Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Think I Need a Dummies Guide

So ... ummm ... how exactly does one go about planning a wedding? I sort of thought that once I was engaged, I'd just, ya know, know. Isn't that what happens when you become a parent for the first time? You're born with the parental instincts and they magically appear when you have a kid?

During my last semester of college, I did an internship at the National PTA headquarters in Chicago. I worked with their head event planner to plan the national conference. It was a very enlightening four months. I had thought that I wanted to have a career in event planning, but I learned quickly that I am not cut out to go anywhere near that field. It was the inattention to detail thing, I think. (Are any of you potential invitees getting nervous about what type of catastrophe may befall the big day?) :)

So a couple nights ago I Googled "how to plan a wedding" and 67,000,000,000,000 links came up, most of them having something to do with The Knot. (Incidentally, what the heck did people ever do before the internet? That's a serious question - I honestly can't remember life before the internet. I'd be lost, for sure. Kind of sad, actually, how dependent I am on it.) Anyway. Seems like The Knot web site completely dominates the world of wedding planning.

But you know what? I'm not going to create a wedding page on The Knot. It's the principle of the thing, really. (My contrarian fiance ought to appreciate that.) Besides the fact that I don't want to be lost among the thousands of other digital fairy tales being recorded there for all the world to read, I also don't want to deal with the loads of junk mail they will inevitably send me to try to tell me all the things I need to make my wedding successful.

Also, my brother's good at designing things. He's a little busy at the moment, but I'm sure he'll come up with some awesomely unique way to share our story. Until then, this blog'll do.

I'll try not to overwhelm you with too many posts about wedding stuff. I'm sure this topic gets old quickly for anyone not directly involved (read: anyone except me). But I've waited a long time to be here, so I'm not about to let it pass me by.

If any of you Marrieds out there has good advice for me, I'd love to hear it. Is there anything you did, that, if you did it again you'd make sure NOT to do? Or anything you wish you did differently? What was your favorite part?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

He Asked and I Said Yes

I have some exciting news. CHRIS AND I ARE ENGAGED!

I know, right? I didn't see it coming either. Want to hear the story? (Warning: It's kind of long, so if you're interested in the details, read on. For you bottom line types ... he asked and I said yes.)

The Story
Chris and I have always thought it would be fun to take a random vacation day. Not for anything in particular ... just a day off. So not too long ago, we decided on Friday, April 24th and the plan was to take a day trip to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs.

Then last weekend, Chris got sick. I'm talking really SICK - cough, head cold, muscle aches, chills, seriously high fever - the works. He kept getting worse, so on Sunday we went to Emergicare, where they took his temperature (103.3 degrees!) and told him he had the Flu and Pneumonia. So he spent all last week at home, most of the time sleeping. By the time Thursday night rolled around, he was feeling somewhat better, but was still really weak. We decided to call the spontaneous vacation day off until he was feeling better, but late Thursday night, he sent me a text that said "Keep the vacation day. You need a day of fun and I intend to give you one."

We decided, however, against the Mt. Princeton plan. Since he had just spent a week with a fever, Chris didn't really like the idea of spending the day sitting in water that would elevate his body temperature again. The weather forecast was very warm, and we still needed something non-strenuous, so we decided to take the dogs and spend the day up at a park in Denver. We packed a lunch, sunscreen, a blanket and a bunch of books.

We got to Denver about 11 am. Chris parked the truck and, instead of unloading the dogs and picnic stuff, said, "Let's go this way" and headed in the opposite direction. Then he says, "Um we're not actually going to the dog park" and we walk up to a day spa. He had booked us four hours of spa time! (Yeah ... I got a good one.) We did a saltwater floatation thing, a facial and a hot stone massage. It. Was. Awesome.

When we're done, we got the dogs and headed down to the lake a few blocks away and then to the real dog park to let them run. (Welcome to our life with three dogs.)

