Monday, August 31, 2009

Hood to Coast - Legs 2 & 3

Mission accomplished... I survived Hood to Coast and had a great time doing it! After showers and a short break after Leg 1, our van met up with Van 2 for the baton exchange. I began running my 2nd leg at 9:30 on Friday night along Hwy 30 heading West out of Portland. It was dark and late so I wore my reflective vest, head lamp and carried a flash light. This was my longest leg to run (7.3 miles) but I kept a steady pace and ran it in 65 minutes (just under 9 minute miles).

After everyone in our van finished their 2nd leg and we made the exchange with Van 2, we headed to the designated sleeping area where we got no sleep. At about 2:30 am, I stretched out on one of the van benches and tried to catch a little shut eye, but just couldn't fall asleep. I felt dirty and sticky from the last run, it was stuffy in the van, people were walking around talking outside, I could hear the race officials announcing the runners coming in, and Ryan's escalating snore was reverberating from the back seat. Overall, I might have dozed off for 30 minutes and then 4:00 rolled around and it was time to head back out on the course.

My 3rd leg began at 6:20 in the morning just as the sun began to rise. This was my final leg and it was another long one at 6.3 miles. I was exhausted, but once I got out on the road, I felt energized - probably because I knew that I was almost done! I ran it in 53 minutes (about 8 and a half minute miles). Over the last half mile I was determined to catch the woman in front of me, so I kicked it into gear. I caught up to her with the finish line in sight and started to pass her on the right. She looked over at me and said "I don't think so" and that just motivated me to start a full-on sprint. From behind me I heard her say "Okay, nevermind." I streaked across the finish line and felt a great sense of relief and accomplishment.

Now that Van 1 was finished running, we headed to a teammates house to take showers and relax, grabbed some lunch, then headed to the beach to cross the finish line with our final runner John, the President of Eternal Impact. There was a huge party on the beach at Seaside with live music, food, and tons of people, but I was a little delirious and ready to head home. So a few of us hopped back in the van and drove the 2 hours back to Portland. I got home, threw my nasty clothes in the washer and went straight to bed. I slept from 6:45pm to 8:30am - an entire 14 hours and it felt divine! When I woke up yesterday morning, I was stiff as a board and it was torture to walk down the stairs. I'm getting a much deserved massage today!

Overall, the Hood to Coast Relay was an absolute blast and an incredible experience. I'm hoping to do it again next year. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be on this team of diverse and amazing people. What an accomplishment to have participated in "The Mother of All Relays" and to have run for a wonderful Ugandan cause. We are wrapping up our Eternal Impact donations and I will give you the final report when we get it. Thank you all for your support and encouragement.

the route from Mount Hood to Seaside, OR I ran legs 3, 15, and 27

Final Results
Our team's total running time: 28:07:15
Overall finishing place: 435 out of 1005
"Open Mixed" category finishing place: 97 out of 314

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hood to Coast - Leg 1

I'm in the middle of the Hood to Coast relay and have completed my 1st leg so far. Our team met this morning at 6:45 and made the drive to Mount Hood - a little over an hour East of Portland. My 1st leg was the easiest leg of the three. It was just 4 miles and downhill the whole way (which can actually be pretty wearing on your legs). I ran it in 32 minutes which is faster than I projected. I will run my next leg at about 9:45 tonight. We made a stop at my house to take showers and relax while the 2nd van is out running. I'm pretty tired, but feeling good.
starting the 1st leg

being cheered on by Kathy

passing off to Kathy

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cooking Up a Storm

I've spent the day in the kitchen preparing meals for the big run tomorrow. We have to bring all of our own food and you don't want to just snack between runs. So I decided to make some healthy, filling, carbolicious dishes that will help keep me energized.

Chinese Chicken Salad - from the kitchen of The Scheller Family
2 Ramen noodles packages
1 bag Dole coleslaw mix
1 lb bag of veggies
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
pea pods (cook for 2 min, drain and ice, blanch)
2 TBS sesame seeds, toasted
chopped chicken
Mix all together.


4 TBS soy sauce
4 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 C oil
6 TBS white wine or balsamic vinegar
Whisk, pour over veggie mix, toss!

