wave o' babies

Loads of my friends are having babies. I'm serious... loads (or should I say "tons"? haha). I've been keeping a running list of almost-mamas on my iPhone out of necessity, updating as the teeny-tinys make their grand appearances. It's been such fun to get the news, pray for each of my dear girl friends as they go through their pregnancies, and then send off little packages carrying itty-bitty gifts to the brand-new people!

It's amazing how two people (together with God, of course) can create a whole new person who didn't exist at all before. I don't think I'll ever grow tired of hearing one of my friends say "we're expecting!!", it will always bring a huge smile to my heart and happy tears to my eyes. And I've heard that news no less than eleven times this year. That's right, ELEVEN of my personal, close girl friends are either pregnant or have had a baby this year (that's not counting casual acquaintances or Crossings pals). Kind of incredible... and very wonderful. :)

For the record, here's my list:

  • Bethany Barry (childhood friend)-- Faith Loraine, born 7.27.08 (at 32 weeks, she's a miracle baby)

  • Jessica Gulbranson (MN friend in our small group)-- Simon James, born 8.6.2008

  • Erica Jones (childhood friend)-- Caden Tyler, born 8.18.2008

  • Megan Hulson (sister-in-law)-- Owen Peter, born 9.15.2008 For some strange reason I don't have one snap with *both* Megan and baby Owen, so I'm settling for one of Chris (Rob's bro)and Megan right before O was born, and one of Wade (C&M's first son) with Owen. But that's allowed cuz they're family!

  • Jennifer Schmidt (sister-in-law)-- due with Baby 2 in January

  • April Williamson (friend from Nashville)-- due with Baby 2 in January

  • Erika Jackson (friend from Nashville)-- due with Baby Boy 1 in January

  • Cassidy Harper (friend from Portland)-- due with Baby Girl 1 in January

  • Katie Allen (MN friend from church)--due with Baby 2 in January

  • Alisa Craig (MN friend from church)-- due with Baby 1 in April (ack- I don't have a single picture of Alisa!)

  • Johanna Puelston (MN friend in our small group)-- found out this Sunday that she's due with Baby 1 in mid-July!

  • Wowzers. Here's to (apparently!) happy marriages, and kiddos who grow up to be Jesus-lovers! Congrats, my dear friends... and God be with you. :)

    (PS- ten points to anyone who knows the TGS reference in the title!)


    happy monday!

    I have had a very busy and full weekend with the TBI seminar (I only went to Friday night, I just was sooo tired to go on Saturday morning) and Grace's wedding, the after-party, and then going to chat with our mechanic about our elderly car's health.

    Like I said, I only went to Friday evening, but I'm very glad I did. The topic was God's sovereignty over suffering. At first I was just listening, but about half-way through everything he was saying was gripping me mentally. Bottom line: God is not only in control of all things, good and bad, but He will get glory from them, and He is working for my GOOD. It's such a comfort to remember that He is indeed in complete control, even if what I'm most afraid of comes to pass. I can bank on that. It's like stepping onto a rock just under the surface of the water... scary because you don't really know if it's going to be a good foothold, but once you test your weight on it, you find that it's firm and solid. The more I trust Him, the more He is seen as trustworthy to people around me. And He is! Man, how often I forget that He's planning my steps and orchestrating things for my good. I don't think the opposite, I just forget. And then go about my daily business as if I am in ultimate control, when in reality, my next breath is a gift from Him. Whew.

    In light of that concept I've been much much much more aware of the things in my life that please and delight me, and more aware that they are gifts, to be enjoyed as an act of worship toward the Giver. My struggle right now is that I don't want to hold on to these gifts too tightly, as if they are the ultimate source of my joy. I want to enjoy them, obviously, but not idolize them. I mainly struggle with this in regards to my relationships (Rob, parents, brothers), and not so much with "stuff" that I have. I don't want to make any person my idol, to the point that if they were taken from me my world would crash and my life would cease to have meaning. At the same time, I want to enjoy each relationship to the fullest, showing my gratitude and the worth of the Giver. Like when you get a Christmas present, your enjoyment and use of it not only shows how much you like the gift, but that the person who gave it means a lot to you. More than the gift, but not to the exclusion of the gift. Eh, I feel like I'm talking in circles a little bit. It was a good seminar that really got me thinking again. :-)

    Rob came home from the second half of the seminar around 1pm and made us lunch- grilled cheese and tomato soup! What a lover! We got all fancied up and left for the wedding around 3. I wasn't really anticipating seeing a whole lot of people I know; Grace and I didn't really run in the same circles in the Institute, but I was pleasantly surprised! During the ceremony we sat with two of the Jensen siblings (Erin and Chris) with whom I had gone on a ski/snowboard trip in Colorado in 2005, and at the reception we were seated with them again, and also my friend Rynelle Emhof from Dallas. There were others at our table and we all blended together very well and really had a fun time. The reception was in a historic courthouse and was simply lovely... white twinkle-lights everywhere and happy music and laughter. Grace was a gorgeous bride (as anyone who knows her would imagine) and she seemed to be marrying a great guy. Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have, but you can still see how beautiful and happy they were!

