A switch

Wow, has it really been that long? Time just keeps moving, doesn’t it?

Well, due to my schedule, my time limitations, the state of my brain these days, and where I want to spend my energy, I’ve decided to take a break from this blog. Don’t be so quick to say good-bye though! I am going to more consistently update my tumblr blog. Be it with pictures, short thoughts, or quotes, it’ll be a quicker way for me to post things in a more succinct and deliberate way.

So for now, bookmark : seeingwhatisee.tumblr.com I’ll see you over there.

xo,
rvp

Birthday Blessings

I’m 28. And, honestly, I’m okay with that. It does weird me out that I’m officially in my upper 20s (27 was still passable as mid-20s) … that doesn’t seem quite right, but anyway, I’m good with 28.

And my birthday festivities were spread over a week,

I’m blessed.

Here’s what my birthday consisted of:

Sunday, July 17 : My friend Tracy treated me to a Ropes Course at South Bellevue Community Center. This involved being 40+ feet in the air; wearing a harness, ropes and carabiners; and challenging ourselves with obstacles, including balancing on small pieces of wood suspended by rope. (Video of this course is here. It’s pretty cool!!)

Monday, July 18 : Saw the premiere performance of “28 First Dates.” Haven’t heard of it, you say? Well, that’s because my wonderful friends wrote it for me! Crazy, huh? So, long story short, my friend Suzanne got it into her head to write me a screenplay in which the characters would set “me” (Rae) up on 28 first dates during my 28th year. It was FANTASTIC. There were some points in which I had tears running down my eyes from laughing so hard!

I am trying desperately to get a video clip uploaded to YouTube, but it’s annoying me, so I’m giving up for the night … I’ll keep you posted if I get it up and running. My camera ran out of memory, so only the first 15 minutes were filmed, but this was a legit screenplay, with a running time of an hour and a half! It’s silly, cute, and fun. I felt honored that my friends took so much time and energy on such a special gift.

Tuesday, July 19 : Saw Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 with Tracy. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it.

Wednesday, July 20 : Was treated to the Seattle Sounders (pro soccer) game where they got creamed by Manchester United (the #2 team in the world). Even though the match didn’t have quite the outcome that I thought, I was able to spend time with my friend Rebecca and finally saw a Sounders game. I decided that if I was going to have season tickets to anything, it’d probably be to the Sounders. They have such a fun vibe. It didn’t hurt that this game had 64,000+ fans!

Thursday, July 21 : Night off!

Friday-Sunday, July 22-24 : In addition to the lovely and hilarious screenplay they wrote and performed for me, my friends, Suzanne and Jaelithe, also were able to take a weekend away to help me celebrate. Jaelithe’s mom has a condo in Ocean Shores, WA, so I had my first trip to “the coast”! (I learned early on after moving to Seattle that the Puget Sound is not considered the ocean … it’s the Sound. The ocean is about three hours away.) Before we left on our mini-roadtrip, Jaelithe played this song for me (this is Sandra McCracken playing it):

Such a beautiful and comforting song. Jaelithe performed it wonderfully (and she even learned new chords for it!).

The weekend was lovely. It was just what I needed : relaxation, no pressure to do anything, and a time to be lazy. So we watched movies, walked to the beach, took silly pictures, talked, cooked, ate, and all those lovely things. Again, just what I needed.

Two things about the above picture: 1. Yes, it was windy and 2. I need to find taller friends.

I was a little weirded out that you can drive on the beaches in Washington! I had to take a picture as evidence. I don’t know why I’m not smiling, maybe I was going for the moody/dramatic look.

We practiced a little yoga too. Gotta get our exercise in after all the food we ate!

After returning on Sunday, I even had time for a short bike ride and a long nap, before heading to church. I then had a great conversation with Carly (she’s getting married in a month and a half!!! Yeah, I’m still in denial—a happy denial—about that), and made a delicious dinner for myself.

Tuesday, July 26 : Dinner at my aunt and uncle’s place where they made me Portobello & Peach Burgers from Green Kitchen Stories. I know that sounds like a weird combination, but let me tell you — they were DELICIOUS! The sweetness of the peach with the meatiness of the portobello was just perfect and then we had the creaminess of avocado…mmmm! We finished the night with smore’s on the grill. Do they know me or what? First they serve a vegan meal, then they make me my favorite combo: smore’s! I’m spoiled. I know it.

Our plates looked like this:

It was served with Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries and an Heirloom Tomato Salad (topped with fresh thyme and sea salt).

God has blessed me with fantastic (and creative!) friends and family. I look forward to seeing what the next year brings!

But as I do think about my life and what’s ahead, I came across this picture that I took at a small chapel in Dingle, Ireland.

