Monday, December 13, 2010

How We Got To Salt Lake City...

 Our new community Missio Dei  in SLC

edited from a post written on Dec 13, 2009

Not long before we moved to Portland, Kyle told me he was feeling his heart shaped to being part of a church plant.  It was a slightly surprising thought to me, mainly because I didn’t feel like we had enough experience.  But it also made sense that this was something God would call us to do somewhere in the future, so I allowed myself to remain open minded about the timing.  We really only knew how to do church one way and a large part of coming to Portland was our desire to live out the Gospel differently.  Part of that difference was the desire to enter into an intentional community where those same values were being lived out. We had all these ideas, pretty radical ideas - ideas we felt were Gospel inspired and that God had been placing in us and shaping us with over the previous few years.
So we followed God and moved, anticipating what He would show us.  And as God does, He answered our prayers beyond what could have ever been expected with a new church family at Imago Dei Community.  From the start we were given humble and hardworking volunteer groups to serve with, loving pastors and staff to meet with, tightly knit home communities to visit and participate in, strong leaders and teachings that challenged us, vision and mission and core values that genuinely guided and artfully were woven into every ministry that was birthed out of the church.

And the people!  All of the people and friends and best friends and community who’s love and total dependence on Christ their Savior was so raw and beautiful, that it poured out and into our lives in a way that only God could provide - all of these are just a glimpse of the what and who God gave us in Portland.  In the midst of two of the roughest years of our lives surrounding the loss of my dad and dog, these were two of the most wonderfully filling ones I can imagine.

So when Kyle told me that one of our best friends from Vegas had felt led by God to tell Kyle about an upcoming meeting in Salt Lake City to discuss future church plants, my feelings were a little rocked.  Because of his background, Kyle told me he was only going to give perspective on the area and just be open to what God might, in the smallest chance be calling us to, and I agreed he should go.  So starting that night, I told him I needed to get out all the reasons why I didn’t want to leave Portland, just in case.  I wasn’t verbal with my fears, anxiety, and confusion when we moved to Portland, so I wanted to do it differently this time. I have learned that the more honest I can be outside of my head with everything going on inside of my head, the more healing and forward progress seems to occur.  God seems to bless my honesty, transparency, and vulnerability with his Truth.  Not just knowledge of his Truth, but the actual feeling, believing, and indwelling of his Truth.  So Kyle went to the meeting and after the fact it didn’t seem like anything was happening.  We prayed through it, but felt uncomfortable and no leading to move forward. 

So on an afternoon walk in Lents park by our house, Kyle and I discussed all of this for a final time and felt the great sense of relief believing we were going to stay in Portland.  But it was far from final time, as later that day Kyle got a call from Paul.  He had met Paul at the SLC meeting a couple month before and had told me when he got home how he had resonated with Paul's philosophy and personality.  Paul happened to be the president of the Orchard Group, a church planting organization from the New York.  He told Kyle he’d really like us to consider partnering with them and leading a plant in Salt Lake City, or wherever we felt God was leading us to go.  So just hours after what we thought was the decision to stay, we both decided we needed to start praying about going.

So we prayed and that led to us feeling like we needed to bring our church leaders into the praying with us.  We had shared it from the start with a couple close friends in our community and the coming response from our church leaders was nothing short of God’s work.  They had been building up Kyle from the start to plant a church, and although we all thought that would be in Portland, it made no difference to their support that it would be in SLC. 

It wasn’t surprising to me that they would respond in this way given the way they had lived their faith out to us in the previous year, but it was still amazing and did not go unnoticed. Our church has been closer than family to us, and so the love, protection, and guidance they gave us, was exactly what we desired.  

We believe that Jesus is the Light of the world, and He commissioned the church to also be that Light, and so practically to have them journey along with us in the searching and seeking of God’s will was a picture of this Light lived out.  And so we journeyed.  We prayed and we read and we talked and we continued to feel like God was leading us more and more to SLC.  The Orchard Group came out to meet with our Elders and it went better than well. There were so many places this all seemed to have the potential for stopping, like in this meeting, but instead it just launched us forward.  

