Tuesday, November 24, 2009


So, Don's birthday was really fun. I made two cakes one lemon and one chocolate and invited my great aunt Molly and great uncle Al over to share in the festivities. We ended up putting some candles on the lemon cake and singing for Molly too because her birthday was later that week. My mom told me it was her 72, but it was actually her 82nd, which made for some really good laughs. Molly couldn't believe we all thought that she was really 72. She is such a gem.

Work is monotonous. Sometimes I want to go live in a jungle and not shower for a few weeks, just to get outside of the norm. Oh, how sweet it is that I have Thurs and Fri off for Thanksgiving :) Yea!

Amy (Don's sis) and David will be here today from San Diego. They will stay for several days. Today Donovan is picking them up and taking them to Voo Doo Doughnuts, I may try to go too and make it my early lunch break :)

This weekend will be great! We will go to my sister Steph's house for Thanksgiving day and then to Don's aunt's that evening to see family including Amy and David, and our little cousin Kev who always wants to play play play (my way of getting out of playing on the trampoline for hours is to wear a dress every time I come over, lol). Then we are off to the beach for Fri-Sat or Sun, depending on who drives Amy and David to the airport. This is the BIG family gathering on Donovan's mom's side where we eat endlessly, play cards (and gramma kicks my butt), and we are forced every year to do a talent show, yikes! I still don't know what our talent will be this year.

I hope you are all as excited for a long weekend and Thanksgiving as I am. Nothing beats a holiday meant for family and food! :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Don and I had fun playing house on Halloween and hosting trick-or-treaters coming by. We loved seeing the little ones. One forgot his line and said "Happy Halloween!" another one waddled because he was so little and had on such a big firefighter outfit, cuteness!

We made really cute pumpkins kissing each other and ate some candy while watching the U of O game on TV. Wow, we STOMPED USC. It was great.

Dimen doesn't love Halloween, but it's ok.

Tonight is another celebration, Don's bday! I will post more later after our celebrations :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


One of my favorite things about working at my job is being inspired by the clients I work with. They do really hard work every day of the week. I was more aware of this when I first started working there, but I am reminding myself that the little lessons we teach our clients are lessons we can benefit from too. So in light of that I will add a list of things to be grateful for in my life just because... (and one friend did this on her blog this week and it was a good reminder!).

I'm grateful for:
1. beautiful trees on my drive to work. I love to see the change over time! Right now it's a rainbow of colors on each tree.
2. My husband! He is becoming a better cook and has been working really hard to keep me fed and happy lately :)
3. Dimen. She is my mom's dog and she is a sweetheart. I love how her whole body wags when she sees me coming home.
4. My family. My mom has been so helpful this last season and we are grateful for the time we have had with her.
5. being able to continue in my field of work and be employed at a place with a great staff and to be paid ... all in this really rough economy!
6. 6 months of free supervision that my previous supervisor offered me, he's awesome!
7. health!

What are you grateful for?

Friday, October 16, 2009

life update

Don and I are living with my mom right now saving money. Our first plan was to buy a house before 11/30 when the tax credit runs out. Turns out we don't have enough employment right now (I just got my job at De Paul and Donovan is looking) and Portland has a tough job market. So we are so grateful to my mom, and so anxious to see how this step leads to other things that God is doing that we seem to not always be aware of :)

We are planning on moving back into the same community we lived in before. Same complex, new building. We will have a 1 bedroom this time, and with the economy being bad right now they have a huge sale, so we feel super blessed that this happened at just the right time. So we're excited, truly, to have our apartment community back, glad to not be underemployed and over stretched financially and so excited to move in (free cable, sauna, hot tub, pretty walking trails, and a convenience to work, friends/family, and fun places on the west side that we grew accustomed to within the last year).

I felt before that "permanency" in our mid twenties (Don's 26th is in two weeks!) was impossible without owning a home. But my mind has shifted and I really feel like our apartment will be our home in every way and the house thing was just my plans, not God's. In the meantime our 10 week stay with mom so far (we will move in the first week of Nov) has saved money in so many ways and I have enjoyed some communal living, some reminders of childhood, and some things we can't get when we are out on our own (puppy kisses, for one!).

So our address will be a bit different than it was last year (different number and apartment letter, but same street and city)... we will update you more via email as the time gets closer. I'm looking forward to this transition.


Death seemed so mysterious, so impossible to me for so long. Maybe that's the part of being a child and a young adult, thinking that the world is yours to create with and nothing will ever end.

Since my father died I have found myself from time to time watching the world pass by in slow motion, often when I'm driving, I'll see people on the sidewalk, people in their cars, people I can observe without others knowing I see them and I realize, we will all die.

It's not sad, it's just true. We all die. And the Bible says our life is a breath in comparison to eternity. I like thinking about that, about my dad having a very wonderful and healthy breath with God and then suddenly my mother will show up in heaven, and in another breath so will I, my sisters, my brother in laws, and my husband.

I saw a man when I was thinking about these things sitting under the fall trees one morning on my commute to downtown just looking around and enjoying things. I realized how short life is, how very seriously I take my life and create stress when it doesn't need to be there, and how it might serve a much better purpose for me to live life in light of these things instead of marching along without a stillness and a peace that comes from this realization.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I recently read Donald Miller's new book. It was very inspiring. Basically (without ruining it for you) it simultaneously discusses what stories are and why they are important inspiration, criticizes the American status quo, and makes you want to just straight up do something with your life. After reading the book I was pleasantly (is this possible?) shocked and appaled when reading this article on Miller's blog. Needless to say, I have a lot of growing to do in my life.

But where to get started? Work in the therapy realm can be exhausting stuff. Often unappreciated hard work. Is being drained and doing something great for the less fortunate God's calling for us? I'm not sure. I do know that therapists who have rich friendships and support networks, who are constantly learning (about leaves and trees and their beauty as much as recent research and how it applies) are those that are excellent - not just good - at their jobs.