    After the wedding, we initiated an after-party in Burnsville (southern suburb of Minneapolis) that turned out to be bigger and more fun than I originally thought. At first we were just going to get together with the Jensens, and we went home to change first. I was struck with a terrific headache, so after changing and getting a soothing neck/shoulder rub from Rob, I wasn't thrilled to be leaving again. Especially since it was about 9pm. Ha, we're such old married folk... we're usually heading for bed around 10 these days! But we figured that we don't have friends in the area that are up for some late-night merriment, so we'd better take advantage of it while we could! After popping two Tylenol and wearing come comfy clothes, I was in the mood for fun again. Nobody knew of a good place to go in Burnsville, so I picked a place on the map that "sounded good" and told everyone where to meet us. At first glance, it looked like a trailer-trash pub, but once inside, it proved to be quite the cozy little lodge-styled restaurant. Absolutely perfect. We had a grand time chatting and laughing until who-knows-when. :)

    Sunday was a glorious sleep-in day, followed by a delicious French toast breakfast (with a red rose from Rob, who had popped over to Cup for bacon!) and a Driscoll sermon. After clean-up we went to check on the little white car, which was at our mechanic's place...

    I guess 1996 was a long time ago, and nearly 300k miles is quite a few. Turns out that a major part of the underneath of the drive shaft (ha, I don't really know if that's the right term) has to be replaced, along with the front rotors on each wheel. Poor little car, we didn't know it was so sick! It's still drivable as-is, so we're going to take it back to him next week when it is more convenient for us to be with out an extra car, and for him to work on it. Here's hoping we don't break the [rather fragile] bank!

    The Remainder:
    Upon returning home, we realized that there was still time for the Sacred Sunday Nap®, so we happily availed ourselves... and woke up at 7pm!! Heh. So popcorn, apples, cookies, and hot chocolate were "dinner", as is usual on Sundays...ah I love traditions!

    Speeeeaaaaaking of "tradition", we watched half of Fiddler On The Roof while munching on said dinner. :) I'd mentioned to Rob a few times in the last year or so that I'd like to watch it with him sometime, but we didn't own it. He wasn't super-keen on seeing it, but he's happy to do things with me that make me happy. On Friday I came home from work and saw a brand-new DVD sitting on the table... none other than Fiddler. I exclaimed my delight, and Rob was charmingly chagrined at himself for leaving it out; he was planning on saving it as a "surprise". Heh, I'd say I was pretty surprised right then! Golly, what a guy I have!

    So yeah, last night we watched it, up to the intermission, at which point we figured we'd better try to go back to sleep if we were going to be any good in the morning. I love days like that... sometimes it's just so fun to make slightly unwise choices that are a heckofa lot of FUN with the one person who means the most to ya! It reminded me a little of when we sat up all night more than once to finish an entire season of 24 in like... 3 days?? Good times!

    And that brings me to Monday. Today. Right now. Gosh, I wasn't intending on this being a play-by-play of my weekend, but there ya have it; "a weekend in the life of R&R".

    The end. ;-)


    she bangs

    No, not the Ricky Martin song (or the butchering of it by American Idol contestant William Hung). I'm talking about my hair. Yep, I went ahead and did zee bangs last night. So far, I think I like it, and I think it will grow on me (no pun intended. really) as I get used to this style. I've already been told by more than one person that I look like Agent 99 from the old Get Smart TV series. Heh, okay... there are worse things to be compared to, I suppose. :)

    As promised, here are pictures:

    I got quite a bit of length taken off, too


    Sorry about the bad quality of the photos. Do you know how hard it is to get good hair pictures in a dim bathroom holding a slippery iPhone with one hand? Well, it's hard. Very.

