Monday, December 04, 2006

First Tree

This year Sarah and I decided to get our first FAKE tree. We had so much fun we thought you might enjoy watching us have fun (at 40x speed!). After we set it up we just staring at it for hours.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Caught in headlights

So we woke up this morning as usual to the traffic report on our local radio station. "We've got some heavier traffic this morning on highway 51, " spouted the radio announcer who apparently heard there must have been about 5 cars on the only freeway in town! And how does one conclude a 15 second traffic report in Madison? "And just to remind everyone, it's deer mating season! So watch out for those frisky deer as you drive to work!"

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Apology to Mom

Over the past weeks it's become apparent that I owe an apology to my Mother. For years I have balked at her kindly suggestions to wear stockings of any form. Any that I owned remained hidden in the back of my dresser in hopes that they might someday decide they are board sitting around and get up and walk away while I'm not looking. However, since moving to Wisconsin I have discovered that stockings are wonderful things. And despite how I feel about their fashionability, are essential. So were right all along about wearing stockings and I now faithfully wear them in an effort not to freeze!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Cheese Curds

So for those of you who have asked what a cheese curd is, this is what they look like. And they are pretty good if you've never had one. :) They have the consitancy of string cheese usually but with a much stronger saltier taste. I could get used to them.

On edge

I'm still in awe at the hike we took in Zion National Park in Utah. It was crazy hiking along the edge of cliffs and seeing signs every once in a while reminding us that people have fallen off the cliff on this hike and died. That definitely makes for a more interesting hike. I think one reason I keep thinking about this hike is that in many ways it feels like where I am at right now. Precariously balanced on a ledge trying not to fall. Mostly this is with work as I am learning a lot of new things and constantly finding I either am wrong about something or haven't a clue what is going on. It's defiantly been a humbling experience. I got a e-mail this past week which probably describes best how I've been feeling lately. The e-mail was in reference to Urbana (the convention I am working with) and how it is in a new location and venue this year. The writer stated that a significant move such as Urbana is making is very much so like a family moving across country.

"When a family moves, it inconveniences everyone.

· Moving uncovers all sorts of trash, clutter and stains.

· The family is extra cranky before, during and after the move.

· Living out of boxes is unavoidable—setting up a new house takes time.

· Moving reveals the broken furniture that has been propped up for years.

· The new house doesn’t meet all expectations.

· Moving is expensive.

· Moving stretches old relationships. Moving forces you to make new relationship"

After reading that e-mail, I realized the reason I feel so on edge has a lot to do with what moving allows to surface. But I'm greatful that God is keeping us safe on the path and that as precarious as it may seem, the view around us is stunning.

Monday, October 30, 2006

horray for modern technology

It's amazing to me how much more time there is in life when you don't have access to the internet! Matt and I finally got our internet hooked up and I feel like we are back in touch with reality. However I have to admit that I got a lot more accomplished when we didn't have the internet hooked up. IE I read through two Harry Potter books in two weeks. :)

Friday, October 13, 2006

All Things New

In the last two weeks:
I have learned how to change a tire,
Saw Zion National Park (amazing)
Started a new job working for Urbana as an assistant registrar
Saw it snow for the first time in my life!!!

It's amazing how things change

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Matt’s 10 steps on how to move across the country.

Get married 4 months before you leave; because it is too easy to do it by yourself.

House sit; free rent!

Stay at your parents; free rent and food!!

Don’t use your wedding presents; that way it is like Christmas when you get there.

Get a job; have some motivation to go away.

Sell a car; two is to big a number.

Get a place; but look at 18 different apartments only to settle on the first one.

Get someone else to drive your stuff; that way you can watch in terror as they cart it off

Buy a new camera; you have to document the move right?

Stay with relatives on the way; free lodging means more fun in Vegas!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

hair and mini coopers

Year after year, I've asked college students to consider what are some of the most important possessions or activities in their life. Inevitably I am met with a wall of silence as no one wants to confess what they hold strongly to, whether that is grades, money, a relationship, etc. Of course the follow up question is always to ask what it would look like for them to give that up to Jesus, or give Jesus the same focus that they would those possessions or activities.

I got to ask that same question last night at our Jr. High Youth Group and for some reason I expected them to have some of the same responses. Wrong! They gave some of the most honest answers I have ever heard. What's important to you? "Uhh, nothing.,." "Well, I don't actually own it yet...but I want to have a mini cooper some day," and my favorite, "my hair." After having a good laugh, I seriously had to think about how to explain to a Jr. Higher what it might look like to give up one's hair to Jesus in order to follow him. Ahhh the joys of junior highers!!! :)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

How do you know of Gods faithfulness?

