Tag Archives: Seattle

number 9- check!

24 Feb

Jason and I made a list several months back- you might remember it. It’s our 101 Things in 1001 Days list. I need to update the list again, because there are several things I can check off. But our most recent one is #9- Visit the Strehles! I’m so thrilled to say we can check this one off, because I didn’t think we’d be checking it off any time soon. I hoped we would but didn’t see it happening for a little bit.

Jason and I met Zach and Amber Strehle through the church we used to go to. I was on staff with the 5th and 6th grade program there and Amber and Zach were volunteers. They have 4 kids (FOUR!), two of which (TWINS!) were in the 5th and 6th grade program. Amber and I became fast friends and we had a blast spending time together. Then we discovered that we lived in the same neighborhood! We got to know them even better while we went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University to get our spending habits and budgeting under control. I’d tell you what Amber used to call it but it’s not appropriate. HA! (Just kidding Amber… sort of.) They are the sort of people that you can be real with. And I’ve pretty much said it all to her and she still loves me! Ha!

Then they decided to move back to Washington, which is where they were from to begin with. Talk about a bummer! But ever since they’ve moved, Amber and I have actually kept in pretty good touch. We both started our photography businesses about the same time and we have a lot to celebrate together as friends and as artists. I so wish she lived closer.

Well, we DID have the chance to live closer since they live in Washington. So while we were visiting Seattle, we set aside a night to catch up with these two. It was nuts- they were getting ready to get on a plane to head to Arizona the very next day! I think they timed it. But whatever.

So we still haven’t been to their home or to check out the town that they live in yet, but that will have to be for another trip. A trip that we can take to Seattle and really get the chance to explore and do all the touristy things! But we can scratch it off the list since we did in fact visit them in their state. And Amber, we are both photographers- how did neither of us get a picture of us to document?? We were all just too excited to catch up and chat about life. And we were there interviewing and they were trying to leave town. So it was a little nuts.

But it’s always great to see good friends. And so we can successfully check off good ol’ #9!

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scottsdale, baby!

19 Feb

Yes, we have reached a decision!

You might remember that Jason and I have been give two amazing opportunities. Two opportunities that are nothing alike and that are in two completely different states. Seattle, Washington and Scottsdale, Arizona. Coming to this decision has been a difficult process for us. We so desperately wanted to make the right decision for our family and we honestly could have seen ourselves in both places. But since we can only be in one place…

We have decided to stay in Arizona and Jason has accepted a position at Scottsdale Bible Church!!

We are so happy to have been able to finally come to this decision. I have loved the community at SBC for all of my life. It’s the church I grew up in and started attending when I was seven years old. I’ve been super involved there since I was a little girl- Sunday school, Awanas, Jr. High, High School, Choir Tour, volunteering in the nursery. My parents were apart of the Choir and Orchestra there- my mom is still in the orchestra there and loves it more than anything. There are so many more things that I’ve been apart of at this church. There is a community of people there that I have been craving for a long, long time. It’s a Biblically based, God-filled, financially responsible church that really, truly cares about people. There isn’t really any other place like it in the valley.

And it’s home for me.

When we were in Seattle, we really truly prayed for clarity in our decision. I wanted to get off the plane and ‘immediately know’. We even had people that were praying for us telling us that we would have a clear direction just by being in Seattle. And it’s weird- that honestly didn’t happen. While we were in Seattle, we fell in love with the city. There is no place like it! It’s such a beautiful and amazing place- we definitely could have seen ourselves living there. The community at the church we were considering was fantastic. Everyone we came into contact with was extraordinary. The church there was awesome and we could have seen ourselves there easily too.

The truth is, I really feel like I had the clarity I needed before I even left- and I didn’t even know it! Seeing Seattle and the church and meeting the people didn’t change the way I feel about Scottsdale Bible Church. This is a community that I am deeply in love with and it excites me to no end to be apart of it once again. And that is how I wanted to feel about Seattle in order for us to make a move 1,400 miles away. And there was nothing wrong with the Seattle opportunity. It would have been a great fit for us too!