Her life was Love,
Her death Glory,
And from that Glory the echo of
Her voice seems still to repeat
The Message which on earth was her delight.
“Come to the Saviour” Matt.11.26

And as for my 28th year (and hopefully many more!), I’ll emphasize Sandra McCracken’s words in the song above:

In the harvest feast or the fallow ground,
My certain hope is in Jesus found
My lot, my cup, my portion sure
Whatever comes, we shall endure.
Whatever comes, we shall endure.

I got six hours of sleep last night.
I was on the bus at 6:15am, at work by 6:30am.
I had a fifteen-minute break, but otherwise was working until 5:15pm.
I have the right to be in bed right now.

But it still feels weird to be going to sleep when it’s still light out.

I like Easter.

No. I take that back. I love Easter.

I go into Easter knowing its importance, but every year kind of forgetting just how important it is. I mean really, the Christian faith hinges on the fact that Christ rose from the dead! Hello! That’s huge!

As I think over this weekend (and literally as I’m typing this out, this is all coming to me), I’m realizing that God had a hand in it.

Here’s the deal. My plan for today (Easter Sunday) was to begin with meeting a friend or two for a 30-mile bike ride. Then, hoping that finished around noon, I was going to go home, take a shower, go to my other friends house, have lunch with them then go to the 4pm or 6pm Easter service at church (there were nine service times to choose from). It was going to be busy, but I could fit it in. Deep down, I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t going to church in the morning. For some reason, I feel like Easter service needs to be held in the morning.

Well, that changed yesterday. You see, yesterday morning, around 9am, I got in a bike crash. It wasn’t too big of a deal, but I ended up going over the handle bars and landing pretty hard on the asphalt. Praise the Lord I was just a bit shook up but my bike was fine, and I was able to take a few deep breaths and realize that nothing was broken, and walked away (well, rode away actually) with just a bit of a sore hip (after I went over the handle bars, I landed on my right hip). But again, it wasn’t too big of a deal. I got up and finished the 55-mile ride.

It wasn’t until later last night that I noticed my neck was a bit sore. Then I woke up this morning and my whole body was sore. My stomach, my arms, my legs, my chest, and especially my neck. (I think my head hit the pavement; I remember hearing my helmet hit.) There was no way I was going to be riding another 30 miles this morning. So I texted my friend, canceled the ride, then texted another friend to see what service she was going to.

I guess this whole story is to say that I am praising God that I got in my little bike scuffle yesterday. If I hadn’t, my Easter would have been completely different. It would have a chaotic day of running around from place to place, not truly appreciating any of it.

But instead it was perfect.

I was able to sleep in (something I hadn’t done in a while) and finish my book (see here). As I went to “the coffee tent” at church before the service, I ran into a friend of mine who is getting married in two months. I met her fiancee and was so pleased to have met him. (Their story is one of prayerfully waiting, meeting, pursuing, and following the way of the Lord through it all … and she is such beautiful woman of God that it’s so encouraging to be around her, and from the looks of it, she found a male version of herself, so know they are going to do great things for the Kingdom through their marriage.)

For church, I was able to sit with four of my favorite people in Seattle. And in that moment, I realized that I didn’t want to be anywhere else. As we were singing praises to our Risen King (including Christ the Lord has Risen Today with the organ!!), once again, I realized why I love Easter and a twinge of pain that so many people think this holiday is about spring, and eggs, and candy, and chicks. They have a general idea that its different for Christians, but only vaguely.

What a beautiful Gift we have been given and standing in church this morning singing In Christ Alone (can anyone get through that song without crying?!? I definitely can’t.), I wanted to scream from the rooftops — Christ is Risen. He is Risen indeed!!

My afternoon ended with brunch (ymmm…. baked French toast), laughing (even though it hurts to laugh!), napping, relaxing and having this song on repeat:

(By the way, when I tested this link, it didn’t want to play in WordPress. But it’s worth the extra click through to YouTube!)

I hope you all had a beautiful Easter. And I hope you didn’t have to land on some asphalt to figure out you need to enjoy the day.

Living Well

I was splitting my time between two apartments last week. I was dogsitting for a friend and instead of living in one place well, I was living in two places badly. Both places were a mess for some time (my schedule didn’t provide me much time at either place as well, so that didn’t help) and my life felt completely disorganized.

My life was a bit chaotic but really, when you come home to this face, it’s hard not to smile:

This is Howard.

Here are a few more for your ooing and aahing pleasure. Sorry they are not the best, but it’s hard to get a 12-week-old puppy to sit still for the camera. (He’s golden retriever and border colly, in case you were wondering.)

The black dog is Samish. She’s 8 and one of the coolest and smartest dogs I’ve ever known. This is how I saw Howard and Sam interact for most of the week. I didn’t mind it except when it was early in the morning or on the couch next to me.

