Sunday, November 25, 2007

Our delicious dinner....

I'm blessed to have a husband that really likes to cook in general and I love this about him. And while I enjoy his cooking throughout the year, something happens at thanksgiving where he pulls out this hat of master gourmet chef extraordinaire.....this is the second thanksgiving that zach has taken over and planned, and when i say "taken over" i mean it....the recipes were top secret even to me and i had to snoop really hard to find them in the secret chef folder this year!! there is a system to this event and there is no messing with it- a group of us tackle the shopping for this meal, with the chef in charge handing out alphabetized grocery lists to each of us and sending us on our way to find items, some of which were really difficult just to pronounce! preparation for the meal takes place on the day before thanksgiving and most of the morning of.....each of us at chopping stations preparing parts of the meal and getting everything organized and ready. it is a labor of love, and a fun one at that!

the menu this year was a huge hit, once again, and we all gladly nominate zach to be in charge of whatever meal he pleases. now, for the unveiling of the menu....
Spiced Pomegranate Apple Cider
Velvety Butternut/Acorn Squash Soup
Potato/Sour Cream Biscuits
Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bacon with Pecorino-Black Pepper Breadsticks (the only culinary disaster of the day....I was in charge of this one and added baking soda to the dough instead of baking powder, causing me to take one bite, spit it in the trash, and promptly dump the whole tray in with it....oh well!)

Classic Herb Roasted Turkey with Gravy
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with herb infused olive oil (i think these won the #1 delicious!)
Green Beans with Toasted Hazelnut Lemon Butter
Sweet Potato Casserole - topped with a yummy streusel and marshmallows, of course
Cranberry/Apricot Sauce
Herb Stuffing

Pear Crisp with Oat Streusel Topping
The classic Pumpkin Pie with home-made cinnamon/vanilla whip cream (i'll take the credit for this one!)

and for our after dinner drink, which ended up being a next day drink since we were all so stuffed we couldn't imagine putting one more thing in our mouth....
Banana foster punch- this is basically a drink inspired by the classic dessert of rum drenched carmelized bananas topped with ice cream, only it was all blended up into a beautifully rich dessert drink....yum, yum, yum!!!
now, aren't you impressed???
I sure am.

the cute cousins relaxing together after the big meal


I love thanksgiving. I love the food, and the long weekend, and of course the pumpkin treats. But most of all i love the simplicity of the holiday and the idea that the whole holiday is about being together. my parents and sister came into town for the week, so all of us were together and had lots of time to enjoy each other, the kids, and the relaxed pace of the calm before the christmas storm hits. my sister and i decided it would be fun to plan a Thanksgiving fun run/walk for any of our friends that were still in town. we met at greenlake and walked/ran the 3 mile loop together Thanksgiving morning. it was such a fun way to start the day.

it happened to be a gorgeous, sunny, cold week in seattle and being out in the sunshine with friends and family and lots of other people just enjoying each other reminded me of all i have to be thankful for. thanks to all our friends who came out to our 1st Annual Fun Run....we will definitely have to do it again next year!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

treat filled day....

I literally think today was like a dream come true for Zara....I mean, come on.....getting to dress up like a fairy princess and go out of our house....carrying around a bucket and knocking on doors and just being given candy after candy, just for asking!?....her mom not caring how much candy she ate because what the's just once a year, right??
She LOVED it.....
she loved dressing up, and twirling around, and saying trick or treat, and being with her friends, and waving her fairy wand and just the whole thing. she really loved it.
and i loved watching her- the enjoyment she felt made me so happy as well. and being with our friends and family and their kids and just taking part in all of it together ....ahhh....what fun memories.....

Thursday, October 25, 2007

In the fall spirit....

We've been loving fall....the colors, the crisp days, and especially the pumpkin recipes!!! This time of year i go crazy about pumpkin......i wait all year for it's arrival on the scene....pumpkin lattes, pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin curry, pumpkin pie, pumpkin dip!!! Pumpkin Dip is one of my fall favorites and i thought i would share the recipe here. It is super easy and super tasty and may make you a little bit famous among your circle of friends....It is best served with apples, a perfect fall afternoon snack or a great addition to a fall party or buffet.....Seriously, you should try it....


3/4 cup (6 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
24 apple slices

Beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add the pumpkin and brown sugar and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add syrup and cinnamon, and beat until smooth. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Serve with apple. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

a few pics from the summer

The first two pictures are of Zara with her uncle D flying a kite at Gasworks Park in Seattle. Also thought you might think it was funny to see her listening to the ipod...

