Tag Archives | friends

{friends}

Hey there Friends,

I love you. I love to watch you work all around me. It’s true what they say…it’s good to have Friends! TV shows and songs revolve around friends. Movies and Plays. Books. The list goes on. And the gift of a praying friend is even more rare and special. This week I was so touched by the love and outpouring of generosity & prayer for some of my friends. I want to share their story and be encouraged by their courage. I have known Sarah & Charlie since I was a tween. I have watched their lives off and on for years. Many of our friendships are intertwined by years of youth group friendships, church camp & roommate connection and the list goes on. They are two people who always make me laugh and I feel at ease when I am with them. Last month their lives changed and they faced some hurdles that many of us cannot even imagine. I hope you will take a minute to hear their story {they have had to be very brave, strong and hopeful}. Check out the video below and go to www.bloggingcharlie.com to learn more about these people I love.

Did you watch it? Did you read about it?

In light of their situation two of their friends set out to raise some money to help them with medical bills {through an online resource called gofundme} and look what God did through the generosity of their friends. I took this screenshot last night {see below} of their gofundme account total. In less than a week their friends and community raised over $26,000. Amazing! And I know the support won’t stop there. They are very loved…and prayed for. And I am hopeful for what God will continue to do in and through them as they share their story.

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 9.58.05 PM

Why am I writing about this and friendship? I just want to encourage you that there are good things happening all around us. Even in our darkest hours there is good all around. The news is filled with the dark sides of this world…but people are good. And God is good. If you have dear friends in your life {and I hope you do}…hold on to them, encourage them, be there for them in the best way you know how to be…and pray for them. What a gift that is. And if you have a minute please pray for my sweet friends…the Meng family. xo

Your Friend,

*laura*

31 days (250)

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{to half dome with love}

half dome

To Half Dome with LOVE,

It’s been a long time since I have seen you and even longer since I climbed your cables to the top. Years now. I miss you. I miss your beauty and your treacherous edges. I miss your awe-inspiring views and your beautiful Yosemite home. I know you have visitors from all over the world and your fame may not phase you…but you should know that you taught me so much. In the years I made it to the top of your dome I was still trying to find confidence in who I was {and honestly I am still figuring that out} and what made me who I was.

I was about 16 the first time we met and with a group of youth group kids {mostly boys}. The guys were convinced that I would never make it to the top {and I don’t blame them because I was not an athlete and not very strong}. What they didn’t know was that I was very strong in spirit and determination and that their lack of confidence became a challenge to me. I was going to prove I could make it all the way to the top. Two of the guys stayed back with me while the others sped up the trail and way ahead of us. And to everyone’s shock {including mine} I did it. And I was the only girl who made it up there that trip! That experience put a wind in my sails that had never existed {even though I was more tired and sore than I had ever been}. I felt certain that I could do almost anything after that!

The following summer I did it again. Can you believe it? I’m sure you don’t remember me but I was so proud that I kissed you at the top! My friend Laura was my companion that day and she may be the nicest person you {or I} have ever met! A few other friends were there too {Dave & Tim among them}.

There was the third visit {a trip I would like to forget in many ways} where three of us didn’t get back down your trail soon enough and found ourselves in the dark, without flashlights, split up from our group and even lost at one point. It’s a long story {Andy & Shiloh might remember…along with John Argo & Charlie} but I’ll spare you the details. Lets just say I was scared but we all made it home safely {and I have never found myself on a trip like this without a head-lamp again}!

On my fourth attempt I made it as far as your switchbacks and last mile. I just couldn’t do it. I had a meltdown and started crying {go on, go on without me…I told them}. And they did make it to the top and back down while I sat and waited for an hour or so, talking to a random stranger. It had been several years and I was really out of shape when we met you that trip. I was determined to encourage get my friend Allison to the top, assuring her along the way that if I had done it…anyone could. Our other friend {and youth pastor} Tim was given the task of coercing us up the trail that day. Bribing us with anything he could think of he finally found our sweet spot {and our weakness}…food. He told us the pizza place at the bottom of the trail closed early and so we had to hurry if we wanted to make it back down in time. We were so gullible {and hungry} that it worked. We even told people on your trail back down to hurry because the pizza place was closing. I still laugh every-time I think about this trip.

I have visited Yosemite a few more times since those trips but nothing compares to being at the top of your dome.

Thanks for teaching me so much over the years, giving me a confidence that I never knew I had, being strong and beautiful and lasting, letting so many people around the world experience you…I know I am not the only person out there who agrees. I hope we meet again someday. XO

Sincerely {and affectionately},

*laura*

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spicy chicken pasta {YUM}

::KATRINA’S Spicy Chicken Pasta::
{make it a Chicken Chipotle Pasta “knock-off” from Cheesecake Factory by reading my notes below}

Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4-1/2 T crushed red pepper (depending on how hot you want it)
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 T chopped garlic
6 oz chicken, sliced
3/4 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup alfredo sauce (you can substitute plain Greek yogurt or sour cream)
2 T butter
1/4 cup peas
1lb rigatoni or penne {I used gluten-free penne}

Directions:
Cook pasta as usual…

Saute oil over medium heat.  Add crushed red peppers, salt, pepper and garlic.  Saute just long enough for garlic to caramelize and red pepper to release flavor into oil.  Add sliced chicken and sauté briefly to coat in spices and garlic.

