Sunday, July 30, 2006

My Thoughts...

Well, I want to post more pics, but I have overloaded at this point so I'll post more later. Folks here continue to make me feel at home and a part of the family. I pulled weeds yesterday morning with Mary Kay for 3 1/2 hours in the humidity. I was so sweaty!!! We were helping another couple who is moving there family to Orlando to be a part of the church plant. Later, I had dinner with Greg, Mary Kay, their son Jordan and his wife Jaime last night and then we all went over to Bill and Beth's with their kids to celebrate Evan's birthday. Bill was even checking in on me and said Friday I didn't seem like myself...overwhelmed with where to start and what I'm doing, I told him. He understood. I had that feeling on Friday, "I could just pack up and turn around!" And of course I could, but I'd be giving up. I talked to my mom and Sara and my neighbor's Jen and Leah on Saturday. I do miss home. Jen told me I needed to get out of my apt. and go to Starbucks with a book and people watch. I did just that and it was so great to get out around people, other breathing souls, as cousin Sharon has said. I went to Winter Park, which is so very similar to NW 23rd Street in Portland. I told mom late last night that I got a little wisdom from Keith Urban (well ok it was just a song from the CD Leah and I picked up at the biggest Starbucks ever, in San Antonio)...
My grandma was a wise old soul
Took me by the hand not long ago
Said, "Son, what's your hurry, boy slow it down
Taste the wild honey, listen to the sound
Of the wind that's blowin' through the trees
Rivers flowin' to the sea
Yeah they're all headin' home just like you and me
Life's for livin' child, can't you see?"
These are the days we will remember
These are the times that won't come again
The highest of flames become an ember
And you gotta live 'em while you can
Not really anything surprising, just a simple reminder that this life we have is for living. Being present where we are and making the most of what we have gifts, talents, abilities and resources.
If you have a few minutes right now, find a Bible, look up Isaiah 61 in the Old Testament and read that chapter. It's not long, just a few short minutes. I'll even attach a link to make it easy for you!!!(Oh technology!!!);&version=31;
Jesus refers to this in the New Testament as he explains the ministry He was sent to do. As a follower of Christ, this has been a banner I strive after. To have the opportunity to tell good news to others, to walk among the broken with hope for them, to comfort...

Severe Storm Warnings

Hello from the lightening capital...or so I'm told. Wow, everyday here we seem to get afternoon thunder showers and sometimes a pretty spectacular lightening show. As I sit here I am listening to the thunder churn and roll. Kind of one of those awesome sounds when you are tucked away safe.:) I never understood those radio and tv announcements that beep annoyingly, "This is a test. If this were an emergency..." until I moved here. Just on my drive over here there was a warning issued for severe thunder storms and possibe hail the size of a penny. Not to worry, the storm warning was for Daytona beach area and headed east, away from me. I am in a new world here. I am continuing to meet lots of people, am settling in to the resource center and creating my space here, and still waiting on my belongings (exhausted sigh). I am functioning fine without them, at times I forget that not all of it is here, but then find it would be nice to have a sofa and my bed and the ability to really fix meals with my kitchen stuff.

The pictures are of the new Resource Center. We finally got to start moving in last Tuesday and are probably 85% of the way done. It has really taken shape as the furniture has been moved in and books are put on the shelves.

This is the area I will have my desk in (straight ahead). Mike will sit to the left and to the right will be an area for interns and others. The door with the light coming through is the counseling room and hopefully by the first of the year we will have a counselor here full time.

This is the view from my cube. Between each of the windows, we have place book shelves. On that wall there are four windows and so four seating areas with cozy chairs, some overstuffed, lots of books, and soft lighting. It feels like a living room! The door here is to the conference room and to the left of that is the entrance and a cove where Maggie sits.

Boxes started accumulating and needed unpacking. WHEW! Bill was in charge of our move and designing the space as Greg imagined it...he did a fabulous job!

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Condo

Here it is. It really is kind of cute and has a great porch area for morning coffee...once the summer is over. I was just informed yesterday that summer is winter here. Everyone stays inside with the AC on...I was feeling as if I didn't have any neighbors, I haven't seen any of them. So, I'm spending my nickels and pennies at the coffee shop where I actually see people.

