Thursday, December 30, 2010


i've dubbed this year the year of "getting out." it's my 24th year of life and i'm going to do things. not that i don't already but i want it to be a year of adventuring and exploring some new places. and i'm plastering my wall with it. so far i have a map of prague and a map of budapest. i'd say that's pretty good considering i've only been 24 for what, about 15 days?! :)
other "getting out" trips on the agenda:

1. AZ in February (hopefully, if schedules work out!!) which means a trip to the Grand Canyon and (cross your fingers) the long-awaited hike down to Havasu Falls. Oh, not to mention climbing with Luke--maybe even finding new spots in Flag?
2. Door County, Wisconsin (at the prodding of a certain Marta Schnake). I've heard only wonderful things about it and I think it's time for me to experience it myself.
3. The UP (of course i'll be going there again...!)
4. I've been hoping for too long to do some backpacking around Lake Superior (get me to that shoreline!). This is the year for it. I live so close and i'm relatively free to travel, depending on work (which can be sort of flexible).
5. A portion of the AT with Mariah--or some other outdoor excursion.
6. Road-trip to Niagara Falls?!

Seriously, I get excited just thinking about all of it. Sigh. This from hanging a few maps on my bedroom wall.

Well, a toast to my 24th year of life and to the hope of "getting out" some more?! here, here!!

came across this today

"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."
-H.D. Thoreau

i've been thinking a bit about Rom. 12 and the part "be transformed by the renewing of your minds..." the NLT puts it so: "...let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." I like to think that I take God at his promises. Maybe not always. But I should. We really ought to remind ourselves of them everyday. "let God transform you...then you will learn..."

i find myself in a place, time, season that demands i trust. jake said once last summer that this year will require a posture of trust. i think my whole life will require such a posture. but different seasons seem to demand more trust, don't they? like this one, for example :)

several conversations of late have landed on the subject of God's faithfulness. Another promise of his--faithful relationship. So i also find myself in a place, time, season that demands I cast myself head-long onto his faithfulness. i start by reminding myself everyday--each new morning, every passing night--that he is near, that he is at back of the world, that he is the one guiding, promoting, and improving my faith. oh, that reminds me of something else i read today from good ol' Abraham Heschel, "faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart." i've lived faith's process lately. so i'll never be able to deny it: faith is a journey. it seems we're always waiting for the arrival. but let's not miss all that's happening along the way...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I'm back! It actually felt good to fly back into the city. I think it's the only time on record that I actually felt a little relieved--it's time to be back in my own space, starting a fresh routine, etc. I've been on the go since Dec 10 and just now realizing how exhausted I am! But it was a great trip. I think I'll always love traveling. Actually, I know I will. There's something so spectacular about seeing new places, watching new people, taking in new sights and sounds...I absolutely love it.

The days were full and busy--meeting people, seeing new things, adventuring...

Jake took my bday off and we spent the day doing lots of different things. In the morning we went to a quaint little town north of the city on the river called Szentendre. It was one of my favorite experiences--such a beautiful, enchanted little place. Narrow, cobblestone streets and old buildings of every shape and size. After that, we walked around Budapest a little. Later that night he surprised me and took me to see the Nutcracker at the Budapest Opera House (beautiful). It was so amazing. We went out for dinner after at an all-you-can-eat bar/grill sort of place. It was a wonderful birthday. Wow, 24, huh? :)

Budapest was beautiful. It's sort of a dark city, though. This could also be because it's winter (probably the most plausible explanation). However, Prague didn't have the same "cold/dark" feel. True, we went to Prague. We didn't make it to Krakow due to a shortage of return tickets on the overnight train. So Jake and I took an overnight bus (didn't sleep at all, which made for an interesting day in the city for sure) to Prague friday night, spent saturday wandering the city, and took an overnight train back that night. it's hard to tour a city in the winter when you have no place to stay--it requires a lot of walking around to stay warm or spending money to do things indoors to thaw out. but it was still a lot of fun. We found a really cool bagel cafe (Bohemia Bagel) and hung out there a bit. We walked around the Jewish Quarter which was, unfortunately, closed (it was a Saturday--oops). We walked through the Christmas Market(s) and over the St. Charles Bridge to the Castle area, admired all the beautiful architecture, walked through the "gardens" (which were frozen and covered in snow, naturally, but still a pretty area), etc. We had lunch in a cool little tea house/cafe and walked around a whole lot more...I'm so glad I got to see Prague--it's a gorgeous city. Wish I could see it in warm weather!

Here are a few pictures from the trip. There are many more stories to tell but I'm too tired to recall them all right now. Plus that would be overwhelming :) More to come later, I'm sure (and pictures from Christmas at the Blue Moon!!)


the 6th graders: amazing. i think my life would be 10x's more interesting and more fun if i could interact with them on a regular basis...

Friday, December 10, 2010

aaand, i'm off!

here i go. calling a taxi in 10 minutes to leave for the airport...wahoo!

the weather couldn't be better: cold but CLEAR and SUNNY. the perfect day for a flight. sigh.

so long. until next time :)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

the nativity according to a 3 yr old

so, A and G have a fisher price little people nativity scene. they were playing with it on tuesday when i got to their house and it was scattered across the living room floor throughout the morning. A and I kept putting it together and G kept tearing it apart. Boys will be boys. watching a 3 yr old put together a nativity scene is probably one of the best things ever.