Thai Noodle Salad: from the kitchen of Muggs, the Murdock caterer

12 oz linguine
4 TBS sesame oil
8 green onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 C honey
1/4 C peanut butter
1/4 C soy sauce
3 TBS unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 C mung bean sprouts
1 C carrots, shredded

Cook pasta, drain. Transfer pasta to large bowl and add 3 TBS sesame oil and toss to coat. Heat remaining 1 TBS oil in heavy large skillet over medium high heat. Add 6 onions, garlic, ginger and saute until onions soften - about 2 minutes. Add honey, peanut butter, soy sauce for 1 minute. Cool to room temperature. Pour over pasta and toss to coat. Add sprouts and carrots. Mix well. Transfer to platter and sprinkle with remaining onions.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies: from the kitchen of Emily Belf
1 C brown sugar
1 C sugar
1 C shortening
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 C oatmeal
chocolate chips to your desire
chopped walnuts (optional)

Cream together brown sugar, sugar, and shortening. Add eggs and vanilla. In seperate bowl, mix flour, soda and salt. Add to creamy mixture. Add oatmeal and chocolate chips.
Bake @ 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A New Identity

After living in Portland for 7 months, I figured it was about time I got an Oregon license and license plate. After about 5 visits and 5 thousand phone calls to the DMV, I finally got it all sorted out. This was a big step which brings along a new level of commitment to Portland. However, I did add a Baylor sticker so that people can still see my Texas roots. So I would consider myself a Texoregonian (a Texan and Oregonian).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ready to Run

The Hood2Coast Relay is creeping closer and closer... 4 days and counting. Over the past couple of weeks I've gotten a little nervous about the big run, but now I'm just excited! Yesterday I decided to do one final long run before racing day. I figured I would go about 7 or 8 miles and I ended up running 10 miles! And it felt great! I now know that I can take on this big challenge and I'm pretty sure I will survive (which was my goal going into this whole thing).

Running is one part of this weekend, but raising money for our cause, Eternal Impact, is the other large part of this event. Our team set the goal of $100 per mile which comes out to about $1700 for each runner. We are all getting so close and I'm excited about the "impact" we will have on this incredible organization which inspires and trains young Ugandan people to become leaders in a way that demonstrates their faith in Christ.

If you are interested in donating to the cause, go to Click on "Meet the Team", find my profile and click on "Make a Pledge", then "Give a Gift". The rest should be self-explanatory. I'll run the amount of my race that you support however you'd like - backwards, doing cartwheels, to your favorite tunes. This is a cause worth running for and together we can make a difference!

The Joy of Running
"I believe in the runner's high, and I believe that those who are passionate about running are the ones who experience it to the fullest degree possible. To me, the runner's high is a sensational reaction to a great run! It's an exhilarating feeling of satisfaction and achievement. It's like being on top of the world, and truthfully... there's nothing else quite like it!"
- Sasha Azevedo

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Busy Saturday

I hit the ground running Saturday and didn't stop until I collapsed in bed late last night. It was a full and exhausting day, but fun and enjoyable at the same time. Yesterday morning from 8:00am - 1:00pm I helped out with Love Portland, an Imago Dei day of service in the community. My home community group combined with several other groups for a day of yard work at Marshall High School. We got our hands dirty by weeding, raking leaves, trimming bushes and trees, hauling the debris in wheel barrows, power washing the sidewalks, painting, and other various outdoor tasks. Who knew yard work could be so fun?! It was a perfect day and it was great to just spend time with friends and meet new people from the church.

The work didn't end there... After we finished cleaning up at the school, some of us drove to our friends Mark and Megan's house to help them move. We helped unpack the Uhaul at their new house and set a few things up. It was exciting to see the Little's new place and I can't wait to visit once they finish it all up!

Meanwhile, there was a garage sale going on at my house. My roommate Kathy, our friend Hannah decided to raise money for our Run4theCause benefit by selling some stuff we don't need anymore. Seeing how I moved up here with as little as possible, I didn't have much to contribute to the yard sale, but did manage to make 50 cents on an old can opener. Kathy and Hannah faired much better and will really be able to contribute to the cause.

