Saturday, January 31, 2009


So, Jessi and I bit the bullet and signed up for Netflix. We're still newbies and learning how the system works, but so far we're really satisfied.

Netflix is a hometown hero located in Los Gatos, CA. Visit and sign up for a monthly subscription. You can then choose from thousands of movies (So far, they had every movie and TV show I wanted) and add them to your queue. Netflix will ship each movie to you starting at the top of your queue. We signed up for one movie at time with unlimited returns. Once we receive and watch our movie, we return in their provided envelope and Netflix will send us our next movie when it returns. It's really a simple and easy system.

We decided to sign up for a couple of reasons. First, we have been watching TV shows on and for a while. We don't have a TV and so this made the most sense. The price was right (free) and the commercials are easy to deal with - espcially since Firefox's AdBlock add-on blocked all of them. This has worked great for current seasons, but didn't work for older seasons becuase only a few shows would be available. I think the goal was to wet our appetite to get us to buy the full season on iTunes or something. I guess it kind of worked because we've added all the back seasons to shows we're currently watching.

We also had a growing list of movies we'd like to see, but were never getting around to actually watching. Instead, we found ourselves randomly surfing the net looking for something, anything, to watch. This was OK, but ultimately not as satisfying as we'd like. Now we'll be regularly getting movies we actually want to see. I realize we're still spending time watching TV, but somehow it feels better.

Finally, I was getting tired of constantly waiting for the shows to buffer. I didn't think I had a slow Internet connection, but it really doesn't like Hulu at all. So far, we've found Netflix's Instant Watch service to work OK. It's not perfect, but I think there's definitely less buffering.

Our first movie was Dirty Harry. For years my dad has been harrassing me for not seeing it. It is a classic and actually a really good movie. Also, I finally got to hear that famous line myself:

I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

We've got some other exciting ones lined up and added a widget on the side so you can see what's next. Feel free to make movie suggestions below so we can add them to our queue.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Health Update

I just got my blood clotting levels checked again and they are where they need to be finally! Praise God for his goodness and helping my body to finally even out. This means that I can continue on the current levels of Coumadin and don't need to go in for a blood test for a month rather than weekly...that will be a nice change.

My leg has been feeling better and better too! I tried to run the other day, at the retreat, and it was ok, but my leg still did not agree that it was time to go back on the full marathon training schedule. For now walking and stretching is plenty. I am hopeful that I will still be able to run the Portland Marathon next I still have plenty of time to train.

Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers...God is good.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

NWHills Young Married Winter Retreat

This last weekend Jessi and I went on a retreat. It was our first as a married couple and a blast! We had a wonderful speaker who gave great advice on improving our marriage. The best sound bite we received was this: "The greatest gift you can give your spouse (or anyone) is a healthy relationship with God." In other words, improving your relationship with your spouse can be as simple (not necessarily easy though) as improving your relationship with God. keeping Him at the center of your relationship will bear wonderful fruit. This is sound advice and something we can definitely focus on and improve upon.

We also played goofy games as a large group, created weird skits, played ultimate Frisbee and played board games late into the night. It sure was fun to get to know the other young married couples of our church better. One of the nice parts of the retreat is to realize how similar we are. Issues that Jessi and I have are very similar to other couples and it was nice to be able to bounce our ideas off one another. One big learning for Jessi is that she needs more girl time.

So, in the next few months we'll be on the hunt for a way for Jessi to plug in and join a girls group. We have no idea what this will ultimately look like and include, but it should be fun getting to expand to different groups.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jessi's Puzzle [CO Christmas]

Jessi got a puzzle for Christmas this year. Being the puzzle addict she is, this was a great gift. What I didn't know was that her entire family is just as bad. So, the very first thing they did was clear off a space and start working on it. Now, as you can see from the design, this isn't the easiest puzzle to do (This one looks hard too). First of all, there's 1,500 pieces and second, there are a lot of repeating patterns.

With only a few days to complete this project, everyone jumped in, even myself on occasion. We started out by grouping each piece into piles of similar colors and began putting them together. This resulted in a bunch of small discontinuous parts. Most of the time we knew where those blocks of pieces went, but sometimes we didn't. Really, who puts words over the picture so you can't see the whole thing?