Today we spent some time in Forest Park. We were pleased to find a quiet and fun road on the way up, to find leaves that had started turning already, and to find dry ground under the forest roof although it rained this morning. I think God calls us to be with Him, and I think I experience that in the most deep way when I am hiking in the trees far removed from anything to do with the city.

I'm compiling my list now of things that really make me engage, things that are difficult but will make for a good story in my life (rather than just staring at the TV, which I admit, I do too much of now!). Somehow, in some context, being in Uganda and supporting my brothers and sisters there is a part of my story. So is working as a therapist, even when I don't fully understand that. I'm just not sure what else at this point...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall is here

So I am back from my summer break from blogging. Fall is in the air and I'm so excited to say it's the first day of fall!

I'm now working at De Paul which is a drug and alcohol center in downtown Portland. I am the family therapist (one of four) and I work mostly with couples and parents/adult children. I also do a women's group where their family members are invited and they learn about how addiction affects families and support one another in recovery. It has been challenging, new, hard, and exciting. Working with other really sharp clinicians who have totally different experience and academic background has been one of the best parts.

September is a month we have not fully experienced here yet together, since we moved from LA 11 months ago. It is definately my favorite month! The air is warm and the days are sunny (but not too hot) and it is crisp and cold in the mornings. Ahhh.

Donovan and I have also enjoyed spending more time with my mom lately, now that we are living with her. We have enjoyed walking and playing with Dimen regularly too. She is such a gentle dog. I will post funny pics as soon as I can.

I hope you are all doing well and had a fun summer! Let me know how you are doing!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

busy bee

So work is busy... and so great! The thing I want to communicate here though is that my new job is rad, my boss is the bomb, my coworkers are great, my closest coworkers (all family therapists and all Christian ladies) are even greater (one is from Enterprise, to boot). I think I enjoy remembering it being 10am and then not knowing how it got to be 4pm, that happened today! I definitely enjoy being downtown and eating at food carts every day! It's really engaging and the clients are so grateful for their services and I feel like it's such a good fit for me to be there.

Today one of the long term clinicians left the agency today and as they all did their termination/processing the top boss lady talked about spirituality and work as a therapist and how we all should feel called in our being to be a better person as we work... summing it all up by saying "we get paid to learn about ourselves and become better people!" I love this place. Although I would potentially make about 40% of what I would make doing private practice if I kept this job over my entire career, I am still seriously considering never changing jobs, it's that perfect of a fit. Who knows, maybe some years down the road from now things will change. Maybe.

In the meantime I'm getting in 5-10 client hours a week in my private practice. So I'm kinda a workaholic, although I despise that word, what it represents, and never thought I would say that about myself. In fact, I pride myself on not being that person in a lot of ways. But duty calls for now, and for a while there Donovan and I only had those two jobs to depend on. Although just within the last few days he has gotten paid for an old job AND received another project to work on.

Don is learning to cook and cleaning more in the meantime. We are also moving out of our apartment in two weeks to save some money and look for our own house. Pray for us on this big endeavor, our transition period, and our financial situation!

Right now I am sitting on my porch, about to do my session notes for the evening and enjoying the last bit of summer sunshine of the day feeling very tired, content, and excited.

For the future: we are going to Seattle to visit my great friend Lindsey who will leave for Africa for a year soon. Pray for our travels and for our time with her and as a couple while we're in Seattle. Also, Donovan and I celebrate 3 years on the 22nd. This also is a prayer request because this time of year often brings up big questiosn for us while we do an (informal) evaluation of where we want to go in the next year and what our plans are.

I love you all!

Friday, June 12, 2009


This lady is incredible and so inspiring to me. Kinda reminds me of going to Costco with Ruby and being super convicted about my use of plastic :) !


The author talks about giving in and buying a tube of toothpaste because homemade toothpaste tastes terrible. What are the things you would draw the line on if you did a month without plastic?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

another way to live life to it's fullest...?

I made a deal with myself to live life to its most before I start my job. There are just so many things that you can do when your schedule is flexible and you work mostly evening hours. For example, my favorite coffee shop is open 9-4pm... crazy, I know! Over the last week I have traveled to a beautiful part of Portland I have never visited before in the West hills, gone to my favorite meat market that is 45 minutes away, went to my first Oregon MFT meeting, watched my cousin's dance recital (and went to a soccer and baseball tournament), and gotten a million ridiculous chores done that I was putting off.

And then I got the flu!

I guess it's better to have it now and start my job later in June rather than try to do two jobs and be sick at the same time. So I'm trying to look at this as another thing I am checking off my list... being really sick! In the meantime I am watching way too much TV, sleeping, and trying to eat.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I got the job!

Here is the story in a nutshell for those of you who may not know it. I walked at graduation in June of 08 for Fuller, although I still needed more practicum hours to be a MFT in Oregon so I did the summer term too. How anti-climactic to walk at a graduation when I am not fully completed with my work. I worked at two sites during the summer and did one course. During that time (Jun-Sep of 08) I started looking for jobs in Oregon online, thinking (oh so innocently!) that I would find one and be able to start in Oct of 08 in Portland when I moved here.

When all of Sept, Oct and Nov had rolled by and I still did not have a job, I opened a lease to rent space for a private practice. My thoughts were it would just be temporary while I applied to some jobs in the area. Then the economic crisis hit. Then all mental health funds were comprimised in the State of Oregon. Then all the clinics eliminated jobs, cut funding and some even closed their doors. Then in Feb of 09 I finally got interviewed at two places at once to my delight! One of them said they wanted to hire me then hired someone else. The other eliminated the position after they chose me as their top pick. Then my father died. It seemed to me that my private practice would have to become full time if I were to ever have work.

