Friday, December 31, 2010

Single Lady?! and Budgets...

The other night I was on the phone with one of my oldest and best friends when we started talking about careers. This gal is awesome in that she has always pursued what she wants to do and really seeks out something that she's passionate about. Currently she's a head coach at one of the community college's swim programs down in California, and I've always talked the talk about teaching at the JC level one day but never followed through with pursuing it.

Somewhere after college life starts happening and that newly graduated feeling of "I can do anything I want if I just put my mind to it" starts slipping away. All you college students out there (sis- I'm talking to you!)-- don't forget what it feels like to know you have the world at your finger tips and really can do anything you want.

"Why don't you call one of the AD's at a local JC and just see if they'll talk to you about what you can do to be a successful candidate for something in the future?" she asked me. "It can't hurt and they are always looking for qualified people. You have nothing to lose!". While I really love my job now and have no plans on leaving, one day if I'm (Lord willing!!!) a stay at home mom I know I won't be in the corporate environment any more. My job will be COO Lillard. Operating officer of our home and family! I will have other little people to be responsible for and that will be my full time job. It's funny, because that time of life is still a couple years away but I need to mentally prepare for it now LOL. I'm somewhat of a planner, and somewhat not, but for major life things I like to think them through in my mind and plan for the ideal scenario. Some people would call that dangerous, putting all these expectations into something unknown... I just call it fun. I know my heavenly father ultimately is CEO LilLORD (haha!!!) and he will direct and lead us as long as we are seeking him and including him in our decisions; putting him first. I just like to plan so I'm ready for the future. So her advice got me thinking. I have nothing to lose, start looking into what it takes to teach at a JC- I have my master's degree so at least that part is covered!

"You're right," I told her. "I am at a point in my life where it's the perfect time. I already have work that I enjoy, and I have very little responsibilities at home. I might as well start looking into what it would take now, while I'm young and single."

Young and SINGLE?!

David was making jello and he promptly turned around with a huge grin on his face and mouthed the words "single?" while his brow raised and his smile grew even bigger.  My mouth dropped way open and I said "did I just say single?!  I meant young and... Young and... I don't know!  You know what I mean!"  Michelle laughed and said she did know but it was funny and I should just talk to someone at a local community college to get the ball moving and get things started.  We laughed and chatted a bit more and then hung up.

"So you're a single lady now," David said as he came up to me and drew me into an embrace.  I laughed and told him I didn't know why I said that.  I was so embarrassed!  "It's okay, now I know how you feel," he joked, "I am away a lot!" 

This has now been the running joke in the Lillard house for the past few days.  David thinks it's hilarious, and I am like, well, trying to rummage through my subconcious as to why that would have come out of my mouth.  The only thing I can come up with is the fact that I'm a field traveler's wife. =)  Cheers to all my other "single lady" field traveler wives out there!

That very same night David and I were snuggled on the couch watching Criminal Minds, my very favorite show (other than The Biggest Loser!).  On this particular occasion David pulled out the laptop and during commercials began clicking away.

 "What are you doing?" I asked him, half asleep with blankets all around me.

"Creating a budget," he replied.  Tick tick click tick click.

I was suddenly awake.  "A budget?!"  We'd talked about creating a budget last year, and did one and then deleted it. :)  David's CFO Lillard, and does all of our banking and bills.  He's always been extremely savvy when it comes to finances and he keeps all these numbers in his head regarding our financial situation, and knows what's coming in and out like you wouldn't believe.  But we've never actually had a real life budget where we allocate money to certain categories or anything.  I perked up and looked at the screen.

Click clack tick tick click.  "I think this shows us where we spend our money," David said to me.  "And if we stick to this, we can put more money towards one of our mortgages.  That would help for when we have kids one day."  I couldn't believe my ears.  David was thinking about when we would have kids one day?!  Has he lost his mind?  He gets nauseated whenever I bring it up!  I looked at him and smiled.  "Okay!  I'm in!  What's it gonna take?!"

He proceeded to plug in numbers, and at the end of his analysis we now have a Lillard family budget.  This is totally new to us, and I'm so excited!  It feels like a challenge.  I won't bore you with the details, but one thing I will share is our grocery budget.  We decided to allocate $250/month on groceries.  I feel like this should be WAY doable since I am a "single lady", right?! :)  I am going to do the same thing my mom did when I was a kid, put that $250 in cash form into an envelope, and use it when I go to the store.  When it's gone it's gone.

We're probably the last family to get on board with a budget but I'm glad and excited we're taking on this challenge.  If you have any suggestions or tips, I welcome any and all advice!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Painting the Future

Over the past year that we have lived in this house that is now our home, I lost my motivation to paint.

Most people paint a room, or a dresser, or maybe an actual painting. Not at the Lillards'. We paint trim. And lots of it.

It started right after we bought this house, a year ago. We were so excited to be in our own space where we could litterally throw paint all over the place and no one could tell us differently-- the place was OURS! And boy were we excited. This home was (and still is thankfully!) in great condition, but it had no updates or modern features. It was (and in some rooms still is, unthankfully!) stuck in the 80's.

We decided that to give it more light and brighten things up, we would paint the medium toned brown trim around the windows and doorways white. It sounded like a brilliant idea. So we bought primer and paint, and began in one of the spare bedrooms.

We quickly realized that brown trim soaks up the primer and requires about 4-5 coats before you can actually begin applying the paint to make it worth it. So we primed the window, the other window, the closet and bedroom doors and trim over and over, and over again. By the time we actually got around to applying real paint, we'd been working on this stinking bedroom for a week. I kept thinking of the remods on HGTV and listening to the designers say that paint was the easiest, most inexpensive and quickest way to transform a room. I'd agree in the transformation, but quick and easy? It wasn't hard, but man, coats later it still needed more!

