with his wife, after being in Germany for three years! We had a sweet time together, catching up and hearing what's new in their lives. And their beautiful home--complete with a stunning garden--made it the perfect atmosphere to do so! (Just look at their callas and narcissus blooming like crazy!)
We all hiked to Point Lobos together, enjoying the gorgeous Monterey Cypress trees and coastal Redwoods. I knew we were going to see something beautiful, but nothing could have prepared me for the view we came to:
Glory!!! I'm sure I sounded like I had never seen the ocean before with my squeals, but truly, it was an amazing sight. And it kept getting better: we saw seals, a sea otter, and off in the distance a whole slew of migrating whales! Well...I saw their puffs, which was awesome. The others were able to see the backs of the whales slightly skim the surface.
We made it to a bunch of tide pools where sea anemone, snails, crabs, and other tiny creatures were hanging out. Robby and Tex climbed down to get a better look and catch some of the crashing waves.
The only downside was that I slipped and landed in one of the tide pools. Yep. Except for cold, wet pants, I was fine. 
We were so blessed to see our old friends. We left encouraged and invigorated, a sign that the time was nothing but good. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Once upon a time...

Ages and ages ago, before New Year's, before Christmas, even before Thanksgiving, Robby and I took a vacation and spent a few days in Oceanside.
Those few days came and went quickly, so before I jump too far into 2014, I wanted to highlight them.
  1. We got to spend nearly a whole day with John and Kelly and their family. With both of our lives being busy and full, we don't get to see our dear friends as often as we we would like. This was a great day, easy and fun. 
  2. We went to Disneyland (twice) and purchased annual passes, which means we'll be going again soon! To be honest, D-land was a little busier than I handle well, but it was still fun. Tower of Terror was a favorite, as usual, and the Christmas Fireworks Show is still the best fireworks show I've ever seen.
  3. We awoke to the brightest sparkliest mornings ever. I don't remember seeing water sparkle the way it did those days. Unbelievable.
  4. We saw glorious sunsets every night from our hotel room. 
  5. We ate lots of yummy beach food: fish and chips, clam chowder in a bread bowl, onion rings, and pizza. Beach food is not healthy, in case you were wondering.
  6. We shopped. A lot. That was fun.
  7. We bought nearly all our Christmas presents. That was fun, too.
  8. We slept in, took walks, lounged around, dressed up, and hung out.
  9. We walked on the pier, which was just outside our hotel.
  10. We breathed in the salt water air and left the windows open at night. 


Sunday, January 5, 2014

So Much for Starting Strong

The inevitable has happened. I caught a cold, a pretty mean one at that. I blamed Robby for my illness, to which he quickly passed the buck to our nephew Nathan. I suppose Nathan would have a finger or two to point, as well, so I'm just going to let it go.

How does something as trivial as a cold do such damage? I'm usually full of energy at the beginning of the year, ready to knock down cobwebs and organize desk drawers. I've done little more than move from one room to the next with my box of tissues in hand, and even that requires all that I've got. Christmas is half put away. It's pathetic: I've been staring at a bare Christmas tree for two days because I was only able to pack up the ornaments before this thing hit. And as much as I sing the praises for fake Christmas trees, they're a sorry thing to look at unlit and untrimmed.

Needless to say, I'm not starting off my year strong. Physically, I'm the weakest I've been in a long time, and emotionally I'm pretty spent too. Yeah, it's just a cold, but I still want to cry about it.

The only good thing is I have read my Bible every day. It's a comfort to know that although my flesh and heart may fail, God is my strength.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Word for the Year

I love making resolutions and goals for a new year. I have a very long list rolling in my mind as I write, things I want to change or begin or fix. But in an effort to rein it back, I'm giving one word for the year, one word that sums up my resolutions and goals: strength.

I want to focus on building my strength this year, and this applies to all areas of my life, but primarily the physical, emotional, and spiritual areas of my life.

Physical: I want to be strong! Sure, being fit and hot is a plus, too, but more than that, I want to be a strong person. I am tired of being a weakling. I am tired of being tired, for that matter. I want to significantly raise my level of fitness, and I know that unless I make it a priority with exercise and strength-training, it won't happen. This includes improving my eating, sleeping, and resting habits, as well.

Emotional: I want to be strong emotionally. That doesn't mean I want to stifle my tears and put on a happy face. It means I want to invest in areas that are healthy for me emotionally, namely relationships. It's too easy for me to let friendships go when I am overwhelmed and exhausted, and I want to change that.

Spiritual: I have grown closer to Christ in these past years, learning to lean on Him and trust Him. But my daily practices of prayer and reading the Bible have been an afterthought. I am starting the One-Year Bible again, which has been an awesome thing for me to do in the past. And I am committing to daily times of prayer.

This year has a lot of changes coming our way, and I want to rely on God to have me as prepared as I can be.

What about you? Do you have a word for the year?