Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Edge

Jen here. "You are in bear country" WHAT??? This sign might as well read "Where your every childhood nightmare comes true".
Wild animals have been in my nightmares since I was young. Wolves, cougars, dinosaurs (thanks, Jurassic Park), bears and the dark sum up most of my scariest dreams. I grew up in rural Idaho, so these things were a reality (except the dinos...).

Living in WA is a blast, but what if we run into a wild animal?

Just the other night Roy, Dale and I watched the movie "The Edge". I chose it (it was my fault!). It is about three city guys who crash in middle-of-nowhere Alaska and while they not only need to survive and wander their way back to civilization, they also have a "ravenous bear" stalking them. This huge, scary, Kodiak bear eats one of the guys alive and continues stalking the other two men because "once the bears got the taste of humans, that's all he wants". Yikes.

And the next day we went on a hike in the mountains....Praise be to God, there were no ravenous Kodiak bears stalking us...

That evening I was so afraid. I was nervous. I kept thinking about the bear in the movie and wondering if there was a bear outside (in the city?), maybe one looking at me right now! Ahhh!!!

Bad place to be. I needed Jesus. I ran to God's Word, searched for the word "fear" and wrote down every verse that applied. By "applied" I don't mean every verse where God told people not to fear the Kodiak bears... Verses where God comforted His people and protected and defended them. Verses about trusting in God and not fearing those who can kill the body. Verses about fearing God, and about God as our Refuge and Shield.

Reading God's Word brought me back to Earth, reminding me of my AWESOME God who is head over all creation, who made all things, who shut the mouths of the lions to save Daniel and who made the donkey speak to Balaam. God is so much bigger than I make him out to be. He loves you, and me intimately. He is able to calm all my fears and defend me. He works all things for my good and His glory. What peace to rest in Jesus. Amen!

Enjoy a few of the verses:

Deuteronomy 31:8 "It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed."

Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 33:18-21 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."

Lamentations 3:57 You came near when I called on you; you said, 'Do not fear!'

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

Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? [fn] And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Sis Visit Part 2

Jen here. Here are several photos from Sarah's visit. Enjoy!
The Fremont troll! You can't see it, but the troll is holding a real VW Beetle in his left hand. (Those people are sitting on the troll's right hand!)

The view from the Space Needle is awesome--downtown Seattle, the Puget Sound, the Olympic mountain range, the Cascade mountain range and Bellevue (see the skyscrapers in the distance).

I introduced Sarah to Bubble Tea and a little shop I frequent to speak a little Cantonese to the owners and buy my beloved bubble tea. She got a fruit smoothie with mango jelly (similar to jello) in it...I got honey green tea with bubbles. Yum!

On the weekend, Dan, Sarah, Roy and I took a hike on Mountain Loop Highway--Heather Lake. The last 0.5 mile was snow covered and there was an "aggressive mist" for most of the hike, but it was a blast! As you can see in the photo, we looked like drowned rats, but God's creation is totally worth it. Roy and I had (hiking) sandals on so our feet thanked us as we left the snow area. :)

Roy, Sarah and I went hiking at Mount Rainier. This was in June, which some in Seattle call June-uary, and this year the snow melt is especially slow, so most hiking trails were super snow-covered (one particular area we wanted to go to was covered in 20 feet of snow!). We were able to hike a lower trail and enjoy the green and pines of the Pacific Northwest, and experience a little snow on the ground. Fun!

What a joy it was to have Sarah visit. Thank you!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Sister's Visit!

Jen here. My sister Sarah decided to come visit us for a week. She got permission from my parents and paid for the tickets on her own. Wow, she loves us. :)

She split her time between Roy and me, and my brother and his wife. I was able to take a day off work (my last week of work until the fall!) so Sarah and I could be tourists. I stayed up late deciding what to do and early in the morn we headed out.

