Sunday, December 30, 2007

Slipping away

My thoughts are slipping away. Do you ever have those moments when you think to yourself, "I need to write that down..." and you don't and then the thought is gone. This often happens to me when I'm slipping into sleep. My mind, as it continually rolls words and thoughts round and round, will bring me some really great ideas about the time I'm no longer interested in turning the light back on and finding a pen! It happended again last night and I told myself I'd remember today, but have not until now and even though I remember having the thought, I can't piece back together the parts to make a whole! Hhmm.

The last few days, some friends have been telling me I look tired! It's one of those moments when the inside has literally forced its way to the surface and it is spread all over my face. "I'm not tired per se, but just worn out," has been my response. It's been a busy year (FL to OR to FL to Puerto Rico to OR to FL to OR to Canada to FL to TX to FL to Argentina to Paraguay to FL to OR to FL and I think that's it!) and a crazy season the past month. So yes, I am a little worn out, but really it's been a ride!!!!!!!

I was looking over some notes last night. I carry a little notebook in my purse and write down notes of encouragement that others have shared or quotes that reach into my soul and strike a nerve and then reflect on them whenever I happen to open up the little book. I was reminded last night, life is about experiences, not finding and fulfilling a plan. The path or plan arises as we experience life. And today at church Ken reminded us that our destiny is lived out day to day, not pre-planned for we do not know the mind of God or how He might bring about life in our lives.

"Being alive is not the same as actually living." ----Are you alive or really living?

So, a few things in life are changing, but I'm not sharing the details because the plan keeps morphing! Bottom line, a few months here a few months there and in the fall I am hopeful to be in Seattle studying. In the meantime, I'm having a great time with friends in Orlando before another move. Christmas brought many opportunities of spending time with friends.

Liz, Janann, Shelly and I...some of the gals I meet with at Starbucks every Tuesday night!
We went to Disney for the day and then watched TinkerBell fly from the castle!;)

Erin, Shelly and I out on the town!

Sushi in Celebration with Melissa and Jennifer!

My Thursday morning ladies enjoying Christmas at EPCOT!
(MacKenzie, Meghan, and Brayshawna)

My house decorated for Christmas...or maybe that's Cinderella's castle!

Taste-testing Coca-Cola from around the world with MacKenzie and Meghan!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Yahoo! News Story - Comics and Editorial Cartoons: Close to Home on Yahoo! News

( has sent you a news article.
(Email address has not been verified.)
Personal message:

Anyone back in the NW want a baby alligator for the kids for Christmas?!?!?

Thanks cousin Sharon for finding this! A good laugh

Comics and Editorial Cartoons: Close to Home on Yahoo! News

Yahoo! News

Sunday, December 09, 2007

So much to say...

First, I hope this link works. I've seen a few of these passed around. This features Steph and some Orlando girlfriends, Melissa and Jennifer. Jen decided it would be funny to set our feet to dancing.

After you've enjoyed the link, there is really no easy way to share the whole story that leads me to the next statement...I'm driving home and moving my stuff with me. A turn of many circumstances and my own continued search for purpose and enjoyment for what seems to be living and moving about the country has brought me/is taking me back to OR. Again, I really don't know where to start and really don't know that all the details are even necessary. Suffice to say, I am well. Nothing negative here, unfortunate circumstance, but nothing God had not prepared my heart for. Funny how that works. I literally wrote some very significant things in my journal the morning of the day things here changed. If I start going into details, this blog will be 3 pages long, no I take that back, it would be a book. I've laughed about that with a friend here...she thinks I should be writing a book. The "happenings" have affected a few of us, but we are all fine. Thanks God. You'll get the story when we sit for a visit!

I am looking forward to this as I'm making plans to go back to school. The thought has crossed my mind a few times over the past year or two as I've transitioned places and jobs, but I could never decided on what to go back and study.

As much as I'm looking forward to the possibilities in the future, I'm again sad at leaving. Such is the case when moving and was the case moving here. My friend Alisa, college and long time pal, said to me last night..."None of us on this end are complaining!" Those words make a friend feel loved. Even so, I leave new friends here who I have experienced this chapter with. Just today at church one of them pulled me aside. He said, "Experiecne builds on experience. Go back knowing God is doing great things and with encouragement." I am, encouraged! Surreal, but I love adventure and this is another. At some point in life, I do hope to settle down. Until that factor, whatever it may be, presents itself, my feet will continue to take me along.

So, I didn't know if I'd ever get to drive across the country again, but here goes! I loved it last time and said I'd do it again...guess I get the opportunity.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Iguacu Falls

What do you know, the video feature works! I hope you enjoy is so unfortunate that a camera is simply incapable of capturing the full magnitude, in this case, of the falls. It was powerful to stand on the edge here and look down, the power of the water moving down causing a mist and force of air upward that felt like a cool morning breeze! Just imagine the sound!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A string of events...until YOU find the meaning.

Life is spinning! Not really out of control, just non-stop movement since August 15th, when I headed out to Oregon. And now, I'm off to Argentina and Paraguay for 12 days. It seems as though, instantly, my year and maybe even the last two, have been so full of travel. I must admit I desired this and hoped for it...and well here it is. I'm enjoying it for all that it is and finding meaning and purpose in each trip.