I just got my new license plate today. Only one for the rear here in FL. Tomorrow we hope to be moving furniture into the Resource Center (formerly known as the office). I am anxious to get settled in there to, but have a feeling this will take more than a few weeks. Hopefully I will be better adjusted by the time Christmas comes around.

Last night I had dinner at Bill and Beth's with their kids, Katie 15 and Evan 11, and Molly, an intern here this summer. We went to STATUS at 7PM. A young 20s loud, happening, worship/church service. We estimated maybe 800-900 folks there. The music was so loud it resounded in the fibers of my muscles...IT WAS AWESOME! It is such an experience to feel the music as well as hear it. I think I missed my calling as a rocker! (You probably think I'm off my rocker!)

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." -HD Thoreau

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Perspective on "The Perfect Table"

Sunny Sunday here. I have spent the weekend looking for a dining room table. Without furnishings here, I've been forced to get busy looking. If you aren't yet aware, the running joke is that it takes me forever to make a decision...or so some have accused! So, I've been looking for the "perfect" dining room table and chairs for probably two years or so. A difficult process for me because I was in an apartment, old and quaint, and now in a condo, carpeted and plain, and someday I'd like to be in a house. What's the problem, you might be thinking. The problem stems from my mom (possibly dad too). If you have ever been in our house you'd see a medium sized, round dining set. We have sat at that table from my earliest memories. It is still in great condition and is very functional for all the family gatherings. Versatile. Long-lasting. I'm looking for the same and it's hard to find something I can imagine using for the next 30 plus years! Perspective. It's just a dining room table and the conversations and shared meals that occur at this table will be more significant than the actual table. So be it...I purchased a table and chairs!

Your encouragement and prayers have been so helpful these past few days. I've been in the company of many folks and am feeling more myself as I get used to being here. One of my Tuesday night ladies wrote that she was praying for a friend I could just be myself around. I think that is the hardest part and a definate need for me. I can be myself here, but in new circumstances and situations, I tend to turn inward. They don't "know" me yet here and those deep relationships take time to form. I will trust the closeness of the Lord during this time and cherish it for what it is.

In the midst of this new start, I received news that my co-worker's (from Portland) husband has been diagnosed with cancer and was flying to New York because local doctor's would not operate on him. They are young, newly married and have a 5 month old baby boy. Perspective. Today I sat in the church as the pastor spoke about the brevity of life wondering, at almost 30 years old, is my life a third over? Half? Will I live to 60 or 90 or 45?

I am so grateful for all of you, deeply grateful!

Friday, July 21, 2006


I have always poured out my inner thoughts here and will continue to do so though today I don't want to! I want to say all is great here (and it is), but I fear telling you I had a hard night last night because I don't want any of you worrying. :) The condo is still empty and still has a wierd smell to it so I am drenching it with "odo-ban" every time I leave! Even with a hard evening, it felt very natural and normal and expected. Just part of the transition. I remember those times in Costa Rica where I felt very alone because of the language barrier and being away from familiarity...some of those same emotions rising here too, so I am comfortable with them. I know soon enough life will have all it's routine back and I won't have to drive in circles looking for the nearest TARGET!

The folks here have been great and I am enjoying getting to know all of them. I've stayed with Greg and Mary Kay several nights because of the empty apartment and admittedly it has been so nice to be around people. We are still in transition with the new Resource Center and should start moving in next Tuesday. In the meantime, I have had ample time to clean and explore and even test out the little work out center at the condo!

The weather here is not so bad. Humidity, yes, but it makes my hair curly and easy to do! And every place is air conditioned. The evenings are great to just be in a t-shirt and the afternoons have provided daily rain to cool things off. I hear things out in the NW are not so cool. I hope you all survive...just go turn the sprinklers on and sit in a lawn chair while it "rains!"

