I am sitting in the OHSU café on my last day of work, 2 days away from an incredible Labor Day invite I know we’ll have, 4 days away from moving to a tiny Caribbean island for three months. Wow. There are butterflies, excitement, nervousness, anxiety, hopefulness, and simply blanket trust in God that it will all work out for good.
So, life. The past week has been a bit of a jumble and I can’t tell if I can classify it as productive or not.
1. The sisters donated blood. Somewhat successfully.
I don’t really know how we got this in our system, but us girls have decided it is a personal mission to donate blood as much as we can. Not crazily but we always have fun making an effort when it works out. So the day after we got home from vacation, Tiera, Kendra, and I headed over to the Red Cross bloodmobile outside Fred Meyer to try out luck… it is always a guessing game if our iron will be high enough. The joys of being female. Anyway, Kendra and I had taken 4 vitamins a piece in the past 24 hours and we had all stocked up on meat hoping we would meet the iron requirement.
Tiera was first up, and... sad day, she couldn’t donate.
Kendra was next and her’s was fine so she started donating, I followed and (SHOCK OF SHOCKS) mine was high enough as well. The Red Cross nurses were all so enamored with the fact that we were all sisters and it was so sweet that we all came together and on and on… and then one of them, after they had all seen that our last name was Wiegand, looked at me and asked if Wiegand was my married name. REALLY? Do I really not look like my family that I would have to marry- in to be sisters?! (Related story for those who don’t know.. when I was in Eureka I was asked if I was adopted because I didn’t look like my family).
But anyway, we had a good laugh and since I am a really slow donate-er, I was last while K & T were eating their snacks. I usually have problems donating and I get really light-headed (or pass out, yes it has happened), so I tried to sit up slow and take a while before leaving. But apparently not long enough, because after 2 minutes at the food table I didn’t feel well and knew that is what happens before I pass out—so I quickly went back to a bed to lay down. The hilarious thing is that just as I finish laying down, I turned around to glance at Kendra and her head rolls back and SHE passes out! I’ll admit I am a bad sister and started laughing because she looked hilarious. All the nurses then came running over (they thought they had it when I needed to lay down, but here was an all-out fainter!) and saying her name and putting wet cloths on her face and laying her down. Tiera and I knew she would be fine so it was still funny and so typical of us. ;)
2. Mighty Wiegand women moved some large furniture.
When I got an apartment in Corvallis for the rest of the school year, and needed furniture, my mom decided it was the perfect time to get new couches. Which—for a poor college student—it was, meaning that this girl gets our old green couch and loveseat. Of course that means Mom, Tiera, Kyla, and I had to move it down to Corvallis, an escapade that included lots of bungees on a borrowed truck, slow driving, staggering, and apparently looking so pitiful that a passing college student asked if we needed help…we told him YES. But they’re in!
3. I packed. Sort of.
Yep that’s about it. I know I need to keep plugging at it but oh my word. There is a tiny trail from my bedroom door to my bed and the rest is covered with clothes, scuba gear, biodegradable laundry detergent, ridiculous quantities of shampoo, swimsuits…
4. My last hurrah at OHSU.
I learned a lot about what a sustainability career could look like and made some helpful contacts. And broadened my horizons: I tried kale, kohlrabi, buckwheat crepes, arippas (Columbian cuisine), and specialty tiramisu (ooh that was a hard one).
5. My last hurrah with my awesome friends.
Last night a group of us girls went out to Italian and stayed so long the regular dinner crowd turned into the later-ish date night wine-drinking crowd. Then we took the party back to my house and kept chatting for another couple hours. We had a blast and I am in love with life; why was I blessed to be given this? Such great friendships and experiences and I don’t deserve any of it. Help me to always remember Who is the wonderful One making it all happen!!
So my room is major disaster zone as I mindlessly try to organize my life before I take off for three months; I will admit to having nightmarish thoughts about not being able to use my credit card or forgetting something important. Ah, so is life.
