29 December 2008

Winter Wonder

"All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" --which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:22-23

What a wonderful Christmas season it was, giving thanks to the King for sending us our Saviour. Casey and I were blessed to be able to spend time with all four of our parents and one brother, Matthew. Lukey was the only missing piece as he has new responsibilities in Vail, CO working on the mountain. We missed you, buddy, and are already looking forward to our Christmas together next year.

Seeing that pictures often describe adventures better than I ever could with words, here are a few to show you what we've been up to the past few weeks...

Christmas morning in Ione...

Farmer Matt

True country boys.

That's right. I ride dirt bikes. (Or at least on the back of one while Matt drove)

Christmas morning... very awake and very fresh, as you can see.

Ward men love each other.

Our early Christmas celebration with Mom and Dad in Seattle before our trip to Ione

I think I formed a bruise when I fell off the sled...

Casey and a few of his Young Life kids... Saturday sledding

Jingle Bell Dash with Shauna

And now we return to work, cleaning house and paying bills... praying that the awe we feel inside regarding Christ's birth will not fade, but rather grow with each day.

13 December 2008

I apologize for the lack of recent updates. The past several weeks have included a lovely Thanksgiving celebration with both sets of parents and Casey's brother Matt. The only one we were missing was our Lukey. Besides missing him, the evening could not have been better. Mom cooked an incredible turkey dinner, and we were all together under one roof... and quite possibly my favorite roof, as we were at the beach house. Being a few feet from the water, and being with family... it was lovely.

Casey has been in full swing with his Young Life duties. He recently organized a weekend trip to Arlington for a day of paintballing with a group of 8 tenth graders. He takes his boys out to Starbucks on a regular basis, we both were invited to a lovely birthday dinner for one of his boys, and tonight he will be participating in an exciting game of broom ball with a very large group of high school students. We helped with a sit-down Thanksgiving dinner at our church for our homeless brothers and sisters, and Casey brought 5 of his boys to be servers. For some, it was their first exposure to such a population. He is one of their most faithful fans at their various sports events, and his phone is always on for their calls and text messages. Casey's approach to ministering to these young men is beautiful to watch. The deep relationships that have and are continuing to form from simply spending time with one another are priceless. The conversations that arise are a direct result of him intentionally investing in them as people, showing a genuine interest in who they are and who he knows that they can become. He demonstrates to them integrity, loyalty, and unconditional love. We simply pray that their eyes would be opened, their hearts softened so that they will see Jesus in Casey.

I recently had an interview in Seattle at the Bailey Boushay House to become a volunteer there. I was accepted, and now am just working on the paperwork to finalize things. I should be able to start in late January. I am extremely excited for this opportunity, and I am kicking myself for not jumping into this earlier, as I know it will be a wonderful experience.
I participated in the Pineapple Classic with some friends... the beautiful photo of Katie, Jen, Shauna, and myself at the top shows our awesome attire that we ran the race in. And tomorrow, Shauna and I will run the 5k Jingle Bell Dash downtown Seattle. I still have yet to pick out a costume...

As you know from the previous post, Casey had his interview at Loma Linda University this past week. He is wisely remaining cautiously optimistic... please continue to pray for his heart to remain encouraged, his spirit strong. He has been investing in this dream for a very long time. Not only has he been pondering the medical profession since the age of 10, but he...

~pushed through 5 years of undergraduate school graduating with honors
~volunteered at Scripps Mercy hospital in San Diego

~took a Kaplan preparatory course for the MCAT

~studied for several months for the MCAT

~took the MCAT

~applied to AAMC in 2007, choosing 17 schools

~received 15/17 secondary applications and completed all of them, including individualized essay questions

~bought a new suit, shoes, and belt for interviews... thanks mom and dad :)

~got a haircut

~interviewed at UW

~flew to Ontario and interviewed at Loma Linda

~flew to Washington DC and drove to Baltimore for his interview at University of Maryland

~flew home

~endured several rejection letters

~remained positive and hopeful

~mustered up the strength to repeat most every step

~applied to 20 schools through AMCAS this year

~filed all secondary applications received including all individual essay questions

~has spent over 70 hours shadowing physicians

~took a physics course at UW to improve his transcript (and got an A- I might add--- in physics!!!)