We continued to pray as we enjoyed one of the best summers of my life in Portland, and amongst the summer concerts, beach and mountain hikes, and the PSU farmers markets, it became crystal clear and undeniable that God was indeed calling us to Salt Lake City.  I continued to mourn the loss of this city, and felt the need to tell everyone just how much I loved it here.  I’m an intensely loyal person, and when a city has felt more like home to me in 2 short years, compared to the city I lived in for 29 years, it’s got my heartstrings attached. Portland is my people.  But so far more than that is my desire to follow God.  I came to terms with that fact that staying in Portland would only be to gratify myself, and moving to Salt Lake City to plant this church is what God was asking.  And if He was calling us elsewhere, than He would provide all that He was asking for and would bless me so much more than what I could get ever from Portland alone.

In September we prepared and went to a church planting assessment center in Baltimore, MD.  It was grueling to prepare and we had only 2 weeks to do it.  Preparation encompassed two 175 question psychological tests, a personality test, a spiritual gifts assessment, a behavioral test, and 15 pages of long essay type questions (that’s 15 pages of questions before the answers) that got to the core of your beliefs, your issues, and all the stuff in between.  And meanwhile I had the stress of putting my two weeks notice in at work because they wouldn't give me the time off.  But somehow we completed all of it and I felt confident God would provide for us despite the loss of my job.  When we got there, our first meeting was with a psychologist and the following days were completely packed from about 8am to midnight+ with group activities where we where we had assessors watching our every move. My personality lends itself to always being up for a challenge; so grueling as it was, I loved it. And the affirmation we received from people who didn't know us and didn't owe us anything - assessors and others being assessed with us - was incredible.  

I never expected to be given so much encouragement, support, and confirmation through these folks.  Along side this, I was also surprised by a shift in my own heart.  Earlier in the summer, Kyle had read me an article about Tim Keller, pastor in NYC, who's wife professed she had no love for that city when they felt God calling them to plant a church there.  But they followed God and soon after the move, God changed her heart to love it and now they couldn't imagine loving a place more.  I resonated with that feeling and was cool moving to Salt Lake City without loving it.  I know I can't manufacture feelings, especially the kind of love God wants me to have/give, so I was content in the prayer for it, knowing he would change me when it was time.  But a few weeks before assessment, I started getting excited. Really excited.  I didn't feel like I had to defend my love for Portland anymore.  I was being poured into by a God who faithfully answers prayers, prayers for joy, and I thought it was hilarious when I would find myself smiling while I was alone - literally grinning ear to ear - while doing the dishes or some random chore.  I began to feel an awesome anticipation of what God was doing in SLC - what he had allowed us, chosen us, and designed us to do for Him.  I started tasting God's heart for the people in SLC.
The last few months have literally been a whirlwind here in Portland.  I remember the last day in September that it was warm enough for me to be sunbathing outside, and thinking that Christmas was almost here.  We've visited SLC (me for the first time since we decided to move), found a home (crazy story), got a job (working at Imago) and have been flown to churches in Texas and Arizona, who's people and leaders have committed to partnering with us.  We have watched as God has called our friends - 30 adults and children - from our church body to join us by moving to SLC and being part of the core team.  We have been humbled and awestruck so many times, it seems slightly unreal to express the full picture of what we have witnessed God doing and calling His people to.  And He has continued to use all these things to shape us and those around us more into His likeness, and all for His Glory, as we continue to move forward. 

So that's the story for now...much much more to come.  Thanks be to God. 

Imago Dei Community in PDX

Video about Missio Dei Community in SLC:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Traditions and Shoofly Pie Cookies

North Pole Pines in Farr West, Utah
It's been a tradition of ours for many years now to cut down our Christmas tree the morning after Thanksgiving.  Once home, the Christmas music turns on, the decorations come out, and the tree goes up.  We always have Elf and Christmas Vacation playing on the screen, as we decorate and eat yummy leftovers from Thanksgiving.  

