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Seattle? Yes, Please!

27 Sep

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
when we pray for you … the faith and love that spring
from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that
you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel
that has come to you.
Colossians 1:1-6

There it is! As I peered out my window at the endless sea of clouds, I saw it! My heart began to stir with excitement as I saw my first glimpse of the awesome and majestic 14,411 foot Mt. Rainier … for that meant my son and his world was within moments of my grasp! Not literally moments, of course, but after a 5 hour flight, it was as good as moments!!

Me and Brittany at The Dish Cafe

Me and Brittany at The Dish Cafe

There she is! After gathering our few items we carried onto the plane and made our necessary stops, we wound our way through the concourse of the SeaTac airport to find the one person who knew us and was happy to see us! Brittany’s bright smile and warm hugs melted my heart as she greeted us, posed for pictures with the disheveled travelers, and graciously chauffeured us to a quaint little local spot for breakfast. With full tummies and contented hearts, we relaxed in the cuteness and comfort of Ryan and Brittany’s apartment, chatting non stop and catching up about life.

Group family photo!!

Group family photo!!


There he is! One last shift of work before taking off several days to spend with his parents, I greeted Ryan at the door when he came home a few hours after we arrived. Words will never be able to sufficiently express my heart when that boy of mine wraps me in his arms. It had been over four long months since we were together, so all of a sudden, my world was beyond happy. That first Saturday was completed with a trip to the theater to see Star Trek, Golden Gardens beach, and a big ginormous bowl of homemade guacamole and chips!

We were greeted with bright sunshine and blue sky as we walked over to Caffé Vita for our Sunday morning brew. Coffee and cinnamon rolls jumpstarted our day that then began with worship at Aurora Church of the Nazarene, followed by an afternoon stroll through the Fremont Sunday street market. We then came back, fired up the grill and enjoyed a delicious grilled salmon dinner … family prepared and devoured!!

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Next on our trip itinerary was a 3-hour drive down to Portland, Oregon. Leaving Brittany behind to work, the three of us packed lightly on Monday morning and piled into Ryan’s BMW and headed south. Tim had a few eateries on our to-eat-at list with the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives as his inspiration. The first destination on the GPS was breakfast at Pine State Biscuits, where we ate enough food to feed an army! We then drove along the Columbia River to the east, where we stopped to look at several scenic views and waterfalls. The two favorite stops were Wahkeena and Multnomah falls – both breathtaking in their own way. So much so that this Mommy/Mimi heart had to share it all with her loves … thanks to my son who makes sure his mom stays technologically savvy, my iphone5 will ‘facetime’ from anywhere! So as Papaw, Uncle RyRy, and Mimi stood on the bridge as close as the railings would allow, Cole got to see and hear what we were experiencing ~ and he said “Wow, Mimi! A waterfall!!” With 2,783 miles between us, my heart was still tightly wrapped around that little boy, his sister and his parents!!

The Sanchez Family

The Sanchez Family

There they are! Pastor Steve and Jennifer looked the same, except for the two little rug rats they had along with them!! Who would’ve thought?? The last time we saw Jen and Steve was when we left Albuquerque in 2006. No murmurings of little kids were ever spoken and now they have two fine little boys, Ezra (4) and Silas (2). The Sanchez family moved in July where they now pastor the Mollola Nazarene Church. We met them at our 2nd Triple D stop, Podnah’s Pit BBQ, where the food was yummy and the fellowship was wonderful! Definitely one of the highlights of our trip!

CAR2GO

CAR2GO

Our second day in Portland was packed full of tasty treats and a lot of walking! The walking was good since there were so many tasty treats!! Our 3rd DDD stop at Arleta’s Library and Bakery Café offered us a unique and delish breakfast of sweet potato biscuits and gravy along with sweet potato hash browns. We meandered around downtown Portland, checking out Powell’s Book store, the Willamette River, Stumptown Coffee, and the food trucks! Oh … and the countless CAR2GO cars – the little ‘smart’ cars that people can drive for $14 an hour or $73 a day – “Experience spontaneity on wheels: car2go makes transportation flexible. Get in and out wherever you like. Drive as long and as often as you want.” I found them quite fascinating!! After our full day of travels by foot and by car, we arrived safely back in Seattle just in time to take Brittany to dinner and ice cream with us. It was good to be back home!

