Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mid-August Randamosity

#1 Hold on to your hearts people because these two angelic little faces are about to steal them away forever!!!

These are my sweet babies, can you tell who is who?


Miss Poppy is on the left (picture taken today) and Mr. Grumples is on the right, picture taken when he was approximately 14 weeks or so.  ADORABLE.

Ugh I cannot love my two fur babies anymore than I already do.

#2.  Quick Chickpea and Kale stew was for dinner tonight and it was delish!  We poured it over a a quinoa, amaranth and millet blend from Costco which was super yummy and healthy.  I highly recommend this recipe for a very filling, wholesome, FAST weeknight dinner (you guys will especially love it, Beth!)


#3  The sunset yesterday was out of this world stunning.  These was an enormous hazy cloud looming over the foothills we are backed up to that captured all the light and it all showed up purple/blue/yellow for awhile and then the evening faded into orange.  

Once it was dark we sat on our back porch while a storm raged overhead complete with thunder and lightning.

Our favorite!


#4  Please read this daily devotional from John Piper's Solid Joys.  I cannot express to you how deeply this is ministering to us on many, many levels.

There is only one basic reason why we disobey the commands of Jesus: it’s because we don’t have confidence that obeying will bring more blessing than disobeying.
-John Piper

We have been deeply challenged in the recent weeks to let go of many of our own expectations or comforts; the image that keeps coming to our mind is that of a tightly clenched fist and God is slowly unworking each finger, gently inviting us to be more obediently free.  What joy!

  All I really know is that if it weren't for my gracious God and incredible leader of a husband, I would so often miss the growth and purpose right in front of me!

I am so confident that this devotional has some level of fresh truth to speak to anyone who will read it.  Have at it!

#5 That's about it for us here at the Decker house.  Ryan is off playing in his new fall season of ultimate frisbee while I ice my knee and study.  Blah.  I had MRI's done yesterday but I won't know the results until this coming week. Updates to come!

Finally, am I the only one mentally preparing for everything pumpkin starting next month?

I thought not.

Happy almost Friday!

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.
Psalm 42:8

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Peace, Peace

You will keep in perfect peace

    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.

Isaiah 26:3


My sweet husband sent me this verse in an early morning text message to be filled up on throughout a busy day.

The Hebrew text actually reads like this,
"Thou establishest a purpose firm; 
peace, peace, 
for in Thee is his trust"

I think that is just gorgeously written! Do you love how peace is written twice?  
Absolute. Perfection.

  I love this verse because, as a commentary pointed out to me, the word perfect is used in opposition to a false or imaginary peace (how often do we cling to those things in life??).  And ultimately a perfect peace from God is holistic and all encompassing; peace with God and people, peace inward and outward, peace here and in the future and most importantly peace to come in heaven.

It's honestly been some time since the Word has jumped out at me like this, and the result is thankfulness!

Now prepare yourself for a black goldendoodle picture overload!  This is more for my mom than anyone to get her grand-dog fix :)

We LOVE these sweet fur babies.  They teach us so much about patience, curiosity, and enjoying life.  I never really cared for dogs before we got our own and now they are my fur children with their own little personalities and quirks.  

Grumps is our adventurous, rough and tumble protector.  Poppy is our snuggly, loving, little comforter.

Doodles for President!

 
Sitting very obediently for a treat--the size difference is SO cute.  And here is Grumps looking the happiest and most gleeful he ever has!

We have couches with slip covers so when I take them off to wash, the babies think they found a new throne to watch over their household on

Are these not the sweetest, yummiest, most innocent faces you've ever seen?!?

Baby girl Poppy with Ryan.  She has gotten so big these last 2 months.  Alas, you cannot even see her eyes because black dogs photograph terribly

And here is our lovely garden.  There is so much yummy produce sprouting up even though I was a lazy gardener this year.  Rosemary, basil, pumpkins, pumpkins, and more pumpkins, and tomatoes slowly but surely.

We have berry bushes but being a fairly new gardener I didn't know how to care for them properly.  A 70-something-year-old friend just advised me to chop the berry bushes late in the fall, when the branches are "woody" to about 6 inches tall!!  

Ack!

It feels so weird to just hack down a plant that's nearly 5 feet to just a few inches.  But he said that if you don't get rid of the old, those branches takes all the energy and nutrients, prohibiting any new or healthy growth.  If I want fruit, I have to chop off the old stuff, even if I don't see the benefit until a few months later.

