Friday, December 7, 2012

Late Fall and Early Winter Review: 2012 Edition

So much has happened, yet so little has changed.

I've been traveling a decent amount. Most of the travels have been through work, a few with family or for fun. Recent trips include New Jersey, Washington D.C., Chicago, and heading to Puerto Rico next week. Also on the docket for the next few months are St Thomas and San Diego!

I have a new niece. Her name is Sophia Elizabeth and I'm absolutely in love with her. I rode across Iowa/Illinois/Indiana with my mom in a flurry and was there in time for the birth. Can't express how thankful I am that my sister and all are happy and healthy.

My niece and nephew, Emma and Luke, will be coming home soon. The adoption process has been grueling and time consuming for my brother and his wife. My heart aches for them to be at home with Drew and Melissa. Advent and waiting brings on new meaning when you experience the longing and pining of adoption through the eyes of people you love.

THIS quote by Tullian Tchividjian has resonated with me lately: 
"Our dire need for God’s grace doesn’t get smaller after God saves us. We never outgrow our need for Christ’s finished work on our behalf-we never graduate beyond our desperate need for Christ’s righteousness and his strong and perfect blood-soaked plea “before the throne of God above.”
The crafty, crazy, apron wearing, spatula weilding side of me has been having a hey day lately.
I've been working on sewing a few Christmas gifts as well as baking up a storm. I also had a booth at the work Holiday Bazaar this week. I sold homemade oatmeal bread, 4 kinds of homemade granola, and 5 kinds of biscotti. I enjoyed the process of baking and packaging everything cutely for the bazaar, but was kind of freaking out the day before/day of the event. I realized that I had never been PAID to bake treats before. Part of the fun of baking wonderful goodies is the surprise and delight when they are gifts. This sneaky and scary voice in my head was making me super nervous about putting something so dear to me "for sale". Just plain afraid. Things went swimmingly at the bazaar. I sold almost everything I had prepared and had a ton of positive feedback. I needn't have feared. Then people at work started asking if I wanted to open a bakery or do that full time. I just don't know. A part of me thinks that would be amazing -- but having to run the legal and business fronts. Or even THINKING about getting funds to start that kind of endeavor? That terrifies me. And the what ifs start all over again -- what if I stop loving to bake if it's my job? What if I lose connection with humanity since I'd be working alone or with very few others? GAH. Someday. SOMEDAY, maybe I'll look into it further.

For now - I'm loving my job. The people I work with are wonderful. I finally feel like I'm in a place with my co-workers like I was in Austin at the Hyatt. We had our days of craziness with the actual WORK, but the co-workers and interaction made those stresses melt away. The PEOPLE made the job. Yes. I'm in a role that combines my past experinces (hotel sales, DMC internships, media sales etc) into this job that uses them all.

Life. Life is good. I'm thankful. Usually quiet seasons on my blog mean that I'm too busy living to remember to tell you about it. I'm okay with that :)

Pictures to go with the recent shenanigans: 
Blue sweater = work trip
I ran a 5K :)

Loved getting to spend LOTS of time with my coworker Jess as we worked on a big program together.
Sophia is so CUTE!

Thanksgiving with Sophia in Chicago!!

That's right...those are matching bowling shirts. Company outing with the Pharma Team!

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Someday List

I was recently asked if I had a list of things I wanted to do before I turn 30. I kind of stuttered a bit-- I dream big dreams, but had I ever really put a timeline on any of them?

This is a glimpse into some of the things I hope to do...someday.

1. See a Symphony performance in Vienna
2. Go sailing (bonus points if the sailing trip involves overnights on the boat)
3. Go on a weekend group bike ride with my dad and my sister. Or one with my dad. And then also one eventually with just my sister.
4. Take adult piano lessons
5. Go to an Opera at the Met in NYC
6. Worship with people in a third world country
7. Host an epic fancy dinner party
8. Experience Carnival in Brazil
9. Go skiing in real mountains (No, I don't think skiing in Minnesota counts)
10. Wine tour (top choices: Europe, Chile, South Africa, or Cali)
11. Give an anonymous gift that changes someone's life
12. Have kids- biological and/or through adoption
13. Hear Handel's Messiah performed well.
14. Write a book and get it published.
15. See the Pacific NW
16. Learn how to shoot a gun so I'm no longer afraid of them.
17. Memorize Ephesians 1, Romans 8, and Isaiah 35
18. Take some kind of cooking class
19. See the tulips and windmills in Holland
20. Do a Fall driving tour on the east coast to see the leaves and eat lots of seafood
21. Make and decorate a gingerbread house from scratch
22. Make a queen-sized quilt that I'm proud of
23. Attempt to like/enjoy golf or tennis (also involves finding a patient and kind teacher or friend to help!)
24. Learn what all of the referee signals in football mean
25. Go on a hot air balloon ride
26. Learn how to grill a perfect medium rare steak.
27. Visit Spain--Barcelona in particular
28. Overcome my fear of horses
29. Do a food, wine, and culture tour of Italy. Really see the country -- if I could make it for one of the Opera Festivals, that would be even more amazing. And hiking? I'd do that too. Especially if I could drink wine during the breaks.
30. Learn how to slalom water ski
31. Learn how to make homemade croissants and tarts.
32. See the white cliffs of Dover

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Uncommon Marvel

I've recently become more and  more aware that there's a certain amount of faith required to be a single woman in the conservative dating scene. As I chit chat with female friends who are in various stages of the scene  -- we concur. Waiting stinks.

