Driving along the Fruit Loop

So . . . . for this week’s sign that the apocalypse might actually be upon us:  I have added a post to this blog!  Unbelievable!  It’s a miracle!  Is the world coming to an end?  I know, I know.  I had all those thoughts too.  But it couldn’t be helped!  I said I would put some pictures up on the blog, so here we are.  I know it’s high time this crazy blog got cranked up again anyway.  So . . . . here we go!

Today we drove around the Hood River, Oregon Fruit Loop.  No, it is not a piece of cereal or some kind of insanity ritual.  It’s actually a stretch of highway around the town of Hood River that directs you to all kinds of orchards, farms, shops, and fruit stands.  There’s no better time than the autumn season to visit these places because of the delicious ripe apples and pears and the beautiful fall colors all around.

The kids and I did a few broadcasts on my newest smartphone app, Periscope, from most of our stops.  But there was one orchard that just didn’t have enough cell coverage to do that (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).  So I promised that I would put some pictures from that stop right here on the poorly neglected blog.

Get out there and enjoy this wonderful season!











more eating adventures

Last night we were driving along the main drag in town when we noticed that the new restaurant on 3rd street was finally open. So of course we had to pull in and check it out! We have been watching the building remodel for a long time now, and we were really curious to see it inside, as well as find out what kind of food they serve.

It’s called The Laughing Planet. I think the premise is that they try to select, prepare, and serve food in a way that will make the planet happy. The atmosphere is bright and modern. The food was yummy. Everything was fresh and there are a whole bunch of healthy options. I think the vegan crowd is really going to like that. And the service was really good, especially considering it was their first day of business.

I had the Holy Mole burrito. Brent had some kind of chicken and steak burrito but I forgot what it was called. The kids had quesadillas. All good. We’re ready to go back soon and try some other things on the menu. Bowls, smoothies, juices, and more. Happy eating!




out to dinner

It might be a few days late, but Brent and I went out to dinner today for our anniversary.  We decided to try something new and go to a restaurant we had never visited before.  So we went to Joolz.    It’s this fun little restaurant in downtown Bend right on Wall Street.  The proprietors have family heritage in Lebanon and the American West, so the food is a fusion between those two ways of eating.  Believe it or not, it totally works!  Everything was delicious.  We started with some elk and hummus with pita bread.  I think there were also some pine nuts, parsley, and spices involved.  Then I ordered a falafel sandwich while Brent had the chicken and lamb kabobs.  He couldn’t decide between the chicken or the lamb, so, of course, he went with both.  Like I said, delicious!  We topped it all off by going next door to Chocolate Element and getting a piece of chocolate mousse cake to go.  How could you go wrong with that?  The answer is:  you can’t.  You just can’t.

Now we have another great local place to recommend.  We’re looking forward to trying some other things on the menu in the future.  I’m hoping we won’t wait for another anniversary before we go back.  Happy anniversary and happy eating!



welcome to Joolz

welcome to Joolz

my handsome date, Superman

my handsome date, Superman

lots of goodness

lots of goodness

falafel, anyone?

falafel, anyone?

kabobs galore

kabobs galore

He's got his chocolate treasure to take home.

He’s got his chocolate treasure to take home.

book signing

Today we attended a book signing for our friend, Marie Timm.  I admit that I have never been to one of these things before, and I just thought the whole thing was totally cool!  I’ve seen book signings and book talks on C-SPAN (I know, it’s nerdy), but this was so much better.  A friend of Marie’s hosted it at her beautiful home, they had delicious food, and we had a chance to visit with Marie about her book and the process of writing and publishing it.  Her book is titled Trust, What A Horse Taught Me About God.  I can’t wait to read it.  The book doesn’t look too long so I think it will be a quick read.  Knowing Marie, I know that it will be very inspirational, and I might even learn something about horses.  It was exciting to see Marie reach this culmination of a long journey.  The journey of her relationship with her horse, the journey of writing a book, and the journey of getting the project to publication.  Her book can be found here.  I’m off to do some reading!



an illustration from the book


Blake was tempted to bang on the drum, but he exhibited some impressive self control!



Lauren with Marie

having church in a snowstorm- part 1

The weather has been nonstop snow for the last three days!  It’s just been snow, snow, and more snow.  It’s beautiful and fun, but it’s also not easy to get around on the snowy roads.  Our snowplows still have a lot of work to do before all the roads are cleared.

So what do you do when it’s time for church but most of the people in your church family can’t get there?  Well, I’m so glad you asked!  The answer is, thanks to technology, you  bring the church service right to them!  Providentially, this is the weekend that Mission Church planned on launching our online campus, which means that anyone with internet could watch our services online.  And not just watch, but also worship, interact in a chat room, respond to the message, receive prayer support, and even give.

