Our Next Adventure…

So, after many months of not updating our blog (sorry!) I have some big news. And it is pretty big!

Jimmy and I have decided on our next great adventure… it’s pretty exciting though it’ll take a lot of patience and even more trust.

We are adopting!

Okay, I guess it’s more precise to say that we are planning to adopt and we have started the very looooong process to adopt a baby.

How did we get here? Well, adoption has been a part of our lives for several years now in a couple of different ways. The  most obvious is our own adoption in to God’s family. I know, I know… is that a bit cliche? Maybe, but it’s also a reality and the biggest reason behind why we are choosing to adopt. In some ways adopting seems really scary. Most of it, or really all of it, seems out of our control. Adoption for us is a way of putting feet to our faith. We believe that God has adopted us, loves us, cares for, and keeps us no matter what. In our calling to become more and more like Christ we see adopting someone into our home and heart as responding to what God has already done for us.

This brings me to reason two for adoption: for whatever reason Jimmy and I haven’t been able to have children biologically. And while we remain open to this as a future possibility, we have set our hearts on growing our family through adoption. Adoption has always been on the table, even before we were married we knew we wanted to adopt someday. This makes reason two a rather small reason, but it has perhaps given us more of an incentive to finally act on our desire to adopt.

While there are plenty of other reasons we want to adopt, the last one I’ll mention is our own personal experience through the lives of others who have adopted. We know many families who have adopted multiple children and have been able to walk with them some as they experience the joys and heartaches of the process. This is especially true of our friends Heather and Joel who adopted their son Darin. My relationship with Heather and having the privilege to know Darin–he is one of the coolest kids the world has ever known–is probably where my own heart for adoption first developed. Anything that scares me about adoption is easily subsided when I think about Heather, Joel, Darin, and Arabella and Holden. They came into my life right when Darin came into theirs. In a way we all sort of became family together.

I’m also convinced that Jimmy will be the most amazing dad. I’m confident that the two of us together will make admittedly imperfect but incredibly loving parents. And I hope that I’ll make a good mom. I also know that our kid(s) will be so amazingly loved by their grandparents, aunts, uncles, church family, and friends. If nothing else, I know that this little person will be loved.

So, why now? What made us decide this was the moment in our lives that we were ready to adopt? Well, I don’t know if we actually feel ready, but there are a few things that have reassured us that we are moving in the right direction. The first being this: when Jimmy and I got married I told him that after we hit the three year mark we needed to start the adoption process. Three years was the required time that most of the adoption agencies in Houston require before a couple could adopt. Seemed logical enough to me that this was as good a time frame as any. Jimmy, however, didn’t quite feel ready for children. So, I told myself the time for adopting would be right when Jimmy approached me about, not vice-versa. Over the years we fluctuated on our feelings about children, Jimmy mostly remaining unsure about them while I wavered back and forth on wanting to get pregnant or adopt (at one point desperately wanting to adopt our sponsor child we actually got to meet from Kenya) to a period where I thought I might not want kids at all. Within the last couple of years that started to change and the desire to expand our family grew not just for me, but Jimmy as well.

We wanted to be parents! Though nothing really changed we thought maybe we’d finally get pregnant. Maybe now that we weren’t both in school, we both have stable jobs, are working towards being healthier, and maybe a bit more mature, now would be the time we had a baby.

Then it happened. A few months ago, Jimmy told me it was time for us to adopt. And I knew–I knew this was the time and that this was our next great adventure.

Once we decided to move forward we excitedly told our family and are happy for their support and love toward our decision. We are happy that we will hopefully be making them grandparents and aunts and uncles soon.

That’s the news my friends–though it admittedly feels less real than announcing a pregnancy because there’s so much waiting to be done–we are happy to announce our plans to adopt!

So, now begins the waiting game. We have been looking into a couple different options on how to adopt here in Washington and think we have figured out a few options that seem like a good fit. I’ll try and expand on that more in a future update.  Until then we’d ask to you do something for us: pray. Pray for us as we make decisions about the logistics of this process. Pray for our finances–in most cases adoption costs A LOT. Pray for our patience and trust. And pray for the birth mom–whoever she may be–who will also be (we hope) a part of our family.

Yay! We’re adopting. 🙂

More Time for More Adventures…

Just a quick update to let our readers know we are staying in Bellingham for at least a few more months. We are very excited about this! Logos has decided to keep Jimmy and me on through the end of November. We have really enjoyed our summer working with the incredible folks at Logos and are thankful for the opportunity to continue working with them a bit longer. The work has been both challenging and rewarding and we feel extremely blessed to be doing something we love and have trained for through many years of school.

