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october eve picnic

Friday evening we wanted to get out and enjoy the beautiful fall weather.

There is a park in our neighborhood that sits up on a hill. It’s close enough to walk, so we took a basket filled with a delicious Italian dinner, spread out a blanket and enjoyed each other’s company and the sunset.

It was perfect.

Perfect weather.

Perfect company.

Perfect food.

The perfect October Eve picnic.


i’ve always wondered…

…what it would feel like to meet the man I was going to marry, fall in love, get engaged, plan a wedding, get married…

It always felt like a nebulous dream. Something that was always just a little out of reach. It was difficult to even imagine what it would feel like.

But now I am.

I’m getting married in 32 days.

The thing is… I still feel like I’m dreaming 🙂 It’s surreal actually. Almost as though this isn’t me going to dress fittings, looking at wedding bands and deciding on recessional music. It has to be someone else. Haha.

I don’t think it’s really hit me yet. The fact that I get to marry the most wonderful man I’ve ever met and spend the rest of my life with him.

I’m not sure how long it will take to really sink in. Maybe never. All I can say is, Thank you, Lord, for giving me someone I don’t deserve – a man who loves You and who loves me – the answer to my prayers.

I ♥  you, sweetheart 🙂 And I can’t wait to be your wife!

our chicago road trip [in pictures]

St. Louis

First stop on our second road trip in two weeks. This time we drove with my family, heading to my grandpa’s wedding in Illinois.

We stayed the night downtown and our rooms had a great view of the arch. That evening, Matt and I got to go on a date 🙂 We walked down to the arch and then had a fabulous dinner at Mosaic.

(bumming around the arch)


Another place I’ve never been. These two weeks of road trips were chock full of places I’ve never been. So fun.

We parked the van and took the train, a nice, relaxing hour ride into Union Station.

It was Sunday and a game day, so the streets were pretty quiet. In a lot of ways, it was like we had the city to ourselves.

And it made shopping at H&M a tad bit easier 😉

(taking the train downtown)

(our version of a photo booth)

(amazing pizza)

(wonderful architecture)

(at the “bean” in millennium park)

(yes, it was drizzling most of the time, but it fit the vision of Chicago
I had in my mind)

(union station)

Another fun road trip. Another batch of wonderful memories to savor for years to come.

And now we’re HOME 🙂

our road trip [in pictures]

I’ll just preface this post by saying three things:

1. This post is really, really, really long
2. This post is mostly pictures
3. This post is long over due

Day 1: Bremerton, WA to Coeur d’Alene, ID

(my snack of choice: Annie’s Cheddar Snack Mix)

(L: rearview photojournalism; R: monster of the plain)

Day 2: Coeur d’Alene, ID to Teton Village (Jackson Hole), WY

(all the world is right)

(at a rest stop near the Continental Divide in Montana)

Day 3: Teton Village (Jackson Hole), WY to Estes Park, CO

(the grand tetons = breathtaking)

(my guy = breathtaking, too 🙂 )

(bottom right…moose!)

(breakfast at a little grocery store, coffee (not pictured) from an
outdoor espresso bar, a new pull-over (not pictured) from a
mountaineering store having their end of season sale…)

(wyoming is a beautiful but desolate place)

(rest stop sunflowers)

(sunset in colorado)

Day 4: Estes Park, Co to Norman, OK

(infront of grandpa’s house)

(almost home, coke icees, the condition of our
windshield most of the time *at one point so many bugs were
hitting the windshield, it sounded like rain* and our last road trip sunset)

And now we’re HOME.

quick look back, long look forward

(From this weekend, sitting on the porch watching the rain)

I heard Chris Tomlin’s “I Lift My Hands” on the way into work this morning. A few lines in particular caught my heart:

As I pour out my heart,
These things I remember
You are faithful, God, forever.

Simple. Could be trite. Yet, looking back – remembering – nothing is more evident to me than God’s faithfulness. I have no reason to believe that He won’t be faithful forever. In fact, I have every reason to believe He will.

