Thursday, January 14, 2016

24 Hours in Seattle

Seattle! 

It's by far one of my favorite places on Earth and I'm pretty sure I've been here more than 10 times. My brother lives just a couple hours north so it is a pretty easy place for us to visit. 

After our Christmas vacation my Dad and sister were flying out of Seattle so we all carpooled over together. My Dad was just there for a few hours and my sister was there over night. Here is a little recap of where we went. I've included costs in here as well because several people have said they are visiting Seattle or that it is on their list so I'm hoping this is helpful to your travels as well. 


Pike's Market - Free

To get into Pike's Market is free and it is filled with little stalls where people sell flowers, handicrafts, produce and food. This is also the famous place of the 'throwing fish' which is a fun site to see. 

They open between 8-9am and the earlier you arrive the less people there will be. They close between 5-6pm. We went there in the late afternoon and had dinner in there. Dinner is pricier here but I just had a little cup of soup because after dinner I went across the street and got a big 16oz. cup of mac n cheese from Beecher's Cheese to split with Dave. It's sooooo tasty! 



Check out this awesome broccoli! Has anyone ever eaten it? If so what was it like? I want to try it. 





The next day we had a packed day so we started out early in the morning. Our first stop was the first Starbucks and it is located directly across the street from Pike's Market. The line to get in is normally out the door and down the street but because we went early there was no line. They open at 7am and I recommend getting there between 7:00 - 8:00 to avoid lines. Also, they only serve drinks at this location, no food. 

People often think my sister and I are twins. When we both have our hair down we look more alike. Holly had never been here so it was fun to take her here. 



Le Panier - $2- $7

Le Panier is a French bakery just down the street from Starbucks. I get a pastry from there and then head to the Waterfront Viewpoint to eat. The WV is located in Pike's Market behind the aisle where they throw the fish. I recommend this place because it is free and you have beautiful views there of Puget Sound and the Seattle Wheel.




The Gum Wall - Free

This is weird but a really intriguing place to see. Located in Post Alley behind Pike's Place Market you'll find a street whose walls are covered in chewed gum. You can add your own piece to the wall too so be sure to chew a piece on your way over. 

It's funny because supposedly they had just cleaned the wall and it was already covered again. The only thing that looked different to me this time was how bright the gum was. 


I thought this was cool! 


Seattle Great Wheel - $13.00 (adults) / $8.50 (4-11 years) / Free (0-3 years)

You all know I love Ferris wheels! Neither Dave nor Holly had been so we opted to ride this instead of going to The Space Needle this time. If you have never been to The Space Needle I recommend it over the wheel. 

The wheel opens at 11am on weekdays and 10am on weekends. We got there right at opening and there was no line. Typically a ride gets you 3 full revolutions but we got 5 and I'm pretty sure that is because there was no one else around. So, go early if you plan to do this. 


Sometimes Dave will dress up and wear a sweater if I ask him to. Soooo, Holly and I figured out that they had matching sweaters so of course I asked Dave to wear a sweater. He thought I just wanted him to dress up but instead he got to match his sister-in-law all day. He is a good sport. 


Chihuly Garden and Glass - $13 - $22 depending on your age. See full list of prices here.

If you plan to do The Space Needle and Chihuly you can purchase a ticket deal. I believe they are a few dollars cheaper if you book through Expedia.

Chihuly is located next door to The Space Needle so you get some really neat views of both places in this area. Chihuly was an artist that made amazing glass sculptures. This was on Holly's to do list so I went with her. It was a really interesting place and was a cool place to take pictures.


Local Pho - $5- $11

Before we left Asia, Auntie Lourdes told us in two weeks we would miss Asian food and she was spot on! Thankfully we had some good Vietnamese food in Seattle. A big bowl of beef Pho cost $7.95 and it was a massive portion. I recommend splitting. 

This place is located near The Space Needle so you can walk there. 



All of these activities were done within 24 hours so you can cover a lot of ground in little time. Of course I recommend 3-5 days there but you don't have to stay long to see a lot.

Lastly, we stayed at The Best Western located near The Space Needle and again I booked through Expedia. I believe with parking our total cost was around $120 and split 3 ways made it $40 per person, which is a great deal in Seattle. This hotel was within walking distance of all the places I listed in this post so you don't have to pay any extra for commuting. 

Have you been to Seattle? What was your favorite thing there? 

If you plan on going there please feel free to e-mail me and I'll answer what questions I can. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Daily Prayer Topics + What I've Learned This Past Year About Prayer


Each year in January I share on my blog about a simple method I feel God gave me called 'Daily Prayer Topics'.  I'm by no means an expert and I always feel like my prayer life can improve but I do feel like this method has really helped my prayer life over the past two years. Also this past year God gave me two, simple but profound things, connected to prayer and I wanted to share that with you as well.  