Before the plane touched back down in Phoenix on our return, we knew where our hearts were. And we knew what God was telling us. Even though we couldn’t tell most of you right away. We were both bombarded with emails, texts, face book messages with all of our loving friends eagerly wanting to know where exactly it is that we were going to go. I apologize if I still haven’t gotten back to you. But we needed to wait to share until we respectively told both churches the decision that we had made.

So we are heading to Scottsdale to be apart of a very healthy, thriving community. A place where we can focus on what we love to do but most importantly- focus on people.

(And yes, we are moving there. No, I’m not sure when. And yes, we are still doing photography- even when we move. I will drive anywhere for my work and my art so please, please know that we are still very actively taking pictures in this state!)

We have been so blessed by God during these past months in our lives. He’s removed us from where we belonged no longer, He’s provided for us while we were waiting on Him, and He presented us with more than we could have ever hoped for with these two decisions. Two decisions that we truly feel He would have blessed us in either way. What freedom we have been given ever since October. I’m blown away by how much life has changed for us. I’m blown away with how we’ve been able (along with most of you) to physically watch the hand of God guide our steps. May I never forget at how He’s taken care of us. May I never doubt Him again whenever life seems like it doesn’t make sense. When I can’t see how He’ll provide, I pray that I will KNOW that He will.

All that I have learned I am grateful for. And I am thrilled for the future in a city that makes my heart beat like it hasn’t in a long time.

Thank you for praying for and encouraging us like you have! We’ve felt very surrounded and supported by so many of you and we can’t thank you enough!

endless energy & exhaustion

8 Feb

These are my thoughts exactly.

What an incredibly long day. What a long weekend.

Cruz traveled home a little better. It was still rough, but the airplane ride was way more tolerating than it was the way there. We had two flights today- the first was from Seattle to Sacramento. The second was from Sacramento to Phoenix. I think it helped Cruz that it was a little more broken up and that he was able to stretch his legs between flights. But the last stretch was kinda rough.

We are exhausted. It was a great weekend (exhausting and long, but still great!) and we are feeling pretty positive that we’ve made some decisions. No, I’m not ready to share them yet. We need to tell a few people what we’re thinking first before we go announcing a decision. Sorry! It will be soon, I promise. It feels good that we are at the beginning of moving into our decisions. I’m ready to make something happen rather than to just wonder about it and hope and think. We finally did get some clarity this weekend and so that feels good too. But it’s been exhausting.

Speaking of exhaustion, this whole ‘extreme fatigue’ thing that happens in your first trimester is really hitting me hard. I think that was a huge factor as to why this weekend was super difficult for me- that on top of the normal stresses of a trip like that. It’s so hard that I can’t just lay down and sleep until I feel better. When I was pregnant with Cruz, I slept my first trimester away I’m pretty sure. But now that I have to take care of Cruz, I can’t just stop and sleep all day. I know everyone gets through it because everyone has more than one kid usually and everyone is working it out. But it’s just hard to feel completely exhausted but to have to run around with an almost 15 month old- who has more energy than any little kid I’ve ever known. I mean, seriously. Geez.

Before we left the bed and breakfast this morning to catch our flight, I looked out the window and saw this:

That is Cruz’s toy camera that he decided to throw out the window at some point during our stay. In case you weren’t aware, it rains a lot in Seattle. So after I spotted it, I had to bundle myself up and Cruz and head around the house to go retrieve the toy camera. Which was soaking wet and struggling to work. When I got there, I found three other toys that he had thrown outside the window when I wasn’t looking.

