Life Lately: Monday Edition

Today I’m linking up with Blaire at Wild & Precious 

Last week was a blur of movement but it also felt like it moved at a snail pace. Do you ever have weeks like that?

All week long I was waiting for an email with photo updates of our girls because I knew that they were supposed to be on their way. I was seeing other adopting mamas announce that they received their pictures and every day I was disappointed to not hear that notification on my email. It’s been three months since we’ve seen their faces and I wonder how big they have grown and whether baby M has hair! I know that many adopting parents don’t get any photo updates and I am thankful that we have had three different sets, but it’s hard when you know that it’s supposed to be coming but never does. I  let the disappointment control my outlook on life last week, which caused a lot of hurt to fester. I was grumpy and weepy all week, not the way that I want to live my life. Today, I’m committing to be thankful for the gifts I have with me now and to not hit the refresh button on my iPhone email as often.

Last week I also started helping an old friend jump start their workout routine before she travels to Europe for vacation. It has been fun creating workouts and encouraging her to reach her goals. It also felt good to know that I can still kick butt! Many of my old clients used to look at me and think that I looked too nice, but as one of my clients from Iowa once said…”Behind that pretty smile is a devilish desire to make you feel pain”. At least I do it with a smile right? 🙂

We are well on our way to completing the renovation in our third bedroom! Painting the room white and laying flooring has done wonders in making the space feel roomier and calming. I can’t wait to start decorating it to be our guest/office room. As of right now it’s just a toy room for all the children we have in our house on a weekly basis (and it’s the dogs’ room too). We are still deciding on the color scheme…any ideas?

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The Fall catalog for Thirty-One came in the mail and I’m excited to share their Fall line with people. The prints are fun and the new styles of bags are beautiful and practical. If you want to host a party (catalog or “real life”) contact me through my website: http://www.mythirtyone.com/sarahwood

A few months ago Jason and I began sponsoring a child through Amazima ministries in Uganda. If you’ve ever read Kisses from Katie, this is her ministry. Our sponsorship will provide a year of schooling, three meals a day, clothes, medical care, Christian mentorship and much more for a child in Jinja. In Wednesday’s mail I received quite the gift from Amazima! We were given a picture of one of the boys in the school plus a handwritten note and picture that he wrote for us. Even though we didn’t receive pictures of our girls last week, having that picture on our fridge makes me smile every time. Knowing that we are helping bring redemption back into a poverty-stricken community makes me want to sponsor every single child. If you’re interested in sponsoring a child through Amazima, click on this link. It’s only $25/month!

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This week will be filled with more dinner dates, 31 parties, and what I’m most looking forward to….Missional Community! Jason and I are missional community leaders and host about 20 adults in our home every week. We love opening our home and our lives to live life in community with people from our church. We are praying that this season will be filled with hearts being changed, gospel stories, and many more memories made around the dinner table.

What has your life looked like lately?

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Friday’s Five Favorite Things

These are five things I’m loving this week…

1. Sevenly is an organization that raises money and awareness for people all over the world. Each week they highlight a different need/non-profit and gives $7 to the charity from each item bought in their store. This week they are partnering with Action Against Hunger to feed starving children in the Congo (a place that is dear to my heart). Every $7 will provide 21 meals for a child in Congo.  Check out the video, let it break your heart, and then go buy a shirt…at least that’s what I did

the shirt that I bought

the shirt that I bought

2. I may have a slight addiction to Candy Crush. I found myself playing this game every time I had some down time. I don’t know what it is about those games, but they suck me in! Not sure if this is a favorite thing this week, but it sure was some thing I did! 🙂

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3. A favorite friend of mine moved away this week. It was so sad to say good-bye, but I was glad that we were able to share a few more minutes together on Sunday. I’m going to miss my coffee outings with Ashley. My prayer for her is that she finds another friend to take her out for coffee in Charleston very soon!

sarah & ashley goodbyepic

4. The sunsets & sunrises in Tucson during the monsoon season are absolutely stunning. Even though it’s still very hot during the day, the evenings are a little cooler. Last night we were even able to sit out on our friends back patio for dinner so we could watch the sunset.

katie's sunrise

Sunrise is Tucson by Katie Reich

Sunset in Tucson

Sunset in Tucson

5. My dogs are hilarious and crazy! They will always make the favorite list because of how much they make me laugh, even when they are naughty!