This year we found a Christmas tree farm called North Pole Pines in Farr West, Utah. Friday morning we woke up early, stopped by a new downtown coffee and tea shop called The Rose Establishment, and then headed north to Farr West.  The air was crisp and the sun was shining as we found the perfect Balsam Fir amidst the backdrop of dramatic mountains to the east.  It was quite stunning.

One of our newest holiday favorites is a recipe for Shoofly Pie Cookies.  We had the pie version for the first time last year from Sweetpea Baking Co. in Portland, so this year I decided to try it out at home.  It's a fluffy molasses type dessert from the early 1920's and was a tradition among early American settlers called the Pennsylvania Dutch who migrated from Germany.  It's also quite popular among the Amish people today.  The meaning behind the name may originate from the pie's sticky sweetness which would attract flies and leave bakers with the job of constantly shooing them away.  Or it may also have come from a popular molasses in the 18th century called Shoofly Molasses.  I love the uniqueness, history, and lovely taste of this long time American tradition.

Shoofly Pie Cookies
Shoofly Pie Cookies (modified from a recipe at Vegan Thyme)

Pie Crust:
1 cup coconut butter or oil
1 tsp. salt
3 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup boiling water

Mash the coconut butter and then add salt and mash again.  Boil water and pour it over the coconut and salt.  Mix well and allow to come to room temperature, about 10 minutes.  Add the flour and form the mixture into a ball.  Oil a 9x13 inch baking dish and press out crust onto the bottom of the pan.  Set aside.

The Filling:
1/4 plus 1/8 cup molasses 
1/8 cup agave
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water

Crumb Top:
3/4 cup coconut butter or oil
1 cup turbinado sugar
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Mix all the ingredients in the crumb mixture in a food processor.  In a separate bowl, mix all the filling ingredients.  Pour 1/2 cup of the filling onto the pie crust, then sprinkle about 1/3 of the crumb mixture on top.  Repeat this two more times.  Place in oven and bake for approx. 35 minutes.  The top will be a bit golden when it is ready.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, then cover and chill cookies in fridge before serving.

SLC Christmas Tree 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thanksgiving and Vegan Dinner Rolls

Costello Thanksgiving 2010

My husband is one amazing cook.  He doesn't enjoy it quite like I do, but his finished products are always incredible and this Thanksgiving was no exception.  As I put together the menu the week before, Kyle told me he wanted to make dinner rolls for the first time. His sister Michelle is the master roll maker in the family, so it was fun to think of her big brother taking on this tradition.  Working with yeast, kneading dough, and allowing rolls to double rise take a ton of patience and some good skill for any baker.  Along with finding a great recipe and veganizing it for me,  this was no small undertaking and Kyle literally made the best rolls I've ever tasted.  Awesome work husband of mine!

K's Kick Ass Vegan Rolls  (modified from Parker House Rolls)

1 cup plain almond milk
2 Tablespoon vegan butter
1 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons warm (105 - 115 degrees F) water
1 package active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons ground flax seed and 1/4 cup water
3 1/3 to 3 2/3 cups Organic white flour
Melted vegan butter
Olive oil

Heat almond milk until warm (105 - 115 degrees F).  Add and stir vegan butter, sugar, and salt until the sugar is dissolved.  Combine flax seed and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl and let stand 15 minutes.  Combine water and yeast in a large bowl and let stand until the yeast is dissolved (about 5 minutes - should bubble).  When the almond milk mixture has cooled to lukewarm, stir it into the yeast.  Beat in the flax seed mixture, which should have the consistency of an egg.  Stir in part of the flour, and then knead in the rest (use only enough flour to form an easily handled dough).  Place in an oiled bowl and brush the top with melted butter.  Cover and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.  Roll the dough out into a long log (approx. 30 inches) and slice into 1 inch pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball and flatten into a 2 inch round.  Fold the rolls in half and press the edges together lightly.  Place about 2 inches apart on oiled baking sheets.  Let rise again in a warm place until light, about 40 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (or 325 degrees F convection oven). Bake until golden brown, 10-15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Time To Eat

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sweet Strawberry Jam

I have always loved strawberries, but I would never say we were best friends until I moved to Portland, Oregon.  My first summer there, I bought a flat of locally grown berries from a stand on the side of the road.  When the first fruit hit my mouth, it was like I had never tasted a strawberry before.  I mean truly, it was unbelievable.  Kyle said the only place he had ever tasted strawberries like these before was in his grandparents' Utah garden.  

