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Monday, February 28, 2011

Small Things

Planting a church is hard work.

Primarily because everything starts small.

Which can be discouraging and difficult.

Because our world says that numbers = success.

In life.  In business.  And especially in the church.

But we also know that true community happens in the smallness.

And for that, I am thankful.


Small Groups.  Life Groups.  CommUNITY Groups.  Grace Groups.

We don't exactly know what we're going to call them.

But they're starting.  On April 6th.

And we're going to hack.

Last night we had our initial planning meeting.

To discuss goals.




How the safety seal on a gallon of milk makes a nice engagement ring.

Also, Dave and I appointed Jamie church secretary.

Before everyone else arrived.

Because she's cute.  And has a new MacBook.

So if you attend Hope or are in the San Mateo area,

we invite you to be a part.

Wednesday nights.

Staring April 6.

Come hack with us.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thoughtless Thursday

I'm a little sleepy today.

Our three-year-old has made a habit of taking over our bed in the wee hours of the morning.

And her head, lodged in my ribs has not been very conducive with proper sleep patterns.

Shocking, right?

So, because I can't seem to organize a single thought in my brain,

here's a dose of random for your day.

All pics taken with Instagram.

Which, by the way, has quickly filled the app-shaped hole in my heart.

Peace out, Hipstamatic.  It's been real.  But you weren't the best Valentine.


KK went to a sleepover party on Friday night.

See all the little girls working diligently on their crafts?

You don't?  Oh, because the moms are.  We made really cute sandals.  For them.

Ashlyn is obsessed with earlobes.  But only mine.  And it's starting to get a little weird.

The cutest wall decal that ever lived.  For my dear friend Teri who was due on Tuesday.

Come out, Addie!  We're ready to meet you.

Food run at work.  A good excuse to get out of the blue dungeon.

And avoid calls from crazies asking for 911 ambulance rides to the senior center to play bridge.

And yes, that is a Neti Pot.  A certain dispatcher had some nasal issues.

Here to help, people.  Here. to. help.

Road trips are the best.  On Monday we drove up to Stockton to celebrate love.

And had to stop at Walmart, of course.  And take pictures.  I love these girls.  Alot.

Yesterday, my mom and I took the girls to Toys 'R Us.

A warehouse full of 8 gazillion toys.  And my girl reads.

A certain someone has been watching Minnie Mouse birthday cake how-to videos on YouTube.

And repeats "Happy Birthday, Ashlyn" the entire time.

So I guess I should probably start watching, too.

SNOW at sea level is forecasted for Saturday.

Which is CRAZY!  Which means I really need to clean up the backyard.  In the freezing rain.

To avoid White Trash Winter Wonderland 2011.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


We've known Cari since she was in junior high.

One of our former youth group kids that we love dearly.

After graduating from UCLA, Cari relocated to Stockton to help plant the church Reality, Central Valley.

She's also student teaching in inner-city Stockton and will have her Math credential this May.

She lives with one of the church's elders and his family and 178* other people in a massive, gorgeous old Victorian.

*I exaggerate on the number of residents.  But not really.

All I know is that this host family is selfless and loving.

And must have scored off the charts in the hospitality section of the spiritual gifts test.

They are a light in a very dark part of that city.

This is taped to the inside of their front door.  A necessary daily reminder.

Cari has always been very "present" in our lives, even when she's not close geographically.

I know she prays fervently for us and our church.  I feel it.

We've always had a great deal of respect for her.

So when she said she met a boy,

we were skeptical that he was good enough for our sweet Carolyn.

She brought him to the house for dinner.  I cooked.  Dave interrogated.

Like, seriously interrogated.

I continuously served up heaping spoonfuls of Baked Ziti to cut the tension.

And was a little worried he'd never return.  But he did.

Jordan is a Godly and wonderful young man.

He lives in LA and teaches 9th grade English in South Central.

And even wrote us a thank you note.  Who DOES that?!

An awesome guy does.

Anyway, they are getting married!  And we couldn't be more thrilled.

Last night, we drove up to Stockton for a surprise engagement celebration.

They were overwhelmed.

The Lord joined together two young people that share the same passion and heart.

And I can't wait to see how He is going to use them.

I think they are going to move mountains.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day Trip

There are 8,086 reasons why I love our church.

And this is one.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Heaven... in a Pyrex

This recipe belongs to a woman that was brave enough to marry into our family over 30 years ago.

She and my dad's youngest brother, Dave live in Scottsdale.

And they have three awesome kids.

She had Norwegian roots.

As does this fantabulous dessert.

Her dad, "Big Bill" is a preacher and great story teller.

He grew up in Minneapolis, right near the very first Target store.

And actually knew the brothers that started my most favorite retail chain.

And I'm thinking that it's quite possible that they were Norwegian, too?

Which means that Norwegians brought us Target and Chocolate Angel.

Which means I love Norwegians.

Although, I'm thinking about asking Big Bill to give his old buddies a call.

The grocery section in the Foster City store.

It needs some serious help.

Can a girl get some spray butter?  Not asking for the moon.

But, I digress.

Easy, delicious.  Sent from heaven above.

Oh, and there is some debate as to the kind of chocolate chips to use.

My vote?  Ghiradelli milk chocolate.

Try it.  You won't be sorry.

Thirty Hand Made Days

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Back to the Basics

Our church meets at an elementary school on Sunday mornings.