The cat on the wall tormented the dogs for a good 15 minutes!

The cat on the wall tormented the dogs for a good 15 minutes!

Asha tried to get that cat too!

Asha tried to get that cat too!

Asha is very good at listening to the command "stay", even when there's a toy over her face!

Asha is very good at listening to the command “stay”, even when there’s a toy over her face!

What were some of your favorite things this week? Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

California Vacation

Our 2200 mile road trip through Northern California will definitely go down as one of our favorite vacations! We were able to do all of our favorite things…read, sleep, rest, talk, drink lots of coffee and wine, eat very good food, explore a new city, hike, sit by the ocean, and take a few crazy adventures.

Here are some pictures to document our trip:

We spent a night in Palm Springs and have found it to be a new, fun weekend trip!

We spent a night in Palm Springs and have found it to be a new, fun weekend trip!

Palm Springs is about a 5.5 hour drive from Tucson and we (Jason) thought it would be a good place to stop before we landed in Monterey. We were right on with that decision. We stayed in a small inn called the Movie Colony Hotel. The community aspect of this hotel was unlike any other place I’d been before. We’d love to go back!

We started the long drive to Monterey the next morning. It was one of the prettiest drives that we’ve taken. Pacific Coast Highway is a beautiful route to take, but don’t take it if you want to get somewhere fast! Thankfully, we wanted to take our time. We stopped at Paso Robles on the way for a wine tasting and we were served by a fellow Green Bay Packer fan! We enjoyed Niner Winery for a wine tasting and lunch.

Niner Winery's outdoor seating

Niner Winery’s outdoor seating

Once we arrived in Monterey, we were a little disappointed with our Inn’s accommodations, but the location was phenomenal. We actually stayed in Pacific Grove, which is a small community next to Monterey that is very quaint. The ocean was a 7 minute walk from our door, so every morning we took a walk by the ocean and watched the waves crash against the rocky beach.

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While in Monterey we went to the aquarium. If you ever get a chance to go to Monterey, the aquarium is a MUST GO. We were able to see sharks, deep-sea fish, all kinds of jellyfish, seahorses, etc. The facilities were beautiful. It’s a perfect spot for families as it had many “kids corners”.

so many exquisite jellyfish

so many exquisite jellyfish

everybody loves penguins!

everybody loves penguins!

so many diverse fish in this huge tank

so many diverse fish in this huge tank

After our trip to the aquarium, we walked around the cannery district and then had a small dinner at a restaurant by the bay.

we were able to do some reading at the beach

we were able to do some reading at the beach

love this

love this

a beautiful view of the sunset on the bay

a beautiful view of the sunset on the bay…and some yummy wine

After our two days in Monterey, we started the trek up the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) again to Sonoma County. We stayed at Sea Ranch Lodge in Sea Ranch, which is a small vacation village. This was my favorite leg of the trip. Our room was right on the ocean. The lodge was so quiet and calm that I felt like we were there for a week, not just three nights. It was there that my spirit finally started to feel at rest.