Honestly, I felt like I was watching Monster Garage. Going into the final day "of the build" we were only half way done. As far as I was concerned, we were not going to make it and Jessi would have to finish it back home. Me of little faith!

We turned to the Turner Classic Movies channel and set to work. Part way through the day, Jessi's brothers, Abe and Nick, showed up and helped contribute. Around midnight we were about three quarters of the way done. However, things were starting to move faster because there was less clutter.

Still, at FOUR in the morning we finally completed the puzzle, snapped a picture and went to bed.

All in all, it was a great vacation. I'm glad Jessi and I were able to visit and we're looking forward to the next time we get to go.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hideaway Folk Family [CO Christmas]

Jessi's brother, Matt, loves to play music and has formed a family (and relatives) band called the Hideaway Folk Family. Basically, whoever is around gets together and plays. It's a lot of fun. You can see his MySpace page for more details. While Jessi and I were there they had a gig in Denver, so we got to listen to them practice and then perform. Overall, they all played really well.

Unfortunately, it was really dark where they played, so I don't have a ton of excellent pictures (do I ever?), but here's a smattering pictures from the event. As a bonus, I've embedded Matt's MySpace player so you can listen to the tunes. If I get my hands on some video, I'll share that too.


Warming up

Getting things set up

Abe (Jessi's brother)

Dan (Jessi's dad)

Nick (Jessi's brother)

Matt (Jessi's brother)

Destine (Matt's wife)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tamales [CO Christmas]

Tamales are my favorite Mexican dish. If I have a choice, chances are I'll get a tamale over everything else. What can I say? I like the shredded meat and the masa corn shell. For a while I've been asking Jessi if we can make some, but she kept saying she didn't know how. So... When we went to Colorado, Jessi's mom showed us how. Now we too can enjoy this amazing food - homemade. Yum!

The process for making tamales is fairly straight forward. First you roast your meat of choice with a little bit of water and your favorite spices. Then you shred the meat and cook it some more with more spices and a few veggies. At the same time you let some corn husks soak in water until they become supple. Then you buy masa mix (from what I understand you can make this yourself, but it significantly increases the difficulty level) and spread it evenly on each corn husk. Put some meat in the middle and roll it up. Finally, you put them face up in a pot with some water and let them steam cook for a while.

Want to see what the final product looks, and tastes, like? Invite us over.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Abe's Hair Cut [CO Christmas]

Jessi's brother, Abe, decided it was time to get his hair cut. As you can guess, it was long enough to donate his hair given it's crazy long length. He decided to donate his hair to Wigs For Kids. Personally, I like the cute, almost rhyming, name.

One of the funny things about this is that we had to leave the hair out so it could dry before sending in. So we literally had his hair, pony tail and all, just laying on a desk near the kitchen. Then whenever Jessi went near it she would exclaim, "Yuk! That looks like a big rat. Gross!"

Monday, January 12, 2009

Chistmas Fun [CO Christmas]

Here comes more Colorado Christmas fun!

This Christmas we did two things that were fun. First, we got to decorate an artificial Christmas tree for the second time (the first was was our balloon tree). All the decorations were pretty, but I've always thought it was weird working with a fake tree. Maybe next year we'll pony up and and get a live one.

Then, on Christmas day we got to see Becca, Jessi's sister. Becca is currently in Oaxaca, Mexico learning Spanish so she can help some families down there. Since it wasn't feasible for her to come up and visit for a bit, we turned on Skype and had a video chat. It sure was something for all of us to be talking to her. Jessi even took the liberty of opening some of Becca's presents while she watched. As Jessi's dad put it, "We used to dream of doing these things when we were kids. This was Star Trek magic. And here we are."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

White Christmas? [CO Christmas]

Jessi and I went to Colorado Springs for Christmas this year. We had a ton of fun and took lots of pictures. We didn't talk much about the trip while we were there because we were busy having fun. Still, we'd like to share what we did because we think you'd get a kick out of it. So, this is the beginning of a series of blog posts dedicated to talking about our trip. You can anticipate lots of pictures with a minimal amount of words (we know you're busy). Enough admin garbage.


