Sunday, December 30, 2007

Vacation, sickness, and parenthood, o my!

During our last week of vacation, we thought it would be fun to be the coolest aunt and uncle in the world and have our five year old niece stay over for one night. We went to the Stephen Birch Aquarium, the La Jolla Tide Pools, and our favorite Italian Restaurant, Lido's for dinner. We pulled out all of the stops and it was a blast!

Who would have guessed that in that same night both of Christina's grandparents would be admitted into the hospital. Her parents and sister spent the next day making trips picking up prescriptions and driving back and forth to the hospital. When her grandpa got to come home the next day, her dad got a stomach flu and was taken to the hospital for fluids and medication. That night dad got to come home, but sent with medication. Grandpa is at home alone (Grandma still has a few days in the hospital) and Christina's mom and sister are still making the rounds between hospital and the grandparents home. Today, it looks like everyone is feeling and looking a little better which we are so thankful for! For good measure though, we kept the kid at our place for a few more nights.

Anyone who knows us well knows we are adamant about not having kids. We absolutely love middle schoolers and the return policy we have with them, but the idea of having our own is nowhere in the near future. Though if anyone stopped by our house they would beg to differ. Disney movies and "Ninja-Bread Man" on the Wii constantly buzzing in the living-room, pull-ups and princess toothpaste in our bathroom, and our office couch is stacked with Pikachu Toys and other stuffed animals.

So today (day four), we are heading off to Balboa Park to spend the afternoon at the Reuben H. Fleet. One thing this couple has learned through this is that you never know what the day will really bring, so we seize the moments as they are handed to us. Tis' the Season!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Gifts!

Well this year Christina got two very special presents. The first is shown below...

The second is what she will be using her new bike to get to...A JOB!!

As of January first, Christina will be the new director of Middle School Ministries at Journey Community Church. We are so excited about this. This has definitely been a time of figuring out where God wanted both of us. This decision was a long and prayerful one, but we can't be more excited. Journey has been so welcoming and it is just incredibly cool to work and attend the church that is literally three minutes from our house. We can see the sign from our balcony!

This past year has been a year of major change and anticipation. We are just so thankful for God's provision in our lives and are excited for the year to come.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A day in Mexico




Every year YS holds an amazing, crazy, and beyond expectation Christmas Party for their staff. This year was no exception. In fact, this year it wasn't even held in the United States. Youth Specialties partnered with a ministry called Spectrum. Spectrum Ministries is a missions organization dedicated to working with the very poor across our border in Tijuana. Each YS employee was given a name and wish list of a child in an orphanage. So after a a morning of shopping at a Tijuana Market for the dinner to be cooked at the orphanage that night, and playing with the kids at another ministry Spectrum organizes, we headed to the orphanage and were able to present the students with their individual gifts.

It seriously was such a precious moment. Imagine Christmas morning at your house. Everyone gathered in the living room. One person is designated to pass out the gifts. When someone gets their gifts, everyone in the room waits patiently to see what that person got. There are a few oohhs and ahhhs and then the next person opens their gifts.

Now imagine about 20 or so kids crammed in a living room with the YS adults surrounding the edge of the room waiting the kids to open their gifts. When each of the kids name is called, everyone sits and waits eagerly for the child to open their present. When they open it, there are not "oohhs and ahhs", but loud cheers and hollars from every single person in the room as the child proudly hold their gift in the air. It was a celebration and such a sweet moment.

Each of these kids had a different story. Each of these kids had a hard start in this life and yet they were some of the sweetest, kindest, most adorable, and polite kids we ever met. It will truly be a day that we will never forget,

Friday, December 7, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...



So this post is a little over due considering we started decorating the day after Thanksgiving. This was partially due to our love of the Christmas Season and partially due to Christina's competitive spirit. We woke up late that day and began watching some TV when Christina noticed outside that our new neighbor's ten year old daughter was putting out Christmas Lights. Christina yells, "What?? Ian, she is beating us! GO! GO! GO!" In an hour and a half we had all all of the Christmas decorations out and Ian had the lights up.

This weekend though, we got our tree. This is earliest we have gotten one since we have been married. So it is complete. Christmas is here! We may not have been first, but we added an extra strand of lights for good measure:) 'Tis the season!

