Thursday, July 31, 2014

Snail Mail Never Fail

Remember the day's way back when you were 10 years old and your friend 
sent you an invitation to her birthday party and the envelope was full of 
confetti and sparkles filling the beautiful card. 

Or your pen pall from the summer camp you went to, 
wrapped a single dollar in their letter and told you to catch the ice cream man 
next time you hear that faint glorious music coming down the street.

Or the week before your birthday when all the out of town grandparents 
and aunts and uncles would start sending well wishes your way.

and so it goes went...

As your mom brought in the mail, you watched her flip through. 
As she pulled out a pink envelope and called your name out, 
you jumped off the couch and snatched it out of her hand. 
Jetting to your room, you flopped on your bed and started kicking your legs 
back and forth in the air as you gently quickly tore open the envelope.

Oh the good ol' days! 

Snail Mail totally never fails to excite me.
(minus the being an adult and getting credit card offers every week.)

Even more than receiving, I love to send snail mail.
So if I'm ever praying for someone or wanting to check in with someone and hopefully
encourage them, who better to trust to deliver your note, than jolly ol' USPS.

Something I've found myself doing this year is praying through our church directory. 
I don't always know what's going on in people's lives, but there's always something to 
pray for people over. So when someone comes up, and I pray, I try to send a note too. 
At the end I almost always sign off with "John 16:33" which became a verse 
I turn to often from the very beginning of my relationship with Jesus. 

I was given a great deal at Tiny Prints recently and couldn't pass it up.
This website is so much fun, too! I found a card I love and got to personalize it.
What else could I do, but put my trusty encouragement verse on there!

I love how they turned out, and am already using them!

Galatians 5:13
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Best Story So Far: Part 2 (You're A Real Person)

If you haven't read part 1 of "The Best Story So Far"... You need to do that!

Hopefully you're caught up on the events that unfolded last summer that took me from Single-and-ready-to-mingle into a quick bout of Mingling and right into Can-I-have-yo-number?

If my memory serves me correctly I left you by saying I sat on the phone
for 3 hours chatting up a random Californian guy who I'd met on handy-dandy Facebook two weeks prior to said phone call...

Yes... That's about right.

We talked about the most random of small-talk topics; from comedians we laughed at, to where we’ve lived, to the go to don't-know-what-to-say topic of ... the weather.

The incredible intentionality shown on his part at the end of the call was what really got me interested. Wrapping things up he said, "I'd really like to call you again. Is that ok?"
After an affirmative from me, he went as far as to tell me the day and time that he intended to call again. Umm? Talk about considerate, especially for a girl, who by nature asks a thousand questions a day about why, when, where, and how for just about anything.

Being Pursued.
Just like the first call, he again called when he said he would.
Maybe it seems really tiny, but this impressed me.
And he continued to impress me as I began to feel, dare I say, Pursued.

Had God heard me? Hadn't I prayed to be pursued? But as it happened, I couldn't help but try to suppress the excitement. I was still in constant prayer, "If this isn't for real, just cut it off now. I'm not messing around. I'm looking for a husband, Lord!" But at this point I was at least gaining a friend. I hadn't overly invested. And I was doing what any cautious-with-my-heart girl does: checking in every so often asking myself, "If I stopped talking to this guy today, would I be hurt?" I looked back in my prayer journal just now, and I literally wrote down a prayer, "Protect my fragile heart, Lord. I'm trying so hard to trust You."

I could read on and on in my prayer journal to remember every word that I prayed, but I don't have time to type them all out. But I will say this, God answers prayer so much!
As I prayed against fear of making myself known to someone new, the Lord opened the Word and showed me 2 Timothy 1:7 and I was reminded that fear is not from the God I serve, but from my enemy. So as this guy pursued me, I see now … so did God.

Real People.
After a few weeks of chatting online, phone calls and Skype calls, the conversation turned to the thought of an in-person, real-life meeting. There'd been jokes all along that this was some elaborate prank on our friends part and that the other person didn't actually exist. Although we laughed at the thought of a giant practical joke, the reality was that we hadn't actually met each other yet and knew that phone calls between two people are much different than in-person interactions or even group interactions ... so there were a lot of unknowns.

We'd both been straight forward that this friendship couldn't really move into being more until we'd met in person. And, just 2 months after my post on Singleness, a friend's-friend's guy friend  (yeah, I meant that) was flying up from California to meet me. Shock didn't set in until the morning he was going to arrive.