Two Things I Learned

The first thing I learned came from a four book series called The Secret of the Rose. I think the first book is the best and I highly recommend it. The books are historical fiction that are set during WWII. These books spoke to my heart because the main character is a rose gardener and a farmer and he talks so much about God as a Gardener and a loving Father. It really presented God in a different light for me and somehow that worked its way into my prayer life. It helped me view God as a tender Father who is intricately involved in every detail of my life. 

Secondly, my friend Pam talked about prayer during a devotional once and she said she sometimes likes to imagine herself sitting right by God talking to Him. She also said that prayer is sometimes like a little child sitting on a Dad's lap talking. I honestly can't see myself as a child sitting on God's lap but the truth of God being a gentle Dad that is present with me and who will listen to me resonated deeply in my heart. I started praying imagining that I was right next to God and it is helping change my attitude towards prayer. So many times when I pray I feel like God is far away and that I'm "checking off the list" by praying but when I stop and realize that God is present with me and that I can really talk to Him and share what is on my heart my heart it's changed my attitude of how I talk with God. 

This is a bonus but I've tried to sprinkle more gratitude into my prayers. I'm super blessed and to not thank God for that would be wrong. Also, when you talk with a friend how annoying would it be if they said hi and then asked you for 10 favors. Being grateful also reminds me of God's provision and faithfulness and it builds my faith. 



Daily Prayer Topics

What are daily prayer topics? It's just what they sound like, a topic of prayer for each day of the week. Each day has a little rhyme or a quirky way to help me remember the topic for the day. 

Underneath each day I have a list of people who I pray for. Some friends have asked me to pray for specific things so next to their name I'll jot down a word or two to help me remember to pray specifically for what they asked for.  

Another thing I really found helpful was to put these in a note in my iPhone. I always have my phone with me so if I am in a taxi, on a plane or some place quiet I can open that list up and pray right away. You could also put it in a notebook that you always have on you or put the list in your Bible. It's good to have it handy. 


Missionary Mondays - A day to pray for our missionary friends around the world. Serving abroad I can't tell you enough how important prayer is. If you pray for your friends on this day why not shoot them an e-mail letting them know. I guarantee they would appreciate it.

Tuesday - Just the Two of Us - A day to pray over our marriage. A day to pray individually for Dave and I, for our walks with God and for Him to grow our marriage. If you aren't married maybe this could be a day for you to pray about you and your relationship with God or for your future spouse. 

Wednesday - Our Weird Woved Ones - I know, it's super cheesy but it helps me remember. and no, I don't think my family is full of weirdos. This is a day to thank God for our wonderful families and to lift them up in prayer.

Thankful Thursdays - So many times we ask ask ask and we really need to stop and thank God for all He has done. This day is set aside just for that.

Friday Friend Day - A day to pray for all of my friends.

Salvation Saturdays - A day to thank God for saving us and to ask Him to save those we know that still need salvation.

Savior Sundays - A day to pray and thank God for who He is and to focus on Him and His goodness. 


I don't know how often you pray or your method but I do know that God loves you and He loves me and He loves to hear from us. Prayer and reading God's Word are the two primary ways He speaks to us and I hope that this next year will be one where you have sweet fellowship with The Lord.

Lastly, if you have something you want prayed for please e-mail me. I really do mean it when I say I will pray for you and I have several other blog friends on that list already: if you need prayer I'm happy to pray for you.

What helps you pray consistently?
Do you have a set routine or what works best for you?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Life Lately #32 - Road Tripping in the Western USA + more


Hello from the PNW! 

Dave and I are currently on the road right now and I wanted to pop in and say hi and check in. 

Since we returned State side we have been really blessed to spend time with family and friends. Saying blessed doesn't properly recap how full my heart feels from seeing everyone but I'm sure you all understand. I'm especially thankful for meeting all the new babies that have been born! Between family and friends I have met 4 new babies and I still have 3 more to meet (Amanda and Kinzie I'm talking to you!). 

My siblings and I always get so so so excited to see each other but we always dread saying goodbye. It's never easy. Today we said goodbye to my brother and his family in Whidbey Island and it was sad. Our 3 year old nephew Elliot is finally getting what it means to say bye and he weeps and wails loudly. He is lucky he is 3 and gets to weep and wail loudly because it is what we are all feeling inside but to wail that loud simultaneously as adults would be awkward and funny.  

Currently Dave and I are in Port Angeles, Washington. We took a ferry from Whidbey Island to the Northern part of the Olympic Peninsula and our plan is to drive all the way from here back to Kansas. We decided that since we are on the west coast already we should make a road trip to home. We have all our camping gear and hope to camp where weather permits. 

