Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Facing My Worst Fear

Many people who know me well know that one of my biggest fears is falling and breaking a tooth.  I hate running at night in dark places where it would be easy to trip and fall.  The truth is, I've tripped and fallen plenty of times when it's not dark out, and if I were to do that at night I'm just sure I would fall right on my face and break a tooth.
Well, two weeks ago, I faced that fear... head on.  Literally.
It was Friday afternoon.  The work week was over and I was headed home.  The weekend had finally begun.  We had big plans for the weekend.  We were celebrating my 30th birthday that night with friends.  And we were invited to a fun dinner party the next night.
I hopped on my bike, looking forward to a nice 11 mile ride home from my work in Tigard.  It was beautiful out and I was excited to be outdoors after a day in the office.  I made it all the way downtown, and on Harrison St a public transportation bus pulled over to pick some people up and was therefore blocking the bike lane.  I decided I might as well go around it.  I was very aware that there were street car rails in the left lane and told myself I needed to make sure to go across them perpendicularly.  But I wasn't quick enough (or maybe I was too quick) and my front tire went right in the rail.  My bike flopped over and I fell face first onto the street.  I hit hard, and the first thing I did was run my tongue across my teeth.  And I immediately new it: I had broken my tooth.  My right front tooth (#8) had a big chunk missing.  I pulled my bike off the road quickly, thankful no other cars, buses or trains were coming at me.  My shoulder and knee were banged up, my wrist was hurting, and my lip was busted. and bleeding.  The worst thing was, there were three people at the median bus stop that I hobbled up to... and no one said a word.  To the girl who just ate it and was spitting blood... not a word.
I walked my bike across the other side of the street where I could lay it, and myself, in the grass.  I called Chris, who was thankfully working in Portland that day and was home, and he was there to pick me up in about 8 minutes.  We loaded my bike in the back of the car and called our insurance company (neither of us have established care with a dentist in Portland).  They told us where the nearest dental clinic was, we started driving there, and by the time we got there 10 minutes later, the doctor was ready to see me.  Within two hours of my accident, my tooth was fixed (they did a filling) and I was home with my smile back (well almost - I still had the busted lip thing).  And get this, the dental assistant who worked on me was a volunteer with our mobile dental program who I email often.
Sadly we had to cancel my birthday party that night, and we didn't make it to the dinner party on Saturday night.  When Chris sent an email telling people what had happened, several responded "oh no, that's her worst fear!"  They know me too well.
I've biked home from work twice since then (much to a few people's chagrin), and have been an even more cautious biker.  So whether I like it or not (and I definitely don't like it), I can now say I conquered that fear.  And I hope I never have to face it again.
right after the accident :(

right after the dentist :)
No Fear
I now know what it's like to break a tooth, and to have a partially fake tooth for the rest of my life.  And guess what... life goes on, perfect teeth or not!  Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."  While we can't live life irresponsibly or recklessly, we also can't live life in fear.  Be bold, be brave, do what you love.

Friday, August 28, 2015

What's Been Going On

A few things to catch you up on in 2015...
We got married!

And went on a honeymoon to Sunriver in Central Oregon...
We celebrated our marriage with a Portland reception...
We cheered the Blazers on through a great season...
Chris turned 29...
Enjoyed some great Spring weather...
We joined a couple wine clubs...
And cheered on the Beavers in baseball... 
 I took a long weekend trip to Texas...
 We fully took advantage of the amazing summer
(at Anderson Island here)...
I launched my cakeball business (Y'all's Balls)...
 We moved downtown in June...
And we're absolutely loving the downtown life...
We took a trip to Cabo once the legislative session ended...
My friend Sydney, and her husband Hunter, lived in Portland for the summer...
 And Anne came to visit, so the 3 of us were finally together again...
And the absolute highlight, my family came to visit (more on that soon)...
We've crammed a whole lot of fun and adventures this year, and it's been an especially full, FULL summer.  It's been great, but we're ready for a little more down time this fall.  Never a dull moment...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2015: A Year of Learning

It’s been quite a while since I last sat down to write out a blog post.  And a lot has changed since then.  A whole lot.  In fact, I can hardly think of anything that was the same at the beginning of this year as it was at the beginning of last year.

When 2015 rolled around, I heard someone mention a tradition, a New Year’s Resolution if you will, of having a word of the year.  One word that would be a focus or a theme for that whole calendar year.  I liked the idea and imagined what might be a good word for my upcoming year.  Almost immediately the word LEARN came to mind.

Learn /lərn/
verb: gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught.
synonyms: grasp, master, take in, absorb, assimilate, digest, familiarize oneself with

We’re a little over 1/2 of the way through the year, and I can say that I have LEARNED a thing or two so far in 2015.

