Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's wish

As we close out 2007 and head into a brand-new year, here's my wish for y'all:

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NLT)

See ya next year....

-Liz :)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Favorite sign

This sign, just before the Woodburn exit on I-5 south, is my favorite. I've been trying forever to get a picture of it!

-Liz :)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Inspiration from a calendar

I just opened my new 2008 calendar with beautiful mountain scenes. Printed on the cardboard inside is the story of DaySpring Cards. Co-founder Roy Lessin writes:

"God goes before you today and His presence is with you. He has a life for you to live, a plan for you to follow, and a purpose for you to fulfill. He had allowed you to be here, at this time in history, to be His watchman to this generation."

At this time in my life that seems so up in the air, I'm thankful for Roy's reminder.

-Liz :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!!

"Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them"Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior - yes, the Messiah, the Lord - has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!"
Luke 2:9-11 NLT

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Marathon

On your mark, get set, go! The Christmas Marathon is under way in the Wood household. All my family lives here, so that's always meant a lot of Christmas celebrations. Now that Brad's family is involved, we have even more fun stops along the way. Oh, and don't forget my handbell choir at NFC!

Here's the rundown so far:

Saturday evening was a super-yummy dinner at Mike and Aj's in Dundee. Brad's grandmother, parents and cousins gathered for food and fun gifts.

Sunday, I was up at 5 a.m. for three handbell performances at church. In between services, Eryn and I helped Santa with some last-minute shopping.

After, we headed down a stormy I-5 to Eugene to celebrate with my dad's family. My news job/schedule forced me to skip the last several McKee parties, and I was so happy to be there this year! My grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and cousins' kids were all there. What a full house!

Next up, Brad's folks are coming this afternoon for traditional Christmas Eve snacks at our house. Then I'm off to NFC for another three services of handbells.

Wait until you hear about tomorrow's adventure! I think I need a nap :)


Friday, December 21, 2007

Snow day

Eight of us hit the mountain Wednesday for a little pre-Christmas snow day. We never saw the massive storm that was predicted, but we still had fun snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. We parked at the Glacier View sno-park (across from Ski Bowl west) and tromped around the Enid Lake area. It was about 33 degrees and snowing/raining/snowing/raining the whole time. Still, I think a good time was had by all!

-Liz :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


What does one do when one gets a brand-new backpacking tent? Test it out in the back yard, of course! Brad and I set our Sierra Designs Baku 3 Tuesday and spent the night inside.
It was cold and blustery, but the tent stayed nice and dry! Can't wait for spring so we can take it on the trail.
-Liz :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

You're invited!!!!!

Please join us Christmas Eve at Newberg Friends for a wonderful candlelight service filled with music - including our handbell choir ("starring" me and my sis, Eryn!) We have three services to help fit your schedule: 5, 6:30 and 8 p.m.

Click HERE for directions.


The Candle Song

I love this song. We sang it in church yesterday and it provided me hope, comfort and peace this morning. Take a listen.


Monday, December 10, 2007

White elephant

What's better than a house full of food, friends and laughter?? Nothing!

We hosted our annual Christmas party and white elephant gift exchange yesterday. There were lots of goodies to eat and awesome friends to share the snowy day. (Too bad none of those flakes stuck around!)

Thursday, December 6, 2007


The fat, fluffy tree now sits in our living room ("It's not going in our yard, Rusty!"), all decorated and ready for presents. Linus has never really noticed the trees, but I think he likes it as a hiding place.
Our living room has been taken over by Santa Mickeys! Do you think I need more??

I hope you're also having a blast preparing for the holidays!

-Liz :)

Monday, December 3, 2007

The hunt for the perfect Christmas tree

The five of us hopped in the pickup truck Saturday for our annual Christmas tree hunt. We made a quick stop at Lee's Farm in Tualatin to fuel up on fresh apple cider doughnuts. Then it was off to Bell Road in Newberg/Sherwood. We found this little family farm last year and hoped that it would have more good trees for our three homes. We all picked out great Douglas firs for $20 each and loaded them into the truck bed. It was a bit sketchy, but we all made it back to Tigard in one piece.

If you're still looking for a tree, check out Skurdahl Farm on Bell Road, not far off Highway 99W. Great trees and great prices!