Although I never stopped hoping for more work in my private practice, at this point I really turned on the heat. I spent more money that month on marketing than I ever had before. I started seeing couples as well as individuals. I went from having 4-5 clients a week to having 10 client contact hours every week.

In the midst of this I got an email from a friend telling me about De Paul's open position. Casually, I sent in my resume thinking my chances were small. I did 4 hour-long interviews for De Paul and kept my emotions guarded, remembering what happened at the previous two places and praying that whatever was supposed to happen with De Paul would happen. At this point new unemployment numbers come out in the States saying the national unemployment rate is worsening, now last compared to unemployment in 1982. I am sober in realizing the competition I have in full time therapist positions in the Portland area and how my practicums are not the best on paper expereince compared to other therapists I'm competing with positions for.

Over the next two weeks my small group pray along with Donovan and I that God would make this possible. My group believed in me when I lost hope and faithfully said "You WILL get it!" After exactly 12 months of job searching (so exhausting!) I was so worn out. After the last interview they said they would call me that afternoon (Friday) with the news. I didn't hear from them all weekend. Then Monday passed by. Then Tuesday. I thought I might call them to check in, but I didn't know what I would say. I waited. Weds afternoon they called and gave me the job!

I'm now a full time employee for De Paul Treatment Centers :)

I will be doing both in-patient and out-patient family and individual therapy focused on drug and alcohol treatment. All I have to say is Yea God. The odds were not good for me in many ways but you provided a job and with that financial stability, the ability to use my learned skills, a stable schedule (which I live for!), and every single thing that the income from that job will provide. And I thank you.

Monday, June 1, 2009

oregon in the summertime

I have to warn you. Life in Oregon is different because when the weather warms up, everyone evades all responsibility and plays in the sun. It's true. So if you don't hear from me too much on my blog you can better believe I will be doing one of the below activities, as I was doing some of these this weekend, instead of blogging.

sun bathing
eating, reading, or playing games on my patio
having a cocktail
going for a run or walk
playing bocce, frisbee, or frisbee golf
going to a park
vintage shopping on Belmont

Isn't it ironic that when life gets cool enough to blog about you don't want to sit down and blog it out?

In true note format I will continue, since the last one was so fun. Some things I used to do as a kid in Portland that I truly miss doing (most of them that my dad facilitated/paid for):

water skiing
boating and then going for a picnic somewhere pristine
more camping!
(one thing I don't miss is long trips to Kah-nee-ta!)

I miss him.

Well, I'm off for a run. It's going to be in the 80s and high 70s all week :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Our time at the farm was so relaxing. We hung out with the three dogs and had so much fun. We watched movies, went to an awesome natural hot springs in the mountains, toured around the area and saw Tamarak in progress, saw the "dong dong diddily dong" town (as my sis calls it) and laughed at their different accents (secretly of course), and ate A TON. I had great bacon fresh from the farm and lots of homemade foods. Yum. I learned how Paula has to be a little creative sometimes when she doesn't have a lot of stores nearby and how her food is actually a ton better and fresher! It's so inspring. Paula said when we left the puppy, Rex, moped all day and was sad that we weren't coming back. I miss him too! The bred of dog they have is amazing and so smart, it makes me want one too. Maybe it's a good thing I haven't bought a dog yet! (You'll have to see my facebook pics and check out my pics from the weekend including Rex and the two other doggies)

In other news, I am still waiting for my 4th interview to be scheduled, whew! It's hard to be patient. This is definately a season of waiting, which is hard for me, but I'm trying.

Last but not least, I'm coming to Pasadena in June! I'm so excited! I will post again about things I'm hoping to do/things I want to eat/people I must see as the time gets closer. It will be June 17-23. I can't wait to see my LA friends!

Friday, May 22, 2009

memorial day!

You know you're married to a Canadian when...

D: I have to work Friday, Mon, and Tues... are we doing anything?
E: Yeah, we're going away for Memorial Day weekend. Tell him it will have to be bumped to Fri, Tues, Weds.
D: Memorial Day is this weekend?
E: Yeah.
D: Well I can't just tell him I'm off on Monday!
E: Yeah you can.
D: So Memorial Day is on what day?
E: Monday.
D: Does everyone get Monday off?
E: Yeah, pretty much!
D: Oh
Cue discussion on what Memorial Day means.

This is how most of our American holidays unfold year after year. I hate to say that as comical as this may seem, living in the midst of it is usually not very funny to me. #111 why things are different being married to a Canadian... why is it that none of my American friends believe me when I say this? It's true! Most of the time it's really good though... for example, my husband cares about the international news, realizes that our cultural lens is often small and selfish and acknowledges it in the moment, and highly values education more so than most Americans our age do.

We plan on going to Council, ID this weekend and having a fun time with Steph, Scotty, and his parents at their farm. Surely fun photos will follow upon our return. Happy Memorial Day all!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

job update

Good news: I just got a call back from the clinic I interviewed at and they want to do a 4th interview. I think they have chosen me as the person to fill the position but just haven't said it directly yet. I'm trying not to get too excited but ... I AM. Hopefully this means more hours toward licensure, more experience, more stimulation professionally, more money, and possibly ... (drumroll please) a house in the near future.

More good news: I have 8 clients now and a great new marketing tool, my website! When it rains it pours! I am almost a little scared to be too successful in my private practice right now because just as soon as things are picking up I may need to slow things down a bit so I can work more in the new position. Whew! This is a better problem than the under-employment problem, but I think I will need to make sure I am making a good balance for my life and taking care of myself.