Friday, November 30, 2007

I know she's big...but really?



So I get it. We have a large dog. I understand that comes with picking out a a great dane. I understand that she is is tall and can reach the kitchen table so guard your plate. I understand that she is big and so I don't have to bend down to pet her. These are all things I expected when we got her. But what happens when she uses her size to get our attention? When a normal dog wants to play, they drop their toy at your feet. When Darby wants your attention, she stands in front of the TV and COMPLETELY blocks it with her body. Then when you tell her to move she just cocks her head as if to say, "What?" The first time we thought to be a coincidence. A year and a half later, we know it's a conspiracy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pause for the moment...



While I was cooking dinner tonight, I glanced out the window. I was absolutely amazed at the sight right outside our kitchen window! Isn't it crazy to think of the beauty that is around us even when we aren't looking. Then again, the moments when we do stop and admire God's creation, become a personal moment with our creator.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

THANKFUL TO BE HOME...

We're back from our last convention and what a note to end on. Atlanta was AMAZING! It was a great convention, attended by great people, and it is just a great city we can't wait to go back and visit. Below is a picture from our hotel room.



It was such a blessing to be able to go to all conventions together but it is also nice to be home together.

As far as Thanksgiving Day, it was another wonderful day of stuffing ourselves. After weeks of processed food, it was nice to have two home-cooked feasts in one day. Yep, two! We went to Christina's family first. Then rested and went to the movies with her sister and saw "Martian Child." A good movie with a sweet story line. Then we headed off to Ian's grandparents house where we enjoyed another feast with more family.

It was such a wonderful way to come back home. They say, "Home is where your family is." We agree.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Meet Me in St. Louis..."



Well, we made it home from the convention in St. Louis. Two down, one to go. In fact, we are heading out to Atlanta tomorrow morning.

St. Louis was great though. There are a lot of sights to see. Christina was thrilled when she found out that she could walk to the Mighty Mississippi. That was exactly what we did on one of our dinner breaks. We ate at a nice little Italian Restaurant and then walked half way across a bridge that would have taken us to Illinois. This was the plan but we needed to get to the next general session on time, so we took the picture above and headed back to the convention center.

There really is a lot in St. Louis; the great arch (which is in the background of the picture), the new Cardinal's Stadium, the Might Mississippi...tons I tell ya!

It is fascinating that as you move across the country it is natural for people to work in one state and live in another. This is something this Southern Californian can't fathom. That is why the walk to Illinois seemed so outrageous. Christina wanted to come back and say, "I went to Illinois for dinner. I am back now, here in Missouri." Instead, the conversation went more into bragging rights that we walked half way across the Mississippi.

The Convention itself was fantastic. One of the interesting speakers for the week was Ralph Winter. He is the producer of the X-Men and Fantastic 4 movies. He gave an incredible talk about the power of story telling. He challenged the youth workers tell the story in new ways. Do not settle for how it has been told so many other times. One of the examples he gave was to give missionaries video cameras. Let them tell their story not just though an interview in front of the pulpit. Instead, have someone in the church edit the footage and allow what the missionaries do tell their story. It was also great to hear from a man that is doing amazing work in Hollywood today while living a life of integrity and passion for God.

So...in 12 hours we will be on a plane to Atlanta. Who knows what Georgia has for us, but we'll let you know in a week!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What a weekend it has been...

YS Convention Season began this weekend. We both get to attend all three cities which is awesome and probably a chance in a lifetime for me. The first convention was here in San Diego and was incredible. Ian did amazing as usual branding the artwork for the entire convention. I would show you the artwork, but he won't let me spoil it for anyone who is planning on going to any of their other conventions. So you will have to wait until after Thanksgiving if you are not attending.

Seriously though, the speaker line ups were incredible. The first speaker was Brenda Salter McNeal. She did a great job just talking about the purpose of youth workers. One also cannot beat the live worship from David Crowder. My job was to work at the Core Booth, I got to hear some amazing stories from youth workers from all over.

It was a fantastic weekend just encouraging other youth workers and being encouraged myself by reconnecting with some youth worker friends from churches all over San Diego.

