I don't usually pull out the Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. In fact, I never do. However, I am hosting a jewelry party tomorrow and I wanted to have the house decorated. Also, we will be doing plenty of travelling over the holidays, so it's kinda nice to enjoy the decorations now.

I'm so excited to have a mantle this year! Several years ago, my mom gave a nativity set to me. I love it, and it just might be my favorite Christmas decoration (along with the stockings...I am a "gifts person" after all). The other day, I placed the nativity set on the mantle. I am loving this sweet reminder of the birth of the Messiah, the Savior, the Christ. I am so thankful for God's gift. So thankful.


More from "Beloved"

Long before any human being saw us, we are seen by God's loving eyes...
Our preciousness, uniqueness, and individuality are not given to us by those who meet us in clock-time - our brief chronological existence - but by the One who has chosen us with an everlasting love, a love that existed from all eternity and will last through all eternity.

Henri J.W. Nouwen


I am selfish.
I am sinful.
I am sorry.
I am saved.


The Sense of...

...smell is a wonderful thing.

It's Saturday. We slept in today. It was WONDERFUL! I wanted to go out to breakfast, but it was definately a want and not realistic for the budget. So I pulled out the good ole Pancake Factory.

The what?, you ask.

The Pancake Factory. I bought it from the clearance section in Walmart while I was in college. It's one of those random kitchen appliances that practical people never buy. However, it makes perfect pancakes! So this morning, I started with mixing up some batter, but before I poured the batter into the Pancake Factory, I grabbed some blueberries from the fridge. Then I poured, adding a BUNCH of blueberries to each perfect pancake. What a sweet and pleasant aroma for this beautiful, lazy morning (they sure tasted great too).

Now a new aroma is lingering in the house. Not long after we had finished our breakfast, I started on dinner. :) Slow-cooker french dip sandwiches. The roast has been in the cooker for a few hours now, so the home-cookin' aroma of this meat in beef broth with onion soup mix is beginning fill the house. It had just hit me in the living room minutes before I started this blog post. I'm really looking forward to dinner. :)

I'm thankful for the sense of smell, for God's provision, and for my family.



Listening to that voice [God's voice] with great inner attentiveness, I hear at my center words that say: "I have called you by name, from the very beginning. You are mine and I am yours. You are my beloved, on you my favor rests. I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you in your mother's womb. I have carved you in the palms of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child. I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step. Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch. I will give you food that will satisfy all your hunger and drink that will quench all your thirst. I will not hide my face from you. You know me as your own as I know you as my own. You belong to me. I am your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your lover, and your spouse...yes, even your child...wherever you are I will be. Nothing will ever separate us. We are one.
-Henri J.M. Nouwen (Life of the Beloved)


Trying new things

I'm a learner. And a human.
All that to say, I need food, and I enjoy learning and trying new recipes. Recently a photography/Photoshop blog I subscribe to shared a recipe from another blog (random, I know) for Coffee Crusted Steak. I was naturally curious because this recipe was considered worthy enough to mention on a photography/Photoshop blog (not for it's pictures...for the actual recipe!). Also naturally, I never thought I'd make it because of the coffee ingredient. My hubby does not like coffee. He doesn't like anything about coffee...the taste, the smell, how the smell stays with him after he HAD to go to a coffee shop for some form of a meeting...he does not like coffee. Anyway, the next day, a student I used to work with at Johnson & Wales University (a culinary school) mentioned something on her facebook status about coffee crusted steak. I took it as a sign. ;)

So, tonight, I made it. It's not a new favorite, but it was fun to make and photgraph. Here are some pics:

I have a feeling a flavored coffee, like hazelnut would help, so maybe someday I'll try it again. And in case you were wondering what my hubby thought of it...well, you are just going to have to wait. He wasn't home for dinner tonight, so he'll be trying it later. I'll keep you updated though. ;)


"I'm ready..."

Yesterday afternoon, I spent some time with the Lord at McDonalds (What can I say?...I really like their sweet tea...and it's only a dollar, and I can get refills). While I was sitting outside near the equipment where kiddos can play, a boy (who was playing by himself) shouted out:

"I'm ready to transform!!!"

At first I chuckled to myself, thinking about the somewhat silly announcement the boy had just made (I'm sure in his imagination he was something else, like an alien or autobot and somewhere else, other than a McDonalds playground), but the more I thought about it (the words, that is), the more intrigued I became. I was, after all, in the middle of some deep reflection from reading my Bible. I wished I could have shouted out:

"I'm ready to transform!!!"