I was super excited to go to Colorado because I wanted a white Christmas. Did that happen? Of course not! Instead, we left a white Oregon for a brown Colorado. It's a good thing Jessi's family was there because otherwise it would have been kind of depressing. Thankfully, despite the snow hazards in Oregon we were able to make our way up to Portland and leave. I did get to see airplanes being deiced for the first time - that was cool.



Don't be completely fooled by the picture though. It was still cool out, but I do think it got above 60 degrees on occasion. It was at least warm enough that we took a walk almost every day.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Lego Star Wars

I got the Nintendo Wii game Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga for Christmas. It recreates the Star Wars story line, but with Legos. It's pretty fun watching Lego people fall apart when you swing your Lego light saber around. Needless to say, I'm excited about this game.

What I want to share today is the welcome letter from the instruction manual:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... blah, blah, blah, blah.

Let's just cut right to the chase. The game in this box is a piece of galactic history, so treat it like a short-tempered wookiee - express your admiration and offer lots of praise.

For the first time since ever, you can play through the entire Star Wars saga in one, single adventure. It's like joining the Jedi Council - sort of a big deal, you know.

That's six episodes of Jedi mind tricks, extreme podracing, hanging out with Ewoks on Endor, and exploding the Death Star for the bazillionth time. Plus, you'll run into lots of old pals - Chewbacca, R2-D2, Luke, Leia; memorable enemies too, like Darth Maul, General Grievous, and a very angry Darth Vader. There are even a few new friends - Jedi Aayla Secura and bounty hunter Zam Wesell.

Plus, if you fall to pieces along the way, you can just restart - which the Rebels certainly wish they could have done when they were struggling to defeat the Empire for real. You do know Star Wars is based on a true story, right?

So let's jump right to it and get started before the Wookiee gets upset again!

Monday, January 05, 2009

2008 Christmas Letter

I discovered a new technology and can't help but experiment with it. So, here's our Christmas letter for 2008. What's so cool about this? Click on the image and you'll find out. Enjoy the downloadless life. :)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Prayer request update

Thank you so much for all of your prayers!

I have started taking Coumadin, a common blood thinner, in order to dissolve the clots in my leg. While on the Coumadin I need to get my blood clotting time and blood thinness checked about every week which means going into the doctor and getting blood drawn every week or so. Then depending on the results my dosage of Coumadin is either uped or lessened. The only real side effect, so far, of the Coumadin is that it is really easy to bruise which isn't the most comfortable thing but it is better than other possibilities.

The clots cause a lot of pain because the blood cannot flow naturally. I am a little nervous to go back to school and be moving around on my feet all day long since the clots seemed to get worse once break started and I haven't actually taught since then. The remedy for the pain at this point is Tylenol, mild walking, heat and elevation.

I am also completely exhuasted because the natural supplements I was taking, which helped with energy and nutrition among other things, may have a negative effect with the Coumadin and I am not sure if I can take them at the same time. I have stopped taking them as a precaution until I can meet more in depth with my doctor.

Specific prayer requests include:
-pray for transitioning back into school on Jan. 5th and that I won't need to miss any school
-that the clots will dissolve quickly
-that I can start taking the natural supplements again soon
-that testing my blood levels will go smoothly each week

Thank you again for all of your love and prayers, James and I know we are in good hands with you and God on our side.


A New Year

It has been a big year! Getting married and honeymooning in Paris was definitely the highlight. Going part time at work has been a wonderful change...I can actually have time to pursue some other things in life and not be so grumpy with my new husband :) Getting used to being roommates has been a fun challenge and we are so happy to get to be husband and wife for a long time to come.

Experiences through this year have also shown me how fragile and short life really is. Not in a way that I fear, but in a way that I can't miss any opportunity to tell someone I love them. We have so many plans and goals and it is easy to miss the point of life when we are not getting what we want. God has been relentless in reminding me that he will give us all that we need...and that is enough. To be alive and have the guarantee that I will see God is enough.

I am realizing that physical challenges are so very temporary, just like life in is a gift to be with other people and in this next year I would like to take God's challenge to rely completely on him and to be driven by a love for other people rather than a want to fulfill my own needs.

Thank you for your prayers for James and I in everything we are doing. This year you have been His light to us and a support that we could not go without. To all who are reading we thank you and we love you.