Then we went to dinner at Bang, this funky little restaurant in the Highlands. After dinner, we wandered a few shops down to this wine shop, where they are having a wine tasting, so of course, we tasted. We popped into the gourmet cheese store next door, then poked around in a used book store.

After we wandered around a while, we hopped in the truck and headed over to Bonnie Brae to get ice cream cones. (It was at this point that I finally started taking pictures. I thought I'd get a good photo or two for my photo blog.)

After ice cream we walked around the neighborhood pointing out what we like or don't like about people's houses. Finally we headed back to the truck.

He pulled into Wash Park as the sun is going down and says, "Let's go walk." So we headed down towards the lake. As we got closer to the water, there were huge clouds of mosquitoes. (I'm not sure WHAT they were doing since this is Colorado, the land of no bugs.) But anyway, we quickly left the water and moved up to this open grassy area. I decided it's a good spot for pictures, so I started taking some and he got goofy.

After a few minutes, he said, "So ..." and then stops. I'm not oblivious ... I know what's coming, so I said, "So ... what?" And he said, "We should go."

So I'm like, "YES I will! Wait ... what?" (Okay that response was all in my head.) But suddenly I'm doubting what I had thought had been obviously coming and I feel stupid for even thinking he's going to propose.

As we walked back to the truck, he saw a cement picnic table and suggested we sit on it. Then he told me that the day is very special to him because four years before was the day he had become a Christian. Um ... WOW. We talked about that for a few minutes and then he got up. I got up to follow him to the truck and he said, "Sit back down!" Then he got on his knee and handed me the ring and said, "Will you be my wife?" I said "Yes" and put the ring on.

It fits perfectly.

The Crazy God Part
A while back, when Chris and I were just starting to get serious, I decided that since I had never even looked at diamond rings, I should probably look at least a little to figure out what I like. So one day I looked at a few web sites and saved a couple pictures of rings I thought were pretty.

Not long after that, I asked Chris if he wanted my input whenever the time might come when he chooses a ring and he said no. He wanted to pick it himself. So after that conversation, I decided not to look anymore so as not get my hopes set on something in particular.

Chris had picked out a certain ring, but then a couple months ago, God woke him up in the middle of the night and told him to get this other one (the one above.) He thought the setting resembled an ichthus fish, symbolic of the fact that he was planning to propose on the day he accepted Christ.

Well look at the ring that I had saved on my computer way so long ago ... the one Chris never saw.
God completely blows me away.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Journey of Faith

My brother Chris and his wife Valeen left today on a journey of faith - a six week trip to a clinic in Reno, Nevada.

Basically, God is taking him up Mt. Everest, spiritually speaking. His faith and strength are being tested an a way I've never witnessed before.

Chris has struggled for several years with a painful and devastating disease, which recently has become life-altering. Here's more detail, if your interested. (And just to give you perspective, when I stopped by last night, I couldn't even hug him goodbye because he was in so much pain. It was awful.)

Through all this suffering, Chris' true character has become more and more evident. It's been amazing to watch his faith explode even as his body implodes. He's standing firm in his belief that God will heal him. He's not sure when or how - that's up to God - but he's trusting that is will happen. Valeen is believing that too. And so am I.

He's started a blog so that we can all follow his journey and share in what God's going to do.

Visit it and leave him a note of encouragement. He'll no doubt need it. I'm sure his knowing a little of the impact his battle is having on other people would help him endure it.

Also please pray for my brother. He is in the midst of an intense physical, emotional and spiritual battle. Pray for endurance, strength, and healing. Pray also for strength and encouragement for Valeen as she supports him. Pray for all those that are - and will be - impacted by their journey and faith.

It's hard to watch my brother go through this. As the older sister, I want to jump in and protect him from all this pain. I just keep praying that God will honor his faith and heal him.

Will you pray that with me?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Few Things

So I have several things to share so this is going to be one of those random stream of consciousness posts. Mkay?