The plan: kayak Lake Union, stay clam at Ivar's, Space Needle and possibly the Underground Tour. Tourists in Seattle. :)

Roy and I kayaked through NWOC the summer before we left for Hong Kong, so I decided to rent our kayaks from the same place. We arrived at 9:30am and they opened at 10am, so we had plenty of time to get ready. :)

Our double kayak served us well. If one of us was tired, the other could paddle and keep us going. And boy, we both got tired so fast! In looking through Sarah's pictures (I didn't take my camera for fear of ruining it) it appears that I paddled most of the time and Sarah just took pictures of us. Haha...it is somewhat true.

The house boats (is that what they are called?) interested us right away. They literally are houses floating on the water. Wow. NWOC asked us to stay at least 20 feet away from the house boats so as to respect the privacy of the "house boat dwellers" (they sound kind of scary to me). It's so hard to stay 20 feet away when one wants to see the houses and also is being moved by the waves. :) Sarah kept reminding me to steer away from the boats (my kayak seat had steering pedals connected to an udder). It was fascinating how there were little neighborhoods of house boats. Similar to in a city, the houses were next to each other with space between for a boat dock (driveway) and were in rows separated by larger stretches of water (roads).

Our kayak journey began in Lake Union, a small lake in Seattle with a view of the Seattle skyline (see photo--the space needle is just to the left of Sarah's head). We paddled west through Portage Bay to Union Bay which is just off Lake Washington near to the University of Washington. We saw several sea planes take off and land, the duck boat tours go by multiple times and artists perched on the shore painting landscapes.

Sarah had a blast and took many pictures. My face got fried because I did not bring sunscreen or a hat! And both of our arms were so tired. Once we made it to Union Bay I seriously wanted to ask one of the leisure boaters if they could tow us back to NWOC. Ha! We stuck it out and paddled back. All in all we spent about 2 or 3 hours on the water. Sweet!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blue Skies

Who said it always rains in Seattle?

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Jen here. This place is gorgeous! When we decided to move here people back home kept telling us about the rain. Many people are affected by the nearly daily misting and grayness...but I am not(praise be to God!). I can't get over the amazing views of mountains and greenery I see nearly every day. Yes, nearly every day!

Today's weather was sunny and warm; Dale wanted to do a cookout spur of the moment, so we did. Hotdogs, brats, deviled eggs and corn on the cob...yum!

Yesterday was the same so Roy encouraged me to go for a walk at a park near work. I did. Beautiful!

Thank You, Jesus!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Jen here. My family came to visit!! I am so excited and have been for about a month. :)

Dad and Mom got a hotel; we invited Sarah to come stay with us at our house! They are only here for a few days. I will try to post some photos of the visit.

Here is my sister on an early morning walk. It is so beautiful here!

More to come later. :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Random House Dinner

Jen here. Roy and I love entertaining/hosting. In our first year of marriage we had a weekly meal at our place with three of my good friends and anyone else who came. It was random, and it was dinner. Thus began the random house dinner.

In our fourth year of marriage we have picked it up again. Praise God for His awesome provision of a house to rent with ample room for dinner and hanging out with friends. Hallelujah!

We invite anyone and everyone, the same day every week.  We have had from just the 4 of us (Roy, me and two housemates) to about 8 people. The most common guests are friends from work, so I am surrounded by chess coaches! Games of chess are common as well as Backgammon, Euchre(my favorite!) and Apples to Apples.

Tonight the guys decided to film a kung-fu chess game, which is what the photos are of. :)


Monday, April 18, 2011

The Troll

Jen here. So I've been posting more often than usual, but my posts are shorter. Why? Roy put a blogging app on my phone so now I can take a photo and immediately write a quick blog about it and post it. Hooray!

Yesterday Roy, Dale and I went to sushi with some friends in Fremont, which is in Seattle. Our friends are moving to Chicago in one month so it was a sort of farewell dinner although we will see them a bit before they leave. It was a good time with good food at a restaurant called Chiso.