#spiritualrevelationsfromgardening #oldgardenersarewise

This picture is actually a week old and this pumpkin and the two little ones to the right are even bigger!  Pumpkin patch at our house in October-nearly 2 dozen to go around.

It's so fun to see the big orange flowers open up in the morning and evening, plus the vines wind around with their curls and leaves: raw beauty

I start my mental health clinical rotation on Monday.  To be honest, psych nursing is not my favorite.  Mental illness is something I'm working to understand more so I am asking the Lord for strength to love well and a soft spirit to be stretched in what my patient's suffer even though I don't understand it yet.

Ryan is busy with work, finishing up our camper, and taking care of his little family.  He feeds me well through the week making meals, cleaning up when I get home late, and bringing peace to our busy schedule.

What a stud muffin.

Our hearts are full today.  Happy Sunday!

Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal

Isaiah: 26:4

Saturday, August 16, 2014

2, Nephews, and More

We spent the afternoon celebrating a big 2 year old boy today!  Ryder turned 2 years old last week and today he had a very fun train birthday party with lots of family and some of his own cute little friends too.

Smiley boy!  And deciding how to blow out the candles on his marshmallow filled cupcake

Ryan and his dad, George.  Two goofballs

Two other sweet baby nephews!  Sawyer on the left and Xander on the right

And THIS little muffin is sweet baby Henry who is just 6 weeks old!  This picture isn't from the party today but I couldn't brag on all our other nephews without getting him some love on here.  When the Deckers get together it is a crazy baby party.  All of Ryan's siblings have 1-3 kiddos each and we ADORE being aunt and uncle to them all.  

(Rilyn was running around at the party but was too busy for a picture which is so sad because I french braided her hair and it looked totally adorable!)

Henrrrrrryyyy!!!  You look so serious here, dude

Pre-party we of course (what else?!) went climbing with Matt and Katie at 9:00 am this morning.  We saw the Bolts four times this week--luckily we all get along :) My husband lead-climbed several new routes and I was so proud of his bravery and skill.

It's so rewarding to see strength developing in our climbing skills all while getting great time outdoors and with people.  Absolutely in love with rock climbing.


Ryan's new gear he bought with birthday money, he takes very good care of it :)

Besides today, this week had a wonderful gift in store for us!  My clinical schedule was switched around at the last minute so Monday and Tuesday were wide open and free this week.  Score.

I was running VERY low on energy in all ways and just needed 48 hours to re-set.

Ryan was home feeling sick Monday with dehydration and electrolyte issues from a busy day before, so he took a sick day.  We watched movies while I did laundry, drank coffee and organized in between.  Pretty perfect day together even though he was running low :(

During my time off we also spent some time rock climbing with Matt and Katie, Chris and Tamara, and Ashely and Shane (these two moved to Sweden several years ago and are back visiting!).  It was a really special evening outside with some of our favorite people, enjoying good fellowship and stunning creation.

The gorgeous river and mountains right off our routes.  The sound of the river is so relaxing, plus throw in fresh air and exercise and we are ready for a good night's sleep afterwards

Thursday I got my knees checked out by an orthopedic surgeon and while Dr. Vidal was GREAT, the x-ray and exams were inconclusive.  Ugh.

He said my x-rays were clean, showing healthy 25 year-old joints so it was weird that I was reporting such pain and discomfort.  I have MRI's ordered for next Wednesday and then we'll reevaluate.  I'm still pretty confident there is a meniscus injury on the left but we will have to wait and see post-MRI.  It's very, very frustrating to want to be active and have so many limits from my own joints.

It will be a glorious day when I can hike and climb and bike and WALK without pain.

We will update more later on about life updates, gardens, puppies, and other random stuff.  Hope you have a relaxing, restful Sunday and a really sweet week!

Friday, August 8, 2014

2nd Stomaversarry

We cannot believe Ryan's 2nd Stomaversarry rolled around on July 30th!!!  WOW. Celebrations were a week late but it was still a big important event around the Decker casa.

Read here to catch up on a stomaversarry

It is very, very important to us that we mark and celebrate the surgery that not only saved Ryan's life from a violent case of Crohn's but gave him back his life to the point of thriving.  We are so grateful for the Lord's creativity to let someone invent this surgery and for making our surgeon's mind and hands capable to perform the procedure on Ryan.

Last year we went to Cirque du Soleil which was such a memorable event.  This year we went to Steuben's (hippest restaurant of life) for dinner and then Ryan got to buy some climbing gear at his favorite outdoor store.  