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market

Seattle from the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center

Seattle from the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center

Wednesday was a local day of fun – Ryan spent the day with us as we made the traditional walk through Pike Place Market – downtown Seattle. We stopped at our favorite places for crumpets, pizza, cheese, pepper jelly samples, and the original Starbucks – although we didn’t partake there due to the long line. We then walked several blocks to the Columbia Center building, where we went up to the 73rd Sky View Observatory floor. Awesome! Twice as high as the Space Needle for ½ the cost!! An amazing view of Seattle and the surrounding areas in every direction! Mimi once again shared the moment with Cole, who quickly asked if I could show him trains from up there! Dinner that evening was a special treat as we checked out Lil’ Woody’s, a hamburger joint that served the “New Mexican”, smothered with Hatch green chile! Needless to say, we were happy and quite full when we left! Ultimate Frisbee was our evening entertainment, as we watched Ryan and friends play a couple games under the lights in a nearby sports field.

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

We woke to our first and only rainy day on Thursday, so Ryan decided to take us for a drive. As we left Seattle, we crossed over floating bridges as we headed east through the Snoqualmie pass toward Spokane. The further we drove, the less it was raining, so once the skies cleared and the sun was shining, we stopped to see the Snoqualmie waterfalls. We really didn’t plan this trip around seeing waterfalls … it just happened that way! Back to Seattle with a quick snack from Paseo Caribbean while we watched the second part of the Batman Trilogy, followed with a late evening dinner at our 4th Triple D stop. Bizzarro Italian Café is literally within walking distance of Ryan and Brittany’s place … very good food!

Lighthouse in West Vancouver, BC, Canada

Lighthouse in West Vancouver, BC, Canada

The next two days took me and Tim up to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. With Caffé Vita in hand, we borrowed Ryan’s car and drove two hours north to cross the border with our new passcards. Friday kept us in the city, experiencing new sites, eating great food, walking several miles, taking lots of pictures, and simply enjoying the time together. We crossed the bridge Saturday morning to enter North and then West Vancouver where we hiked through rain forests, saw twin waterfalls, then visited Lighthouse Park along the Salish Sea. We arrived back in Seattle in time for a grilled steak dinner and the sweet company of our two left coast kids. It was our final evening together before flying home the next day.

There it is! One thing is for certain … I will always see Mt. Rainier as I fly into Seattle and I will always see it as I fly out. As we boarded the plane on that bright Sunday afternoon, the clouds had cleared, allowing me to once again catch my breath as its massive presence captured my attention.

It was truly a blessing to be in Seattle for vacation. God is a gracious and giving God, full of prevenient grace, protection, answered prayers, faithfulness, and His gifts of family!! It was a real gift to share time, good food, great memories, and lots of love with Ryan and Brittany. I can only imagine that someday, as I enter into Heaven, instead of the majesty of Mt. Rainier, there will be the majesty of Jesus Himself that catches my breath with His presence … as I long to hear Him say “There you are! Welcome home!”

Won’t you join me today in looking forward to that day? Let’s accept God’s gifts of love and forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation, family and life. His gifts of divine appointments and His prevenient grace that can altar the course of eternity!

Until next time,
Debbie

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped
praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order
that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way:
bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being
strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may
have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom
of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us
into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness
of sins.
Colossians 1:9-14

** If you are interested in viewing all of the pictures that I recently posted on Facebook, feel free to click this link … whether you have Facebook or not!! Enjoy!!
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201126682463964.1073741837.1076414018&type=1&l=f2e1a3712a

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Potpourri

5 Aug

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions,
give it all you’ve got, be resolute,
and love without stopping.
I Corinthians 16:13
The Message

Most of the time, life seems like one great big blur, filled with everyday routines.  Each day is different, depending on the day of the week, the weather, and the schedule.  Just like the other night.  I was at the kitchen sink washing the dishes … all the while peering out the window watching the huge moon rise into the evening sky, it’s fullness being a beacon of light reaching out to everyone all at the same time.  The moon, a hot summer afternoon thunderstorm, a visit to a restaurant, time spent with family, and more … the potpourri that helps bring special moments to the mundane of the everyday blur of life.

I think it’s safe to say that no matter where YOU are reading this from, it’s been a hot summer.  Summer is the season for hot weather, but for some locals, the hot dug in deep with not much intention of leaving.  And not much rain.  For some, that is.  Here in our area of the world, we have been blessed with sufficient showers and thunderstorms that have kept our crops healthy and our yards green.  In fact, our plush green lawn has bluish gray streaks all through it … Google says it’s called slime mold, a symptom of hot temperatures and high humidity.  As the season changes, this oddity will automatically clear up and go away.   In other parts of the country there is drought with lost crops, dead lawns, and thirsty rivers and creeks  … and here there is thick green grass and slime mold…crazy!  Oh!  And the bugs!!  We have a friend who lives in Denver … he made the comment once that due to their near perfect climate, there are “no bugs in Denver!”  I can’t imagine!  Due to our very mild winter that blurred right into a very hot summer with lots of moisture, we have a gazillion bugs!  As I mow the yard each week, I day dream of mosquito netting and how nice it would be to be wrapped in some.  Oh well, this too will pass  ~  in our everyday blur of life, we’ll be shoveling snow before we know it.