A: "where's the baby's dad?"
Me: "do you know who this baby is?"
A: "yes, it's Jesus. the camel goes over here. See, look at the picture." (it had to be exactly like the picture on the box).
Finally, the scene was finished but A was holding a school bus and G was holding a fire engine. A looked at me and asked, "Andrea, where does the school bus go?" and G balanced the fire engine in the palm trees with a big, accomplished smile. I laughed. Apparently the wise men came in a school bus, most of us just don't remember that part of the story :)

Also, in Joann's today I overhead this conversation between a middle-aged couple over by the fleeces:
Wife: "you know what I want to know about this christmas story? What Jesus did with all the money the kings gave him?"
Husband: stares blankly at his wife and shrugs.
Wife: "really, where did all the money go?"

aahaha. oh goodness.

i really want to go to an advent service.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

on turning 24 and looking at life around me

i'm not sure where to start with this post. i always sort of hate when there's something in me i really want to get out but can't really figure out how to do it. here's to trying.

i turn 24 a week from today. i think hannah's the only friend who has shared the "sober reality" of each new year--the "getting older" feelings and realizing life's changes in unexpected ways (we aren't always "where we thought we'd be," etc.). But then there's also the sober reality of life's great gift. here i am, approaching an entirely new year. i have no idea what it will hold. i've got hopes, dreams, and plans for it--as does the next person--but don't know if or when or where or how they'll all work out. that's sort of the frustrating beauty of life, isn't it? always catching us off guard and presenting itself to us so unashamed and unapologetic. and we take it. we live it as it comes.

24 feels old. it also feels young. how is that possible? i can look at my life and wonder about why it doesn't like like i thought it would at 24. i can also look at my life and consider the ways in which it has delightfully surprised me. i feel a little frustrated that i'm 24 and a nanny--no actual career, nothing really to "wow" about. and i find myself (lately) wondering how this next year is going to unfold. it feels like a big one--inevitably large changes.

on saturday melissa and i talked about faith and hope and trust in ways that were revitalizing. just a simple conversation, really, but one that meant a lot because 1. it was with a dear friend 2. it took place at this time in my life in which i need to be reminded of the simple truths we live. if i ever take the time to slow my thoughts, my words, my questions...i always face the realities of faith and hope and trust. i don't know how they can be avoided in this world. i could never deny the process of faith i fight to live, learn, and develop. i could never deny the hope that hangs in the air and seems to us elusive and fragile. i could never deny the need for moment-by-moment trust in something larger than myself. ever. these things become more and more real to me each year i live. i guess that's a gift. it's definitely a mystery.

finally...the girls took me to a Peter Mulvey concert on friday for an early bday. i don't think the evening could have been better had it not been shared with peter, a glass of red wine, and four lovely friends. the whole night was full of the beauty of my life--this life. at almost any concert (his especially) there is inevitably a song that catches my breath as the "aha" song of the night--one that tells a part of my own story or expresses a part of my own heart. friday there were two. one was a new one, Trempealeau (lyrics not released), and the other was Tender Blindspot, appropriate for me and appropriate for winter:

It's cold, but at least the sun is out
Her breath hangs glowing in the air
She's standing at the car with the key in her hand
Like a sleeper coming back from somewhere

All at once, the weight has lifted
Forgotten the weeping all last night
She's wearing a frown borrowed from her father
Her head is tilted a little to the right

And it's just your tender blindspot
Not the ruination of your soul
As long as trees are skying
Tears are weeping seas to make us whole
Still you wonder why you're aching
Why you should go on, you just don't know
But it's just your tender blindspot
From that tender blindspot you must go

The days are short and grey
It's the hardest time of year
And she must have missed the roadsign that said
"From now on, nothing will be clear"

And the whole day is calling
But she is frozen to the ground
There's something in the silence
There is something waiting to be found

And it's just your tender blindspot
Not the ruination of your soul
As long as trees are skying
Tears are weeping seas to make us whole
Still you wonder why you're aching
Why you should go on, you just don't know
But it's just your tender blindspot
From that tender blindspot you must go

And the morning dove is clinging
To the powerlines above
And time is hanging frozen
In its grace and pain and love

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

roll away your stone

tonight i am appreciating the lyrics to the Mumford and Sons song Roll Away Your Stone. the twinkling lights of the christmas tree also make the list. as does the fact that our windows are now SEALED. goodbye, winter cold. hello, cozy big blue house.

today has been a very good day.

and, my christmas cactus has a bud. i hope it blooms before Hungary.

Monday, November 29, 2010

back when toby keith was good

the village (thrift store near our house) is notorious for less than mediocre music choking its way out of low-quality speakers. today, however, they played "When We Were in Love" by Toby Keith--a song I had completely forgotten about (and yes, i realize that for some of you this song doesn't quite rise above "less than mediocre" but whatever. i'm a softy for good country). In fact, i couldn't even remember it was a Toby Keith song until Mariah reminded me. I'm listening to it now. I liked this song very much for a very long time. I still remember when it was on the radio all the time. hm. Transported back to Sonoita, AZ, small town southern Arizona :)
In other news, I discovered Jakob Dylan through a new friend (from pottery). His folksy/bluegrass/country sound is perfect for roadtrips and/or quiet sit-at-home evenings (i know from personal experience!). You should look him up. I'm sure his pandora station is great.

The last several days have been loaded with learning. Not easy learning, but learning nonetheless. Certain experiences, conversations, and seasons of life offer themselves as one insight after another, don't they? Insight into self, into others, into God, into the simple things of life, into the more complicated things of life...hmm. all of it is a great big wonder to me. i can honestly say I am delighted to be exactly right here were I am. my heart is deeply content and full of joy. truly. just a lot of "enlargement" going on.

The snow up north was just beautiful. the space to take it all in and breathe a little deeper was also really wonderful. now i'm back in the cold wet city where it sometimes feels a little darker and life moves a lot faster.

christmas is approaching fast. i hope i can live slow enough to feel the anticipation in this ever-moving, over-bustling city i currently call "home."

and you? how does advent find you this year?

Friday, November 26, 2010

the view out our window

Later, if the wind dies down a bit, we're going for a little walk through the wintry woods. Sigh. It's so absolutely beautiful.