1. This morning I had a very weird experience. I was sitting on the couch enjoying my coffee when I heard something crash into the sliding glass door. A few seconds later I heard it happen again. And again. This deranged bird - I think it was a robin - would perch on the fence near my house, fly straight at the door, crash into it, fall down and then do it again. And again. And again. It went on for an hour until I had to leave for work. It's probably still doing it.

2. Today is Administrative Professional's Day and I'd like to give a shout out to my good friend and co-worker, Ms. Katy Balsis! She's the sunshine in my day.

3. This little project that I started back when I was on the Advocacy team at Compassion has finally gone live! I put a LOT of time and energy into it and so even though I'm no longer officially a part of the team, I'm still so stinkin' proud. So it's with utmost excitement that I present to you ... Compassion's new kid's web site! You should go check it out RIGHT NOW. (And try the fish game ... it's HARD.)

4. And finally, here's Annie Lennox on reality TV competitions ... I've always liked her musc. Now I like her even more.

That's all for now. Happy Hump Day, everyone!

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's Monday

Oh my goodness.

It's only 11:01 and I've already had one of those mornings. I know you know what I'm talking about.

Every time there's new information on a crisis, I send email updates to a distribution list of 199 people. These people are all over the world. So I always pay very careful attention to my emails to make sure they are error free.

Well, always except today, apparently.

This morning I sent out an update to 199 people. After a minute I saw that I had forgotten to attach the report. So I quickly sent a correction (to 199 people) with the subject "REPORT ATTATCHED" and the following message: "Oops. Please find the final report attached. Sorry for the mistake!"

And then a few minutes later I noticed that I hadn't attached the report to the correction. So I RE-forwarded it (to 199 people) with the subject line "REPORT REALLY ATTATCHED" and this message: "Wow. Last one. I promise. I’m so sorry."

30 minutes later I realized that I had only sent the message to myself, not the list. So I sent it again. To 199 people.

Then my boss Chuck pointed out to me that I had spelled "attached" wrong.

Chuck, please fire me now.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Going Viral

My boyfriend Chris works in the social media world. He's very good at his job. One thing I've learned from watching him do his job ... this world of social media? It's a vast ocean of uncharted waters. It's like an untamed beast. Seriously.

One of the things he talks a lot about is something called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Basically, this means including certain words in your post that you hope will generate traffic to your blog from search engines like Google or Yahoo.

Yesterday, I experienced a little bit of the incredible power of SEO.

See, on Wednesday (the 15th) I randomly posted a video of a woman no one had ever hear of auditioning for a talent contest in Britain. (I had seen a little blurb on some news site about it.) Without thinking about it, I included the words "Britain's Got Talent" in the title of the post.

Then something happened overnight.

It went viral.

On Thursday, you literally could not visit a blog or news site on the internet without seeing the words Susan Boyle. Her video on YouTube has been viewed 20 million times. If you Google the words "Susan Boyle," you get 3,270,000 results. She's booked on Oprah. Her Facebook page has 245,000 fans. And on. And on. And on.

Here's my picture of my blog traffic from the last 30 days...

Crazy, huh? And that's just my tiny little blog.

Compassion is beginning to move into the social media realm. You can find us on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and on our blog. (Little shout out ... Chris' team is behind all of this. Woot!)

But as I saw the tsunami that hit Susan Boyle, I started thinking. What if we (the Church) fully embraced the social media world to it's maximum potential?

Just imagine the potential impact.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Britian's Got Talent, Indeed

Remember this guy? And this guy? Seems Britain's Got Talent has a thing for discovering hidden treasures.

Well, prepare yourselves for this one.

Susan Boyle. Not only is she an aMAZing singer, but she sings one of my all-time favorite songs.

Simon's reaction is great.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It was supposed to be about Jesus.

So I guess I didn't put enough context in my post yesterday. I actually had intended to go all spiritual on you (as in, the more time I spend with Jesus, the more I will "look" and act like Him.)