(Written Wednesday night, September 6th)

I (matt) am sitting down, trying to scramble and get a lesson prepared for Youth Group this evening when the point of the passage hits me. I started thinking about what Sarah and I are about to do and realized that we have just been through a similar (but not as drastic) situation as Esther.

Sarah and I are leading the Youth Group for her home church here in Camarillo. We are leading the kids through a series young people in the bible who took risks. This week is about Esther. It's a fairly lengthy story about how God used her (go and read it for yourself) but the point is that she took a risk and put herself in an uncomfortable position in order for God to work through her. Perhaps the the best line is when Mordecai tells her, “and who knows but that you may have been placed in this seat of royalty for such a time as this.” I began thinking of ways that we can all put ourselves at risk for God. But more specifically God showed me how he is doing that in Sarah's and my life currently.

Sarah and I just spent several days looking at apartments and attempting to apply for one before we left. We didn’t know much about the town, or really what it will be like to live in any place other than California; the whole snow thing will be an adventure amongst itself. We debated over location, cost, what’s included and all the other things that go into house hunting. As the process went along, we continued to pray that God would show us the house that he wanted for us to live in, and therefore the people that we would live near. It became clear that there was only one place that seemed to fit. Eventually we decided to take a risk and go for it, only applying for one apartment and no backups, so we dropped off the paperwork. We were told that they would get back to us in about a week to see if we could move in. However, in less than 24 hours we got the call saying the apartment was ours.

God accepts your risk taking and rewards it more than you know; sometimes those rewards come the day after, sometimes years after. But whenever your reward comes, know that it is a most amazing God that gives it.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cheese Curds and Cheese Heads

Well, we managed to get ourselves back to Wisconsin for some apartment hunting and general cow hunting. It was an interesting experience and we managed to bag a colorful cow (or ugly one depending on your fashion sense). Wisconsin has this funny tradition of having a cow parade where artists from around the nation (I think), decorate a statue of a cow and have it displayed around the city. They were everywhere!!! Crazy!!!
Funnier than the cow was our run in with the law. Our second night in Wisconsin, we decided to do what most Madisonianites do and headed for the mall. As we exited the delightful establishment of Barnes and Nobles, we were astounded by a really amazing sunset. Matt with his ever trustful camera in hand decided this moment could not go to waste. So he raced across the parking lot to capture the sunset. As he headed back to the car, he was bisected by a large burly security guard gruffly asked "Excuse me sir, what do you think you are doing?". It was quite a scary moment. Matt rather taken aback responded, "umm...taking pictures of the sunset." It was a tense moment as the guard tried to decide whether to believe this rather strange response. Honestly, I think Matt should have said, "hey, I'm from California and I'm just taking pictures of the parking lot to prove to people back home that you do really have pavement in the Midwest." We got off with a warning.

Overall, we are excited to be moving to our cute 2 bedroom apartment! We are starting to pack up and it looks like we will be moving September 27th! Cheese here we come!!!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I have been told that you have not really experienced Santa Barbara until you have experienced Fiesta Weekend. Fiesta weekend is a weekend where Santa Barbara celebrates it's Spanish heritage. In all it's a fun filled weekend with lots of confetti eggs, dancing and music, much of which Matt got to see.

I however was stuck working at the scrapbook store. The most memorable part of fiesta for me was when a woman decided to sit down outside our store and fall into a drunken sleep with half of her shirt completely off. This proved quite entertaining for the multitude of cars passing by the store honking wildly. Needless to say we contacted the police and this woman joined the multitude of others who will remember Santa Barbara in a haze and will leave wondering where the other half of their shirt has gone!

To see more fun photos from Fiesta that Matt took go to

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Story of the Week

So moving back in with my parents has definately had it's funnier moments. For example, today I walk out into our side yard and find my parents attacking my grandpa's old recliner with a sledge hammer. They were of course trying to cut the chair down into smaller pieces so it could fit in the trash can...but it was pretty funny to see them doing it with a sledge hammer. I asked my dad if they had some pent up aggression towards my grandpa that they needed to get out. They just chuckled. The house is back to normal now with the sledge hammer in the garage corner and the chair stuffed in the trash can. I wonder what they will do with my old stuff when we leave? :) Ahhh...adventures with the parents.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Moving on

It's strange when you realize that a chapter in your life is coming to a close. This Saturday we are moving away from Santa Barbara to Camarillo for a month. Hopefully after that we will be able to get to Wisconsin. It's both sad and exciting to leave!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean

So, Matt and I ventured to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest this weekend. I’m not sure why, but it was interesting how much the movie focused on the immortal and how quickly individuals were willing to trade their eternity to gain something earthly. In fact, the eternal ends up being a currency that one could use in their favor because in the end you could always find a way to cheat your way out of eternal punishment. I wonder if that’s the modern view on the realm of the eternal?