Looking back over my life – over the last year – over the last six months. Wow. I am in awe at God’s faithfulness. There have been hard times. Uncertain times. Good times. Really, really bad times.

I was thanking God this morning for His faithfulness through it all. Most of all, I was thanking Him that He has remained steadfast, blessing me with what He knows I need. Even though it hasn’t always been what I want.

I’m glad He hasn’t given into my every whim, my cries for comfort, for release, for “happiness” over the last several years. Love is acting in the best interest of another. And God has done that and is doing that in my life – faithfully.

That’s my quick look back.

Taking a long look forward now to all that lies ahead…

This summer has flown by – literally. Between the two of us, Matt and I have taken a total of five trips in the last 2 1/2 months. I fly to Seattle again soon, we take a road trip and then we take another road trip. October should be a little more settled – a little less flying, a little more feet on the ground (only literally, of course. I am still on Cloud 9 🙂 ).

Our latest trip was to Mississippi to spend time with Matt’s family. It was so much fun –  just a great time relaxing and enjoying fellowship and food. Of course 🙂 His parents, brother and extended family welcomed me so warmly into the family. We even got to open our first wedding gifts! 🙂

Here are some pictures (courtesy of Matt’s dad) from our weekend:

(With Matt’s parents)

(At a family get-together)

(On the back porch)

(At the airport, saying good-bye. I officially hate good-byes.)

I have one more picture to share – the only one I took with my camera the whole weekend. I woke up Saturday and found this at my bedroom door 🙂

I have never felt more loved, more blessed or more grateful. In just 53 short days I will become Matt’s wife. God’s faithfulness comes full circle once again. Wow.

Speaking of short days… Now fall is right around the corner. The days are slowly getting shorter. The mornings and evenings are finally – almost unbelievably – cool. I am ready to put up our autumn wreath, set some pumpkins out on the front porch and try out a couple new dishes like this and this.

Last night I completed my evening job that I’ve been working for the last 3 1/2 years. It’s a little strange to think about just because it’s been a part of my life for so long now. It has been such a huge blessing to me and has kept me going several times in several ways. It was time to let it go, but it will always have a place in my heart.

I am catching up this week, finding routine in the midst of change, frequent travel, packing/unpacking, wedding planning and work in this crazy-wonderful season of life.

The verse Matt and I are memorizing this week:

Neither height nor depth, nor any other created thing,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:39, NKJV

seattle trip (2) [in pictures] part two

On Saturday we headed for Mt. Rainer. It was another gorgeous day, actually one of the warmest they’ve had in a while. I think it got up to the mid-80’s.

In other words, it was like winter compared with the triple digits we’ve been experiencing here [for far too long] :p.

The drive was breathtaking. We couldn’t stop saying how beautiful everything was.  The area where we were planning to hike was packed and they were only letting people in as people left, so we ended up driving all the way around Rainer, taking windy back roads that delivered even more beautiful scenery and awe-inspiring views.

We got out and did a short hike at Box Canyon and it was lovely.

Then we continued on with our drive, stopping a few more times to get some pictures, winding back around to Paradise [which was also packed].

That evening we picked up a pizza and made a salad and relaxed after our marathon drive through the mountains. Oh, and I got cheesecake w/cherries on top and Matt got green tea ice cream. Yes, I remember details like that. It’s food. Come on 😉

Other special [random] memories from the day:

– delicious tacos from Taco del Mar [when I was absolutely starving]
– sour apple rings from the gas station [and discovering we both like them]
Note: I am realizing that I think/talk/write about food alot…oh, well
– being together, holding hands, staring at my ring 🙂


On Sunday we grabbed some Starbucks and took the ferry over to Seattle.

Since we got a window view we decided just to stay in the Jeep instead of going topside.