After the bedroom was done, we admired how much more light the room had and how it looked more modern and updated. We decided to proceed with the stair banisters and railing. OMG. Can I just say that was a PAIN in my rear. I think I spent all last Christmas painting. And I still look at it and think, you know, if HGTV came over they'd say we need another coat! We finished that and then moved to our bedroom, where we retired the paintbrushes and rollers. Yes, we took some time off (ahem, about a year!) and last weekend I decided to pick up the paintbrush again. Well, I really didn't volunteer. Since David was in CA for the weekend working hard on one of our rentals, I made a deal with him that I would work just as hard by painting. I would commit to him to paint while he was gone. No, I didn't say how much (wiggle room people!) but I did commit. Not to me, not to the house, to him.

As I poured my primer into the tray, there were chunks. Literally chunks like rotten milk. Gross. I contemplated how I could get out of this. David would understand, chunks?! How do I get the chunks out, I need a big strong man to do that. Oh Rachel stop it, just open another can. Yes. I can do this, I have to finish. I've got to finish this project before I can do anyting else. And geez, there is so much more to do!

So I began priming. Since David was in CA for the weekend and I didn't have any engagements until the evenings, I decided to commit my entire Saturday to painting. I got a late start (a girl's gotta gym it and have her starbucks run!) but I finally got up the gusto and stirred up a fresh can of primer, chunk free. It was beautiful. So smooth and creamy. I can do this. I started on the window in our bedroom. We'd already started this, but it only had a couple layers of primer. With zest and motivation I quickly began applying primer. Move to the closet door jam and the bathroom doors and door jams. Move to the hallway and start on the linen closet doors. Argh. These things are so annoying, just let me tell you. They are essentially accordion shutter doors and getting between those slats tried my patience. I began wondering if I had arthritis. Excuses excuses. I primed over and over again after letting it dry. And you know what? It felt good to move forward, to accomplish something!

I promptly primed again the following day after church and Christmas shopping, before the women's dessert at church that evening. Discipline Rachel, you've got to get this done.

After the gym this evening and my lovely dinner of ceasar salad and banana bread, I began applying the paint. Our bedroom and the hallway linen closet are close to being finished. Only a few more coats. Finish. Strong. :)

I ate a snack. Apple time! I wrote this blog entry about painting. I went back upstairs to finish.

The blue tape surrounding the closet and my bedroom window was a constant reminder of something I was choosing not to do. Something that required effort and time. Something that could be beautiful. While this is really only paint, and is kind of trivial as it pertains to my life, I actually learned something this weekend throughout the painting process. Someday I will have lots of things (kids!) that I don't want to do and that require my time and effort. How am I ever going to be a good mom if I can't even finish painting our house when I have no responsibilities except for my job? My husband is gone during the week for goodness sake, I don't even have to take care of anyone! That bucked me up. I have always been a determined person, a disciplined person, a motivated person. Yet somewhere over the past year I lost that along the way with the doors and trim. :) So here's to being disciplined and showing my husband I love him with this paintbrush. I am painting the future with each stroke, learning to find joy in doing something I don't want to do!

The entire upstairs must be done by the end of January. Oh my goodness I said it. Out loud. Cheer me on. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Dragon Slayer

Last night David and I went out to dinner and over the largest salad of my life, we conversed about relationships and what the basic needs of men and women are.  I love talking about relationships, especially with David.  Not too long ago I read the book "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" by Dr. Laura.  If you've read the book, you know that in her opinion the two basic needs of men are food and sex.  While that may be true (LOL), David thought that was significantly demeaning to his male comrads who are actually out slaying dragons all day long to provide and care for their beloved women.  So we began to chat about what really were the basic needs of men and women. 

Since I'm a woman, I'll speak from the gal's perspective here and will only speak for myself since I can't comment on behalf of anyone else.  I yearn to be cherished and delighted in.  I know I am this way.  I want love, the unconditional kind-- the takes your breath away, can't live without you, Carrie-Big kind of love (well not really but you know what I mean if you love SATC) that listens and makes gestures and holds hands and hearts and all that goey love stuff.  I long to be cherished and taken care of.  To know I am the only one, to be secure in my husband's love for me.  I also desire to be deligihted in, for my husband to see beauty in what I have to offer much beyond the way I look.  Growing up my pastor, Ken Korver gave a sermon on marriage and he said "The more you love your wife, the more beautiful she will become."  I yearn for beauty.  That's probably why I love cooking and giving it a pretty presentation.  I love clothes and accessories and decorative home goods. I want to know I am worth slaying dragons for.

Isn't every good love story the same?  I mean that in a good way.  Girl meets boy, they fall in love, conflicts arise and separate them, boy fights for girl and pursues her, rescues her and they live happily ever after.  All the fairy-tales have this theme, even good romatic movies hold this mantra.  I, as a woman, am drawn to this kind of story as well.  I love a good chick flick where I leave the theater feeling oohed and awed by the love story developed on screen.  As David and I finished our ginormous salads and talked about dragons and love, we were reminded of our own love story.  While nothing ever tore us apart or caused us to ever breakup before we were married, there was plenty of pursuing and dragon fighting.  I think dragons will always exist, and wicked witches will always attempt to consume my disposition and/or situation.  That being said, I am grateful for my Knight who fights for me daily. :)

  • I love that you love to be home!  I especially love it when you come home a day early and surprise me (or scare the heck out of me!) with your just being here.
  • I am grateful that you get out of bed and make coffee the mornings that you're home.  My coffee never tastes as good as when you make it :)
  • I love that you look at our life as an adventure.
  • You demonstrate your love for me even with small things like rearranging the furniture. 
  • You take care of all the bills and don't get upset when I try to pay them and pay the dentist instead of the discover card. You are gracious and gentle towards me.
  • You listen and don't assume.  I need to be more like you in this area.
  • The way you constantly learn and strive to know more inspires me.
  • I never doubt I am the only girl for you.  You make me feel like I'm the only girl in the room!
I am so proud to be your wife.  Thank you for being my dragon slayer. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Historical Success!