Praise God! He heard our prayers.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

mom time

Lately I've been introducing my mom to cool things in Portland that she's been missing out on. The lady has lived in Portland her whole life and has never shopped on Alberta St?! Had brunch in LO? This is wrong. Granted she's been caregiving for my dad for 5.5 years, so it's been a rough patch. But with mother's day, her birthday and two different ladies dates I have had so much fun with her in the last month. Here's to the lady who gave me life, who has amazing legs, who just paid off her house!, and who I'm taking out for a meal this morning. I love you.

Friday, May 15, 2009

therapist blog

My new blog as a thearpist is at this site. You should check it out! My website is almost ready too. I'm so excited to release it! I'll let you all know when it happens.


Wish me luck today. I have another interview with DePaul Treatment Center!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

waiting period

Another weekend has flown by and the warmer weather has brought fun new things: baseball games and jerky, Mother's Day and crepes, flowers on the porch, frisbee in the park, kids playing outside, and neighbors with their "hello"s as we all go on our daily strolls. So fun!

Yesterday was my longer day of work: supervision and four clients. I'm still hoping and waiting for a response from the place I interviewed at last week. It was a hard interview but I really liked the supervisor and their theoretical perspective. In the meantime there have been some coffee shop dates, website planning, and wishful thinking on my part to get away from the monotony of our daily life for a few days. I didn't realize how disappointing it was to not be able to come see friends in LA this March. Now the desire to catch up with old friends, see a new place in the country, and play in a swimming pool is consuming me. When can we go?!

I guess the ambiguity of being a contractor and/or being under employed is what really consumes me. There is no vacation, there's no real hope for change, there's nothing saying that the next contract won't come for months (also nothing saying we won't still be contracting in another year). When there are houses for sale in the $200-230K price range all over the Portland metro area and a $8K tax credit (if purchased before 11/30/09) it makes it all the harder to just wait and say... ok, God... whenever you want to give us work... however you do it... we trust and follow you. It's torture.

I guess that's the honest assessment of how I'm feeling right now. I thought grad school was supposed to be the hard waiting period and afterward you were supposed to be able to do what you love, work in your field, and (call me crazy) make money. Sigh. Turns out this is a waiting period too. Wait for a job... wait for a family... wait for a dog... wait to visit friends... wait.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

just another Thursday

8am wake up and cuddle
9am shower
10am coffee with two friends from WPC
12pm office time next door (catch up on some paperwork), I love that it's only a step away
3pm time for another haircut! I will post pics later this week
5pm see clients for a few hours
8pm Thursday night TV starts, it's very likely that Donovan will listen from the office and I will be in the living room... the blessing/curse of having an at home office (he's STILL going on that "10 hour project" from last week, I hope he gets paid for his hours!)

It's so strange to have my day flip flopped, doing work at night and personal stuff during the day. There's something in me that says "this isn't productive!" even though it is. I wonder if that will ever go away.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Coffeehouse 5

We went to NoPo yesterday, checked out another coffee shop on the espresso map. They use Cafe Vita beans there, reminds me so much of Seattle and Lindsey. I loved the day yesterday. It reminded me of the last two years and exploring around LA with Don. We found a farmer's market and basked in the sunshine on a little hill and listened to live music with little kiddos running around. We drove the neighborhoods of N, NE, and SE looking at houses and found two good finds in Ladd's for around $260K asking price. We even found ourselves in the Pearl eating at a veggie burrito place and eventually in SW for church in the evening. We were laughing about how many spots in the Portland area we could hit in one day! It was all spontaneous (besides going to get coffee) and really fun. I want to do it again!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

ladies day!

This weekend I met up with my mom, her friend Rose, and her daughter Tara for brunch at Francis. Tara and I have known each other our whole lives, our mom's met when they were pregnant with us when they were taking their children (Stephanie and Ty) to pre school. It was so wonderful to enjoy conversation with these women this Saturday, it takes no time before I feel that we are back to where we were years ago just chatting away. We enjoyed a really yummy brunch and walked almost all of Alberta St looking at the shops. I had no idea that so many local designers sold their clothing and jewelry on Alberta St. It's really a great place for creative finds.

In other news, Donovan has been working on a project all weekend and has been slaving away making sure everything gets done. What originally was only a 10 hour project is still going... he worked on it all day Friday, Saturday, and now is still in there as of Sunday morning. I'm quite sure he has exceeded those 10 hours, but still needs to do some more work. I realized that I don't like contracting as much as I thought I did... there is a vacillation between no work at all and tons of work with no respect for plans or weather or doing things in metered moderation.

Good news: I can breathe out of both nostrils and have started running again. I'm so glad the worst is over with my sinus infection. I sleep better now too now that my sinuses aren't plugged. Actually, the scariest thing of all is to brush your teeth when your sinuses are plugged, it's like holding your breath! Along with starting my daily runs again I am counting calories. I'm such an old lady! I realized that I am gaining weight again and this may be the only way to maintain or lose weight so I am buckling down and doing it. For now I have a moderate amount of calories each day, so it's not likely that I am going to lose weight soon. The good news is I won't keep gaining it. I'm still learning how to count things and it has brought to my attention what things really are good for you and what things are not. If this lesson brings nothing but awareness about what I put in my body I still will have learned a lot. I'm planning on running one or two half marathons this June/July so I am slowly starting my training for that.

As far as my work goes, I am putting together a website with Donovan and it is coming into its final stages of completion. We have already purchased the domain. I also talked with a Portland LMFT who wants me to start seeing individual clients at his offices and collaborating with him. So we'll see how that goes. It is good to feel like I am feeling more comfortable with my schedule and getting into a stride... knowing more what my week is going to look like and how I am going to manage things.

Little things still crop up regarding my sadness and loss that my dad is gone. Today I saw a picture of our whole family on the day that I was born, my dad smiling over me. That one always gets to me. He is so happy. His favorite show will come on, or something funny will happen that I want to tell him, or I'll have a question to ask him or a favor that I want to request from him. The feeling that comes up when I realize that can't happen because he's gone now is strange and undescribable. Maybe I feel like that hope for connection with him goes into oblivion. It's definately something I'm still learning to work through.