Life is a string of events...that isn't necessarily a negative message IF you find meaning and purpose it those string of events. The events of life in Orlando are running together and I'm holding on for the ride.

Have I told you I changed jobs a few weeks ago?! Whew! Add to the spinning, but it is good, very good!

I will do my best to post while I am in South America!
Love, love, love

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Before and After Me

"I remember having a warm, settled feeling as I sat on the porch and listened to the older folks remembering the shared stories of their lives. My sense of security grew from an awareness that all this had been going on before me, that though I was a part of it, I wasn't responsible for it." -J. Eldredge

From a book written by an author I've come to know over the last few years. I read this tonight and it resounded deep. I am reminded that all of this was happening before me and will go on after me. I am just a part of a larger plot. Always makes my mind reel though, with wonder, confusion, amazement.

Just a thought late tonight...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sh;aring; all of life; with you!

Um, yes, you notice the semi-colon in; the title; and you will notice it; seems m;y computer ;;has; some sort of bug; or; sticky key or something. And ;since I love to share life, all of life; and daily life with you, you are ;now privileged; to experience the annoying semi-colon. It ;makes for writing emails a bit; of a problem!

Started; the ;new job today; and am looking; forward to learning and growing in this new position. I am ;still headed to Paraguay; and Argentina (with; the ;previous job-it all seems to overlap!); later; this month,; the; 27th; through the 9th so be checking on here during that; time; as; I will post if access is available; and definitely after the; trip.

I; still have some Malibu stories ;to share, but am still working on them. Soon...;)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I'm Back!

Not sure that the exclamation point on the end of the heading is an ecstatic, "I'm back in Orlando!" or more so an "I'm back on here." I returned tonight and have been traveling the last 36 hours from north of Vancouver B.C. ...each second so worth the tiresome journey! From foot to boat to car to ferry to plane...I'm been on the move! Malibu was nothing less than wonderful. A get away with distinguished meaning. The drain on life is what tends to wear on the spiritual life, emotional, physical, etc and I am always so thankful for those times away that are refreshing. To see life outside of the normal daily demands.

Last week I got a taste of my dream job...barista! I spent time in the coffee shop at camp (Hamilton's) making drinks and had a blast. Getting to talk with people, learn and share stories, it was so much fun! I met some new, wonderful people who made the week a delight. I'll share more as the week goes by and I have some more time.

Until then, to all of you reading that I had the opportunity to visit...I love you and miss you, you bless me whenever I see you! And to new friends, I'm glad to have shared the week at Malibu with you!

Brad, Paula and I waiting for the "snow."

It "snowed" during one of the family game times!

Inspiration Point-A 6AM hike, or more like mountain climb, up up up to get a good look at camp.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Going Back

There are some places I'd often like to return, but much of the time make excuses, "oh, no I shouldn't, I don't have time" or just don't think outside of a narrowly regimented schedule. I am understanding that things are often more available to me than I usually expect. For example...returning to Malibu, the 'bu, the Rock, Young Life's Malibu Club. Last week, I was on the phone with the folks I worked with in Portland. These are the folks I met at Malibu, in Canada, back in 2000. "You have to come to Malibu the last week of August!" Oh, how I wanted to so badly, but didn't know how to make it work within my regimented thinking. So I started thinking about life outside of the planned calendar of events. I decided it was going to happen and started taking the necessary steps. The photos following show where I will be spending the last week of August serving at the camp during a week long "Military Camp." What?? Yes, the camp will be hosting military families, many if not most, whose fathers are over serving in Iraq.

This place is a place of personal retreat for me, so remote and removed. I spent one summer and part of another here and have some great memories. One of the pictures from the slide show at Gramp's service was taken on the "inner dock." Dad, Gramp, and another buddy were on a fishing trip a few inlets over. We tried to plan a trip for them to hire a water taxi and come over (the only way into camp is by boat or seaplane), but the trip through the inlets was too long for the timing and so I didn't expect to see them. Little did I know the connections they had. I woke up to a phone call on my day off somewhere between 9 and 10 in the morning. Remember, this was my day off (normal days had me up and running at 5am before camp came to life) so I was hoping to sleep in late especially after a night of "silent hockey." My boss called from one of the few phones in camp, "Stephanie, I need you to come down to the office as soon as you can." Yikes! Ok what's going on? I threw on my shorts and pulled my hair back as I descended the rock down to the boardwalk where the office sat. As soon as I got there, a couple of my co-workers started acting funny trying to distract me from the main street boardwalk. Finally, they let me out of the office door and there stood Dad and Gramp about 15 yards down the walk. I was so surprised and still rubbing sleep out of my eyes, but ecstatic to see them and have them on the property. I had 45 minutes to show them all of camp and then they were off again in the seaplane. It was a VERY special time for me...Malibu!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Shuttle Shuttle Shuttle!

Here they are! Some more pics, only I'm realizing as I pull them up to post that they may not be as exciting as expected! I don't know if I explained in the previous post, we couldn't actually see the shuttle until about 10 seconds after it launched. We were at a restaurant deck miles away, not at the actual NASA site. Anyway, 10 seconds into it you could see the shuttle and then the rumble started, kind of like thunder, as the massive shuttle lifts off. It really was exciting and basically unbelievable when you really think about it. I have since rented Apollo 13 and watched all the "extras" on the DVD as I continue my own space education!

