Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloweens Past

I haven't posted a "where we were last year post" in awhile but it's been on our minds!

This exact day last year, Halloween 2012, Ryan had just come out of his 6th surgery a few days prior and was the sickest of his life yet.  Ugh, it was horrific.  

We had made big plans last year for all our friends to come over for a costume party and were looking forward to fun night after such a boggling summer.  The whole hospitalization in fall of last year was a shock and the 1 year anniversary of it is painful and still hard to believe.

However, we are PRAISING Jesus this Halloween that we can dress up, cook appetizers for our small group party, hand out justice-minded treats, and enjoy this autumn holiday! 

Nothing makes my heart happy like a wagon full of pumpkins

 Thankful is a total understatement.

P.S.  I laugh out loud every time I think about this...but Ryan said he grew up thinking Halloween was the devil's birthday!!  Ha ha!  That just tickles me every time he tells me.  I know some people get riled up about Halloween but we just think it's fun.

 I'll be honest and say we are both pretty bad at celebrating this day though.  We carved our pumpkins too early (aka rotten grossness), have no costumes as of 9:05 this morning and probably will run out of treats for our trick-or-treaters!  Meh, oh well.

Anyway, here are Halloweens of 2011, the year of pumpkin patches and baked potato soup, and Halloween 2010, the year of Saudi Arabia costume parties!

Happy Halloween!!  Anna, I can't wait to see costumes of your babies, especially the little ballerina :)

Saudi Arabia costume party.  A rockstar and a gangster.  A+ work yo.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Grumples and Pure Religion

What is a Grumples you might ask?  Well, he is the newest canine member of our household-coming November 30!  He is a wee little 3 week old black goldendoodle who needed us to adopt him and love him to pieces.  So we went to meet him Saturday to give a deposit and put a tiny collar on him so everyone would know he is ours.

Grumples Decker!

This is his little baby collar and we had to buy him a teddy bear so it could soak up his mama's scent.  Then he won't be so sad when we bring him home.  Heartbreaking!! 

I don't know which one is Grumples in this picture but they are sooo cute!  The owners bred a male black poodle and female golden retriever and they got a litter of 7...ALL male!  Crazy.

These grainy, poorly lit pictures below will show you our small group!  I really need to figure out how to fix the exposure and settings on my camera...on the to-do list.

 Hey everyone!

Ryan John leading the group like a stud every week.

On pure religion:  I've been doing a lot of pondering lately and right now I'm wrestling through God's promises and how they coincide with the poorest of the poor.  I'm wondering how to reconcile verses that aren't seemingly proving true to people on the other side of the world and what do I do with that?  

With total comfort that the Lord isn't offended by my questions I ask Him, "How do I reconcile first world verses with third world issues?  How are you showing up when because I must be blind."  

Our hearts are totally entangled with the orphans and widows across the globe.  Not because we're "holier than thou" but because it's just the calling God gave us.  

We are on fire to adopt and support Compassion kiddos, to foster and empower organizations with money and time.  And all the while our hearts are broken for the multitudes we can't reach and wondering what we do with that...  

Ryan said it perfectly on a walk yesterday..."I think our ministry in life could be summed up like this:  Love the poor and the sick."  AMEN husband! 

Stand by while we continue wrestling this through with God.  What do you do with Matthew 6:26 when it just doesn't seem true for millions?  How do you manifest a religion that is pure and undefiled by looking after orphans and widows?   How is God asking me to step up and step in?  

And how can I possibly turn away when a dying world is right before my eyes and my God has been explicitly clear about responsibility...

Tis very uncomfortable but the tension is so clearly where God is OK with us being.

Phew!  More thoughts to come.  But for now here are some random other pictures to get your Monday started right.  Happy start of your week, friends!

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

James 2:14-17

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Peace of Autumn-y Things

Come near to God and he will come near to you
James 4:8

Just some fall addiction-like things to share.  When I need a breath of fresh air during studying or from life's trials, I grab my camera and thank Jesus for the beauty He has instilled around us.

