Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Plain Grandeur

What was the last risky move you made? I suppose we all know risks are necessary in life--none of us want to end up living a solitarily safe, predictably plain life. We want to be part of something immense and noble, something that makes us study a stranger's face more intently, that makes our blood pulse more quickly, that takes pain out of focus. It seems like a lot of people expect this life decision to waltz into view one day... that one morning they'll wake up and see the fork in the road--the plain ol' boring life or the amazing, looming opportunity they've dreamed of. Is it like dreaming for a future lover? Someone we imagine will bring every perfect quality into our life but whose face is still obscured in the fog? I think a lot of people are frustrated by seeing only the everyday before them--instead of grandeur. I don't think life's largeness usually happens that way though. So today I am trying to remember to constantly thank God for the simple, good things around me--like the way grass is a sword and an ocean at the same time... like the smiles of the beautiful people around me... like the black balm of a needed moment of silence. I want to be as Paul said, "content in any circumstance."
I love you all.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sandwiches and Siestas

There are two things I believe in today--sandwiches and siestas. If you are going to eat a sandwich, it is wrong to just put mayo and meat between two pieces of boring bread. A sandwich deserves to be glorious. It is important to invest time in this, so slow down Brian.

First a little mayo & mustard, then turkey, green peppers, thin cucumber slices, juicy tomato, fresh lettuce or spinach, diced peperoncinis, and a little Pappy's seasoning. (I've been enjoying the local produce stand immensely).

Secondly, I think I need to live in a country that takes siestas--wake early and stay up late... broken by a solid nap in the middle of the day. Kinda like this...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Glorious Summer

What a beautiful day... it is days like today that polish Seattle's dreamy allure. The trees are full and lush, giving the air a fresh summer sweetness that you can't breathe in except in the Northwest. I enjoyed a long walk/jog on the Cedar River Trail this morning and now I'm back to the job hunt again.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fingers to the Keys

I often wish I came to visit this blog more often... yet there is a fierce resistance within me if the time isn't right. I must bring my fingers to the keys when my heart and mind and fingers are all ready. Now with Yann Tiersen's melodies to keep me company and the sun setting behind the big leaf maples out my window... I am ready.

Ahh.. a swallow has come out to keep me company... how kind. Why does the gentle glow of dusk make any landscape more luscious than it has ever been? Perhaps that's another reason the swallows soar to the setting sun... not just the increased availability of bugs but to become part of such a beautiful moment.

Lately I have been recovering from a month of travel. All of it has been quite lovely, but a bit much for my frail self to endure all at once. We've been all over... WA - CA - HI - TX - OH - NY - NC - GA - AZ - CA - WA ... 11 airports in 3 weeks... we've had a lot of great times, though. We went to a wonderful wedding in Hawaii (close friend of the family) then I was in another wedding of a good friend in Buffalo. After Buffalo we spent a week with our dear friends Jed & Crystal & their kids in Mesa before seeing more family in California and returning to Washington. What richness, what favor. Even in the midst of challenges God allows in life, I am so thankful for the gift of friends and family and for the ways God sovereignly cares for us.

Here is the lovely bride and her family - great friends.
A gorgeous place... we love Maui.
Enjoying papaya with my mother-in-law on our lanai (this is the papaya my dad told me to eat on his behalf -- great with lime).
Then we were off to Buffalo and a couple time zones later, Kacy's wedding--another fun time of meeting new friends and celebrating with Kacy & her new husband Bryan.
We always have a fabulous time with our friends Jed & Crystal - and with their kids D'Arcy, Oran & Beck. Here's Oran, listening to worship songs on my ipod...

And Jed & Brian - kindred creativity, love & humor... another great gift from the Father.

D'Arcy- beautiful D'Arcy - inside and out - she is such a fun, sweet, talented girl. She is 7 1/2 now, and still so fun to hang out with. Thanks for being you D'Arcy!

It was also really good to hang out with Crystal and to get to know Beck better - all that 1 year old personality. :) Crystal is such a great mom. I treasured the moments I got to spend with her on this trip - I think it really made Brian and I wish we were closer to them... algun dia.

Now Brian and I are avid job-hunters, praying and searching for the right spot. We are also going to research more about how we can keep working toward our degree online or by transfer classes until we can go back to Canada and complete the Master's. I think it will be a good autumn, once we settle in to our new routine this month.