Today has been a day of organizing my Honda paperwork and credit card statements and dive insurance papers, and in the midst of all of that I found some notes from a book I read a year ago. No, I don’t always take notes when I read, but sometimes I read a book that is so full of GREAT thoughts that I can’t help but write some of them down for a rainy day when I am lagging. And then I find them on days like today and thank God for He clearly has it all planned out!
The book I had read was called “Life is So Good” by George Dawson, an African American man who worked hard every day of his life–through the unfairness and injustice that came his way–and found the good in everything; at age 98 he was not done trying and decided to go to school to learn how to read. What an inspiration! Some of his thoughts…
So the sweatbands really did happen. Matching for all 6 members of this familia. Except certain parental units did not like to wear theirs, so we really only represented for day one of the Wiegand Hiking Extravaganza (we’re not actually hikers but that was the main theme of this vacation, apparently). And since National Parks have been a part of this family since before I was born, of course this whole trip was about seeing the parks… yay (are we catching the sarcasm?). Actually us girls just complain about them but they aren’t too bad and the ones on this trip were gorgeous and pretty fun! We just like to rag on Mom & Dad ;)
This will be a really quick snapshot of our week: Arches on Tuesday with a quick hike and then rock climb expedition for Dad and the girls, Bryce on Wednesday with a rim trail hike for the girls and then floating on tubs down the river in the afternoon, Zion on Thursday with the whole family hiking The Narrows– a gorgeous hike through a canyon in ankle to waist deep water, surrounded by the towering canyon walls on either side! Shockingly we got up at 7 every day (THIS IS UNHEARD OF FOR THE WIEGAND GIRLS) so we could beat the heat… 100-104 degrees every day, and then we spent afternoons/evenings back at our cabin. Friday we headed out at 8 am and drove hard all day to get back to our own beds by midnight. What a trip!! But we’re all savoring however many of these trips we have left together before we have to grow up and be adults with jobs and limited vacation time (sad day). But to end on a high note, God’s creation is GORGEOUS.
It’s been a whirlwind! But to catch up on the past couple weeks…. after Chicago I headed back to Eureka to spend a week with my sisters visiting Grandma (main event), stealing cookies from the nursing home (close second), playing Bingo, stocking up on CDs from the Et Cetera shop (I actually found some good ones… and for $.50!… can’t find that in Oregon), going to DQ (quite frequently actually), bringing Grandma burgers from Hardee’s, swimming/hot-tubbing/gabbing at Uncle Merle’s, taking my 97 year old great aunt out to dinner (where she jumped out of the Suburban and gave us all heart attacks!), and re-learning to drive stick-shift (didn’t kill it once!).
Friday morning I drove to Fairbury to meet up with Abby (gotta have some time with this busy girl!!) and go to the conference. I’d never been to one before and since this was a (somewhat rare) time I was actually in the area, I knew I wanted to go. And oh my word I was blessed to be there! There is something about being there and being surrounded by a church family so large you can’t even comprehend it all (almost 1,200 in attendance this year), tied together by faith and love that is only made possible by Christ, all singing for the same purpose and with the same joy… you can’t get that awe-inspiring feeling from the recordings. And I appreciated all of the thoughts spoken as well… so encouraging and so relevant for our walks with Christ! Just a few inspirations I want to remember…
That whole day… what a blessing!
That weekend was my cousin Leah’s baptism which was great in itself– taking me back, reuniting with Magdalena friends and cousins, just being together as a family (all 6 again!). I had some really encouraging conversations that weekend about God’s direction in my life, and about different experiences in the mission field. A lot to think about… please pray for me! Thank goodness He has it all in control but sometimes it seems too scary to just make the leap and trust.