    In other news, it snowed for the first time today! We didn't know this until Rob walked out the door this morning at 7:00, without a jacket. haha It's okay though, because it's not really all that cold. It was much prettier than you can tell in this picture, somehow the quick iPhone snap doesn't exactly capture flurries all that well. Huh. Whodathunk? ;)

    And now, with about half an hour left in my work-week, I'm off! Rob and I are going to an open-to-anyone TBI weekend seminar tonight and tomorrow morning, then going to a wedding Saturday evening. All in the snow, as more is supposedly expected tonight and tomorrow. What fun! Happy weekend, all!


    The previous post of gratuitous public flattery for my husband was a response to Abraham Piper's 50-word post challenge on his blog, 22words. But I wasn't wracking my brain to come up with *something* for the challenge... it just flowed off my fingers. He's just that good. Yes, indeed.

    Hair pictures forthcoming, for those who have asked. (Those who have not asked, you can look at them too. Cuz I'm nice like that.)

    Rob: in 50 words

    Handsome. Passionate. Spontaneous. Sweet. Zany. Deep. Hilarious. Talented. Singer. Entertaining. Witty. Thoughtful. Tender. Fun. Godly. Happy. Compassionate. Understanding. Kind. Listener. Hardworking. Learner. Thinker. Seeker. Witness. Selfless. Inspiring. Strong. Faithful. Caring. Helpful. Accommodating. Confident. Influencer. Wise. Adventurous. Servant. Leader. Intentional. Genuine. Devoted. Risky. Self-sacrificing. Stylish. Crazy. Loving. Hot! Mine!


    to bang or not to bang?

    I have a haircut appointment at the Aveda Institute in downtown Minneapolis at 5:15 today. I love the Aveda Inst. because you can get great haircuts by people who have been trained very well and are "higher-end" than your local SuperCuts (or whatever the equivilant is up North here, I don't know) for not a single penny more. And the whole place just feels trendy and fun. :) They do take a loooooong time though, which doesn't bother me, but I think Rob wishes he could get in and out in 20 minutes, like at SuperCuts. I just remind him that "there are sacrifices you have to make for fashion!".

    Anyway, I don't know what I should do with my mop-top. I've had basically the SAME hair since forever. I do love my length though... so I'm not quite ready to do a big chop. I love my color, so I'm not changing that. (how can I betray the brunette sisterhood?? And anyway, I always get the "oh my gosh is that your natural color??" at every. single. salon I go to) But I'm feeling the change-of-season itch to do SOMETHING different. The only thing I can think of is to do bangs again. I've had them before, but it's been a while. I like the look a LOT; it makes me feel instantly edgier and trendier in whatever outfit I'm wearing, and it's so gosh darn easy to manage. No strands falling in my eye (that I always end up pinning with a bobby in a very 3rd-grade look), very few bad hair days, and it looks good when the rest of my hair is up, down, wavy, or straight.

    The only catch is that it's not Rob's favorite look on me. I'm not exactly sure what he doesn't like about the straight-across bangs, but his favorite on me is the side-swept bang that I always do. Although he said he doesn't mind, and he'll like whatever I end up doing. What a guy! :)

    All that said, I'm looking for some ideas to give me the change and ease I'm craving... and I'm open to suggestions. Any ideas?

    Here's a quick snap of me at my desk this very minute:

    And here's a few shots of me with the bangage, so you all can see what it looks like in various renditions:

    Also, I think this style on Anne Hathaway is totally hot.

    Edit: Hrmm, why did those last three pictures post so BIG, and get cut off on the right side??


    oh yeah...

    duh, how could I forget? I heard a rumor that Starbucks is giving away free tall brewed coffees if you are wearing your "I voted" sticker, so I decided to go in and find out. Yup, 'tis true; you can get a free brew for rockin' the red sticker. I ran across two lists of other places that are taking part in the free offers to those who vote: WalletPop and Slickdeals

    So in the spirit of popular opinion, go take advantage of these great freebies-- especially since Starbucks, et al, are big, rich corporations so they definitely don't deserve to be paid another cent outta my poor pocket for the coffee/donuts/beer/chocolate fondue/college education I get from them. I deserve to get it for free because I want it, and there are plenty of other people who pay for it anyway. (gosh, I wish that worked every day)

    (and yes, I did paint my fingernails black. Because it's basic)

    and also...

    ...today is my baby brother's 22nd birthday!