Yesterday afternoon I went for a quick run then donned my jeans and boots and headed to the Canby Rodeo with some friends. Canby, Oregon is a small town about 30 miles south of Portland. My friend Katie got a group together to join in the fair and rodeo activities. We ate hot dogs and elephant ears while we watched bucking broncos and barrel racing and I cheered on the Texas boys. Everyone kept saying, "This must really feel like home to you." But the truth is, I've only been to a few rodeos in my life so it was a unique experience for me as well.

Overall, it was a great day full of hard work, fun, and great community. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow last night, though!

Action shot... I was probably saying something like, "There's what living in these bushes?"

Thanks for helping organize the Marshall event, Amber!

Matt cooling off after a long morning of work
by hitting the slip n' slide!

The Canby Rodeo... yee haw!

The rodeo groupies

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thank You Murdock

This was the last week of my internship at Murdock. I can't express how sad I am to leave the workplace and how grateful I am for such a wonderful opportunity. Steve Moore mentioned the internship to me about a year ago and I thought, "Sounds good. Why not?" I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I never could have imagined how incredible the experience would be. Murdock is what brought me up here to Portland and it has been the best move I've ever made. The opportunities given to me over the past 7 months have been once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and I have learned so much about the foundation and nonprofit world as well as about myself.

Murdock has taught me how the workplace ought to be. The culture of the office combines individual jobs and responsibilities with a team who is strong because of their dedication to the company mission. I loved getting to know the wonderful and brilliant people in the office and I felt completely comfortable stopping in any of their offices to chat, ask a favor, or get advice.

My supervisors, Terry and Mary, were incredible! They are my northwest dad and mom. They invested so much of themselves in each of us interns. Each morning we would all gather in Mary's office and catch up on each other's lives, tell funny stories and just enjoy one another's company. I will miss these times together.

My fellow interns made the experience what it was. They weren't just summer coworkers, they are friends. We had more fun times, great conversations, hilarious incidents, and inside jokes. Each of us is very unique and individual in our own ways...

Brad: the best dry sense of humor, painfully awkward in an elevator, a great friend to D-Train, an amazing athlete, a huge heart for people with disabilities, has a great family (especially his mom) and a great taste in music (loves TS), makes a mean pot of french press coffee, very forgiving (especially if you say "y'all" or "friends" with a Texas twang)

Katie (sweet Katie): a laugh that makes you want to join in laughing, a deep care for others, a friend who wants to invest in your life, besties with Brandon Heath, persistent, loves Root Beer, intelligent when it comes to alternative musicians

Mat: always willing to give you a smile and a hug (and a wink if you're lucky), a deep thinker, adventurous, ready to take on the next phase of life, quite the well-rounded musician, shuffles cards like a Vegas dealer, always ready to give his honest opinion and best advice, sarcastic (in a good way)

Thank you to everyone at the Trust. You have made a huge impact on my life - more than you will ever know. I will always remember my time at Murdock with fond memories. I'm staying close by so I will definitely make sure to pop in every once in a while.

What I Will Remember Most...
- our homemade putt-putt course
- Picnic Tuesdays (grilled cheese and jam. yum!)
- 2 truths and a lie (or 3 lies)
- learning to juggle
- Beaches
- Table Topics (never an awkward silence)
- prank wars *wink*
- ball lunch
- giant M&Ms
- D-Train (Mark actually calling him D-Train)
- Being able to hear Terry from anywhere in the office
- chat's in Mary Hill's office
- conversations with Steve Garber
- walking to Starbucks together
- the Murdock book club
- people's reaction when you say "I'm with the Murdock Trust"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back in Portland

After a nine-day visit to Texas, I am back in the northwest. I had a wonderful time visiting my family and friends and relaxing at home, but I was ready to get back to Portland. As I drove to work yesterday morning, I looked out my window and saw Mount Hood standing gloriously over the Columbia River and I thought to myself, "It's nice to be back". There are definitely many things that I miss about Texas: good friends who know everything about me, the comfort of my family, driving by Baylor, delicious Mexican food, my church, people who walk past you and say "How y'all doing?", the weather (okay, not the weather)... but I know that Portland is where I am supposed to be right now.

Always a Texan
No matter how far we may wander, Texas lingers with us, coloring our perceptions of the world.
–Elmer Kelto

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday!