The keys have to be picked up every Friday before the office closes and returned first thing Monday morning.

This past Friday, my sweet Valentine forgot to pick up the keys.

The conversation went something like this:

Supportive church planter's wife: "So, you remembered to pick up the keys, right?"

Valentine: "Oh no, oh no, oh no....."

Supportive church planter's wife: "You're kidding, right?"

His face went to his hands and he began to pace.

Not kidding.

We scramble and make last minute plans to move our Sunday morning service back to where it all started:

Grandmum's house.

Phone calls, texts, Facebook and Twitter updates go out.

And I bake to deal with the relocation stress.  I bake hard.

I lifted the recipe from this blog.  SO easy.  Genius, really.

Double Stuff Oreos.  Box brownie mix.

Prep brownie mix per box instructions.

But ignore the warning about NOT consuming raw brownie batter.

Grease muffin pan like crazy.  I mean CRAZY.

Dip Oreo in brownie batter.

Eat a spoonful of brownie batter.


Place a batter dipped Oreo in the bottom of each crazy-greased muffin cup.

Bake @ 350 for 12 minutes.

Let sit for a bit and scoop out with a spoon.

But NOT the same one you use to eat the brownie batter.


And Sunday morning service at Grandmum's house was not what we had planned but still sweet.

A good reminder of the journey we are on and how far God has taken us in such a short time.

In celebration of Valentine's Day, Dave took time to pray for our widows.

And he reminded the rest of us that we are to take care of them.

The little ones made sweet Valentine's crafts and reconnected in the backyard.

And the Oreos were a hit, too.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

10 on 10: February 2011

I first saw this post on The Larson Lingo a few months ago and finally remembered to take pictures on the 10th.

{Ten on Ten: Take a photo every hour for ten consecutive hours on the tenth of each month.

Document a day of your life and find beauty among the ordinary moments.}


She's sleeping in the wrong bed.  Again.  Correction of this problem tops my March "to-do" list.

Breakfast of Champions:  Cherrios, Honey Nut variety.

Off to school with dad.  After trying on 5 pairs of shoes.  Girl's got sensory feet issues.

And Ashlyn's off...  Soundtrack: "Signing Time with Alex and Leah."

Breakfast at Stacks.  Skillet x 2.  Ham and mushroom for me.  Ham only for my date.

And a little bit of house hunting.  Otherwise known as "we-will-never-eat-skillets-again/PB+J-for-LIFE."

This little gem is my favorite.  Dave likes another one with a neon green kitchen counter top.

He says it's fun and retro.  I say it's weird.

Between you and me, I think the only reason he likes it is because the across-the-street neighbors still have a Giants flag up.

Dave left for work and I was left with an empty, messy, laundry filled house.

First Mission:


The weather has been gorgeous so the girls spent much of the afternoon playing in the backyard.

And those hand prints?  They've been there since summer and I want them to stay forever...

This, on the other hand, can go far, far away...

Happy 10th, everyone!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why We Didn't Care About the Superbowl

Aaron who?

Ben what?

We didn't care about any of it.

Because our favorite QB was no where to be found.

But Ashy wore her jersey anyway.

You see, we grew up in the same town as Tom Brady.

Attended the same elementary school.

Graduated high school with his sisters.

Dave played Little League with him.

My parents and his parents are still very close friends.

Gisele and I even hang out every now and then.

Or once.

At Tom's Sr.'s 60th birthday party.

And she is more perfect and gorgeous in person.

Tommy and KK, circa 2005.

I recall that she had a VERY full diaper.

And was on the verge of a panic attack that her pee would get on his forearm.

Sorry, Tom.

I'm sure you're used to all that now.

And why the scrubs, you ask?

We were at a family party celebrating his sister's nursing school graduation.

And had to dress up as medical professionals.

My dad (in background) was a "doctor on vacation..."

He always breaks the rules.

But back to Sunday.  And our protest.

Ashlyn couldn't even watch.

And spent much of the afternoon playing catch.

Kayla rode her bike in the backyard.

All those yellow pants were just too painful.

Because we love our Tommy.

Kind, gentle and humble.

Always has been.

Always our MVP.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Betty Sands' Quick Coffee Cake

My mom's mom, Grandma Dunn was known for Easter cakes pucks.

Baking wasn't exactly her strong suite.

Shopping?  Yes.  Time share vacationing?  For sure.  Gambling?  Absolutely.

She even had a personalized slot glove.

And was one of the most generous people I knew.

But it's safe to say that Grandma and the kitchen weren't exactly the best of friends.

Grandmums (my dad's mom), on the other hand, makes a mean lemon meringue.

And the yummiest Snickerdoodles this side of the Rockies.

But honestly, I worry that I'll mess them up.

So I just leave them alone.

And steal recipes from other people's grandmas.

Like my friend Wendy who brought this delicious coffee cake to a Mother's Group a few years ago.

She and her cute family moved to Southern California but I asked her to leave the recipe behind.

It's quick.  And easy.

And incredibly delicious.

I learned from Wendy that Grandma Sands was also a pastor's wife.

She wrote all the church plays, helped her husband with his sermons.  And raised 4 kids.  WITHOUT a Kitchenaid.

She passed away when Wendy was just a year old.

Grandma Sands sounds like she was pretty amazing.  Just like her Coffee Cake.

Thirty Hand Made Days