So...  The turkey was a SUCCESS!!!  Can I just tell you how much fun it was to cook a turkey with all the trimmings with the hubby for our family.  It was a blast!  And we went all out.  Now that we've done it and it was so much fun, I'm not sure we ever need to do it again.  Just kidding.  It was a rocking Thanksgiving at the Lillard home, and we documented the entire experience with our trusty camera.

Normally, Thanksgiving means spending the night at Best Buy.  Yes, I'm serious and no, I'm not joking!  In college David started what he calls "tradition" of spending the night at Best Buy on Thanksgiving night.  He makes friends in line, shares his food, brings music, coffee, Bailey's...  When we first started dating (which was right before Thanksgiving) he told me spending the night at the retailer was part of his holiday plan.  I thought it was the weirdest thing ever and told him I'd come visit him for an hour or so.  I did, and there was David, with some friends, his grandpa, and his new buddies in line.  I ended up staying for more like 4 hours, intrigued by it all and left right before all the mahem of the store opening and people running mad for their TV's.  We still hadn't even had our first kiss yet, but we'd shared a night together in the freezing cold at Best Buy!  We continued the tradition the next year, and the year after that (2006 was a crazy Best Buy year you'll have to ask us about that story one day) and then we were on our honeymoon so I got out of it in 2007.  Then we moved to Portland, and, well, it truly IS freezing here in November so we've balked.  Yes, I think we did it-- he's weined off of that tradition. :)  Let's hope so!!!

All that being said, it's even more of a joy to have a "lazy" night of games and movies on Thanksgiving evening and to spend the day watching Miracle on 34th Street (the old school version!) while we cook.  So here it is... A step-by-step play-by-play of the day and all it's goodness!

David got up early (7:30 a.m.!!!) and prepped the Traeger.  It snowed a couple days before, so the deck was still scattered with leftover snowflakes.  We got that thing toasty before we put the bird in!

We had marinated the turkey in a brine for 12 hours the night before.  Then we took it out and David put some seasoning all over and under the skin.  In you go, turkey!

My California self hates this picture!  Yes, that is me in my rain boots and pj's prepping for the day ahead.  I litterally just woke up!

David was reading up on how long we had to smoke the turkey.  He did a fabulous job because it was the best turkey I've ever tasted.

Oh my goodness can you believe we made that?!

Everything's ready, we're hungry!

No more rainboots.  California self would feel better about the UGGs. :)  We are so proud of our turkey!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Old things New

We've officially lived in the cute little city of Tualatin for a year now.  Over the course of this year, we have slowly started making this house into our sanctuary of order, peace and enjoyment.  It has truly become our home.  I no longer walk through the door and smell the old walls, I breathe in the scent of relaxation and peace.  I'm not naturally good with space, so it took me a good six months to really figure out where I wanted the furniture or how things should be placed.  We still have painting to do to give the walls some warmth and color and in time we'll do some remodelling, but for now I am just happy to be here in this house.  This old (well it's not that old but whatever!) house is turning into something new and is an adventure all in its own!  David and I installed the floors, ripped out carpet, painted brown things white...  It's so much fun finding the beauty in something old!  Take for instance my fireplace (ahem, wood stove) below...

I still have yet to learn how to use this thing. At first I thought it was ugly.  Now I kinda like it!  Tomorrow morning it's getting cleaned so we can actually use it.  Woo hoo for natural heat!

The room we cozy up in and have movie nights with friends!  It is the room we use the most.  It used to have verticle blinds and really old, berber carpet.  Actually the house had like 3 different kinds of carpet lol.  We changed that up!  This room still has me stumped though... It is an akward rectangle of a shape.  I must have rearranged things in here time after time.  And I'm still not sure I'm done! 

David got the chair from his dad. It was broken so his dad fixed it, and bam, it looks pretty dang good!  And the carpeted stairs in the picture, those are history.  Now if only we can figure out how to install laminate on them... 

This room is still missing base boards and has painters tape around the window.  Someday we'll get around to finishing this project.  Actually, David says I can't start any other project until the painting gets done first. :)

I think I enjoy wifing it and playing house.  It's so much more fun than the corporate world.  I love my job and am grateful for it, but it is so much fun being home!  I actually embrace the domestic part of my life (if my 20 year old self would have heard me say that, she would die).  Even though I may only be in this particular house for a questionable amount of time (oh you never know where the field traveller will ask you to go), I am enjoying every minute of making this ours.  What fun it is to create your very own dwelling. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reedeeming Love

Last week I travelled to Long Beach, California (my old stomping grounds!) for work.  Before I left, one of my friends Kylee let me borrow an incredible book: Reedeeming Love by Francine Rivers.  Maybe you've read it, or at least heard of it.  It's my mom's favorite book, but for some reason I had never even thought to pick up a copy.  I figured a work trip would be a good place to start since I had a couple hours to kill anyway while on the plane.

I started reading once I was on the plane, a quick ride down to LB from PDX.  The flight wasn't long enough.  The minute I started reading about Sarah/Angel/Tirzah/Amanda I was captivated by the story of this woman.  She was classy (can you even use that word to describe a prostitute?!) yet pathetic.  She was smart yet stupid.  She was being pursued by the most perfect man ever, and she rejected his love over and over again.  I kept thinking how lucky she was to be loved by this man; she didn't deserve him!  After thinking such a thought shame rushed over me.  I certainly don't deserver God's love and sacrafice-- how many times have I rejected his love, command or voice?  How lucky am I to have a God who loves me like Michael loves Sarah!  A Lord who pursues my heart and takes me back overlooking my filth and sin, who is waiting for my whole heart and craves all of me.  This love story is our love story with our Lord and savior Jesus.  The lover of my soul!  I am so undeserving!  And yet he pursues me still.