Another launch is scheduled for August 7th. One of the mission specialist, Barbara Morgan, was the "back up" teacher for the '86 Challenger launch.

Friday, July 20, 2007

More Pics, say Pretty Please! :)

NTT I'm rolling on the floor here you have such a good memory and are adamant that I get those pictures up here!!! I'm going to have to stage another shuttle launch for you just to get some darn pictures! LOL Ok, I will try again. I didn't have my camera and one of the guys there said he'd email me pics and hasn't, so I'll try again! :) Love you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Through the ways of my world

A new quote to ponder...

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."
-Henry David Thoreau

If I might have the platform here to introduce you to a book I've been mulling over. As I've stated previously, Florida has been a gift of understanding more about how I'm wired, why I value certain things, how I respond in different situations, and where I am most productive and personally fulfilled, why I always feel somewhat discontented. Did you know that stirring inside is actually part of my wiring. That it is my personality to always feel somewhat discontented, but with a high level of commitment and responsibility. As for the responsibility piece, I could live without that. :) I could go on and on forever about this stuff, but really just intended to share with you a part from the book, PLEASE UNDERSTAND ME II, by David Keirsey.

"If you do not want what I want, Please try not to tell me that my want is wrong.
Or if my beliefs are different from yours, at least pause before you set out ot correct them.
Or if my emotion seems less or more intense than yours, given the circumstances, try not to ask me to feel other than I do.
Or if I act, or fail to act, in the manner of your design for action, please let me be.
I do not, for the moment at least, ask you to understand me. That will come only when you are willing to give up trying to change me into a copy of you.
If you will allow me any of my own wants, or emotions, or beliefs, or actions, then you open yourself to the possibility that some day these ways of mine might not seem so wrong, and might finally appear as right-for me. To put up with me is the first step to understanding me.
Not that you embrace my ways as right for you, but that you are no longer irritated or disappointed with me for my seeming waywardness. And one day, perhaps, in trying to understand me, you might come to prize my differences, and , far from seeking to change me, might preserve and even cherish those differences.
I may be your spouse, your parent, your offspring, your friend, your colleague. But, whatever our relation, this I know: You and I are fundamentally different and both of us have to march to our own drummer. "

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Process and Analysis

Running out of steam this week. I've read way too many books in the last 7 days, not all of them from cover to cover, but my brain has been inundated and I'm on information overload! I knocked on my neighbor's door last night at 9:30 PM, "Can I borrow a movie?" I just needed to be able to check out with some very brainless activity minus tv commercials. Problem being, I continued to analyze, not myself, but the movie! That's what happens when you watch it alone, you have the permission to rewind and catch that phrase-word that you missed. So, I had the sub-titles on and was not about to miss anything. Deep sigh of relief...loosening the grip...relax...finding myself in another place...Costa Rica? Oh no, Florida! Ahh, but this too is good. The warm evenings are so nice!

Now that I've led you on one of my random rabbit trails! You are welcome, by the way. I know how much you love to follow the brain currents as the nuerons synapse from one to another! Wow, I'll stop!

Some food for thought...been busy making adjustments in life. You know, the story of the boat and the rudder. The captain is always making slight adjustments, nothing huge, just ever so slightly because if not, he will end up in a place he did not intend. He continually checks his position and makes the necessary changes. As with life, I am continuing to check my position and make the ever so slight adjustments. They are not significant for today or this week or even this month, but if I leave it for a few years I will find myself in a place I did not intend. So, the continually process... Process, analysis, RELAX, repeat. (The relax piece is new! At least in as much as learning to not only physically relax, but mentally taking a break too!)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Your Starbucks Cup Quote of the Day

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things

you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the

bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in

your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

-Mark Twain

No, I didn't see this on a Starbucks cup, but it should be! Came across it in a book I've been buried in the last few days.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Do you remember Christa McAuliffe? I don't remember what grade I was in...second, third... the teachers at our little elementary school gathered all of us into the library to watch the Challenger launch. I remember sitting with Becky Peterson, an older and much smarter student, and as the shuttle split into pieces I sat there baffled. The teachers kind of scrambled and I remember looking at Becky and asking, "Was that supposed to happen?" Her quiet response without taking her eyes off of the tv, "I...don't...know." I cried later when I found out what had happened. As soon as it came out, I bought a book about all of the astronauts on the Challenger. I remember feeling such grief for their families, their children...empathy runs deep.

Do you remember President Reagan's speech?

And I want to say something to the school children of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them. ...

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."

Well, tonight is another launch. Atlantis. I'm headed to Cocoa with some friends to watch the launch and will be back with whatever pictures I am able to capture on my beat-up, well traveled little camera! Oh yes, there have been many launches since the Challenger and other tragedies, but making plans to watch this tonight, live, has launched me back a few years.

4 hours, 39 minutes, 30 seconds and counting. Makes my heart beat faster curiously wondering what they must be thinking as they step into those big orange space suits. What an experience! Looking back on earth... wow.................... ...........................speechless!

Ok, enough rambling for today!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Perceive, Perception, Perceiver-

to become aware of, know, or identify by means of the senses. Ah the senses, glad to have them and yet all together tired of the steering caused by them.

