30 before 30: #17 Send a card for each family birthday

I used to love getting the mail around my birthday as a kid. I loved opening that box and pulling out envelopes with my name on them. My great-grandmother, Grammy Bula as she was known to my family, was the queen of sending cards and it was something I loved about her. She made it so that we were aware that she was thinking about us and to this day, it stands out in my childhood memories. So for my 30 before 30, I wanted to create a small amount of that foresight and consideration in my family as a way to preserve Grammy Bula’s memory and to give me a consistent creative outlet. I have found that carving out space for a creative outlet is imperative for my mental and emotional health. Here are a few of the birthday cards I’ve sent so far!

Darin's Birthday card exterior

Darin’s Birthday card exterior

Darin's birthday card interior

Darin’s birthday card interior

Grandma's exterior

Grandma’s exterior

Grandma's interior

Grandma’s interior

Auntie Shelly's exterior

Auntie Shelly’s exterior

Auntie Shelly's interior

Auntie Shelly’s interior

Jayelle's Exterior

Jayelle’s Exterior

Jayelle's interior

Jayelle’s interior

Ellie's exterior

Ellie’s exterior & envelope

Ellie's Interior

Ellie’s Interior


30 before 30: # 18 Add another Continent

I have been off work this week and so have a brief moment to update the ole blog! I wanted to give you guys a bit of an update on some of the #’s in progress. So far I am happy to report on the following works in progress, the scarf #14, is a little over 2 feet long, #11 memorize the sermon on the mount, I have 5 more verses to memorize in chapter 6 and then I’m on the home stretch through chapter 7. #15 Donate my hair, I am almost at the 8 inch mark necessary to donate with Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths wig program.#25 Switch careers : I started assembling a website, created a facebook, twitter and instagram accounts for Front Porch Events, my new event planning company. I hope this will help me in the transition out of my current position sometime in the coming year.

So to cross off # 18: Add another continent to my list of continents, here’s the brief on my recent trip to Scotland! I was lucky to take part in the amazing process of dropping off my boss’ daughter and sister from another mister, Ellie, at the University of Edinburgh.  We flew direct from Portland to Amsterdam and then landed in Edinburgh in early afternoon after flying for nearly 18 hours. We spent the week enjoying downtown Edinburgh and shopping in the UK for all the necessary dorm items for Ellie. Here are a few photos from the trip:

Edinburgh Castle where Mary Queen of Scots had David I

Edinburgh Castle where Mary Queen of Scots had David I


The entrance to Edinburgh Castle

The entrance to Edinburgh Castle

The clock tower at the Balmoral Hotel where we stayed

The clock tower at the Balmoral Hotel where we stayed

Those were just a few shots from my trip! I’ll keep you updated on the progress of the 30 before 30 and I hope I can get them all done!

30 before 30: #9 Learn how to Ski

Crossing of things on my 30 before 30 list has been a lot of fun lately! Today’s entry and Number 9 on my list was learn how to ski. I grew up in Northern Idaho so am used to snow but never made it up the mountain to learn to ski as a kid. A significant number of my family members love to ski and spend time on the mountain each winter so it seemed like it was weird that I never learned.
My good friend Ally who grew up in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and spent winters in high school and college as a ski instructor, graciously offered to teach me to ski. This past weekend using my gift certificate from John and Barb, I went up to Mt. Hood Meadows and finally learned how to ski!



It was such a ball! I guess that the conditions were pretty good on Saturday so it made it that much more fun to have really good snow to learn on. I spent all day either “pizza” or “french fry”-ing! I didn’t venture off the buttercup hill but only fell down six times as I learned to shift my weight and carve turns in the hill! I’m so grateful for my friend Ally who spent time teaching me! Here’s a picture of us getting ready. Image

It felt funny to be on the hill with a bunch of kids learning to ski and snowboard but I wasn’t the only adult up there. I met another woman who was quite a bit older than me that said it took her almost her whole life to learn and she said it best when she said, “It doesn’t matter how old you are, it matters that you have the courage try something new and not be afraid to fail.” So even though I have lived 28 years before learning how to strap a pair of skis to my feet and feel the rush of slicing back and forth down a hill, I’m glad that I had the courage to try something new! 

Stay tuned for more 30 before 30 and here’s a little sneak at my progress on my scarf! Image

30 before 30: # 19 Take a Road trip with a friend….

I had to add an ellipsis to the end of this title because number nineteen on the 30 before 30 list’s title is actually:

#19. Go on a road trip (longer than 3 hours) with a friend for no other reason than they’re going and you can.Image

sI met Tiffani three years ago and she was one of those friends that immediately stuck. We instantly bonded over our hilarious and amazing fathers who have ruined us for other men, a love of live sports and music, a love of good food, and the sheer amazement at what would and could come out of the other’s mouth. She is, and will be, someone that I always hold dear not only because we have lived together but because she is an invaluable friend in terms of her honesty, integrity, deep love, compassion and her overall amazingness. I consider myself lucky to be in her life.

