Saturday, November 28, 2009


This was my first year to spend Thanksgiving away from my family, who all gathered together in Dallas. The Moores were kind enough to invite me (and 3 of my out-of-state friends) over to their house for Thanksgiving dinner. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful family here in Portland with whom to spend the holidays. My friends Alan, Andrew, Drew and I joined Steve and Thanne, Maegan and Mollie, and Jill (a Murdock employee) and her family for a wonderful Thanksgiving meal and even better fellowship.

The Moores have a family Thanksgiving tradition in which each person thinks of someone who has impacted or blessed their life that they haven’t said thank you to or spoken to in a while)a teacher, coach , youth director, friend). You them give them a call and let them know you are thankful. During the Thanksgiving meal, we all went around the table and said who we called, why and their reaction. What a great tradition! I called my piano teacher, Ann Lindsey. Mrs. Lindsey taught me piano for 12 years and has always been a great friend. I keep in touch with Mrs. Lindsey often, but have never really expressed how thankful I am for her and what an impact she has had on my life.

This tradition was a great excuse to say "thank you" to someone, but we really shouldn't have to have an excuse in order to show our gratitude. The conversation I had with Mrs. Lindsey was priceless. It was just as much a blessing to me as it was to her. After talking with her I wanted to call everyone who has had an impact on my life and say thank you! What a simple way to be an encouragement to someone.

The night before Thanksgiving, Imago had a prayer service. They asked each of us to reflect over the past year and write down what we were thankful for... be it answered prayers, unanswered prayers, trials, blessings. So much has happened in my life over the past 12 months. I realized just how much I have to be thankful for!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pumpkin Craze

I love everything pumpkin! And since most pumpkin treats are olny available this time of year, I have to enjoy them while I can. The two ladies who I work with love Starbucks. Having a rough Monday morning? Go to Starbucks. Forgot your lunch? Starbucks is all you need. Dreading working on that finance report? Drink your cares away with a Starbucks latte. In my case, a tall 2-pump, nonfat, no whip, pumpkin spice latte. I could probably live off of PSLs (Starbucks lingo) for the whole month of November, but I choose to have a little more variety... which includes pumpkin bread, slow-churned pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin creamer in my coffee, pumpkin bread pudding (thank you, Sarah) and homemade pumkin pie! When the sun is shining (which isn't that often these days) you can see a hint of orange growing in my hair. I've learned how to make my own pumpkin puree so that I don't have to use the fake canned stuff anymore. And it really adds a fresh taste to any pumpkin dish!

Homemade Pumpkin Puree
Cut a pumpkin in half. Empty out the pumpkin guts (I don't know the technical name) and seeds. Place the two halves face down on a slightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about an hour or until the pumpkin is soft. Let the halves cool and then remove the pumpkin skin so that only the soft pulp remains. Blend the remaining pumpkin and store in the fridge until you are ready to whip up a delicious pumpkin treat! Just use your homemade pumpkin puree as a replacement for the canned pumpkin.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Namesake

A name is a part of a person's identity. A person's name holds meaning. I was named after my grandmother, Mary Alice Earl Moore. My middle name, Leigh, comes from my dad's middle name, Lee, and is now my oldest neice Hannah's middle name. I love that the kids in my family have names that mean something. Alice Anne has names that come from her mom (Emily Alice), grandmother (Julie Alice), aunt Sarah (Sarah Anne) and both great grandmothers (Mary Alice and Anne). Carter Thomas is named obviously from his mom's maiden name and for both of his great grandfathers (Thomas Aldine and Thomas Edwin).

Family members leave a legacy through their names. They also leave us with precious memories. I have been lucky enough to own some small keepsakes of my Grandmother Moore which, although they are not expensive items, are worth so much to me. I have several of her old pieces of jewelry which I have worn often recently. I always receive compliments on these unique items and I am always proud to tell people that they were my grandmother's.

The only piece of jewelry that I am always wearing is a simple gold chain which was Grandmother Moore's - I never take it off. It's a constant reminder to me of all of my family who love me. A few other peices that I often wear are her red corn necklace, a unique green and gold ring, a silver and striped-stone bracelet which I always receive compliments on, and my favorite - a gorgeous glass stone pin that she brought me from Sweden.

Eternal Glory
One of my favorite sermons I've ever heard was the All Saint's Day sermon preached by Eric Howell last November at Dayspring. At the end of the sermon he talks about the multitude of people who make up the church in Heaven... young and old, men and women, every beautiful color of skin ever seen. As he describes the saints and people who make up this heavenly body, there is a part which always makes me think of my grandparents:
"There's an old lady. She fought with cancer in her last years. But look at the victory that's on her face. And there's an old man and he's shuffling in and it looks like he's coming up to a lady and he knows her. She takes his hand. They look like they've known each other for a long, long time."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Imago Dei

For the past 9 months I've been going to Imago Dei Community Church. Literally the first week I arrived in Portland, I was invited to visit a home community group... and the rest is history. Imago has been a huge reason that Portland has felt so warm and inviting. The supportive community and meaningful relationships that have developed since February played a big part in why I decided to stay in Portland.

Imago Dei offers classes through their School of Theology... "In a culture packed with differing worldviews, Imago Dei’s School of Theology exists to help people connect the guiding resources of Scripture (that is, theology) with everyday life."

Today I took the Church & Gospel course, the class required to become a member of Imago. Kevin Rogers, one of the church pastors, led the group through Imago's foundation and formation, core values, mission, structure, and the church's position on certain issues. It was a great overview of why the church exists and where I fit into their mission.

