Tuesday, March 21, 2017

No. 15

I finished the last of my culinary-mystery stash... much sadness. So I picked up a Lee Child that I acquired along the way. I've seen Child's book covers all over, and I know a couple have been made in to movies, but I'd never read one.

No. 15, A Wanted Man, was one of my quickest reads ever. The short chapters had me turning pages at lightning speed!

The chapters oscillated between parallel plot lines, and it was a great adventure/mystery! Loved it :)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Glacier View (12/30/16)

After Wednesday's XC-skiing debacle, I hoped to spend some quality time in the snow before heading back to work after winter break.
Mom, Dad and I drove to Glacier View Sno-Park in Government Camp with plans to explore the trails by snowshoe. But Mom was still getting over a bout with bronchitis and wasn't feeling so great. And Dad was kinda dragging.

So we did one little loop in glorious snow and then returned to the car.

But then we stopped at the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum in Govy, a spot none of us had explored before. It was full of all kinds of neat historical items and tons of information about the area - some I knew and some I didn't. Definitely worth the stop if you're passing through the mountain town!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Old Maid Flats (12/28/16)

Early-season snow had Brad and me up to Hood several times. We went up the Wednesday after Christmas in hopes of finding more amazing snow for cross-country skiing. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be.

We were eastbound on Highway 26 when traffic on the other side of Zigzag came to a screeching halt. We had no idea why or how long the jam lasted, but it looked like a serious mess. We spent some time exploring (almost getting stuck!) some side roads that didn't actually go anywhere before deciding to scrap it and head back to Old Maid Flats, which we'd already visited twice this season.

It was beautiful, but the snow was crap for XC skiing.
We ended up trudging through the woods a bit, trying to make it a bit more exciting, then we gave up and found a place for lunch.
Then we headed home with the realization that you can't win them all :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Brownies and fudge

On a much less serious note...

I just found these photos I took before winter break. December was CRAZY with the snow and early dismissal and such. I baked holiday treats with some of my students. I remembered to take pics of these two:

Axel and I made brownies: (side note: Axel calls me Elizabeth. It cracks me up :) )
Cristina and I made fudge:
I love baking with my students :)

Monday, March 13, 2017

No more compromising

Some of you know that my church, Newberg Friends, is going through a restructuring. It's quite complicated, but here's the gist of it: 

A few churches within our larger, regional governing body, Northwest Yearly Meeting, recently decided they could no longer live with the "human sexuality" portion of the NWYM faith-and-practices statement. There was much debate and discernment as to how to deal with that. Since they were now out of compliance with faith and practices, should they leave the yearly meeting? Should they be allowed to remain and continue the discussion? How will other churches handle this issue?

Abruptly, after a couple years of debate, NWYM made a decision: Churches that no longer align with the human sexuality statement have been asked to leave the meeting. Mind you, NWYM did not decide to split into two meetings - one "affirming" and one "traditional." They kicked out the ones with which they did not agree.

So now my church is at a crossroads. The topic has been studied and debated for a while with no definite decision, as we have a very diverse congregation full of young and old and traditional and progressive. But now we must decide, and it's tearing us apart. 
I've attended NFC for almost 20 years - since right after college, I think. I love it there for many reasons, the music being at the top. I also love the community and the care everyone gives each other. I also appreciate that it's on the more progressive side of the evangelical spectrum. But as an LGBTQ ally, I've been compromising my values. I've always thought of NFC as a don't-ask-don't-tell kind of place. It's not overtly against the LGBTQ community, but it's also not really for it. 

For this reason, I have never sought membership at NFC. I've taken all the requisite Sunday School classes, and I'm certainly involved enough and committed enough, but I don't want my name attached to that statement. 

We were asked this week to complete a survey, letting the pastoral team and the elders know where we each stand on the issue and how we wish to proceed as a congregation. Here's my statement:
I believe in the full inclusion of the LGBTQ community in my church. I've struggled with this issue for a long time, and it's the sole reason I've never pursued membership in the church I've attended for 20 years. To be candid, I feel shame that I compromise my values in this area. I'm done compromising.