I hope all of you are enjoying lots of life memories this summer... and also life lessons, as we are. I'll try to find a good moment to right again soon. May God give you peace, friends.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Book

Some of you already know that I have recently written and illustrated a book. It's called Man Eating Vegetables. It all started out as a Christmas present to my brother... I was laying in bed, about to fall asleep, and I had a vision of writing a crazy book about vegetables that eat people and giving it to my brother for his Christmas present. I immediately grabbed my journal and started sketching ideas. Over the next month, I would make more sketches, bounce ideas off my wife and classmates, and eventually publish the book through
This book isn't for everyone. The humor is certainly targeted toward my brother and myself, so if you don't think we're very funny, you probably won't enjoy the book.
I love it, though, and, like my t-shirt printing, thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to just get creative and make something.
It's about 19 pages total and you can check out a mini-preview or buy the book at
Happy reading.

(you can click on the images to enlarge)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Man Shower

About two and a half years ago, right before Jenn and I got married, her dad and brother threw me a man shower. We used old license plates as plates, nails for toothpicks, a bucket made from tires for chips, a hard hat for dip and other manly, non-conventional ways of serving and eating food. We had a contest to see who had the manliest car, who wrapped their gift in the manliest way, and who could match the most tools to their slogans. For gifts, all I got were tools. It was one of the coolest ideas.

The whole idea behind the man shower is to put a little focus on the groom. Most, if not all of the presents that the couple will receive from bridal showers and the wedding itself will stereotypically be catered toward the wife- towels, plates, stuff guys don't really care about, etc. Even a lot of aspects of the wedding are all about the bride. At the man shower, everyone brings manly gifts and does manly things. The groom is celebrated and remembered (along with manliness).

A couple of my friends at school last semester were recently engaged, so I decided to throw them a man shower too. We had CAUTION tape streamers, ate out of my toolbox, had nail-pounding competitions, root-beer floats, a manly knowledge quiz, and a great time just laughing and hanging out. Both of the guys told me afterwards just how blessed they felt by the whole thing, and I just said, "Great! That's the whole idea."

Last night was the pinnacle of man-showers. The groom to be was my future brother-in-law Tim. We combined elements of the first two and added some new, amazing ones. The highlight for me was the hatchet throwing competition. Some low-life had escaped from the local prison, robbed the local orphanage, and came across our path. Luckily, we had hatchets to throw at him. Needless to say, we took that creep down and the day was saved. Russ won the competition by disabling the culprit with a key throw. Looking out for orphans is manly.

Moral of the stories- throw a man-shower for someone you know. The things we did don't take a whole lot of effort to put together. It's such a cool way to support the groom. They are guaranteed to be tons of fun. And every guy likes the chance to just be a guy.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Screen Printing

So I have been talking about it for a l0ng time, sitting through linguistic classes and doodling ideas, hemming and hawing over which package to buy- and I finally did it. I am the proud owner of silk screen system.

Dad-in-law and I set up a little corner in the basement so I could make my own messes without messing up other peoples' messes. It's a perfect place to work since it can get completely dark for coating and burning screens, there's a sink for all the washing, and it gets freezing cold down there. We installed a bench, cabinet and lighting; mounted the press; and away I went.
My first attempts at burning a screen did not turn out too well*. Luckily I had lattes, tunes, and New Belgium to keep my spirits up. Fourth time is a charm, though, and I made a usable screen. Turns out I needed a higher wattage bulb, a longer burn time, and I only coated one side of the screen with emulsion. I used a cut-out stencil for my design since I didn't trust that my printer was printing the film opaque enough so that light could not get through. I used a panda design that I had originally submitted for a dorm t-shirt contest at Simpson University, but it only received two votes. Take that Simpson! The Panda LIVES!

I scrounged Goodwill for t-shirts to practice on and only came back with this black one for a buck- not bad, not bad at all. I practiced on some paper first cause I didn't want to screw up my nice new shirt.

I slapped some ink on the screen, squeegied (sp?) away, and BAM! Sexy Panda. WWF here I come (that's World Wildlife Fund).

SO GET YOUR ORDERS IN! This panda shirt can be yours for only a $99.99! Seriously, though, everyone who ever gets a gift from me from now on will probably be getting some sort of t-shirt or other printed item. Just pretend you like it.