My perception, led astray, the cautioned adventurer (can those two words sit together?) in me waited several months before exploring "the path." Covered with graffiti, separated from my vision, tall fencing skewed where it led, parental advice echoed "danger, danger" aaahhh, but I must know. Must give it opportunity to lead me to new territory. Ipod in hand, runners fastened securely, out the door-left, pass the pool, to congestion-left, to the fence-left, beyond the graffiti-right, down to the road and a world opens............why didn't I attempt this sooner.

I know, I know, sounds like I just walked into a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and if you're me, this is a pot of gold. A quaint old neighborhood that has been hiding from me behind a tall fence that separates our parking area and "the path." I finally took a walk there a while back and found a neighborhood! Something that reminded me of my neighborhood in the 'Couv, mismatched mailboxes, yards with lots of trees, trees hanging over the road offering shade, aunt Sally out pulling weeds and watering her flowers, mom and dad playing outside with the tots, waving to the new neighbor! I'm sure they think I've moved in down the street because I am taking advantage of their winding streets. Which leads me back to perception!

I perceived nothing like this existed within walking distance. They perceive I'm the new neighbor, maybe sometime I'll thank them for letting me borrow their paths.

Perception is a funny thing!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pics from Anita and Damien's Visit

You can find me there doing one of two things, sitting with a book and pen or chatting over coffee. Starbucks, we love it and loathe it. It isn't always the best cup of coffee, but we love to go there and meet people. It is the well of our day, the watering hole, the place you wanna go where everybody knows your name. (And they give you free drinks if you haven't been in for a while!) The loathsome piece, $$$ and they generally keep the place at near freezing temperatures!

(So, I enjoy the outdoors.)

Anita and I enjoyed the Starbucks out my front door! In Bern Switzerland they have only one and she said it is very expensive. I think she made a daily trip, some without me! The simple things, a cup of coffee, can make your day.

We had a great time putt-putt golfing. I even made a hole in one! Pure skill...ok ok I mean luck!

Sushi in Celebration.

Downtown Orlando around Lake Eola.

I have this great breakfast place to take you to when you make your own pancakes and they are delicious. Damien's morning special, Blueberry cakes.

Lounging on the best couch in the world before heading out to music and bbq...we must have been waiting on Damien. :) (seriously...I know I said STUFF doesn't matter, but this couch is a GOOD couch:) )

Had a great visit with those two. Fun to catch up and connect again. Crazy to think we only spent a few weeks together in Costa Rica, but those first two weeks were the scariest and I was so happy to have met Anita the first day of classes and Damien soon there after. Anita was here almost a week before Damien joined us. During that week we spent so much time simply visiting. I was looking through her Florida travel book and came across a picture of myself she had taken in our little classroom. I just laughed and pointed to the picture! Her response, "I didn't know if I'd recognize you so I brought a picture." I really am looking forward to a vacation to Switzerland in the near future......The world continues to grow smaller!

Monday, May 21, 2007 faint thought

This past month, I've been thinking about stuff. My stuff. My belongings. My collection of goods. I find myself looking around thinking, "This stuff really doesn't mean anything." It carries no lasting value. I'm sure at some point I'll want to trade in this stuff, which will become old stuff, and get some new stuff, but it ultimately never changes my life. So, I have some meaningful stuff, but am not a collector of stuff.

Recently, I came across an unfortunate piece of information. The bottom line of that information...a woman was describing how upset she was that some of her stuff had been thrown out in order to help more people. I hope you can follow. I speak loosely because this incident comes in so many different shades and shapes that it entangles each of our lifes. Holding on to Stuff. A few nights back, I went to pick up leftovers from Panara Bread Co. for one of our GraceRiver events. I met a man there who was waiting for leftovers as well. An engineer whose wife and kids up and left him a year ago so now he spends his nights picking up leftovers from several of the Paneras and delivering to Salvation Army, other food shelters, and homeless women and kids in one of the homeless hubs of Orlando. This guy has taken lemons and made lemonade. I admire that. He's on to something. People, they are important, but do we value them enough to inconvenience our lives and forget about our "stuff" if it helps someone else? Just a thought.

P.S. It's spring! You know what that means...get rid of some of your stuff! It might help someone else! I speak of both physical stuff and emotional stuff here. If you're holding on to emotional stuff...takes a few steps beyond that and love the people in your life.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Mother's Day-Exposing you to Honor you!

As I sit here writing the thoughts my heart pushes through my hand and ultimately the black ink on this white card, I realize how meaningless sometimes it feels to send card after card, year after year saying ultimately the same thing. Though I mean every bit of it every year, should the receiver of those affections become numb to my words and sentiments, I'm afraid it would lose the impact. So to honor you, MOM, I will tell what I think of you on here!