Stormy weather

For the first time in 10 years, I am enjoying a winter storm! I have no anxiety. I feel no pressure to drop everything and spend 24/7 in the newsroom or near my computer. I can curl up with a cup of cocoa and listen to the pounding rain and howling wind. I'm not dreaming of great storm-coverage headlines. I'm not stuck on the bus, willing it to get me downtown faster. Life is good :)


Friday, November 30, 2007


I just finished a 6-hour cookie-baking marathon! I made several batches of chocolate chip, chocolate, cranberry oatmeal chocolate chip, sugar and toffee chip cookies. I will save some for my upcoming holiday events, but most will be sold at tomorrow's craft fair at Tigard High School. The band hosts the event every year as a big fund raiser. If you're in the area, stop by between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for some fun gifts from local crafters.

PS - The wooden nativity in the background was purchased at last year's craft fair!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wildwood: Part 1

Tim, Laura, Brad and I braved the cold Saturday to tackle a section of the Wildwood Trail in Portland's Forest Park. The whole trail is 30.25 miles long, and we hope to hike it all soon in a few large chunks.
We started at the west end at the Newberry Road Trailhead and averaged about 3 mph on our way to our other car at the Springville Road Trailhead. It was about 8.5 miles.
We did make a lunch stop along the way and enjoyed snacks (Tim and Laura always have a backpack full of super-yummy treats!) and hot beverages from Brad's homemade ultra-light stove.

Oh, and it also hailed a bit to add to the adventure!

We might have to wait until after the holidays to can get the next section done...

Friday, November 23, 2007

All done!?!

Black Friday shopping has been a tradition of mine for years -- decades, in fact. Starting around junior high, I shopped every year with my friend, Tamara, and her mom, Linda. Years later, the tradition continues with Eryn and our dad. We hit the road at 4:30 a.m. today to get to the Fred Meyer "sock sale" before it opened at 5 a.m. Afterward we navigated a carefully considered plan to hit all the important stores and get all the super deals we hoped not to miss.

At 2:30 p.m., we arrived home and sorted the loot. Amazingly, it looks like I'm done! I've been sale hunting for months, picking out the perfect gifts for those I love. Today's outing finished off the list and left me feeling very good!

Now what will I do for the next five weeks?!?!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving thanks!

Today is a big day - no work, lots of football, yummy food (no turkey for me!!), family time and shopping planning. But I don't want to lose sight of the purpose of the day - to give thanks for all the great things in our lives.

I am so thankful for my awesome friends and family! I am thankful for my husband, who has supported me extra this year to help me trade a bad situation for a wonderful opportunity. I am thankful for the chance to help out those around me. I am thankful that I live in Oregon, where every season is beautiful. I am thankful that the next presidential election is coming soon. I am thankful for my big cat.

Thanks to each of you for the special roles you play in my life - I am truly blessed. I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday and take a moment to thank God for the blessings in your lives :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!

Today is my mom's 51st birthday! We celebrated with dinner at The Claim Jumper and gifts at my house. I've been experimenting with cake decorating and made her an awesome penguin cake! Isn't he cute?!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Silver Falls State Park

Despite Monday's stormy weather, Brad and I loaded up the car and headed south to explore Silver Falls State Park. The country roads were littered with debris, including whole fallen trees. We repeatedly wondered aloud if we should really be voluntarily heading outside, but we'd committed to spending the holiday in the great outdoors.

We bundled up in lots of layers and Gore-Tex and left the warmth of the car, finding a downed tree just yards into the hike toward North Falls:
We walked behind the falls into a deep, dry cave:

We found the trail washed out at our preplanned turn-around spot. It was a pretty good little mudslide:
Brad snapped this great shot just before a busload of ecology-studying college kids from overseas arrived on scene. We hadn't seen anyone else on the trail the whole day - then about 50 people all converged on our quiet spot. We had a good chuckle watching them stream down the trail toward us.
When we reached a trailhead near the end of our loop, a park ranger pulled in to let us know that they were closing the park because of the storm. We're so glad we made it in and out before they shut us down. It was a beautiful day on the trail, and we can't wait to go back!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Acres and acres of Christmas trees!!!!!

One of my favorite moments of the holiday season is seeing my first truck full of Christmas trees headed down the freeway. It always makes me smile to think that those little bundles of green will make someone's holiday complete - someone very far away, even overseas.