Going into it, I knew the storyline of Reedeeming Love was the story of Hosea-- his love for Gomer and God's love for us.  I couldn't read fast enough; I brought it with me to the conference and read on my lunch break and every chance I got when we weren't out with work engagements.  I finished it at 2 a.m. the night before I returned to Portland.  I read Hosea on the plane ride home.  I couldn't get enough of the love story; its story belongs to each of us: God's pain and remorse when we tear away from him, and his abundant grace, love, and mercy he washes over us when we return to him.  How gracious of a God we serve.

He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us oh
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

That He loves us,
Oh how He loves us........

~David Crowder Band, "How He Loves" 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oh James...

Tonight's dinner consisted of peanut butter and jelly and goldfish.  I am actually eating the peanut butter and jelly right now.  I guess this is one benefit of being a field traveler's wife...  No endless planning of meals.  Sometimes I wish I had to plan meals, that I had someone to cook for.  I'm sure one day when I have kiddos I'll look back at this time and crave for a night to myself just eating pb&j. :)

Isn't it funny how we always want what we don't have, or wish for something different than our current disposition?  I find myself looking at facebook and looking at pictures of my friends and their families and think, wow...  That is going to be me someday.  Not that I want kids right now, but I do want them one day.  And since I like to know where my life is going and have a general plan for what's ahead, I find myself thinking about this a LOT.  It is strangely enticing to think about being a mother.  What does it feel like?  How will I handle it?  Will I have morning sickness?  Oh I won't be able to handle that.  What will being pregnant be like?  Will my body bounce back?  What if there's something wrong...  I really want to be a stay-at-home mom, but will we be able to afford it?  But I love my job... What will life look like in a couple of years?  How is this going to work out?!

All these questions and doubt race through my mind as I try to figure out the best possible time and way for this all to occur.  And then there's David, my gorgeous husband who also is a huge part of this entire equation.  What does he want?  We always said we'd wait five years.  That's still in the plan.  What if he doesn't want me to stay home?  Where will we be in the next couple years?  I hope we're still here!  Of course we'll still be here, he's not transferring twice in less than 5 years-- that's just not even in the realm of possibility.  Oh all these things are preoccupying my mind.  What is it going to be like...

Then I remember where to seek wisdom from.  In our women's bible study we've been studying James, who speaks specifically of wisdom:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But when asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." ~James 1:5-8

If that isn't plain enough for even me to understand!  How amazing is it that we have a God who loves his children so much and gives them generous gifts when they ask and believe they will receive!  Now I know this doesn't mean he will give me everything I ask for as long as I believe; but I do know that he works together for the good of those who love him, who he called according to his purpose.  He loves us, and he wants his best for us.  He wants us to seek him out and include him in every decision we make as it impacts our future.  As Joy said at bible study last week, "there are NO no-brainers."  God should be a part of every decision!  When we submit to God and come near to him, he will come near to us.  His word promises it. I don't have to worry or fret about how having kids is going to work out or what our life will look like at that time.  I need to ask that God would give both David and me Godly wisdom as we live out our adventure.  I seriously have no idea how God is going to bring motherhood and the workforce and all that comes with that, but I trust that in his perfect plan he will work it out-- if we seek his wisdom and ask him into our decisions.  It is unnatural for me not to want to plan it out.  But as James says, "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  you are  a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'" (James 4:14-15).  'Nough said!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Planning Ahead!

This year my in-laws are coming up for Thanksgiving. I am so excited, because it will feel like a real family holiday. The past couple years we have been invited to my dear friend Alicia's home for a gorgeous meal with her incredible family, so it's not like we have been alone or anything. But this year it will feel like a holiday, because we'll have our family here to share it with. I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving.

Having guests for Thanksgiving also means a TURKEY! Oh goodness if any of you have experienced a Rachel meal you know that it usually tastes fine but that's only because I doctor it up with salt or salad dressing or chocolate. Just ask Ricky and Krista about the flourless cake. David called it chocolate scrambled eggs (but dust some more sugar and cocoa and it really wasn't that bad- or maybe Krista was just saying that b/c she's a good friend). I have potential, really I do. I love reading cookbooks and I really enjoy cooking. I just need the motivation to follow a recipe! So here it is, my motivation... Mike and Diane, my in-laws! They are the most fabulous people so I could really mess up big time and they would eat it and smile and be ever so sweet. But I'd like to do a good job for them. I'd like to serve a legit turkey.  I'd like our home to seem warm and kind of festive; after all, it is Thanksgiving!

My dilemma is that I don't have any experience making a turkey and I don't even have the tools to get the job done.  Am I supposed to do it for the first time ever on Thanksgiving, no trial run and give my guests something I've never made before?  But who wants to eat a trial run turkey and then another one a couple weeks later?!  That's out.  Do I serve the traditional Thanksgiving sides like potatoes and stuffing or do I take on my own twist of them?  I know my in-laws will be happy with whatever I serve them, but this is my first time hosting Thanksgiving so I want it to be special and yummy. 

I called David while he was on the road and asked him if he'd ever made a turkey.  Of course he hadn't, I don't know why I even asked. :)  He suggested we smoke the turkey on our Traeger grill.  Great idea!  That frees up the oven for other stuff!  He said we should get a 14 pound turkey.  Don't know where that number came from but it was spot on b/c all the recipes I looked at were for birds 12-15 pounds. 

Last weekend we went over to some friends' house for Thanksgiving dinner.  It was Thanksgiving in October!  Maggie made a huge 26 pound turkey and it was fabulous.  We all brought sides and drank wine and shared the evening together just chatting in the company of good friends and good food.  She said that it was fairly easy to make, her tip was to take the bird out of the freezer 3 days before cooking it so that it has enough time to defrost.  I'm so glad she told me that.  I probably wouldn't have even thought to do that.

I have about a month to prepare, so I have plenty of time to figure out what to do.  I bought the rosting pan and the thermometer today. :)  I love the holidays.  It means warmth and family and people and excitement to me.  Woo hoo for turkeys and the excuse to be with people we love!