Our Thanksgiving was wonderful, how was yours? This time of year is a blessing to me. I realize that for so many the "holidays" mark a difficult time, especially those without family or without the provision that so many of us easily take for granted. I'm reminded often to hold these gifts with open hands, thankful but not entitled. So many have less. May we welcome those who don't have into our lives of "have."

Today, I think my favorite thing is the way the snow piles up heavy on the tree branches. So lovely.

Blessing and hope to you as we enter full swing into the holiday season. Let's keep things in proper perspective, k?...and not get carried away by what the world says is "important."

"Father in heaven, the day draws near when the glory of your Son will make radiant the night of the waiting world. May the lure of greed not impede us from the joy which moves the hearts of those who seek him. May the darkness not blind us to the vision of wisdom which fills the minds of those who find him. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen." -an advent prayer

Thursday, November 25, 2010

homily recap

Last week's homily was really wonderful. Here's the link to the recap--if you have time, READ it. It was so timely, so encouraging, so refreshing and invigorating...

Monday, November 22, 2010

thank you, Sandra

I have to share something from Sandra McCracken's e-news I received this evening. She's right on, articulates it beautifully, and echoes my own learnings of this year:

"I frequently marvel at how creative and how spiritual ALL of life writing, baby bouncing, performing, traveling, and caregiving. It all bleeds together like colors of fingerpaint on a giant canvas. In fact, there is no end in sight to this canvas. And everybody involved is covered in this non-washable paint. But I'm getting the feeling that this art we are making is gonna be beautiful in the end."

Seriously. I couldn't have said it better. Of course, I might change "song writing" to something like letter writing or journaling, "baby bouncing" to conversations with little ones who are trying to figure out the world (or any number of other activities i find myself involved in on a daily basis with the kids that aren't my own), "performing" to interactions with others...the list goes on. The point is, she gets it. all of life is remarkably creative and spiritual and if you haven't figured it out yet, well, i hope you will. because it allows you to understand the simple beauty of life in all of its mundane and ordinary, as well as celebrate the "out of the ordinary" moments. it helps you make it through the pain and the mess and feel the richness of the healing and growth.

hmm. tonight i am so grateful to be alive. i've spent a lot of time this year feeling so unsettled and uncertain about "what's next" and about what my life will hold. right now i am quieted by all the potential--all the unknown. and i feel a rested peace.

On a cold winter day

I want to make these sandwiches to eat with hot soup...or maybe just by themselves. YUM. lately i've been thinking about how nice it would be to have more people to cook for. cooking for one just isn't as fun or as economical. bleh.

It's been really grey the past few days. oh dear. winter in chicago. the long, long winter in chicago...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

3 weeks from today

i will be in hungary. whew, that's insane. is it almost december already?! where does the time go?

we're coming up on Thanksgiving. i'll be driving to the U.P. to visit grandma and mom. girls weekend! i can hardly wait. it will be so wonderful. it looks like i'll be driving straight on Thanksgiving day, i don't have wed. off. but that's ok. i actually look forward to the drive. the whole thing will be in daylight and i'll have good music, coffee along the way, lots of time to myself, and the enjoyment of the wintry scenes i pass through all the way up. hmm, sounds perfect if you ask me.

last night was our church's annual wine tasting. i really like our church. it was a really fun night--with lots of wonderful food and good wine. it's a fantastic event put on in a rented facility with live (jazz) music. i didn't get to try as many as i wanted to because i was the one that drove but i got to try about six. and the tastes were not just tastes :) props to the french pinot noir, my favorite (and the american champagne). a taste of mariah's sirah near the end was promising. the food was amazing. the people were fun--mingled with familiar faces and met some new ones. all-in-all it was a fabulous night.

i realized at the party, however, that (due to holiday travels, etc.) i will miss the entire advent season at our church. this makes me really very sad. i love that Grace follows the church calendar and i especially love how it carries us through seasons such as advent (lent, etc.). sigh. i am bummed.

tomorrow i finish up my work at the studio. i'll have to go in later to pick it up once it makes it through glazing. i'm so excited to see the finished product!

still busy trying to finish up Christmas presents. yikes, so little time left to get everything done! i seriously cannot believe i leave for hungary in less than 3 weeks. gah! i get to go to Europe. I get to travel. I get to see Jake. so many wonderful things...

Monday, November 15, 2010

today i thought "yep, i'm really excited to be a mom"

C was a sweetheart today. He fell at school coming in from play time and cut his upper lip which, apparently, brought on a lot of blood and tears (the tears were streaming when i picked the little guy up from school and carried on sporadically throughout the evening). he was pretty shaken up and his lip was swollen. we made it home and spent the evening on the couch exchanging stories while icing. in his words, the lip was "blown up." i'm telling you, he was full of memorably lines tonight.

Me: you know, C, one time my sister was kicking a rock and it flew towards the back of my head so she yelled "Andrea, duck!" i turned around in time to have the rock hit me right in the mouth. i lost a loose tooth and lived with a large scab on my upper lip...

C: Andrea, you should have dunked. if it had been me, i would have dunked straight away.

Yeah, you guessed it. i just smiled and kept holding the ice on his puffy lip. as i sat there on that couch with that sweet boy laying in my lap, i was suddenly really excited to be a mom. someday. not now, not yet. but someday. and it will be wonderful.

and the moral of the story is, don't forget to DUNK!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A prayer for today

You are the God who is simple, direct, clear with us and for us.
You have committed yourself to us.
You have said yes to us in creation,
yes to us in our birth,
yes to us in our baptism,
yes to us in our awakening this day.

But we are of another kind,
more accustomed to “perhaps, maybe, we’ll see,’
left in wonderment and ambiguity.

We live our lives not back to your yes,
but out of our endless “perhaps.”

So we pray for your mercy this day that we may live yes back to you,
yes with our time,
yes with our money,
yes with our sexuality,
yes with our strength and with our weakness,
yes to our neighbor,
yes and no long “perhaps.”