Were we insane?

No, we'd both been praying this whole time ... And as I'd been shown over and over, God answers. So on the way to the airport to pick up my new friend, I zipped by the house of the girlfriend who connected us for a quick, Get-It-Together-Naomi pep talk.

The evening was fun with the couple that is half to credit for introducing us, and was followed the next morning by a hike of a local waterfall... During which I realized I was a total lunatic for choosing to take him on a hike and become a sweaty-hot-mess for our first in person date we'd ever go on. But sweaty or not, it was nice to not be on the phone for these conversations. (Photo above)

The falls was followed by many conversations with much deeper getting-to-know-you than we'd been doing on the phone. The weekend was great. I had actually accepted that I'd started to like this guy, and by the time he flew home I was now in shock that we had officially assumed the title of "Dating" each other exclusively.

Yep, I said it! I had a boyfriend... In SHOCK?
I was!

Can't Stay Away.
Well, it wasn't even 2 days after he'd visited that he was booking his next trip. The shock continued. He already wanted to see me again? I was just adjusting to being pursued online, but this was a whole new level. Only a month after the first trip, I once again found myself at the airport picking up my ... boyfriend.

The weekend, again, was so fun. Long distance was tricky, and because the opportunity didn't show itself very often, he braved the adventure of meeting my parents. I was darn proud of him for doing this on his second trip. I'm not sure I'd have had the courage quite yet. The 3 days passed too quickly and I was saying goodbye already as I dropped him off for his flight.

Talking a bit more we decided that I needed to meet his family as well. We started planning for me to fly down. Both of us were disappointed that we were going to have a 2 month gap in seeing each other. But at least we could call every day, and Skype fairly often.

I'd been getting excited for a weekend with my mom about a month after his 2nd visit. It was my mom's idea, and I jumped at it! My mom and I are pretty close and we hadn't spent much time together lately so she told me to block out the entire weekend to go have fun together, but she kept the rest a secret.

I showed up at her house that Friday afternoon. I had no idea what she had planned, but I was ready for a yummy lunch out followed by some sort of girly adventure. Little did I know that my mom is very good at being sneaky. I walked into her dinning room only to jump back and hide around the corner out of shock. HE was sitting at the table. Just smiling. I turned to my mom... Just smiling.

"Surprise," They both said.

Have I mentioned, I love being surprised... He nailed it!
(He had even texted me that morning to say he was out of the office again like the day before, and wouldn't have service if I tried to reach him...What a sneak! It was because he was flying to see me.)

They all got a good laugh. He and my mom had been scheming since they met a month before this little surprise.
And so the third visit was again, more fun than the ones before.

The month after flew by and I climbed onto a flight to California, ready to meet the family. We'd now spent 3 weekends together, going on 4. My “liking him” had turned into more.

Where was this going? What had we started?

Like I said last time, I could say so much more. 
I could type every detail (but won't). Come back soon for the rest of the story. 
It really is the best I've ever had the honor of sharing and being a part of as well.

2Timothy 1:7
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Next List

The fun things about this outfit:
Bracelet - Free, Pants - Thrifted, Shirt - Thrifted, Wedges - Target

I know it's hot every summer, but I always forget.
I'm just over here in the Great Northwest, chillin' in the rain for 9 months...
It's 84 degrees outside. 

All that to say... I've found that I'm running out of tank tops.

And in an effort to keep you on your toes, I will now start on a complete topic change:

I had a pretty darn productive weekend! I marked everything off my list except 
two thing. The only problem is that those two thing encompassed all my 
household tasks and so my residence currently looks like five 3 year olds are 
running a circus here... and no 3 year old has ever even been in here... sooooo yep. 
That's going to need to be at the top of the next list I make, right above 
"Buy More Tank Tops"... and I should probably do that pronto.

Proverbs 6:6
Go to the ant, O sluggard;
    consider her ways, and be wise.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Better Than The Movie: It's a Real Thing.


The fun things about this outfit:
Dress - Old Navy Sale!, Shoes - Ross, Necklace - Free

Do you ever get to that point where there are so many things on your To-Do list that you really start leaning towards the thought that none of them matter, let's just sit down and read Harry Potter?

Yep, life is feeling a little like that lately. Fortunately, I've been able to keep on task...
But let's be honest... I actually am busting my way through this Year Three book!