Add Marinara sauce first.  Then add alfredo sauce.  Cool until sauce thickens and chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Turn off flame and add butter and peas to sauce.

Mix sauce and pasta and garnish with red pepper flakes (just be careful, it gets hot quick) 😉

*to give it a chipotle flavor I added some ground chipotle pepper seasoning {about 1 tsp at a time} that I always have in my pantry…sprinkle, taste and add more if you like a good chipotle kick!

*I also love to crumble a few tortilla chips on the top of my serving {that’s what I love about the Cheesecake factory dish}! Yum!

I hope you can appreciate this yummy recipe that my friend Katrina sent my way after our last visit!
She is an amazing cook. She throws great parties and always serves delicious food! I knew we would be good friends when I first met her and saw that she owned several of my favorite cookbooks. In many ways her and I are opposite.  She is neat & tidy…and I am a mess. She is a planner & always get’s things done way in advance…and while I am a planner I tend to do things at the very- last-minute. She is organized…and I am disorganized! But we just click. We get each other. We are good for each other. She took me in like a sister when I moved to Fresno. I was lonely and pregnant with Paige and I did not know a soul. Honestly, if she had not pursued me & checked in on me in those difficult, early months of living there I may have crumbled. She was God’s hand in my life in the most tangible way and I will always be so, so grateful! And…she fed me. When Aaron was working long hours…she fed me. During holidays away from our families…she fed me. She always feeds me. Good food. My kind of food. She is my kind of friend…and I just love her {oh and I love her little family too}. Thank you sweet friend!
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The Blog Days of Summer {4TH OF JULY FUN}!

Here is how we spent our 4th this year!
It was lovely and lazy…my kind of holiday!
And of course I have to talk about the food! We had Summer Shirley’s*, Macho Salad*, Potatoes, Steaks and Herb Crusted Chicken*! Dessert was a mix of berries with angel food cake & whipped cream!

*For my SUMMER SHIRLEY TEMPLE DRINK I just added a splash of grenadine to ginger-ale, along with cherries, blueberries & star shaped ice cubes to make it festive!
*I’ll have to show you how I make my Herb Crusted Chicken sometime soon. As long as you have a BBQ it’s always in season!

*If you have never had this “Macho Salad” you must! I wish I could take credit for the recipe but it comes from the restaurant Bandera! A….MAZE….ING!
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The Blog Days of Summer {NORTHWEST OR BUST #2}

So our Road trip continued! After we left Portland we headed to Washington to see a few of our favorite people for a quick visit.  We got to catch up, play games, check the lake and relax.  The kids had so much fun together too. It was refreshing to be with people you have known for years and there were many inside jokes and laughs shared by all (as usual). It was as it should be with good friends! And since we did not make it to our annual Hume Lake trip it was great (we actually got to see them one more time over the summer but I’ll get to that later).

And then we were off to our favorite city…if you only have a few hours to kill in Seattle you must go to a few of our favorite spots. First we went to Kerry Park and then just over the hill and across another bridge are the Ballard Locks.  I imagined bringing my kids to both of these places back when I was in college – so it was great to finally do it on a lovely summer day (the weather really was perfect for us)!
Check out Paige’s expressions and Grant’s funny faces…what in the world could either of them be thinking about!
Just below the Kerry Park Viewpoint is a path to an actual kid’s park that my crazy kiddos could not get enough of! We were there for over an hour. It made me laugh to remember it because in college one of my roommates and I would sneak off to this park and smoke cigars (I know you are wondering why I would be sneaking off but this is just what Christian college girls do for fun and a flair of rebellion – I guess it’s honestly another topic for another day)!
If you ever get the chance to see the Ballard Locks in Seattle you must go! The beautiful foliage and plants, the architecture of the buildings and seeing the salmon run (which basically means they are swimming up stream), even the fish ladders are fascinating to me and in my opinion you will be in for a treat.  Growing up in Colorado and California did not expose me to anything like this. So check it out sometime- especiallyif you get to go there in the summer!


Woohoo…the salmon were running!
Kids can make anything fun!
Love these two!
Aaron got to take the kids to Gasworks Park for a picnic and while it was not as nice as he had remembered the kids had fun…until poor Grant smacked his head into a pole while running full speed. He got a nice goose-egg on his forehead- poor guy may just be accident prone like his Mamma.
 
They finished up their outing at the Seattle Center and after a fun afternoon and dinner with our dear friends {the Pelton’s} we were headed back down I-5 to make the long trip home. Our time with the Pelton’s is always too short but we loved seeing their beautiful home make progress (paint was going up that day). And we always just love their company! They took us to an amazing restaurant called Tutta Bella Pizzeria (you must go here if you are in the area). Wish we could have hung out with them all night!

Here are a few more pictures I took with my iphone (check out Grant’s goose-egg bump).

This last one is the sun set as we were leaving town. My only regret is that we were not able to see more friends while we were there.  But there are only so many hours in the day!

We miss you Seattle…hope to see you again soon!
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