I'm so proud of you for the way you live your life so sacrificially when it comes to not only your family, but your community. The way you cared for Grandpa over the past few years, the way you continue to mother not only your own children, but those of your nieces and nephews...and yes I say nieces (plural) because you've taken them in as family from the beginning. The way you care for all those little kids who have passed through your arms because they tripped on the playground and needed a bandaid or wanted a hug because they don't get that attention at are loving and tender, but treat them with respect and expect them to act accordingly. Oh how I know this... I think I remember lying to you once in my life (I don't remember any others;)!Really! I just knew you expected better behavior of me! And then of course there was Dad's 6'2" frame lingering over us. Without even speaking, it said, "You better listen to your mother." Even the big kids in Powers, all those elderly people...the way you respond to a phone call by going and checking on them. You are a busy woman and I've always given you a hard time for all the activities you commit yourself to. "Mom, you need to take more time for yourself," I've always pushed. But, it's because you are truly a mother that you couldn't/can't give up being that which is wired in you. The way you cheer us've been a great cheerleader. Sometimes it has taken you longer to climb aboard for all my crazy ideas and plans. Never the less, you cheer me on. One of my sweetest memories is picturing you up at the top of the bleachers wearing your proud-parent-of-a-Cruiser face and I knew you were pulling for me. I think you have a little bit of Grandpa Jack in you! And at his funeral when Jim announced how Jack and Alvena had raised up three fine children, I was so proud of you and my uncles. You see, I've always know this about you, but when others celebrate it too, I smile inside. And your hugs, the way you hugged me in my youth when you knew my feelings had been hurt or now later in life when you know so many times life just requires a silent hug. I love you for all of it!

You are a mother to so many, but your my mom and I'm so proud of that and love you so much!

Happy Mother's Day

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Costa Rica Redone

Well, sort of. Only Florida style! Do you remember my friends from the school in Heredia? I have kept in touch with a few of them over the past year and Anita (from Switzerland) and Damien (from California) are visiting. Anita arived Sunday for 2 weeks and Damien will join us Friday. I'm so excited to have them visit and talk about our travels in Costa Rica and life post paradise! Not sure what the plan will be as they will leave from Miami later next week. Anita and I have already started planning my trip to Italy, Switzerland, and France!;) (And Spain and England and...Anita said I will need 6 months......)

Sipping cafe con leche at Gran Hotel Costa Rica in San Jose with Damien and Anita.

Life has been good here and I'm curious when some of you will be down to visit...first time and return guests are always welcome. The revolving door at my little "guest house" is truly a gift.

Weekend before last, a group of us went out and made dinners at a great little place, Dinner Afare. Some pictures from our evening. What a fun time! It was the perfect timing too having just returned from Oregon. My head was floating with questions most of the plane ride back down here, even so I believe in a God who can handle my often times troubled understanding of life. Why Florida...ah, but the relationships I continue to be loved through and the understanding that not understanding is ok...I continually put on my "sense of adventure" and hold on.

Shelly and Jeff are some new faces. It's been really fun getting to know them and embracing new friendships so that Orlando becomes more of a community. (Shelly-I really like our coffee talks!)

Wes and Mayra-Phil and Janann
Wes and Mayra are from Puerto Rico and were a great source of info for the April trip. We even connected with Wes' brother for Tapas while in Old San Juan. The world continues to get smaller! And Phil and Janann, well they feel like old friends now since they've been here from the time of my arrival.

Monday, April 30, 2007

3 Thoughts

The smell of fresh cut grass and gasoline reminds me of my mom! Sorry, mom...actually I don't mean that as anything but a compliment and a sweet memory! I pulled into my place this afternoon and the just mowed lawn and scent of a lawnmower close by took me back to my bright yellow (I mean bright, like almost florescent!) bedroom. Those sleepy summer days waking up to mom mowing at 10am in the morning, too early for a teenager to be waking up in the summer ;) and trust me closing the window was useless! Ahh, but dear mother it is a good memory of climbing out of bed, calling friends to see who was headed out to the orchard for our daily afternoons of swimming in the river and jumping off "the rock!"

My fish died while I was in Puerto Rico. I had a fish, did I mention that on here yet, and called it Nicoya. The fish didn't eat a whole lot, never when I was watching and sprinkled its food on the water's surface. I wondered how it was surviving. I took the lack of interest in food as a sign that Nicoya was either in shock of a new environment (my wonderful home) or I had chosen an anorexic fish. :) I thought just maybe it would survive while I was gone, but when I walked in the door, the fish was, well, floating on the surface. Sorry Fish...good thing I didn't go for a dog yet! Really I believe I could take care of a dog, but I'm too selfish right now and like the freedom of roaming around the state, country, world. I think I'll try another fish first!

Music, I'm listening to some new piano music I just downloaded, George Winston-Forest. I've been waiting all week for a cd mom was sending in the mail. Nik, you did an incredible job creating a beautiful compilation of our memories with gramp. And Uncle Rog, you've always been good at finding the music that inspires, I love the songs Nik chose...I'm particularly drawn to vanilla...just the piano, so simple, pure. It is a language my soul loves to listen to. It's a curious thing why I was so pained by it growing up...I despised sitting there and practicing and unfortunately won that battle and found myself consumed in other things. I've got one of those lists (yeah, I know you're all surprised by that) of things to do before I die. I'm doing ok on the travel part :)...anyway, learning the piano is on that list so maybe one day I will play.

I'm including a few more pics from P.R.

Playa Flamenco, outside of Dewey, Culebra Island, Puerto Rico...