I'll post pictures of the Resource Center and my place soon!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tuesday, Week One

Today we had our/my first staff meeting with all of the new and existing staff. The look of the entire staff has changed over the last year and with this group we will be moving into the new resource center next week. It is currently being built-out and is close to finished, but as with such projects the delays have made the date move back and so next week we should be in. I have been busy settling. Got my FL license and have to change plates here soon. They have toll express ways around here so I had to get a "Sun Pass" and need to set that up. Will allow me to be in the fast lane instead of stopping to drop $.50 in every time I have to use the toll ways.

The last two days we have had wild thunder and lightening. Kind of cool to watch and even hear the lightening crackle. I'm glad to be grounded in my car, but it brings some pretty messy rain along with it. A strange feeling to mix rain with the humidity here...speaking of that...I'm feeling okay and getting used to A/C!!!:)

I stayed in my condo for the first time last night. A little one bedroom. I have cleaned the place up ALOT, but I'm still working on getting rid of a musty smell. Don't know how long it had been empty previous to me or if they were smokers.

We had a meeting last night for the church plant they are doing in this area. Was great to meet lots of folks, connecting names and faces. I'm head over to have dinner with another staff pastor and his wife, Doug and Cindy. They moved here 9 months ago from Indiana and I am guessing it will be nice to have there support in the trasition they've also just experienced. I'm telling you, Orlando it such a mix of folks from all over. I keep seeing license plates from Maryland!

Until next time...staying warm and mostly dry here in the Sunshine State!!!

Sunday, July 16, 2006


I am here! Leah and I finished our trip on Friday and landed in Orlando early afternoon. We got the keys to condo to walk through and that's when the emotion started to hit me a bit...the condo needs a little TLC and that is what I have been giving it this evening. Leah helped me get started giving it the scrub down and I did some more today. Greg and Mary Kay have graciously been hosting me because my bed has not arrived. I think tomorrow will be my first night there. It has been nice to stay with them and be around people. I have already traveled to Lake Wales (central FL) and today we went to church in Daytona Beach and then spent some time walking on the a little too much sun on my shoulders, but it is nice to be out exploring and learning the express ways here. I'm preparing for when you all come to visit me!!! I was so glad to have Leah's company along the way. Now that the trip is over, it seems like it flew by and actually it really did. We had a great adventure seeing many states I have not been to and realizing what a great treasure we have in our 50 states. We had one gross hotel incident, late night- no rooms- dirty place, so we literally slept and left in a matter of 6 hours I think!

As far as the job here, the new resource center is not yet finished so this week will be a great week of transition and getting all my personal things switched over. Thankfully, I have great resources in the Wiens family and I live central to much of what I need.

I will be emailing out my new address, but if I miss you on the list, just send me a note here or email and I'll get it to you.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

New Orleans

Day 3-780 miles
Day 4-650 miles
Day 5- not sure yet but somewhere around 250
My car has been a champ!
Went to the River Walk and the biggest Starbucks I have/will ever see(n). Two stories with coffee baristas on both and music all around. You can sit there and make a cd of all your favorite songs. Man, they are coming up with brilliant ideas to get us in there to spend $4 on a beverage!
We also saw the Alamo and then headed on to far eastern TX almost to the border.
New Orleans
We arrived here this afternoon. You can see a few traces of the hurricane damage, but mostly in the lack of people on the streets. If you have been here prior, you might notice more of the damage. We got a great deal and are spending the night in the French Quarter (Place de Armes)...they are trying to pull tourists back in to the city so hotels are fairly inexpensive. The drive has continued to go smoothly though I feel like I have been spinning continuosly on the drive...condo arrangements, traveling, calling the movers constantly to get my belongings moved, trying to see as much of the country as possible, but keep moving forward...I will be glad to get there and be back in a rhythm. We are planning to arrive late tomorrow evening and I should be able to move in on Friday.

Well, we are headed out to sit on the balcony in the humidity and people watch. Thanks for checking in and for your prayers and support.