Another word that would well describe this year would be change.  There has been an unbelievable amount of change in my life over the past several months… getting married (I could stop right there), moving to a new area of town, changing jobs, changing my name… all quite drastic changes.  Changing banks, transitioning out of my church home group, getting ready to sell my car, even chopping off my hair… if you’re going to change one thing, why not change it all, right?!

When I decided on the word LEARN as my word for 2015, I was simply feeling that my brain could use a little more stimulation.  It has now been 7 years since my official educational training ended, and I have gotten a little stagnant in really exercising my brain.  Some ideas on how I would incorporate the word LEARN into my year: pick up a book more often, stay up-to-date on the news, get back into watching documentaries, maybe buy the Spanish Rosetta Stone.  You know, push myself a little bit.  Challenge myself a little more.

But I’ve LEARNED that the previously mentioned changes that all occurred at the beginning of this year gave me all the push and challenge I needed.  I was anticipating change as I entered this new phase of life.  What I didn’t anticipate was how steep the LEARNING curve would be!

So I’m holding on tight as I travel through the curves of LEARNING this year.  But I’m LEARNING to not hold on too tight to old habits, preconceived notions, or the simple default of “that’s just the way it’s always been.”  LEARNING often means change.  I look forward to looking back on 2015 and seeing how much I’ve LEARNED and how much has changed in this year.

Back on the Blog
In an effort to continue "stimulating my brain", and because I've really missed writing, I am committing to be more consistent with blogging again.  So look for more posts coming soon!

Friday, October 24, 2014

We're Engaged!

If you're wondering where I've been or why I've been so silent the past several weeks, I have good reason.  Things have been quite busy, but very good.

The first major thing taking up quite a bit of my time was the MTI auction which took place on Saturday, October 11th.  This was my 6th auction for Medical Teams, and it went very well.  It was a wonderful evening with a silent auction, our new Impact Market, and a dinner and live auction.  Our guests were quite generous and we raised a record amount of $1.4 million.  Amazing!

Some people compare the auction to childbirth: 9 months of preparation all culminating in a quite intense and stressful event with an amazing result at the end.  I see it as a really long marathon, in which you just can't wait to cross the finish line.  Needless to say, it's exhausting.

I always look forward to the day after the auction with anticipation of sleeping in, relaxing and doing pretty much whatever I want or don't want to do.  However, throughout the week Chris kept checking in to make sure that we were still going to go to church on Sunday, to which I kept replying that I would really like to play it by ear since I'm sure to be exhausted.

But we did decide to go to the 10:30 service on Sunday since it is one of our favorite things to do together.  Chris came over to my house before church and we were able to enjoy good conversation over a cup of coffee.  When it was getting close to time to leave, I told him I was going to go upstairs to change clothes to which he said, "Oh, what are you going to wear today?"  I gave him a strange look and responded, "I don't know. I'll probably just look in my closet and pick something."  That was weird, but whatever.

The church service was wonderful and we decided to go to brunch afterwards like we usually do.  Chris really wanted to go to Jam on Hawthorne (where we went on our first date), but I insisted that we go to Slappy Cakes.  After brunch I told him that all I wanted to do that afternoon was take a nap.  I'd been looking forward to that nap for 9 months now.  But he really wanted to go for a walk.  I pushed back and so did he and I finally started picking up on his slightly unusual behaviors and decided that I should just go along with the plan.

So we drove to Mt Tabor to go for a quick Sunday afternoon walk.  I was starting to get suspicious, and as he got out of the car I thought to myself, "Surely he doesn't have a ring on him right now.  I'm going to watch to see if he gets anything else out of the car."  Sure enough, he opened the trunk and grabbed his jacket.  I decided that even though I wasn't going to take my purse on the walk, I would grab my phone... just in case.

We got to the top of Mt Tabor and stood and enjoyed the view of the city.  A woman was walking by with her husband and dog and Chris said, "Let's see if this woman will take our picture."  Another odd behavior: we are so bad about taking pictures together and this was a really random time to take a picture.  The kind stranger snapped some pictures using my phone then showed us the pictures.  "These look great.  Thank you."  I said.  But Chris handed her back the phone and said, "Could you take a few more?  Maybe we could try something different.  Maybe a different pose.  Maybe like this..." and he pulled a box out of his jacket pocket, got down on one knee and said, "Will you marry me?" 

I was so surprised by that moment and had to take a second to take in everything that was going on around me.  Freeze frame...
1) Chris was on his knee: which I'd never really thought about this, but that's actually an odd position as he was not standing face-to-face with me).
2) there was a sparkling diamond ring in an open box in his hand: was I supposed to look at the ring? should I put it on my hand?
3) there was a complete stranger with a camera standing very close to me, sharing this moment with us - thankfully she was quick enough to realize that she should be snapping lots of pictures at that moment. (Imagine the stories she must have been telling her friends over dinner that night!)
4) the stranger's dog was licking my leg.  enough said.

