Adventures in Transition, Part 2

As I wrote previously, our faith family is in a time of major transition. It is both an exciting and scary adventure. It is also very insightful and as we move from one phase of this transition to another I feel like we have grown both individually and collectively. Just like an individual, a faith family should never stop growing or become stagnant. Change itself is uncomfortable and not something we will all voluntarily choose. I also don’t think that most of us voluntarily choose to settle into a rut. It is something that just happens over time. Things that you might have thought more about at one time become common, habitual and once in a while it is good to have things shaken up a little bit. While change isn’t comfortable, if we respond to it in the right way it can lead to healthy growth. And pardon me as rant for a moment, by growth I DO NOT mean people filling seats, which is probably the most common way to measure the growth of a church. What I have seen in our family is growth in spiritual maturity, in relationships, and in serving others. I’d much rather have this kind of growth than be part of a faith family that is big in attendance but shallow when it comes to the essentials of spiritual life. Rant over. 😉
Here are a few of the gems that I’ve observed in our faith family:

1.) A healthy faith family prays, lots. They pray both together and individually.  One of the best results of this transition for us is a campaign called “Take Fifteen” that encourages every person to commit 15 minutes each day to praying for our body. It’s an easy commitment and we were even given specific prayer requests so it was not hard to fill that time. I hope this continues even after this transition. Prayer is powerful! This isn’t rocket science but is always a good reminder.

2.) A healthy faith family communicates properly. Gossip can do terrible, terrible damage more quickly than I think most realize. When a complaint or rumor has come up rather than spread it to neighbors and close friends the party concerned has been encouraged to take these concerns directly to the leadership or individuals involved. It has meant a LOT of meetings but it has also meant a lot of misunderstandings cleared up and further hurt avoided. Again, not a novel idea but it’s so easy to fall into gossip if we aren’t careful.

3.) A healthy faith family is quick to forgive. As I mentioned in my last post people respond to change in different ways. This is bound to cause misunderstand and assumptions to be made. As people are learning to communicate properly they are also learning to be quick to forgive and quick to ask for forgiveness. This has been one of my favorite things to observe.

4.) A healthy faith family respects other points of views. In any group with more than, well, one person you are bound to have disagreements and conflicting points of view. When it comes to the non-deal breaking theological issues we have seen many views expressed in our faith family. I have appreciated the way that we as a group have respected each other. While we might not all agree, we still love and respect each other and really, we will not know the answers to some of these questions until we can ask God directly so why cause strife in a relationship about it?

5.) A healthy faith family encourages each individual to use their gifts to bless the whole. We all have different talents. Not all of us can play the guitar, preach a sermon, say an eloquent prayer, or lead a bible study. However cleaning the upstairs bathrooms, coordinating the speaking schedule, and keeping the driveway from icing over are all just as important and it has been wonderful to see so many step up and say, “I can help out by doing that.”

6.) A healthy faith family remembers who its true leader is. At the end of this transition we will have some new leadership but really, our true leader has never changed and this whole process has been such a good reminder of that. No one individual makes up the whole faith family or should ever be the face of it. We are all members with Christ as our head and he never changes.


Oh Boy!

We found out this week that we are having a little boy! I’ve had my suspicions, this pregnancy feels so different from the last. We are thrilled to know that Korban Kristopher is healthy and doing well. We’re excited to meet him in a few months.