And finally,,, after church services on Sunday, we picked up Papa Del’s pizza (for anyone who has not tasted this, you are missing out on life) and headed for UTAH. Let’s see, about the drive..: of new CDs, sunglasses, sleeping, cherry Dr. Pepper (for some parties who actually can drink that stuff.. ewwww), ipod playlists, snazzy iphone photography, laughs, counting the rumble strips (3 strikes and driver is REPLACED ;), loving the family, mountain driving, and did I mention sleeping?? With 5 drivers we did a lot of trade-offs in the time from 4pm Sunday to 10am Monday when we arrived. And because we were just so fresh after 0 hours of good sleep, we decided to hike at Arches (National Park) before we crashed in the hotel room. Genius, right? But then we were warned by a ton of signs that hiking without water = death and there was no water around, so we decided to come at a better time (as in, not peak 100 degree heat) after we had slept. So the whole gang crashed for the next 13 hours and then were ready to start hiking! National parks here we come… Arches, Bryce, and Zion.
Eight girls… after a wedding weekend, cooped up inside in church clothes all day, ready for adventure— that was us. The thought of a fun trip to Chicago kept us going all weekend (why didn’t I think of this?? every time a friend gets married, go on a trip and have some fun!!) and so after the reception we headed up to Joliet to catch the train. I just think trains are a ton of fun. Mom, Kyla, and I took one up to Seattle earlier this year — pretty similar to this — and they are just so cute! In Seattle the scenery looked kind of Anne-of-Green-Gables-esque (ADORABLE!), but this one seemed city-sophisticated the whole time since it was dark out. We had some great laughs (naps for some) on the ride up, which unfortunately included the sketch comments of a 40-something man who avidly listened to our conversation and interjected tips. We stopped just short of telling him where we were staying and eating dinner, … even though he asked numerous times (AHHH!!). I didn’t have my pepper spray– otherwise I would have felt safe. But we did decide if we bought matching bandanas we could look pretty intimidating… like skirt-wearing groupies or something;)
Arriving at 10pm to the city lights, we made a huge scene hailing taxis (… clearly not city natives, if you couldn’t tell from our backpacks and tourist Nikons) and headed to The Little Goat Diner, a fancy-ish restaurant that serves goat from Kilgus Farms (where Leigha works) but wasn’t too upscale for us. It was great fun to exclaim over the AC references on the menu and to try (or observe.. for some of us) the goat dishes. And… once again, the perks of Leigha’s connections to Kilguses… we got 2 free desserts! Delicious.. though as some would say, “a little goat-y”!!
We decided to trek back 18 blocks to our hotel because clearly we weren’t tired, and happened to run into Tiera on the way back (who was just coming back for her last week of interning)! Great chats in the hotel room that night before crashing for our early morning the next day.
Coffee and smoothies at Einstein’s was a great start to the day (for those of us that got up;) and then we all had breakfast in the hotel. Even in just the breakfast room—which wasn’t even that crowded—someone from Kansas who will remain nameless…;) proclaimed that she was “so sick of people!” Since it was only 8 in the morning and we were spending the day in Chicago that was kind of a problem ;) Haha it is so fun to travel with people from different perspectives.. clearly I felt more comfortable here than with the Kilgus’ cows (which I found pretty scary!). But I’m a city girl and proud of it!!.. I will admit I would LOVE to live in a downtown loft someday. We’ll see what God’s plan is for me!! I got a lot of dreams! Anyway…
Rarin’ to go, we set out on Michigan Avenue and wandered the shops, the beach, the Cheesecake Factory, and Navy Pier …. pretty much all over Chicago … before we were starved for lunch. Of course at that point it took us about 45 minutes to find Gino’s (gotta have deep dish pizza when in Chicago!) and so when the sign was in sight, I’ll admit you might have seen a bunch of us actually running towards it… only to find the line was out the door ;( But when we asked about the wait, they saw we were a big group and let us in pretty quick. But our “food-high” was crushed when we found out that Chicago-style pizzas take 50 minutes to bake. But since you only live once (theme of my life, apparently), we decided to do it. At one point there were some hilarious nappers on one end of the table (probably scaring the waiter), who (1) looked like they were praying and (2) woke up immediately when certain subjects came up (come on, we are 20-year-old girls, it makes sense ;)!! And the pizza was to die for!!