I understand the desire to worship in a place welcoming to a variety of opinions on this issue (as described in the independent church proposal). However, if doing that means that LGBTQ members are not allowed full church involvement, then it's not acceptable to me.

It's my intention to finally worship in an inclusive community - as has been my heart's desire for many, many years - where people are welcomed and accepted because they have a yearning to learn about and serve Jesus, regardless of their sexual orientation. It's also my sincere desire that that community is NFC. I would love nothing more than to stay at NFC and watch it become a welcoming, accepting beacon in the evangelical world - to show the rest of the world that Christianity truly means love for all people.

So there it is - for all the world to see. I am done compromising. I'm done settling in this area of my life.

Some have very loudly opposed my beliefs. No one has yet to say anything to my face, but people whose opinions I used to value greatly have made it quite clear that they think my values are heretical, that I am misguided, that I am being tricked by the devil, and that I will regret my opinion on judgment day.

That saddens me greatly. 

But here's my response: I may be dead wrong on my theology. But I have been called to live a life that affirms the Light in all people. I have been called to work for and protect and honor the vulnerable in society, those who don't have a voice, those who don't have power - and those who need Jesus as much as I do.

I affirm this statement on NFC's "what we believe" page:
All life has its origin in the creative work of God, and human life is to be regarded as a sacred gift from God. Because all persons have equal value and are created in the image of God, we must treat others with respect and dignity, regardless of human measures of merit or value.
So I will do my best to welcome all people to the Kingdom of God, especially those marginalized by society. I would rather live my life valuing others than following "traditional", hate-filled religious views. And on judgment day, I will proudly stand before my God, knowing that I used my privilege and power to honor Him and care for all His children. 

I'd much rather say that, than say I upheld a "traditional Christian value" that turned away his children and left them feeling unloved by my all-loving God.

Last year, progressive Christian author John Pavlovitz wrote "Things I'm doing before I go to Hell." Read it, it speaks my mind.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Formal photos

If you've ever been on a cruise, you know that formal night is time to dress up for dinner - and have your picture taken!

During our June Alaska cruise, we stood in line for way too long, waiting for our turn with the photographer. He was a total cheeseball and was taking pictures of every combo - singles, couples, groups. Someone in our family bought the digital files of all the photos! So here's some I forgot I downloaded. Totally cheesey :)
My cousin, Charis, and her fiance, John:
Dad photobombed his sister. Don and Cynthia didn't know until they saw the photos :)
Super creeper :)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

No. 14

Seriously, I'm addicted. I finished No. 14, David Baldacci's The Whole Truth, on audio book. I was lax and didn't have another one queued on my phone. (I use OverDrive to check out FREE audio books from the library!) I got in the shower and then in my car and almost couldn't handle the silence :)

Hopefully another one will be available for checkout soon :)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

No. 13

No. 13 was Diane Mott Davidson's Crunch Time - the last in my culinary-mystery collection! Such sadness. These are light and entertaining and perfect for letting my mind rest amid trying times. :)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Nos. 10, 11 and 12

No. 10 was David Baldacci's The Innocent on audio book. I'm addicted to these :)

No. 11 was Diane Mott Davidson's Double Shot - culinary mystery goodness:
And No. 12 was Lego City Look Out Below!
Tim and Laura recommended this gem while we were visiting their home. It's full of silly puns :)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

lunch running buddy

My cross-fitting co-worker recently decided to add a bit of cardio to his daytime routine and invited me to join for some lunch-time sweating. We both brought our gear Wednesday and hit the track for a short run.

Tony planned to do 800 meters, but as we approached the end, he asked if I was up for one more lap. Duh :) Then three laps turned into four for 1 mile total - without stopping! 
Nice job, Tony! 