Zyp Christmas Newsletter

Merry Christmas! It’s amazing that it’s already time for sending out cards and newsletters. This last year has sped by and I can hardly believe that a year ago this month we were taking the big leap of moving from Oregon to Utah! Wow, a lot’s happened in a year. Here are the highlights:
January: Kris started his new and wonderful job with SitePen. He gets to do work he loves and can work from home or anywhere with internet access. We bought a house in Sandy, Utah. Two weeks later we experienced a huge snowstorm (or a couple), the biggest the valley had seen in at least 10 years. As a new resident I remember wondering what we’d gotten ourselves into!
February-May: Mostly involved getting settled in to our new house, finding a home church, a doctor for Jennika, making friends and starting to feel at home.
June-July: We made a quick trip up to Casper, WY to visit Nikki’s family and then a three week long trip to Oregon to visit friends and family. We also got to join our church in an outreach, organized by Kris, to the homeless community in downtown Salt Lake. We provided meals, conversation, love, and prayer to everybody who came by.
August: We road tripped down to Lake Powell, Durango, Denver, and then back up to Casper where we celebrated Jennika’s first birthday! Then we traveled with Nikki’s family to the Unita Mountains and spent four days backpacking in the beautiful wilderness.
September: Nikki started teaching conversational English to international students from the university. We were back out in Oregon for a friend’s wedding and to celebrate Jennika’s birthday with the Zyp family. Then we joined Kris’s parents up at Snowbird, Utah for a week of luxurious vacationing in the mountains. We also found out that the next little Zyp will be arriving sometime around the end of May 2009! What a memorable month!
October-November: We spent, for the most part, at home. Kris had several speaking engagements which required he travel. Jennika kept us entertained with her growing vocabulary, both verbally and in sign language. She loves being outside in her playhouse and going on hikes. In October we were also delighted to welcome our old roommates and dear friends, Rebecca and Michael. They moved from Oregon to live with us and we are so happy to have them. Michael (2) and Jennika are good playmates and fight just like siblings!
December: Another month of busy traveling; Kris flew out to Florida to speak at a conference (yes, he’s becoming quite the lecturer) and then directly to Chicago for another engagement. Nikki and Jennika made one last trip up to Casper to squeeze in a holiday visit with her family. For Christmas we’ll be flying out to Oregon to be with Kris’s family and our friends.

Whew, what a year! We’ve seen the incredible abundance of God’s blessings in so many ways this year, especially through family, friends, and Kris’s very flexible job. We are so thankful to call you our friends and family and pray that you are also able to revel in God’s goodness.
May you holiday be filled with peace that passes understanding, love that knows no bounds, and joy in the One who deserves our praise.

Merry Christmas,
Kris, Nikki, & Jennika

Welcome Autumn!

 Summer ended with a bang at the Zyp household and autumn looks to be full and exciting too. We traveled to Oregon for a dear friend’s wedding and then returned home with Kris’s parents. We’re spending the week up at a local resort and having a wonderful time as we watch the leaves change. 


Another Birthday Party
Another Birthday Party


Playing in the hot tub
Playing in the hot tub


Watching Football with Papa
Watching Football with Papa

Spring is Here!

The National Weather Service’s forecast for the next ten days said today we could expect highs in the mid-forties with a slight chance of snow before noon. However by Monday they are forecasting sunny skies and a high of 81! What a change!
Here’s a preview of our spring days….

