Friday, August 30, 2013

Another Birthday in the Books

So. I turned 32 on Wednesday.
My family celebrated me on Sunday afternoon.

Mylie isn't so good at sharing the spotlight. She likes to be right in the middle of all gift opening.
(It's blurry, but she's so cute!)
She puts her ball in every single gift bag or on every present.
She wants to make sure that you know she's there.
We know Smiles, we know.
This is how I feel about sitting in the spotlight. Under a Dollar Tree balloon bouquet.
Also, blingy silver necklace is a Grandma gift. Came with an accompanying blingy bracelet.
American Idol the Untold Story, kitchen towels, a hand mirror, and a mustard yellow sweatshirt were also my Grandma Gifts.
I know it's blingy, but please don't mug me.
Also, mom made me come back and pick up my balloon bouqet.
Stay back there, fools.

And then my sweet friend Wendy & her two kiddos, who I have a standing weekly lunch date with,  made me a yummy cake. Both kids notified me of said cake upon my arrival. Surprises are not their strong suit. But being excited for birthdays definitely is!

And then on my real birthday, these ladies accompanied me to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
The second happiest place on earth.
Cindy gave me the coolest birthday card, it came with a "pocket hot dog" (yes.), which was a bit of a talker.
He got to come along too. 

After spending about 30 minutes taking the above jumping picture (there isn't much spring left in this chicken), we decided to head to the arcade to kill some time before the rides opened. We hit up the DDR, skeeball, and fun house mirrors.

And of course the photobooth. My favorite thing of life.
And then it was lunch time.
Corndogs. Underneath the Hurricane roller coaster.
All other corndogs are imposters.

Followed by the carousel.

And then two times around on the Giant Dipper. Cue the whiplash. Cue the ibuprofen.

And the Sea Swings. Terrifying. Yet, the best photo op possible. Worth the defying of death just for this shot.

And no trip to Santa Cruz is complete with out a scoop (or two) of Marianne's.
I skipped my traditional 10-20 flavor and went for Burgundy Cherry. Which is more like purple-people-eater-cherry, but still delish.

And wrapped up the day celebrating with a few of my favorite little people, who made me the cutest cake (alongside their Mama), I'm pretty sure they were more excited about my birthday than I was. As they should be.

And one last outing with the pocket hot dog to my favorite local haunt, where I blew out one of those ding-dang-darn candles on purpose, for once.

Alright 32, let's do this thing.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Baby Shower Pop-arazzi

If you didn't know, my dear friend Jessica is expecting baby #3. A little girl, and her name is Holland. Jessica is known for showering all of her friends with love and affection, and she goes WAY above and beyond. Jessica has a servant's heart with a knack for hospitality. Her door is always open (I mean, I do have a key, so to me it really IS always open) literally and figuratively.

I'm pretty sure the second Jessica told us that Holland was on her way, my sister Laura, and our two close sister friends, Ellen & Cindy, called dibs on throwing Jessica the best baby shower we possibly could.

During a ladies who lunch day along the coast, we clinked our brains together (and maybe a glass of wine too) and brainstormed the best way to shower Jessica and new baby Holland with lots and lots of love.

Somehow, a She's Ready to Pop theme came up, and the ball started rolling and never stopped.

I'm talking popcorn, soda pop, pop rocks, & push up cake pops.

Ellen did a ton of work executing the theme, including bright pinks and greens, and she even made the gorgeous crepe paper puffs, bunting, signs and banners. Girl is a genius with scissors.

Cindy hooked it up with all the matching plates, cups, tablecloths, cutlery and balloons.

Cindy's cute friend Deanna flew in for the weekend and was our official baker and balloon carrier. 

My sister provided tons of soda pop, fresh fruit, veggies and coffee.

And Ellen whipped up three types of popcorn!

Umm...I bought pop rocks. And Ellen cuted them up for me while I was being a slacker in Hawaii. Thanks Ellen.

I think our guests enjoyed it all.

Most importantly, Jessica, I hope you felt loved, showered, and prayed over as much as you have done the same for the rest of us.
We love you, and we love Holland Joy too. Can't wait to see her cute, squishy face!
I have a feeling she is gonna be very POP-ular.

With Love,

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Tribe

  1. 1.
    a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.
    "indigenous Indian tribes"
    synonyms:ethnic group, peoplebandnationMore

We all have tribes. Some are our churches, our families, our organizations, our social circles. 
This collection of elephants is sort of what my tribe looks like. 
A colorful collection of pachyderms, collected from around the world.

 Sri Lanka
 South Africa

Each little, or not so little, elephant was a gift from someone in my tribe who has gone somewhere on this big earth to love God's people and share the good news of His gospel as they serve Him and them.

When I look up at this display of God's grace and mercy in palm sized tokens of wood, stone, and fabric, I'm reminded of His goodness. His love for His people. His love for me. 
He has blessed me by placing me in a tribe of people who eagerly seek Him. 

On those days when its harder to praise Him, obey Him, and be joyful, I look at these silly trinkets and am reminded of those who have done hard things, with joy in their hearts, because of Christ.  And I thank God for them. 
I'm reminded of how God uses His people to serve more of His people. 
And a lot of times its the people who are there to do the "loving and serving" who are the ones beings loved and served.

On Friday the Lord sent out one of my tribe. Five of those elephants are from her. She is absolutely the elephant VIP. And on Friday, Betsy left the comforts of North America, of wide open spaces, and dry land to serve on the Africa Mercy with Mercy Ships in the Democratic Republic of Congo. For six months she will live in the tiniest of quarters on a ship docked in Africa.

Betsy obediently studied hard through the years, got into an excellent nursing program, graduated, passed her boards, and worked diligently on a surgical floor of a hospital for several years to obtain experience.  Meanwhile, serving around the world in a medical capacity on her breaks and vacations. She has travelled to Africa, Asia, and Central America The story of how the Lord mapped this out for her is incredible. It puts Him and His plan on display. 

Betsy, I love you and am so proud of you. You encourage me more than you know. I love seeing your heart for people and the way you challenge me to be more than words, but to be action. Not to just love mercy and walk humbly, but to DO justly.  Thank you for being a doer, for Christ. 
Go, and love well, serve well.

Feel free to follow along with Betsy in Africa at