These leaves are on fire! (sung to Alicia Keys tune)

Fresh brown eggs, just laid minutes ago.  Thanks, ladies!

He looks like Wilson from Home Improvement.  Ryan Decker loves being friends with or neighbors and chatting with them over the fence.  He is his father's son.

An early morning mom/coffee date.   Pumpkin scones and spicy chai tea lattes are so cozy

How is this so gorgeous???  I literally feel like I'm living in a painting during October.

Don't ever leave us fall foliage!  

How did the Lord even think of fall?  He is so smart.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

James 4:13-15

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Just a series of things to share.  Mostly good.  One difficulty.

We saw Gravity on Friday night and it was such a fun date night.  But excuse me, why did Sandra Bullock's hair not float in space? 

 Our initial plan included driving 30 minutes south to go to this fancy theatre where you have dinner while you watch the movie!  Stepping up to the counter though, it apparently sold out just minutes before so we had a 30 minute drive ahead of us back home :( Boo.  Then we tried heading to Yardhouse for dinner but the wait was 65 minutes.  Oy.  Remind me to never go out again. 

We finally decided on Chipotle (never disappoints) and see Gravity in 3-D at a non-fancy theatre for a perfect night out.  Date nights rule!   Our dates have to be much more intentional in this season and they are such a breathe of fresh air when they happen.  Thankful.

I'm burning fall scented candles like my life depends on it.  I LOVE them!

This week has already been pretty full.  My second patho test was yesterday (aka been studying like it's my job) and while I don't think it kicked my butt, I am thinking maybe a B?  My friend Naomi texts me before tests to remind me B is for Balance!  What a gift she is.

Tonight we have Life Group training at church and then actual Life Group on Thursday nights as usual.  We ADORE this group.  They are seriously so dang legit.  If your church has something like Small Groups, Life Groups, Bible studies, etc...get plugged in.  Best thing you'll ever do.

The outstanding Bible Study my friend Katie and I are going through.  Favorite Beth Moore study yet!  It's the best way to start my mornings.

Difficult thing:  our prayers and hearts right now and deeply entangled in the world of chronic illness.  We continue to wade through the unexpected with Ryan's battle from last year.

I think the most common misconception about any chronic illness is that the war ends with remission or physical relief.  It just doesn' can't.

We're currently addressing emotional hardships, self confidence shatterings, post-traumatic problems, fighting for purpose, the ongoing annoyances of having a contraption strapped to Ryan's belly, and facing the fear of the unknown future.  

As far as the unknown future; did you know Crohn's patients have sky high risk for colon cancers?  And Remicade patients have risks for lyphomas (blood cancers) and other neurologic/infectious/immune complications?  God is asking us to trust Him and not fear.

Not to be a party pooper, but at 24 and 27 you just don't think you'll face these issues.  The world did a great job of convincing us we were destined for ease in our 20's but God's way is polar opposite.  He's giving us a chance to really draw from His strength, to really submit to Him.  Although it can be painful and pretty sucky, we are stubbornly learning a faith apart from relying on ourselves and what we hope will push us closer to the walk Jesus talked about so often.

 So that's what we're wading through right now.  

Good?  Sure.  Hard?  No doubt.

My hope is that Ryan will be voicing more encouragement and deeper parts of his story over at Reaching For Fringe because ministry is needed in this little pocket of the world.  His story and faith journey needs to be shared.  Pray for him?

Early morning fall leaves and bright sunlight.  I'm addicted to to the multi-colored world we're in right now and the crispy air.  It's perfection.

More beauty all around us.

Last thing, I just die from the cuteness of this sweet little lady!  Rilyn Grace is one of our favorite short people EVER!  Oh my word.  She and Grandma came for a little visit on Sunday and it blessed us.