So, when Tiff said she needed someone to drive a U-haul with all her stuff down to Richmond and then back up to Auburn, California, number 19 was all but crossed off my list. Dear readers, I doubt you can deny the value of a person that you can literally spend HOURS in a car together and not feel like you want to gouge your eyes out with a spoon. So this number was almost too easy to accomplish. I plotted many weeks on playlists and agonized over which CD’s to bring because knowing our love of music, TIff splurged and got the truck with the CD player. So 7 am Saturday January 14th we rolled out with the last physical tie Tiffani had to Portland and set off for the land of the gold rush.


The Sunset from the truck headed south


Mt Shasta


Yep, definitely driving and taking a picture... this was after we started to lose it.

The goal in crossing off number #19 on my list was to spend some time in the passenger seat. I spend most of my life whether for work or personal reasons, driving from one place to the next crossing off my to do lists or catching up with friends. It is a rare privilege to turn over the keys to someone and let them be in charge of getting us safely to our destination. There is nothing quite like hours in the car watching the scenery fly by you to get your mind moving towards things you may or may not want to think about. So number 19 was all about sitting back and enjoying the ride.

No subject was left uncovered by the time we arrived in Auburn and I had a mild case of vertigo brewing but I’m glad I went and encourage you to find a way to get in the passenger seat for a long time soon.

30 before 30: #s 11 and 14 in progress


I wanted to give an update on the 30 before 30 list! Numbers 11 and 14 are: Knit a scarf and memorize the sermon on the mount. I wanted to put these two items on the list to for a couple of reasons, first and foremost, knitting requires you to be consistent in order to complete the task. You have to do the same stitch and the same number of stitches repeatedly over a period of time. I am a fairly task oriented person and typically finish things I start that have a short completion period. I have a harder time doing the same thing over and over in order to complete a task. I love crossing things off short-term lists, it’s the longer term picking something up day after day or week after week. So in the hopes of building some long-term task completion abilities and giving me something to do while I watch my favorite shows.


Here is the scarf as of about 3 weeks ago!

The Sermon on the Mount #11 has similar reasons behind my desire to cross it off my list. I spent many years doing AWANA growing up and I missed the scripture memory in my life. I had always memorized verses and only memorized one chapter in college so I wanted to up the ante and memorize multiple chapters. I have to say it’s been fulfilling to attempt this and the Lord has used the quest to bring me comfort and encouragement in times when I’ve needed it most recently. On November 4, I lost someone who has been very dear to my life, Grandma Faye Wright went home to organize things in heaven for our Savior. She has been a consistent figure in my life since I was 3 years old and a pillar of faith in my life. She  told it like it is and never forgot anything even as a ninety year old woman. I got the news when I was at women’s conference with a friend and found myself in the bathroom crying. If there is one place to grieve, it is at a women’s conference. Before I finally composed myself again, I had at least 6 women stop and offer a hug, prayer or encouragement. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4. As I sat there, I thanked God for the truth in His word and how He showed me that He is in control.

Stayed tuned for more 30 before 30…..

30 before 30: #2. Meet a Portland Trailblazer

Two posts in one week is understandably a bit overwhelming for you my dear blog followers considering you are used to two posts bi-annually! However, I thought I would treat you to a double dose considering I luckily have the day off and am enjoying blogging in the sunshine. Aside from the glare, I think I could lead a writer’s life.
As I mentioned at the close of my last entry, I have created a list. It’s a 30 before 30 list. Thirty things I must attempt or accomplish before I turn thirty. So today I will share about crossing off #2 on my list: Meet a Portland Trailblazer.
If you’ve hung out with me in recent years, you are aware that I am a slight fan of my hometown team, The Portland Trailblazers.  Of those listed on the roster that has changed over the years, my heart has consistently belonged with # 12, Lamarcus Aldridge. Although, my regard has not grown to complete dedication like some of whom I am acquainted with, initials Mari Yeckel. I do think he is a great player and definitely one of the better looking men in the NBA. Additionally, any of the locker room videos or hilarious tweets from the blazers team site usually features LA.
So on September 8th,  in preparation for my boss’ son’s 13th birthday, I was running around like a mad woman on a 90 degree day trying to accumulate all the items necessary to throw a killer 13th birthday party. This included essentially dumpster diving in my boss’ storage units, aka the garage and barn, since they have temporarily vacated their permanent address for a remodel. Loading outdoor furniture, christmas lights, candles, cushions, extension cords etc, which hasn’t seen daylight in months meant that I was sweaty, dirty and covered in cobwebs. Did I also mention that the farmhand was off for the day so I had feed 9 goats, 10 chickens, a horse and rabbit? I smelled amazing and who knows what was on my clothing. So on my way back to the rental house, I stopped in at Fred Meyer to grab a few things and when I walked in the door, I saw this:

Public signing with Lamarcus Aldridge

Public signing with Lamarcus Aldridge

At this point, it is 7:00 pm and he is almost done. I walk through the door and there he is, Lamarcus Aldridge. He looks like a petting zoo animal that has seen one too many kids. I never in million years thought that I would actually be able to cross off #2 and only a few days after my list was made, I was face to face with an opportunity to accomplish one of the seemingly more difficult items on it. I was pumped until I remembered what I looked like. I hesitated for a moment before I realized, the chances of him actually caring that I have cobwebs in my hair after he has dealt with screaming girls, abusive parents, slobbering children, obnoxious teenagers and hovering employees are slim to none. He wants to go home and all I have to do is go up and meet him to start my 30 before 30 list off with a bang. Also, when am I going to have another chance to meet a blazer? This list is nothing but a push for me to not miss an opportunity.  So cobwebbed hair, back sweated shirt, hair a mess, I marched up to Lamarcus Aldridge said, “Hey, I’m Rachel. Nice to meet you. Would you mind signing a picture for my friend Mari? You are her favorite.”
“Nice to meet you he said, who’s the picture for?” I said, “Mari” and he heard “Amare” so he started to sign it with an A and then I said “No, Mari not Amare” Then he said, “Spell it.” and grabbed another picture out of his press kit.
So I said, “M-A-R-I. Can you say, ‘To Mari Love Lamarcus?” and he said, “l’ll sign it but not love.” Someone nearby made a crack about his wanting to get it right being a quest for perfection and I said, “That’s what is going to get you on the all star team this year.” He smiled a half smile handed me the picture and said, “Hopefully.” I said “Thanks,” and walked off. 2 days later I went to the beach with Mari and handed her a her picture from Lamarcus Aldridge and I kid you not, she teared up.

Mari Loves LA

Mari loves LA

My boss asked me when I told him that I had met a blazer and gotten a picture for a friend, “Why didn’t you get a picture for yourself?” I told him, “It wasn’t so much as the souvenir as it was the seizing the opportunity and the experience of meeting a blazer  looking like a mess and not being afraid to be myself that was more important that any press piece he could have given me.” So number 2 is crossed off my list and I am excited to see what other adventures I have in the quest of the 30 before 30. Stay tuned for more of my list….

Great Expectations

Once again I must begin my blog post with a giant :


Well, I think I will make up for those 3 months right now with 1 MONSTER blog. So buckle up, use the restroom and get yourself a beverage because here we go!!

Since I haven’t been writing on my blog obviously, what have I been up to this summer? Well I will tell you! I went to several concerts: Matisyahu, Steely Dan and Adele. My amazing friend Ally completed an Olympic distance triathlon while I did a 1/2 marathon in Sunriver in June. My beautiful friend Christy married the man of her dreams on my dad’s birthday July 23!

Myself, Stephanie (MOH), Christy, Ash (BM), Jess

I got to go to Hawaii in August with my boss and two of her kids and had a ball. Here’s a beautiful shot on the grounds of the hotel!

Grand Wailea Maui

Our lovely accomodations

My family had a brief reunion in the end of August and we went to Silverwood Amusement park in northern Idaho and had a BALL! Here is a picture from the ride tremors:


Can you tell I love Rollercoasters?!

That young man in the yellow doing his best to not look terrified is my future brother-in-law Tim, who prior to this photo, had never ridden roller-coasters in his life! CRAZY! He ended up doing 4 in one day! Congrats to Lisa and Tim who’ll be getting married next summer.

So that is a brief highlight reel from this summer! I titled this entry “Great Expectations” because what I originally set out to do was blog about one of the things I’ve been “craftin'” lately and talk about Morgan’s birthday card. This is the 3rd birthday I celebrated with Morgan, my boss’ youngest son, and I have for each of his birthdays made him a card. His first card was a simple pop up card with his face photo-shopped on Captain America’s body and thus the bar was set. Well last year for his birthday I picked him up from school and I kid you not, one of the first things he said to me on the drive home was, “Can I have my birthday card? You make the BEST birthday cards!” So needless to say, I can’t just hit Target on my way to work to get him a birthday card. This year being his 13th birthday I had to up the ante again and make him an extra special card since it was such a BIG birthday. Here is the final product:

Exterior of the card folded up

Exterior of the card folded up

First opening of the card

First opening of the card

2nd opening, the back of the right flap as the "orga" of Morgan on it

2nd opening, the back of the right flap as the "orga" of Morgan on it

The big birthday fold out of all the pages

The big birthday fold out of all the pages

The pop up page underneath the big birthday fold out

The pop up page underneath the big birthday fold out

I don’t think I disappointed him for his big 13th birthday!

In closing I will leave you with a teaser for my upcoming blog series. If you are fortunate enough to have been around for my last birthday you are certain to have experienced my ranting on the slow decline to 30. I will be 28 this November and am having a certain degree of anxiety about turning the big 3-0 in just 2 years. So, like many wise friends and women before me, I have created a 30 before 30 list. It is a list of things both tangible and non, experiences big and small that I hope to accomplish before my 30th birthday. One of the first things I managed to cross off was actually one I didn’t expect to accomplish: #2. Meet a Portland Trailblazer!

To be continued……….