Imago Dei (which means "image of God") is different from the churches I grew up in and attended in college, but it is a strong body with a clear vision and a heart that reaches beyond themselves. "If loving community is core to God’s nature, and if we are made in God’s image, then loving community is core to our nature too. What we call Church, then, is nothing less than God’s own community extended to each of us and shared among all of us. What we call the gospel, in turn, is nothing less than God’s invitation to all peoples to commune with Him and with each other in His eternal love."

DIY for Advent Conspiracy
Today, Imago also had a Do-It-Yourself fair. Imago started the Advent Conspiracy movement last year in order to refocus people's minds and hearts about what Christmas is really about. So the DIY fair gave people creative ideas for meaningful gifts to give this holiday season. It was really fun to walk around and collect how-to sheets for knitting, cooking, and sewing projects.

This little guy (probably about 9 years old) was teaching people how to make jewelry - so cute!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weird Words

Being a Southerner living in the Northwest, I am often told that I have a weird accent and pronounce words funny. Sometimes when I first meet someone and have a short conversation with them they will ask, "Where are you from?" "Why? Did I mention that I'm not from around here?" I respond. "No, you just keep saying y'all." I don't think twice about saying "y'all", but apparently that makes me stand out like a sunny day in a Portland winter.

Yesterday I asked a friend (another word people tell me I say funny and with a Southern drawl), "What are you doing for Thanksgiving?" and he just started laughing at me. "What? Do you not want to tell me what you're doing for Thanksgiving?" And that just made him laugh even harder. "You say Thanksgiving funny. It's pronounced thanksGIVING, not THANKSgiving." I could hardly tell a difference, but apparently I place the em-PHA-sis on the wrong sy-LAB-al. I thought I would get a second opinion, so last night I asked my friend Amber, "How do you say the name of the holiday that is in November?" She immediately said, "Yeah, you say it weird. It's pronounced thanksGIVING." Whatever.

Also yesterday, I mentioned to a friend (there's that funny word again) that during my networking I met with several lawyers. He immediately started laughing. I was so confused. "Do you think its wierd that I met with lawyers?" "Say it again!" he said between laughs. "Lawyer?" I said with a puzzled look. I have no idea how I say that word differently, but apparently its pretty humurous.

So if you ever want to drop a not-so-subtle hint that you're from the South, just say, "Hey y'all. Even though y'all aren't lawyers, I'm glad y'all are my friends. We should spend Thanksgiving together."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Medical Teams International Auction

For the past 2 and a half weeks I've been working for Medical Teams International, an incredible organization that provides aid for disaster relief, conflict and poverty around the world. MTI is currently involved in 25 different countries (including Uganda). I was brought on as temporary staff in the development department to work on MTI's biggest fundraiser - their annual Great Adventure auction. These past couple of weeks have been very busy preparing for the big event. I've practically lived at the offices for the past few days and feel a little sleep deprived, but have loved every minute of it.

The auction was held last night at the MTI offices (the warehouse was transformed into an exotic party room) and everything went great! We raised $1.25 million dollars, exceeding our goal of $1 million. The night started out with a silent auction in which the guests could write out bids for international items, artwork, entertainment packages and wine. The guests were then led into the dinning area by a Ghanaian drumming group where dinner was served and the live auction began. Most of the night I was running around with my walkie talkie headset and clip board (probably looking more official and important than I really was) helping take care of the details and making sure everything ran smoothly, but I was able to actually enjoy most of the live auction program. The auction items were incredible! Vacations to Mexico, Hawaii and Italy, wine tours, climbing Mount Hood with Stacy Allison (the 1st American woman to summit Mount Everest), skiing with Waren Miller, and even a little Terrier puppy that sold for $10,000!! Big numbers were flying up in the air - there were some very generous people in the crowd!

Overall, this was a wonderful experience helping out with an incredible event. I will still be working with Medical Teams for the next few weeks wrapping things up for the auction. And we'll see where this might lead!

Created for Purpose
I am currently reading the book Created for Purpose by Ron Post, the founder of Medical Teams International (formerly Northwest Medical Teams). It is the inspirational story of how one man got "thousands of ordinary people to get out of their chairs" and do something.

"God has a plan and a purpose for each of us and all we have to do is allow Him to work that plan... He will give you everything you need to accomplish this and the results for your life will be contentment and joy. Do we need anything else?"

-Ron Post, Created for Purpose

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How He Loves

Allow me to be vulnerable with you. Life has been busy lately. Things keep going and don't slow down. Its easy to become overwhelmed and stressed out by all that life throws at us. Whether its 12-hour work days, being 2,000 miles away from "home", finances, relationships, singleness, exhaustion, self image... Have you ever lost your focus, wandered off the path and suddenly realized you're not where you need to be. I've been trying to consciously redirect my focus when I begin to wander. One way I do that is through music. I've set my ipod on the David Crowder Band for the past week. Every time I wake up in a crabby mood, leave work feeling exhausted or just need a boost, I listen to my current favorite song: "How He Loves Us". Take 5 minutes to listen to this song. Listen to the words. Let them really sink in. They hold so much truth.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fall is Here!

The glorious Portland summer is long gone and the dreary winter will be here soon. The Northwest Fall seems to briskly blow in and out, but it's wonderful while it lasts. The leaves have painted the town in vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow. There have been many times lately when I have turned the corner of a windy road and am blown away by the colors lining the side of a hill or the way the leaves turn the sidewalk into a fall runway.

With Daylight Savings Time ending this past weekend, it gets dark around 5:30. I have found myself turning into bed earlier than usual and stifling yawn after yawn during the day. I hope this isn't a sign of what's to come during Portland's "rainy season" when it is dark and dreary for 5 months straight. I may need to actually purchase a sun lamp - or maybe just take a trip to Hawaii!