Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Afternoon at the Park

I was blessed to keep Canaan again last Saturday and Molly & Andrea joined us for a fun afternoon at the park. We swang, rode the marry-go-round, and climbed the jungle gym equipment. It was a beautiful afternoon!
Little Miss Independent didn't want to sit in Molly's lap!
Look at those cute little tippy-toes!
I love that girl!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rattlesnake Ridge Hike

We had a relaxing Sunday afternoon with friends. We spent the sunny afternoon hiking Rattlesnake Ridge and then tried out the inflatable boat for the first time on Rattlesnake Lake. It was such an enjoyable day!
The view eastward from Rattlesnake Ridge
The hike was actually more of a walk & chat than a strong physical exertion; Erin and I took our time and mosied on up.There were actually a lot of people when we got to the top, including these two sweet lovebirds. I'm thinking they had no idea I captured them!

We then enjoyed the remainder of the afternoon cooling off in the lake before splurging on brick-fire pizza.
Another beautiful day in the great Northwest!

I'm linking up to Sweet Shot Tuesday.
Sweet Shot Day

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bellevue Festival of the Arts

Last Sunday afternoon was a fun one with Molly & Andrea at the Bellevue Festival of the Arts. I was busy admiring so many artist's work that I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked. There were metal-workers, glass makers, seamstresses, woodworkers, some amazing photographers, and many other artists.

It was such a fun day!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Celebrating 13 years

Mountain Man & I recently celebrated 13 wonderful years of marriage! I'm so blessed to be married to my best friend and can't imagine life without him!

Because we wanted a mini vacation, we decided to take a little road trip to Coeur d'Alene Idaho. We have been wanting to revisit that cute little town since driving through during our move to Washington five years ago. We had a fabulous time hiking, swimming, laying out in the sun, walking the beach, and getting massages!

{Click on photos to enlarge.}
View from the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park (road trip stop)

A beautiful sunset from the Highlands Day Spa

We're looking forward to many more years together!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Metering & Focal Points

Thanks to Willette, I've finally figured out how to change my focal points on my camera and correctly meter my photos. I played with my 50mm too, and I really like its crispness! Bex is always a willing participant of my photography practice, when enticed by a stick! Love this photo of my happy boy!

{It's not too late to sign up for Willette's free Joy of Love class. Read the deets here.}

Happy shooting (your camera, that is)!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Multitudes on Monday (& Tuesday)

This week has been so stressful for me with school deadlines. I had an report to revise and a new report to write for Managerial Economics and a Business Management midterm exam to study for Monday. I had to pull an all-nighter on Sunday to get everything done, but I did it. However, in the midst of my stress, I rarely gave thanks and I completely forgot to post my Multitudes on Monday. I hope that being thankful will soon become a regular part of who I am. So today, I'm taking time to smell the roses and share the blessings He's given me this last week.
Taking time to smell the roses

{18} my Canon Rebel
{19} warm showers
{20} hot tub time with hubby
{21} water, clean and prolific
{22} effecient firewood stove
{23} stacked firewood
{24} snapshots of those I love
{25} life in death
{26} creative outlets
{27} the transforming power of spray paint
{28} melodic song birds
{29} sleep, restful sleep
{30} books
{31} phone calls from Dad

Friday, February 4, 2011

Willette Photography

This is a shout-out for Willette Photography and her free joy of love class through the month of February. The class is free; all you do is sign up with your email on her website. You'll receive an email a day that includes photo prompts, her example, tips, and a link to a Flickr photo gallery for uploading your photo. She is also offering an album template so you can save your photo journey of your loved one.

This is a great way to improve your photography skills! Enjoy!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Scrubbing Day

Do I have to?
Cleaning out the sin in our lives is not fun, but it's necessary and good. Just like my sweet dog, I sometimes put up resistance. Confronting my sin and acknowledging it isn't easy; it's a downright filthy job! I love David's psalm after he's confronted by the prophet Nathan regarding his adultery with Bathsheba:

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Psalm 51:1-3

However, our Father is faithful to forgive us when we turn from our sin. Be encouraged!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

Valentine's Banners

Friends. I don't have too many close friends, as I once so naively believed, but the ones I do have are amazing! I'm so thankful for these Godly women and the time they invest in our friendships! We had so much fun today crafting and playing games.

The gals sewed felt Valentine banners
Rochelle & Megs made a great team
Holly got creative with fabric & felt
Anne's was LONG and had amazing details!
Molly was last to arrive and first one done!
My tiny birdie banner
The guys played Runebound
The girls were creative with their own games
And Elam was a joy!
Bexar also loved being included.
I felt so very blessed to share this day with them!

