What a lovely weekend...

Considering I had such a  grumpy attitude on Friday night, I couldn't have expected a more perfect weekend to happen. My sweet husband overcame his sickness in like 12 hours, so he was good as new Saturday morning. Therefore, for the next 36 hours we were able to make some great memories and regain what Friday night didn't allow (even if I did learn some life lessons...)

A recap:

1. Breakfast at Farm to Fork restaurant in Dundee. I've driven by this place dozens and dozens of times and have always wanted to eat there, but it isn't exactly in the most convenient location for both of us to trek to on the weekends. Fortunately, our Saturday adventure brought us to the coast, so driving right past it was on our route. It was DE.Licious. Absolutely in the running for best breakfast in the world so far. I felt like I was eating in the middle of a Pottery Barn magazine.

2. Auditioning for Wheel of Fortune: Portland Edition in Lincoln City. My family has been wheel watchers for about the past 30+ years and counting. If you stop by my dad's house on a Monday - Friday between 7pm and 8pm, you can expect two things to be present on his TV: Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. This hasn't changed in the 27 years I have known my dad. (We're not even allowed to call him during that time). Needless to say, we thought it would be fun to try out. I went down a couple of years ago when it was last year, but it's super hard to get on. You fill out an application and then put it in a big wheeled drum. Then someone draws an application at random, and that's how you get on stage. Kinda hard and the odds aren't necessarily in your favor, but it's fun energy anyway (out of two filmings, neither of our names were drawn...) But they are holding auditions for one more weekend (Oct. 1 - 2) so you should definitely check it out!

3. Make-up date night at !Oba! Resaturante in the Pearl. I have always LOVED Oba's happy hour menu, decor and energy, but have never eaten in the restaurant (that was for the fancy people...) but T and I decided to treat ourselves to their special 4-course dinner offering. I was hesitant at first at Oba's eccentric menu offerings; however, I never could have imagined that the flavor combinations put together would be so incredible but we were both blown away. It was the first time I can remember (except for when we eat at our beloved Piazza Italia) that we literally licked every plate we had clean. It was a magical evening and a food-lover's paradise. I highly, highly recommend Oba. 

4. Early church + Sunday School teaching at our beloved church, Beaverton Foursquare. A lot of our friends that we check in with have asked where we're going to church, since we met initially when we were both attending Solid Rock Fellowship. My family grew up at Beaverton Foursquare, and I started going back there a couple of years ago and got plugged in teaching 2nd grade SS. When T and I got married, he was attending Newberg Fellowship full-time and I went with him there and stepped away from my ministry position. However, it was put on our {okay, strongly mine but I have a loving and supportive husband} hearts that our home church should permanently be Beaverton Foursquare. I had been feeling the pull to go back there for a long time and we are super blessed by our family there. The church building is simply a house for the church body, so we still feel that we are a part of the Newberg Fellowship and Solid Rock families as well. So many incredible brothers and sisters in Christ out there. :) 

Anyway, we love our Sundays. 

5. Taking my niece to get her ears pierced for the first time. My husband doesn't understand how this can be a big deal, but if you're a girl and you have a daughter {okay, I have a niece...}, you surely understand that first ear piercings are a big deal. :) Brittany and I took her to get her "princess earrings" and it was quite the experience. She didn't particularly care for the process {okay, that's an understatement...}, but loved her ears when they were finished. We rewarded her bravery with a pink Build-a-Bear {aptly named "princess" by the princess herself!}. 

Ear piercing days are just a big deal, okay. :)

6. A little pedicure time by myself at my favorite salon, Moda Nails. Love it! My considerate husband said that I deserved a pedicure after taking care of him on Friday, and since we had been counting down the days to pay for oh, the past six weeks, my toes were in dire shape. A little "me" time was such a blessing and now I won't be embarrassed to wear sandals anymore. ;)

7. TV and dinner night with my hubby! We love Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on ABC and are winding down after a long week and busy weekend. Grading is done and all that's left is hanging out. I'd say it was a good weekend, and I'm definitely humbled since I wasn't the most enthusiastic person on Friday night! 

Onto Monday... Starbucks is calling my name!
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Even in the little things...