My dining table.  It must be ready for Turkey next month! :) 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Indefinite Home

Oh travelling... I don't know how David does it! We just got back from NYC a couple weeks ago and in two days I am back on the plane to go to CA for the weekend. Two weeks after that, we are leaving again for a weekend trip. And to think he does this all the time, every week. When he travels to Alaska, he flies every day! Whew. It is so much fun and I love being on the go. But I also love to be home. And now that David and I have a real, true home that is ours, I enjoy it so much.

Home has changed every few years for me since I turned 18. My first two years of college, home was a girls dorm room across the street from the gym and pool at Washington State. I shared a room with Taryn, the best roommate in the world and ate meals in what we called the "barfe" (well, it was a buffet, but whatever). Every Tuesday night us freshman swim team gals would sit around the table in the barfe and watch "Felicity" after a long practice. Home was just being around those precious girls in the Regents dorm.

Two years later-- junior year of college I found myself transferring to Florida State. Two of my teammates also transferred there (half our Washington State swim team transferred due to some coaching trouble) and we rented an apartment across the street from Doak Campbell Stadium. We could litterally hear the tailgating from our porch. Home was our little, humble abode on Jackson Bluff Road on the 3rd story, left side. I had an air mattress. Katie brought a couch (soooo comfortable in comparison to my ridiculous air mattress) and Andre-Anne brought all her amazing French Canadian recipes (squeaky cheese? YUM). Us three went through boyfriends, classes, training for NCAA's and ACC's, weekend parties and/or late night chats. We shared everything. Home was friendship; precious friendship with these amazing gals who became my sisters.

After graduation I moved back into my parents house in California while I went to grad school. This time being "home" was temporary because it was my parents' house and not my own space, but it was also pretty 'final' in the location because I knew I would be staying in California indefinitely. I met David, fell in love... I moved to my own small studio apartment (I still call it my "130 Roycroft studio") down by the beach. I still miss that adorable studio. I walked everywhere. I went for runs on the beach. I people watched. I learned to cook. I lived from paycheck to paycheck but managed to save money too. I loved my little home. David surprised me in that small apartment and brought me over my first Christmas tree. We still have that tree and I love unpacking it each year and remembering David walking through the door with a huge box on his shoulder... A Christmas tree for me, for us to enjoy when we were at 130 Roycroft.

Who knew that just a few years later we'd move to Torrance, in our first apartment and then a year later book it to Oregon in our first house. When I look back over all the moves, all the "homes" and all the places we've lived, it's clear to me that home is really where the people you love are. I didn't love Regents dorm, and our Jackson Bluff apartment was on the 3rd floor (try moving a couch and an air mattress in the Florida heat! Ok, well the air mattress wasn't that hard. But the couch?!). Moving back in with my parents, finding my own lovely studio, cramming into a small apartment in the southbay, and jetting up a couple states were all precious, sweet moments of life because they were shared with people I love.

Now that we have an indefinite timeline of how long we'll be here at this home, I am happy to just BE. I am so content to just take a deep breath and know this place is where God has put us for however long he wants us here. I don't doubt he will move and shake us again, but for now I know this is where he wants us. And it's weird. It's weird to me that I'm so happy here. It's weird to me that I am beginning to like our life better here than I did in California. It's strange that we are growing so much and learning more than ever. It's oddly amazing.

People say travelling gives you a deeper respect and appreciation for culture, opens your eyes to the world and is an amazing part of experiencing life to the fullest. I believe all those things. I also think that travelling has enabled David and me to appreciate home. To savor our time. To experience something indefinite. Travelling, while taking David into the field each week-- has actually brought us closer. I look forward to the time when he won't be field travelling and will be home with me each night, but I am grateful for this time. Even if it is but for short breath in our life, I am home and I love it. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Oh sweet summer, how I love you.

Summer is definitely my favorite time of year. Since I moved to the northwest, I especially love summer because the days last so darn long. In the middle of July the sun will go down just before 10 p.m. and it stays WARM all night. It is delightful, and I love it.

Summer also means that people come to visit, or we leave to go on trips. Just last weekend Jake and Beth, my bro and sis came to visit us. I was sooo honored to have them come up. The fact that they bought plane tickets and took time off of work to come up and see David and me spoke volumes to my heart. There are few people in the world that know you like your siblings do. This weekend was just so special to me, to have the two people who I've shared pretty much my entire life with hang out and just share time together was so sweet. I cherished every moment of it; because the older we get I know the fewer and fewer of these moments we'll share. Summer brings those special kind of times.

Summer also means it's David's birthday. Oh yes, this year he turned 29!!! He said it was the last birthday he'll ever have. :) To celebrate, we had a wine tasting party at our house. It was so much fun. We had all the field travellers over, and friends from church, and Jake and Beth. Everyone brought over a bottle of wine, and Beth bagged it so we couldn't see the label. After tasting a bunch of the wine, we voted on our favorite. It was a blast! But hands down the funniest part of the evening was the birthday cake. Oh David. Only David would ask for a BANANA BRAN cake. There is no recipe for this... People make banana bran bread, or banana bran muffins, but not banana bran CAKE! And four layers no less. Yes, the man asked for a four layered, banana bran cake with cream cheese icing. So what did the field traveller's wife do?! She made it! And it was hilarious, because it was just so David. Only David. Yes, Summer means it's David's birthday... And this year it will be remembered by wine tasting and banana bran cake.

All in all, it has been an amazing summer. Sweet, special time with family, celebrations, bike rides, farmer's markets, berries, wine... Now that David and I are our own little family we get to make summer mean something new to us. If it means banana bran cake and wine, then that's ok with me...

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Being busy. Isn't it annoying that everyone around us is always busy?! It's like we are all so important with so many crazy cool things to do that we are in a constant state of busy-ness. I hate this. Are we really that important that we are always "too busy" or jammed packed full?! Unfortunately yours truly is the worst culprit of this. At work I have "too much" going on to stop and connect with the people I work with-- the people who I spend the most of my waking hours with. That is just not right! If I spend 40 hours with these people I should be investing in relationship with them, but no, I am too busy.