Yea, you read right! I'm reading the third Harry Potter book. My goal this summer was to get through 2 of them, and as a non-reader type this makes me very proud to be able to say I'm almost done with the third... And it's only July!

If you're a reader, you probably say this all the time. 
But if you're like me, a non-reader, screen time type person, you probably hear this all the time.
"The book is WAAAAAYYY better than the movie!!!"

If you are my kind of human, you hear this and scoff. 
"Who cares." 
"The movie was great." 
"Shut up, you book worm! Your making me feel unintelligent."

But over the past year (literally starting on my last birthday, July 21,2013),
I started reading... and kept it up.
It all began with a little Chronicles of Narnia that was a surprise package 
in the mail from the Cali guy I started telling you about HERE.
I'd started the series and got stalled when I couldn't find the next book.
We'd just begun talking and I never would have expected this little mailbox treasure.

I finished those quickly, and with a growing love of holding a book in my hands 
and having my eyes roll along the hills the words on printed pages were creating. 

So now, as I have officially ended the Chronicles and 
begun young Potter's journey through wizard school, I am finding myself saying....
Yep, you guessed it...
"The book is WAAAAAYYY better than the movie!!!"

I'm joining that band wagon people. Slow down a bit so I can jump on!

Anyone reading any books lately I should read next?
I'm scared to say, but I think I'm making a list.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Best Story So Far: Part 1 (Online Meet & Greet)

(Photo from winter... no, I'm not wearing scarves in this heat)

A love story, told and retold.
It will never grow dull.
It will never get old.

As I begin, I wonder how many times I'm going to walk away, come back/reread, and edit this post. And that's all I will say rather than count them all and then tell you the ridiculous number. It will be many, because I want to get this post just right: An accurate report of the events, a wonderfully dream worthy story, and pointing to the Master-Mind behind it all.

It All Began with a Post:
Little over a year ago I wrote a post called Singleness: Getting Personal Up In Here about the struggles,  pains, joys, lessons, and all other randomness I had, spilling my guts about the topic of being single. It was the most vulnerable blog post I'd ever written and I encourage you to read it before reading this post any further. 

It was packed with things I rarely discussed with anyone. (mostly because I attend a church full of people/friends who are married and starting or well into building families.) I sat quietly filing away information on diapering babes, potty training, dealing with sassiness, and good disciplining technique. I often fielded comments wondering why I wasn't married yet (as if this was my desire) followed by mention of some "great guy" to hook me up with (which was never followed through on by said mentioner). Please don't misunderstand. I love these ladies, these families, these kiddos. I'm just pointing out that the chapter of life I was in, was very different. And I longed to be married to a man of God and share life on this earth with him.

When it Rains, it Pours!
The singleness "novel" was posted on a Friday (June 14, 2013 to be exact). By the time the weekend was over, 3 different friends had connected me with 3 different guys. Two had started with, "I showed my guy friend your post" and ended with, "he's going to write to you on Facebook."

I found myself laughing when I prayed, "Lord, is this some sort of sick joke? Four years I've prayed for a husband, now 3 guys are supposedly going to write to me? What is this? Why are you getting my hopes up?"

So one per day wrote. And I answered them all. I know what you're thinking... 3 guys at once huh? Who do I think I am? Don't worry, I thought the same thing. It freaked me out. And I was in constant prayer. I asked the Lord to "Make things clear. If none of these guys were my future husband, just make them losers for goodness sake." Then I got brave. I asked the Lord, "If one of these guys IS my future husband, give him courage to pursue me even if I resist. Give him stamina to stick with it, and please please please, guide us both... because this is just weird... Facebook? Really God?" (Yes. I prayed that)

No, No, Hmmm, OK.
So this furry of multi-chatting online was short lived.

I met up with one guy quickly who lived in town. I'm sure he's a great guy. But we didn't hit it off. In a recap with the friend that connected us, we both had way different impressions of each other than what she has of either of us. But God knows what He's doing. So that was the end of one chatty-mc-chatterson.

The next nearest guy, just a town away, suddenly had a death in the family which made him unable to invest in trying to get to know someone "online," so he graciously informed me of this, and bowed out. I was bummed. I hadn't gotten to know him well, but he sure was cute. But, again, God knows what He's doing. And less-chatty-mc-chatterson was also bid adieu.