I'm delighted to join Ann Voskamp and many others in giving thanks to the Giver of all things.
{1} every breath
{2} furry friends that always love
{3} a reminder of what love really is
{4} the holy Scriptures: our daily mana
{5} encouraging friends
{6} professors willing to teach "outside the box"
{7} ability to sweat
{8} the telephone: a connection to those loved, only separated by distance
{9} fiery sunsets midst gray, drizzly winters
{10} crafting time with girl friends
{11} coffee & gab session with Tammie
{12} the twang on the other end of the line, the voice of my sweet Liessa
{13} wounded hearts opening in trust
{14} bubbly tubbies
{15} Nicole, our sweet and diligent foster care licensor
{16} Little girl giggles
{17} Craft & game day with friends

Linking to 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

God's provision to HeartCry Missionary Society

God's Extraordinary Provision for HeartCry - Paul Washer from HeartCry Missionary Society on Vimeo.

What an encouraging testimony of God's provision for His saints. His love and faithfulness are everlasting. To Him be glory, honor and praise! My faith is strengthened and I hope yours is too.

If you have a minute, please explore HeartCry Missionary Society. Paul is an excellent preacher and God has used him to renew my mind and correct, guide, and encourage me in my walk. His sermons are great for listening to while folding laundry, washing dishes, painting, or any other household chore.

"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen." Philippians 4: 19-20

Monday, January 24, 2011

Figuring Life Out - One Thousand Gifts

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp will impact the way you approach life and how you live every moment.

See my side bar for a link to the book on Amazon.

{I'll write a full review when I'm done with the book.}

Sunday, January 23, 2011

2011 Family Theme

The Year of the DO

"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror, for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does." James 1:22-24, Holy Bible

Inspired by Ann Voskamp at Holy Experience to choose a theme for our family for 2011, Mountain Man and I agreed on "The Year of the Do." We talk so much about goals, but we're tired of talking. We just want to do it - to live it, to act it, to become it. Isn't that what true belief is? Beth Moore says, belief is a present active participle, and she's right. It's time to put our beliefs into action; we've been glancing in the mirror for far too long!

This application is two-fold for us. We want to do everything for His glory- not for our boasting. This includes goals in several areas of our lives including Scripture memorization, fellowship, hospitality, giving to others, physical fitness, education, and adoption/foster care. We're excited to see what God has in store for us in 2011.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Apple Sauce

Winter Banana apples
I was SO excited when Holly called and asked if I was the one that wanted to make apple sauce with her the next time she made it. Of course it was me - and any canned items (i.e. jams, jellies, preserves). Her family has a farm in the Tri-Cities area of Washington and last time they went they picked a bunch of winter banana apples. The winter banana apples aren't so great for munching on raw, but perfect for making homemade apple sauce!

This was my first experience with making homemade apple sauce, and Holly was an excellent teacher!
Here was our recipe:

1. Pick apples (Go to the effort to find an orchard near you - you won't regret it.)
2. Wash apples. (We were blessed to have a great quality control manager!)
Quality Control
Aren't they beauties?
 3. Fill up a huge pot with canning jars and water and heat until jars are sterilized. 

4. Halve each apple, and slice each half into quarters. (There's no need to be a perfectionist about this, but believe me, I tried!

5. Add about 1/2" - 1" of water and cook on medium heat.
They picked A LOT of apples!
6. Once they cook down, pour into food mill and crank away. This removes all of the skin, seeds, stems, etc and only allows the delicious sauce to escape.

Holly demonstrating how the food mill works

Making apple sauce
7. Add some vanilla, cinnamon & butter and grab a spoon!

Seriously, it was delicious.
Quality control said so!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Living Sacrifice

My expectations of my own performance in all things are high. Expectations vary because we're all different, but I've realized that my expectations in my pursuit of a higher education may not be realistic for me at this point in my life. Since I transferred into the University of Washington as a Junior at the beginning of January, I've had difficulty balancing my duties at home and my duty to school. I want to be the best I can be, and I want that to reflect in my grades. I'm enjoying studying because I'm finally interested in these topics! I love managerial economics! At the same time, my home life is suffering. My house is a disaster - dishes are piled up in the kitchen, a mountain of clothes lies in our bedroom, the toilet is disgusting, homemade meals are sporadic, Bexar needs exercise and Mountain Man needs some attention! Slowly, I'm figuring out a system that works for me, but none of those is the real problem.