This was taken from our window. Sure, at first glance this "Hotel Opportunity" looks like a great find. Quaint, lots of character, probably some original floors with old staircases etc. HOWEVER, that little place off to the right...yeah well we discovered through the night that they play really loud reggaeton the entire night...CAVEAT EMPTOR, let the buyer beware!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Culebra Bike Rentals

Yeah, we rented bikes the full day we had on the island. And it was hot and humid! Can't you tell by my face, I'm sweating...or maybe you can't. Anyway, we went to the bike shop in the morning. Actually, this is the morning I talked with mom really early and learned about Gramp. Leah left me alone for a while and headed out to get breakfast...I joined her shortly and we just sat and watched the Iguanas as I sipped on my coffee and poured out some feelings. "This one is called grateful and I'm so thankful I went to visit in February." After we downed some more cups of coffee we walked across an old bridge that appeared as though it used to rise and fall for the boats, but had since retired. The owner at the bike shop quickly suited us for our bikes (grab one here and yep looks good, there you go) and we quickly headed out after obtaining a few bungees to hold our bags on the rack. Just one quick, necessary stop at the grocery store for some cold remedies and we made the not quite gruesome ride toward the beach. It was a fairly uneventful ride out and once we crested the pass to the other side of the island, it was an easy coast down hill. You know, I'm always glad to have working brakes and in this case the front was all I had. No problem, esta bien! It is good, especially with a beautiful beach waiting at the end. I was surprised once we pulled into the park to see all the food stands and park rangers. I didn't expect it, but it was nice to have cold water and rice and beans there for a later lunch. The ranger whistled his whistle at us and pointed at the bike rack for our parking pleasure. Once we finally found our way past the signs and other distractions, we planted ourselves on towels and Leah headed straight for the water. My phone rang and Nik was calling on me to see how I was doing. Both her and Uncle John made it clear, "Grandpa loved to celebrate and he would have wanted you to stay and enjoy the rest of your time." (Though I agreed wholeheartedly, it was such a relief and release to finally get home and just give and receive some stabilizing hugs.) I hung up with Nik and laid there in the warm sun and soft sand trying to take in and understand and wrap my head around emotions and being away and what I was feeling. I was at one of the most beautiful beaches and as I sat in the clear blue-turquoise-green water and looked all around, I couldn't take in all the beauty. I didn't want to leave the water for fear of not capturing all that I could or should. As I type this I realize this as a pattern in my life. Sometimes, I have a hard time leaving places and people because I never want to cut short all that is for embracing. When gram and gramp used to come up to the house for dinner or a holiday, we would walk them out and turn the lights out as they drove off. I remember so often watching them drive up the road and I would wait. I'd wait until I couldn't see their lights anymore. I know they were just going over the road and down to their house, but something in me didn't want to miss a moment. I'm not like this in all things, but I have weird tendencies to be sentimental and hold on...not so much to actual tangible objects, but to places and people. If I'm not holding on with my presence, I've most likely dropped a piece of myself in that place and it becomes hard for me to leave. You've heard it said before, "Your greatest strength will be your greatest weakness." Investing in people and places is easy for me, but it rips me up that much more when I leave or move or make any changes. Having realized that, I seem to have jumped in here in Orlando in many ways, but scared that I'm going to rip another piece of my heart so I don't FULLY invest. What am I saying...I don't even know...I'm just typing and this is what you get to read. Again, I'm just processing and letting you peek through the window!:)

Well, that's good for now...I'll share some more pics soon. I'm thinking about buying the business below based solely on "island cart philosophy." Any silent partners interested?

Love you guys! And by the way, thanks for all of your hugs...I miss those embraces.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Rain Rain Go Away

Oh, you are probably giggling to yourself because here I sit in Florida, in less than 24 hours will be sitting in the San Juan airport awaiting Leah's arrival, and we've been blessed with rain! It's my own special birthday gift from Oregon. Someone needs to fess and come clean...who wished this Oregon birthday surprise for me. Come on!!! I'm living in Florida and this is what I get for my birthday? And my 30th at that!!! I called Leah 2 hours ago (as I was running around scattered trying to tie up all the loose ends) and asked her if she'd checked P.R. weather. Can you imagine her response...she started laughing under her breath, "Yeah." I knew what the next words would be out of her mouth, "It's supposed to rain, BUT it will be 88 degrees." :) I have started to believe, based on experiences throughout my life, rain makes for better memories. If it rains, I will remember this trip that much more. When we were growing up, the camping trips I remember are the ones we got soaked! I even ruined my new pink velcro shoes because they got wet and I put them too close to the fire...they melted. Do you remember that mom? The track practices where it poured and we got soaked...those were the times you'd find us on the football field ruining any pair of white socks on our feet. The mud puddles were too enticing not to go slip-n-sliding!

