surprise office reno.

while the guys were away at t4g this week, miss laura and i set to work surprising my josh with a new office. ever since we moved in, we’ve conveniently used the office (also commonly referred to as “danny’s room”) as a junk room, hiding any little thing that I couldn’t decide where to put. and while I’ll miss the advantage of having a catch-all-room, I think, by Josh’s reaction, it was well worth it! See the transformation take place:

little danny’s old dwelling soon turned into…

yeah, the junk room.

but see what a little paint can do! Day #1: Monday, first coat (excuse the blurry iPhone photo).

Day #2: Tuesday, second coat.

Day #3: Wednesday, trip to IKEA and building day. Thank you, Laura!

Day #4: Thursday, the finished product. Surprise!

love you, bubbs.

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.our first snowstorm.

What a guy!

and in other news, here are some things we’ve been up to…

building furniture.

having friends over.

unpacking an exorbitant amount of boxes.

visiting vancouver.

and whistler!

… and lastly here is our snoweekend project.

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our dwelling place

I’ve been thinking on Psalm 90 and verses 1-2 in particular since the message yesterday. It fits well with recent thoughts as I’ve been contemplating marriage and the brand new dwelling I will call “home” within a week. How many places have earned that title in our lives? Home. Was it your childhood home where you performed countless plays in your mom’s old dresses, where you knew far too well that dreadful “timeout” spot (for us, the blue chair), or where you made forts in the backyard with your brothers?

For most of us, that first home conjures up thoughts of safety, security, creeky old closets that made for excellent hiding spots,  yummy smells, your full name being called when you were in trouble,  first pets whose cages you’d rather not clean, maybe an attic that smelled like moth balls, little next-door neighbor friends, charades, daddy coming home from work with a candy bar for the kids in his pocket, sitting around the dinner table, and little league games on the weekend.

You don’t know any different. It was home and it was always there – when you were little. Then you grow up and make that first big move away. For me it wasn’t until senior year in college but it came – and with it – a world of change. I now had two homes: College and my parents’ house. It was hard to know what was really “home” during those years.

And then you really grow up and land that first job. This necessitated another move for me – one that’s had one of the single greatest affects on my growth in the Lord and love for His people. Everything changed in 2006 when I got my first job in Frederick, moved to Gaithersburg, and joined Covenant Life. It was the best of times. That whole summer, I lived in the Megordens’ basement which was pretty much a blast – lots of Filipino food and late night talks with Sarah. And then another change came in early fall when I moved in with some amazing ladies down the street. The Cloverwood House. Another home. For a few years anyways. Again, it was a major blessing in my life, living with those girls.

2008 came and brought with it many more significant changes. I’d move to College Park, MD to do full time campus ministry at the University of Maryland. One of the best years of my life thus far. And with it – a new house – full of girls.

I had the privilege of living in the Stanford Estate for about a year and it was complete with good humor, loud mornings, lots of baking, guests at all hours, study parties, uno, attempts to watch movies on that awful tv we had, homemade music videos, deep conversations, crickets, sleepovers, and the list goes. It was home – for a year.

Summer 2009, and my life changes again. My most wonderful best friend asked me to marry him. And I said yes!

And since that summer night in August, I’ve been living back home, in the house where my life began. When I leave in a few days I will move from this home to a new house and start a new family. I think it’s hitting me. This transition is a bit bigger than all the moves up till now. But our God is the Rock of Ages and that is why Psalm 90 struck me in such a new and powerful way yesterday.

“Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God.” Ps. 90:1-2

Regardless of where (or who) we call home on this earth, our true and everlasting home will never change, fade, or end. And if we are blessed with the comfort and security of home and family here, it is merely a shadow, a foretaste, of what will be our final dwelling place. He is our dwelling place. Hallelujah!

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it all started off…

with an innocent stroll to check how much snow had fallen:

When all of a sudden, I felt myself tumbling down, down into the 14 fluffy inches beneath me:

Josh thought a snow fight would be.. funny? So I decided to seize the moment.

And the results:

Snowangels!

Although we couldn’t really move our arms or let, so I’m not sure it it really counted.

I love him!

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full & free

“As I perpetually feast on Christ and all of His blessings found in the gospel, I find that my hunger for sin diminishes and the lies of lust simply lose their appeal. Hence, to the degree that I am full, I am free. Eyes do not rove, nor do fleshly lusts rule, when the heart is fat with the love of Jesus!”  -Milton Vincent (A Gospel Primer, 2008)

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weekend trip to thunder bay.

It was a short trip – Friday to Monday – but I discovered a new favorite place (and Josh got to visit an old favorite). Thunder Bay, Ontario is where Josh grew up. We got in Friday night and early Saturday morning we were off for a whirlwind tour across town. It didn’t take very long. As we drove down the snow-covered city streets, I felt like I was in one of those classic Hallmark Christmas movies.

This is the house Josh grew up in as a boy.

And here is where Mom & Dad Etter live now.

On our way to the famous Finnish Pancake House for breakfast:

Best crepes in town!

yum. I want to learn to make these.

Then we drove over to see Josh’s old elementary school.

To top things off, Josh’s sister Sarah surprised us and flew into town with her new baby girl, Aleska, the day after we arrived! We thought we weren’t going to see them until the wedding so it was a very meaningful surprise! This is Josh seeing Aleksa for the first time.

He was smitten.

Many church friends came by throughout the afternoon and evening for the engagement party that Josh’s parents threw for us on Saturday, and we were blown away by the warmth and generosity of people, some of which we barely knew.

I got to meet lots of relatives at the  party as well and… I pretty much love my new family! Auntie Val (from BC) also surprised us and flew in for the party. Being together with everyone for the whole weekend was really great – busy but restful at the same time. After celebrating Christmas with the Family on Sunday, we flew home early Monday morning.

extremely grateful.

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invitations + gallos

our amazing friends, stephen and laura came over a few weeks back to help with these:

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It was a big job and we were happy to have help.

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mom and laura did most of the stamping, I stuffed, and the guys were in charge of sticking on the labels.

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we kept losing them. the guys that is. i guess it was a little too arts&crafties for them.

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but they were troopers. and everything’s sent out now which is a huge relief. thanks, friends!

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p.s. Rachel had this brilliant idea: if your refrigerator is too full or it happens to be non-stick, the magnets adhere well to car bumpers.

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