In the name of your enfleshed yes to us,
even Jesus who is our yes into your future. Amen.

From Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth, Walter Brueggemann

Friday, November 05, 2010


i'm listening to "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus." the line "come thou long awaited emmanuel" strikes me, as it always does. "free us from our fears and sins." i know i've mentioned before how much this time of year begins to grow in anticipation of a needed Savior. "born to set his people free." perhaps attending a church that follows the church calendar helps promote this. or maybe it's just become a part of me and a part of experiencing the coming and going of days and seasons, marked by significant historical events (events, too, that happen to alter the course of the world...the course of our lives...). anyhow, the sky looks like winter today. the clouds have that "heavy" look; that "waiting" look. and it reminds me of the heightened sense of "heavy" and "waiting" that is building in our hearts as we await the one who can make things whole again--the one who will live in our weak, frightened, sinful souls and make us new.

"A world of God's governance ends our weariness and satisfies our longing. Obedience is the daily task of yielding more regions of our life to God's sovereign purpose. We do not yield easily. But this tradition makes clear that if we do not yield, we shall die." (Brueggemann)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

love tank

when i was little and needed some lovin', mom would say, "your love tank must be empty. let's fill it up!" and we'd sit on the couch or in a chair together and talk, or just be. but she would always hug me. or hold me. and then i learned to go find her whenever my love tank needed filling, "mom, my love tank's empty." where, o where is my mama when i need her? today my love tank's been feeling empty. i'm definitely a person that needs hugs. and i realized today that i don't get very many hugs. this is sad.

i need a hug.

i also need sleep. and i can remedy this one, sooo....goodnight!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


i love beans. that's all there is to it. they're simple and tasty and inexpensive and, well, just wonderful. pinto, black, kidney, navy...ahhh. eating them now sauteed/simmered with veggies and some salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, and chili powder. top it with some cheese. so good. so easy!

i've been good about using my farm share veggies this week. sometimes some of them go bad before i get to use them. but not this time. oh, no no. i'm on it. homemade pizza on monday used up a fair amount of the peppers. i've still got brussels sprouts that i think i'll roast tonight. enough about my food supply. you probably don't care.

today has been a good and much needed day. I woke up on my own without an alarm at 7:30 (weird) and decided to get the day going. I caught up on all the bills, etc. (rant: how can ONE LITTLE doctor visit end up costing so stinkin' much? last time i get a strep throat culture. sigh) and then I caught up on emails...

i listened to tim keller's sermon on Sexuality and Christian Hope. it's really good, i recommend it to you. i'm thinking a lot about a lot of things which means i'll probably do some journalling.

the candles are lit. the house feels delightfully cozy.

i have a cup of chai waiting for me and i think i'm going to knit for awhile. or maybe read. i'm reading Peace Like a River.

i hope you're doing well on this cold, grey november day.

Monday, November 01, 2010

october has come and gone

and now it is november. can you believe it?? crazy!! i will be leaving for Hungary in exactly 39 days. that's definitely crazy.

our "girls weekend" to the UP last weekend was really fun. so wonderful to get away (and up north!), spend time with Grandma, and explore out-of-doors. i'm finally posting pictures...

this weekend i was in Indianapolis with all the Schnake's (minus Jake and Hannah, of course) at Caleb and Celena's. It was a wonderful time to be with them, enjoy spending time with the kids, laugh together, and get to know each other some more. also, fall is still full of color down there and so time outside was beautiful. Evie and I found the most beautiful leaves. wish i could show you...

regular work this week. both families are back so the week will be "normal" again. in lots of ways i'm actually looking forward to it.

we finally got the heat turned on. yesssssss. i can't tell you how wonderful this is.

what else. hmm. not much. i've almost finished the Brueggemann book I'm currently reading which means I can pick up another from my (long) list...this is a good feeling :)

i guess that's all. a short little update but an update nonetheless, right?! happy november!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

a few of my favorite things (for which I am also THANKFUL)

1. the evening drive home from work (which may or may not frequently include loud sing-alongs to songs like "girls just want to have fun"...only because it's been on the radio sooo much :)).

2. backyard soccer in the leaves. and the inevitable rich, earthy smell that fills the air afterward.

3. slippers when my toes are numb (we haven't turned the heat on yet. it's on our list of things to do as soon as we seal the windows).

4. my bible in the cool, late morning accompanied by my journal and a cup of hot tea.

5. learning things with the Lord that are difficult but so very necessary.

6. feeling more "connected" at church.

7. candles.

8. smart wool socks and my (black-bear) patagonia fleece.

9. a playlist of good-for-the-soul songs that have helped "move me along" through the years. ever notice how certain songs seem to follow you?

10. prayer.

11. a few knitting projects on the needles and a few more coming alive in mind and imagination.

12. in feast or fallow. the song and the album. thank you, sandra mccracken.

13. the friends in my life.

14. family--from whom i learn so much.

15. growing anticipation for a trip across the ocean coming up soon...

oh, and these cuties...

Monday, October 18, 2010

these autumn days

life is demanding that I pray the Lord's Prayer with new sensitivity, awareness, and humility. we've been studying it in church for several weeks. it's been really wonderful to have that prayer expanded and refreshed in needed ways. it's just that it's hard to live what it demands, you know? or live what it promises, for that matter. seems we often think we can figure life out on our own--figure out how to give out to and receive from God/others. but no, we really need His grace for all the giving and all the receiving. on our own, we aren't up for the task of living well (and living healthy). and i'm discovering again and again how much richer it is to realize myself joined to Him and joined to others in the task of living. it really is better this way. thank you, Lord, for blessing us in ways we hardly ever acknowledge.

fall is moving by at remarkable speed. it's nearly november. life has been so busy! but sprinkled into the busy days have been a handful of simple, wonderful well as a handful of really incredible people to share them with!