I noticed in the last few blogs I've alluded to some "writings" that I've done over the past few months and that I may post soon. I realize at times I tend to be more vulnerable than others and most often I'm worried about how you will interpret what my heart says through my fingers. So, I let my mind filter that and share bits and pieces. I guess I'm being protective, of you? of me? I'm not entirely sure. But I do know that I don't want mom and Nik calling me up worried! (I love you both) and thinking they need to buy a ticket to get me home! LOL So, with that in mind, I have filtered! I really value authenticity and know that you know me better through, I promise to be authetic with a hint of filter. :)

My pastor here, Ken, is an extremely compassionate, intuitive person and for the last 7 or more months he has continually checked in on me knowing that the move and then the move and then the other move were a weary time for me. He will walk over to my cubby in the office every so often and say, "How's your heart?" or "Your eyes don't look too full today...?" I guess I share that to let you know that I have been cared for so overwhelmingly. So when I say I'm writing thoughts my heart needs to express, but that I'm not sharing...I've got some good folks seeing my heart on my sleeve and making sure I'm still standing if not sometimes leaning on one of them or one of you. (Did you know you can lean long distance and you might not even know I'm leaning on you.) ;)

Ok and one for some laughter... I've wanted to apologize to my brother and my mom and dad. You know that endlessly circulating email that says something like if I knew then what I know now etc etc I'd __________ (fill in the blank) sit and listen longer, play with my kids more etc . You know the email. Well, the one that always makes me laugh is the "I'd ride with the windows down and not care about my hair!" It always makes me laugh. Eric, Mom, Dad-I'm sorry I always determined that the windows should be rolled up so my hair wouldn't move! :) I've learned to enjoy the wind in my hair over the past 10 or so years and I promise (if it isn't freezing out) we can ride with the windows down! I love you guys and turning 30 and realizing the stupid stuff of early life makes me love you that much more for putting up with ME!

There are so many people, and if you're reading this you are automatically included, that are so precious to me...I considered writing 30 cards to those who have been so dear, but then realized I can't stop at 30 so how do I begin. (Don't laugh, this was one of those thoughts I have when I am seconds from sleep.) Nor do I have the right words to say thanks, but I'll thank God and ask Him to bless you on my birthday because you have been a gift in my life.
Love you all!

So now, I'm off! Next post will be packed with Puerto Rico!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

to all you powers people

Heard this on the radio this's one for you!
John Mellencamp
(Only I think some of you have something against a big town!;) )
Well I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town
Probly die in a small town
Oh, those small communities

All my friends are so small town
My parents live in the same small town
My job is so small town
Provides little opportunity

Educated in a small town
Taught the fear of jesus in a small town
Used to daydream in that small town
Another boring romantic thats me

But Ive seen it all in a small town
Had myself a ball in a small town
Married an l.a. doll and brought her to this small town
Now shes small town just like me

No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be

Got nothing against a big town
Still hayseed enough to say
Look whos in the big town
But my bed is in a small town
Oh, and thats good enough for me

Well I was born in a small town
And I can breathe in a small town
Gonna die in this small town
And thats probly where theyll bury me

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Be Mindful

I'm not sure where I was the following quote, but it has been taped (and hidden for several weeks) on my computer screen...

"Be mindful of the things that nag, for these are the things of destiny."

Maybe it's from one of my recent reads, Let Your Life Speak, not sure. Anyway, I'm leaving it up on my screen just a little longer to allow it to mold my thoughts. Wow, we could go really deep here and start talking about destiny and what that word means and how we interpret it in our individual lives...I'm gonna let you go there alone. I'm not feeling real philosophical this day!:)

I've been making reservations for my trip to Puerto Rico and have found some really great little guesthouses. Let me know if you ever make your own Puerto Rico plans and I'll give you the scoop. I will definitely have some new pictures to post so check back after April 16th!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

News from FL

Hey hey! It is summer here! (Oregon summer anyway!) which means that we have warm beautiful weather minus humidity. I think March has been one of the nicest months here so far. I haven't been on here much, don't feel like I have that much to share...same ol, same ol thing. I have another visitor this week. The second bedroom is definitely seeing its share of company. The weeks have been busy, and weekends, which is good on the one hand and on the other, I love low key days where I don't have anything planned!

Puerto Rico is only 3 weeks away and I'm imagining a restful, relaxing time. Turning 30 is going to be eventful! Yipee!

This is a pic from last weekend when Beth visited. We went to Cocoa Beach, Ron Jon's to buy frisbees, and then play and come close to hitting a few people! We need practice...I need practice! Love to all!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Oh yes, here you go!!! I know, I've been bad this past month. Lots on my mind with going home to see Gramp and shuffling through stuff here. Today has been a very busy day and my mind is still spinning. I've got tons to do at home and I have a French student counselor coming this weekend to spend 10 days with me. One of the gals at church is the coordinator for a French exchange programs. 53 students from France, along with their English teacher and a few counselors, are coming to Orlando on Saturday. I will be hosting one of the counselors and have already been in email contact with her. I've memories of being on the opposite end, so this will be fun! I might be going to France next spring ;) since this spring I will be in Puerto Rico. Maybe I'm destined to live in one of these laid back Spanish-speaking countries. My loyal travel friend Leah (who visited me in C.R. and drove me to FL) is going to help me celebrate turning 30 and explore the island of Puerto Rico with me for a quick 5 days! Turning 30 doesn't seem like it is going to be a big deal, but since it is a milestone I am going to do something I want and that doesn't include being in the U.S. on April 12th!:) No particular reason, just want to go and explore and not be sitting at home wondering if this is what turning 30 is supposed to be like. I'm writing the script this time! More adventures to tell you about through the tips of my fingers.