...in my own context, of course. ;)

In 3 verses

Last weekend, the speaker at Rocky Mountain Getaway (RMGA - a conference for students in the state of Colorado) challenged the audience to find 3 verses that communicate the gospel to them and memorize them during a time a reflection. The purpose of memorizing these scriptures was to remember on a daily basis or desparate need for Jesus Christ.

Two verses came to my mind immediately:
Galatians 5:1 (This quickly became a "life verse" for me after choosing to follow Christ)
Ephesians 2:8-10

Another verse that Ethan, the speaker, shared was from the book of Hebrews (verse 10:14):
For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

During that time of reflection, I came across the following verse:
When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions. -Psalm 65:3

The Word of God is true and powerful. What verses communicate the gospel to you?



Lord, thank you for stovetop popcorn and time with my hubby.


Answered Prayer

I've been thinking a lot about prayer today.

A team of regional directors came to visit our Greeley staff team today, and one of them shared about their recent transitions and trials they have been facing. They used the following quote during their sharing time:

Everything in your life right now is an answer to prayer, if you have the eyes to see it.

I've been processing life, transition, ministry, etc. Today I started thinking about how I often pray the Lord's prayer..."Your kingdom come, Your will be done..." Sometimes His will or His way of getting things done is not how I would desire or want. Just being honest. But His will is ultimately what I want. And His kingdom come is what I want to see on Earth, as it is in heaven.

Along with that, I have a prayer request/potential answer to prayer. Do to the horrible housing market (and a house on our street selling for a very low price), we decided to rent our house. So we have been paying our mortgage, as well as our rent for the house where we now live in Greeley for the past 2 months. Obviously, it has started to become a financial, as well as an emotional burden. I've been praying that the Lord would provide a renter by October 1st. I don't know why I prayed that date, other than it seems like people usually move into places on the 1st of the month. I definately wasn't thinking about our actual schedule or calendar, like the fact that we need to be in Estes Park for our statewide fall retreat (Rocky Mountain Getaway) on the 1st...doh!!! Anyway, a couple looked at the place & actually filled out an application (we've had a lot of interest, but no one actually filled out an application until yesterday). It seems like they will be a great fit for our little remodeled/updated house. Tomorrow, Brett will go to Denver to have them sign a lease and give them the keys. They want to move in on Friday...the 1st. So keep praying with me for the 1st, and that all the details will be worked out tomorrow between Brett and the couple. Thanks, and thanks to the Lord for His provision, His care, and His timing.


Beauty in yuckiness

On Monday night, Luke got sick. I mean "throw-up" sick. Poor little guy. Well, then by Wednesday night, Brett was sick. I mean "throw-up" sick. Within a couple hours, I knew I caught the same bug. No "throw-up" for me though (in case you were wondering).

So yesterday looked like this...horizontal parenting. Brett on the couch. Darci on the love seat. Lukas playing on the floor & walking around the living room. The only times we got up were to change his diaper, to eat, or to use the bathroom. It sucked. And even though I didn't really feel much better, at some point in the afternoon, I had had enough. I felt the need to get outside. I felt the need for fresh air. So I took our little guy and sat on the front step just outside the front door. It was beautiful. The sun was beginning it's journey west, so there was shade over the steps. There were people and dogs enjoying the outdoors too in the park across the street. The tall trees were also there across the street, as they have been for who-knows-how-many years. And I took some deep breaths. We weren't enjoying the park like we usually do...you know, by actually being in it, but we were enjoying it none the less.

I love God's creation. There is just something about a tree, or a flower, or a national park, or nature that connects my soul, as well as the rest of me, to the Creator. Thank you God for a few minutes of beauty in the midst of a lot of yuckiness. You are so good!


A good day

Thank You Lord for this day.

Thank You for the coolness of fall.

Thank You for an awesome chiropractic appointment.

Thank You for the time and ability to get some housework done.

Thank You for time on campus and fun conversations.

Thank You for a delicious dinner.

Thank You for quality time with Brett and Luke.

Thank You for bringing my parents together and for their anniversary.

Thank You for this day.

Thank You.


It's the 1st. Don't you just love fresh starts?

It's been a busy summer. House projects, moving, starting up ministry on a new campus. In a way, many of the aspects of our life have started over. And sometimes a fresh start can be fun. Sometimes it can be overwhelming too (I've definately had my moments), but overall, I am extremely grateful for these changes.

I figured it would also be a good time to start up this blog again. I've missed it. I've missed this place to not only process but to praise my Lord...my Creator...my God...my Everything.

I also hope for it to be a place for me to share more photography. So here goes...