The following year we set out to Sauvie Island to pick strawberries with our good friends Emily, Jeremy, Cole, Aviana, and Alydia.  We began our evening with a picnic dinner and then headed into the fields.  Everyone seemed to have their own goal for the evening.  Kyle was on the hunt for the biggest strawberries.  Cole looked for the rotting ones he could use as shooting missiles.  Emily was determined to get enough strawberries to feed her family for the next 25 years.  And Aviana made me smile when we sat in the fields picking together and she would proclaim "Joy, that is the most beautiful strawberry ever".  And she was right.
Over 26 lbs of strawberries later, Kyle and I were busy cleaning and cutting them all in our little kitchen.  I believe Kyle filled four large bags of strawberries to my one, mostly because most of them didn't make it past my mouth.  With the five remaining bags, I decided to make my first batch of jam ever.  It was a hit. 

Sweet Strawberry Jam

1/2 Cup Strawberry Juice
4 Cups Strawberries
4 Tbsp Agar Agar Flakes
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Cup Agave Syrup

First step is to smash the strawberries and strain out the juice.  If you can't get enough juice you can add a little water instead.  Mix the Agar Agar (vegan substitute for gelatin - flavorless seaweed) with the juice and let stand for 15 minutes.  Next add the 4 cups of smashed strawberries and put all on the stove top.  Slowly bring to a boil for 1-5 minutes.  Turn off the burner and let cool slightly before adding the agave syrup and lemon juice.  Mix all together and pour into glass jars.  If you can wait (seriously, who can wait?) let them set in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.  

NOTE: I don't exactly measure my ingredients so the amounts may need to be changed up slightly depending on your batch, but this should get you pretty close!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Babycakes NYC Cookbook and Recipe Review

Los Angeles Location
Last Christmas, Kyle bought me this cookbook from Babycakes NYC.  The pictures inside are gorgeous and the recipes are delightful, but my most exciting discovery is the proprietress of Babycakes NYC, Erin McKenna, bakes just like me.  The front cover reads "vegan, gluten-free, and (mostly) sugar-free recipes" and they also use primarily soy free, organic, and local ingredients.

I have been making my way through the cookbook since January, and although I still make changes **What did you expect?! :-)** I'm excited to finally have a kindred author and baker to learn from.  One recipe called johnnyCakes, described as "part pancake, part Biscuit, and a New England breakfast staple", has become a family favorite.  The only thing I switch up is how they look coming out of the oven.  Mine have a biscuit instead of pancake shape, giving them a little extra moisture and fluff in our dry high desert climate.  We've enjoyed them plain or spread with apple butter or marionberry jam.  This johnnyCakes recipe is night-shade free, but many of the other recipes in the cookbook use potato starch, which is not.  Corn starch can be substituted in this case.

My husband and best friend are not vegan, so for breakfast this morning, their plates were filled with organic turkey breakfast links and free range eggs.  For myself I made a side dish of grilled tempeh, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and Daiya mozzarella cheese. 

I also found a video that BabycakesNYC released for their cookbook.  It's super girly, fun, and filmed at their NYC location.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things - OSCAR

I wrote this blog a couple days after Oscar died.  He had been diagnosed with a malignant form of cancer and it soon became too much for his little body to handle. I remember the months leading up to it felt like the longest days I had ever experienced.  

Ignited by the dying process and extending far beyond it, I was emotionally at my lowest point.  I wasn't journaling regularly, but it seemed helpful for me to write this and acknowledge my love and sadness in a more public way.  Since that time, I've become increasingly grateful for the ability to express whatever I'm feeling in my writing.  I write in a personal journal almost every day and God has used it to bring some deep healing, transformation, and a growing relationship with him and others as I spend this time with him.  It has been both priceless and miraculous in the midst of some of the darkest times.