Moose, Inlaws, and Hamongogs

This week has been a busy one, I have lots on my mind, and lots I want to write about. For now, here’s a summary of our exciting lives.
Saturday was Kris’s 31st birthday and the day my family (Mom, Dad, Liv, and Matthew) would be arriving at our house to spend Easter with us…well, mostly to see Jennika, but Easter was a good excuse. We decided to get up and go for a nice hike before our company arrived. Kris used one of his gifts (a hiking guide book) to find a suitable hike for us, I bundled up Jennika, and we were off. The hike we selected followed a creek up to an old mining cave. We however, didn’t reach the cave because about a quarter of a mile into the hike we encountered a moose! We gave him (0r her?) lots of space and slowly hiked further as he ran further up the trail. Eventually, however he decided he didn’t like this game and just stopped about 50 feet from the trail. We’ve heard plenty of stories about how dangerous moose are and didn’t want to risk aggravating our friend. So we attempted to go up and around our large furry road block by scrambling off trail. Unfortunately we couldn’t find the trail again once we got past the moose so we decided to head back to the car and find another, safer trail.
We drove about a mile up the road and started another beautiful hike in Big Cottonwood Canyon. We had hiked maybe a half mile when I started seeing recent signs of moose. I wanted to warn Kris, who carried Jennika in a front pack, to keep an eye out for moose but thought to myself that I was being silly. After-all what is the likelihood that we’d encounter two different moose on two separate hikes? So I kept quiet, fearing Kris would think I was being ridiculous, and we continued on. The further we got, however, the more I saw that convinced me that we were indeed behind another moose. So finally I did mention it to Kris and he said he’s be watchful. After hiking another 5 minutes we came upon a large older moose, standing about 100 yards ahead of us on the trail….staring at us. We both quickly backed down the trail to give the moose lots of room. He looked tired and a little desperate. I think we’d been chasing him for a while and he was tired of running and ready to face his pursers. So once again we turned back. As we headed back to the car I told Kris how sorry I was that we didn’t get to complete a hike. Both he and I weren’t very sorry though. It was a little annoying to be turned away by a moose, but way cooler to just get to view such a large and amazing creature in its own setting. That in itself was a pretty cool birthday present for Kris.
On Sunday we attended church, an amazing experience that I hope to write about soon. Then we feasted on a wonderful Easter diner together. That afternoon my family drove back home and I took Kris to the airport because he had business meetings in San Jose early the next week.
Monday and Tuesday Jennika and I were on our own. Let me just say that I have a great deal of respect for single moms. It’s tough being on your own with a little one! Wednesday afternoon Bill and Karen (Kris’s parents) arrived from Oregon. They came to see Jennika…and us….but mostly Jennika. 🙂 Wednesday evening Kris flew home and we had a happy and full house again.
I have to pause here for a second and say that I have the absolute best in-laws that a girl could ask for. When I listen to my girlfriends complain about the comments their mother-in-laws make, or the irritating habits and demands of their husband’s family I simply cannot relate. I have been blessed with another mother and father who really do treat me like their daughter, continually bless Kris and I, never criticize us, and are always willing to help us in whatever way possible be it prayer, babysitting, or swinging a hammer. I love it when they come to visit because I know that we’ll get a lot done and we’ll be adored and blessed.
So, having said that, you can easily imagine that our next two days were spent enjoying being together and working on home improvement projects. Bill and I made at least 4 trips to Home Depot in a 24 hour period. I love that store! We rented a rototiller and Bill broke up the dirt in my garden. We also purchased three trees; two Aspen and one Pear, and planted them. I also now have sheeky new light fixtures in my kitchen. They were delighted with Jennika and spend nearly every one of her waking hours holding or playing with her. I know that she felt well loved! Good job Oma and Papa!
Early Saturday morning, despite our best efforts to convince them to stay longer, Bill and Karen started the long drive back to Oregon. We were sad to see them go so soon.
That afternoon we decided to take advantage of the beautiful sunny and warm weather and go for another hike. It’d been a full week since our last hike, which is a really, really long time for us. So we decided to hike up the the first hamongog (Hebrew term for meadow) on the trail up to Lone Peak. This summer we hope to actually climb Lone Peak so this was a good preparatory hike.
The hike was beautiful providing great views of Lake Utah on the way up and a beautiful snowy field with Lone Peak in the background at our final destination. We saw lots of signs of moose on the trail, which made me a little bit nervous, but we never encountered more than a lizard and several very stupid mule deer.
And so that brings us up to date. It’s Saturday evening and we’re sitting in our warm and peaceful house with the lights off to observe Earth Hour Day. Hope your week was full of fun, love, and adventure too!

All Tuckered Out

Happy Family

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Jennika’s 7 Month Birthday!

Saint Patrick is one of those people I greatly admire…and I didn’t even know anything about him, except that we celebrate him on March 17th by wearing green, pinching people, and eating corned beef and cabbage, until about a year ago. His life was really incredible and I recommed that YOU do a little reading about his life.

Or if you won’t do that, at least watch this entertaining summary of his life, brought to you by Veggie Tales. It’s funny and actually pretty accurate. 