This picture was taken a couple weeks ago in Frisco, CO where we had a retreat with our student leaders and staff team from UNC. I took several minutes trying to capture the stars that were out that night. Being in Denver for so long, I think I often forgot about the stars (since you can't see many there)...I was in awe of how many I could see on this night. Then I was in awe at the thought of how many more there are that I still could not see. God is such a beautiful and creative Creator.



It seems I don't have much time for the little things. We are working our little tails off, and I'm going to take a break from this blog. The little things that have become priorities when we're not working on the house are things like watching the HBO miniseries John Adams with my hubby and eating cake with ice cream. My heart is extremely heavy. I can't wait for this house to be on the market. Please pray for me. Please.



With where we are right now with the house, I can tend to become pretty paralyzed. What do I mean? I mean we have spoken to 2 realtors/brokers who have been so wonderful and truthful. I don't think we'll loose money on this house, but we may not make money either, and my hubby does not like that idea. The idea of renting it out for who knows how long has been tossed about. In the meantime, the list of things that need to be done to the house (or just could be done to the house) seems to be weighing on me like a ton of _____(fill in the blank...a ton is a ton, people). When I feel this overwhelming feeling, I shut down. I become unmotivated to work on anything unless it involves the computer, photography, a movie, or Newman-O's. These are my current escapes. Honestly, I just want to get this house on the market. I just want it to sell...I don't care how much for. I just want to be done with it. I'm ready to move on, even if it means renting in Greeley. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!

OK. Reality check. Things need to get done. And it's not "all bad." And if I keep eating Newman-O's, I'll probably get sick.

Reality check. GOD is in control. He knows what's best for us and what He has in store.

Reality check. He loves me (and so does my hubby). Take more time to just be with Him and listen. He's such a good...no, great GOD!



Today God gave me a sweet little reminder. Luke has occasionally started to let go of things (like the piece of furniture he is using to hold himself up) with reckless abandon to come to Brett or myself, if we are near. This video where Luke pulls himself up on the ottoman is a small example of this. http://hullahfamily.weebly.com/1/post/2010/02/busy-boy-cont.html

Now he does it intentionally and with a smile on his face and a laugh when you catch him. This morning, he was hanging on to a dining room chair and when I bent down to pick him up to put him in his chair to eat breakfast, he did this very thing, and it somewhat scared me because I wasn't expecting him to do it or do it that quickly (but yes, I still caught him).

Lately, in the midst of the unknowns and upcoming transitions, God has been showing me that He is trustworthy, and this morning He used my son to show me that He wants me to let go of the fears or worries (I can tend to let consume me) and leap into His trustworthy arms. He'll be there. He always is.

I'm just really thankful for Him, and for Lukas too. ;)

Psalm 13:5
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
Psalm 91:2
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;



Yummy! We had a tasty dinner tonight. I made a romaine salad with strawberries (don't they just look good?), slivered almonds, and raspberry vinaigrette & homemade pizza with chicken, bbq sauce, and freshly grated mozzarella cheese. I ate my salad first and will have some leftover pizza for lunch tomorrow. Brett ate his pizza first and will be eating his salad tomorrow. He said he was bummed that he was so full after the pizza because the salad looked so good. Words I never thought would come from this man's mouth. ;)

Lord, thank you for your provision and for the delight I find in eating so many different foods...your creative creation.

"Give us this day our daily bread..."



Katrina, a sweet friend of mine, is graduating from college soon. She asked me to take some pictures for her family for the event, so this morning we headed up to Red Rocks to do just that. We had a fun time hanging out, and she was so patient with me as I asked her to try different poses in various places all over the park. What a cutie!



A water analogy made in Surrender to Love...

Surrender is the discovery that we are in a river of love and that we float without having to do anything.

Lord, I am SO thankful that Your love is based on You and who You are and not based on what I do.


Being a mama

I felt so honored today. I honestly wasn't expecting to feel that way, but I did. At church, Pastor Dean read to us the following passage from John 19...

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

A lot is going on for Christ in this moment...He's been betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, and He is taking on the sins of all humanity. And in this moment he tells Mary that John is her son, and tells John to care for His mom. He has honor & concern for her.

I heard today from our pastor that being a mom matters...it matters to God, to children, and to society. I think I needed to hear that.

Thank you Lord for loving moms (as you love all). Thank you that I get to be a parent with my wonderful hubby. Thank you for entrusting us with Lukas.



Last night we shared a delicious dinner (thanks to CB & EB) as a team and wrapped up the year.