This has been a hard post for me to go back through.  Especially the's felt sad to spend a lot of time there.  Sometimes numbing.  Especially as I'm not only reminded of my dog's life, but of my dad's as well.  

These are a Few of My Favorite Things
My second blog, in memory of our pup Oscar, who went up to be with Jesus.  I like imagining what those two are doing together.  When Oscar died, I imagined him jumping off the table and into Jesus's arms as the two left together.  It was helpful for me to imagine that.  Oscar left us yesterday and after talking to so many of you, I was reminded of the many memories you all shared with Oscar.  I want to share some of those with you.  It's stunning to see the special relationship between humans and animals.  Oscar is a beautiful reflection of his creator.  I love and miss you my puppy.

Mike, a favorite memory with you and Oscar was when you had to dress him by yourself in the tux we had for him for our wedding reception.  You mentioned he was just a little pissed.  From that point on, Oscar seemed to eye you with a certain amount of love and distain.  “I like this guy, but I still want to kick his ass for putting that tux on me.”  Thanks Mike.

Catherine.  A favorite memory of you and Oscar was the time we set up for the garage sale late into the night, and then came back our house to get a couple hours of sleep.  We both got into the bed and Oscar jumped right in and slept in the middle of us.  You had every reason to freak out considering your allergies, but you totally let him stay and I know Oscar loved you for it.

like father like son
Mom, I’ve got a couple favorite memories of you and Oscar.  I remember when you baby-sat Oscar and while outside, he knocked you down in excitement, giving you the biggest bruise I’ve ever seen.  He played a little rough some times, could be a punk, and may have seen a hint of fear in your eyes.  I also remember the time you picked him up from the vet after he had eaten bees and we were out of town.  When I called you, the two of you were having an afternoon on the couch with hand fed carrots and a doggie massage.  It was fun to see the love between you.  I also loved when you tried making me a blanket which Oscar quickly claimed as his own, rolling around on it on the floor as you knotted.  

That reminds me of you Dad.  We know you're a little compulsive on the house cleaning thing, so when we’d come over with Oscar you wanted him outside, as not to make any messes.  Well, long after we had potty trained him, we brought him over to your house and on the way out the back door he stopped and peed on your vacuum.  A little piss and vinegar for his grandpa I think.  So contrast that to the pictures of you two ON YOUR BED watching tv and eating carrots together (after mom had picked Oscar up from the vet), and all we could do was laugh.  Oscar had gotten to you too. 

marathon running family
Erica, you were Oscar’s go-to caretaker when we were out of town.  We felt so comfortable leaving him with you and knew he would be cared for like he was your own.  Oscar had a special place in his heart for his Auntie.  I will always remember all the times we'd hear of you two snuggling up in bed all day long when you babysat for him.  He loved having a sleeping-in partner and I heard a little spooning went on in that bed!  Oscar also loved being looked up to by little Taya, as she followed him around everywhere and copied his every move.

Chris, that reminds me of a favorite memory of you and Oscar.  One night at small group Oscar crawled up on the couch with us, made his way over to you, and started licking your face.  He loved to lick and kiss as much as possible.  So because you let him, he continued to move up you until he had you pinned to the back of the couch, heavily making out.  It was hilarious and you were a good sport.   
road trip to bryce canyon
Matt and Bart.  I’ll put you two together because of your shared distaste for animals in general. ;-)  Yet when Oscar would come around Bart, I could tell things were a little different.   While petting him, Bart would make comments like...”Well, big dogs are different” and “Oscar is laid back.”  And Matt, as much as he is allergic to all things that have hair, I could tell he had a soft spot for Oscar.  His guard seemed to be down and his unspoken feelings towards our pup spoke a lot to me.