Endless energy. I’m laughing about it now, but there are times when his endless energy kinda drives me nuts! Ha!

weary day

7 Feb

I’m not really sure what’s going on. But it’s been a very, very difficult weekend for Cruz. I mean, he’s been really acting up and just extremely difficult this weekend. And if you know my kiddo at all, you know that he is anything but difficult. Even Jay, who characteristically gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, agrees that Cruz is just kind of being a terror this weekend.

And we can’t figure out why.

He had a difficult time on the airplane and never really recovered since we’ve gotten here. He’s still his happy self at times, but just being really naughty, moody, fussy and difficult. Way more than usual. I can’t tell what the deal is. He hasn’t been eating well at all. Grapes. The kid has been filling up on grapes. But he doesn’t really want much else- even his favorites! He’s drinking a lot of milk and water, so that’s good at least, because I know he’s hydrated. And at least he’s getting some nutrients from the milk. He’s not sleeping super well. We were up and down with him last night and couldn’t figure out why. He has a small diaper rash. Is it his teeth? I haven’t ruled it out, but he’s not drooling like he usually does when his teeth are bugging him.

*sigh*

I’ve almost had a breakdown a few times while we’re here, I’m not going to lie. Traveling with a kiddo is an entirely different ball game. I’m exhausted from the weekend and I’m 8 weeks pregnant. I’m worried about Cruz a little bit, simply because he’s been acting so weird. I don’t believe in signs really, but is it a sign that we aren’t supposed to be here? Ha! When we’re outside and when he can run around, he’s a happy camper. I just don’t know what to make of this.

I’m just really exhausted physically and mentally. I’m praying for some clarity tomorrow (Sunday) because until now we seriously don’t have an answer either way as to what we want to do. Or what we should do. Or what God’s telling us to do. I’m just feeling completely overwhelmed and have to trouble shoot with Cruz like I’ve never had to before. All while keeping a smile on my face since we are in fact, being interviewed.

All I really want to do is take a five hour nap and watch HGTV all day long. Especially Color Splash. It’s my favorite.

So we are tired and running on empty a little bit. Please say a prayer for us if you think of it. I don’t remember the last time I’ve been this tired and anxious about our situation and really need some strength. It was just a long, weary day. And I’m ready to come home, know the plan and get working on moving. To either city we decide. I just want a decision. And to go to bed. And for Cruz to sleep all night long.

exploring

6 Feb

We had the whole morning to ourselves yesterday. It gave me and Jay some time to sort of debrief everything we’ve taken in so far, which was nice. We’ve had little pockets of alone time where we’ve just looked at each other and said out loud, “Can we see ourselves here?”.

Like I said in the last post, we are staying in the most awesome little bed and breakfast. It’s so wonderful. The food here is magnificent! I can hardly wait for it to be breakfast every morning just so I can have the delicious homemade quiche, banana pancakes and yogurt parfaits. It’s a different breakfast every morning, but those are some of my favorites that have been served here so far.

Yesterday, Cruz started stirring at about 5:30 am. Which is way too early for me. But we all finally got up at about 7:00 am. Cruz’s schedule has been completely out of whack since we arrived, so he’s been a little more moody than you may know of him. Honestly. So that’s been weird to navigate. But we got up yesterday and I made him breakfast. We don’t have a highchair or booster seat, so I thought I’d just sit him at the table like an adult. It was pretty darn cute, and I even managed to snap a picture. Then I turned around for .001 seconds to set my camera down and within the time that I looked away and looked back, he had managed to fall off the chair! He fell pretty hard too and of course cried and cried and cried. He was ok, I think it scared him more. Needless to say, we’ll be eating breakfast at the coffee table from now on. But the picture is priceless.

After breakfast we headed to the park that is across the street, called Woodland Park. The parks are amazing here. And very green, which is something you don’t really see in Phoenix. This park is right next to the zoo and we’re told that if the wind’s blowing the right way, you can hear the monkey’s at night! We haven’t heard them yet, but I hope we do while we’re here! We might even continue with a tradition that we started with Cruz and go visit the zoo while we’re here. We’ll see! But here’s a few pictures that I snapped in our morning exploration at the park. Cruz loved it. He kept finding sticks to carry around, just like a typical boy! He had a blast!