(and many more not pictured...)

i look forward to the coming of the "holiday season," which means Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) and Christmas (a time of year that, for me, is unparalleled in it's simple beauty and deep wonder). agh. so much to look forward to! my heart is full. but i am reminded that i need to live each day with the care, intentionality, and gratefulness it deserves (even the difficult ones...). i hope we don't ever take this life for granted.

this weekend mariah, monica, melissa, and i are going to visit Grandma in the UP. third time up there this year! woo!! we are all so excited to get away for a little while. i'm anxious to enjoy all that the north country inevitably offers. it's so unique in its beauty. and i always love going to the house on Minnesota St. :)

also, i have a really cute niece and nephew...i miss them...can't wait to see them at Christmas!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

been thinking on this today

"...the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it." Mt 13:45,46

ever have moments/days/weeks in which you feel heavily the treasure of Christ?--feeling with all eagerness the desire to "sell all" in order to gain everything? i've had this growing in me "afresh" lately and today it is very nearly exploding out of me. so very grateful for God who has been so generous to me--for God who has given me life in this world and whose Spirit creates in me the hope for others to also find such life in Him.

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10b

Monday, October 11, 2010

a little bee

my computer is so old. it's slow. it's "full." and now, it seems there is a little bee living in the left speaker. it buzzes when i play music. it's fairly soft, so not too annoying yet. i've realized that i should start saving more seriously for a new computer so that i'll be ready when this guy decides to go for good. oh dear...

yesterday was Oct 10th. I fly to Hungary Dec 10th. that's two months. that's crazy talk. i'm so excited.

last night Amy and Michelle came over for dinner. it was lovely. in an effort to use up some of the leeks Mariah and i have been getting in our CSA, we used a new recipe! Basically it was caramelized leeks with bacon strips baked on top and then chopped up and sprinkled over...soooo good. And Mariah showed me the recipe she uses for roasted chicken. it's amazing. i first had it last christmas when i visited her family in NM. then i made some shortbread to go with the fresh apple cider i got at the farmer's market. so yummy! it was a good time with friends.

this morning erin is coming over for breakfast--omelets and coffee. food together with friends is a wonderful combination. it makes me really grateful for the privilege of both. we are a privileged people, learning to be grateful for our plenty.

happy monday!

(oh. and peter mulvey=wonderful)

Friday, October 08, 2010

this morning my prayer is simple

"you're the only one who knows what we need. help us trust that."

the sun has shown and is shouting good morning! to the leaves on the tree out the window. the sky is blue. life is bursting with little gifts like a beautiful day.

and how are you?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

my dream(ing)

i have a lot of dreams. some people might say i have too many. i don't know. maybe so. but i'll probably always be a dreamer.

one of my dreams has been pestering me lately. and it is this: one day i think it would be lovely, exciting, and (even) thrilling to buy (or rent, i suppose) a small little house that needs some extra lovin' (in other words, some: painting, stripping, staining, nailing, etc.). wouldn't that be fun? i think so. a place to put my fingerprints and a little extra sweat and elbow grease. oh, and maybe a garden out back...

there have been so many things reminding me of this dream these days. why?! hmm. oh well, weird.

i like dreaming :)

if i had a dog, i'd walk him with a cup of morning coffee

this morning i saw a man walking a dog holding a mug of coffee. i thought, "how delightful," and determined that someday, when (or if, since i guess i really don't know) i have a dog, i'd really enjoy walking him with a cup of morning coffee.

i really love mornings, as you know. i like greeting them in all their freshness. i like watching the rest of the world wake up. this time of year, the early mornings are dark and it takes a while to feel the sun on my face. but it comes. this morning the air was crisp and clear and promised some warmth. even now, by noon, the sky is bright blue, the air is crisp, and the sun is warm. it's a very wonderful day.

i'm still sneezy and my nose is stuffed. i've used tylenol pm the last two nights to get some good rest. 11 hrs last night. i've been feeling so exhausted! so sluggish. yuck. i hate it! so i'm hoping this bug will pass soon--before tomorrow's pottery class would be nice, so i don't snot all over everything :)

i've had the urge to go apple picking. or at least to go some place where i can see the earth meet the sky.

i've had the thought lately that we are a very blessed people to live with such a patient God. also, however, i've thought about how painful his patience must sometimes be for Him. ever think what it does to him to watch us fooling around, micro-managing our days, desperate to control details beyond ourselves, forgetful of the things that matter most in this life...? i have been thinking about these things. and it makes me a little sad, a lot grateful, and grows my love for him a little deeper-down.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

when did it turn to october?

does anyone else feel like the days are passing so fast?

thoughts in my head today:

1. i can't wait to put handles on my mugs in pottery this week.
2. naps in the afternoon are a wonderful thing. wish i had more time for them.
3. dinner with new church friends on wednesday. woo!
4. our CSA box is beautiful, as usual: greens, reds, yellows...
5. grateful beyond words for the people in my life.
6. anxious to buy my ticket to hungary.
7. hopeful for strength to work with the kiddos this week (courage to serve and love them).
8. excited about a new book to read.
9. happy to wear sweaters and scarves.
10. eager to collect more beautiful leaves along the way and throughout my days.
11. tea weather. sigh.
12. God has interrupted my tangled thoughts with a great deal of encouragement and "presence." I'm grateful.
13. church today was needed.
14. life is a beautiful gift and i am finding myself more and more eager to live it.
15. the colors of autumn make me smile tirelessly.
16. october means a trip to the UP and a drive through bright COLOR.
17. thankful for how God teaches us in small ways: using unexpected things to guide us along, bring us low, and provide encouragement.
18. i love love love the quilt mom made me last Christmas. it's been on my lap all evening. it's beautiful (it's also the colors of autumn :)).
19. christmas craft projects are coming together (mostly still in mind--the dreaming of them is coming together!). the little elf has been busy busy!
20. i want to watch Lars and the Real Girl.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm from the Grand Canyon State

so if you're going to advertise a "canyon" at your state park, well, i might be a stickler about whether or not the hole in the ground actually qualifies as a canyon. yes, i'm going to belly-ache a little about this weekend trip we just got back from. i really do it in jest because, who doesn't finally just laugh about how ridiculous it is to go on a "hike" up stairs and over boardwalks with a plaque every hundred feet detailing your location. i suppose it comforts the city folk who might be a little uneasy in the great outdoors. mariah and i had many a good laugh on that walk. we are still laughing :) at least we're learning to appreciate the places we've been that are a little less tamed. i've done some more thinking about my trips up north this year and how much i just love lake superior. i'm all for the rugged beauty. it's been a great refreshment. AND, we're going in two weeks to visit Grandma again (if you don't cap your invitation you're going to get sick of me!!). I cannot wait.