My husband often gets the tail end of my attention during the work week because I am so busy with the house and emails and trying to organize my life to sit and have a non-multiple-tasking conversation with him while he's away. What is wrong with this picture? My husband calls to spend time with me, even though it is conversation time and not face to face, it is still time he is taking from his day to communicate and connect to me. And still I am just "so busy".

Tonight a friend of mine came over because the gals from church were going to get together for cooking and movies, two of my favorite things! I had cancelled because I'm leaving for a work trip tomorrow and my flight leaves at 6 am, and I haven't packed or gotten any of the laundry done or exercised or blah blah blah (there I go again being busy!!!). Needless to say I forgot to tell her the gals weren't coming over and felt really bad when she showed up. She was so gracious and of course was super sweet and didn't make me feel bad, but I felt awful. Since when did I become so busy that I forgot about telling a friend something important? Normally I'd say I need a vacation! I'm just too busy! But this got me to thinking... I don't need a vacation. I need to make a choice. I need to choose to be disciplined in my time. This goes for spending time with my husband, time with Jesus and time with people. I walk around like I'm so important and that's why I'm so busy but in reality i have chosen this for myself. I have made myself this busy, and I need to choose if this is how I want to spend my time.

Time is so precious... Let's not waste it being busy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Life Songs

Today I heard Switchfoot's song "Your Love is a Song" three times. Every time I got into my car and turned on the radio, that song was playing at the exact same spot. The third stanza where he sings "Your love is a symphony, all around me, running through me..." The second time I thought, this is weird, the exact same spot in the song, second time in a row, cool because I like this song. The third time, well, I am still wondering what God is trying to teach me through music. Or is it just a funny coincidence?!

Ever since I was a kid God has taught me things through music. Many times it's scripture being played in the tune of a song I love, and He reminds me of what His word says as I'm humming along. There are songs that I cherish because I feel they are a testament to what I strive to have my life mirror, even though I always fall short. When I'm stressed out at work I listen to the radio online and somehow just having those encouraging words in the background of my work are helpful to my day. I am so thankful God created music! "Your Love is a Song" reminded me that God is all around us, and His love is this perfect, beautiful stream that rushes towards us. I have a few old CD's that I made a couple years back with songs that I identify with and wanted my life to reflect. Here are just a few of my lifesongs that I pray my life can sing (in no particular order), because these words are so powerful and because each one has a story:

1. Spoken For- Mercy Me

I was in college when I fell in love with this song. Many of my girlfriends were dating, and I hardly was at all. I was always the type of gal who couldn't casually date. I tried, and it never worked. If I couldn't see it going beyond a few weeks, I couldn't run with it to "see where it goes". I wished I could be that girl, to date just to see what would happen. For some reason, my heart wouldn't let me casually involve myself because I didn't want to hurt anyone and I wanted to guard my heart. I used to pray that the first time I fell in love would be the last because I so dearly wanted my heart to be given to only one man. When I heard this song, I thought, this is so me! My heart is spoken for first by the lover of my soul-- Jesus! And then I met David, and he was the first and last man I gave my heart to. My husband, the only other who has my heart.

2. Carried Away- Sonic Flood

I just love the words. Check it out sometime. Jesus is the reason in my reason and I want to get carried away and jump into the life He has for me head first. It is an amazing song.

3. Magnificent Obsession- Steven Curtis Chapman

The title of this song says it all. What am I obsessed with? Mainly shoes... Okay I'm kidding, but my point is that many times I obsess over things that are meaningless. Let Jesus be my obsession, He is everything.

4. I want to Fall in Love with You- Jars of Clay

Probably my favorite lifesong. Let me fall more in love you Lord each and every day.

5. All Because of This- Mercy Me

Again, in college I found Mercy Me and immediately loved their music. This song is all about what this life means and who it all came from. It's all because of Jesus. Nothing else is here except for Him! I need to remember his unfailing love every day and hold onto it.

6. Lord have Mercy- Amy Grant & Michael W. Smith

My mom listened to Amy Grant when I was a kid, so I always had an affinity towards her and her music. I was so disappointed and sad when she got divorced. She was kind of like a small hero to me growing up because my parents had every album she every wrote and I heard her "grow up" through her music. This song is such a beautiful melody of God's forgiveness and mercy on us, a story of his love for us.

7. While I'm Waiting- John Waller

When we moved to Portland all I did was wait, or at least that's how I felt. In some ways, I still feel like I'm waiting but I think we will always be waiting for something... Waiting for heaven! Really though, throughout the move up here I really learned that God can teach us so much even through our wait. Wait upon the Lord is what His word says, and even in my waiting God encouraged me.

8. Speechless- Steven Curtis Chapman

I wish that every day I was speechless of God's love and grace. It really is amazing when I think about it, but I take it for granted so much. When I hear this song I want my life to be one of gratitude and awe of the amazing God we serve.

9. Be Still and Know that He is God- Steven Curtis Chapman

Sometimes I try to control things, and many times God just says "lay it down girl and let me do my thing!" Sometimes I just need to be still and know he is who he says he is, and he LOVES me.

10. Forever- Tim Hughes

Just the words of this song make me smile. Forever is going to be so cool in heaven.

11. I Will Hold On- Steven Curtis Chapman

Regardless of what life brings my way, I want to hold on to Jesus. It is much easier said than done. But that's why these are lifesongs, a GOAL of what I want my life to sing about. :)

12. Oh How the Years go by- Amy Grant

This song reminds me of my mom. Her best friend moved away when I was 10, and my mom cried and listened to this song. I know it sounds like a sad story, but I learned so much from mom at that point. Life keeps moving on, even when you want it to stand still. The life and love people bring to each stage of your life is something to be cherished and I have learned that myself in my 28 short years of life.

13. Where You Lead Me- Mercy Me

I hope that I will listen to where God leads me. I want to go where He is. I don't want anything less than His best!