Then there was this randomly connected guy friend of a friend's friend. (yep... reread that if you must). He lived a whole state away in the big CA. I thought to put the least amount of effort into this because what are the chance of things working out. A) he's in cali... B) we met on facebook.

But this guy kept writing to me. So I kept responding. Then he'd write again. And so would I...
Who was this chum? Why is he pursuing me so much, but with so gently and full of kindness? Oh wait... Did I pray to be pursued even if I resisted? I am confident my God answers prayer. But this is just strange... isn't it? Or... is it?

A short while past. He gave me his phone number and convincingly said, "a phone call would be nice." And without thinking I replied with mine... within seconds I said... Don't Call Me.
It freaked me out. What had I done?!?!?!?! I hardly knew this guy a week! Now he has my digits. Oh! No!
His reply: No problem. I'll see how you feel about it in a week.

A week passed in no time and mid conversation online, he says, "So, How do you feel about a phone call?" So impressed by his persistence and complete accuracy with the 1 week check up, I said, "Ok"

He called that weekend and...

We talked for 3 hours.


I could say so much more. I could babble and babble. But come back soon for the rest of the story. 
It really is the best I've ever had the honor of sharing and being a part of as well.

1 John 5:14-15

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The NEW Song that Never Ends

Fun things: I did a couple DIY refashions this weekend.
1. The flair white jeans I skinnied last summer... now shorts.
2. The long sleeve I haven't worn since 2009... now a tank.

Maybe you've already seen these photos, 
but if not don't forget to follow on instagram @patternedlove

As elementary, middle, and high schools let out in mid June, 
drivers everywhere stopped having pity parties and started having dance parties 
in their cars as they did NOT have to drive 20mph anymore for some ridiculous 
length before and after the school grounds when they're already late to work.

And with these series of events, adults everywhere start seeing youngsters 
in stores, on sidewalks, and in coffee shops in the MIDDLE OF THE DAY. 
To some adults it's annoying, but in my opinion this makes for many 
wonderful people watching experiences (in a totally NON-creeper-ish way).

As I checked the mail a few weeks back, I paused to thumb through 
and find anything that anyone might possible have sent for me. 
Nothing... but what's this? A faint voice in the wind?

Yes, the neighbor boy...
What's that? Is he singing?
Yes! That is without-a-doubt a little 7(ish) year old singing at the top of his lungs.
But wait... what is that lyric I hear?

He has made up a new and original song 
that for the past 5 WEEKS has not left me alone... 
it echos over and over and over in my increasingly annoyed, 
but initially laughing mind.


There is a strange tune. He made it up... It wont leave me alone.
I cracked up at first. In fact, I literally laughed out loud 
as I went inside chanting with him. 
But at this point, it's officially an anthem in my head that wont stop.

So currently the only appropriate actions is clearly 
to choreograph an entire dance number 
and enter as an act in an upcoming talent show!

Psalm 108:3-4
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great above the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tasty Tuesdays: Sundried Tomato & Pesto Chicken Sandwich

Welcome to Tasty Tuesday. 

Sometimes I just need a quick bite and not a whole turn upside 
down every pan in the kitchen type of meal. 
And I am a little bit of a sandwich lover too... 
So this here meal... just happened one day.

Disclaimer: I didn't snag a photo of the finished closed sandwich 
because my taste buds just couldn't wait any longer. Sorry folks.

Baguette Bread

Pesto (I used Basil Pesto from Costco)

Sun Dried Tomatoes (you'll need the oil inside the jar too)

Cream Cheese

Cooked Chicken (I just salt & peppered mine)

Cut your baguette sandwich style.
Remove about 8-12 pieces of sun dried tomato from the jar and dice them up. 
Dump those in with the cream cheese and add a little of the oil from the sun dried
tomato jar. I only had enough cream cheese for this left in my tub so I just used it to mix.
Mix well.

Drizzle (love that word) some of the oils from the tomato's onto your 
bread and put that in the oven to lightly toast it while you slice your chicken.
(don't forget or it will be much more than toasted.)

Once your chicken is sliced remove your bread, if you haven't already, from the oven.
On one side of your bread spread your cream cheese/tomato mix.
On the other side, spread your pesto.
Top one with your sliced chicken and close your sandwich.

Put that back in the oven for a short time just to toast it all together.

I hope you all enjoy!

Hebrews 4:14-16
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, 
the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect
has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to
the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
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