I'm definitely in the midst of the busy-ness of school right now. I have an extremely busy next couple weeks, but then a week off, which I'm very excited about. It won't exactly be a week off of school work, but at least a week that I won't have to go to school. They build in a week each fall to allow the students to catch up on reading, assignments, papers, etc. I'm loving my classes. Very challenging, but rich with more good material than I'm able to soak in. I feel extremely grateful to be attending school right now. It's only been a month, but it's already been an enriching experience.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Starting grad school....

I just had one of those weeks that deserves to be marked, remembered. It was my first week at Mars Hill Graduate School: full of classes, orientation, meeting new people. Looking back on the week I think that the thing I feel most distinctly is that I was welcomed really well into that community. Starting with walking in the door Tuesday morning all the way to the Vespers service tonight, everything fit together really well and gave me the feeling of being taken care of. It seemed like all the little details had been thought of, and there was meaning attached to everything.. There was much time devoted to connecting with all the new faces--meeting new students as well as meeting the faculty. I told Amanda today that I wished there were actually LESS people I wanted to connect with at school; I start to feel overwhelmed at all the potential relationships... That's a good problem. It just seems like it's a solid group of people who I have a lot to learn from.

Tonight during the Vespers service we had time to consider what we were hoping for as this time at MHGS commences. It's a good question, and a scary one to answer because there's something really vulnerable about exposing hope. Failing doesn't appeal all that much to me, so the idea of my failing being exposed to everyone is frightening. I guess the converse of that would be that my success would be exposed as well... I'm hoping that the disruptive, painful, and good process of going to school gives me more confidence, and in turn gives me the courage to trust myself. I think I could be a good counselor. And even more important to me, I think I could be a good friend. But I have this deep belief that I need to spend some time examining what's deepest inside of me before I can help people understand the core of themselves. There's no doubt that this program will help me achieve that goal--whether I want it to or not. Stay tuned for the details...

PS-here's a picture of Zara sneaking a peek inside one of the classrooms.

Monday, August 27, 2007

the sweetest face in the world....

i'll write more soon about how we're doing.....but for now, i've mostly just been enthralled by this cute little person in my life. it's fun to be able to share her with you....

Friday, August 24, 2007

Aunt Kate visits....

Zara loves her Aunt Kate....Kate came to Seattle to spend 2 weeks with us and her little niece and nephew and we sure loved having her here. She and Zara hung out every day and today Zara said "I really miss my Aunt Kate...."'s great to have wonderful family, but hard when they are not here with us....

Hanging! Zara's favorite new pastime....

As you can see from these photos, right now Zara is obsessesed with hanging...from anything she can find to hang from, her crib, our bathroom sink, and everything in the park. We try to encourage it in the park and discourage it everywhere else! A few photos of our funny little girl....

Monday, August 13, 2007

Our Saturday Tradition....

In attempt to get back to posting more regularly, I thought I'd fill you in on our famiy's Saturday morning summer tradition....our neighborhood farmer's market! We have been loving the market this summer. Every Saturday I get up really looking forward to walking the streets to the market, picking up a coffee along the way, and strolling through the aisles of brightly colored produce and flowers, all grown locally by the vendors themselves. I love the connection of actually seeing the people who grow the food I am eating, and love the fact that I can support them directly in this way.

I love that the food only travelled a short distance to get to me, rather than hundreds of miles on a semi-truck to be unloaded in some major grocery store. I love how fresh the peaches and cherries taste and how we are growing to recognize faces as we shop there week after week. I just love the whole idea of it.

Zara is in heaven as she samples tastes from each stand along the way, especially when she gets to the "squeaky cheese", her favorite. I love seeing neighbors and my siblings (who recently moved here) and people i know week after week. I love the music and the freshness and the bustling activity. Just another reason I love summers in Seattle....
(my sister kate is visiting this week and took these adorable photos!)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

what's new (the facts according to Zach)

Thought we'd give you a little update on what's going on with YWAM Seattle... A while back we wrote an entry about how YWAM was trying to purchase some property here in our neighborhood. Our goals were lofty, but property around here is expensive, and that's just the way it is... Our goal was to raise $140,000 (20% of the total price) in a fairly short amount of time. We did pretty well, but still fell short of where we wanted to be. However, the owner has agreed to NOT sell the property to anyone else, and is allowing us to continue leasing it from him for the next year. (giving us more time to raise money)

In the midst of that process, we began to realize that we were looking very under-staffed for the DTS this fall. In addition, one of our key staff members decided to move from Seattle at the end of this summer to pursue some other interests. We were left with some hard decisions to make in regards to how we were going to pull off running the DTS. In the end we decided that it would be in everyone's best interest to cancel it. I didn't feel like we could provide a top-quality service to our students based on the number of staff that we had. The decision was a very difficult one to make for a number of different reasons:

1. This past spring and summer I've put in a LOT of time working on improving the program and implementing some new ideas.
2. We've been involved with DTS every fall for the last 7 years.
3. In essence, we made a decision that takes away a major part of our job with YWAM Seattle, at least for the time being.