Lessons Learned in Moab

Anybody who knows me even a little knows that I am a planner through and through. I love love LOVE making lists and schedules. How much you ask? Well, for example, each week I make a menu of what we’re going to eat, a grocery list, and a to-do list. I even have sub-divided my lists into short term to-dos and long term to-dos! Crossing items off those lists gives me such a great feeling of, not only accomplishment, but I think also security. In my mind I’m valuable because I have done something notable. Even if it was just emptying the dishwasher, it was something written down and set to be done. And I DID IT. Good job Nikki!
 I know that this isn’t really true. That God doesn’t peek over my shoulder at my crossed off items and say, “Nikki has gotten seven things crossed off her list already! Man, I knew I really liked her for some reason!”  
Romans 8:38-39 says:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Now I know it doesn’t mention anything in there about to-do lists, but I think that falls under the “anything else in all creation” category. The thing that stands out to me about this verse right now are the first four words. For I am convinced…am I? Do I really believe that no matter what I do or don’t get done today I will still be immensely loved by my Father? Well on days when I do get a lot done, sure I am convinced, because I feel good about myself. But on those sad, bad days when nothing seems to go right, or when I just can’t get going and motivated, those days when my list seems daunting and, rather than inspire me, it seems to point an accusing finger at me, I have to say I’m not convinced. On those days, which do happen all too often, I feel worthless, old, tired and discouraged.
This last week my brother and sister-in-law came up from Durango for a visit. Friday morning we decided to accompany them part of the way home and spend some time rock climbing and hiking in Moab. Then we’d part ways, them heading further south to Durango and us back home. Moab is about 4 hours from our home and an incredible place. We enjoyed the brisk afternoon weather, sunny but still chilly, as we hiked through winding canyons with sandstone towers rising several hundred feet above us. At the end of the hike we were rewarded with an incredible view of the valley. As we ate lunch at the local Wendy’s Kris suggested that we spend the night and then have some more time playing Saturday morning before we headed home. As he jogged across the street to check out hotel rates, a battle began to rise inside of me. The list-making part of me panicked. We haven’t planned for this! We didn’t schedule this! We don’t have any extra food, clothes, or really anything to spend the night!
But then a little part of me was excited. What a fun little adventure! We can “rough it” for one night and then enjoy this beautiful place a little more.
I think I hid my internal battle fairly well. Kris came back and said there were very few rooms left in Moab due to a half-marathon event that weekend. If we wanted a room we needed to make a decision quickly. My first (internal) response was relief, this would be easy to get out of. I played the religious card and suggested that we go on our outing and then decide afterwards if we wanted to spend the night or not. If a room was still available then we’d know we were supposed to stay. If it was “God’s will”, in other words, a room would be held for us.
Kris shot that idea down quickly, his logical mind calculating that it would be very unlikely that we’d come back and find an available room.
“Okay, whatever you think is best is fine with me, Kris.” I said, trying to sound convincing. Deep down the list making Nikki was losing and she knew it. The spontaneous, adventure craving Nikki was rejoicing at this opportunity. Kris quickly made a phone call and reserved one of the last available rooms in Moab.
This seemingly little decision ended up being the beginning of a huge revelation for me. That night as we settled into our hotel I felt young and giddy. I was excited as Kris went to the store to buy toothbrushes and I washed out our clothes in the bathroom sink with hand-soap. I know there’s nothing all that daring or crazy about what we were doing. But I realized that sometimes my desire to have things planned and scheduled can rule out a certain element of fun and adventure.
The revelation continued Saturday morning when we got up and drove out to Arches National Park. We spent the next five hours on a strenuous, beautiful, breath-taking hike. We saw incredible natural arches and sculptures, some that may only exist for a little while longer before succumbing to gravity and erosion. Repeatedly aloud and silently I thanked God for making all the beauty that surrounded us and for giving us the pleasure of being able to see it. I thought a lot about the last twenty-four hours as we hiked and felt like God was showing me how much he loved me in that hike. I had not accomplished a single productive or notable thing since we left home but oh, how blessed and loved I felt. God loved me enough to inspire my husband to extend our stay so that He could take me out into His creation and speak to me about how silly those lists really are. Yes, He made me to be a planner and a list-maker. But He didn’t make me to derive value, blessing, my sense of purpose, or even really pleasure from my lists and plans. He wants me to come to Him for that, and really that’s the only place where my pleasure and true value will ever come from. I’ll never be disappointed when I look to him, in fact, I think I learned from this trip that I’ll end up being amazed.
So now, in the trunk of our car sits a little overnight bag. It’s packed with all the little items we’d need should we ever decide to stay the night somewhere at the last minute. Because all of me, even the scheduler, wants to ALWAYS fully embrace all the adventure that God has for me. 🙂 Hidden Away in the fins of Arches National Park

For the rest of our pictures from this trip, click here and video made by Willie.