~has endured more rejection letters from various schools

~remained hopeful, still

~got another haircut

~flew to Ontario a second time to interview with Loma Linda

~flew home

and now here we are.

The truth is that this list in not even close to being comprehensive. I am continually in awe of Casey's drive, his perseverance. He is grounded and humble. He depends on his God for energy, strength, peace, and encouragement. I simply could not be more proud of him.

I am grateful that in the midst of the craziness I touched on above, we still take time out to play, to "date" one another. Just this morning we walked down to Noah's bagels for a Saturday treat. Hand in hand, laughing, over six years later. And the adventures just keep comin'...

So we wait. And while we wait, we continue to live.

Love to you all,

Chelsea (for us both)

14 November 2008

A Possible Return To So Cal

The Loma Linda University Physician's Oath
Before God these things I do promise:
In the acceptance of my sacred calling,
I will dedicate my life to the furtherance of Jesus Christ's healing and teaching ministry.
I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude which is their due. I will impart to those who follow me, the knowledge and experience that I have gained.
The wholeness of my patient will be my first consideration.
Acting as a good steward of the resources of society and of the talents granted me, I will endeavor to reflect God's mercy and compassion by caring for the lonely, the poor, the suffering, and those who are dying.
I will maintain the utmost respect for human life. I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity. I will respect the rights and decision of my patients.
I will hold in confidence all secrets committed to my keeping in the practice of my calling.
I will lead my life and practice my art with purity, and honor; abstaining from immorality myself, I will not lead others into moral wrong doing.
May God's kingdom, His healing power and glory be experienced by those whom I serve, and may they be made known in my life, in proportion as I am faithful to this oath.

December 11th Casey will be interviewing with Loma Linda School of Medicine. Again, we give thanks to God for this opportunity, recognizing it as a privilege and not something we are entitled to. Please pray for Casey's spirit... for calmness, for encouragement, for peace. Please pray that the interviewer that Casey is matched with will have an open heart and mind, ready to hear and listen to Casey's eager heart.
Again, we thank you for joining us on this journey.

08 November 2008

Sunny, lazy, playful Saturday morning

The crisp, sunshiny day beckoned our participation...
What a refreshing walk this morning, surrounded by yellow, red, amber, orange, and of course green.

May we never take the beautiful place we live in for granted. The fresh air, clean water, mountains, beautiful trees... all blessings to be shared.
We hope this Saturday finds you peaceful, rested, and embracing the excitement and beauty of fall.

06 November 2008

First Interview!

Thank you Lord for this exciting news... today Casey was offered an interview at the University of Maryland School of Medicine! This will be his second interview with this school, as he had one with them last year. I could not be more proud of his patient endurance... he has waited long and hard for this opportunity! Please continue to pray not only for additional interviews, but also that the UofM interview will exceed our hopes for how well it will go. His interview will be early February, 2009. Thank you for joining us in this journey.

01 November 2008

Trick or Treat

Halloween this year started out with a Young Life party for Casey on Thursday night. Hopefully soon his costume will become reality! He certainly looks the part, don't you think?

My friend Shauna had organized a Halloween carnival for the kiddos at work, complete with a cake walk, pin the spider on the web, and trick or treating. I decided to resort back to my youth, and dress up as a ballerina. Some things never change... I still love the color pink, and I still lack the gifts of rhythm & grace.

I left the hospital and headed home to remove the scores of bobby pins out of my make-shift bun, wash out the hair spray, and change into warmer clothes to prepare for an evening of sitting on metal bleachers at an outdoor stadium. I grabbed dinner on they way... Nasai Teriyaki, and headed to meet Casey at Redmond High School.

The Mustangs were victorious and beat their opponents, the Kangaroos. As always, it was fun to watch Casey interact with his kids... both his Junior High players that he coaches, and the older boys in his Young Life group. The Lord is certainly using his eager and willing heart for His glory.