Happy Sunday friends!

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Fun times with Steph, Scotty, and Don.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

my sinuses own me

Since Monday I have been feeling the allergy blues. Lewis, are you out there? Do you feel me on this one? Ugh, it's terrible. It makes me want to run to the beach. I think we're going to wait until tomorrow though so we can be there when the sun is shining.

Yesterday was the worst. It all caught up with me. I didn't do anything productive after 2pm. Donovan made dinner, cleaned the house, took care of me, and even made rhubarb pie before our strawberries went bad. Isn't he the best? I got to eat rhubarb pie in bed, it was fun. Although I would rather have a new and not congested head so I can go run and play and bike. I think it's the perfect storm of my bad allergies, reintroduction after two springs of living in LA where my allergies were better, and current stress (including my earlier in the week battle with the dog hair in the car, bad idea!).

I found this helpful website to let me know which days are worst than others for allergen pollutants. You can click on your state and enter your zip code and it's like a weather page only for allergens (from low to high rating for the day). I also heard about sublingual immunotherapy for the first time. I'm interested in learning more and possibly going to a naturopathic physician since medications have never worked well for me and the neti pot was already a wonderful introduction into natural medical remedies for my allergies. Finally, this article is the one that really helped me last night feel like there are still options that I can try so that I don't have to be in bed until summer comes. I hope this is of some use to allergy sufferers out there. (As a side note: Lewy, what are you going to do on the PCT if you have allergy problems?!)

I think through living in Portland and working in the "wellness" sector I am becoming more aware of eastern medicine, natural remidies, and better eating habits. Can you tell I kinda love Portland? It breaks my heart to think that many people like me end up moving away because this is one of the worst places in the nation for allergy sufferers. I don't want to live in a nearby coastal city, I want to live here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

busy weekend

My dear sweet friend Lindsey who I met in Uganda came to visit this weekend. We had so much fun and time went by so fast. Here are a few of my artsy pics (I'm getting more and more into photo apps on my iPhone) from our time together. Two days weren't enough for long talks, bike rides, exploring the city, slow walks, and many consumed coffees... although we do similar things every time we're together. Now I owe her a trip to Seattle, which I don't mind at all. I'm hoping to go visit sometime this summer before she leaves for a year long mission trip to Uganda.

The day that she left I also hosted 12 ladies at my house for a lingerie party for my friend Kari. Kari is such a wonderful woman and it was so good to get together and celebrate her life and her future years with Peter, who I love. It was so good for me to see many ladies who I went to college with and catch up. Here are couple pictures I captured in the midst of being a busy hostess...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

april happenings

Wow, spring is going by fast. I have a back log of some great pictures and memories to share with my blogging community. I hope you enjoy it. Today will be mostly the last two weeks of fun family and church things that we have been able to do, most of it in some amazing weather!


My dad worked for PGE for over 30 years. As a gift to us surviving women my dad's work partner gave us sweatshirts of the recent storm (the storm which kept him busy Christmas day 2008). It's pretty funny really because he had so many of these cheesy PGE storm memorabilia things around the house: mugs, shirts, etc. This is us pictured on the day we divided his stuff wearing the sweatshirts and his old PGE glasses (just for fun).
One day my mom, Melissa, Don and I went to the mountain to get in a beautiful day of skiing. It was so refreshing and reminded me why I love living here. Don learned how to ski in just one day and did such a great job on my dad's skis. Way to go Don!

We have a tradition with Rod and his family (wife and three kiddos) to go on adventures around the Portland area. A couple weeks ago we went to the Tulip Farm and had a really fun time. Kids can be entertained by the simplest things like water in a bucket. I love it! This is Kate, she is such a sweet girl.
A few days ago Steph and Scotty invited us to go to the Japanese Gardens. There was a special event and they got us on the guest list with free tickets. The gardens look so beautiful now in the spring and we enjoyed seeing them, meeting their friends, walking in the gardens and eating Japanese food and trying some good sake!

Most weeks we go to Small Group on Wednesdays and see our lovely big and little friends from one of our two church communities. This is Ella, she's such a happy girl.
And JJ, her brother. We are great friends! I have never seen such an extroverted child, and that's a lot coming from me.
On Easter we visited our second church home because family plans and our new nightly church schedule conflicted with each other. So we went to the Japanese International Baptist Church and we helped the two year olds with their egg hunt after the service. They were so confused, it was so cute! This is Cedo with his egg finds: green tea and sushi plastic toys. How fun!

I love the blossoms in Portland this time of year. There are some really interesting colors. Donovan and I continue to be amazed and we realize that we have only been living here since the trees have been bare. So we are always finding new colors and being touristy and taking pictures. It's so funny!

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

new space

Our offices were recently remodeled. Now that the construction is done it is so nice to be able to enjoy having twice as much space as we had before. Here is a picture of the lobby area. I love the new office that I use twice a week, lots of natural light. There is a bit more sound (car noise mostly) then before but I think the light makes it worth it.

I am so blessed to work where I do... it's a beautiful part of town and my favorite coffee shop is the next door down! Also, it has been really nice to simply pay rent and watch all of this beautiful work unfold. The owner is so talented at coordinating complicated schedules and decorating!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

if i was a twitterer

if I was a twitterer yesterday I would have said...