But then we wake up on Monday...

There was an all too familiar smell in the air. The stale odor of distant fires put a pit in my stomach. The night before we were on top of the world, feeling as if anything is possible and then we wake up to see that some of the volunteers from the convention were driving home early to pack up family members and belongings. The experience of the weekend went from staying in a nice hotel ordering room service, to wandering around Qualcolm stadium distributing water to the thousands of people waiting to hear if they could return home. The halls of the stadium are packed with tents as well as the parking lot filled with cars. There are very little personal items when you think about how they left a house filled with belongings.

The scene really is overwhelming. As I drove into the stadium, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw grown men wiping the tears from their eyes. But you know what the strange thing was? The spirit was not much different than that I experienced at the Town and Country the day before. So many people were there to volunteer their time and energies. Everyone I talked to had the same reason to be there, "I just needed to do something." Because of the mass of people wanting to help, there was more than enough people to give out water, food, and just do whatever they needed. Everyone was so kind and strangers interacted as if long time friends. It seriously was an incredible sight.

I spent a weekend at a booth for a one day training seminar encouraging youth groups to change the world. I then went to a stadium where people were putting that desire in action. It was awesome.

We continue to pray for all of those displaced right now. This is far from over, and so we also pray that people continue to band together and help each other out.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cough, cough...

Who knew that a dog and a human could have the same cold. Last week, Christina sneezes. Arrrggg, "I don't have time for a cold right now." Then a couple days later, a soar throat. The next day, a cough. This is annoying.
That night, we wake up at 3am to hear Darby hacking. After a long deliberation (Is it something in her throat? Does she have stuff in her lungs?), we decide to wait it out and take her to the vet in the morning. Ian stayed up up with her, watching her and making sure she was okay. Christina, afraid for the worse, left the two for the couch to continue her coughing fit. Ian takes Darby to the vet first thing in the morning. When he returned home, he reports, "She has a cough."
She has been vaccinated for kennel cough so the next thought is that she has a cold. So for the next two days, Christina and Darby laid on the couch, coughing and taking cough medicine every 6 hours. It has been quite the bonding time.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Darby's Vacation



When we leave town, Darby gets to as well. We have dear friends in Jamul that allow Darby to stay with them and have the time of her life. This urban dog experiences what its like to be a country dog. There is so much for her to explore that she comes back to our apartment and doesn't get up from the couch for three days.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Happiest Vacation on Earth


After much transition in our lives...okay, in the mist of transition of our lives (since Christina is still looking for a job and Ian is gearing up for traveling season at his work), we were able to take an amazing relaxing vacation at Disneyland. There is just something about that place. It is hard to explain. The one thing we know for sure is that it is the place where we can escape from the everyday life and just have fun.

The first day consisted of us driving up and then exploring the concierge lounge, which Ian was able to shmooze and get us access to. This meant free snacks and the abilitiy to check out any Disney DVD of our choice. The first night was 20, 000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Three Caballaros. One very cool thing about our room was that we could sit and watch the fireworks from our window. It was fantastic.

The next day: we got up, went to the lounge for breakfast, rode on the new Submarine Ride (fantastic), then Space Mountain, then Buzz Light Year, then back to the hotel where Christina took a nap, and then woke up, got a snack, went to the pool, then to dinner, then to Pirates of Caribbean, then back to the hotel, got a snack, and checked out Atlantis and Cinderella 3. (You have one guess who picked which movie.)

The next day: we got up, went to the lounge for breakfast, and then rode a ton of rides because guess what? THE HEAT FINALLY BROKE!!!! It was such a beautiful day and not a lot of people at the park since everyone was back at school. We were able to practically walk right onto every ride went on.

This was a much needed vacation. We have been so busy lately. It was just just fun to drive a few hours and enjoy the Disney Magic. It was Amazing!!!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

...welcome

Hello to all. Our hope for this small space on the grand ol' interweb is that it would be a place to share our life and stories as we experience them. Whether you've come to catch up on the details of our lives because you've known us in life or you've happened by chance upon this page; welcome. We're glad you've joined us. Be sure to check back in as we'll be posting more soon (God willing).