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 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. 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 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. 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. 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!!