Each time we go into Seattle we talk of going more often. A tourist has probably been to Seattle and knows more about its different areas than we do. Maybe we will plan some outings... René and Patrick mentioned something about a giant cement troll under a bridge nearby. Cool, we thought, maybe we will come back to Fremont to see it. And off we went. It just so happened that we drove right by the troll!

Check out the picture! He is huge...and is holding a VW Beetle. Pretty cool :)


Jen here. Last fall I planted bulbs. Now they are up or almost up and I am so excited! The daffodils are mine but the tulips are are from our landlords. :) I love spring!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Green Gardening Fair!

Jen here. I am so into Spring. My hands are tender, my back aches and my legs are sore. Why? I've been weeding!

I suddenly want to weed and plant flowers, bushes and veggies. The trouble is I know nothing about plants or gardening. Ah!

So on I go to learn. Today we are at Bellevue Nursery's Green Gardening Fair. I've had this on my calendar for weeks and have told everyone about it! I'll let you know more once I plant our buys. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011


Jen here. Thanksgiving 2010 was not what we planned, but it was grand. :) We had been planning for months to visit Roy's sister and family in the southeastern US for Thanksgiving because it had been about 1.5 years since we saw them last (before HK). But as time got closer, our funds and the plane prices weren't lining up. Plus, Thanksgiving isn't exactly a long holiday off work. So we ended up staying in Seattle and our good friends Scott and Jill invited us to join them for a large feast!
All in all they had about 16 people in their welcoming home for a delicious meal. Friends, family of friends, friends of friends. It was a great time. Scott and Jill are like family to us...we feel so comfortable around them and in their home. They invited us to stay the night before and after thanksgiving, which made us feel even MORE like family! :) And God added blessing upon blessing by giving us snow over the holiday...so it really felt like a holiday! Yay!
The day before and day of we helped them set everything up, including two themed tables to go along with their dishes. One table was "the blue table" and had blue and white plates, a cheese pumpkin for decoration and blue/green/tan place mats. But my favorite table was "the cow table" and well, you can check out the picture to see why it was so named. Look at the white cow creamer with flowers in it! Cute!

The next day we planned to have a post-Thanksgiving dinner with a few new friends from church at our home. We made a splendid meal of ham, potatoes, etc...and enjoyed another day of feasting, games and talking. Ahh...it was grand. :)
That weekend my brother Dan and his friend Daniel ran in a 5K in Seattle, so we had them (even Christie and Baby E) over for lunch, games and even a bit of time in the sauna. Daniel has ways of tricking the thermostat in the sauna so that it heats to his desired (really hot) temperature. Later on there was a brief shopping run, during which Baby E napped and woke up...and this is how we entertained her.
Uh, yes that would be a metal mixing bowl with a glass jar in it. Baby E LOVED it. She was ecstatic--smiling, giggling, grabbing the bowl and looking into it nonstop for at least 20 minutes. So adorable. We think she loved seeing all the reflections of the ceiling lights in the bowl...plus when you tipped the bowl, the glass jar made a cool sound. After a while, we turned the bowl over and it became a drum! Good times.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

MHC | Shoreline Women's Retreat!

Jen here. At the end of October MHC's Shoreline campus put on a women's retreat at Suncadia Spa and Resort, about an hour east of Seattle. Even though Roy and I decided to attend the campus of Mars Hill Church closest to where we live now, I attended our old campus' women's retreat. And boy, I am so glad. :)
First off, look at the scenery!! Who could NOT have an amazing time here?? :) Here in God's beautiful creation...and at a spoiled fancy resort. Ahhh...it was wonderful. Praise to God for providing it; perfect timing.

The retreat wasn't just about relaxing and getting away. Nope. It was about Jesus. AMEN! We had several women who shared where God has them in His story and spoke to us about Identity in Christ. The women were open and real, sharing their struggles and their sins, and then how Jesus saved them and is saving them and calling them to Him even now. Jesus-saturated...one word to describe the weekend. The titles of each session (possible identities we can put on) were real and provoking. Don't think blue-hair convention. Think single women, newly-wed women, young moms, old moms, grandmas, working women, women of God seeking to know their powerful Savior more!
All of the sessions were beneficial. I could identify with each identity. But my true identity is Clothed in Christ as a Child of God.