My life is back to living in one apartment now. I’m hoping I’ll be able to master “the art of living in one place well.” From the looks of my place right now, it’s going to take some time (and lots of cleaning).

I know, I know.

I’m sure you (my four readers) haven’t been holding your breath for my next blog post, but in case you were, you can breathe easy, because here you go.

It’s been a while. I blinked and now it’s March. My Apartment Therapy 8-Week Cure got put on hold for a bit since life has been a bit hectic with the new job starting. Life sure gets busier when 40 hours of your week are accounted for! I was slowly getting on a routine, only to mess it up again, but I’ll get to that later.

Right now, I thought I’d do a bullet point update because that’s all I have energy for (I just got a massage, so I’m feeling a little gelatinous right now).

Here’s my “What I’ve Been …” update:

What I’ve been:

Listening to: Not much actually. If I’m doing a menial task at work, I might put in my headphones, but I’m getting used to silence, and that’s a good thing. I have too much going on in my mind already, I don’t need to muddle it up with so much talk and music. When I do want some sound though, there’s a great iPhone app called White Noise, and it’s all I need to fall asleep, drown out the rowdy peeps on the bus, or just zone out and get my work done. When I’m in the car I do have the new Brandon Heath album playing. It’s an okay album, not his best though. Speaking of Brandon Heath, he and Dave Barnes (one of my faves!) are touring together! Any guess if they’re coming to Seattle?! NOPE. They are not. My heart dropped a little when I saw that.

Reading: As you know, I finished “Bonhoeffer” a while back and raved about it. Well, that there book put me in such a reading slump, that I finally just got out of it. (This slump was so desperate that not even Jane Austen could pull me out of it!! That’s serious, folks.) But, alas, I did find a book that kept my interest and interestingly enough, it’s by the same author as “Bonhoeffer.” I think that’s saying something. This guy has a gift. “Amazing Grace” is about the career-long passion of William Wilburforce to eradicate the slave trade and have abolition in Britain. It’s such a great read and so engaging. The author (Eric Metaxas) expounds on just how vulgar Great Britain was during the 18th century—public executions, animal cruelty, child prostitution, alcoholism, just to name a few and describes how the slave traders rationalized, lied and pretty much did anything to keep their industry thriving (similar to a few of the big industries in the US, but don’t get me started on that). It’s a fascinating read—so I recommend it if you’re looking for a suggestion. (There was a 2008 movie made based on this book, so you may recognize the title, besides the fact that it is also the name of a great hymn.)

Watching: Just as my ears haven’t been listening to much lately, my eyes haven’t been watching much either. The only time I actually have the TV on these days is usually when I’m cooking dinner before I run out the door again for whatever reason, so 20 minutes tops?. I couldn’t tell you what shows are even popular these days. I was following The Biggest Loser (via Hulu) but that started to get a tad too dramatic, so I turned that off too. I do still have NetFlix, so every once in a while I’ll sit down and watch a movie, but even those times are getting fewer and fewer.

Visiting: Unlike my last job where my computer screen was somewhat hidden from common view and I was able to surf the web a bit more, my new desk situation doesn’t afford me that luxury. My screen is pretty much open for all to see. This is kind of annoying, but just makes me work more I guess (right). So my daily web site visits are limited to just a few, well, two actually. BBCNews is my source for world news, but I’m not going to lie – I’m a headline reader. I have a basic understanding about what’s going on in the Middle East, and for now, I’m okay with that. I like BBCNews because I feel like I’m getting the real story rather than the somewhat Americanized version on our news sites. The other one I visit every morning is YoungHouseLove.com. It’s about a young family who’s in the process of redoing their home … their story is cute and their writing is down to earth and funny. Plus they have great style – and they are motivated DIYers.

Eating: I know this is a funny one, but my eating habits are somewhat strange (vegan), so I thought you’d be curious. Right now, I’m trying to fill my belly with more veggies. Strong misconception—all vegans eat are veggies… and soy. Wrong on both counts. I’m not a huge fan of soy products, so those are not a mainstay in my diet and just like everyone else, I need to make sure I get my vegetables. Actually, as I’m writing this, I’m realizing that I don’t have anything planned for lunch tomorrow. Hmm. That’s going to be interesting. Eating vegan definitely takes more thought and planning, but I’m feeling good and my body tells me when I’m not eating well.  Anyway, I’m been making it a point to cook at least two meals a week (of course with leftovers that can get me pretty far). I made Sesame Noodles that were super easy (the hardest thing to do was chop the veggies) and really good – and it was perfect for lunch because it’s made to be eaten cold or at room temp. No heating required! My favorite meal of the moment though is so ridiculously easy: cook up some brown rice (it takes a while, I know, but it’s so good—and good for you!), heat up some black beans, stir in some cut up avocado and dowse with some salsa verde and some red salsa (Trader Joe’s Serrano Salsa is my favorite). This simple dish is hearty, and oh, so delicious!