Kind words were expressed, tears were shed, and gifts were given. Everyone was given a Moleskin and then the individuals who were leaving the team were given additional gifts. I received a sketchbook along with oil pastels and colored pencils. I chose to break out the gray oil pastel (just to test it out). I wrote in the Moleskin about being unsure about what God has in store for us this summer, but that I trust Him. It is my prayer that He will help me to continue to trust Him throughout this season. Amen.



This weekend I picked up a free publication for Colorado parents, and in the back was a listing of free things to do during the month of May. The 1st of May just happened to be Saturday, the day I happened to pick it up. Because it was the first Saturday of the month, the Denver Art Museum was free, so after Luke woke up from his afternoon nap, we ventured downtown to the museum. As any person, there were things I liked and things I didn't. Some things I thought were creative and some I thought were dumb. Just my opinion though. One of the things I liked was this painting. It captured my eye...the color, the textures, the size...it was like I was in this strange land and I couldn't take my eyes off of it. Looking at the picture does no justice for the actual painting. But that's what I do to remember things...take pictures.

Lord, thank You for time and for creativity, for beauty and for inspiration. And thank you for making each of us uniquely...You are so creative!


A toast

To the Design Team...
Thanks for all your hard work for tonight's vision dessert. It was such a blessing to get to work with you all and to get to witness your God-given strengths and gifts being used so beautifully and productively. It was an amazing evening. And you all are wonderfully and beautifully made. I am so thankful for you.


Hear His heartbeat

From Surrender to Love by David G. Benner:

According to Exodus 3:1-12, one day while tending his sheep, Moses noticed a bush that was on fire. Approaching it, he saw something strange. In spite of the fact that it was burning, it was not consumed. Now his curiousity was really piqued. He began to go closer. Suddenly an angel called out a warning-"Moses, Moses!...Come no nearer." Curiousity instantly turned into fear.

Confusing fear and reverence, some Christians think God wants us to feel afraid of him. They might assume that the angel's call to Moses was designed to teach him to fear the Lord. But I would suggest that it was designed to protect Moses from danger-the danger of a presumptuous approach to the divine that failed to recognize God's holiness. God didn't want Moses to stay away. Indeed he wanted Moses to approach him, because he wanted to share his heart with him. But he wanted Moses to approach him as the Holy Other.

What God next told Moses was that he was aware of the suffering of his people and longed to deliver them. He showed Moses his face, and it was a face of compassion. Quite unlike a god who wants people to fear him, Yahweh wanted Moses to know that he is a God of tenderness who suffers with those who suffer and longs for their release from all that binds them.

Discovering that God was a God of compassion, Moses began to feel less afraid. Fear instantly returned, however, when God told him his plans for the rescue. He was to go to Egypt and bring the captives back with him. Moses was overwhelmed with his inadequacy and the magnitude of the job. "Who, me? How could I ever do that?"

God's answer was the point of the whole encounter, the reason he had called Moses aside and shared his heart with him: "I shall be with you" (Exodus 3:12).

God does not want us to stand back in fear. What he desires is reverential intimacy. He wants us close enough to him that we know his heart-close enough to hear his heartbeat. He wants to look into our eyes, and he wants us to look into his.


Borrowed Book

Today Brett & I took turns watching Luke so the other could have some time with the Lord. During my time, I read from a book that Emily gave me to read because she thought I'd like it. She was right. I'm only to page 41, but it has been a blessing so far. Thanks GOD for time with You, and for deeply loving me (us). Thanks Emily for the book. ;)

"It is the experience of love that is transformational." - David G. Benner


Fun @ the Brinks

Not just another day. It was a sweet Sabbath. The youth led the worship and the message at church. Then we headed to the Brinks' to work on some projects for our team's vision dessert. They were so generous with their hospitality (a yummy lunch & snacks included) and with their patience (wet diapers included). We learned how to mount & cut artwork on foam board. Luke also had a good time (as you can see).
Lord, thanks for this sweet Sabbath.



Spring & fall are my favorite seasons...pleasant temperatures, of course, but also because they are times of change and color. Thank you GOD for Your creative design of plants and for their beauty for us to enjoy and delight in You as the Creator.


I can get overwhelmed by thinking about big issues and problems in the world. That doesn't mean that I will ignore them, but I also know that God has created me to bring Him glory, and I desire to do just that. He created me to create, to think, and to see His glory reflected throughout my life. So this blog is my simple answer...a place to glorify God in the day-to-day little things. It is my hope and prayer that you will be encouraged by it and enjoy it!

"I am...I'm captivated by You..." -Shaun McDonald