We went to Mars Hill again and the sermon was excellent – from Luke 21 about the fig tree and keeping our eyes focused on what really matters: Jesus. It was an excellent reminder and so encouraging. The praise and worship was amazing, too.

After church we parked downtown and had lunch at the cafe’ in Nordstrom’s. We walked around and went to Forever 21 and Sephora [Matt was a trooper 🙂 ] and went to see the suit Matt picked out for the wedding.

Then it was iced coffee in the park while we enjoyed the beautiful day and watched some guys play a game of chess on one of those life size chess boards.

On the ferry ride back to Bremerton we went topside. The afternoon was gorgeous with just a slight breeze. It was a little hazy, but we could still see Mt. Rainer in the distance.

That evening we spent some time with Matt’s Bible study group. It was so nice to meet everyone he’s been telling me about for a while now. We had some great BBQ, conversation and entertainment watching the guys play a competitive game of crochet 😉

Other special [random] memories from the day:

– running to the ferry because we stayed too long in Starbucks 🙂
– communion at Mars Hill
– Matt buying me a skirt at Forever 21

Oh, and I have to mention Hi-Lo’s Cafe in Bremerton where Matt took me for breakfast Monday morning. Wow. It was so good and so much fun! Wish we could go there every weekend. They had the best coffee and the best food. Of course.

Next post will probably be our Mississippi trip 🙂

Until next time…

seattle trip (2) [in pictures] part one

Clockwise from top left:

1. Reading material. The fall edition is always massive and this one was no exception.
2. Waiting for my first flight, so impatient to get in the air 😉
3. At the gate about to leave Salt Lake City on the second leg.
4. Flying over the sunset on the way to Seattle was absolutely breathtaking.

This past weekend was so dream-like, the beauty and the fullness of all it held is still sinking in.

It’s very difficult for me to express myself when it comes to something that I feel deeply or something/someone who has impacted me greatly. I try but the written word doesn’t seem to do it justice. And words (besides pictures) are my strongest form of communication. If they fail me, I have no recourse.

So it is with this weekend. I plan to write it all out – to put it in words even if the words pale in comparison to how I feel – but just know as you are reading that it’s just the tip of the iceberg. What lies beneath, unspoken, unwritten is much greater.

On Friday we headed west to the Hoh Rainforest. The day was absolutely beautiful. I tease Matt that I bring the sun whenever I come to Seattle 😉

On the way, we stopped at Lake Crescent to stretch our legs and soak in the gorgeous scenery. The water was so blue; I could almost imagine we were somewhere in Switzerland.

The Hoh Rainforest has been on our “to see” list since my first trip to Seattle. It was a lot drier than we expected (and had a few more mosquitoes 😉 ), but it was fun to take the nature loop and marvel at the crystal clear water (truly looked like glass) and the gigantic trees. It’s hard to tell how big the trees are except in the pics where we’re standing next to them.

We didn’t stay very long because it was getting late, we had a bit of a drive back and Matt wanted to make me dinner 😉 We made just one little detour…another stop at Lake Crescent where Matt proposed as the sun was beginning to set.

It was such a special moment. I couldn’t have imagined it any better. As the sun was beginning to sink, the blue water lapping at the rocky shore where we stood, Matt put his arms around me. He told me how much he loved me, slipped a gorgeous diamond ring on my left hand and asked me to marry him.

And I said “yes” to the man of my dreams. A man who loves the Lord with all of his heart and who loves me – the man I’ve been praying would come into my life at just the right time.

Matt, you are the most thoughtful, kind, patient and loving man I know. I can’t imagine my life without you. I can’t wait to marry you. I love you! ♥♥♥♥

And dinner was amazing. Matt made the best Chicken Parmesan, salad and garlic bread ever. It was perfect…especially by candle light 😉

Other special [random] memories from the day:

– a gigantic apple pancake for breakfast
– talking about anything and everything on the drive to the rain forest
– Starbucks for the drive home
– savoring the feel of a ring on my left hand 🙂

More to come…