Nick, my favorite thing to remember with you and Oscar was you admiration towards him.  I can’t tell you how much I loved every time you would come over and love on Oscar and say “This is the best dog ever”.  You really never stopped saying that, and since Oscar understood the English language, his uncle Nick won his heart.  

our guard dog
Stacey, a favorite memory of you and Oscar is a recent one.  When you and Nick came up to Portland and we all went to Cannon Beach together, Oscar could not get enough of  you.  I loved watching him look back at you as we walked, making sure you were with us and were okay.  He then crawled into your lap on the drive home and jumped into bed with you the next morning.  It seemed like he had felt an instant connection and found a new best friend for life.

Michelle, my favorite memories with you and Oscar go way back to our roommate days.  Like when Kyle first brought Oscar home.  You were there to meet him with me, only 3 pounds and 6 weeks old.  You remember when Oscar came bounding down the hallway that night, straight towards me.   It was you and I who introduced him to the grass lawn for the first time, which he was initially deadly afraid of.  You saw him play with his first tennis ball, you saw me dress him up for his first halloween, and you watched him quickly destroy every pair of my work stockings.  I love that you got to share those first moments with us and that he also knew you from the very beginning.

car ride with maama
Al, a favorite memory of you and Oscar is when you helped us move up to Portland.  I think you really got to see Oscar’s personality on that trip and quite liked it.  You taught Jackson how to say Oscar; which we heard him say last month on Skype. Oscar had never given notice to us being on Skype before, until Jackson saw him and said "Oscar".  It was so sweet and adorable.  My least favorite memory was the time you picked Michelle up from our house for a date and you told her Oscar was overweight, and she told me.  :-)  You quickly realized you can never tell a mother her son is anything less than perfect, and I’m pretty sure you’ve been trying to make up for it ever since. 

Adam, my favorite memories of you and Oscar are when you were smaller and would play tug of war together.  Oscar would lie down on his side, gripping the tug toy in his mouth, and let you pull him all over the house.  I never saw him do that with anyone else!  You gave him the names “Gentle Giant” and “Oscar the Boscar” which totally stuck.  You also had sleepovers with Oscar in his bed, which he thought was the best thing ever.

eating broccoli
Ryan, my favorite memories of you and Oscar also have to do with sleeping! Sometimes when you stayed with us it would be early afternoon and you and Oscar would still be crashed out on the bed.  We couldn’t get you up, and Oscar would keep his eyes closed, pretending he was still sleeping too.  He loved his sleep partners!

Dave, my favorite memory of you and Oscar was while you lived with us.  Every time you walked in the door, you would say “How's my big pup!” and Oscar would jump up, shake his butt, and lick your face all over.  You loved Oscar dearly and we could see the sparkle every time you mentioned his name.

Erin, a favorite memory of you and Oscar was when you played tug of war with him. It was his favorite game to play and rarely could he ever get anyone to play with him.  But you would for as long as he wanted.  It's no wonder you would need to sit in the massage chair for hours afterwards...and he always tried to crawl into your lap there too!  

adorable pup
Kris, I love thinking about the time you helped take care of Oscar while Kyle and I were on our honeymoon.  The story always began with you getting home from school, changing into wrestling clothes, and then going at it.  High jumps over couches, body slams...he’d try to get a new wrestling match started every time he saw you after that!

Glory, a favorite memory of you and Oscar was when you watched him while we were out of town.  Although you hadn’t gotten a whole lot of time with him before then, you sent me a text that weekend saying “Oscar and I are in love...we we’ve been spending all weekend looking into each others eyes.”  
Tom, my favorite memory of you and Oscar was the time he got so excited as you walked in our front door.  From a standstill, he literally jumped up and swiped the lens of your glasses with his tongue.  I think Oscar knew you had a big heart for pups.  

camping trip to zion
Kendra, a memory that makes me laugh is when we were muscle testing ourselves in our front room and Oscar started staring us down.  He definitely looked upset, like he was going to eat us or something.  I also love that it was you and Millie, who invited Oscar and I to our first trip to the dog park.  