    I remember the day that Jeffry was born very well-one set of grandparents were volunteering at the polls, and I was staying with the other grandparents while my parents were at the hospital. Earlier in mom's pregnancy with Jeff there had been some complications (I think I remember that he wasn't growing as much as he should have been at one point) so we all had prayed a lot for him. We didn't know it was a "him" though, so I was earnestly praying for the little sister I thought I wanted so badly. Well, at some point in the afternoon my grandma interrupted my roller-skating to tell me that I had another new little brother. I remember feeling disappointed. Ha ha, poor Jeff. Little did I know how much I would treasure being the big sis of three brothers! With no one to steal my clothes and makeup. ;) Our parents named the newest brother, Jeffry Ellis Isaac Storey. Evidently mom's labor had been particularly easy, and because of the relief of knowing he was okay in there, she spent much of the labor laughing (WTH??), hence Isaac, which means "laughter" in Hebrew. I guess Dad liked Elijah, but it was vetoed by my mom, who offered the modern form, "Ellis" as consolation. So three names it was. I got over my disappointment of not having a sister as soon as I saw the cute little guy, and consoled myself by dressing him in my old baby/child clothes a couple of times. As I did with my other brothers... more than once, and beyond the point of them being "babies", for which I got into great trouble by my dad who was adamantly raising "manly men". He succeeded, by the way. :) I wouldn't trade my brothers for the world. And that's an understatement.

    [my wedding day, September, 2006]

    Jeff has never really embodied the classic "baby of the family" persona (charmer, class clown, etc), he's always been secure in himself, independent, socially laid back, with an intense, take-charge personality that needs to get things right and direct people into doing things right (earning him the nickname "Boss of the Earth", among others). He's has always been the daredevil of the family; the rest of us would build snowboard (or skateboard, or bike, or trampoline) jumps and send Jeff down them first to see what needed to be perfected. Haha, what a little trooper he was! I have a bazillion pictures; one even shows Jeff as a small speck in the top of a tree, poised to jump off onto our trampoline, but of course they're all at my parents' house in Nevada, and I'm here in Minneapolis. This is the earliest picture I have right now, it was taken in Septemberish of 2000 when Jeff got his puppy, Champ.

    [14. I think?]

    Being the baby, Jeff always ended up on the receiving end of a lot of jokes. Like the time he got 98 mosquito bites (yes, we counted) and I told him it was a good thing he didn't get 100 because his face would droop down. He believed me with all of his little 6-year-old heart, especially since about a week later we just so happened to see a lady who had apparently suffered a stroke that caused her face to droop, who I pointed out as confirmation to my warning. I don't know when he realized I was pulling his leg. hahahaha He has loads of nicknames, including "Buka" (borrowed from a small child in church) which morphed into "Pika-Buka" because somehow the other boys found out that a certain disorder which causes people to eat one odd thing (like dirt) to the exclusion of anything else is called a pika. As a kid, Jeff was a picky eater, hence that name. (he eats everything now!) We also called him "Freckle-Eye" because he has a little freckle in the corner of his left eye. Once while at a mall with his pals, we got separated and decided to have Jeff paged... over the loudspeaker he heard "will Freckle-Eye Storey please come to the information booth, your party is waiting" while the rest of us dissolved in laughter. His most common nickname is "Geo-fry", shortened to "Geo". We got this from seeing the alternate spelling, "Geoffery". To this day we call him Geo. He was and is such a good sport! Once, he let me dress him & style his hair and take a bunch of pictures of him when I was taking a photography class in college, obligingly posing as I told him to.
    [about 16]

    In the last few years I've seen a transformation take place in Jeffry. He's gone from tagalong cute kid brother to a smart, responsible, good-looking young man, able to give advice even to his older brothers and sister. This obviously happened very gradually with him moving into his own place in Tahoe with David, getting a car, then moving far away to Idaho, and starting his own business.

    [Christmas 2005]

    But it took me by surprise when visiting my family in November of last year to realize that my baby brother is very grown up. I watched him talk on the phone with clients (double his age or more), draw up legal paperwork with the advice of lawyer friends, make wise business contacts, read books, network, and think through business plans and strategies. I was impressed. This is a guy with a sharp head on his shoulders who is going places and doing things with his life. Wow, that's my lil bro? The one who believed I had a removable, talking mole on my foot? Yeah, it is, and I'm so proud of the man he's becoming.

    I love ya, Geo, and pray for you every day that you will not only be successful in your business ventures, but also that you would grow into the image of Christ more with every new year. Happy Birthday, brother-friend!

    [Atlanta, April 2008]

    [Idaho-Nevada road trip, 2008]

    [Idaho-Nevada road trip, 2008]

    true confessions

    I just voted... for the very first time in my life.