P.S. Had gumbo and crawfish for dinner followed by coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde. Experiencing all that we can.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Stars are Bright and Big Tonight

We just crossed over into Texas and the rest area has free wireless internet!!! Way to go TX!
It is warm here and we are hoping to go a few more hours, not quite to San Antonio but closer so we can go to the RiverWalk tomorrow. We had lunch in Sante Fe today...a cute place and wish we would have had more time. We must hit the road again. More Later. On to New Orleans day after tomorrow...anyone have any info on post Katrina places to see/stay/pass over.?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I Am In Awe

Day Two

Day One=930 miles
Day Two=545 miles

Leah and I are now in New Mexico, just over the border in Gallup. We passed through Zion today which was not a part of the 1st route plan, but after seeing Lindy's pictures from their trip I was convinced we needed to go through southern Utah. I have been through Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, the Grand Canyon, but I just don't think you can see this stuff enough! It was amazing and beautiful...Leah drove and I had my head out the window through much of drive today. Thanks Leah!

Well, we got started a day late. The movers were initially supposed to come Thursday morning, then it was changed to Thursday night, then Friday morning and that was the last I heard from them. They didn't show up and I have been calling them without a successful return call (from the driver). I spoke with dispatch and they couldn't locate him either and now they have been closed all weekend. I know my belongings will make it to me in Florida...just frustrating being the one to have to call every few hours in hopes of finding out what is going on, but without success. Friday afternoon/evening turned into a relaxing night enjoying one last time with my neighbors. They shooed us on our way Saturday morning and have stepped in to take care of my belongings until a solution arises. I am so grateful for such great neighbors. They rallied and stepped in so we could get on our way to Florida...thanks y'all!

Friday, July 07, 2006

4th of July

We had a big gathering at home over the 4th of July and I got to see family and friends! Powers becomes a new "city" over the weekend with lots and lots of campers. The fireworks were great as always...the echo off of the mountains next to the park and pond make it an pretty incredible, though this year was a bit frigid!

The Men in My Life!!! ;)

One Way or Round Trip?

Good morning. These past few days have handed me minimal sleep and lots of visiting! I am still sitting in my apartment this morning and expected to be on the road by 5AM today, but I've learned to just go with the flow through the process. The movers were scheduled for yesterday morning, then it was moved to last night because the truck had a flat tire (!!!), now they are to arrive sometime this afternoon...hopefully. No problem. I know eventually I will arrive and assume my belongings will soon to follow.

I can already see the bright blue sky and I think I will walk over to get some breakfast somewhere...the cupboards are absolutely bare.

It was great to see so many of you gals at the jewelry party last night. Thanks for coming and seeing me off. And LG and Julie for the yummy goodies.

Today I hold a one way ticket, but have no way of predicting the return side. I can't lose sight of the reasons I have prayed for an opportunity like this to come along. I have been so enveloped in the moving process and visiting that I have to remember why I am moving!

I'm off to load my car...hoping all I have set aside will fit in there or Leah may become a hood ornament!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Home Sweet Home!

Day Before Departure

Sitting in the coffee shop, tapping away on my dell, sipping on my favorite drink feeling almost oblivious of the fact that tomorrow morning, very early, I am MOVING ACROSS THE COUNTRY. The grace in all of this has been a protective shield around my tender heart binding me up and holding me together as I say "see you later" and "see you soon" (NO, not good-bye) to my dear family and friends. I know you all know this, but I will confirm it in writing...I hold you so close in my heart, I don't think I could hold you closer. I have been thinking, and often think, what a charmed life I have lived. My home town, there is something very storybook and almost whimsical of Powers and the people. I can't imagine a better place to have grown up and gotten my start. On my 27th birthday I had another real insight, yes life may not have handed me the usual course in the order I had expected it, but my life has been decorated with beautiful relationships and for that I have so much to say thank you for.

I have some great photos I will put up tonight and I am going to try and write as we cross the country! (My neighbor Leah and I) Road trip of a life time(???), I have a feeling I will ship my car with my stuff next time I do this!:)

A little update, I have already rented a condo and am glad to have a place to fall into as I get my feet on the ground and bearings in Orlando. Please pray for safety for our travels and that my stuff would show up soon after I do. (They say it could be 7-21 days!)

Come visit me in Orlando, you know you will need a break from the NW gray rainy days!