The problem is my heart. I'm so focused on me and achieving good grades that I've shut everyone else out. I don't have time for anyone - not Bex, not Mountain Man, and not even God. Wow. That's difficult to type. The absence of my communication with God - reading, praying, clinging to His words, thanking Him - is evident in my selfish actions.

What woke me up? God, of course! Oh, His grace is truly amazing! How can He be so faithful when I am not? I don't deserve His love, His grace, His mercy, His redemption.

It's Him in me.

It's a slow, continual, necessary death. Mine. Dying to myself so that Christ may live in me. Death begets life. There are no words, Father, for my thankfulness.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is i your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:1-2

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Granite Hills Inn

Tuesday, December 21st, 11:30am
Phone rings
Mountain Man: "Why don't we look into going to Leavenworth and spending the night on Thursday."
I don't think I heard anything else.

Tuesday, December 21st, 2:38pm
My Email
"We are booked for a romantic stay at the lovely Granite Hills Inn in Leavenworth for this Thursday evening, December 23rd. We will be staying in the cozy Willow suite."

Thursday, December 23rd, about 5:30pm
Granite Hills Inn
Cozy welcome
Front door welcome
Coffee/Tea bar (with hot homemade cc cookies)
Festive living area
Kitchen (and Paula's salon through the far door)
The three bedrooms are upstairs and Bill & Paula, the owners and fabulous hosts, have a room over the garage.

That evening, we night-skied at Ski Hill and then headed to town for a lovely dinner at Pav's, highly recommended by Bill & Paula.

Coming straight from the trails, I felt a little under-dressed, but quickly forgot about it. Their recommendation did not disappoint! We shared Osso Buco and then had a delicious crepe dessert.

Banana, Hazelnut & Nutella crepe
We were so full, but I convinced MM to take a stroll around town with me. I love Leavenworth!

Sledders in downtown Leavenworth
Nutcracker shop
Pretzel shop
Toy shop
When we got back to Granite Hills, I wanted to get some photos of the B&B.

As I was photographing some ornaments, I heard a scratching noise. What was that?
Sumo playing with ribbon
It was SUMO, the cat! He was playing with the ribbon of a gift underneath the tree. He was so cute! So we meowed and he agreed to a photo shoot.

Once he was tired of that, he wrapped himself up in my purse. I think he was trying to crawl in so I could take him home!
Playing with Sumo
Then we played. I reached out and put my finger on top of his paw, then he put his paw over my hand...and said that I was his. Maybe we weren't playing, but pledging. I have a feeling Bexar may have something to say about this...and it starts with a W and ends with an OOF!

I retired to the bedroom and quickly heard the answer to my thoughts...Mountain Man was sawing some BIG logs! What's a girl to do? I ran a hot tubby in their extra-large tub, added some bath salts, and snuggled up to my iPhone!

After a cozy night in the Willow Suite, with the toasty fire, comfy mattress and with lots of pillows - just like I like it - we sauntered downstairs for breakfast. Who wouldn't get out of bed knowing that this was waiting for them?
Breakfast (It was better than it sounds, if that's possible!)
Breakfast was the bomb! (I was too busy eating to take any pictures!) Their homemade apricot, strawberry, black raspberry jellies and blackberry wine was the star of breakfast! We enjoyed chatting with Bill & Pauala and some other guests, originally from Israel, who were also headed out to do some Nordic skiing. It was a great start to a great day!

It was also the beginning of a memorial day for Bill and Paula, our incredible hosts. They were picking up their nephew, who was coming to live with them indefinitely. They were very excited and we were excited for them.
Bill & Paula, Hosts/Owners
Bill & Paula grew up in the Leavenworth area and Bill helped his parents run a B&B while he was growing up. They are both extremely knowledgable about the area and its history. Bill has a green thumb and  Paula has a salon (in the B&B). I was sad to not have the time to take advantage of her services (massage, mani, pedi)! They were wonderful hosts - personable and friendly, yet not intrusive. They answered all of our questions, and opened not only their home but their lives. Surprisingly enough, Bill & Paula had attended the introductory class at Antioch Adoptions (different location than we did) a while back. Isn't it a small world? They decided to take a different route, serving others with a bed and breakfast, and they indeed offer service with a smile! The love of Christ shines through them as they serve others with kindness and love. We had a wonderful stay at Granite Hills Inn and I would love to return one day!