A year ago we were in a pretty tough spot and struggling to know what the next step would be in our life. We had finished our MABL degrees and were having trouble finding jobs in Houston. Working at Logos had long been a dream of ours so we were overjoyed when we learned about the summer internships. We are even more ecstatic now that we are getting to hang around a bit longer. Even if we only get a couple of months here, we are thankful for what God is doing in us during this time. We are ESPECIALLY thankful for the relationships we have made and the old ones that are becoming more seasoned.

In addition to loving the work we have been doing, as I’m sure you can tell, we absolutely LOVE living in Bellingham. Washington has proved to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Our lifestyle has taken a dramatic change from when we were living in Houston. Nowadays we spend almost every weekend outdoors exploring some new place. Tomorrow we are taking the ferry to Orca Island for a 3-hour guided kayak tour around Doughty Point (thanks to Groupon!). I personally feel like I am getting healthier and stronger, which was something I sorely needed. Many of you know that I struggle with anxiety-related issues and though it hasn’t completely disappeared, our new lifestyle has made a huge improvement to the way I handle anxiety and the physical affects are much less apparent. I am hopeful that the better shape I am in the better I will feel overall. This is a huge accomplishment from 7 months ago when I was at my worst when Bo, my beloved dog of 11 years, died.

So, in other big news, Jimmy is turning 30 next weekend!!! To celebrate we are going camping for the weekend with some of our friends. We are really looking forward to our first camping trip up here and to many more outdoor excursions in the future. Never would I have thought that I would want to go backpacking and rough it in the wilderness! One of my bigger goals is something like a multi-day backpacking trip in Whistler, B.C. We’ll see if that actually happens!

Last weekend we went biking on Lummi Island and we hiked down to Clayton Beach so I have lots of pictures to post, but I’ll wait until tomorrow after I have some pics from our kayaking expedition. I bought a waterproof case that goes around your neck so I could capture some good action photos while we are kayaking. Hopefully I do not lose my phone in the ocean!

Stay tuned for more adventures,
Jess

It’s the Climb…

It’s hard to believe we’ve been in Bellingham for two months! Time is moving fast and we are trying to soak up as much of B’ham as we can. Our internships are nearing their end as well; one intern from out department just left yesterday and others will be done in the next week or two. I (Jess) have three weeks left in my internship. Some good news: Jimmy’s team had their internships extended through the end of September so that they can finish their project. So, it looks like we’ll be staying in B’ham at least until the beginning of October… but we’re hoping for longer. We’ll see what happens!

Since out last update we’ve been able to see a lot more of Bellingham and beyond. One Sunday we rode our bikes down to Teddy Bear Cove. The ride turned out to be pretty grueling because of the steep incline for the last mile up the mountain but it felt good to get in almost 15 miles on our bikes! Once we got to the cove we had to walk down a trail to actually get on the beach. It was a steep climb… and we took our bikes down (which made for a lot more work) but once we got there it was well worth it.

The next weekend we went back to Lake Padden and did a little bit of wading in the water, reading on the grass, and walking the trail. The whole train around the lake is about 3 miles so it’s a pretty nice walk with just a few hills here and there.

On another day we went blueberry picking with our friends the Cerones. We drove out to Bow Hill Blueberry farm on a somewhat rainy day and picked berries for several hours. It was definitely one of our time in B’ham so far. We ended up pick almost 11 POUNDS OF BERRIES! It turns out Jimmy might have a calling as a farm laborer. Most of them have ended up in our freezer. I have since made several batches of blueberry muffins and some blueberry pancakes. I LOVE BLUEBERRIES!!! (We also had some of their blueberry ice cream which was wonderfully delicious!)

One evening after work we went back to Whatcom Park  walked across the bridge again. We also did some more exploring and found some new trails.

Last weekend we took a trip to Seattle with a group from Logos. We didn’t see much of the city, but we made a stop of the Living Computer Museum and then went to a baseball game at Safeco Field to watch the Mariners beat the Orioles. We finished the trip up with dinner at Bucca di Beppo’s (one of our favorite places to eat back home).

On Sunday we rode our bikes to church, then to breakfast, and then down to Cornwall Park which is near downtown Bellingham. It was a beautiful day and we rode about 8 miles altogether.