Carolyn, when I think about you and Oscar I’m reminded of what a gorgeous dog you always thought he was.  If Oscar wanted some great compliments, he definitely got them from you.  Kyle also reminded me of when you had your knee surgery and spent time recovering at our house.  I’d find you and Oscar in bed reading all the latest magazines together.  And I’m pretty sure he woke up early with you some mornings to do yoga before anyone was awake.  Down dog was his speciality.

Austin, when I think about you and Oscar I can’t help but think about how much you loved him like your own pup.  You spent several summer breaks and vacations with us, and Oscar was always a top priority on your list.  He knew that when Austin was around, he was top dog.  He knew that if he wanted to play, Austin would play.  He knew that even though Gracie later became your dog, you’d show no partiality between the two.  He was also grateful that you did take Grace, because although he loved playing with her, he really liked not having to share a bed.  Thanks for treating him so well Austin; he knew it.

those eyes
Rachelle and Elena, my favorite memory is with the CARROTS!  Elena wanted a snack, so I peeled both Elena and Oscar their own carrots.  Rachelle thought this was hilarious.  After Oscar finished his carrot, Elena realized she had the upper hand with hers.  She began holding the carrot out in front of Oscar, then pulling it back saying “No Oscar, this is my carrot”.  And then when Oscar was sick, I would tell him how Elena was praying for him and watched as his ears always perked up.

Mike A, a favorite memory was when you went with Kyle to Oscar's chiropractic adjustment.  An adjustment for dogs?  You just kept saying you couldn’t believe it, so surprised that a dog could go to the chiropractor.  But after that night, I think you realized that Oscar was more than just your average pup.  

JoEllen, you spent an amazing week with us packing for our move to Portland.  You had already spent a little time with Oscar at our home, and he loved that you had absolutely no problem with him jumping all over you.  He smelled everything you brought in and loved to show his toys off to you.  But you guys definitely got to be best buds that week as you started calling him your “packing buddy”.  You always showed Kyle and I so much love, so your sweet relationship with Oscar just topped it off!

April, I loved how early on you established a relationship between your dog Judy and Oscar, through presents and christmas cards she would give him.  I often remember the halloween night we all met at The District and both Oscar and Judy were all dressed up.  Things got a little crazy and kind of funny when Oscar tried to jump on your friend's dog, which quickly scared them both away.  Yet one halloween photo shoot later, Oscar and Judy managed to end the night on top. 

pop and pup
Carrin and Brian, a favorite memory is with your pup Otis at Camp Costello!  Oscar and Otis had matching jackets and pranced around the house while I took pictures.  Otis looked up to Oscar and would endlessly but lovingly jump at his joules, trying to nip and get Oscar to play.  Oscar would look at Otis, then look at me like “Is this guy serious?”.  It was hilarious to watch them play and run through the house together and I know Oscar took his dog sitting job seriously with little Otis.

Claudia, a favorite memory is how much you loved it when Oscar was getting chubby.  You found him adorable and always made sure he knew how awesome he was with hugs and kisses and mornings snuggling up in bed.  He didn’t even mind that you married the guy who put him in that tux only years before.

Rachel, I remember the first time you met Oscar while staying the night with Glory. I know you didn’t really like dogs, but somehow Glory convinced you to let Oscar sleep between the two of you.  I think Oscar was the first dog you ever slept with and you had fallen for him by the morning.  I'm not sure how many pictures you got of us that weekend, but I know your camera was filled with pictures of Oscar when you left! 

Oscar had so much love for you guys.  His adorable and fully animated ears would perk up as I talked about you all and your love for him.  He will be greatly missed and I hope to see him again someday.