In the afternoon we were blessed to have a tour of the entire city with a real estate agent who goes to the church we are looking at. He was amazing and was so full of information about Seattle. He really helped us to understand the city and gave us a lot of financial information as far as pricing goes for housing. It was a lot to take in and we must have driven through no less than 8 or 9 different cities/neighborhoods in Seattle. But it was great to get our bearings and to get a small feel for the area.

For dinner we went to this amazing little pizzeria in Queen Anne. I can’t remember the name of it for the life of me, but it was such great food! We had great conversation with the lead pastor and his wife. It’s been so amazing that they’ve taken time to get to know us and show a real interest in who we are and if we actually are going to be a good fit for this community. I don’t feel like we are unrealistically being ‘wined and dined’ at all. It’s real food, real conversation, with real people. And they fully get it that we might actually decide to stay in Phoenix. So that’s been a huge burden relief in the sense that they aren’t pressuring us to do anything either way.

The only reason I wasn’t relaxed during dinner is because Cruz was a terror. Seriously.

So we’ve been having a great time here. I knew I’d love Seattle. It’s such a cool city with so much character and a beautiful climate. I’ve always wanted to visit here and it’s just been great to come check out this opportunity. The people here are just awesome. Is it the right fit for us? We still aren’t sure at this point. We are waiting to check out the services on Sunday, which will be a huge deciding factor for us. But the conversations Jay and I are having are hard, honest and real conversations that completely take out the ‘glamorous’ side of moving up here. We are really trying to set aside how awesome the city is and really make the best decision for us. Because the truth of it is, the opportunity in Scottsdale is a pretty amazing one too. With really remarkable people in another fantastic city!

Thanks for letting me process through all of this. I think my posts might be sounding a little redundant, but I’m not sure what else to say or share. No matter what, this decision is going to be very tough. And we still haven’t had the moment of clarity that we were hoping for. But we’ll see. Right now, we’re open to anything and we are just trying to stay focused.

first impressions

5 Feb

Yesterday was a whirlwind! It was a crazy day.

We all woke up pretty early to head to Seattle for the weekend. As you may or may not know, Jason has been in the interview process with a church in the downtown area and we have been flown out here this weekend to check out the church, city, people and to see if this is in fact, somewhere we could see ourselves moving, living and doing ministry.

It’s pretty crazy that we are even entertaining this idea. When we left the church we were last at, the idea of moving out of state sounded very exciting. And to have no limits to where we could go was exhilarating. But honestly, I didn’t really think we’d leave Arizona. I’m not sure why, I just didn’t think we would. And now to even be exploring this option is nuts and it’s totally an adventure for us too! I’m excited to be here and to check it out, because if we decide not to go, we always would have wondered had we not come and checked it out.

And maybe we are supposed to be here. That’s what we are processing. I find myself freaked out one minute and totally stoked the next. So it’s scary, exciting and every other emotion you can imagine.

Especially for a pregnant lady.

So we woke up super early and headed to the airport to catch our flight. It was Cruz’s first time on an airplane and I’m not surprised to report that he did not do that well. Ha! This kid was meant to be an explorer, I’m sure of it. He can not and will not sit still for very long at all. Luckily, the flight was only half full so we were able to bring his carseat onto the plane. We were hoping he’d fall asleep, but we weren’t so lucky.

Once we landed, we picked up our stroller and put Cruz in it to head to baggage claim. I’m not kidding, the minute we put him in his stroller he passed out. So he slept for about 15 minutes- from the plane to the curb where we got picked up. But he wasn’t that fussy, so whatever.

We headed to downtown Seattle and let me tell you- my first initial thoughts of Seattle are exactly what I thought they’d be. I love the city. I love the cloudy days. And it’s gorgeous here. Obviously, I’ve been here for about 5 minutes, so these are first impressions, but it’s a very neat city! And that’s what everyone has been telling me!