My absolute 2 favorite things about her:  1)  She tells me she didn't learn anything in Sunday School (ha ha) but if I ask her if Jesus loves her..."YES!  Jesus love me!"  2)  Her dang independence.  It is my favorite thing.  She is so courageous, strong-willed, and confident in her abilities. Mix it with her ability to care, help, serve, and snuggle... I cannot think of a better combination for a sweet little almost 3 year old.  We obviously swoon over her!

P.S.  Is this not the reality of this generation?  She knows how to run an iPad better than us and promptly attempts to text with those short, fat fingers of hers.  TOO CUTE!!

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.

1 Timothy 4:12

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pumpkins Carvings and Such

After our roadtrip this weekend we had a full week ahead of us!  For starters, I got the results back from my first pathophysiology test...87.1%

I have to be honest and say I was a little disappointed.  And then the Lord smacked me in my thick skull with truth.  Ahem...

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord
Colossians 3:23

I'm convinced that in this particular instance, working for the Lord  does not mean getting all A's. 

 Working for the Lord in Nursing School will be about developing relationships with classmates, preparing well for my future patients, continuing to give God my best even when I'm stressed and tired...and ultimately surrendering the experience to Him to make of it what He desires.

I took a lunch walk with a new friend yesterday and she just so happens to dig Jesus too.  We chatted about killing off our identities in grades and performance.  Because it's not satisfying ultimately or even what God cares about.  YES he wants us to work hard and honor him with our opportunities.  But God just doesn't put weight in what the world values (like all A's on tests perhaps...)

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7

Anyway, more power to you if you can get all A's and still balance your life but I am struggling through letting my identity rest in Christ alone and not in what I produce.  Amen.

The end.

Just kidding!

We carved pumpkins on Tuesday with new Life Group friends.  Dang they are legit!  They made us butternut squash soup and homemade rolls. How much more fall perfection do you get in one evening??  Then we carved fatty orange pumpkins. 

 I say this with so much love...Ryan's gift in life probably isn't carving pumpkins (ha ha!).  But his rendition of Frankenstein was endearing to my wife heart :)

I carved the spider on the far right.  Can you see Frank on the left over there??  Ha ha I LOVE my man!

It's Life Group tonight for us and then a full weekend of studying for my second big patho exam on Monday.  Wahoo!!  We're celebrating October Decker birthdays on Saturday too and soaking up some church on Sunday.

If I'm lucky I bet we'll squeeze in some festive fall walks through the leaves and the first fire of the season in our fire place.  Off to study today...Happy Thursday everyone!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Utah-nese Weekend!

Picture overload ahead!  We left Friday afternoon for a quick weekend road trip out to Utah to see my sister and brother in law. It was an early celebration for her birthday and we partied hard!  Well, not so much "partied" as pedicures and dinner out :)

But it was a really relaxing weekend and we were super grateful for the time together.  Pictures!

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Ephesians 4:2

The drive between Colorado and Utah is gorgeous this time of year!

Right???  Oranges, yellows, greens.  It was stunning.

The aspens have to be my all time favorite tree

Beautiful mountain in Vail just asking to have its picture taken

Techni-color mountain!

After the drive the real fun began!  Lindsay made us authentic Chicken Tikka Masala and homemade naan for dinner Friday night.  Then we got up in the morning and enjoyed a slow morning and J-dawgs for lunch--am authentic Utah experience.

The boys headed out on a man date to bowl (20 games in 2 hours!) and the girls went for pedicures and to shop for boots.  The grand weekend finale that night was THE MELTING POT!!!  We all kept it a surprise from Linny and she was totally shocked.  We sat around the table for over 3 hours enjoying the fondue and excellent company.

Our family is legit.  We love our people.

Us with our polish j-dawgs and their special sauce.  It was delicious

Pedicures!  Hope you don't mind looking at my feet.  A deep red with one gold toe on each foot

Downtown Salt Lake is really pretty.  This is pre-dinner enjoying the amazing weather

My handsome husband looking so cute

Our cheese course was my mom and my favorite.  Cheddar cheese is good on anything.  Cheese for president!

