Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The VanDyke Wedding

After months of anticipation, Ross and Hannah's wedding weekend finally came!  Drew and I proudly take credit for our friends' marriage... if it weren't for us, they wouldn't have met.  Long story short: Hannah came to visit me in Portland on Memorial Day weekend 2009, Ross came to climb Mount Hood with Drew that same weekend, they met on the campus of Reed College, we took them on a progressive dinner around Portland, then on a road trip to Seattle the next day; Ross and Hannah went back to Texas, he asked her on a date, they fell in love; exactly two years later, Drew and I are standing next to them at the alter.

The wedding weekend was a whirlwind, but it was absolutely wonderful!  Hannah and I had an amazing group of girl friends in college and it was so much fun to spend time with all of them.  It's very rare that we're all in the same place at the same time.

Ross and Hannah: I'm so blessed to have been a part of your relationship from the start.  I had the unique opportunity of watching your relationship grow through both of your eyes.  Your love for one another is so apparent to anyone who is around you.  You encourage and challenge one another, you lean wholey on God as the foundation of your relationship, you're selfless and find joy in one another, and you have more fun than any couple I know!  I'm so happy for you.  Congrats, Mr. and Mrs. VanDyke!

Friday bridesmaids luncheon

the bride and bridesmaids at the rehearsal dinner

bridesmaids at the reception

the bride and her wedding party

the happy couple
  
The Perfect Woman...
This passage in the book I just read and blogged about, Through Painted Deserts, made me think of Ross and Hannah and I used it in my rehearsal dinner speech:

"Describe the perfect woman."
"She's got a great smile. She's going to be an athlete and like the outdoors. I want to travel so she'd have to be willing to live on the road. I'd like to hike Europe sometime. And when we hunt, she has to help carry the deer back to the truck. I want a companion. Just someone to share life with. I want her to be my biggest fan and I want to be her biggest fan too. I want us to raise kids in a home where they know their parents are in love with each other and with them... A friend. A true friend, someone who knows me and loves me anyway. You know, like when I'm through putting my best foot forward, she's still there, still the same... I guess that's all I want."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Through Painted Deserts

I just finished reading a wonderful book by Donald Miller, native Texan, current Portlander, and author of Blue Like Jazz.  This book, Through Painted Deserts, really struck home with me since it is about Don's journey from Texas to Oregon and what he learned about "light, God, and beauty" along the way.  Here's a quick synopsis:

"Fueled by the belief that something better exists than the mundane life they've been living, free spirits Don and Paul set off on an adventure-filled road trip from Texas to Oregon in search of deeper meaning, beauty, and an explanation for life. Many young people dream of such a trip, but few are brave enough to actually attempt it."

This book fell into my hands with perfect timing.  Every now and then, on a normal day, for no particular reason I ask myself, "What the heck am I still doing in Portland?"  There is a back and forth struggle between living in an amazing place where I am constantly being challenged, learning about myself, having once-in-a-lifetime experiences, being forced out of my comfort zone, and experiencing real community... and at the same time missing my family, longing for the deep relationships of friends I grew up with, wanting to be in a familiar place, wishing I felt settled, and growing tired of missing out on the life I used to know.

Through Painted Deserts reminded me that life is a story made up of many journeys along the way; and each of those journeys helps us understand a little more of what life is all about.  Some of my favorite quotes that really spoke to me are:


  • "Are we on a pilgrimage?" he asks. "I don't know," I tell him. "Maybe we're all on a pilgrimage... Maybe it's all one trip, one big road trip through the cosmos, through the nothingness. Maybe we're all going somewhere. Or really, maybe we are all being taken somewhere." "Where are we going?" I ask. "Maybe it isn't for us to decide, just to give in to it... It is whatever God wants it to be. Maybe we are just supposed to trust that He won't beat us up when we get there. Maybe we are supposed to trust the He is good."
  • And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?
  • Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Eugene Marathon

Today I successfully completed my second marathon.  My friend Adele and I signed up for the Eugene Marathon about 5 months ago, started training about 10 weeks ago, and decided we would actually go through with it this week.  Going into the race we weren't sure if we were going to be able to actually finish the whole marathon or if we would end up cutting it short and just running the half marathon.  I have to say, all odds were against me actually being able to pull this off.  I was in Africa on vacation for 2 weeks during what should have been my peak training time; I had a work event 200 miles away in Washington last night meaning I didn't get into Eugene until after 11pm; my lodging situation fell through 3 days before the race; and I only got 2 hours of sleep last night due to anxiety and not sleeping in my own bed.  But we surprised ourselves and ran the whole 26.2 miles without ever stopping to walk and actually having fun and smiling the entire way.

We kept a nice, steady pace the entire time and completed the race in 4:41:58 (with about 7 minutes worth of bathroom breaks).  It was the perfect day for the race in Eugene, OR - aka Track Town, USA.  The sun was shining with temperature starting around 40 and getting into the low 60s with a nice breeze.  The course was wonderful.  We looped through forested areas, ran by the Willamette River on bike paths and started and ended at Hayward Field, home of the University of Oregon track team.  We actually sprinted the last 200 yds on the track in the stadium with people cheering us on in the stand - it was surreal.  There were aid stations at all the right spots serving us water, Gatorade and Goo.  And Alan and Adele's husband Brock rode their bikes along the course and met up with us every few miles to offer us food, drinks, Advil and cheer us on.

I have to say, this marathon was much more enjoyable than the rainy Portland Marathon I ran this past October.  Adele and I had a great time and never felt like we were about to die or wanted to give up.  It was quite miraculous actually!  Thanks Adele for being such an amazing running partner!  What should we train for next?

Adele and I chugging along

post race in front of Hayward Stadium

us with our support crew - thanks guys!


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