Don't get me wrong -- every female has an obligation to let a guy know that she'd be okay with him mayyybe asking her out. You know - that subtle hint that she's giving him the "green light". YET - there's the waiting. The meandering around and moving on with life while we wait for him to take notice or initiate or pursue. Waiting for the uncommon marvel: the "ask".

Scenario one - the green light the girl is attempting to give off is coming across as more LIME GREEN or NEON ORANGE and scary/needy to the guy - guy avoids. girl waits (and probably pines unhealthily).
Scenario two - the green light is marred by an awkward friend comment by one of the two parties involved, or even worse -- an outside party- guy avoids, girl waits or also avoids. 
Scenario three - the green light is pleasantly ignored - the guy is not interested. The girl waits and then hopefully moves on (depending on the attachment level - this realization can take a while. What can I say - some females are very adept at dreaming and not so adept at facing reality). 
Scenario four - the green light is acknowledged and the guy pursues - GUY ASKS GIRL OUT! WOOHOOOO! Girl is thrilled.
Next step: 
The Date (or hangout, or awkward encounter. FYI for the guys -- the girl wants a date. A real date. She wants you to preferably call (not facebook or tweet or text) and say - Hi _____(her name here). This is ______(guy's name here). I'm interested in getting to know you more and taking you out on a date. I thought we could go to_____(fill in activity). Would you be up for that? Can I pick you up? ) 
 Moving on with the scenario: 
 - Scenario one -  Date is super. She lets him know she had a great time. Maybe a text (mayybe). And she waits. Waits for him to lead out. Waits for him to follow up. Waits for him to signal that he also had a great time. She avoids being needy. Avoids getting too attached. WAITS. 
- Scenario two - Date is so so, date is horrible, or date is just awkward. Start pattern again, don't pass go, don't collect a diamond, don't change your facebook relationship status. Consider joining a new online dating program to fill in the waiting or at least entertain yourself during the process. 

The waiting is so hard. This reality of first and foremost - pursuing CHRIST. Resting in HIS pursuit. Finding intimacy in His word and His promises. All the while - knowing that you do want to someday be in a relationship. Sometimes pretending you don't care. Inside - you do. You want it, but you force the smile every time someone asks -- SOO are you SEEING ANYONE?! Or you politely say -- not currently! Or perhaps frighten them by saying you are browsing the inter webs for the next potential! Or even more boldly - nope, I'm up for blind dates, though!

Once the possibility arises and maybe a date has happened --  finding the balance between affirming this gent, yet letting him pursue. Trying to figure out the "code" of interest. Or do I just pay attention to movies like He's just not that into you? If he's interested -- I'll KNOW.

I hate the code. Screw the code.  Waiting is hard.

BRAVO to the guys out there that are willing to risk. Willing to face the possibility of rejection. Willing to be one of the few single men that will genuinely ask a girl out on a real date. Not friend-card awkwardly sliding towards late night hangouts alone after group sessions. No - taking the time to plan, take her out, and get to know her intentionally. It means a ton. It shows her she has value. It sets a precedent for future beaus. So - yes. I see you out there. I applaud you. Keep it up.

Monday, September 3, 2012

My First Car Accident


Yup. I hit a girl in a black honda with my trusty Malibu. Total accident. Totally my fault. I didn't see her as I was pulling out of a parking lot after a post-game barbeque. My car now has some sweet scratches/dents on the left front AND my door makes an awesome sound when I open it.
 I got a ticket. I get to send the accident report to my insurance. My first accident (other than scraping my own car on the garage) since starting to drive at 16.
Fortunately, no one was hurt. Both of us were not thrilled with the predicament, BUT the police officer (His name was Brad) was very nice. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my "extra paycheck" from the month of August. Oh well. I was able to drive away. I'm thankful!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A snapshot.

Roy Hession, We Would See Jesus
This book is rocking my world. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone looking for a solid read. More than anything, I love that it's making me think and pointing me to Jesus. The book talks about one thing commonly missing in faith stories today is an ardent passion to see God. Talks about how we see people pursuing holiness with the desire to do service FOR God, rather than pursuing holiness to SEE God. Also talks about how we pursue this great feeling or experience with God rather than God himself. "Both these ends fall utterly short of the great end that God has designed for man, that of glorifying Him forever. They fail to satisfy God's heart and they fail to satisfy ours." 

All About Worship Collective 

For a bigger heart for this city. 
For God's eyes to be given to me to see Des Moines as He does. 
For the politicians and authorities of this country. 
For the health of my nieces and nephews and their safety in making it home soon -- for my sister's baby girl to be born and my brother's kids to make it through the grueling adoption process. 