The birthday girl and her man obviously getting into the dipping experience

Our pot. I don't know I posted this for you.

The end.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Accomplished & Fall Things

A post of some pictures of fall around our house!

Oh, but a random note first:  I find that I enjoy blogging much more when my schedule is brimming full.  Ha!  The last few weeks have taught me I function better with a full schedule, a variety of activities to balance, and when I have to time manage.  Feeling accomplished and using each minute of the day = addictive.   How about you?

P.S.  Here is a a favorites list that you should check to make this season even more wonderful :)

My friend Katie I baked these last Saturday.  I asked Ryan to make me this.  This is on the menu next week for dinner (crockpot alert!).  And how about this for some truth and encouragement?

Is there every color of the rainbow in this tiny cluster of leaves?  ROYGBIV!

Even our plate wall is festive

Early morning frosts blanket our backyard in baby icicles

Mercury pumpkin.  This is my favorite fall decoration besides my candles.  It was gifted to me by one of my favorite ladies, Joyce Anderson.  She is so generous.

Sunshine through yellowed leave.  Yes, please and I'll have seconds!

Family walks in the mountains

Tea for those chilly mornings.  I love that it's getting dark in the mornings now :)  P.S.  Katie, I would never use "your mug" so just know this was for picture purposes only, ha!

Daily egg hunting.  It never gets old to find a sweet little egg waiting for us

Big piles of cozy blankets is such a joy for me in the autumn.  You can bundle up so quickly and guests can make themselves at home too.

The brightest red limb of trees I've ever seen.  Gorgeous, swoony fall.

Fall woos me every year.  I'm so grateful for this colorful, crisp, cozy season.

The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him...

Daniel 9:9

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October Occasions

I had been told I would see my classmates more than my husband in this program. And this week...tis true.  Although I have some cool classmates my husband is the coolest in all the land!!!

Collectively I've logged about 10 hours this week with my study group alone (not even counting classes and other studying!) and didn't get home until 7:00 pm at the earliest each night.  Thus is the life of a Nursing Student.

But can I just brag on Ryan Decker for a minute?  He had dinner made for me, blessed me by cleaning up the house, and has been SO understanding of these hours.  He is such a gift to me, especially in this season.

OK life update number style!

1.  We started our Life Group!  It's our churches way of connecting smaller pods of people in a sea of thousands and we are head over heels for this group.  Our group is uniquely large with 26 peeps but it's so tremendous  We shared our stories in smaller groups and went through some curriculum together.  It can be scary to put yourself out there in front of so many, but God asks us to be in community so we're following in faith.

I don't have a picture but picture 26 people crammed into our little house and you can imagine it gets cozy!

2.  Race for the Cure was 2 weekends ago!  We may or may not have gotten so much free stuff at the end of the walk, that I was embarrassed in my heart.  Like 25 string cheeses, 50 mini bags of sun chips, and 9 toothbrushes.  Among many other things...

3.  Harpo is the happiest dog in the world.  When he's not biting people and being an idiot.  Look at his hilarious "smile" here!  So cute.

4.  Every Friday night is homemade pizza night at the Decker casa.  We recommend it.

5.  Chickens!  One is officially barren.  She is like 40 some weeks old and not laying.  Uh, they should lay around 20 weeks.  But we still love her and I won't let anyone make her into chicken soup.

6.  Last thing about school; it really is going SO well!  Between the light rail being such a productive commute, the gift of my study group, and my love for what I'm studying it is just the most wonderful season.  My brain hurts from learning crazy new things but I can see so much purpose revealed from our last year of suffering and that fills up my heart.  Nursing for life!

Final thought for this post:  We've been wading through these verses very recently.  The Bible's words always rock our world and challenge our faith by the minute.  It's good but what Jesus asks of us is hard.  So this is what's on our brain this week...

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Luke 6:37

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

Heavy right?  We're trying to soak it up.  Have a great week everyone--we think you are cool for reading this blog!

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16


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