Today has been a super long week. Super long as in up at six every morning and coming home around seven o'clock on average. I LOVE driving to my school each morning, being there, teaching my students and talking with my colleagues. I also like decompressing and thinking on the drive home, because my commute is around 30 minutes each way. 

The week has been long because there's just been a ton going on and I've been up late grading and planning and I feel like every minute is just running around staying on top of things. You can prepare *so* much for your classroom experiences, but unknown things pop up on an hourly basis. A kid feels sick and misses their test. An absent student from the previous day wants their homework but isn't ready for the test. Another student has to leave during the middle of the test for a dentist appointment. Parents email you to check in about their kids. Kids need to come in at lunch to finish their testing. And before you know it, your entire day is gone, it's 6:00 and you're still sitting in your classroom grading papers to stay on top of things. I seriously LOVE my job and wouldn't trade any of these things, but the week can get a bit hectic sometimes. That's why I so look forward to Friday night happy hour with my husband. We always go out, without fail, and it's our reconnection time to just hang out, talk, catch up, and be husband and wife instead of two ships passing in the night. 

I knew tonight I was going to be a little late, but as I drove home I silently looked forward to where our spot was going to be tonight and to get to tell him all of the awesome things that have happened this week. 

Well, that all changed as soon as I got in the door. I came home to a sick husband who picked up a stomach bug from one of his students, who was virtually incapacitated and crawled his way, feverishly, into our bed at 6:30pm. We were not going to be going out to happy hour tonight. 

Not only that, but we typically procrastinate our chores for the weekend since we're so busy during the week. So as I opened the door, there lay my husband, a pile of dirty dishes, unfolded laundry, clutter and scraps of paper and unopened mail around the house just waiting for me. 

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. 
I was so tired already and bummed that T was sick and that we weren't going out, but I quickly realized that my other half wouldn't be able to help clean around the house either. So, after a long week at school, I put my husband to bed, cooked him chicken noodle soup, rolled up my shirt sleeves and got to work cleaning our entire house. No happy hour. No catch-up conversations. No Blue Moon and Helvetia burgers. Just me, a sick husband and a messy house. 

As I sulked around cleaning, I was reminded of the lyrics to a new song by Steven Curtis Chapman which, albeit slightly cheesy, is totally truthful as we get caught up in our everyday lives. It's called "Do Everything," and is encouragement to people who feel like the daily grind they're involved in has no purpose. Here is an excerpt from it below:
You’re picking up toys on the living room floor
for the 15th time today
Matching up socks and sweeping up lost
Cheerios that got away
You put a baby on your hip and color on your lips
and head out the door
And while I may not know you I bet I know you wonder sometimes does it matter at all...
Well let me remind you it all matters just as long as you


Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you to do every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace...
With every move that you make, nd every little thing you do


Well maybe you’re sitting in math class
Maybe on a mission in the Congo
Maybe you’re working at the office
Singing along with the radio
Maybe you’re dining at a five star
Or feeding orphans in Myanmar
Anywhere and everywhere you are...


Whatever you do it all matters
So do what you do and don’t ever forget to do everything you to to the glory of the One who made you...



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 So I'm done sulking. In sickness and in health; hopefully next Friday we can have burgers and Blue Moon at Helvetia Tavern. For now, my husband needs me and I just need to get over myself. :)
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It matters...

When you hold a door open for someone. 

When you say, "thank you" and smile
When you give someone a sincere compliment
When you work hard and you think no one notices
When you give up something for someone else
When you give someone a hug for no reason
When you run errands for your family
When you say, "I'm proud of you."
When you ask someone if they need help
When you let someone step in front of you
When you share what you have
When you smile
When you're patient and gracious
    When you forgive someone
When you send a letter in the mail to say, "I'm just thinking about you," for no reason at all   

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5 Things... Weekend Style

I seem to be full of excuses these days. I'm getting used to my morning routine, getting used to the delays my commute seems to bringing, getting used to riding behind farm trucks / school buses / scenic views and how late I've been going to bed in order to finish grading and spend a little time with my husband. Last night I went to bed at 8pm because I was absolutely spent after a long week of morning meetings and two late-night, Back-to-School nights with parents. Totally worth it, but totally tired after a long week. 