Eager expectation for what God is doing with the young professional demographic at Westwind Church. 
Thankful for the stirring in my soul to CARE more for people around me. 
Needy- realizing how quickly I place my worth or daily temperament in feedback or praise from people. Seeking to turn my eyes upward to the One who can and will fulfill every desire and need if my heart. 
Vulnerable because I'm happy. There's seemingly so much more to lose when you're soaring. The blessing and curse of being a passionate person that feels deeply. 

In seeing new parts of Des Moines - via bicycle, kayak, car. ALL SORTS of ways. 
In making new friends. 
In sharing the day to day joys with co-workers and family. 
In loving life. 
In having so much that I have been delighting in that I don't know where to start. 
In fall quickly approaching. 
In Trader Joe's simmer sauces. No really- they are SO GOOD. Go make a curry - I dare you. 


Friday, August 3, 2012


I watch this and am just amazed. Such talent. Stripped down, beautiful music. Wanted to share.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Life, Truth, and Pictures

I'm loving Des Moines a lot. 
I've made some awesome friends here - we do things like trivia, bike rides, movie nights, worship etc. It's pretty grand.
I've become a somewhat avid bike rider. Most recent addition to my mania are shoes with clips and the special pedals. I've only completely bitten it once. I came away unscathed, other than my pride.
I'm surviving and thriving at work. My team rocks and I'm still alive.
I have a new neighbor. Has allergies - I can hear his sneezes through the walls. It's quite annoying. 
I've made 2 of 3 baby quilts for nieces/nephews on the way. They turned out really well. Pics of the newest below.
I'm finally getting truly plugged in at Church -- recently went to a women's event, have some solid relationships with people around me, and finding ways to serve.
I went on my first "vacation" using paid time off in a long time -- it was so fun and good for my soul. I went with my sister and parents down to Clearwater Beach, Florida.
The Lord continues to blow me away with His provision, timing, humor, and presence in my life.
In short, friends - I'm blessed.

A prayer that is my prayer as of late from my favorite devotional ever -- Valley of Vision:
 The Gospel Way
No human mind could conceive or invent the gospel.
Acting in eternal grace, thou art both its messenger and its message, lived out on earth through infinite compassion, applying thy life to insult, injury, death, that I might be redeemed, ransomed, freed.
Blessed be thou, O Father, for contriving this way, Eternal thanks to thee, O Lamb of God, for opening this way, Praise everlasting to thee, O Holy Spirit, for applying this way to my heart.
Glorious Trinity, impress the gospel on my soul, until its virtue diffuses every faculty; Let it be heard, acknowledged, professed, felt.
Teach me to secure this mighty blessing; Help me to give up every darling lust, to submit heart and life to its command, to have it in my will, controlling my affections, moulding my understanding; to adhere strictly to the rules of true religion, not departing from them in any instance, nor for any advantage in order to escape evil, inconvenience or danger.
Take me to the cross to seek glory from its infamy; Strip me of every pleasing pretence of righteousness by my own doings.
O gracious Redeemer, I have neglected thee too long, often crucified thee, crucified thee afresh by my impenitence, put thee to open shame.
I thank thee for the patience that has borne with me so long, and for the grace that now makes me willing to be thine.
O unite me to thyself with inseparable bonds, that nothing may ever draw me back from thee, my Lord, my Saviour.

And a photo dump to cover the last few months of life...

Connection Group Women.

BIKING FRIEND! And just life friend.
Women's Event for Church
Newest Baby Quilt for my sister's baby!

Bianchi - Italian for AWESOME
I love self portraits.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Glass Case of Emotions.

Sad. To see the end of 180. To say goodbye to the girls I've grown to love.
Proud. Proud of my Older brother. Proud of him for finishing his Seminary classes. Had a blast getting to go to his graduation lunch.
Stressed, but accomplished. Seeing projects come to fruition under my care. Managing crisis situations. Finally starting to understand what I'm doing at work.  Learning to balance the have to do now list and the can wait til later list.
Empty. Painfully aware of how much I need Jesus. Seeing how often I THINK I have things under control, only to see them spiral away again. Those scary idols I thought I was rid of? They still come back. My need for security? My hate of dependence on others? My desire to have control? My elevation of money to the point of danger? Me. Getting in the way again. So good to reminded of my Need of Jesus.
 Longing. Longing for the day when there is no more hunger. No more pain. No more need for people to pack boxes of food for starving people around the world. I was so moved by the experience helping with Meal from the Heartland. The promo video they showed at the beginning before we served made me cry. The statistics of starvation are staggering. It made me ache inside and want so badly to get my niece and nephew HOME from Africa. The girls in the picture are another answer to prayer. Friends from my new Connection Group. The Sarahs.
 Thankful. For answered prayers. A while ago I specifically prayed for at least one friend at work. God provided. Her name is Amy. She is my cube-mate. And she is awesome.
 Delight. In creating new delicious treats. In making something beautiful. In sharing them with others.