Yesterday was Carter and Alice Anne's 1st birthday party (and it was Carter's actual birthday)! Emily and Sarah put together a great birthday celebration for all of our family complete with mini corn dogs, sliders, cake and cookies, bounce house, red wagons and lots of personalized touches. Sarah's place turned into a mad house, but adults and kids alike had a great time! Carter and Alice Anne enjoyed being surrounded by family, ripping open presents (or was that Hannah), and stuffing cake in their face! I can't believe that these little babies are already a year old. Happy birthday, Carter and Alice Anne!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Texas, Our Texas

I'm back in Texas for the first time since I moved up to Portland. I flew into Dallas Friday night and the first thing I thought as I looked out the airplane window when we were landing was "Man, Texas really is flat and full of wide open spaces!" Some friends picked me up from the airport and greeted me with signs that said "Welcome to Texas!" (don't ask about the nickname)with the state flag on them. We drove straight to Gloria's Tex Mex Restaurant. I was so excited for real Mexican food and a frozen margarita - yum! It was great to see old Baylor friends and get to catch up with everyone.

Saturday morning a small group of us met up with my college roommate Merrill for breakfast. I hadn't seen Merrill since she got married last November. She and her husband Chase are moving to Chile on Wednesday so getting to see her was a must! It was great to spend some time with her, even if it was just a couple of hours.

Then I headed over to my sister Emily's house to spend the rest of the weekend with her family. I could hardly wait to give Hannah and Alice Anne a big hug! The whole family was standing in the front yard when I pulled up and Hannah was jumping up and down waving her hands. She was pretty excited and wound up all day, but I loved playing with her all day. She showed me all of her toys and everything in her room as if I had never been there before. Alice Anne was so sweet as usual, but was feeling a little sick. The little booger bear played and laughed with Hannah and I, but was a little fussy and tired at times. I can't wait to see them again in Waco in a few days.

My cousin Robert drove me to Waco late this afternoon and spent some time at my parent's house before heading over to Sarah's house to spend time with her family. I was so excited to hold little Carter and see if he had grown any since the last time I saw him! He is a little sick, too and it was almost his bedtime when I got over there so he was a little fussy. I tried to hold him but he cried when I did - I think he's scared of me! He laughed and played when Jammy or Papa held him, but when I tried to take him he would freak out. We even tried to be sneaky and slip him into my lap facing away from me, but he would turn around, see who was holding him and start crying. He was a little better when I helped give him a bath tonight and put him to bed. I think he'll warm up to me soon.
I'm having a great time catching up with everyone that I haven't seen in so long. It's amazing how much things can change in 6 months - especially how much the little ones grow! I'm excited to be able to spend a whole week in Texas (although I would take the Portland weather over the humidity any day).

The Texas State Song

Texas, Our Texas! All hail the mighty State! Texas, Our Texas! So wonderful so great! Boldest and grandest, withstanding ev'ry test, O Empire wide and glorious, you stand supremely blest.

God bless you Texas! And keep you brave and strong, that you may grow in power and worth, throughout the ages long.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Faithful Friends

Over the past few weeks, two of my best friends have moved away from Portland. This has been a difficult time of transition with people leaving, my job coming to a close, and uncertainty in the future. I couldn't have asked for a better experience in Portland so far, though. Carrie and Daniel are two friends who were there for me from the beginning and really helped me get adjusted to life in Portland. They were both huge blessings to me and I can't thank them enough for their friendship.

To Carrie: I can't tell you how grateful I am for our automatic friendship that started the day I began working at Murdock. For a while, you were my only friend here in Portland and you were such a lifesaver. I was never lonely or homesick during my first months here and I think you were the reason for that. Thank you for inviting me to movies, on trips to Seattle with your girlfriends, over to your house to hang out, and everything else. I think we hung out together every single weekend for the first six weeks I was here and you were always so great about making me feel a part of your group. You were a friend I could talk to about anything and everything (and there aren't many friends like that). You have been a huge part of my life over the past six months - I can't even put it into words. I miss you dearly here in Portland, but I know that a new and exciting adventure awaits you in Washington D.C. I can't wait to come visit you out there and you had better come visit me in Portland soon, too! I love you!