Anyway, all this to say that my Five Things Friday routine keeps getting interrupted by my forgetfulness and my fatigue. That will change! :)

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This week's Five Things Friday is the fall-edition. Fall, aka my favorite season of the year by a million miles, begins in Wednesday. Of course Oregon's can't-make-up-its-mind weather predicts a high of 82 degrees so I won't be wearing my sweater and boots, but I am totally pumped about the smells of spices, burning leaves, crisp morning air, football games and lots and lots of baking. For the next four months we're going to be in festivity-mode with birthdays, holidays, game days and many times with family. Therefore, the below list is five things I'm very much looking forward to about the fall:

1. Baking a plethora of anything pumpkin related. 
Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread... mmmmmmm.... a little coffee and a rainy afternoon, anyone?

2. Football season
Youth football games, OSU games, Civil War... love football Saturdays like nobody's business!

3. Downtown staycations
We like to take at least one staycation during the holiday season in Portland and see the leaves changing color, go shopping, find a cozy coffee shop and eat breakfast someplace new. 

4. Pumpkin patches
I will absolutely never be too old to go to the pumpkin patch! Caramel apples, hot cider, stalks of corn, hay rides and picking out the absolute perfect pumpkin. You know what I'm talking about!

5. Trick-or-Treaters
On Halloween, it's been a family tradition for over 27 years now to watch "The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" while we eat candy, answer the door for kids and bake. T and I try to go to someone's house who will have trick-or-treaters, because we don't get any at our apartment. :( The past couple of years we've had to eat the candy ourselves (not that there's anything wrong with that!).... ;)         

Happy fall everyone!
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Road Trip 2012


So T and I have settled on next year's vacation: road tripping across America! We are planning on driving the entire perimeter of the US without really a timeframe in mind. Our budget will dictate how far and for how long we can travel, but we're pretty stoked to intimately explore America like we never have before. 

We have been to several states; however, this is where we need your help: tell us where we HAVE to go. You know, those must-see places, hidden restaurants, beautiful parks, cool hotels, etc. We're not going to be in the mid-west, but we'll be pretty much everywhere else. Our goal is to be in each city for two nights so we can really explore, but some places we might choose to stay longer (like Washington D.C.).

I for one am totally stoked on this idea because we have just traveled to other countries so much that it's going to be really great to explore home. America is incredibly diverse, rich and full of amazing history, food and people. It's going to be pretty rad. 

Alongside our roadtrip journey, we're going to be delivering school supplies to schools we pass by looking like they could use a little assistance. We're going to spend this school year individually fundraising and trying to put together at least $100 baskets for at least 10 schools, and would love to partner with you on that as well. We haven't decided exactly how we're going to find the schools to donate to: whether we're going to plan ahead and pre-arrange a visit, or whether we're going to just look for ones along the way that look like they could need some help. We'd love it to be a huge endeavor and have more supplies than we know what to do with, so we'll just see how God chooses to bless this trip. 

All we know is that we're pretty excited for Road Trip USA 2012. God Bless America. ;)
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Decorum

Timothy and I witnessed a slightly disturbing and perplexing situation this weekend after we went to a 3rd grade football game in Hillsboro. 

We were leaving to go home, and right in front of us a commotion began to break out between a car with his blinker on in the parking lot, and a car that was half-pulled into a space. 

A man lept out of his parked truck and went over to a van that had half-pulled into a parking space and began to yell obscenities at him regarding the fact that this van had apparently "stolen HIS space." He opened the van's door and rested his hand on the roof, getting in the driver's face about the other driver's arrogance and lack of manners. The van driver was clearly taken aback and muttered that he hadn't noticed the man's blinker on, and that would give him the space. The truck driver patronizes back, "You're going to give me MY space? Wow, how kind of you."

As this is happening, Timothy has planted himself in front of the scene as he is hoping to get the van driver's attention and let him know our spot, two cars back, would be available. And if this interaction wasn't bad enough, there was a young boy in the back of the yelling man's truck who was heading off to his football game.

Timothy and I were so shocked and disappointed at the lack of regard and respect, and the overall sense of entitlement this man had towards a parking spot. A parking spot that he certainly does not own, and a parking spot that, yes, he has every right to be annoyed at if a man broke the rules of civility and "took it," but one that did not warrant the harassment that ensued. 