Steuben's is a favorite of ours and we FEASTED on crispy Brussels sprouts (best thing on the menu, no joke), deviled eggs, and shortie beers to start.  Then we had bacon wrapped meatloaf, homemade biscuits, fish and chips and coleslaw.  Followed by truckstop chocolate cake and fried apple pie.

Then we went home and had a heart attack.

The end.


I asked Ryan if he ever thought that this time 2 year ago he would be CELEBRATING this life changing surgery.  He said no; when an ostomy was first brought up it was scary and we thought our life was ending in a lot of ways.  

What a shock to find out he still climbs, bikes, works, runs, travels, and more with his ostomy.  While we didn't know we had anything to celebrate July 30, 2012...in 2014 we rejoice over this good gift.

It's so fun to look forward to a new event to mark and remember his stomaversarry each year.  But it doesn't matter how we celebrate, but that we do and that we do it with overflowing, thankful hearts for Ryan's life and health!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above...

James 1:17

Thursday, August 7, 2014

New jobs, climbing, and updates

Wow I am getting a blog post up in August! Woo!

First of all, today is Ryder's 2nd birthday!  Happy Birthday handsome little man.  We chatted on the phone today and I heard he had chocolate muffins, a park adventure, and gifts on the agenda for the day.  How special!

I can officially say that the busiest part of the quarter is over. Med Surg II was a pretty good rotation and while I didn't get to practice any really fun nursing skills this time, I did learn a lot about time management and co-worker dynamics from what I observed on the floor...both important!

This was the the thank you gift we got our instructor.  She is super healthy she she got garden goodies and eggs.

I have to admit, Ryan and I had a LONG talk over the weekend about our disappointment in the rush of this season.  It is just ridiculous.  Our times with the Lord are not happening, date nights are kapoot and it's a miracle to get home two hours before bed.  I feel like I always bring this us on my post udpates, which may be a sign that things our action steps are stagnant.

A little failure in what we would like to be true can be growing to adjust our priorities and challenge us to realign, re-set, and take a deep breathe moving forward for change.  No season of life will be without it's crazy, and we want to do finish out this particular one well and balanced.  A running theme around here!

We need to take a cue from Grumps and chillax

Speaking of nursing and important...just yesterday I was offered a job at Children's Hospital.  I took it...duh!  The interview was last week and it was a blessing to hear that news.

  We are praising Jesus and celebrating today.  The position is for a Clinical Assistant and is 1 day per week, very manageable as the quarter winds down.  I am so thrilled to be working on the surgery unit which means I have a lot of patient and parent interaction, take vitals, enter data, hang with kiddos in the playroom before their surgery, and then discontinue IV's and get more vitals when they prepare to leave our floor. 

It is SUCH an honor to begin work at Children's; you can just feel the energy of excellence and compassion when you walk in the doors into their amazing hospital.  Absolutely thrilled!

In other news...this adorably fashionable sister of mine sent a wonderful care package my way in the midst of a wack job busy quarter.  I highly recommend Doterra's past tense blend for stress ease.  It was such a thoughtful, exceptionally well timed gift.

Why no we are not twins, but yes I would like to be based on her ridiculous stylishness in this picture

Jamba juice, water bottle, oils, and more!

Ryan's team took 2nd place in the championship ultimate frisbee game on Tuesday night.  They did SO well as their team has advanced from 4th place last season to now 2nd place rockstars.    My parents came to watch and cheer him on.  And by cheer him on I mean my mom spoiled her grand dogs while my dad and I actually watched ;)

Probably just saw Ryan scoring some mad points for his team

Action shot of this studly athlete (he is throwing the frisbee)

It's becoming a tradition to rock climb on Sunday afternoons post-church and lunch.  Such a wonderful, healthy rhythm to our weeks.  The black fur babies came with us this week which was slightly stressful at first but then we all collected ourselves and it was perfection.

Poppy looking like a lionness on her rock.  She promptly took a 2 hour nap after this pictre.  Bella (our friend's puppy) and Grumps made a lot of friends on the trail

Warming mom--close your eyes for this next picture!!

 
The rock face we climbed!  It is such a rush and the best upper body workout.   And the best climbing trail mix: banana chips, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, and pecans.

Last few things I can think of:
-We close on our rental property later this month-awesome!
-There are almost 2 dozen pumpkins growing in the garden.  Come October it's pumpkin everything time!!
-Ryan is nearly done re-vamping the interior of the pop up camper so we hope it take it out soon to enjoy it
-Grumps and Poppy are the cutest animals on the planet.  Fact.