We had a 4 pm train to catch so we hurried back to the hotel to grab our bags and then caught taxis to the bean.. since you can’t see Chicago without going there! It was probably good that we were headed back to the heartland because the crowds of city people made Leigha started missing her cows!! ;) Haha oh my word I love her! I can’t picture a weekend I’d rather have or a better group of girls to be with… Nobody else would drink out of city fountains, make fun of each others’ accents, share food, and run in front of traffic with friends they met only weeks ago!!
So I am officially in Illinois. Already been through Kansas and Missouri and had a weekend (week?) of amazingness with some pretty awesome girls. Last Thursday my family left at 8 am (driving) for Illinois and I spent the day sleeping, reading, and then finally starting to pack at 4 pm (smart, smart.. I know). Plus since Mom knew I was staying later she left me a chore list.. ;) So I realized around 6 that it was going to be pretty tight to get everything done, especially since I left for a couple hours to go out to fro-yo with some friends! But by 11 pm I was packed and headed to the airport!!
I got in to Kansas City at 8:30 am the next morning, and after Jody and Kara picked me up I got the grand tour of Bern and Sabetha (exhausting, right!!) before lunch at a cute little cafe where Kara works. After iced lattes from a friend in Bern, we headed back to the Goodmans for milking (Jody), packing (Kara), and sleeping (Jenna). The 3 hours I got that afternoon were WONDERFUL and then we headed to Seneca with a bunch of other girls for dinner and Dutch Blitz at the coffee house. Have I mentioned how cute these little towns are??! Adorable! Brick-lined streets and the setting sun made it the perfect evening for frappes and a walk around town (even though I got made fun of for bringing a jacket “in case it got cold later”– guess I’m not in Oregon anymore;)!
Jody and I’s good intentions to get sleep were overridden by some some awesome (and needed) heart to hearts talks that kept us up late… especially considering our 4:30 wake up time to get on the road by 5. Driving in the dark was actually a pretty fun start to the day, and the flat Kansas roads and open sky made for a gorgeous sunrise! (Especially for someone who is NEVER up to see it!).
This was our drive: Walmart breakfast stop, gross vegetable drinks (Amanda), music, snores (Kara), great conversation (Jody and Jenna, Amanda?), pictures, expresso beans, speeding tickets (jk… just a warning!! wheww.. heart attack!!), Panera lunch, Bloomington wedding gift shopping.
We arrived in Fairbury exhausted after lunch but glad to see friends! Of course we woke right up after a trip to get ice cream at Kilgus dairy (oh the perks of having a friend that works there ;)!, and a paddle boat outing on the lake. We ended up taking the goft cart (new trend in Fairbury?? who knew!!) into town to get waters and fries at DQ and enjoy a little shopping downtown!! What a blast.. 5 girls crammed on a golf cart, wind in our hair, team driving through town!
Though some of us don’t really care what we look like anymore, we (grudgingly) cleaned up for the singing that night (tamed down that hair a little bit). Though we showed up late, we did NOT have to parade to the front of church.. thank goodness! Afterwards we headed over to Amanda’s with another group of girls for some more trail mix and gabbing… fun to meet some of my Pinterest friends in real life— who knew they don’t live in Haiti??! Shocker! ;)
The wedding and reception were a whirlwind and then a group of us headed to Joliet to catch the 8 pm train to Chicago!! Woot woot!! [Continued...]
I'm a twenty-something from the Pacific NW making home in new places as I follow where God leads.
My intent is to show Christ's love to the world and use business to solve some of the social problems we face: hunger, illiteracy, healthcare, economic hardship. For now, I'm in a stage of learning. A little adventuring, a few books, some good friends, and a whole lot of prayer and life runs on.