So far we have visited Seattle, Vancouver and Whidbey Island. You all know I love Seattle and Vancouver was good but also interesting. Whidbey is where my brother and his family live and I just love that place. 

Some of the other places we plan to visit are: 

Oregon - Portland, Cannon Beach & Multnomah Falls. 

California - Sequoia National Park, Yosemite (f it isn't freezing), Red Wood National Park. My brother is deploying in two weeks from San Diego so we might go see him off. I also have a great Aunt I've never met so we hope to see her too. 

New Mexico - Albuquerque - to see my adopted grandparents and to consume an unhealthy amount of New Mexico Green Chilies. Nom Nom. 

Do any of you all live in these areas or have you traveled there? What places do you recommend to see? 

My Dad actually took me to California on deputation with him when I was 5 but all I remember are a few big rocks by the ocean, riding Dumbo at Disney and also riding the "It's a Small World After All" ride. ha! 



After all that we plan on going to Kansas where we have to be responsible adults again and find a place to live and work. ;)

Dave is going to job hunt again and he has to work on getting his PA license renewed. 

I'm ready to settle down and have a place of our own; to be in a consistent community where the roots and fellowship run deep. I also told Dave (when I was tired and emotional the other night) that it was hard because I don't even have a place where I consistently put my shampoo so I guess that will be nice, right? Yes, I do realize how ridiculous that is but sometimes tiredness + emotions = worries about the shampoo. ha! 

This past year has been packed with travel and I'm not one bit complaining, but I think my emotions and life are ready for some structure and stability. 

I do think about all the big things that are right around the corner, like jobs and finding a place to live and it stresses me out so I'm trying to take a step back, pray and realize that I need to live today and  not worry about tomorrow. I'm also trying to use this time to pray more and to ask God to help us in these next big life steps. God has been with us each step of the way and He will keep leading us. I need to keep reminding myself of that because my human self easily forgets. 

How has life been for you lately? 
What are you most looking forward to in 2016? 

PS - In a few days I'll be sharing about Seattle and Vancouver + I have my Daily Prayer Topics that I'll be sharing about along with what God has taught me about prayer this past year. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Most Memorable Things from 2015

                                        

2015 was a big huge packed full year for us! I've tried to recap it in my brain so I could get it in writing and here is what I came up with...

The best part of this year were the relationships! 

We were blessed to partner with missionaries in Thailand and Myanmar. Seeing how they serve The Lord has impacted us in a great way. 

I loved teaching The Gospel to the 4 year olds in Myanmar. Seeing how Christ captivated their hearts at a young age captivated me. I also learned some life lessons from some of those kids and I'm truly grateful for that. 

Our prison visits put us face to face with some of the most transformed and deep Christians I've met. We were also so blessed to meet people in the ministry who were once in the prisons. 

I'll never forget sitting at dinner with a missionary in Cambodia who told us that Buddhism does indeed have some good teachings but that only Jesus Christ can change your heart. 

Dave and I were so so blessed to have people visit us in Asia. It did our hearts good and God sent them at the exact right time. 

People back home! I'm so grateful for the team of support we had at home: family who was 100% for us, people who faithfully prayed for us, friends who would vox me daily to see how I was, friends who commented on the blog or who would e-mail me to see how I was doing and so much more. That was a gift from God that helped me make it through this year successfully. 

I'm really grateful for the year I had with Dave. Living abroad isn't perfect and easy but it did our relationship a lot of good and we got to build a lot of memories together and most importantly we got to serve The Lord side by side and that is a huge gift. 

I'm grateful for my relationship with Christ. I come short time and time again but each time I do His love and grace is bigger. I'm thankful He put us in a place where we had to depend on Him more and where we had the gift of time to spend with Him. 


Travel was a big part of our year too! 

Dave and I visited a total of 6 countries and 4 US States. We spent approximately 3 months in Thailand, 9 in Myanmar and 1 month was for traveling SE Asia. 

The two places that come to my mind as my 'top favorite' are Krabi and Singapore. 

Krabi, in the photo above, was just purely magical. You could only access the island by boat and it was full of hiking, snorkeling, sunsets, kayaking, good food, monkeys and cliff jumping (for Dave at least). 

Singapore was by far my favorite travel spot in SE Asia! After living a year in Myanmar the futuristic, overly clean and organized city island of Singapore did my heart some major good. 


Flowers also somehow must be in my recap for 2015 because they were all over and everywhere in my life in SE Asia!

Lastly, HOME! We made it home in early December and got to see all our family and meet two new family members. There are no words to describe that feeling! So so good! 

I hope your 2015 was one that counted. I know not every year is easy and wonderful for each person but I hope that no matter what this year brought you that you saw God's faithfulness each step of the way. 

What was a favorite moment or lesson from 2015 for you? 
What are you most looking forward to about 2016? 

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