Those are my lifesongs and a window into my soul.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Home :)

Home is different things to different people. To George Clooney on "Up in the Air", home was the airport, a plane, a hotel, anything that wasn't his actual mortgage. There was a familiarity with being unattached to the ground and on the go. That movie reminded me so much of my husband; I think he has actually quoted some of the lines from good ole George and he hasn't even seen the film! His field travelling creates cravings for the Doubletree cookies, a fondness for Neutrogena shampoo, credit cards with thousands of points, and a habit for not making the bed. Even though he's got a liking towards these things and hardly ever even fully unpacks his suitcase, he still tells me he loves being home. I smile when I hear him say "I'm ready to come home!"

When he actually gets home, however, sometimes it's a bit of adjusting. Sometimes it's been 4 days since we've slept in the same bed and been around each other. I've developed a habit for stealing the covers, which I guess is better than whacking him in the face in the middle of the night which used to be my routine. I would say "I can't help it! I'm just not used to you being there when I sleep!" That might sound completely messed up to other married people, but to you field travellers or significant others of field travellers-- you understand!

This week is month end, and David's cousin was in town over the weekend, so he is home all week. It is totally fun having the husband home because its so different! It reminds me of being a kid and when my dad would go away on a business trip, which he only did every few months. Those nights we'd get to stay up late and have a slumber party in mom's huge bed for the night. It's kind of like that when David is home for the week. I forgo the housework, get excited to get off work, and think about cooking something for dinner (gasp). One time David surprised me and came home a day earlier than expected. I was so excited I screamed, partly because I was so happy and partly because I didn't expect another person to be coming into the house. It is a lovely thing to be together in the evenings.

Sometimes I feel like I'm missing out on a real life together since he's gone so much, other times I feel like this is our life and it really is pretty amazing so I should be grateful we are so lucky. When he's home it's like a mini vacation (once we get used to each other again that is! :)) but then sometimes I just wish we had the regular every day stuff together. Like taking out the trash on Trash day, or watering the plants, watching the Biggest Loser, or him coming to watch me teach swim lessons one night. These are all things that happen during the week, when he's in the field and only gets to hear about how exciting my life is LOL. :) I want to play softball on a summer league or kickball or take ballroom dancing lessons but these are all things you do throughout the week too, and we can't do them together since he travels. One of his coworkers has been a field traveler for 10 years... Is this really our 5-10 year plan?

All that being thought and now said aloud on electronic paper, I am super happy that the man is home for the week. Even though it's month end and he won't be here until late tonight, he'll still be here for me to steal the covers from in my sleep. :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Here he is, my favorite field traveller... My adorable husband David. Yes, that's a lot of wine in the picture! :) We went to a wine tasting event last weekend. One of the perks of being married to a traveller is that they make up for being gone by taking you on trips or weekend excursions with all their travel points! Oh David would probably disagree and say that he makes up for that in other ways 'wink wink' but that's just the guy in him coming out ha! We got to taste all the local Washington state wines that were being judged for awards. David was in heaven. He loves a good Syrah or Malbec. I can't believe I just said that. A year ago, before we moved here, we wouldn't have known the difference!
The trips and mini vacations are super fun, yet being married to a traveller brings its own set of interesting dynamics to marriage. Although we've been married for two and a half years, we've only just begun to get into the swing of being married. Every 6 months it seems we've had a big change occur and then it takes some time getting used to. We both have had huge job changes in the past year and a half, moved, bought a home, David finished his MBA... And now here we are, finally slowing down and just being in one place for a while. Getting used to just being and being okay with things staying the same for a bit. Figuring out each other when it's been four days since we've seen each other. For instance, we made a deal that Friday nights are chill nights, since that's when David comes home and he's tired of being out on the road and eating in restaurants. He just wants to chill and eat cereal on the couch. By Friday, I am ready to go out since I've been at home all week and am ready to go out on the town. So we compromised and Saturday is our night to go out. Or the fact that I am home so I'm constantly organizing and re-organizing our house, so when he comes home he can't find anything because most likely, I've moved it. He may come home and there's not much in the fridge, because either I haven't gone to the store or the food's gone bad since I'm the only one eating it (oh but there will always be cheese. I adore cheese. And berries too!). I wonder if these are normal things all couples deal with just on a different scale. Or is this just the life of a field traveller's wife?
I love this man so very much. I mean look at him, he's a hunk! :) Here he is outside on our deck, after we'd had dinner with friends outside on one of the few warm nights we've had here in Oregon. He even cleaned up the kitchen after dinner and went with me to a local farm to pick strawberries earlier in the day. What man will sacrafice a portion of his afternoon to pick berries for goodness sake?! This field traveller is a gem. And I am lucky to be his wife. :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010


It's Tuesday and I am still on a high from the weekend. Don't you love it when your weekend is so relaxing that by Tuesday you still feel refreshed?! I took last Friday off from work and slept in, drank coffee (one of my vices), worked out and then went to an event with David and the other field travelers and their wives. It was an event to celebrate the past year's service excellence for the dealers, so I got to meet a lot of the contacts that David works with on a daily basis. I also caught up with the other wives, met one of the guys' new girlfriends (she was super adorable and sweet) and ate this yummified shrimp pasta. And who can complain, who doesn't love a free cocktail party and an excuse to wear heels?!