-written May 25, 2008

the costello family

I would agree that one of the best moments of my life was being 
in bed with you and Oscar.  I remember having an allergy attack.  I think you gave me some kind of "medicine" (definitely not Benedryl).   It was probably an essential oil in capsule form.  Some fresh air might have helped, but I'm glad we didn't pull an all-nighter, because I would have missed out on the opportunity to sleep with Oscar.  He truly was the coolest dog I ever met...or slept with!  Tuesday, May 27, 2008 
I remember it being about 900 degrees outside and getting the duty of bringing Oscar to the golf course for pictures. Oscar was only 1 years old and was still really wild and crazy. I had only been around him a handful of times so he wasn't used to me yet and really did not want me to put that tuxedo on him. After that I could always tell he remembered that and wanted to get back at me somehow, someway.  Tuesday, May 27, 2008 

What an awesome tribute to an awesome pup and family member.  Jackson is talking about Oscar now as he can see his picture on the screen.  We sure do love him.  I know I have ever since that night after a long night waiting/busing tables when that little munchkin toddled out from the back bedroom.  I think he stole all of our hearts.  Remember after we first got Mox and he got brave and he would run up and down the hallway at your house and Oscar would chase him???  Too cute!  Our thoughts and prayers are with you guys always and we are so thankful for having Oscar up there watching over us.  Maybe he's giving Layla a ride or wrestling with her a bit before she heads down here next month.  We love you guys!!!  Tuesday, May 27, 2008 

I loved reading this blog!!!  We have all had so many great times with Oscar.  How could you look at that adorable little face and not fall in love with it?!?!  He most definitely was my favorite nap partner.....and yes Joy hes a spooner!!!!  Remember when Taya and I lived with you guys, not only would she follow Oscar around, but she would do EVERYTHING he did.  If he was laying with one foot curled under so would she.  And the way she would always try to pick fights with him, and he would just take it.  They were a cute pair.  He honestly was the greatest pup ever and will truly be missed, but lucky him hes up there now living the life that we are all striving for.  Love you guys!!  Wednesday, May 28, 2008 

Oscar was my most favorite dog to babysit. I fell in love with him the first day I met him which was the first day that Kyle brought him over.. I think.. I remember us putting him in a little halloween sweater which he grew out of really quick.. He was the sweetest and cutest puppy ever!  Oscar and I truly were in love!  We talked about our hopes and dreams together! =)One of my favorite memories of Oscar was when he would not go poop outside because he missed his mama.. I had to actually call Joy on the phone and put her on speaker phone to let him know it was ok to go poop without her! =) He was a mama's boy and daddy's of course too!! ! fo sho!Oscar was really good at lookin cute! That was his favorite past time! I remember after we fell in love I truly saw him as the most beautiful dog in the world!  Wednesday, May 28, 2008 

Chris M:  
I know that kissing Oscar was wrong but nobody could have torn us apart.  That pup was awesome!  My favorite thing was watching him wagging his so called tail.  It's as if he never learned how to do it...kind of like some people can wiggle their ears and others can't.  His entire back half would shake back and forth in an effort to get that little stub to wiggle.  Oscar was blessed with a great, great life and a mom and dad that did their heavenly duty by taking such great care of their pup on earth.  Are there pups in Heaven?  Of course there are!  I can imagine Oscar lickin Jesus' face right now...although Jesus probably wouldn't let it go as far as I did with Oscar.  Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cousin Rach:  
Aww...I'm so glad I was mentioned in this! Oscar was suuuch a sweet doggie! And yes, I think Oscar definitely WAS the first dog I ever slept with all night in bed, and I would have done it again. He was such a cozy pillow!! I'm glad I got to know him at least a little!  Friday, May 30, 2008 

Oscar's 3rd biggest fan! =) Glory:  
p.s. Can you tell how much I loved him yet!!   I loved it when Oscar would look up at me when I was eating with his little puppy dog eyes, he was such a good boy! =) Also, I have to mention his tail. I loved to see it wag! =) So precious. Joy and Kyle when I lived with mom and dad I remember askin them, "Can Oscar spend the night or can we babysit him on several occasions. I don't know if you remember but Oscar was usually the one I hung out with the most, asked about the most, went straight to when I was at your pad. I used to get disapointed if he was in the backyard. I really wanted to spend all my time with him when I was over there for any party! I just felt that he didn't judge me! ha! =) I mean that! =)The funny thing is even though Oscar had many lover's as I can see by the blog...he always had a way of making me feel as though I was the only one.  Friday, May 30, 2008 

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