Yesterday, Brad and I made our first-ever visit to Silver Falls State Park south of Silverton. We had a great stormy hike and saw a bunch of gorgeous waterfalls. On the drive in and out, we also saw more Christmas trees than I've ever seen in my life. I've always heard that Oregon is the biggest exporter of Christmas trees in the world... and now I believe it. We passed farm after farm. And these weren't the little U-cut lots I'm used to in the Newberg area. These were huge commercial farms ready to supply the world. Some were harvesting and had bundled trees ready to go. We even saw a truck leaving with a full load. Oh, and have you ever wondered where the farms get their little seedlings that eventually grow into those awesome trees? Well, we saw that, too - a Christmas tree nursery!

In just a couple weeks, we're going to the hills of Newberg to get our own. I can't wait!!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Psalm 143:10

This was in my reading this morning. Here are a couple different versions:

Teach me how to live to please you, because you're my God. Lead me by your blessed Spirit into cleared and level pastureland.

Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.

You are my God. Show me what you want me to do, and let your gentle Spirit lead me in the right path.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

No more "Office"???

"The Office" has stopped filming, along with several other shows, because of the WGA strike. The actors, who are also writers for the insanely hilarious sitcom, are refusing to cross the picket lines. I support them fully - they should get paid for the Internet and DVD shows. But it is a very sad day. Next week will be the last new "Office" episode until this is settled :(

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Your civic duty

I hope you all fulfilled your civic duty this Election Day by casting your ballots. :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I am a vegetarian... actually, I'm a pescetarian - I eat seafood. I made this dietary decision a long time ago for various reasons, mostly because I think it's gross to gnaw on the muscle of another living thing. I also think it's disturbing to create life for the express purpose of killing it - and then eating it. But I sometimes still like turkey and allow myself a bit at Thanksgiving time, especially sandwiches with mayo and white bread. (I always explain to the curious, "It's a personal choice - it's not like I signed a contract or something!")

Anyway, I had a couple bites at Turkey Feast and then a few sandwiches in the following few days. BIG MISTAKE! My body is not used to eating meat, and I've been paying the price since. I'm now feeling a renewed commitment to my meatless lifestyle!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Turkey Feast 2007

This weekend was Turkey Feast 2007 - one of the best weekends of the whole year! It started after we bought our house as a way for me to use my love of cooking and entertaining to express my love for my friends. It's evolved a bit over the past seven years, growing huge and going from me doing all the cooking to others sharing in the fun. As friends have moved away and drifted away, new friends have been added to the mix as space allows. We're so glad that original Turkey Feasters Darrin, Matt, Cristie and David were able to join us again this year!

The preparations started months ahead, picking the weekend, hand making invitations, planning the menu, assigning dishes to others, making a seating chart, moving out furniture and procuring tables, chairs, China, flatware, turkey roasters, etc. from the family. Friday, I hit WinCo and Fred Meyer early to load up on all the groceries I needed.

I baked, cooked, cleaned and decorated all day Friday, setting one giant table for 25. Eryn arrived Saturday morning to help with the rest of the details, including roasting two turkeys for our hungry guests.

At 5 p.m., the doorbell rang as our friends began to arrive. Soon, we were eating, talkingl, laughing and enjoying our feast.

Our group is also evolving as youngsters are joining. This year, we had a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old, a 1-year-old and a 2-month-old. Baby Abram Steven Dunlop was also nearby - in his mommy's tummy. He was born the next afternoon! (On a side note, Noah Rathkey was born just two days, I think, after his parents attended Turkey Feast 2005 - Eryn and I are wondering how we can market this eat-our-turkey-and-have-your-baby service!)

Between contractions, Irene and Brandon had a whose-belly-is-bigger contest :)
Now I should stop procrastinating and get back to cleaning up from the fun!

P.S.--Be sure to take our poll on the right sidebar. : )

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Tiger Pride

Last weekend, the Tigard High Marching Band competed at PCI at Willamette University in Salem. Here are some snapshots from the evening performance: Action shot:
The pit:

Tigers can dance? Oh, yeah!! They have some great dance moves that really get the crowd going: PCI always ends with a full Olympic-style retreat - quite a visual treat (I wish I had snapped a picture of it!!). Then all the bands line up on the field for the awards ceremony:

During the daytime preliminary competition, Tigard took first place in its division, along with high music, high general effect, high auxiliary and high percussion. Our final competition of the season is next weekend at OSU. Wish us luck!