I have to say that one of my favorite parts of the movie was when Jack predicts Miss. Swan will turn to piracy and forsake honor because she has a curiosity about it. Which proved more than accurate. You would think that with all that pirates did in history (not to mention how horribly disgusting they must have smelled), we wouldn’t think much of them. Yet they captivate our minds and have become our heroes. I never thought I would be a person who would go to the movies rooting for a pirate!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

What do we have to fear?

I am currently reading a book by K.P. Yohannan,
"Revolution in World Missions," and it has been perhaps the most challenging book I have ever read. Yohannan, an Indian pastor living in the United States, is quite frank as he evaluates the church in America from an outsider's perspective. He suggests that American Christians have lost touch with the great commission and that our attempts to follow it have been half best at most.
What if Americans individuals took the great commission seriously and poured everything they had into it? What if American church saw the great commission as the single most important goal and purpose of the church and focused everything into that? What if Christians in America actually grasped what it means to save a man's soul from eternal suffering rather than "make this temporary life a little more comfortable" with hand outs and gestures of good will? (pg.111) Would entire nations actually turn towards God rather than merely catch up to the living standards of the west?
Yohannan suggests that we have become experts at dishing out humanitarian aid, yet have forgotten our first call; to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. We have become experts at creating multi-million dollar buildings to glorify God, yet have forgotten that while here on earth "the Son of Man had no where to lay his head." We have become experts at storing up treasures as Christians so tightly here on earth that we fear releasing the very things that God has given.
We fear that God will not come through again. We fear being in want. We fear that without a great display of what we've accumulated, no one will ever be attracted to Christ. So we spend our time as the church hoarding, building great fortresses, and being "entertained and if [we] were trying to escape from a guilt [we] have not yet defined or even identified" (pg 41).
This past year as a staff worker with InterVarstiy, I met a homeless woman one night as we handed out sack lunches and prayed with the homeless in Santa Barbara. It was apparent this woman was not your typical homeless as she was sober, had no evidence of past drug use and sat calmly reading a well worn bible. She shared that she had felt God's call on her life so deeply to give up everything and follow him, that she did exactly that. As she travels around California, she's now able to offer freely the only thing she has left to give: Jesus. And her testimony to the faithfulness of God is turning many to him. But scared me the most about this woman was that as she spoke, there was an unnerving peace in her eyes and voice. She understood the call of Christ so completely and in following there was peace, not fear. It was unsettling to see someone actually living out the very call of leaving everything behind to follow Jesus. It's the same call I had been given. It's the same call you have been given. This woman however had the strength to do what I fear. Giving up my treasures on earth.
We have much to offer; wealth, knowledge and Jesus. We have been given everything! Yet we are afraid to share it...even Jesus.
I highly suggest reading this book. I myself am still trying to sort out what I think about
Yohannan's assessment of the American church, and I might need to re-think some of my theology...but it is worth it. You can actually get a copy of the book at for free. It's well worth it!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Adventures in Apartment Living

Two nights ago, Matt and I had a good friend over for dinner. The evening was fun and everything ended normal. However after saying goodbye and closing the door, there was a loud crash. Rushing to the door with soap dripping off our hands from the dishes we had started doing, we look out to see our friend's car precariously perched on a ledge that separates our parking lot from the neighbors. There is at least a 3-foot drop that separates the two lots. I wish I could explain in words the expression on our friend's face as he sat in his car teetering on the ledge.

Our neighbors got quite a kick out of it too as I'm sure they were convinced that we had consumed just a little to much alcohol that night. Funnily enough, none of us had!!!

So our friend is in the car unsure whether to get out, there are now 5 of us standing around the car trying to figure out what to do, and the car is still stuck.

Matt, my valiant husband all of a sudden decides to go into our apartment. I had assumed he had gotten a brilliant solution to the problem, but no, he came out with his camera in hand to document the event!!!
In the end, all of us got behind the back of the car to lift it and push it back onto the pavement!

In all, it was a great end to a terrific night!