Although I did not know of this until the following morning, our Halloween evening ended with the greatest blessing of all... My dear friend Amber gave birth to her baby girl, Avery. Congratulations, Amber and Chris, on your beautiful little one. Oh, how I cannot wait to meet her, hold her, and of course, babysit her! Seeing as I do not have a photo of the sweet babe yet, I have added a photo of the new momma, Amber. How cute is she?!?!

To all, I hope that your Halloween was enjoyable and safe. As I was flipping through radio stations yesterday in the car, I came across Christmas music... on October 31st! It was a reminder of the fast-paced society that we reside in, and a challenge to not succumb to this way of living. My prayer for Casey and myself is also my prayer for you... that we may recognize each day as a gift, a blessing, and not anything less. That we may enjoy and live out each day as such, and not simply exist as consumers of space and oxygen. I pray that in the present, we might not wish for the future or long after the past, but rather dwell in "the now." Now that we have reached November, I hope that you all will enjoy the last of this beautiful autumn season. Bake pumpkin bread, serve apple cider with dinner, enjoy outdoor walks with crunchy leaves beneath your feet, and approach the upcoming holiday with the attitude it is named after...thanks. And then, after all of this is thoroughly enjoyed, we will be able to accept and listen to Christmas music on the radio, but not a day before.

23 October 2008

Go Mustangs!

Casey lead a fierce game today, Redmond Junior High versus Kirkland Junior High. The game went into double overtime, and his boys fought hard. I am ever proud of the way that he encourages his players, expects much, guides them, and diligently keeps track of who he plays when to ensure that each boy has a minimum of 4 plays. He is an excellent coach, and he makes me one proud coach's wife!
Football season has only one game left, and although Casey says that he is ready to move on to the next season sans football, I know he will miss his boys. He is a teacher, coach, and Young Life leader who intentionally does not park his relationships at the surface level. He knows his students, players, and Young Life kids personally and deeply and makes a huge impact in their lives largely because of this investment.
At home the leaves continue to turn beautiful shades of yellow, red, and orange. The weather has been crisp, and even somewhat warm compared to past Seattle autumns. I leave the house by 0620 on work days, and I walk to my car bundled in my coat and scarf, crunching leaves with each step. I can see my breath in front of me, and I am greeted by a 1992 Toyota Corolla, the ever faithful Floyd. Yes, summer is most certainly gone, and I fear we will soon enter winter. I need now to remember the motto of one of my nursing professors in college..."Embrace change." Simple, concise, and completely wise.
A prayer request if I may... for interviews. Casey has poured so much into his medical school applications, the primary, and many secondaries, (times 2 years) and now he waits. We wait. We are trying to be patient for interview offers. Please pray for our continued patience, and for interviews. Pray for his soul to be encouraged and his energy level sustained. Thank you.

08 October 2008

Three Amigos

Missing you both, Christie and Miguel. I from time to time have random memories of watching fireworks on the roof, swimming in the ocean to celebrate the end of finals, changing clothes 12 times before finding the perfect outfit, trips to the Yogurt Mill, house sitting for Marsha and losing Buddy, (thank you Jordan, for finding him), henna tattoos, dying hair, hair covering the shower wall, burning our house, our friendly neighbor Maria, working the yacht show for the Crow's Nest, drinking bellinis in Vancouver, Wednesday nights at Oggi's, and late night talks with some of my favorite people... you. Thank you for these memories. Let's not forget to make more. Love you both.

07 October 2008

My brother, my friend

Brother: –noun [bruhth-er] 1. a male offspring having both parents in common with another offspring; a male sibling.

Chelsea's definition:
Brother: as children, someone to fight with and hit. A partner in crime. A playmate in times of boredom. A real, live doll to dress up. An educator for sisters on the subjects of bugs, trucks, guns, swords, lizards, forts, and football. As adults, a friend, a listener, a supporter, an encourager, a buddy, a playmate, a role model. Someone whom you have a kinship with like no other in the world.
Lukey, how grateful I am for you in my life. I love you, my brother.