We had a long conversation about this afterwards, regarding the lack of manners and respect our current society has for one another. We'll be in line at Starbucks and hear customers in front of us patronize the barista, or be at dinner with someone who argues with the server. Where did we learn this sense of entitlement from? The way that we treat one another has a huge impact on the lives of others, and I don't think we recognize this often enough. 

I would love to see a society full of people who are simply kind to one another. Who show deference. Who don't think of themselves as greater than someone else. Who let someone cut in front of them on the road and don't care. Who don't mind when someone cuts in front of them in line. Who share and who just practice simple graciousness and appreciation for others who serve and help us. 

Let's just be like that to people, okay? Next time you're at coffee or at dinner or in a position when someone is serving you somewhere, maybe remember to just thank them for what they do? Life would be so much more comfortable if we were all just nice to each other.

Let's try it? :)


5 Things Friday

Going back to work this week after an eventfully travel-filled, lazy summer has bit somewhat of a difficult adjustment for me. I was used to getting up at 8:30, making coffee, pulling something out of the date jar and having blissfully fun and productive days. I'm super blessed to have a job and am absolutely LOVING IT at my new school!!!! {!!!!!!!}, BUT. Waking up early and being on my feet all day hasn't been totally welcomed by my body as quickly as I'd like it to. It's been a busy, busy week with awesome students, challenges, some stretching, and some new friendships with my colleagues. {Plus a little coffee-- okay, a lot-- and some great This American Life podcasts for my drive to and from school}. So, in honor of back-to-work/school week, this 5 Things Friday is dedicated to the top five things I love about the weekends:

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1. SLEEPING IN. {!!} enough said.

2. Big breakfasts with T. Sometimes we go out, sometimes we stay in. But we always go big. That's what Saturdays are for!

3. Friday night date night. It's reserved for just us and we only break this date if it's absolutely necessary. We always go somewhere for happy hour and catch up about our weeks, say hi, or check in, because things are absolutely crazy Monday - Friday in the Love household. :) 

4. Naptime. Looooooooooooove Saturday afternoon naps, especially in the fall when it's raining and you have no place to go except your couch or bed. Sweats, pjs, a good book, some papers to grade, baking, hot tea or coffee..... LOVE it. 

5. Church! I absolutely loved getting refreshed by my church family on the weekend after we pour our lives into our jobs. I feel rejuvenated, purposeful, and love just worshiping and being filled those days.

Weekends are seriously so rewarding. God knew what He was doing when he created the Sabbath. :)

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Best Teen Reads (guilty pleasures you'll love)

So one of the many perks to being a teacher is the fact that we get to legitimately read teenage books and listen to top 40 music for "market research." I get TOTALLY excited having book talks and recommending/sharing books with my students that are at their age level because let's face it: teen books are just so much more interesting. 

Anyway, in case you are looking for the new best read that is definitely not going to be heavy, probably somewhat cheesy, basically predictable but totally engaging and fun, check out these books below: 

1. The Hunger Games -- THE best book series I know right now. Actually the third book (Mockingjay) is not very good at all and I would recommend skipping it until the last twenty pages. You aren't missing anything. 

2. Out of the Dust-- this is a brilliantly written book in prose poetry about life during the Dust Bowl from a 12 year old, motherless girl's perspective. Newberry classic and totally amazing. 

3. Waiting for Normal-- I think if anyone grew up in a broken home or any situation in which they felt like they just didn't fit in and were "Waiting for Normal," they'd love this book. Awkward pre-teen. Trailer. Jobless mom. Surrogate neighbor. Loving stepfather. Totally brilliant combination for a perfect middle school book. 

4. Fever 1793-- Great (but sad) book set during the 1700s regarding a family who owns a town coffee shop, struck by a plague after having recently colonized the eastern coast of America.

5. The Giver-- Many people have read this through school, but if you haven't yet I highly recommend it. It's very similar to the Hunger Games in many aspects (post-modern "world" setting after basically every major empire has fallen and been rebuilt), and has some elements to communism/socialism life. As in, what would life be like if the government made every single decision for us in order to bring peace to society?

6. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson Series) -- GREAT book series if you are into mythology/fantasy! They also have the Lightning Thief graphic novel out if you are a fan of illustrations. It's very popular with kids these days-- a lot of books are going comic book style for added effect. 