9am... nothing is quite as sad as going to GI Joes and hearing all the little girls scream "daaad!"
10am... my phone was lost but now its found (the culprit? the bottom of my purse)
11am ... the star my barista made in my hemp vanilla latte if almost as fabulous as the drink itself
11:30am... Andrea warms my heart and makes me enjoy myself more
12:30pm ... tulip trees are magical, almost a reason in themselves to live in Portland
1pm ... white girls love boba too
1:30pm ... probably the weirdest text I've ever sent: "what size of underwear do you wear?" (context: I was planning a close friend's lingerie shower)
2pm... sometimes real estate agents suck
2:30... should I buy the creepy green glass vase with a beautiful shape from the vintage furniture store or not?
3pm ... why do I live so far away from SE Portland?! I want to explore vintage stores all day!
4pm.... early Israeli dinner with my honey, yum!
5pm... Israeli is fattening, I'm off for a bike ride and frisbee with Don
5:30pm... spring is glorious
6pm... we still have one hour of sunlight left! (little did I know it's really 2 more hours now!)
7pm... cheap pub theater, gelato, or painting a wall tonight? hmmm.
8pm.... off the Joanne's then Gelato
10pm.... I love my husband. And I love my city.
12pm... good night fellow insomniacs

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Hey friends,

So with the weather being amazing I have been skiing, playing Frisbee, running, happy hour-ing and cooking. Too busy to even clean my own house and get chores done. Plus today is the first day my computer is back to life. I dumped a big glass of water on it a few days ago and it needed to dry out, oops! So this is a short post to say I will spend the day cleaning and doing chores and hopefully have some pics up soon of my new home decor finds!

Friday, April 3, 2009


Today I considered either going up skiing by myself (can't find any to join me) or going on a home decorating adventure. Although Ikea and thrift stores can be pretty scary (I'll bring my baby wipes) I thought skiing alone may be a bit too risky, so I chose a decorating adventure. Donovan and I decided on $200 as my spending limit for the day. I'll have to let you know what treasures I find and post some pics after my journey today. I'm having a bridal shower for 30 guests in two weeks and it has motivated me into getting this place looking a bit nicer! Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

hemp milk

I found a lovely local coffee shop next door to my work. The barista is from the East Coast and although it took him a while to warm up to me, I think he enjoys talking to me now. We got on the subject of soy milk vs hemp milk after he introduced hemp milk to me and I loved it. On his suggestion I did some research online about soy milk and discovered that it is really not so healthy for you. I was surprised! Soy milk may increase heart disease, cancer, and osteoperosis and decrease one's sex drive, yikes! For all of you that know me personally may know that I can't drink milk because of my recently developed lactose intolerance (it's actually been about 4 years now, wow!).
Hemp milk has a more balanced ratio of oils as seen on the chart at the bottom of this page: http://www.worldpantry.com/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/ExecMacro/livingharvest/hemp101.d2w/report.
So after some research and some very superior hemp vanilla lattes (to my normal soy vanilla lattes) at my local coffee shop I went on a hunt for my own hemp milk at home. I didn't find it at Trader Joe's or Safeway so I went online and found out that a lot of natural food stores hold it. I ended up buying chocolate and original, although I haven't opened the chocolate one yet, so I'll have to let you all know how that goes. It's really good, and actually a nice change because it is not as thick and creamy as soy and much more like cow's milk in consistency and taste (according to someone who hasn't drank a glass of milk in a long long time).
I thought I would bring this to the attention to my blogging community because it was something new that I learned and I know so many of us consume soy on a regular basis. Here are a few more websites that might be helpful to learn about soy and other alternatives to milk:

Healing Daily
The Healing Crow

The only problem that I'm having is that very few coffee shops in the Portland area provide hemp, the only one I've found so far is this local coffee shop I've been speaking of: Seven Virtues. Yes, even the famous-but-overhyped Stumptown does not offer hemp yet.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

some of our favorite things

One fun thing about living 10 minutes from my sister Steph and her hubby is that we can do fun things together even on week nights because we are all so close by. When we get together we always do one (or more) of our four favorite things: play games, eat sushi, watch The Biggest Loser, and enjoy spirits :) A great evening involves all of the above and an excellent evening includes my favorite activity of all: eating food that my brother-in-law prepares. He is the best cook I have ever known.
Yesterday Donovan got to go to Monday's sushi happy hour with both of them where all of the sushi is $1 or $1.50 (and it's all the same food!). Too bad I work every Monday night. Booo. But tonight is the biggest loser so that will make up for lost family time (although I'm still hungry for some good cheap sushi!).
Above is a picture of them last Friday at the happy hour we went to at the Raccoon Lodge. They have a Happy Hour Portland book and we have gone to about 7 happy hours since October with them. So fun! Raccoon is good for their Raspberry beer and nachos!

Monday, March 30, 2009

goodbye again

Yesterday my sisters and I went over to my mom's house with our husbands and divided my dad's things. It was like a whole new wave of sadness crept over me. I love seeing my family but now there always seems to be something bitter attached to our meetings. The next time we meet will be Easter, another celebration yet another reason to cry: our first holiday without all of us there. I was so so tired when I got home last night around 9pm and just collapsed on the couch. It surprised me that it hit me so hard, as the last week I have felt more at peace and more able to live daily life without being interrupted by feeling down, crying, or being easily distracted from tasks (all symptoms I experienced very heavily the first few days and weeks). Oddly, yesterday was the first month anniversary of his death... we didn't plan it on purpose to be that way though. Things that get me through: watching movies about cancer and/or grief, taking it slow throughout the day and forgiving myself if I can't be productive, crying, being honest with those who are close to me, and just telling myself to take it slow and that it will hurt for a long long time.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

On Saint Patty's Day my sis and I went to Split and tried out their happy hour. It was great! Then we did had to stop by McMennimen's and have a Ruby together (an amber they make there). We ended off the day with games and Biggest Loser. I love my sis!

This week my private practice shrank to 5 clients. Wow! This is my first real ebb with my client load and it made me really start reevaluating how to make my private practice an effective business. This is something that doesn't come natural to me so I started reading a book on building your private practice and I'm meting with a Fuller Alum group on the web and talking with them about private practice stuff once a month. They're cool people!