If Tim and I were supposed to list a favorite hobby, we would have to say that near the top of the list is eating.  As we get older and our bodies are reminding us of that fact, we have become more conscience of eating healthy.  We have gone out to the u-pick fields this year and brought back lots of tasty strawberries and blueberries, freezing the majority of our finds so we can enjoy them all year long.  It is now peach season … nothing like a bowl of hot fresh peach cobbler with ice cream!  I know…not so healthy.  But the hour of workout at the gym helps to offset the tasty treats!  The Food Network Channel is also another favorite – watching competitions, food preps, and our all-time favorite, Guy Fieri with Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  In a previous blog post, I told all about our DDD trip to Philadelphia.  Well, we have recently been to three other places in Baltimore, another breakfast joint outside of Philly on our way to the shore, where we also ate at 10th Ave. Burrito in Belmar, NJ.  More potpourri in the everyday blur of life.

Cole Michael at soccer camp

Soccer camp for three-year olds … what fun!  One hour, every evening for 5 days.  Mimi and Papaw drove down in the middle of the week (freshly baked blueberry cobbler in hand) and watched with the parents as Cole ran, kicked, tossed, chased, laughed, and burned off a lot of energy with 19 other little people.  The intention of signing him up for this slight taste of organized sports was to get an idea if he (and they) were really ready for the focus, understanding, and the commitment of time which would be involved in an entire season of the sport.  The conclusion was no.  This week was fun and made for some really good memories, but all of that older-kid stuff will come all too quickly, with the everyday blur of life.

One of Cole’s soccer mates was a young lady whom Cole accidently knocked down.  As soon as he realized what he did, he went over to her, told her he was sorry and kissed her.  What a testimony of love and care this little guy has been taught at home … which now the parents realize needs to be tweaked just a bit.  Kissing his classmates at school each time he needs to apologize to them will not go over very well.   What a blessing it is to be Mimi and Papaw to two precious little lives.  At three months old, Lillianne just went to the doctor the other day and now weighs 13 lbs and 5 oz.

Mimi and Lillianne

Wildfires in Nebraska, Aurora Colorado shootings, the Olympics, Chick Fil-A …  news and happenings that contribute to the potpourri in the everyday blur of life.  Today’s headlines will be old news next week, for life doesn’t slow down for anything or anybody.  We’ve all heard the saying … “Seize the moment!”   I think of that often in the busyness of life, as a reminder to not be SO busy that I miss out on the blessings that are hidden and only revealed if we slow down.  Just a couple evenings ago as Tim and I were sitting down to supper with Cole at the head of our table, he was his usual distracted and pokey eater.  After taking a bite of my own food, I was just getting ready to turn to him and fuss at him to start eating his chicken nuggets.  As I looked his way, I quickly noticed that he was already very intent at watching me.  Instead of opening my mouth to speak, I simply sat there and smiled at him.  His little face lit up in the biggest grin as he reached over to lovingly hold my hand as he began to eat the rest of his dinner with the other.  I would have missed that very special moment with my grandson had I not been paying attention and had just swooped in to hurry him along.

Today is a potpourri day of birthdays in our family.  My husband turns 51 and our daughter shares his special day by turning 29 years old.  Born an hour and 45 minutes before our daughter Kim, was our niece Joanna.  Tim’s baby sister, Becca, also shares in the occasion of August 5 by turning 36 today.  Mimi and Papaw are celebrating this year by having Cole and Lillianne with them at the beach in New Jersey.  Oh … their parents are along, too!  We are enjoying sunshine, ocean waves, sand, tasty food, and the blessings of family … on this on-purpose, not-so blurry day of life.

Won’t you join me in not allowing the blur to detract and take away from embracing as many moments as we can? … for there just might be a smile to melt your heart and a hand to hold.

Until next time,
Debbie

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith;
be men of courage; be strong.  Do everything in love.

I Corinthians 16:13
NIV

 

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions,
give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.

I Corinthians 16:13
The Message

 

Food in Philly

22 Feb

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.
Psalm 34:8
 

Tucked away in the middle of February, close to Valentine’s Day, was a weekend available to go do something fun and unique.  The city of Philadelphia, Google maps on my iphone, delicious food, and pleasant weather all contributed in gifting us with a great time.  We were in no rush, no hurry, and the only real agenda we had was to eat. And we did.