To Daniel: Oh Mr. Reeser, I don't even know where to begin with you. I have you to thank for my sanity and stability here in Portland as you were my devout counselor. I always looked forward to the days where you would come into work at Murdock. I know we joked a lot about our "counceling sessions", but those talks really were theraputic and uplifting for me. I don't know why I felt so comfortable spilling my thoughts, feelings and life story to you after knowing you for such a short time (it must be those crafty counseling tactics they are teaching you at grad school), but you were always an incredible listener and gave me valuable words of wisdom. There was never a dull moment in the office when Daniel was around, whether it included you creepily sneaking up on me, an update on your latest facebook conversation with my mom, a glass friend named Socky, cardboard baby carriages or chairs, phone calls from the front desk "just checking in", showing off our 1st place awards, or catching a look that only my counselor would notice and understand. Thank you for being someone to listen to my success and struggles, my excitements and frustrations, and my little and not-so-little issues. You are an invaluable friend to me and I miss your smile (not to mention your snazzy ties and sweater vest) around Portland. I am so excited about your upcoming wedding and your new beginning down in Grants Pass!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Fray

The Fray is one of the most popular bands on tour right now and they performed a sold-out concert last night here in Portland. Katie and I got a last-minute chance to go to the concert when Steve Moore got two extra tickets from the band's tour manager. The concert was incredible and we even got to go backstage afterwards to meet the band, take pictures and get autographs! The reason I love this band is because their songs are meaningful and inspiring. I like listening to the words of the songs and trying to figure out the story behind the music. The lead singer, Isaac Slade, is mentored by Steve Garber, a good friend of the Trust. Isaac is a strong Christian and Steve says that Isaac puts a lot of thought into his lyrics and has a deep desire to not only create music that people will enjoy but that will also that speak to people on a deeper level. With all of the noise that is being made by different bands now days, its nice to hear a group that is performing music worth listening to.

the lead singer, Isaac Slade, and us groupies

chatting with Isaac

Maegan and Kaitlyn's Krazy Dance

How to Save a Life
The band's first big hit and most popular song How to Save a Life was inspired by Isaac's experience as a mentor to a crack addict teenager. The lyrics ring true to anyone going through a rough spot in life...

Step one you say we need to talk
He walks you say sit down its just a talk
He smiles politely back at you
You stare politely right on through
Some sort of window to your right
As he goes left and you stay right
Between the lines of fear and blame
You begin to wonder why you came

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ball Lunch

As I'm sure you've already realized, our office is always doing something crazy and unusual. Yesterday, we had our first annual Ball Lunch (well I don't know if it will be an annual event, but that makes it sound pretty exciting). I often make cake balls to bring into the office for special occassions. While sitting around enjoying cake balls for Brad's birthday last week, Mark said "I wonder what other foods you could make into ball form." We all got a little carried away and made a whole list of ball foods - which really got us "rolling" with laughter. So we decided to have a whole lunch of only ball-shaped foods. The requirement for any food brought in for the meal was that it could roll across the table. Yesterday we enjoyed a wonderful lunch of a variety of ball foods: cheese ball, sausage balls, melon balls, cherries, rolls, sushi rolls, donut holes, peas, cake balls... I think this is the most original themed meal I've ever been a part of!

Little AA

Happy 1st Birthday to Little Alice Anne!! I can't call her Baby Alice Anne anymore because she is such a big girl now. I miss this little bundle of joy and can't wait to see her in 4 days. Alice Anne, I love you and promise to play ball with you this weekend!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Green Peter Lake

Yesterday, Amber and I gave our lake trip a second try after our failed attempt two weeks ago (the one that ended in a near-death rafting excursion with bruises to prove it). This time we actually made it out on Green Peter Lake with her dad, stepmom, and MaLynda and Mario, two of Amber's friend from Portland. It was the perfect day to be on the lake - low 90s and sunny. Amber was pretty much born on the water (her mom literally went into labor on a boat). I, however, haven't been on the lake in over a year and haven't yet mastered any water sports. I gave it all a try, though, and am quite sore today. I barely got up on the slalom, couldn't quite get the wakeboard, and absolutely loved the knee board. Here are some pictures (and a cool video of my knee board experience) of our relaxing and wonderful day on the lake!