Friday, January 23, 2015

the God of bethel


I have decided to read through the Bible again this year. As I walk through the pages of Genesis with the patriarchs it’s like a step back to when I first went to Bible school, when I first realized that every page of the Bible was written for me… that, though written thousands of years ago to people I will only meet in eternity, every story and every detail is included by the Holy Spirit for my benefit.

This time through, there is a specific theme speaking to me. It begins subtly in Genesis 2.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not fount a helper suitable for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
Genesis 2:18-23

Just before this, in verse 15, God “took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” To work it and to guard it. To take responsibility for it—the plants, the animals, the waters. All of this beautiful garden was given into the care of Adam, and the way he showed his acceptance of that responsibility was by choosing their names. Here begins the longstanding Hebrew custom of showing ownership with a name.

But as the book progresses I notice a shift: yes, people are obviously still naming their children, but it is not just people and animals’ names that are important anymore. People are naming places—not simply to say “I own this ground,” but to say something more triumphant. More difficult. “I own what happened here. I own what I saw God do here. I take responsibility for what God asked of me here. I own the right to hold God to the promise He made to me here.”


Hagar, broken and abandoned, meets God in the wilderness when He calls her by name. “Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are a God who sees’; for she said, ‘Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?’ Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi (the well of the Living One who sees me).” (Genesis 16:13-14a)

Abraham, promised nations through his only son, is asked to give up that son as a burnt offering to God—when at the last minute a ram is provided instead. “Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide (Jehovah Jireh), as it is said to this day, ‘In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.’” (Genesis 22:14)

Jacob, fleeing from the death threats of his brother, meets the Lord in a dream where He renews His promise to the descendants of Abraham. “Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.’ He was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’ . . . He called the name of that place Bethel (the house of God). (Genesis 28:16-17, 19a) Years later, God would call Himself “the God of Bethel” (Genesis 31:13) when speaking to Jacob, and eventually send him back to that very location as a reminder of His faithfulness (Genesis 35:1).

The mighty acts of God in the lives of these men and women were commemorated by name. The places became reminders of the progression of their testimonies. The voice of God was not obvious in their lives every single day, so when it was, they took ownership of it. No matter what days or years of spiritual silence lay ahead, they sought to never forget that He saw them. That He would provide for them. That He was present with them.

It has made me think… when in my life have I been at Beer-lahai-roi? When have I been at Jehoveh Jireh? What about Bethel? Peniel (Genesis 32:30)? El-Elohe-Israel (Genesis 33:20)? When did God meet me at Mahanaim (Genesis 32:2)?

Have I taken ownership of the ways God has worked in my life? Have I taken responsibility for my response to His leading? Have I given that much reverence and awe to the moments I have spend in His presence?

Have you?

Friday, January 16, 2015




December 31 saw Sam and me driving to Portland to take a red-eye flight to Pittsburgh, stopping over in Minneapolis. For ten days I got to have a reunion with my Pennsylvania family and show my husband around my second home. It snowed, it got down to negative twelve degree wind chills, and we ate Ritchey’s ice cream anyway. Then we kidnapped Hannahstasia when we left and got to spend one extra week with her in Washington. :)

HallisHannahstasia HallisHannahstasia3

It’s funny that in two years I’ve been to PA four times. It seems like less, and yet more. It seems like I’m never there, but when I go back it feels like I’ve never been away. It seems like I’ve known the place and people so much longer and that March of 2013 is far too recent for an attachment so deep.

PA 043 PA50PA

The worst part about leaving is wondering how long it’ll be till I’m back.

Monday, January 5, 2015

some long-promised wedding pictures


It has occurred to me that I promised to post wedding pictures several months ago… and never did. Whoops. Sorry about my tardiness (mostly forgetfulness)!

