Where we come from: putting the “shake” in Shakecoma.

Shakecoma here, reporting from Luke’s homeland. The “shake” in Shakecoma. Land of cheesy grits, good BBQ, the best snow cone I’ve ever had and…coffee?

Yes, coffee. Luke knows my weakness for a good cuppa’ joe and Memphis certainly pulls through. Republic Coffee is NOT to be missed and soothes my Northwest coffee soul.

We’re here over a notable weekend, the last for a good bit after we head southwest. It’s been a luxury to be within manageable driving range of family, which we will sorely miss. However, it’s not a “goodbye” (those are so horribly final) but a “see ya later” weekend…which is much more accurate in my opinion.

It’s also a birthday weekend! This fiesty lady turned 84 where we celebrated over a lunch that “was all real good.”

Nan, the lady of the hour.

I also finally got to sit down with Nan and comb through her treasure trove of old embroidery projects and collected fabrics. It was delightful hearing the stories behind each item, such as her mother-in-law’s stitchwork (pictured top left). Made in 1900 this treasure is absolutely phenomenal to my stitchy loving heart.

The weekend also marks a favorite holiday of mine. Not because I’m particularly politically patriotic, but because the 4th of July marks fond memories of family time, the beginning of summer (in western WA summer doesn’t really happen till well into July sometimes, ha), AND travel. Tacoma and Steilacoom (WA), Hartha (Jordan), the Yakama Reservation (eastern WA), St. Louis (MO), and now Memphis…all places I’ve found myself on the 4th. Whether on the shores of the Puget Sound, or perched on a “Fry Bread Power” van, or on a Memphis rooftop each of these mark extremely significant and integral parts of my story.


The farm.

Shake Rag Farm.

From the city to actual Shake Rag, I’m blessed to know this to be another home for us (on a list that’s sure to be every expanding in the years to come). The weekend is merely half over, so we’ll see what other goodies and memories we’ll uncover or create before Monday is here and we’re on the road back to STL home.

Until then…


Where we are…and where we’re headed.

Welp, I think this post is proof enough that maintaining a semi-regular photo blog has been about what could be handled through our last semester of seminary life. January-May have been challenging months, exciting months, and exhausting months. We’ve seen our birthdays come and go, snowfall and springtime in STL, and most recently: GRADUATION.

The grad and his girl.

This day was made all the more sweeter, humbling, and just a tad overwhelming knowing that as Luke crossed the stage to receive his diploma we knew what came next. A JOB. A real, honest-to-goodness-we’re-going-to-do-this job in Tucson, AZ.

That’s the Southwest y’all. A U.S. region new to us both, the land of forever summer (or so they tell me), and an incredibly exciting/daunting season of life before us. Luke as assistant pastor and I as…Joelle. For once in my life I’m so so so so so thankful to be moving with  ZERO job-strings attached. I’m free to embrace Tucson and our new church home simply as I am. A pastor’s wife yes…but first and foremost Joelle. More on that at a later date.

This summer will be a series of goodbyes to STL, a power roadtrip across the states (2 days or bust!), and settling into our new place. Until then here’s to a few more regular posts celebrating our STL home and family. And excitedly preparing us for this:

The Catalina Mountains.

The Catalina Mountains.

And this:

View of Tucson.

View of Tucson.

Suffice to say this Northwest girl is happy for some Tucson mountains at her disposal.

New year, new blog, first post.

“The place He gives us to inhabit,
The few things He gives us to do in that place.
The persons He invites us to know there.
These our days,
our lingering…”

Zack Eswine’s new book Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry as a Human Being has been a favorite around our home as of late. Writing from a posture of weakness, Eswine draws from his personal experience in pastoral ministry resulting in a read that is at once raw, challenging and applicable to our present season.

As we recover and reminisce from the year and look to the next it’s with uncertainty and excitement…and a peace knowing that this time in St. Louis, LIFE in St. Louis, is what we’re called to do. It’s not a high and lofty life (aka, “sexy celeb ministry”) but it’s one we love because it’s real.

We won’t gloss over the grit nor only dwell on the hard things in life but simply to “learn His song here” in the day-to-day of our life here. Whether it’s teaching preschoolers to share a toy, editing the Sunday’s liturgy for the 10th time or managing to spend dinner together unencumbered by work, we strive to “carry on with what we’re made for.” Which is to love each other, one another and our Lord.

Read on,

Joelle and Luke


“The place He gives us to inhabit,
The few things He gives us to do in that place.
The persons He invites us to know there.
These our days,
our lingering…”

It is enough then
this old work of hands
His and ours
to love here,
to learn His song here,

like crickets that scratch
and croon,
from nooks unseen,

carrying on with
what they were made for,
the night craft of
unnoticed faces,
with our wings unobserved,

until He walks again
in the cool of the day,
to call our names once more.

And we then,
with our stitched white flags,
will from behind His evergreens,
finally unhide ourselves,
unblushed with Him to stroll
once more.

– Zack Eswine, Remembering Our Purpose