We grabbed lunch Red Mill Burgers, which we’ve been told are the best burgers in town. I haven’t had any other burgers in Seattle yet, but this place was SO good! And there was a line out the door the whole time we were there. Cruz loved the french fries, which were big and fat. I wish I would have taken a picture there, but I was so caught up in conversation that I didn’t think about it!

Then we headed to the bed and breakfast we are staying at. It’s called Chelsea Station Inn and this is possibly the cutest place I’ve ever stayed! Our room is more like an apartment, complete with a dining room, kitchen, two bathrooms, living room etc. It’s not huge, but definitely a perfect size and very comfortable. I snapped a couple pictures with my small camera, even though these pictures don’t do it justice.

So that’s really all I can say about Seattle this far. We just got here and we are just excited for the opportunity to explore our options. No matter what we decide to do, I’m happy with where God’s leading us- either in Seattle or Scottsdale. I kinda feel like there’s not going to be a ‘right’ answer. I feel like we are being blessed with two amazing communities to pick from and for that I am eternally grateful. I know I always say it, but a year ago I never thought we’d be here. I just feel very blessed and very proud of Jason. He’s such a good man and leader for our home and family. I literally looked over at him on the plane today (in between Cruz’s screams) and was overwhelmed with gratitude for him. There’s no one I’d rather be on this journey with than him.

So life is crazy. This journey is nuts. But I’m thrilled to be checking out all of our options so we can make the best decision for us.

Whatever that may be.

baby #2!!

3 Feb

Yep, it’s true! I am officially pregnant with Baby #2! It was pretty crazy news to us since it’s not something we were planning just quite yet. And considering that our whole life is pretty unpredictable, why not just throw this in the mix too?! Ha!

In all seriousness, we are beyond thrilled. Even though this is not exactly what we had originally planned or had in mind for our family in this particular moment, we have fully come to realize that God is in complete control and has never given us more than He could take care of. From the moment of Cruz’s arrival into our life, He has shown us again and again and again how He planned to take care of him for us. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that He’s planned and orchestrated all this for us. There’s a small part of me that thinks we are crazy for having another baby. Ha! Somedays I can barely handle Cruz. What am I going to do with two??? But I also have a huge peace about this. And I am excited to become a mommy again to another magnificent little person who will be another huge blessing to us in so many ways that I’ll experience all over again.

And if this kid is as half as cool as Cruz I might just shrivel up and die. Or my heart might explode. Or something.

So this is the piece of the puzzle that changes everything about the thought of moving out of state. I’m completely freaked out to move to Seattle with a two-year old and a newborn with no family and friends. That is very scary and real to me. I’m not opposed to the idea either, at all. But this is what has been making our decision even harder. So we’ll see what happens! I’m trying to rely on God, and go into our trip to Seattle with an open heart and mind. But still keeping our opportunity here in mind as well. We have A LOT to think about and A LOT of factors to weigh. At the end of the day, we are going to do what is absolutely best for Cruz, Baby #2 and me and Jay.

And in the meantime, I’m constantly reminded that Cruz is going to be a big brother. And that thought is super, super weird! Ha!

I am due September 17th, 2010. But really, that means that I’m probably going to have this baby in October. Cruz was like, two weeks late- ok not really, but nine days sure feels like a lifetime when you’re HUGE. So I’m taking my “due date” with a grain of salt for sure.

We’ve already been to the doctors, had an ultrasound and seen this little one’s heartbeat! So pregnancy for me is in full swing and I’m about 8 weeks along- completed with the mood swings, nausea, extreme fatigue, and being starving all the time. But for the most part, I’ve had it easy this far. I seem to have pretty easy pregnancies, which I’m grateful for.

So, onto a new journey! It always seems to be a new journey with us these days. Thanks for riding along with us!