Monday, April 25, 2011

{ It's All About JESUS }

April 24, 2011:

All of Mars Hill Church together at one service, for the first time in over ten years

17,500+ people worshipping Jesus together on Easter Sunday

the Gospel proclaimed

Qwest Field filled with hymns of praise

682 baptisms

so blessed to be part of this church family

Jesus is GOD and HE IS ALIVE!

All images from the Mars Hill Church Flickr Photostream.
Watch video of the service here.

{ A New Year }

Well, sort of. Last Monday I turned 28. Mike gently pointed out to me that it's just two years till the big 3-0. I'm afraid my response to this observation was less than gracious. {I'm sorry, honey. I know you said that out of love....right? I mean, you're such a mature young man!}

The celebration actually began on Sunday, when we had brunch with Mike's family. It was a gorgeously sunny morning, and his mom made the most delicious basil strata, accompanied by fresh strawberries and a sherry dip for the berries. We had sparkling cider, too; I had a senior moment and couldn't remember what it was called when I wanted a refill, finally saying "Sparkle juice!"

Monday was a sweet, mellow day. Free lunch at work {Thai food! My favorite} for my entire department in honor of my birthday. Early shift = off work at 3:30. Sunshine + chilly temps.  My inbox exploded with birthday wishes from Facebook friends--I felt so loved! An hour exploring Pinterest, weeks after I joined--this could so easily become an addiction if I'm not careful! Mike was able to take the evening off work, so we walked a few blocks to a Thai restaurant that we'd never been to and had a lovely dinner. {Thai twice in one day! I was over the moon!} We splurged on yummy drinks--a Long Island iced tea for Mr., a mai tai for me--and unfortunately those were the only things I photographed. Thus, pictorial evidence of my 28th birthday is limited to alcoholic beverages. Nice one, Nikki. Nice.

We walked back home and snuggled on the couch, watching a travel show about the Hawaiian islands. Mike fell asleep halfway through Oahu, and I was pleased as punch to watch him sleep. It was a quiet, lovely day. Here's hoping that my 28th year is just as lovely!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

{ These Days }


It's not a state of mind that comes naturally to me.

I worry.

I fret.

Truth be told, I freak out.

I am speechless at the peace that pervades these days.

When I look at our circumstances, what surrounds us, the uncertainty lapping about our feet with every step, it makes no sense that Husband and I have peace. But we do. Peace that passes understanding.

I usually find comfort and security in control--which is really just the illusion of control.

That illusion has been shattered so often lately. Everything from:

:: Husband's two jobs requiring 14+ hours {minimum} per day, six days per week

:: Uncertainty regarding what will happen when Husband's contract ends in a few weeks: little hope is offered for a renewal, and we have no job leads

:: lots of changes {new hospital building, coworkers moving and multiple maternity leaves, a new intern} + increased workload at work, with no new "normal" on the horizon

:: broken car window + two stolen laptops

:: large, unexpected expenses as a result of the above

:: hopes and dreams for stability and a solid timeline for me leaving the workforce are still just hopes and dreams, not reality

:: feeling helpless to help Husband, or in any way change the current state of affairs

:: a doctor visit revealing that Husband's wrist, which has been bothering him for nearly a year, may actually be broken...he's seeing an orthopedic specialist on Friday and then we'll know for sure

Yet the shattering of illusion hasn't broken us. We speak of this often, how we are both surprised that we aren't freaked out by the uncertainty and lack-of-control that colors our immediate future so heavily. We're both type A personalities, control freaks, planners. Yet we feel securely cupped in the hands of a loving God, who fashions our unknown-to-us tomorrows with tenderest care. We speak of how we're in a long, dark tunnel. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it is getting closer. But it's still so easy to pin my hopes on the future and neglect to fully live today. It's so easy to focus on just getting through this season, to spend my emotional energy hoping this season is almost over, rather than seeing today as a gift from Jesus. All of today.

If you have a moment, would you lift us up in prayer? I'm going to be honest: This is rough. Watching the man I love work harder than I can imagine. Waking up when he crawls into bed between 11pm and 3am most nights, knowing he has to get up and do it all over again in a few hours. We could use prayer for strength, patience, hope, and joy. For a job that utilizes Husband's skills and that he enjoys. For good communication and a strong marriage in spite of how little time we have together.

Thank you, friends. I hope this doesn't sound like whining.  I'm not complaining. My hope for this post is twofold: A testimony to God's goodness and grace, and an honest glimpse of where I am right now...which isn't "easy," but it's real.

And that's what I'm up to these days.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

{ This Week: }

...we celebrated the first Sunday services in our new building, after 5+ years of renting an auditorium--which meant unpacking everything bright and early Sunday morning, and packing it all away on Sunday night. After 3.5 years of doing setup and teardown for the evening service, Mike and I are sooooo happy that our congregation is able to lease a building and occupy it 24/7! God is so gracious to us! Everything is nice and new, smells like fresh paint + new carpet, and best of all--there's room to grow!

...I'm looking {somewhat desperately} for a big mirror to hang on the living room wall. I have a picture of it in my head, but have yet to find it in real life. I'd like to find + purchase + hang this elusive mirror before my family arrives next Thursday, but alas, alack, the mirror eludeth yet.