I hired George Street Photo & Video to document my wedding day. The photographer who did the actual picture taking, Gwyn, was very talented and I enjoyed her work immensely; however, the company itself is rather poorly run in terms of customer service, communication, and workflow. I received all my images either unedited or very poorly edited (not Gwyn’s responsibility at all—the pictures were out of her hands almost immediately), so I actually edited my own wedding pictures in Photoshop after I received the digital files! It’s a good thing I love editing. :)

For example:

Wedding136-5 Wedding136-4 (high res)

^ Probably one of my favorites once I got it all fixed up!

Wedding6 Wedding63 Wedding67 Wedding8  Wedding13 Wedding15Wedding14 Wedding82 Wedding83 Wedding84 Wedding85 Wedding Wedding20 Wedding98 Wedding105 Wedding99 Wedding101 Wedding103 Wedding104 Wedding22 Wedding95 Wedding96 Wedding97 Wedding134 Wedding110 Wedding115 Wedding117 Wedding120 Wedding51Wedding125Wedding58Wedding59 Wedding137 Wedding141 Wedding143 Wedding136-4 (high res)

There you have it, friends! It was a beautiful day, February in Goldendale—almost a year ago already and that seems insane. I’m so thankful for that day, for the covenant vow Sam and I took. For the beautiful pictures I have to remember it by.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

the year in review: 2014



It’s been a big year for me. I got married and I moved to a new city and I got a new job and I wrote a new book and I started a new business. It’s been so crazy but so good!


i love you.

And this is the really amazing person that I married. I love him so, so, so much!


still laughing…

…at the constant antics of these two. Never mind that they’re only a few months away from their first birthdays; they still play and fight like kittens, get into everything they aren’t supposed to, drive us crazy, and bring us a whole lot of fun and delight. :)


winter wonderland.

This is from February, just a couple of weeks before my wedding. It was all gone by the time February 22 came around though, which was a little disappointing. Snowy wedding pictures would have been so cool!



My youngest sister turned nine this year and it was fun to be back home for her birthday! I miss her a lot between my visits home. I can always count on her to steal my phone, go horseback riding with me, and generally keep me in line. :)



“I pretty much only feel comfortable when I’m around you. You’re like the sweatpants of my life.” – a very apt Pinterest quote which describes my relationship with this lovely lady perfectly. ;) And I’m traveling to PA to visit her as we speak!!

Us Wedding99


Doodling 017


Sam and I made two big trips this year: one to Florida for my dear friend’s wedding, and one to Montana for a long, lazy week at his aunt’s beautiful farm.

FL9 MT2 


Sweet raspberries, sunny days. The beach, the lake, and trips back home. That was my summer. :)


a day in my life.

This kitty (along with his brother, who is never cooperative for having his picture taken) is one of the few constants in my somewhat uninteresting day to day life. He comes in every morning purring like a little engine, happy to see me and snuggle with me for his allotted half hour before he gets big-eyed and crazy with Loki.



My little sister and her catch of rainbow trout from the creek that crosses our property:



FallColors FallColors4


I’m pretty lucky to have grown up in this place. :)



This was the view from our honeymoon suite, looking over the Columbia River Gorge. There’s nothing like the culmination of years of waiting and months of planning!


let’s do it again.

I loved having a fancy photo shoot with Tim and Sam in Corvallis in August!


i miss you.

It’s hard to see this girl only once every month or two. I just love her.

Home6 Home7



dress up.

Definitely the biggest dress up event of my life… :)







I really just love this picture. The three of us have been friends since we could talk and this picture pretty much sums up our entire history.


never change.

The farm at sunset, the horses on the horizon, the mountain overlooking it all in solemn magnificence. This is the beauty that is the lifeblood of my joy and creativity in all that I do, because it is this beauty that makes me look to my glorious Creator.


just because.

A few pictures from the fruit of my photography business this year…


hopes and dreams for 2015.

Ah, so many. I dream of making more progress on my current writing project… of developing my photography business into something solid and profitable. Of pouring more hours into the study of the Word of God, which never gets old or dry. Of walking alongside my husband as we follow Jesus together.

It’s going to be good.



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