What a great trip home! It was so nice to see everyone and I especially loved seeing all those babies and little cousins. I don't know if I can get enough of them! Not enough hugs and kisses to last until July! It was great to see gramp too and have a window of opportunity to talk with him.

Off for now! You'll hear from me again soon. I did alot of writing this past month, just didn't put it on here. :) I'll share some of it soon!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Florida has been good to me. I don't mean this cross-country move, uproot, flip-it-all-around has been easy, but Florida has been good to me. Sometimes I spend too much time thinking about times ahead and times behind, sometimes. Florida has given me the gift of getting to know myself and those times of thinking too much are giving me the freedom to be me. The older I get, the more I like myself. :) I think growing older is nice (Can you hear me preparing myself for #30?!?!?). Oh, these past few weeks I've pounded on these keys a lot, and I'd love to share that with you, sometime...maybe sometime soon.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Caterine, Alex, y Yo!
Okay, just one. You have to allow me just one flashback to a year ago. My flight left on the 21st of January. I still remember what I was wearing and the last minute stop at REI with Sara where I was so thankful to pick up a fleece blanket for the trip. Oh my, how this last year has been remarkable. I've been reading through my journal entries from this time last year and it's beautiful to see the the work God has done. I continue to fumble with the curious things of the future, but have become more and more used to being. The all too familiar saying, "Bloom where you are planted." As hard as it is sometimes to be open to this and embrace it knowing that this may well be only a step to another place, isn't that how life happens. Whether we physically move, or emotionally grow, or spiritually change, aren't we always maturing through processes of life. Passing through and allowing others to pass through. Embracing for a time, freeing when such is necessary.
A line from "Ordinary Miracle" off of Charlotte's Web soundtrack:
"It seems so exceptional, that things just work out after all,
it's just another ordinary miracle today."

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Life is Short! Running makes it seem longer!!!

A 13 year old boy was holding this sign at mile 25.8 and we just laughed! Oh it is so true! We are alive and finished. My two running buddies had some knee issues, but this race was a great one for me. The mental part always seems to be the toughest. Yeah, the aches and pains of pounding feet and hip joints burning and sunny weather are very real elements, but my mentality today was, "This is going to be fun and we will finish!" Thank you Lord, I had a great time and am moving slowly this evening! Disney puts on a good everywhere, high school bands, cheerleaders, water stations nearly every mile, running through parts of the parks and along some beautiful back roads I would have never known existed, fireworks at the start (over 12,000 runners today), and characters out all over the place. Many people carried cameras durning the race and would pull off and stand in line to get a picture with Cinderella or Goofy etc. Disney really did a good job, but then that's what they know best! The last mile we ran around the world (through EPCOT) along the lake and the entire race was jammed with people. Usually after mile 4 things slim down, but not this one. It was packed, which made for great distractions. With so many people, the miles kept sneaking up, "Oh, WOW! We're at 19 already!" :) Another really cool thing they do, if you noticed my bib has my name on it. People everywhere along the side of the race were so encouraging. Good jobs, you got this, looking strong, way to go ladies! Suddenly I heard, "Great job Stephanie." What? Me? How'd you was so cool to have strangers screaming your name and cheering you on!

We are off to have some Sushi to celebrate. I'll post pics when I get them. Thanks for all the support and prayers...they really pulled me through a great race, injury free and open to another 26.2!!

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Marathon in 8 hours and counting. For some reason, I'm not as nervous about this one though the weather has me concerned. We are having summer weather, humidity and all. I am hoping it won't be so bad in the morning and overcast to keep things cooler. It is nearly 10PM and I have to get up at 3AM! We have to get through the gates at Disney before 4:30AM and start running at 6. I'll probably be almost finished by the time you roll out of bed!:) Hopefully, I should say! The goal tomorrow is to enjoy it and finish!
These shoes will be taking a beating!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

This is my 100th Post

Whoa! And it has been nearly a year since I started this and began making my way to Costa Rica. New Year's Eve I went to dinner with the parents and Alisa, Thai food. Oh it was good and such a cute little family run restaurant. I miss those down here in Orlando. We have good restaurants, but there is just something about Portland and Mom and Pop places that I am finding is hard to beat! Nearly a year, as we left the restaurant I turned to mom and said, "Can you believe it was a year ago that I was getting ready to leave?" Time flies and this blog has been such a great place to dump my thoughts and pics and the happenings of life.

I started reading a book on my plane trip home, "Let Your Life Speak" by Parker Palmer. has me in tears. It is all about vocation about letting your life and the way you were designed, giftedness, personality etc., tell you who you are! I'm still at the beginning of it and enjoying the process through.

Gramp has been moved from the hospital to a care facility. I extended my stay a few extra days and was able to go visit him nearly every day for short periods of time. He was much more engaging when I left, but for obvious reasons he doesn't want to be there. I know that being in Orlando was a choice I had, I don't have to be here, but I'm learning that living with this choice is something that will be both easy and difficult. Driving across the country didn't seem like I was that far away (I'm not sure why...maybe we had too much fun seeing all the sights!), but getting on a plane and traveling much of the day made me realize, I've gone through a few time zones!

Ahh, but we are having summer here right now and things are still green, which makes me smile. It's supposed to be 84 tomorrow. Gonna hit the pool here soon!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! This is gonna be good!