Jill and I chose to room together, and we were with two other women. I enjoyed getting to know them a little and was able to gain a little perspective when one said, "Oh it will be so nice to take a shower, and not have any kids to worry about or rush through the shower for." Wow. I don't think about that much...not having a moment alone. Perspective.

Here are a few quotes from the weekend:
"But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope, The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. (Lam 3:21-23)"

"I don't have the option to look at others apart from the cross, because God looks at me through the veil of the cross."

"God has written you into His story to say something about Him."

"The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe (Pro 29:25)."

Through the weekend God continued to show me that I need to be proactive about reaching out and being in community in our church. I need to be the one inviting women to come over for tea or go for a walk...and not sit back and complain because no one is inviting me to do anything!
Thank You, Jesus, for continually chasing after me. You are the Giver of life and breath and all things. Amen!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dear Friends at Mt. Rainier

Jen here. I just cannot stop posting photos of Mt. Rainier. Amazing! Here are a few more photos from our hike with the Almasy family and two of our dear friends, Scott and Jill. I'll also intersperse our story of how we met Scott and Jill. Enjoy! :)
We met Scott and Jill in the fall of 2008 just after we moved to Seattle. We both attended Mars Hill Church | Shoreline and were in a class called "How to Study the Bible" taught by Pastor Steve Tompkins. The community group (small group, kind of) we were in decided to take the class as a whole, so we noticed and met Scott and Jill right away. After the class ended, they decided to attend the same CG we attended and wanted to host a CG in their home. Roy ended up being the leader of a CG replication which met in Scott and Jill's home. What a blessing it was to get to know them and become friends. Their home felt like home for us. Both being Midwesterners, they were so friendly and familiar. Jill and I frequently met up and graded papers or did lesson plans(both teachers); it was so much better to do that alongside someone rather than all alone on a Friday night! That summer we went on several hikes with them in the GORGEOUS mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Moving to HK was especially difficult because we had to say goodbye to Scott and Jill! Praise God for technology; Roy and Scott were able to talk on the phone several times a week and Jill and I had a weekly Skype date. Those times were blessings for us in the midst of loneliness and the strange culture of HK. (Isn't this tree so cool looking? They were all over the place on Mt. Rainier...the pine needles are so small and they have a peculiar look to them. I want one!)

Praise God for great friends like Scott and Jill!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Almasy Fam arrives

Jen here. Roy's theory seems to be true. His theory of Familial Gravity. The more family living in a certain area, the stronger the pull is to bring more family to that area. :) Dan was the first. Then Christie. Then Roy and me. And now Dale. Yay!

Dale arrived in Seattle near the end of October. We are so glad he decided to move out here and know that God is using it for good for him. Dale is renting the house with us (and one other housemate), and it is nice to have him around. He is friendly and fun and I know Roy enjoys having family near. Dale was able to get a job working for the same company we all do and has
really taken to coaching students in Chess and helping out in the office with IT.

A few weeks after Dale arrived, Mom and Dad Almasy graciously drove Dale's packed truck from Michigan to Washington. The drove at a pretty quick pace, but were able to stay for about a week. We loved it!

We all still had work while they visited but tried to squeeze in as much as we could. And while we were at work, Mom and Dad transformed our landscaping, weeded gardens and cleaned up the garage. I was amazed at all the work they did. Thank you, Mom and Dad! :) What a blessing it was to have them...and not just for the work. :) We loved their company.

One morning, Mom, Dad and I went to the REI in Seattle. Another morning Mom and I went to Pike's Place Market in downtown Seattle. That weekend before they headed home, we went for an AMAZING hike in God's creation--at Mt. Rainier. I cannot praise God enough for His beautiful creation...especially with Mt. Rainier in front of me. Wow.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for coming to visit!!