mariah and i talked about doing a portion of the appalachian trail this summer. hmmm. i'd love it. there are so many things i really want to do "out of doors." i hope i get to sometime soon. i feel like i've been storing up talk and desire and now i'm ready to just get on with it! we talked about that this weekend, too. we want to stop saying "someday i will..." and "wish i could..." and just do it. gah! i get so excited just thinking about it. here i come, wide world!

the grand canyon is a must and maybe i can finally cash in on that father daughter trip to havasu falls (last time he had a hernia). isle royal is on the list for round 2. south america would be amazing. maybe i should start thinking a little bit smaller--yep, appalachian trail this summer.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

a needed kind of happy

this weekend mariah, erin, and i went camping. yes, it was a needed kind of "happy for my soul." we went to starved rock state park near utica, il. it was lovely. a midwest version of "the great outdoors" (which i'm discovering means more manicured trails/"hiking" paths than i'd like but i take what i can get :)). we collected some treasures along the way--mostly handfulls of acorns :) !!! we had fires and ate hobo dinners and made smores. we snuggled up on cold nights to keep warm and enjoyed crisp mornings (ok, this sounds like we were gone for a long time...two nights is all. haha. mariah and i on friday and erin joined saturday. but it was still wonderful). it rained and even that was wonderful because we could listen to it splatter on the tent and shake down off the trees. aaah, i'm telling you, it was just what we needed. we had good conversation and laughed a lot. we explored the park and explored the (sorta strange) little town. it was good to get away for a bit. this world is big and wide for adventuring and exploring. i want to do it. a lot.

also...everything smells like campfire. i love it.

and these. well, these were taken for Jake...

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Mine is a blemished life and nothing is exempt."

the above, penned by Walter Brueggemann, has been of good "comfort" to me today. truly, the book that I am currently reading of his (Finally Comes the Poet: Daring Speech for Proclamation) has been extremely insightful and a very profitable read during this particular time/station/season of my life. i didn't expect it to be nearly so, well, appropriate. i'm much too tired to write out anything coherent at this moment, but i wanted to send out that opening quote because it's made me think in small steps about God's grace in some new ways--you know, fresh ways (ever notice how stale "Gospel" becomes??). eventually i'd like to share more because i think it's worth it, i think it's necessary, and i know i'm not the only one who wrestles with the staleness--a "truth greatly reduced," as he frames it. so stay tuned. i'm off to read for awhile before bed :)

happy weekend to you all!! any exciting plans? i have brunch tomorrow with a few friends, a phone date with hungary, an afternoon and evening with the schnake's, church and the farmer's market (our CSA!!), and who knows what else...busy but wonderful, i'd say! hope yours is great.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

the week i've had

i guess i shouldn't write about my week on thursday afternoon. it isn't over yet. oh well...

it has been a busy one. it has felt so crazy and disjointed. it has required a lot of me (maybe because i wasn't at full strength to begin with). it has been full of the lessons of "growing up" which means dealing with uncooperative people, car insurances, serious budgeting and financial planning, registering my car in illinois, renewing the license plate, changing my drivers license (all of which are still in progress. long story but hectic day at the DMV, bleh. i have to go back tuesday because their system shut down. sigh). and work was a little stressful this week. maybe i just didn't have the energy to teach the many life-lessons that present themselves each day. I did some of it, though, and battled the tantrums and struggled to motivate the not-so-motivated little students to work on homework. sigh. it felt like sink-or-swim this week and mostly i thought i was sinking, but i managed. C and i enjoyed a game of backyard soccer yesterday, despite his unwillingness to let me help S with her math homework first. it was a "life lesson" that we didn't pass up because, in the end, he learned something really valuable (i think). Is this what it's like to be a parent?! sheesh, bless your heart mom (and dad) for all you put up with...and for all your patient teaching.

dad reminded me this morning that this year is good because it has provided itself as a time for me to learn a lot of really good lessons about being independent, paying bills and handling finances, and learning what it means to live all the (not-always-so-fun) details of daily life (and, i guess, 'adulthood'). which reminds me, it's been *so good* to hear mom and dad's voices after a month of their being in Mexico. i've been missing them a lot.

i keep catching myself wondering, in the middle of it all, where this is taking me and what this is all preparing me for. and what i'll do after this year for a job because, well, i don't know what i'm really qualified to do. but i suppose i'm getting ahead of myself. i'm living the year, first, right? hmm. alright, i guess that's the update.

off to do work and laundry and driving the kiddos to dance and swim. i do so love these kids, though, have i mentioned that? as hard as it can sometimes be when they don't listen or decide to do battle with me, i really do love them more and more all the time. and saying goodbye will be very hard...

tonight i start pottery. i'm sure i'll have something to say about it. i'm kinda nervous! but oh so excited :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

sweet woman

Jake took the beautiful picture that is now my new background last weekend while walking around his new city :)! Isn't it great? Something inside of me sorta "catches" every time I look at it. I think it's sweet and wonderful and I want to take her hands in mine and ask, "what's your story, sweet woman?" and, "would you share your soft, whispered prayers?" I imagine her hands are warm and she offers a tired smile and we sit together for a bit there on those steps...
...oh yeah, and i imagine i can speak hungarian or she can speak english. but those are minor details ;)

And now this quote is fitting. So glad Mariah reminded me of it and had me reread it today...