Since I was gonna need a shower anyway (sweat monster!), I left Tony in our classroom and hit the neighborhood for another 2 miles. 

Perhaps this will be a regular thing - a good prompting to get off my butt at lunch :)

Friday, March 3, 2017

Tigard snow!

This has been such a strange winter. I read that Chicago was snow-free in January and February for the first time in almost 150 years! Meantime, it's been snowing like crazy in Portland and Seattle! We might see more next week.

Dec. 14 was crazy in P-town! Snow hit mid-day, and area roads completely jammed as schools and businesses sent everyone home early. Early release ended up being very, very late release for some who were stuck at school until bedtime because buses were stuck in traffic. It was near gridlock in many areas.

I simply rode my bike home when we were told to leave. Snowflakes in the eyes were harsh, but flakes on the ground were no problem.
I love my Sherm :)
Brad also left early, but his 8-mile commute from Wilsonville was a nightmare. After nearly 2 hours, he ditched the car in Tualatin Park and walked the 2 miles home through Cook Park.

Later, when traffic subsided, we ran together to retrieve the car. It was absolutely beautiful.
Such a rare treat... usually. This year, it sorta became common!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Best day? Worst day?

Yesterday was one of my proudest as an educator. And also one of my worst.

I posted these signs in our bathroom. I am so very honored to support my students during this incredibly difficult time. As a very white person with deep roots in the United States, I can only imagine what they are going through. I will fight for them with all my power.
But as I was posting "Know Your Rights" on the wall where I usually hang silly facts about the current holiday - you know, like how much people spend on candy for Halloween and the origin of Christmas trees and whether corn was actually served at Thanksgiving - I was really sad. I should be sharing fun facts about shamrocks and green rivers this March. Instead, I am sharing life-and-death information. Because they may need it. My students are in danger, and that hurts my heart.

I was also wearing my multilingual "I'm glad you're my neighbor" shirt, and one student noticed and told me he liked it. Small things make a difference, and I will continue to do things - big and small - to protect the vulnerable.

#resist #knowyourrights

Old Maid Flats (12/18/16)

With all the early snow this year in Oregon, Brad and I got out several times before the end of the year. Our first outing was Dec. 18 - in the middle of a snow event at home in Portland!

We decided on Old Maid Flats, an easy trail low on the mountain. Because of it's elevation, there's not always enough snow for skiing. That is not a problem this year :)

The trip was a scouting expedition because we hoped to take Jill and Maroof there for their requested Dec. 26 cross-country skiing adventure.

The trail is a closed road that trends slightly uphill to the summer Ramona Falls trailhead parking lot. Clouds mostly obscured our view of Mount Hood (barely visible just left of center)
We loved laying fresh tracks across the "field" (parking lot).

Time for a snack break before a little exploring along the riverbank:
It was just a gorgeous day in the woods!

We had fun testing our downhill skills on the little hills next to the river :)
I think we did about 6 miles in all. Happy boy:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Candles of joy, hope, courage, peace, grace and love

It's always nice to reminisce about Christmas, right? And since I have months of photos sitting in my camera just waiting to be shared with the world, we're going back today :)

Christmas Eve at Newberg Friends is really, really special. I love the music and fellowship and candles and tradition. And being in the handbell choir, I get to enjoy it three times each year!

This poem was especially poignant with all the unrest this year:
I will light candles this Christmas,
Candles of joy despite all sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,
Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all my living,
Candles that will burn all year long.
                   (Candles for Christmas, Howard Thurman)
Each service ends with Silent Night by candlelight. So wonderful.
Eryn and I remembered to go outside to see the luminaries!
Christmas morning at Mom and Dad's house:
Virtual reality at Ma and Pa's:
The family:
The Pa:
Christmas evening at the Wood's house in Vancouver:
Gifts in front of the fire:
As spring is starting to bud, it's fun to look back at our wonderful holiday season. My favorite :)