7. Touching Spirit Bear -- A story about a boy named Cole with severe anger and bitterness issues who makes a huge mistake in high school and is faced with the choice of either going to jail, or living on a remote island in British Columbia to face his issues and overcome his violence. 

8. Chasing Lincoln's Killer -- This was one of my favorite books this year. It's a historical fiction story about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the weeklong chase that followed for his killer - John Wilkes Booth. 


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Anyway, those are just a few of my recommendations if you're looking for a book totally different than you're normally used to reading! It's totally okay to check out young adult books even if you're not a teacher... I won't tell! :)
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Testimony.

 I feel that it's important to be a transparent person when God has done some big things in your life. Keeping His grace and faithfulness a secret doesn't demonstrate His goodness, so even when it's difficult for me I want to shout what He's done for me from the rooftops. That's why I decided that it would be remiss of me not to include an equally important tab on my blog page related to my personal testimony. The top navigation link button is currently under development, but the permanent page has been written. Here is a sneak peek to the foundational basis of my life:

http://love-lylife.blogspot.com/p/what-god-has-done.html

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Summer 2012.


Ahhhhhh! I am TOTALLY stoked for some travel plans for 2012 that have recently entered my brain. I'm trying to figure out right now whether they're too big, too monumental or whether they can actually happen how I'm planning on them happening. 

{I realize that these statements are very vague and enigmatic...}

I want to throw this idea out to you all for feedback, but also want to wait a few days to see whether it's worthwhile. My mind has been going a mile a minute with excitement and I'm trying to determine whether it's totally my flesh or whether God planted this idea. I have to disclose that the travel plans definitely don't involve us just living it up in some fabulous foreign city! They would be much more others-focused than us-focused. 

Prayers and clarity of vision would be APPRECIATED! And then, once I've convinced my husband that we can do it (or God totally puts the breaks on this plan), I'll debut it for your feedback and hopefully support. :)

Cheers everyone and happy Labor Day weekend! Pray that God would use us big and open doors if this is something He wants us to do!
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Marriage is...


This post I'm about to write is a selfish post. Selfish because I need it. Because I need the words on my page to remind me of why I am so blessed to be in a relationship called marriage with another human being, and a man who loves God for that matter. I need my eyes to see what my heart feels, and my head to understand what I already know. Because I see so many posts from women who seem to have it all together. Who float on air and produce harmony from their footsteps. I'm the flag-holder of the one who doesn't have it all together in marriage, but is okay with the learning process. Because we're in this for the long haul. :) Married people... let me know if I have this list right or not!

Being married is...

  • Trusting that your partner really does have your best interests in mind, as difficult as that might be to comprehend. They are from Mars, or so Dr. Gray tells us. 
  • Not always giving advice on every corner. Sometimes we need to just listen. Not listening to refute our point and bring up new counterpoints, but just simply listening. And affirming. 
  • Doing what you know they want, even though you don't totally understand why that weird thing is so important to them. But it is, and so we compromise. Even when it doesn't always make sense. 
  • Being patient. Expectations and realities are two very different but very common occurrences in marriage. Patience means that when we're {surprisingly? obviously?} not meeting eachother's, we're okay with who we are because we love eachother. It's a process. 
  • Actually going to bed upset sometimes {gasp! that's not what my grandma told me!!!} Because here's the deal. For those of us who have "never gone to bed angry," that can mean staying up until 4am trying to resolve the situation. Please tell me I'm not the only one who has actually felt better in the morning after having gone to bed upset, only to realize that my "upset thing" was actually pretty insignificant in the long run. Things tend to seem much more dramatic at 3 o'clock in the morning... :)
  • Daily, daily, daily acting out love in a way that is an action and not just a word. You can throw "I love ice cream, the Ducks, my grandma and you," into the same sentence and they'll have completely different meanings. I'm talking about acting out the kind of love that I feel for my husband on a daily basis. Respect. Deference. Commitment. Peace. Harmony. Even.... when I don't really feel like it or want to.   

  • Just doing stuff to bless your spouse, because you want to see them happy. And I mean at the 100% level. Not the 33% or the 64% or the 12% because you've had a bad day level, but the 100% of the time, every-time level. Even when I might not get the same in return, or vice versa. That is sooooo hard to do when my self gets in the way! 
  • HARD WORK. Period. 
  • But totally worth it in a million and more than one ways. Period.
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