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.