Later that day we went hiking with four of our friends… and a baby! We started at Samish Overlook and then hiked up AND I MEAN UP the mountain (like 900 feet!) to the Oyster Dome. The trail started off pretty easy but we soon started having to climb over creeks and logs and eventually we had to climb up rocky terrain with lots of roots… I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the top. BUT I finally did and the view was spectacular. Washington is one of the most beautiful places one earth! We then started our trek back down the mountain and four hours later we were finally back to our cars. It was one of the hardest things physically that I have ever done but I am glad to have accomplished, despite all my complaining. 🙂

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Greetings, readers! Sorry it has been a couple of weeks since our last update. Today’s post will be rather long with lots of pictures from our recent adventures.

Since being in Bellingham, we’ve spent a lot of time exploring the local parks. Our first week here we went to Boulevard Park which is right near the bay.

The next park we explored was Whatcom Falls Park. We actually walked to the park from our apartment since it’s rather close. It turned out to be a long walk uphill but it was worth it once we got to the park. It was gorgeous!

A few days later we went to Lake Paddon Park with the dogs. They have a dog park which was fun for the dogs since they got to run around off their leashes. Most of the parks actually have trails you can walk your dogs OFF their leashes but I don’t think we’re quite ready to try that yet with Charlie and Parker. Parker is REALLY into exploring when he’s in the woods and I’m not sure we’d be able to keep track of him if he were off his leash! 🙂 The lake is really nice and when we were there people were swimming… but it was a  bit too cold for us. Maybe later in the summer we’ll try it out.

We also visited Bloedel Donovan Park which is on Lake Whatcom. This place is BEAUTIFUL and a very popular spot. There were also kids swimming in the lake when it was like 70 degrees!!! That’s crazy! This seems like a great place to kayak so we hope to do that soon.

Last week Logos hosted everyone from work at a baseball game and we got some really tasty free food from Boundary Bay, a brewery in Bellingham. The Bellingham Bell’s is the town’s summer league and they play at a ball park less than a mile from where we live. We got to hang out with some folks from work, including our new friends the Cerones. We think they’re pretty cool.

So, now we’re up to yesterday and it’s the 4th of July. In the morning we decided to go back to Whatcom Falls and take the dogs for a walk. We explored a different area of the park and found a nice little pond. Parker decided to get in and test the waters and we are quickly learning that he’s a fan of swimming. We are hoping to find a nice place to swim and take the dogs later in the summer when it’s a bit warmer (we are used to swimming in 90+ degree weather, not 70!). Also, we saw some deer. We’ve see A LOT of deer since we’ve moved here.

For 4th of July festivities we went to a new friends house for a party. They live right across the bay in a gorgeous part of Bellingham. We had a lot of fun hanging out with some old and new friends. We even got to see quite a few fireworks from different locations across the water. AND there were people doing (illegal!) fireworks in the complex next to us… at midnight. We had a fun 4th!

Today we decided to go up to Mt. Baker (about an hour NE of Bellingham) and see what all the fuss was about. Let me tell you, this place is definitely something to fuss over! It is probably one of the coolest places I’ve ever been… and I’ve been to a lot of cool places! 😉 We didn’t really think about the snow so we were both wearing shorts so it was a bit chilly. We first drove as far up as you can drive where there is a nice lookout and LOTS of snow. We then drove down and stopped at a different of spots to explore and take pictures. We saw a few people here and there skiing or sledding so I am DEFINITELY going to be getting us some snow saucers so we can go back and do some sledding! 🙂 Towards the bottom of the mountain is Nooksack Falls as well as some trails, which we also explored. There are lots of places to camp on the mountain and in the forest so we are thinking this might be the place we go when we finally go camping this summer.

Today was a great day and we feel so blessed to be able to live in Bellingham and do a lot of things that are new and exciting. Still on our to-do list:

  • Kayaking
  • Whale watching
  • Visit seattle
  • Visit Vancouver, B.C.
  • Camping
  • Take the dogs swimming
  • Do something REALLY awesome for Jimmy’s 30th birthday which is next month!

I’ll finish up today’s post with some random pics from work and around town.

Stay tuned for more great adventures!

Love,

Jess

 

 

Welcome to Our Great Adventure

Photo taken at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, WA (May 2014)
Photo taken at Boulevard Park in Bellingham, WA (May 2014)

Welcome to our new blog! While we will continue to blog with our friends over at Cataclysmic we wanted to create a personal blog in order to catalog this great adventure we are on. This will be a place for us to share stories and photos with our friends and families, as well as other readers who might find our life interesting.