"I might seem to be comparing something great and holy with a minor and ordinary thing, that is, love of God with mortal love. But I just don't see them as separate things at all. If we can be divinely fed with a morsel and divinely blessed with a touch, then the terrible pleasure we find in a particular face can certainly instruct us in the nature of the very grandest love. I devoutly believe this to be true. I remember in those days loving God for the existence of love and being grateful to God for the existence of gratitude..." (from Gilead)

ummm, yep. that's pretty much exactly how i feel. there are things in this life too deep for words. they lie "out beyond ideas" and invite us to take part in a larger existence--to peek into a greater reality. it's one of my favorite things to discover this to be true of an experience, opportunity, or person (etc.) and smile into the day, loving God for love and grateful to him for gratitude--gifted moments. this week has been hard. really quite hard, and i know it has been hard for some of you as well. but there have been such gifted moments (as there always are, i think, though we can miss them if we aren't careful) and when the week is as this one has been, we have to hold really tight to those moments.

be watchful for the moments, k? hold tight to them. and enjoy how this photo (i find) binds mortal and divine love.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

life and family and home

i like this. it reminds me a little of our own family projects...that i mostly hated at the time but somehow now have fond memories of.


realized dreams are a beautiful thing--and encouragement enough for me that God walks the days with us. i've been grateful to Him in a hundred different ways and for a hundred different things. realized dreams and realized prayers. i am thankful He journeys with. these are wonderful days.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lead Kindly Light

"Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, Lead thou me on;
The night is dark, and I am far from home; Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see the distant scene:
one step enough for me."
(John Henry Newman)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

snail shells and backyard baseball

there's something delightful about late summer afternoons in the backyard watching a five-year-old hit home run after home run. C and I played for a long time out back yesterday. the winds were gusty and even broke branches off the big maple but luckily we were unharmed ;) we found two small snail shells that were of interest to me but as soon as he found out that "there are no snails inside!" he threw them aside. haha. home runs are more important. i think he made...hmm...close to 20. he's a good hitter. it was a lot of fun.

in other news, a raise has sealed the deal for a trip to Hungary, i think (and is, needless to say, a huge blessing in general). the only tricky part now is finding a time that works best for several different schedules. the best dates (prob Dec sometime) don't work the greatest for the family I work with...praying that something will come together that works well for all parties involved.

i got all my books for fall reading and will now work on some sort of reading schedule. i can't choose one to start with. oh, the dilemma :)

yesterday i collected my first two fallen leaves of the season. they're that beautiful mix of green and early yellow with orange. aah, so lovely. fall is spectacular. i tell you, it is a season that truly does my soul good.

i've been knitting up a storm--learning a few new techniques and improving old ones. i'm hoping to try some more difficult patterns this fall. we'll see. yesterday i visited my favorite in-city yarn store: SisterArts. that place is wonderful.

in closing, i'll just say that during the past few days i've been thinking a lot about love. in particular, what it looks like and involves to love someone (romantic and not). what does love demand? what does love offer? what does love teach? what ought love look like? etc. etc. i guess i've been rethinking God's love (which sometimes seems so hard to comprehend and, even, experience. but most of the time, i find i'm blind to it--and he's patient enough to break through my limited demands of what i think his love should look like. his love is surprising). and i think i'm realizing in new ways that His love really is the only place my love can start--which has a lot of implications, especially when i don't understand His love. But even if I can't understand it (or if i tend to misunderstand it), can't it propel me to love others? love is so hard and so beautiful. and feeling yourself love another is frightening, because it's such a vulnerable position. and loving someone takes work. but it's somehow so beautiful.

CS Lewis writes,

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

Monday, September 06, 2010

no "laboring"?

currently listening to: Jon Troast

It's Labor Day morning and I'm sitting here waking up on our couch, thinking about what a strange holiday this is. I started thinking about it when yesterday, in prayers for the people, we prayed for those who live and work in unfair living conditions around the world. Labor Day has always seemed like a weird holiday, "hey, let's all not go to work one day and call it 'labor day'." huh.

Most of the world could never afford the luxury of just taking a day off. Last night at a church event we listened to a couple who had just come back from a summer in Niger--hearing them reminded me of the ways of life I lived and observed in Mozambique (in particular). There is no day without labor--they wouldn't think of it. Livelihood depends on a long, hard day of work. I think the idea of a "holiday" to not work would be unthinkable, almost laughable.

So maybe you have this Labor Day off, like I do. I hope you take time to think about the privilege it is to have a day like this, use it well, and shed some of the entitlement that we can easily express during such times ("you have to work on Labor Day--I'm so sorry!") There's a world out there struggling to get food on the table and we live in such plenty. I hope God makes us a grateful and generous people.