So we're left with the question of where do we go from here... I've been planning on starting grad school at Mars Hill Graduate School this fall to study counseling psychology, but a major component of my desire to do that was the impact that it could have on the DTS in the coming years. I've really been spending some time considering my decision to go there, and have decided that I definitely will start classes in September. The picture is still a bit cloudy as to where that will lead, but I'm feeling good about the decision.

To be clear, we're still not sure what the future holds in terms of our involvement with YWAM. For now, we're still in leadership of the base, and continue to work with the other things that our base is involved in. I'm still the organization's accountant/administrator. We see this coming year as a time for us as an organization to refine our vision, and a time to recruit more staff. I really believe that we were on our way to offering one of the best DTS programs anywhere. We'll just have to wait one more year to get it started. There has been quite a bit of disappointment in the last couple of months, but at the same time I see God leading us and protecting us--even when it hasn't always seemed or felt that way at the time. And we trust that He'll continue to do that.

One more picture of Amanda with Zara and her cousin Lucas for you...

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I just had the best day. Not only was it special because Zach and I got to have a whole day alone together (that doesn’t happen often!), but also because we spent the day in Glacier National Park in Montana which is just about the most gorgeous place I have ever seen.
This week we are vacationing with Zach’s family in Montana and since we are staying so close to Glacier, we decided we needed to take a day trip to the park. I don’t know what it is exactly, but something about spending an entire day surrounded by beautiful scenery and untouched wilderness brought a refreshment that would be hard to find anywhere else. I sat back and took it all in. I felt I could breathe deeply and even just take time to listen to myself breathe. I noticed things I don’t usually notice….both in nature and in myself. I sat and watched and looked and listened. I felt at peace with myself, free for a moment from the demands and stress and insecurities that make up many of my days. I think there’s something about being in the vastness of creation that gives a bit of perspective….helps me see outside myself, helps me see that maybe I’m going to be okay and maybe the things that are stressing me out are not quite as overwhelming as they feel.
On the way home we had the windows down, music blaring and the wind whipping across our faces….a glorious end to a glorious day.
I hope for more days like today….

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Beautiful Wedding Day....

Today my brother got married. I can't believe it!! It's a crazy feeling sometimes remembering how we all grew up together as kids, but now that we really are adults. Having my brother get married really made me feel like an adult....those moments just hit me sometimes!! Sometimes I still feel so young, but then things hit me and I realize, wow, I really am growing up. That's how i felt today. But it was so good. We just love the girl my brother chose to marry. And it was magical to see them get married in an amazing setting on the Chesapeake Bay with so many people surrounding them that loved them. I could not be happier for them as they start their new life together and for our family to gain another sister.

Oh, and I can't forget that Zara made her debut as a flower girl today!! She was so adorable and did make it all the way down the aisle by herself....even though it seemed doubtful for a few moments!

If you're happy and you know it....

We flew back to the east coast last week to visit my family and to be a part of my brother's wedding. It's always a long travel day coming from Seattle to Baltimore, but this day was even longer than most....First, the thunderstorms.....we got delayed in the air because of storms surrounding the ciy we were supposed to land in. After circling for a while, they ended up diverting our flight to another city. Once we got there, they told us we could not get off the plane. We had to wait in the airplane for the weather to clear so we could leave right away. This was after being on this plane already for 6 hours! After a while we could not contain Zara in our seat any longer and had long run out of things to entertain her so I begged the flight attendant to let me get off the plane with her just so she could run around. After some desperate pleading, she let us get off. Zara got to run around for a while and we just waited and waited. They finally announced we could get back on the plane and that we would be taking off right away. We head down the runway and then stop. The pilot announces he will be shutting off the engines because we are not able to take off as there are now too many planes trying to take off......I was about to lose it!!! I was so anxious to be home and with my family and I was SO tired of being on that plane going nowhere! About this time Zara was playing in the aisle and had caught a second wind of happiness. She soon started in on a rousing chorus of "if you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!!" she clapped her hands and stomped her feet and even got a few people sitting nearby to join her. Ahh, the innocence and joy of a child.....
About 4 hours later, at 1am, we finally arrived home.....
P.S. the adventures didn't stop read a bit more, check out our friend chrissie's blog (she came on this trip with us!)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The "Grey House"

One large project that we've been working on the last couple weeks is the potential purchase of some property for YWAM Seattle. (Not US buying the property, but YWAM buying some property!)