After what was probably about 6 seconds (but felt like 6 minutes to Chris), I finally said YES! and then I think I said, "Will you please stand up? I don't know what to do!"

We hugged (there might have been a kiss) and Chris slipped the ring on my finger.  The woman handed me back my phone, said Congratulations, and continued her walk with her husband and dog.

Just a normal Sunday afternoon walk...

...that turned into the best walk ever.
*note the dog*

Chris and I sat on a bench on the top of Mt Tabor and facetimed with our family.  That evening, we went to a Trail Blazer game with some friends.  Just 6 months and one week after we met at a Blazer game, we were back at the Rose Garden arena celebrating our engagement.  What a perfect end to the perfect day.
I couldn't be more excited to spend the rest of my life this such an amazing man.  He brings me such joy.  I can hardly remember my life without him, and I couldn't have dreamed of a better partner to get to walk down this path with.

In Chris' Words...
On Sunday morning, I met Mary at her house as she was getting ready for church. We went to service, where we both received well a sermon on Zacchaeus, and then I asked (insisted) on brunch afterward. My intentions were to take her to the site of our first date, Jam on Hawthorne, but she instead asked if we could go to Slappy Cakes on Belmont. I obliged.

It occurs to me I was being more sentimental than usual during the morning, and she became slightly suspicious. I, of course, had been carrying a ring in my pocket, and was likely more nervous than I realized.

After brunch, I again asked (insisted) that we go for a walk on Mt Tabor. She refused at first, being tired from a long several weeks of preparation for the MTI Auction. Seeing my plans begin to evaporate, I continued to press her to join me for a short walk. Eventually, she relented and we drove up Belmont toward Mt Tabor.

When we got there, I grabbed my jacket (which contained the ring), and we walked up to a spot that allows you to see straight up Hawthorne toward the city. I suggested we ask a passing couple to take our photo, which again raised her suspicions. A kind lady agreed, and took a photo on Mary's camera.

After the first photo, I asked her to take one more. At that point, I fumbled for the ring in my pocket and got down on one knee. I asked her if she would marry me.

Mary stood there, apparently stunned for several seconds that felt like years. Finally, she said yes, and I stood up to place the ring on her finger.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Deschutes Fishing

This past weekend, Chris and I went on a fishing trip with his family.  His dad, Dan, is an avid fisherman and he invited us to go out on the Deschutes with him to fish for some Steelhead.  This was different fishing than I've even done, and I loved it!
Chris and I drove out to a campground near Maupin (Central Oregon) on Saturday to meet his dad, mom, sister and brother who had gotten there the day before.  Most of the crew had been out on the river fishing all day.  His sister caught a hatchery fish (identified by their clipped back fins) which you can keep, as opposed to the native fish which you have to throw back.  We ate good that night - Dan cooked up some steak and a bit of the fish.  Delicious!  As it got dark, we all sat at the picnic table and played Apples to Apples by lantern light.  You could hear the river rushing just about 50 yards away - so relaxing!
The next morning, Dan, Chris and I headed out on the river in Dan's drift boat around 9am.  The river keeps a good steady pace, but Dan knows how to maneuver that thing through the water.  We wore waders and boots and fished in sometimes waist-deep cool water (no fishing from the boat allowed on the Lower Deschutes).  We would stop along the bank, climb out of the boat and cast our line out using a jig and slowly walk down with the current waiting for a bite.  I caught one fish, and fought it with everything I had to actually get the sucker in.  He was a big one and right as Dan was trying to get the hook out of him, he swam off with the hook still in his mouth.  He was probably about 10 lbs, but we weren't able to get a picture of him... so in that case, I actually think he might have been closer to 20 lbs.  I fought even harder for what I thought was a bigger fish and ended up realing in a big mossy stick... I'll tell you more of that story later, Uncle Les, so you can get a big laugh out of it.
It was a beautiful, fun day on the river.  We came in around 4:00pm, headed back to the campsite to pack up and then drove back to Portland.  We're so fortunate to have such close access to amazing rivers and fishing!

Monday, September 22, 2014


A time to withdraw from your natural rhythm to rest, relax and refocus.  A period of seclusion for the purpose of prayer and meditation.

Last week, my department at MTI went on a 2-day off-site retreat in Western Washington.  We stayed at a simple retreat center in the middle of nowhere.  We were surrounded by dirt roads, trees, deer and cows.  There was no cell service and hardly any internet connection.  It was a true escape.

And it was wonderful.  A much needed time away from the normal routine.  We were all forced to disconnect with the outside world, and engage with one another.  Rather than watching tv, we played bocce ball.  Rather than being in our rooms checking Facebook on our phones, we sat on the back deck and gazed at the stars.  Rather than being consumed by work emails, we talked about how we wanted to grow as a team.