So what is this great adventure? In general, it’s life itself! More specifically, the Parks family recently packed up and moved 2500 miles from Houston, Texas, to Bellingham, Washington. This is the first time either of us has lived outside of the greater-Houston area–indeed, it has been quite an adventure!

We are currently working at Logos Bible Software as interns in the Content Innovation (CI) department. We are two weeks in and we have ten weeks left in our internship. But the adventure won’t stop there! We have NO IDEA what is next for us… perhaps we’ll get to stay in Bellingham a bit longer (fingers crossed!)… or maybe we’ll end up in Amsterdam to continue our studies (what?!?)… or back home to H-town… or who knows! Either way we are sure it will be an adventure.

We are looking forward to sharing our experience with you and hope you enjoy the journey!

Glory to Christ–life with him is the greatest adventure,

Jess

2500 Miles and Lots of Photos

Here are a few photos from our road trip from Houston to Bellingham a few weeks ago. We took four days to drive from Texas to Washington and were able to see a lot of states we’d never seen before. Living in the city can

Our pups, Charlie and Parker (May 19, 2014)
Our pups, Charlie and Parker (May 19, 2014)

If you are new to our adventure, let me introduce you to our two pups: Charlie and Parker. Charlie is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (left) and she’s two and a half years old. My mom gave me her for Christmas in 2011. Parker is the Cocker Spaniel (right) and he’s four years old. We recently adopted him from Gulf Coast Cocker Spaniel Rescue back in January. We love our furbabies! They did great on our very long journey.

Entering Oklahoma (May 19, 2014)
Entering Oklahoma (May 19, 2014)

Our first day we drove from Houston through Oklahoma and stopped over in Salina, Kansas.

Jess and Charlie somewhere in Kansas (May 19, 2014)
Jess and Charlie somewhere in Kansas (May 19, 2014)

 

 

 

 

Parker and Charlie at a hotel in Salina, Kansas (May 19, 2014)
Parker and Charlie at a hotel in Salina, KS (May 19, 2014)
Entering Colorado (May 20, 2014)
Entering Colorado (May 20, 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day we spent several hours driving across western Kansas and through Colorado before stopping in Rock Springs Wyoming.

North of Denver (May 20, 2014)
North of Denver (May 20, 2014)
Entering Wyoming (May 20, 2014)
Entering Wyoming (May 20, 2014)
Driving through Wyoming (May 20, 2014)
Driving through Wyoming (May 20, 2014)
A mountain in Wyoming (May 20, 2014)
A mountain in Wyoming (May 20, 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wyoming (May 20, 2014)
Wyoming (May 20, 2014)
Near Rock Springs, Wyoming (May 20, 2014)
Near Rock Springs, Wyoming (May 20, 2014)
Entering Utah (May 21, 2014)
Entering Utah (May 21, 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third day of our trip we drove from Wyoming to Utah then up to Idaho. We stayed in Boise that night and got some much needed rest!

Parker explores Utah (May 21, 2014)
Parker explores Utah (May 21, 2014)
Parks in Utah (May 21, 2014)
Parks in Utah (May 21, 2014)
Driving through Utah (May 21, 2014)
Driving through Utah (May 21, 2014)
Rain near Boise, Idaho (May 21, 2014)
Rain near Boise, Idaho (May 21, 2014)
We stopped at this famous drive-in for dinner in Boise, Idaho.
A famous drive-in in Boise, Idaho (May 21, 2014)
Guy Fieri featured it on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (May 21, 2014)
Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (May 21, 2014)
Screen shot 2014-06-15 at 1.55.14 PM
Oregon… so beautiful! (May 22, 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our last day of traveling was spent driving through Oregon (probably the most beautiful state we saw) and then we finally made it to Washington (which was incredibly beautiful as well).

Screen shot 2014-06-15 at 1.55.19 PM
Mountains in Oregon (May 22, 2014)
Entering Washington (May 22, 2014)
Entering Washington (May 22, 2014)
Washington mountains (May 22, 2014)
Washington mountains (May 22, 2014)
Driving through a national forest in Washington (May 22, 2014)
Driving through forest in Washington (May 22, 2014)
2014-05-21 10.10.58
Washington, The Evergreen State (May 22, 2014)
Driving through Seattle (May 22, 2014)
Driving through Seattle (May 22, 2014)
Outside our new apartment (May 24, 2014)
Outside our new apartment (May 24, 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall it was a great trip! Looking forward to a great summer–join us along our adventure!

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – J.R.R. Tolkien