Anniversary in Astoria

Yesterday Ryan surprised me with more than just a trip to the Washington State Capitol.  You can see that picture if you follow me on Instagram (joycandee).  He warned me that it was a bit of a drive and I was slightly worried after we spent some time rambling around Aberdeen, driving by Kurt Cobain’s childhood home and the bridge where Kurt Cobain drew a lot of his musical inspiration from.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that but Aberdeen was definitely more of a treat for Ryan.IMG_20160223_073244~2However, once I figured out that he had booked a place in Astoria, I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful drive and even laughed as we got to sing along to a little Cindy Lauper that was serendipitously on the radio.IMG_20160223_084908For those of you not familiar, Astoria is a little town on the Oregon coasts where the Goonies was set and filmed.  It also boasts the location where Clark Gable began his acting career and also a few places where outdoor scenes from Kindergarten Cop were shot.  I’m sure there are a few other noteworthy things but since I really shamelessly love The Goonies, this was just a fun place to be if only for one night.IMG_20160222_170247We drove by some of the places you can see from the movie.  However, the Goonie house is privately owned and tucked away on a hillside that is currently closed to traffic.  But we still got to see the jail and walked by the intersection that is highlighted during the police chase in the opening credits of the film.  Recognize the car?  That’s the one (if not the actual car then the same style) the Fratelli brothers were driving.IMG_20160222_170915~2As much as I enjoy the Goonies, the highlight of the day was time with my husband in the beautiful, romantic hotel.  He chose very well.  We enjoyed the amazing views, the welcome complete with a wine and cheese bar, the relaxing sounds of the Columbia River, a bubble bath including complementary champagne, fluffy white bathrobes and a cozy fire.  We just stayed in, ordered pizza (after all it was Ryan’s anniversary too) and played games all evening.IMG_20160222_173442~2This beautiful view is what we woke up to.  I’m so blessed by my husband who took the time to plan something special even in our busy season of travel, moving towards Australia and support raising.  We’ve known each other 3 years, been married 2 years and I’m excited to see where the future takes us.

Where were you 7 years ago?

Evidently I was registering on WordPress.  Even though I didn’t post my first entry until August, I remember working on designing the blog, choosing the layout, banner picture and even the title.  I sent out a text to a group of friends asking for ideas and one friend wrote back with “Finding Joy in Papua New Guinea”.  Since then the base title Finding Joy has stuck with me and the end has just changed as my life and circumstances have changed.

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 7.44.50 AM

I’m thankful for this platform that I’ve used to share my life over these past 7 years.  I love that people can read as they want, wherever they live.  I know some people who read just as I post, others who log on once a month and read through what they’ve missed.  But if at any point you’re wondering, What is Joy doing now?, this blog is a great place to come and find out.

From Papua New Guinea to California, from singleness to marriage and now our life here and looking towards Australia, this blog has helped me document the journey.  Thank you everyone who has read this blog.  Thank you everyone who has prayed over this blog.  Thank you to everyone near and far.  I look forward to the next 7 years:-)

Happy Kiss-iversary!


Two years ago today I stood in this spot, Ryan held out a flower, asked me to be his girlfriend and he kissed me for the first time.  Thanks to Ryan’s ability to remember and recall dates for this one.  I knew we started dating sometime in March but he remembered March 18th as that special day.  Today we went back to the scene, our friend’s backyard, to reminisce (they were at work but had given us permission to hang out for a bit).  We fed the fish in the pond, hung out in the hammock for awhile and remembered many of the things have happened in the last two years.  Happy Kiss-iversary Ryan!


1 Year Together

So here is how we celebrated one year married and two years of knowing each other.  Since Ryan and I met on the 21st of February 2013 and we were already in Santa Barbara on Saturday (more details on why we’re spending more time in Santa Barbara later), we decided to re-walk some of our memories from our first date.

IMG_20150221_112535Coffee Cat was first.

20150221_130135And after lunch at Natural Cafe, we walked down State Street to the beach.  It was wonderful to walk holding hands the whole time and reminiscing instead of wondering.  This beach area was the spot where we ate our first granny smith apples together.  We also shared a couple kisses this time which definitely were not happening on the first date.

IMG_20150221_141548After walking back up State Street, we moved on to wedding day memories.  What does tradition dictate gets eaten on your one year anniversary?  Wedding cake!  There were no left overs from our wedding, so Saturday we picked up a couple Crushcakes cupcakes and took them up to Franceschi Park.  Yum!

IMG_20150221_142219Although it was hazy, the view was still beautiful.  And unlike our wedding day, the gate to the park was open!  This weekend was cool and rainy, which we’ve definitely enjoyed.  Moreover, it was a nice contrast to our wedding weekend which was sunny and beautiful.

IMG_20150221_145036And of course we had to take a picture from the spot where we said our vows.  I think this park will always be special to us.

IMG_0705Towards the end of the afternoon, we made our way back down to Camarillo and ended our Saturday with a fun Valentine’s dinner with friends from another local church.  Saturday was packed full of sweet celebrations.

But wait, there’s more!  Sunday was, of course, our wedding day anniversary.  We both spent the morning working and at church, had lunch with friends and then had a few fun surprises around the house.  Since the first anniversary is paper, Ryan got me a professional massage gift certificate which I will happily enjoy later.

20150222_152029And I made Ryan a treasure map.  Hidden all around the house were puzzle pieces that he first had to find.  I watched Starwars while he hunted.  Some of the pieces were easier to find than others.  No, I didn’t require him to turn upside down.  He did that himself.

IMG_0709Once he found all the pieces, he had to assemble the puzzle.

IMG_0706While Ryan puzzled, I made our typical Sunday night popcorn but in honor of our anniversary, we had an Australian wine from a friend.  It was sweet and bubbly so, although not much of a wine drinker, Ryan enjoyed it too.

IMG_0712Ryan completed the heart puzzle.  A treasure map and a puzzle.  Both are paper:-)  Now we have to decide whether to put some puzzle glue on it and keep it together or break it apart for more puzzling fun in the future.

The rest of our day passed uneventfully and thus ends our anniversary celebrations.  But wait, there’s more!  It’s not something typically celebrated but today is the second anniversary of our second date.  And our second date began with Ryan making me french toast.  So we’ll be having cinnamon french toast for dinner tonight.  Yum!

I hope you all had a great weekend and can find many reasons in your life to celebrate.

Happy Anniversary Joel and Jenny!

Three years ago tomorrow, Jenny and Joel got married in Santa Barbara, California.  I flew in from Papua New Guinea in order to be with them the week before and on the special day.  I’m so thrilled that Joel was intentional and bold when he started dating Jenny.  They complement each other and I love them together.

Yesterday Jenny took me up in the John Hancock Building where Joel proposed in February 2009.  That day they enjoyed dinner together and then he brought her up to the Observatory and proposed with views of the city of Chicago all around.  Evidently it is the same place that Barack Obama proposed to his wife Michelle.  Yesterday there was no proposal reenactments but instead Jenny and I enjoyed the high up views of Chicago while sipping cocktails.  Here’s to another happy year Joel and Jenny!