...I'm loving the Pioneer Woman's lasagna! I've never made lasagna before, and it was not as difficult as I expected. I've also never cared much for lasagna 'til I tasted this one. I followed the recipe in her cookbook, but this one is almost exactly the same {she just uses dried herbs instead of fresh}.

...the Hubs and I watched "Toy Story 2." I've never seen the Toy Story movies before, and considering that I'm number 211 on the holds list for "Toy Story 3," it will be a looooong time before we finish the trilogy!

...I'm stocking up on movies from the library that were filmed in Kauai, in preparation for our trip this summer. Currently on the coffee table: "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" {an Elvis Presley flick...who knew he starred in several movies filmed in the Hawaiian islands?} and "Donovan's Reef," a John Wayne {!!!} movie that I'm really looking forward to. We've already watched "Six Days, Seven Nights" and "Blue Hawaii" {another Elvis movie}.

...I'm thankful that a couple of Saturdays ago, some girlfriends came over and we made fabric flowers together. It was a lovely mix of married + single + two baby girls, complete with PW's chicken tortilla soup and rhubarb bars. It was so much fun to share this easy, super satisfying craft with friends, plus get to open our home and enjoy fellowship. Wanna see a few specimens of our craftiness? living basil plant has died. I bought it on Friday. The instructions couldn't have been simpler: Place in a cup with about one inch of water. Replace water as needed. Keep inside, do not plant outdoors. Pluck off leaves as needed. It looked wilty from day 2; utter death was apparent by Wednesday {day 5}. mouth is watering over recipes for rosemary and garlic roasted salmon and shaved asparagus pizza. Oh, Tasty Kitchen, how though hast changed my life for the better {and my hips for the wider}!

...I am so excited about the progress the Hubs and I made in cleaning our second bedroom on Friday night! It's been the sorely-neglected Room of Horrors ever since we moved in, 21 months ago. In preparation for my parents and two of my brothers staying with us over Easter weekend, we're trying to make room for at least one air mattress on the floor. It's quite exhilarating to see patches of carpet I hadn't laid eyes on since approximately July 11, 2009!

...I'm looking for the best rhubarb recipes out there. Any suggestions? I love, love, love rhubarb and don't want to waste this precious vegetable/fruit/whatever-it-is.

...I'm savoring One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, a sweet little early birthday gift. I started reading it while getting a pedicure after work earlier this week. As I knew it would be...{the book, not the pedicure}...amazing.

...I'm savoring the last few days of being 27. I realized awhile back that I'm going to be in my 30's for 3.5 years while Mike is in his 20's. Big, fat dislike. Hubs being younger than me doesn't bother me; me turning, say, 32 while he's 28, does!

...I'm really looking forward to spending time with my family over Easter weekend. So glad that they can come over!

...I'm stoked about our church's Easter service at Qwest Field: Sunday, April 24th, 9:30 am. Be there or be....sad that you weren't!

What have you been up to this week?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

{ Mrs. Mike }

A few weeks ago I received an excited-but-mysterious message from Courtney. The gist of it was, "I found something at an estate sale that's perfect for you! Give me your address so I can send it!" If you know Courtney, if you've been to her house, if you've visited her etsy shop or seen her booth at Farm Chicks, you know that her eye for perfectly sweet + vintage is impeccable. {My chalkboard window? From Courtney's Farm Chicks booth.}

I had no idea what Courtney could possibly be talking about. When her package arrived in the mail, I tore it open and--Mike can testify to this--emitted a very loud, high-pitched squeal upon recognizing the contents:

First edition--1947!!

Let's take a closer look at the image on the front cover:

Mrs. Mike  is one of my favorite books of all time. I read it as a teenager and positively swooned over the true story of a 16-year-old Boston girl traveling to the Canadian frontier in search of a better climate for her health. Her romance and marriage with Mike Flannigan, a Canadian Mountie, and their vivid, sometimes heartbreaking life at his remote northern outposts is absolutely gripping. While Mike and I were dating, the idea of perhaps someday being his Mrs. Mike made my heart flutter...and when I was thinking of a name for my blog, Mrs. Mike was the obvious choice. I've wanted to read it aloud with Mike for such a long time...and now I can!

Thank you, Courtney! You were right: it's perfect.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

{ Spring Is... }

 :: daffodils, daffodils everywhere ::

 :: hi, daff! you are so beautiful! ::

:: sunset on the edmonds pier after a lovely date with my husband ::

 :: warning: ferry approaching over left shoulder ::

:: watching ferries skim into the sunset ::

:: a newly-springified chalkboard window cheering up the entryway ::

Saturday, April 2, 2011

{ Kauai Dreamin' }

Really looking forward to waking up to this view each morning...
...lazing around on this beach...

...dreaming of living in this idyllic valley...

...staining my shoes red, exploring this canyon with the Mister...
...playing in the pounding surf at this beach...

...and soaking up the breathtaking views along this trail...

Only 102 days 'til Mike and I fly to Kauai to celebrate two years since Mr. + Mrs.!!