I crave community. Community with friends, with God, at work, with my church. I am still in the process of building this here. As a field traveler's wife I feel like I do belong to a community, but that particular community is centered around my husband's job-- and job's come and go (hopefully it's here to stay for a while in this economy!). I crave the kind of community you share life with-- people you are silly and fun with but can be serious and possibly cry with. People you go grocery shopping with and out on the town with, people you have over for dinner and are okay with eating leftovers. The kind of people that are family without necessarily being from the same blood. I experienced this when I was in college. As a part of the swim team at Florida State, I was surrounded by a close group that did everything together. Amy Lo is still one of my best bosom friends that I talk to weekly. Those people were my family and we shared experiences that no one else will ever "get" or understand. Like I'm sure the term "RFOC" or "Greatest guy in the world" or "taste of heaven" doesn't mean anything to the next person, but it means the world to those of us who shared our every moment together swimming and sleeping and eating and goofing off. We were a tight knit group that trained, ate, slept, laughed, screamed mad and got super silly with each other all day every day. After college it's different. It's not as convenient to hang out when everyone has jobs or boyfriends/husbands and then before you know it start having kids. You have to put effort into your friendships or they begin to slowly fade away, and then suddenly the group of amazing besties that you shared life with for 4 years is all over the globe and facebook is the only way you keep in touch (I love facebook, but it's not my idea of real community). It becomes more of a challenge to get out and meet new people and stretch outside our little box. I don't want to be like this. I want to feel uncomfortable and slightly out of place, because that means I'm expanding my ideals, reaching out to new people. I want my home to be a warm, fun place to be real with each other. That is what community means to me.

Since David and I moved to Portland, we have slowly been able to build community here with new friends. Ricky and Krista, Ryan and Stephanie, Tony and Sarah, those people are a huge part of our community here. I think it's hard for a woman (or anyone for that matter) to move to a new spot and find a new bestie, a ta-da friend who just "clicks" and immediately is a bosom friend. Krista is this friend to me. Actually Krista and I are crazily similar. When we moved up here, Krista and her husband Ricky were the first real non-field-traveler friends we met. Now she is one of my closest friends. I want to be more like her, really. She is super fun, incredibly organized (who carries around a label maker in their purse?) and just a happy person. She loves God and really tries to serve her husband and the other people around her. It's just so easy to be around her. Don't you love those kind of friends that you feel like you can just sit and be, and it's always normal, interesting and you don't have to fill the air with small talk? Last week we made a quiche because we wanted to be French and feel like Julia Child. It bubbled over and the oven started smoking, so we opened the windows and the oven, which caused the quiche to take an extra hour to set. At 9:00 we were finally eating our masterpiece. I am so glad I have a friend like Krista who enjoys eating quiche admist smoke-- and feels that it adds character to the whole experience of French cuisine. :) These kind of friendships are priceless, and her friendship has made me believe that I can have the kind of community I thought I'd never have again. Yay for new friendship!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Month End"

Tonight is what everyone in the field calls "Month End." This means that all the field travelers and their regional management get together and eat a greasy but yummified meal, all the while counting each vehicle their dealers sell until closing time. Then they release the total number sold for the month, and you can read about it in the business section of your newspaper the next day.

Month end doesn't really mean that much to me except that it means David gets to be home, even if he doesn't get here until after 10 p.m. He usually brings me some left overs from their dinner, and while I snack on the PF Changs or pizza (or sometimes sweets from Cupcake Jones in downtown Portland, that is my favorite) we talk about our day. I usually dish about the office drama from my work or what it will be like having kids one day, or maybe about our plans for the weekend or how we are going to be more involved in our church. Yes, I probably talk about all of those things in one sentence and he looks at me like I'm crazy, but I have to get it all in because by the next day he'll be back on the road. :)

I envision month end to be a fun catch up party. If I was a field traveler, month end would just be a gab fest to see what everyone's been up to. It's the one day out of the month that the entire region is in the office, so there's lots of catching up to do. See, the field gets most of their people from corporate. Since most of the other field travelers get transplanted up here without knowing a soul in Portland, they kind of bond together like little kids with a secret handshake. Us wives bond too. We are like a little family. And while we don't really hang out all that much together, we have each other's back and keep up with what's going on. They all helped us move when we bought our first house. We get together for the Super Bowl or have Christmas parties. We understand the kind of life it is coming and going, packing and unpacking. I adore these people, they are special. So month end to me seems like fun.

I try to have the house clean when David comes home from travelling so he doesn't think I've been sitting on my butt blogging while he's been away (if he only knew!). Since it's month end tonight, that means I have about 2 hours before he comes through the door. I hear the laundry room calling my name...

Monday, May 24, 2010

1.5 years and counting!

It's been a year and half since I have been a field traveler's wife. A beautiful disaster that has turned out to be quite interesting and actually really fun. The past year and a half has proven to be the most trying, but definitely the most rewarding as well.

My friend Sarah and I were talking one night about our husbands (well, she's engaged so soon enough he'll be her husband) and their jobs. Their work requires them to be away in what corporate jargon refers to as "the field". No, it isn't a grassy knoll with flowers and wheat (although some of the places they visit are in the middle of such), rather it is a group of car dealerships in the Pacific Northwest. My husband, David, covers mostly eastern Washington and northern Idaho. He gets on a plane either Monday or Tuesday and flies back home on Friday. When that movie "The Time Traveller's Wife" came out Sarah and I laughed because to some extent, we can relate!

This is not a blog to disrespect David's job. I actually love his job because he's happy doing it, and it's a great feeling to know my husband is happy with his work. There are just some things that make life interesting being a wife of a travelling husband. Like the time my boss asked me about Wolfgang Puck coffee. See, no one drinks Wolfgang Puck coffee. Well, not the normal person, I don't know where you would buy it since I've never seen it in a grocery store. But at hotels, well, they must serve it, because David constantly comes home with it and the branded paper cups and sleeves. I show up to work with my coffee in hand, and it always has a Wolfgang Puck coffee sleeve because I have tons of these things around my kitchen that he brings home. And how do you explain this to your boss without going into all this detail...? I guess it could be summed up in that I am a field traveler's wife, so my house has lots unknown items (to say the least)! About 100 weird brands of shampoo. And individually wrapped toilet paper that is either pretty or pretty smashed. Come to think of it we haven't had to buy toilet paper since he got this job. I know, most people wouldn't take home the toilet paper. My husband does!

And so here we have it, the stories and tidbits from my life... The field traveler's wife.
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