When we knew that our regular services probably weren’t going to happen, we still wanted to make the online experience happen.  On a regular weekend (whatever that is!), we would just broadcast a recording of a live service.  But today, we didn’t have that.  So we just pulled together the worship team (musicians and singers) and the production team (sound, light, and camera technicians).  Then we all met at the building and had church!  Church musicians often say that we perform for “an audience of one.”  This means that we’re singing for the Lord, and what we do is an offering to him, above all else.  We definitely got a chance to put that into practice tonight.  Almost all the seats in the congregation section were empty, but we knew that there would be people worshipping with us on their computers all around town the next morning, or even all around the country, or the world.  You just never know!

If you would like to worship with us in the morning, here is the address:


The service times are the same as our regularly scheduled services:  9am  and 10:45 am Pacific Standard Time.  We’ll be watching here at our house.  I must admit that I’m kind of nervous, since I got to be on the worship team this weekend.  But it’s all recorded now and getting ready for the internet.  Oh boy!

Here are some pics from tonight:

An almost empty room.  But we still had a great time.

An almost empty room. But we still had a great time.

The tech team is getting ready.

The tech team is getting ready.

Looking to see if everything recorded correctly.

Looking to see if everything recorded correctly.

There's always a little post production to do.

There’s always a little post production to do.

Wherever you go tomorrow, even if it’s online, may you have a blessed worship experience with the body of Christ, his Church!

nature field trip

Yesterday we took a field trip with some friends to the Sunriver Nature Center.  We had a great time viewing all kinds of plants, animals, bones, birds, eggs, and rocks.  The kids really enjoyed to great horned owls and the golden eagle.  I’m glad the weather cooperated and we were able to have a picnic lunch and a little hike.  Maybe someday we’ll return there at night to check out the observatory, too.

IMG_0963 IMG_0964 IMG_0965 IMG_0966 IMG_0972 IMG_0978 IMG_0986 IMG_0993

things I missed about our hometown

Here’s a list of things I missed about home while we were trekking across the country.  This is a list of things, not people.  Of course we missed friends and family and church, which is made up of people, more than any mere thing.  Nevertheless, here’s the list:

1.  the Cascade Mountains

2.  New Life Radio

3.  Bend’s drinking water, which is probably the best tasting tap water anywhere

4.  my computer, so I don’t have to write blog posts from my phone

5.  Pizza Mondo, especially the yummy chewy crust

6.  Jackson’s Corner restaurant

7.  all my favorite consignment and thrift shops

8.  Deschutes River Trail

9.  Pilot Butte State Park and the view when you reach the top

10.  Goody’s: the ice cream, the chocolates, and especially the caramel corn!


This weekend we carved out some time to go snowshoeing.  We have been saying all winter long that we would snowshoe with the kids, and this weekend is was to time to
“put up or shut up” when it came to that promise.  Our kids have full permission to hold us accountable for any promises or plans that we make with them, and they were certainly holding us to this one.  After dealing with some equipment issues (which happens with growing kids), we drove past Sisters, OR to the Hoodoo ski area and Benson Winter Park.  We had a great time making a path together and discovering some fresh undisturbed snow.  At least it was undisturbed until the kids made snow angels!  We enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the chance to enjoy one another without interruption.  It was some of my favorite kind of weather with my favorite people.

ready for an adventure

ready for an adventure


blazing the trail


welcome to Narnia

What to do for your 40th birthday





1.  Wake up to breakfast in bed.  Can you tell that Daddy was in charge of this meal?  McDonald’s and Jamba Juice to the rescue!



2.  Meet your family at 900 Wall Restaurant in downtown Bend.  Order some delicious food from the happy hour menu.  I had a burger with gorgonzola cheese and crispy potatoes on the side.  While you’re waiting for the food to come to the table, open forty presents.  (This is not a typo.  There really were forty of them!)  But you have to open them in order.  Your mom has spearheaded this project and involved your other family members, too.  Feel very loved by some awesome people, because you are.  Also, enjoy the moment when your husband tells the entire restaurant how old you are and then gets everybody to sing “Happy Birthday” to you.



3.  Drive around town enjoying the Christmas lights.  This house even has lights on their roof and lawn!  Bravo!



4. Go Cosmic Bowling at Lava Lanes.  Meet your bowling score goal, which is to break 100, keep track of the basketball and football games on the big screens, and have a great time.



5.  Realize that you are the most blessed person you know and thank God for the journey so far.  The first forty years have been great.  Now on to the next forty!



a worthy investment


What do you get when your big sister is away at camp and your big brother is spending time at a friend’s house?  The answer is: a date with Mom!  Lauren and I had an unexpected opportunity today to go to our favorite sweet place, Goody’s, for some yummy yogurt and one-on-one time together.  After that we walked over to the bookshop to do some book browsing.  The time we give to invest in our children, and in our relationship with our children, is always worth it.  I always need the reminder that what our children really need is not more stuff, or even more activities.  What they really need is us, the parents.  So it was a pleasant surprise when the chance for a mommy/daughter date dropped into our laps this afternoon.  There is a long list of other things I could have done with that time, but I’m sure everyone would agree that this was a much more worthy investment.