In the midst of all of this I am communicating with the Board of Oregon and almost fully done with my application to be an intern in Oregon. It takes a while, but during this time I am still accruing hours (even though I don't have my number yet).

All of that coincided with a call from my potential employer at the eating disorder clinic saying they found someone else. I was very upset at this news and felt like his preemptive offer for the job was unkind in light of the fact that he changed his mind and had very little good reasoning for it.

So... on Friday I took a mental break from all therapy/job search/intern paperwork/stress related things and visited Stephanie's Japanese classroom. I love being there and working hard. Yesterday I graded papers and cleaned the classroom again. It is such concrete work and it feels like a job well done at the end of the day. Therapy is so often ambiguous and hard to quantify... when is work ever "done"? Although I've been thinking about more seriously implementing research into my practice (maybe a pre and post therapy eval?) I haven't actually done it yet.

Steph joined Autumn (my friend from high school who I haven't seen in years) and I to Pambiche for Friday happy hour and had great Cuban food. We stayed away from the beer this time though because we had some driving to do... we went to the Oregon State Dance Competition! Steph grew up in a dance family and although she didn't compete in high school she had lots of fun watching again. Autumn and I danced together and we reminisced about the year and about some of the traumatising things dancers go through (i.e. helmet hair, yelling from the coaches, pressure to be thin, etc). It was a really fun night. Today they compete again and they get placement awards for the year. I think Lake Oswego just might get first place! They were so good.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

mt angel concert, dog fun and more

We went to watch Donovan's mom perform at the Mt Angel church this weekend. It's set in a rural area of Oregon between Salem and Portland. The cathedral was so beautiful and the singing was so good it relaxed me to the point of sleeping for a short moment. The music was interpreted into English in our booklet and it was very meaningful theology which I found helpful to contemplate on during this season. My mom is one of the best singers too :) Here are some pictures of the building, my in-laws, and the beautiful sky that day.
The only other things we really did last weekend were relax, go to a new coffee shop in SE Portland, and help my mom around her house with some chores. Earlier in the week my mom and I took the sunny day as an opportunity to take both of the dogs on a long walk, it was really fun. Even though the walk was only a five minute drive from my mom's house I had never done it before (a part of it but not the whole thing). I took pictures of them on the way there, they are so cute! My little babies! I really enjoy being a dog aunt... I don't have to do any of the hard stuff and get to enjoy them from time to time. Sometimes when they get out of control I say "boys and girls!" or "ladies and gentlemen!"... Dimen is our first girl dog in a long time so it's fun to find new names for her. I call her "sister" a lot lately and she has totally taken to it and responds when I use it.

The weekend before we went to the United States Barista Championship and watched the top three baristas compete and awards ceremony. This is my poloroid camera application.

I'm looking forward to this evening... Melissa, Steph and I have a girl date planned... this time it's in Lake Oswego. Fun!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I interviewed at two places: one a community based clinic the other an eating disorder clinic. I called the owner of the eating disorder clinic and am talking with him more about the possibility of working together. He hasn't returned my call yet, so it's all speculation at this point. I'll let you all know what comes of it!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


My sis is a Japanese teacher. Today I visited her in her classroom to give some sister-love and see what she does every day. I was a good Teacher's Assistant.

-I was introduced to the Japanese II class and they asked me questions in Japanese. Of course, my sis had to feed me the answers ("I'm 25 years old" in Japanese) but she said I did really good! There are 33 kids in her Japanese II class, it's so crazy full!
-I helped finish a poster project that she needed done by tomorrow. It's been a while since I did high school things like make posters... about 7 years!
-Steph and I went out to lunch at Taco Del Mar. It definitely felt like high school when we had to take our half eaten food to go and run so we weren't late to class. Lol.
-I was introduced to the Japanese I class and for some reason had a harder time saying that "we went out to Taco Del Mar for lunch by car" than how old I was. Maybe her compliments got to my head :)
-I cleaned the classroom and realized how high schoolers are still into doodling on tables... crazy kids!
-Our last five minutes of class was me talking about my trip to Japan in 2004 and letting them ask questions. It was fun! I can't believe it's been 5 years since then, I'm getting old.

That was my fun and random day. It all started with a text from me to my sis: "Do you want a TA for the day?"

In other news, I'm thinking more seriously about the two interviews that I did before my father died and thinking about committing to one of them. We'll see how that goes!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

moving beyond death

As many of you know my father died last week. My trip to Pasadena was canceled and we tired ourselves everyday with funeral plans and sleepless nights. To track my emotional process through this all I have been writing letters to my father. In an effort to stay connected with my blogging family I will post one of these letters from a few days ago. I am also planning on sharing other thoughts about my dad's life, my relationship to him, and my process of moving through grief.

I have been overwhelmingly welcomed to talk and to cry with family and friends and in many ways this has been a bonding and a community experience... the kind I have been looking for ever since I moved back to Portland and felt a real loss of my Pasadena community. It's tragic that it happened in that way, but I am so glad for the love and support I have. There are moments in these letters where I feel so alone, but I want my blogging community to know that things are okay and even though I may feel lonely I know I am not alone.

March 7, 09


It feels like it’s been a million years and it has only been one week. We were so busy answering phone calls, eating the gifts people shared, making song decisions, and doing everything with half of our brain present that the week was both a blur and a long, long continuous moment... a moment scattered with tears and hugs and memories. The closer we got to the day of the funeral the least I wanted it to come. I kept thinking to myself, how could I possibly wake up the day after your funeral? What would I do? How could I go to work? Or get out of bed? Or eat? The day after... it seemed too real, too final, too over. As long as I was busy making plans for the funeral it was all still real... we were all still aware of your death, of the unfairness and shock of it all, of the pain that we felt because you were gone. But the day after there would be no more calls, there would be no more flowers, and even worse, the flowers we had would start to die. I just couldn’t bear it.