Special thanks to my wife, mom, and grandma who supported me financially in this creative venture, and to everyone else who supported me in other ways like saying, "Dude, that's awesome! You should totally do that." Thanks to dad-in-law too for letting me set up shop in

It's been a fun process. I love being able to have creative outlets.

*If you want to know more about the screen-printing process, check out this video

Friday, May 2, 2008

Home Sweet Home?

Monday morning we picked up our U-Haul, loaded the truck and cleaned our cozy basement suite in Langley. We ordered pizza from the same pizza place we ordered from our first night in Canada. It was really yummy... I'll miss that pizza place. Then we headed for the border... the only glitch being they wouldn't let us bring our houseplants back over the border without an inspection. So I had to drive back & leave our plants with a friend until we can go back and get the inspection done. Tuesday was spent unloading the truck into the top floor of my parents house in Maple Valley.

This is a random picture of some guy moving boxes... but it looks really familiar...

I am waiting for it to seem like home... ironic since this was my home for so many years. It is so familiar and yet these walls are not yet my refuge, my nest. I think this may be one of the more difficult transitions... boxes boxes everywhere. I am beginning to taste the "joys" of moving. I used to feel like moving was a bit exciting... but right now it holds no thrill. The other night I crash-landed in bed... fearful of what I would turn into (in my tired, transitioning state) if I didn't succumb to the unconscious state of slumber.

We know that this will be a good season... perhaps full of trials, but a good season. I think those trials have begun with transitioning into a new place again. In the midst of it all, a plan has not been emerging and solidifying for us, but everything seems to be increasingly up in the air regarding jobs, plans, how long we'll be here, what is the next step for us, when we'll finish our master's up in Canada... [sigh]. I am becoming weary of answering those questions... only because we don't have any idea right now. We are moving forward as best we can... following God's leading to move back to Washington right now and trusting the rest will fall into place.

Yet amidst the challenges facing us right now there is peace and joy knowing that our Father is sovereign and that we must seek to focus the fullness of our souls in worship of Him. He has been so faithful to us. Even these challenges of transition and the unknown are his provision to grow us and strengthen us. May we make the most of these trials and opportunities to allow Him to prepare us mentally, emotionally, spiritually... for worshipping Him more fully and for serving Him on the mission field some day.

Please pray for us 1) to have a healthy transition, 2) to have good jobs and fellowship here, and 3) for wisdom in where in the world and with what sending organization we will go overseas.

I am sitting in the dusk light now, allowing my eyes and ears to settle upon the swallows--a forgotten luxury. Oh how I love to watch them--it ministers to my soul to see the free and fearless way that they swoop and soar through the air. May the world be a little brighter to your eyes today, dear ones.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Yeay, We finished the semester!

We just finished our spring semester at CanIL in Langley, BC. It was a really busy, productive semester but we are glad to be done with our papers and finals. We did lots of fun things this semester... lots of trips down to see family in Washington. It's been so nice being closer to them to be able to jaunt down for weekends and family dinners.

Brian and I are moving back to Washington to work for a little while before returning to finish up the program. We're hoping to take some online/transfer courses while working to keep working towards the degree. But we're looking forward to having a couple months off from class. My sister is getting married in June and we have a couple other weddings to go to, family to visit in California & DC... we're looking forward to reconnecting with friends that we have missed while being in Canada. Canada has been pretty good to us, though... one of the highlights... the best drinking water out of the tap I've ever had... and lots of bald eagles to watch.

One weekend earlier this semester we had the chance to go to Hawaii with my family. They had never been to Hawaii before and we all found some super cheap tickets and made a long weekend trip of it. It was great to experience Oahu beach with them, and to have a reprieve from the chilly temperatures in BC. Good times...

Pray for us regarding future transition to being in Washington for a while. We'll be living with my (Jenn's) parents for a while and see where God takes us from there. We are praying about jobs, ministry, finding good connection/fellowship with new friends, and quality time with family. There are so many possibilities and facets of this transition to look at that it could be quite overwhelming... we are just asking God to continue preparing us and changing us... that He will use us now and prepare us for the future. We desire to become stronger in prayer, to abide in inward worship, and to be malleable in the midst of life--growing as much as we can through the challenges ahead.

Love you all...

B & J