05 October 2008

Summer memories...

For our fourth wedding anniversary Casey planned a day filled with fun surprises, one being a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island. We loved the windy boat ride, and filled our bellies with Mora ice cream, specially made on the island itself!

In August we took part in the Whidbey Island triathlon as members of Team Kim, in honor of Kim Evanger Raney. I took the team approach, and partnered with my dad as he completed the bike portion, and I took on the swim and run. Casey, being the athlete that he is, took on the entire race and did very well as a first time triathlete.

Thanks to Laurel's Seattle-based orthodontist insisting on braces to correct her teeth, we get to see our dear friends the Priddys monthly when they drive west from Coeur d'Alene for Laurel's orthodontist appointments. This last visit included a night out to Gasworks park, Ivar's Seafood, and milkshakes at Alki beach. Perhaps one day we will not have to rely on braces for regular get-togethers, but for now, I am grateful for any excuse.

Our cat, Linus, seems to have grown boobs, so we have officially put him on a diet limiting him to 1/4 cup of low-fat cat food twice a day. It hasn't seemed to help yet, but we continue to monitor for necessary shrinkage. His northern region was only more pronounced after his summer haircut.

My best friend Lindsey turned one quarter of a century old on August 8th. We celebrated with a hot breakfast in her back yard. We have been friends, sisters, for more than a decade. I love you, LFG!

And Casey turned 27! A fun night with family and friends, chop-chop salad and ice cream helped welcome him into his twenty-eighth year of life.

My dad and I completed our second triathlon together, "team Pinnard", we call ourselves. I am glad that he is a fast biker, because we would be hopeless if we were only depending on my swimming skills, or lack thereof.

Thank you summer, for all that you and your sunny weather allow for.

Farewell summer...

Leaves are turning yellow and are quickly making their way to the ground. Sunshine seems to visit us less and less each day. And although I try to keep summer alive by so faithfully wearing my Reef flip flops and ribbed tank tops, my blue tinted toes and the goose bumps that cover my arms tell me I should be doing otherwise. I find myself surrendering to the sweaters in the corner of the closet that have so patiently been awaiting attention. Although less bountiful, last years hot chocolate supply may still be fresh, and I have officially made our first stew dinner of the season. Although only for a short period of time, our power went out last night with much thanks to a bluster sweeping through Kirkland. Thank you flashlights, thank you candles, and thank you Puget Sound Energy for returning to us the light that we have come to depend on. Casey is enjoying his busy days at Redmond Junior High; he is a devoted teacher, to his students' education and more so to their character and personal growth. I get the privilege of observing him coach 35 boys in football... I could not be more proud of him. He is an organized coach who makes his expectations clear to his players, and his constant encouragement and positivity, I believe, carry the team. I watch from the sidelines... players run off the field, helmets on, heads high. Coach Ward greets them. He ducks down, looks his player in the eyes, his hand firmly holding the top of the red helmet. "You did exactly what I asked you to do. Great job out there. I'm proud of you." A hit on the helmet, which I learn in male football world is done out of love and encouragement, and he turns to focus on the next play. When he is not preparing lesson plans, grading tests, coaching football, or playing on one of his three recreational soccer teams, you might find Casey spending time with his Young Life boys. That's right. He just doesn't get enough time with the peri-pubescent population of Redmond between the hours of 0730 and 1630, and thus needs to supplement by serving in Young Life. Again, his dedication to the children he has come to love is wonderful. As for myself, I am staying busy with my sweet hairless population at Seattle Children's. The children continue to teach me, stretch me, and challenge me with their strength and perseverance. Much more so than a healthy, educated adult, a sick young one knows the value of a day, of a breath. I pray that I might also have this outlook on life, the wisdom to value each moment for what it is and not wish it to be another.
So come autumn, come and let us all enjoy what you have to offer. Until sunshine comes again, I will enjoy walking on crunchy leaves, sipping hot apple cider, breathing in cool air, wrapping my neck with a scarf, and wearing only water-proof shoes.