One of our favorite TV shows is “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” with Guy Fieri on the Food Network Channel.   As he pulls up in his bright red convertible in front of another not-so-attractive place to eat, we enjoy watching as Guy visits the kitchen and finds out the secrets to the success of the establishment.  A combination of fresh spices, unexpected ingredients, and personalized culinary methods usually leave our mouths gaping open and our taste buds longing to sample a bite or two.  Realizing that there are several of these diners, drive-ins and dives within a few hours from our home, we began to dream of the various possibilities of actually getting to taste some of those menu items.  With the help of the internet, our itinerary evolved as we made our way toward the City of Brotherly Love.

Memphis Taproom

Over the course of the next 30 hours, we visited 2 corner dives, 1 diner, and 1 pub, of which was our least favorite of the four places.  Fried kosher dill pickles and a delicious pulled pork sandwich, accessorized by garlic mayo, was our first shared meal (brunch) at the Memphis Taproom.  Then a scrumptious flatbread appetizer at Silk City Diner before dinner, to later return back to Memphis Taproom for a Smoked Coconut Club, which was featured on their evening menu, with a side of onion rings for our final entrée of the day.  We saw a plate of these amazingly yummy looking onion rings on a table nearby, so we spontaneously asked to substitute the usual fries with this favorite of mine.   After thanking the Lord for our food, I scooped up a big handful of thinly sliced, crunchy rings and stuffed them in my mouth – and in the next breath asked the Lord to please extinguish the fire inside.  When our waitress came by to refill our water glasses, I mentioned the extreme spiciness of the onions and she smiled as she explained that this is why they call them Suicide Rings.  Lesson learned – ALWAYS check the menu and read the fine print.

Honey Cristo

There’s something to be said for having to wait in line in order to be seated  – which we did for breakfast the following morning.  We were fascinated as we were offered a couple stools at the front counter of this bright and cheery corner dive called Honey’s Sit and Eat.   Bacon, coffee, the sweet scent of pancakes, french toast, and syrup,  — all those comfy aromas filled the air as we placed our orders to start off another day of adventure.  Once again, we were not at all disappointed in the recommendation of this local fare, apparently agreeing with the continuing arrival of guests, that the food was delicious.

Here’s an interesting twist to my story ~ Tim and I joined Gold’s Gym a couple weeks ago.  Since Tim’s hospitalization in November and the insertion of another stent, he decided that after the holidays he needed to begin a healthy routine of exercise and better diet.  Having lost over 10 pounds myself in the past year, due to a change in eating habits and consistent exercise, I was in full support and agreed to meet him most evenings on his way home from work so we could exercise together.  After 10 days of membership and a great start toward his goal, yes … we went to Philly to eat!  We shared most everything we ordered, drank only water (except morning coffee and juice) and we walked.  Between our late breakfast and our late lunch on Sunday, we walked through the historic district of the city, catching sites of old monuments, buildings, and streets that help document our country’s freedoms and history.  With the help of my cell phone’s mapping software, we were able to track our course of tourism as it also calculated the miles of exercise…a total of 5 miles to be exact.  Needless to say, the calories burned paved the way to our last stop on our ‘Triple D’ tour … Good Dog Bar.  The items ordered here were not anything to brag about, so we were glad we had the added bonus of redeeming a Restaurant.com gift certificate to offset the cost of the meal.

Work, gym, household chores, and eating at home have all resumed again.  That’s ok … it’s all called life.  Just as the chef will crush fresh spices and herbs to obtain the fullest and richest flavors available, and then mix with specific ingredients to create a delectable and unique tasting dish ~ this is all done in order to attract those who have such a wide array of choices of places to go eat, satisfying the pallet of those who visit their establishment. The great Culinary Expert of our lives does the same.  He takes the various facets of our existence, separating and crushing where necessary, sifting, stirring, and combining at just the right moments ~ all aspects of the process playing a huge role in the Purpose of God’s great plan for our lives.  Won’t you join me in allowing Him to prepare us from scratch, so we will be attractive and of good flavor … bringing glory and honor to Him with our lives?

Until next time,
Debbie

Prepare it with oil on a griddle;
bring it well-mixed and present the grain offering
broken in pieces as an aroma pleasing to the LORD.
Leviticus 6:21

For we are to God the aroma of Christ
among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
   2 Corinthians 2:15

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**  Blog photo of my Valentine’s Day decor  –  February 2012