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my favorite sitting bench…I think we’ll need to get us one of these…and maybe one of those views

taken on one of our hikes

taken on one of our hikes

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i love the power of the ocean

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i love this guy

we are ocean people

we are ocean people

Another favorite part of the trip was our wine tasting day. We drove the wind-y drive to Healdsburg and went to 6 wineries. It was such a fun experience to talk to all of the people and learn more about how wine is processed. We loved wine before, but this trip gave us a deeper appreciation for how it’s made and the people who put the effort into developing yummy Pinot Noir’s, Zinfandels, Cabs, etc.

a very fun day

a very fun day

After our quiet, restful few days in Sonoma County, we headed back south to San Francisco. A city booming with people and activity. We were able to do some fun touristy things and also connect with one of Jason’s long time friends and his wife.

can anyone guess where I am?? ("everywhere you look, everywhere you go, there's a heart, a hand to hold on to...")

can anyone guess where I am?? (“everywhere you look, everywhere you go, there’s a heart, a hand to hold on to…”)

Lombard Street...why would you build a street like this? (I know the actual reason, but come on...)

Lombard Street…why would you build a street like this? (I know the actual reason, but come on…)

our tour guides for the weekend...love you Dave & Jennie

our tour guides for the weekend…love you Dave & Jennie

took a cable car ride!

took a cable car ride!

and of course went to Ghirardelli Square

and of course went to Ghirardelli Square

took in the fireworks on the 4th of July at Fisherman's Wharf

took in the fireworks on the 4th of July at Fisherman’s Wharf

And that was a “brief” recap of our vacation! I hope that you enjoyed the picture tour! There were so many other pictures that we took, but Jason wants to be able to use them on his blog too, so I just used mine. Our vacation was very special to us as it will more than likely be our last as a family of two. We are excited to see what our vacations will look like as a family of four!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April Showers Bring May Flowers

April is becoming a favorite month of mine in the desert.  We don’t have the thunderstorms that my Iowa friends are “blessed” with right now and I do miss that, but I love this desert weather. The nights and mornings are still cool and the days are warm enough for a tank top and jeans. Today might be a little too hot though! 100 degrees is not spring weather for this Iowa girl!

As I thumbed through my calendar this morning reviewing our activities this month, I was amazed by all of our activities! It was an emotionally challenging month, but filled with many evidences of God’s grace in my life.

1)   At the beginning of April, our adoption process took a turn we weren’t anticipating. Through the pain and confusion came a deeper trust in God and a growing faith that God does works all things for the good of His children, even when it doesn’t make sense to my human brain.

2)   On April 6th, we had the World’s Biggest Rummage Sale! Hundreds of people came out and supported us. We were thrilled to bring in over $3,000 in that one day! God confirmed to us that He would provide for us during this faith journey!

Still amazed at God's provision!

Still amazed at God’s provision!

3)   Whole30! Jason and I are completing our Whole30 challenge today! It was one of the hardest things I have done and it shed a lot of light into the way that I view food. I will delve into that tomorrow!

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4)   We had dinner dates with lots of new and old friends this month! Meals and coffee shared with friends are my favorite. I’m about to start a book that speaks to the importance of creating memories with others over shared meals. Can’t wait to start! A favorite dinner this month was with a family who adopted two children from the same country as us! Jason and I loved listening to their stories and are very excited about the friendship that is budding!

5)   I posted blogs more frequently this month than any previous month! My goal is to blog 3-5 times a week. I have loved learning more about blogging and writing this month. Soon I plan on changing a few things up on this site, which is very exciting! Be on the look out!

6)   Baby-sitting was a part-time “job” for me this month! I love having the flexibility in my schedule to serve the moms of our church in this way. This past weekend, Jason and I watched adorable toddlers for 24 hours straight. That was a lesson in parenting and patience! I now have a greater respect for all of you moms out there who function on a daily basis with interrupted sleep! I’ll be honest, I’m a little nervous about this upcoming change in my life.

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That was only a sneak peek into our month! I’m looking forward to May because I think that there will be even more memories created over dinners and trips that Jason and I are taking! My birthday kicks off the month right 🙂 and I think  Jason is already making it one of my favorite with a sweet card he gave me yesterday.

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And then I am traveling back to Iowa for a week to help my mom prepare the house for my brother’s high school graduation. AND my baby brother graduates from high school??? What?!?

Isn't he handsome?

Isn’t he handsome?

What were your highlights from April? What are you looking forward to in May?