However, you apparently thought I was talking about 1. my family 2. Chris or 3. my dog.

So I'll let you decide ...



Is it true?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Birds of a Feather ...

I've heard that when you spend a lot of time with someone, you start to look and act like them.

So I'm curious ... is this true in your life?

I'm pretty sure it's true in mine.

Friday, April 10, 2009


2009 years ago really isn't that long when you think about it. I've been thinking about it a lot today. I can't stop thinking about it.

Do you know what was happening 2009 years ago right now? Jesus, a 33-year-old man from Nazareth, was on trial. It's 8:37 am, which means at this moment He was probably standing in front of Pilate, the governor of Rome, listening to people bring all kinds of different accusations against Him.

He had spent the evening before having dinner with his closest friends and then trying to help them understand what was going to happen today. He had stayed up all night, begging God to make some other way for what He knew had to happen. When Judas showed up and kissed Him, He called him "Friend," with full knowledge of what Judas was doing.

It struck me this morning that what happened 2009 years ago in a little country near the Mediterranean Sea, was so significant - so momentous - that we determine our calendar by it. I mean, think about it. Isn't it incredible that no matter how hard someone tries to deny the significance of Jesus' death - no matter how "atheist" they claim to be - every single time they refer to the date, they are recognizing Him, whether they realize it or not? I love it.

I've been a Christian for most of my life. This is the 31st time I've celebrated Easter. Somehow, though, I've never understood the significance of this day. It was always just a day off of school or work. I have always wondered why we call it "good" Friday when Sunday was the day we celebrated. But somehow, for some reason, this year is different.

I finally understand. It is good. No, actually it's GREAT! It's FANTASTIC. It's EARTH-SHAKING. It's TREMENDOUS. I don't think the right adjective exists to adequately describe this day.

Today is the day Jesus died. FOR ME.

If it weren't for a series of seemingly everyday events that happened on the other side of the world a couple thousand years ago - events whose significance is almost always seriously, tragically underestimated - I'd be lost.

THAT is why this Friday is good.

I wonder what that Friday was like. What was the weather like? Was the sun shining or was it overcast? Was the wind blowing? What was that day like for those who were watching history unfold? Did they understand what was happening? What was it like for Mary and Joseph? How about for James, Jesus' brother?

I could sit here and think about this all day long.

You know what?

I have the day off. I think I will.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

John Mayer Indoctrination

This video was posted on John Mayer's blog. Now you all know that I'm a huge JM fan, but even I think this gets borderline creepy.

What do you think? Is this some sort of weird child exploitation?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

When I Was 16 ...

I have written a post today on Compassion's blog about how God used the Rwandan genocide to open my eyes when I was 16.

Please read it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Female Driver

Sometimes I have parking problems. I hate to admit it, but spatially speaking, I'm kind of dumb.

I'm a good driver otherwise, but when it comes to parking, I have issues.

This might be a bit of a generalization, but it seems to be a woman thing. Men might not be that good at multi-tasking, but they can usually approach a parking space from the proper angle.

The first time.

ht: Mandy

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


"Agape is the love that overflows and gives of its fullness, not the hunger that cries out from the depths of its own emptiness. Human love, by its nature, can never be pure agape. Because we are in ourselves contingent and insufficient, our love necessarily contains an element of eros, or passion, springing from our poverty and yearning for the satisfaction of our needs. God, Who needs nothing, can give Himself without limit, and His love - the love which He is - is an infinite giving of Himself, eternally replenished from the fullness of His own giving. Hence it is that God is at the same time infinitely rich and infinitely poor, infinitely great and infinitely humble, so far above all that He can place Himself beneath all and no one will see the difference, because, wherever He is, He is both above and below, both this side of us and beyond us, within us and outside us, deeper in us than we are in ourselves, and yet so infinitely far beyond us that we can never reach Him."

-Thomas Merton