Here's the link to the page on YWAM Seattle's website that details the purchase, including a flyer that hopefully most of you received in the mail. If you haven't received it, and would like to, we can get one in the mail for you right away.

The website gives many details, but we also wanted to communicate personally what this house means to us... This house we're trying to purchase has been a place where we have invested many hours over the last 4 years. This is the house where all of our students stay when they go through our Discipleship Training School. We've had many meetings there, eaten countless meals, and had lots of meaningful conversations with both students and staff. For more details on the program we direct, feel free to check out the Urban DTS page on the YWAM Seattle website. We've been responsible for most of the content, and it does a good job of summing up what our primary roles here are all about.

YWAM Seattle has been renting this house for 4 years, and we believe that now is the time to make some steps towards purchasing the property. We (both us personally and YWAM Seattle) love this neighborhood and are ready to put down some tangible roots here. If you're interested in hearing more please let us know.

This has been something occupying much of our time over the last few months since we've been back from Thailand. We've been busy designing promotional material, planning open-houses, and meeting with potential donors. You can be praying for us this Thursday evening as we're helping host an open-house for some potential donors. This has really been a big step of faith for us as an organization, considering that we're quite small and we don't have much extra money. We'll keep you updated on the process. Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

we're back...

Hey everybody... Sorry for our absence over the last couple of months. I think that once we got back home to Seattle we settled into our old routine of not updating this blog. But we're ready to get it going again. There have been some changes going on around here over the last couple months, so we want to keep you in the loop! Over the next week we're hoping to write a bit more to let you know what's been going on with us. Thanks for your patience, and sorry again for the lack of communication. Hopefully these cute pictures of Zara will make up for it!
Zach and Zara out for breakfast to celebrate Zara's Birthday

Zara opening birthday presents

Zara being funny pushing her stroller

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Back in Seattle-

We've been home for about 6 days now and are very happy to be here. Our bed feels extra comfy and our showers extra hot....all the little things we miss while we are overseas! We've experienced some jet-lag this week, but it really hasn't been too bad! Zara is sleeping really well and seems so happy to see all her toys and be sleeping in her own room. We are also glad she has her own room back after sharing a room with her for a few months!
Tonight we have our DTS graduation. It is our final event with our students and a final time to share together before we all go our separate ways. There is a mixture of relief and sadness as we end this time with them. It will definitely feel empty around here for a while as we have all gotten so used to being together and living in this community.
Please pray for our transition and for our students. Many of them feel nervous about going home and trying to explain all that they've just experienced. Many are also in the process of making future decisions. We are going to take it easy the next few weeks as we settle back into our life here.
Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement during our time away. We look forward to seeing many of you soon and catching up with our Seattle friends in the next few weeks!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Heading home....

We've come to the end of our time in Thailand....We have had a some great last days with our team here. We were able to go to a beach for our last 3 days and have some time to relax as a team and debrief our time here together. It has been good to share together all that we have learned and process how we will apply those things as we go back home. We all feel a mixture of excitement about returning home to our friends and family and a sadness about leaving this beautiful country. Please pray for us if you think of us....we have long travels getting home (we leave in about 24 hours and it will take us about 27 hours to get home...) and as we transition to life back at home.
Thanks for all your prayers.
love, the rupps
ps. thanks for all the comments and birthday wishes :)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Amanda's birthday dinner

I had a really fun birthday. Not only did we get to ride elephants, but some of our closest Thai friends came over and made one of my favorite Thai dishes for dinner….phad thai. Phad Thai is a very traditional dish and is made by mixing lots of ingredients with fresh noodles and stir-frying them all together in a wok. Then you top it with bean sprouts, lime, green onions and chopped peanuts, and spicy pepper, if you desire. Our friends brought all the ingredients to our house and we cooked together. It was fun to watch them in action….we kept asking if we could help and they kept saying “just sit!”

These friends are very special to us as we met them 4 years ago on our first trip to Thailand. We have kept in touch ever since and seen each other every time we have come here. It's really neat for us to have a friendship that has continued over many miles for many years.
We all enjoyed a delicious meal and I enjoyed a memorable birthday in Thailand!

p.s. we know there are some of you that have been keeping up with us via our blog....would you mind leaving us a comment to let us know you are out there??? sometimes it's hard to know is anyone is actually reading this :)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Reminders of home....

We found this reservoir on the campus of Chiang Mai really reminded me of Greenlake in Seattle and made me miss home!

Thursday, February 15, 2007