    Yep, that's right. Before today (2 hours ago, actually) I had never voted in any election, for any reason. Shocking, I know, but there's always been a good reason, I promise. The first time I was able to vote was 1996, and I intended to vote in the presidential elections (Clinton's second term) but for some reason my registration didn't go through in time; my 18th birthday was just about two weeks before election day. The next presidential election was in 2000 (W's first term), and I was all ready to vote, got to the polls, and they told me they didn't have my name on the list, AGAIN. This time it was because the DMV didn't notice (?) that I had checked the "yes, register me to vote" box when I renewed my license. I actually got an apology from a DMV worker saying that the ball was dropped on their end. So, no vote that year either. In 2004 (W's second term) I was living in Nashville and my absentee ballot didn't arrive in the mail on time for me to fill it out and mail it back. Another home-run for the system, thanks guys!

    Now, I realize that voting occurs more often than every 4 years, but I had never voted in any other elections either. I don't know why, other than I've never been "in to" politics and all that. Not that I didn't care... just that I didn't care enough, or more accurately, I didn't know enough to care. Perhaps that's irresponsible, but at this point, it's neither here nor there. Right now at this point in my life, I'm learning a bit more about political things and am starting to fill out in the knowledge area. (I'm getting political curves! haha) I am definitely grateful, very grateful, for the privilege of voting, and even more so for the privilege of praying for the leaders of my country. As far as my thoughts on the candidates? Neither of them is a savior (or, "just what this country needs!"). I think it's ridiculous to view them as such, and I've been seeing/hearing a lot of talk that approaches that, which makes me tend to back away from the issues rather than get all fired up about them. But ya gotta give me some credit, I have been trying to do the opposite by exposing myself to the issues and think through things in order to make an informed decision, and that's been very interesting. I'm still not gung-ho about either candidate or all the issues, but I AM gung-ho about praying for our country... just as I pray for the rest of the world; that we would trust in the saving power of Jesus, even if our world comes crashing down around us; and not confuse [American] patriotism with Christianity, but to glorify God in all I do, including voting. At this point in my journey of political knowledge, that's my over-arching mindset.

    There are two songs that have been circling through my mind today, both by Derek Webb. The first is called A King And A Kingdom, and speaks about the concept that our loyalty is not to a fleeting world power, but to Jesus and His eternal Kingdom that will never pass away.

    A King And A Kingdom

    Who is your brother? Who is your sister?
    You just walked past him. I think you missed her,
    As we’re all migrating to a place where our father lives
    Because we married into a family of emigrants.

    So my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
    My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood.
    It’s to a king and kingdom.

    There are two great lies that I’ve heard.
    The day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die.
    And that Jesus Christ was a white middle class republican
    And if you want to be saved you have to learn to be like him.

    So my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or to a man.
    My first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
    It’s to a king and a kingdom.

    But nothing unifies like a common enemy
    And we’ve got one, sure as hell.
    He may be living in your house.
    He may be raising up your kids.
    He may be sleeping with your wife.
    He may not look like you think.

    And the second, A Savior On Capitol Hill is less about the eternal Kingdom and more about not putting all our hope (sound familiar?) into a man who is, like me, crooked deep down.

    A Savior On Capitol Hill

    I’m so tired of these mortal men
    with their hands on their wallets and their hearts full of sin
    scared of their enemies, scared of their friends
    and always running for re-election
    so come to DC if it be thy will
    because we’ve never had a savior on Capitol Hill

    you can always trust the devil or a politician
    to be the devil or a politician
    but beyond that friends you’d best beware
    ’cause at the Pentagon bar they’re an inseparable pair
    and as long as the lobbyists are paying their bills
    we’ll never have a savior on Capitol Hill

    all of our problems gonna disappear
    when we can whisper right in that President’s ear
    he could walk right across the reflection pool
    in his combat boots and ten thousand dollar suit

    you can render unto Caesar everything that’s his
    you can trust in his power to come to your defense
    it’s the way of the world, the way of the gun
    it’s the trading of an evil for a lesser one
    so don’t hold your breath or your vote until
    you think you’ve finally found a savior up on Capitol Hill

    So while I know that I should learn more, and take advantage of the awesome privilege of voting, at the same time my loyalties and my hope lie in the ultimate King. And while I am unashamedly, proudly American, I'm first and foremost a champion of the Glory of God and His saving Gospel. And I'm going to take the most action on "getting the word out" to win people over to His party.