Ok that might need to be it for this post!  Another post on Ryan's 2nd Stomaversarry is on the works and I'll be back as I get two days off next week.  Score!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Rock Climbing Addicts

Here's the bad news:  I have very strong suspicions that my left meniscus is torn, albeit, mildly.  
Here's the good news:  It happened doing something we LUH-UVE!  Rock climbing.



While it is important to protect the one and only knees you have, it's also impossible to park my butt on the couch when there is a big wide world of mountains and exploring and adventure to have.  It may seem silly compared to a lot happening in the world, but we are asking and trusting the Lord to heal up my knees and let me be active again-even if it is slowly!

A knee brace and some daily icing therapies did help me get back to working order for a Friday evening climb this weekend.



This is a particularly frustrating injury however, because I busted my right knee marathon training years ago and now it is sensitive to cycling, hiking, and obviously running.  

Poo.


Despite the kinetic frustrations, we still enjoy it and surprisingly learn so much each time we head out  As we set up the ropes, and Ryan repelled down a 200 ft rock face, and I climbed up tens of feet higher...we talked about trust.  Trust in Ryan's knot tying abilities, trust in the equipment, trust in each other as we belayed one another from the bottom.

Should we ever lead premarital counseling for another couple we will make them go rock climbing together as a trust exercise, ha!  That or tandem biking...

We pray together before either of us starts climbing up the rock; asking for protection, praying for excellent time together, and thanking the Lord for creation.  Climbing is truly such a gift to us to connect in a busy season and be filled up deeply and fully from God's incredible creativity in making nature and the natural playground in our own backyard.


Thankful for my husband's adventurous spirit and his love of health and our invaluable time connecting in such a fun, inspiring way.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Epic Bolt Wedding!

We have been to a lot of weddings in our days, but only a few have been as special to us as the Bolt wedding.

It alllllll started back on the other side of the world, in a closed middle eastern country when we first met Katie.  She introduced herself to us and we instantly liked her because she wore chacos :)

  Ryan and Matt had been friends for 5+ years at this point and traveled out there together, both of insane scholarships, to get their Master's degrees at KAUST. That's the 2 second version of how we ended up in Saudi frickin Arabia!

Anywho, Matt and Katie also met in the summer of 2010 and we all just remained close friends over the last 4 years.  That whole time Ryan and I have been secretly (probably not so secretly) praying these two would FINALLY get hitched already.

And then this last fall, our wildest dreams came true and these two dear, cherished friends started dating!  Woop!  July 12 was their beautiful, wonderful wedding day and we were so honored to celebrate and love these two on their special day.

We road tripped out to Tennessee and it was worth every second of that 22 hour drive.  So here are some pictures and all I can say is that their wedding so perfectly captured their love for each other, people, and God's creation.  

The rehearsal dinner was amazing.  An authentic New Orleans chef catered the evening with jambalaya and whiskey bread pudding among other amazing dishes. Right: the backdrop to our southern evenings...a lazy river, wooden swim dock, chirping frogs, lightning bugs, and lush green trees

Their wedding was outdoors, in her parent's "backyard" (read: massive dream-like field of beauty) complete with a small house for hosting

The bride and groom, all excited at the rehearsal dinner

On the wedding day.  Us to the left and a little shot of Katie's parent's gorgeous home to the right

How stunning is this??  Long tables covered in wild flowers canopied with twinkling lights.  You can't see it here, but there were mason jars hanging from twine on every tree branch and it was unbelievable at night

The centerpieces we styled from Katie's vision and they turned out beautifully! The wheat, sunflowers, cloth napkins...it was all so perfectly Matt and Katie.  And the delicious cupcake tower

Ryan and Matt, friends for nearly 10 years now

Their ceremony was absolute perfection.  Their vows were so moving and personal.  They washed one another's feet as a first act of service to each other.  Not pictured here, but a very meaningful moment for us was when we along with Katie's brother and sister-in-law prayed over them during a favorite worship song.  Just wow!

Finally, bride and groom!!!

Their wedding and new life is such an answer to prayer and an example of God's perfect and gracious timing.  We are honored to have front row seats into their new roles as husband as wife because they are absolutely better together than apart!

Celebrating the new Bolts!  

And we all fly out together to celebrate again when we head to Texas in 5 weeks for their second reception.  A beach house, jet skis, family celebrations, and most importantly a continued remembrance of what God has done in their lives awaits!

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