The morning of your funeral I woke up and my bones felt old and heavy. I startled awake at 6am and didn’t fall back asleep.... but for a long time I just lay there and couldn’t move. I kept thinking about strange things and my mind was wandering. It was better than the previous few days where I would find anything and everything to do until the wee hours of the morning when I crashed with fatigue. One night I lie awake next to Donovan’s sleeping body and listened to every breath, anxious that he would not take the next one. It helped me the day before the funeral to be busy getting my hair done and buying a nice dress. I’m sure had you seen me in this dress you would have thought that I looked very pretty but you wouldn’t have had the nerve to tell me so.

Somehow, God only knows, I found myself walking down my front steps, fully dressed at 8:30am ready for the day. The car ride was so quiet. It was like the night that you died... that long terrible car ride from my house to yours. It’s plenty long enough to think about millions of terrible things. I passed by the church on the way to mom’s house and cried. I thought how ironic it is that you almost died on the Tualatin River (the pre-Easter car accident when the drunk lady hit you) and now you are here at the church, a pile of ashes in an urn. It’s hard to reconcile it all. Just last week we were talking together, laughing together, and I was worried about forgetting to call Molly and Al for you. Now you are gone. In that way it seems so sudden and so unexpected. I realize that this doesn’t make sense because in some ways we had months and years to know that you would be gone soon, but it doesn’t mean I could have known how it would feel to be in my twenties and to be without a father.

I remember small bits of that day. It’s all blurry though. I was in the rain and it didn’t matter. I was in the limo and I was laughing and taking pictures. The limo pulled up and we saw the bucket trucks all sitting there. It was too much to bear to see your bucket low and bent over and the others as high as they could go. I remember holding Doug Cutler and crying... I remember that feeling that I was comforting him with my hug more than the other way around. I remember crying into my hanky. I remember thinking it is all to formal, how the Pastors should have to stop and just cry for a while for it all to feel right, but they didn’t. I remember thinking how much you would have liked to be there, to see Gina and Ken, to see Paul and Dale, to see Jim and Helen, to see people from all over the place hugging and smiling and crying. I kept thinking about how you always talked to the one who was left out and so I talked with Jim and with Helen and with Paul and with Grandma because I know you would have tried too. I remember “Unforgettable” and totally loosing it when I heard the song, I remember the smell of PGE jackets and how comforting it was, I remember sad and understanding eyes. I was so hungry afterwards because I couldn’t eat all morning. I remember eating and thinking that you would have loved the idea of feeding all of your family and friends, and having them all sit down together and have you take the tab. I’m sure you would not have wanted to be the focus of the day. Surely you would have asked others how they were. Some at the funeral mentioned that about you; I wonder if that was actually your greatest fault.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

to my bff

25 years ago I met you... kinda
you were in the womb and even if you were already born, I probably couldn't see you because newborns don't really see that far.
I remember your first house
and dancing to 80s tapes hours on end
and printing out long banners on your way cool computer that had super pixelated images
and your dad's firetruck toy
and the stairs.
I thought it was so exciting to walk through your new house as it was being built
and I remember walking up the stairs after it had been framed and seeing your room
little did I know that we would spend many nights there
laughing together
watching movies
and talking about who knows what little girls talk about.
just that alone would be enough to be forever grateful to you,
but the story didn't end there.
we danced
and we danced
and we danced
and we grew together
there were different things too,
there were different schools
and different friends
and different boys
but in the end I always knew you were there
I always knew we could laugh about what we used to think was cool
and remember things about each other that maybe no one else in the world knew
maybe we didn't even remember them about ourselves.
and the story still continues...
to be back together in the same city
and to learn more about you as a woman and a life long friend
is such a beautiful thing
I'm forever grateful for your friendship
for Paula Abdul and too much blush
for tap shoes and being awkward tweens
for long days at competitions
for laughs and memories
for moving into adulthood
for sushi and talks about the bigger things in life
and for whatever the future brings.
You are such a sweet and precious friend
and no one in the world can replace those things.
So happy 25 to us!


We're going to Pasadena for a few days in March! Yes... I'm SOOOO excited! I can't wait!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chinese Gardens

Saturday Don and I went to the Chinese Gardens for the first time. It was a beautiful day and we had so much fun with their 3 kiddos. We ate at an awesome place in Chinatown, Old Town Pizza, and walked a big area of the east and west waterfront that I had never been to before. We had a fun afternoon! We have so much fun playing with the kids but when we get home we always enjoy the silence :)

termination and technology

Donovan is done with his work at APU! Yea! Thank you so much, love. You have provided for our family and I am so grateful. We celebrated at Siam Society, yum! I had beef curry and chocolate cake with cardamom ice cream (oh no, lactose!).

The next day I took a picture of Don because I thought it was pretty funny that Don texted Jon an email from his iPhone while sitting in front of three macs! The third one is the new one Don bought himself last week because he has to return his old one to APU now. We are far too techy!

(I'll add a pic later... it's on Don's phone)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

recent fun

Per Ruby's request, here are some random things we've been doing lately (with pics!)...
above is my best Yahtzee score card... ahh!!!
Below is Donovan's meal "The Don" at a breakfast shop in SE Portland. We've been going once a month to try new breakfast spots with Scotty and Steph (my sis)... so fun!

A nutria sighting at the local park (I thought Lewis would like this). It was so used to humans!
Don and I helped the Smith's babysit one day for their church friends, it was really fun! Everyone thought Ella was my baby. Lol.
Earlier this week my dad took me out in his new hotrod to sushi, my fav! We've been going to sushi a lot with him, I guess it's our new little thing. He just got this new hotrod, cute, huh?
Don't forget to check my blog posting below, I did two today.