Doing actively: My life unfortunately hasn’t been active these days, but that’s about to change (this is the routine change that I mentioned at the beginning). Today I signed up for the STP … the Seattle to Portland Bike Ride—two hundred miles of rolling rural roads on a bike. Man, is my butt going to be sore. I have four months to train, so I need to get my butt in gear (pardon the pun). I’m really excited for this though as it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a few years. So, here I go! Training starts tomorrow!

Up to: So, after all that, what have I been up to? Well, work, a little play, a few Bible studies, some deep conversations with friends, some fun times with friends (karaoke, anyone?), and pretty much just getting through life. It’s good though.

Most importantly though, I’m learning more and more (on a deeper level) that I am forgiven. And really, you can’t get much better than that. My heart is light. No matter what else “I’ve been up to,” all that matters is that “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The life I live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

With all the madness of keeping myself busy, I need to just remember that.

P.S. I’m hoping to post pics of my apartment soon! I want to finish the 8-week cure, but it’s going to take a bit longer. My place is getting to be where I want it though. I’m starting to love it, actually. Can’t wait for you to see it!

My apartment is done!!

Take a look!!

Just Kidding! My apartment is FAR from done. Believe me, this is not the floor plan I had in mind.

In fact it’s getting a new coat of paint on Thursday! Yay! Of course this is not ideal timing (not sure what would be ideal timing), but the manager of my building is doing it for me, so I really can’t complain. I didn’t realize how much stuff I had until it all had to fit into a puzzle in the middle of my apartment. Let me tell you, that armoire thing (with the TV on it) was a pain in the ass to move and I am already dreading that fact that I have to move it back into position in two days.

As you could probably tell, my Apartment Therapy Cure has been on hold for the last few weeks — starting a new job took top priority last week. But once the paint is up and dry, I’ll start it up again.

Stay tuned!!

 

I had no idea.

So this is going to sound weird and might paint me in a strange light, but I had no idea I had wavy hair. I discovered this completely by accident last night. Let me explain a little bit.

Growing up, I always wanted curly hair, but was stuck with straight (or semi-straight) hair. And even worse, it wouldn’t hold a curl. I remember spending hours sitting while my mom gave me perms, only to have them fall out in a few weeks. I’d noticed as I got older that my hair was getting kinda more wavy, but still wouldn’t really do anything. I’ve been growing my hair out and it’s getting decently long, so I’ve just been blow drying it and then straightening it every day– definitely not good for the hair, lots of breakage going on.

This brings me to yesterday. I had a lazy Sunday that included not taking a shower until about 2pm. My church starts at 6pm, so I took a shower, then laid down to take a nap. I towel dried my hair for a little bit, but didn’t brush it or do anything before I laid down. When I woke up, my hair was decently dry and … wavy!! I was astonished! I had no idea! As I contemplated how I had no idea my hair was wavy, I came to the conclusion that it’s because one of the first things I do when I get out of the shower is to brush or comb my hair, which straightens it a bit but also makes it frizzy when I let it airdry that way, and never gave it a chance to dry with a wave. So, I put some mousse in it and called it a day and saw how it held up for a few hours at church. I went to church and even got compliments on the new look!

I wore it like that to work today — it really couldn’t be faster, I dunked my hair under water, let it air dry a bit without brushing, added some mousse and some hair spray and shazzam, Rachel’s done with her hair! Fantastic!

I tried to take a picture, but none really turned out all that great, but I didn’t want to leave you hanging, so you’ll have to bear with the somewhat grainy pic from my webcam and the fact that it was shot in my bathroom (it had the best light). But here you have it! (And this is after a full day’s work!)


Bonhoeffer

Have you ever finished a book that was so good that the idea of reading another one would seem a disservice to the first? That’s how I feel after finishing Eric Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy.” It’s going to take me a while to be able to read another book; I need to digest the power of this one for a bit.

I’m not going to expound on the details of this man’s life here, but I urge you with every fiber of my being to find a copy of this book and read it. It’s frustrating, hopeful, encouraging, and saddening, but all together, a story of a man who held to his convictions in the toughest of circumstances (opposing Hitler and the Third Reich), even to the death. He lived with such an overpowering faith and transparency throughout his entire life that it allowed him to pronounce his love for his Father and Savior in the direst of times and to be light in the darkest of dark. And when he was finally faced with death said, “This is the end … For me the beginning of life.”

I may just pick it up and read it again.

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