The second day we were there, we even had a morning chapel service where the theme was Stillness.  Here are a few scriptures and quotes for you to contemplate as you start a new week...
  • "As soon as we are alone, inner chaos opens up in us. This chaos can be so disturbing and so confusing that we can hardly wait to get busy again. Entering a private room and shutting the door, therefore, does no mean that we immediately shut out all our inner doubts, anxieties, fears, bad memories, unresolved conflicts, angry feelings and impulsive desires. On the contrary, when we have removed our outer distraction, we often find that our inner distraction manifest themselves to us in full force. We often use the outer distractions to shield ourselves from the interior noises. This makes the discipline of solitude all the more important."
    - Henry Nouwen, Making All Things New
  • "Silence of the Heart is necessary so you can hear God everywhere - in the closing of a door, in the person who needs you, in the birds that sing, in the flowers, in the animals. What is essential is not what we say but what God tells us and what He tells others through us. In silence He listens to us; in silence He speaks to our souls. In silence we are granted the privilege of listening to His voice."
    - Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World
  • "Be still and know that I am God."
    - Psalm 46:10
In our culture, we pride ourselves with being busy.  In our world busyness = importance.  I am guilty of this.  I like to always be going and doing.  I strive to be constantly "productive."  Being still is a discipline.  Focusing can be difficult.  As summer comes to a close and we settle into our less busy "hibernation season", I hope to remember and embrace more stillness and solitude.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hood to Coast 2014

Last weekend was this year's Hood to Coast Relay, one of my favorite weekends of the year.  This was my 6th year to run this race.  My goal is to eventually have run each of the 12 legs in this relay, so I am now half way there!

This year I ran Leg 12, the anchor leg for the team.  The breakdown of the legs was... 1st leg: 6.29 miles along the Springwater Corridor ending under the Hawthorne Bridge, 2nd leg: 4.92 miles near Mist, OR between Portland and the coast, 3rd leg: 5.23 miles ending at the beach in Seaside!  I didn't have any crazy middle-of-the-night runs - they were actually at very normal times: 9pm, 6am, 4pm.  And not too many hills either.  I actually wasn't really sore at all after this weekend.  Maybe that means I didn't run hard enough!

I was in Van 2 with 5 dudes: Drew, Jed, Robbie, Marty and Ben.  Fun group, but always a little interesting being the only girl in a van with 5 smelly guys.  Let's just say we all got to know each other pretty well.  By the end, I was practically just one of the guys.

I would love to say that the race weekend went smoothly without a hitch.  Our team did awesome and no one was injured.  But the race organization had a few hiccups along the way.  Around the 2nd big exchange, traffic got really congested and vans were backed up for miles.  Our van dropped Drew off for his second run and started driving to the next exchange where he would hand off to me.  Well we got stuck in the nasty backup of vans and pretty soon I see Drew running by our van, headed to the next exchange (where I was not waiting).  So I jumped out of the van and ran the last mile of his leg, grabbed the baton from him at the exchange and then ran another 5 miles of my leg.  When I completed my leg and got to the next exchange, there was no one from the other van there to meet me.  So I waited... and waited... for an hour... in the cold... wearing wet sweaty clothes... for an hour.  My runner finally showed up.  They had gotten stuck in traffic, too.  And thankfully he brought me a sweater and some cash to buy some coffee that the local church was selling.  Bless him.
Our van finally got out of the traffic, and continued on to the coast.  I was the final leg into Seaside and once I reached the beach, my team was able to join me for the final steps across the finish line.  We gave high fives and snapped some pictures, then quickly got out of there and started the drive back to Portland.  We were done with crowds and standing on our feet and being sweaty.  I was so ready to be home, take a shower and climb in my bed.
What a fun, crazy exhausting race.  Somehow all of the memories of traffic and sleepless nights and stinky vans is already fading and I'm already looking forward to HTC 2015!
Van 2: Drew, Jed, Robbie, Marty, Mary, Ben
**please note our awesome van... there is a queen size bed in the back of that thing!
geared up for my first run... headlamp, reflective vest, and front and back flashers required

during my hour wait at the 2nd exchange... I don't think I've ever been so cold in my life

finish line!!
the whole team
Unknown Injury
A couple of weeks ago, I went out on the river with Chris' family and some friends.  It was a great night for boating and we all enjoyed wakeboarding and tubing.  While tubing with my friend Courtney, my tube got some air, did a flip and I tried hanging on for dear life.  In my attempt to hold onto the tube handles (and my pride), I injured my finger.  I thought it was just jammed or a bad sprain.  It hasn't really been getting much better, so I decided to go see the doctor today (with a nudge from Chris).  And what do you know... my finger is broken.  I've been walking around with a broken pinky for two weeks.  It's in a splint now, so hopefully it will start healing quicker, because I can't let a pinky slow me down.
 the tube flip that took out my pinky
see the break on the pinky between the knuckle and middle joint