Friday, September 03, 2010

i really like lamp light

maybe because it makes a room "cozy," but who really knows. sometimes i feel as though i "really like" strange things...but what can i do? i can't help myself :)

the most amazing smells are coming from our kitchen. i'm making Food and Wine's "Winter Vegetable Chili." I know it isn't winter yet, but it seems more like a fall-ish recipe anyway (carrots, parsnips, bell pepper). It looks (and smells) soooo good. I love making soups/stews. with homemade bread? mmm. sometimes i wish i was at home so i could practice more recipes and have people to eat the food. it's hard cooking for one...

it's a gorgeous night: i'm wearing sweats and a sweatshirt and still get the shivers every once in a while. it feels nice to need a few extra layers.

mom just sent me some excerpts from a book she's reading about Sabbath and the concept of rest. i look forward to reading them.

i got together with Whitney today--a new friday ritual (to visit and pray). i love having her to pray with--she has taught me so much about God over the past few years. i feel indebted to her.

today i've been thinking so many wonderful and challenging things. such truth really does provide freedom (but why do we tend to backtrack to the bondage of all that is untrue?)...and people are remarkably invested with dignity and worth, but we don't often honor and respect that in one another. there is a certain sacredness about people, you know? this has me thinking and praying in new ways these days.

well, i don't really have a point to this post. just scattered thoughts, i suppose. tonight my heart is full of hope. for no real apparent reason, but it is quite wonderful.

goodnight, all.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

the rain has kept me in

this morning was going to be my self-assigned field trip here but it is pouring rain (pouring) and i don't feel like navigating the city and the expressway in this weather. besides, i've been out and about and busy all week and it's nice to stay inside. the breeze in through the windows is misty and i can hear the rain spluttering and splattering as it hits the street and sidewalks. mm, wonderful.

so, i think it's a reading/crafting day. i've found a few projects for Santa's little elf to begin in anticipation of the holiday season (if you want to make your presents, you have to think about them ahead of time). so I might begin some of those. two books arrived yesterday so i might get started on my "studies." the next few days are supposed to be cooler so i might make bread!

tuesday night i escaped the city for wisconsin--lovely little gettaway full of crafting, adventuring, love, and blessing. it was wonderful to be with them, strange as it was that jake wasn't there. i'm scheduled for another visit in a week or so. can hardly wait. until then, it's work and city living...and i am actually enjoying it. yesterday was a fun day of playing with C. I pushed him on the swing and gave him "under-dogs" till he laughed and giggled. we made small note cards at the dining room table for awhile while S read her book on the sofa. they're good children and i am happy to work with them. i'm trying to think of fun autumn crafts and projects...hmmm. if you have ideas, let me know!

on another (although semi-related) note, my children will have wood(en) toys. None of this plastic crap (or, at least, in great moderation). there are so many beautiful toys to make from wood and lasting things--materials that are much more aesthetically pleasing, won't talk at you or sing obnoxious songs, and will handle much more "naturally" to the touch of little ones. needless to say, i will make them if i have to. there are so many patterns, directions, and ideas out there. we ought to be more creative with our little ones ("our" as if I have any. i know, but working with them on a daily basis provides some grounds for opinion, right?!).

off to be productive. happy thursday!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Uncle Wiggley

How can a five-year-old beat a twenty-three-year-old in a game called Uncle Wiggley--UNCLE WIGGLEY--4 times to 1!!?!! And he was (for the most part) playing fair. Preposterous! I feel...umm...ridiculous?! Granted, the game requires no grasp of strategy. I mean, it's reminiscent of Candy Land (but much more aesthetically pleasing) and has characters that include "Peetie Bow Wow." Go ahead, you can laugh. Still, I feel more ways than one. That and now I have a gloating 5 yr. old boy to handle. But I can take it...and I enjoy playing with him too much to hold a grudge ;)

I'm really excited to have kids. But I'm going to be a stickler about not getting away with picking up two cards at once "on accident" and then trying to choose which one should be considered the "right" one. Oh no, no, no. That trick will not work on me. My poor children will never have a chance--I'm learning all of their tricks ahead of time.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I'm sorry.

I owe you an apology. This week I came to an important realization. You know how I've (often) referred to this year as an "in between" year? I talk about how I am in between college and "real life" (or whatever is after) and so this is a "weird transition year that is different than all the rest." Well, it isn't really.

Sure, there's a lot about this year that is different and new but it is not an "in between" year and it's by the kind hand of God that I have been able to realize this. It's another year. It's another year of life--of my life--of experiencing things, learning, exploring, and discovering. It certainly has its unique elements, but so does every year of our lives, right? I mean, each year is "different" and "new" and that's the beauty (and difficulty) of life. Thinking about this year as an "in between" year has made me feel like it's wholly other and out of the ordinary and strange and...well, it has just made it difficult to think about the year in realistic terms.

I'm glad to understand that life builds on itself--each new season, year, period of time, is important and significant for the whole. God knows what we need to learn and experience and when--for the quality of life lived now or for us to hold in our hearts and minds for a time later in life in which we'll need to remember why we experienced "those things" and how God led us through.

He became a man--to live and die--and all that so that we could have life, and have it full. NLT, "My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life" (John 10:10b).

Consider the things in life that make you come alive. What enriches and satisfies you? Pursue those things. That's what I want to do this year. I want to cultivate a life that celebrates what makes me come alive, for the sake of my relationship with the Lord, my understanding of myself, and my relationship with the world.
Part of this is also discovering which people aid you in the pursuit of life. Who, once you've spent time with him/her, makes you feel as though your life has a felt vigor, a fresh wonder; or helped you wrestle a difficulty with thoughtfulness (not merely offer glib answers) and engage the questions of life and faith with intention...? These people are invaluable, I am realizing. You won't always have them around. So now, where the circumstances of life allow me to experience life with some of these dear people and pursue all kinds of things that make me come alive, I am living this wonderful year of life--no "in between" year, just another year. Another year of life!

In the vein of "living" (and doing so with others), here are a few pictures of our weekend outing to the farmer's market and picnic in Lincoln Park. Farmer's market+these sweet girls=wonderful.

this is a bonus picture that i found on my camera. he must have taken it when i was unaware. obviously. my little brother--so cute, isn't he?! :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

praying specific...?

So, i am in Chicago from now (August) until April 30th when my lease is up. As of now, I'm unsure what the next step will be. I've let go of the original plan and made this year a "rest" year--to live, learn, and study things that I've "put on hold" for awhile. This is a good decision. But I also know that I need to be fairly proactive about considering where I'll be next. So I'm refreshing my list of grad. schools, perhaps more uncertain than ever where the "right" place is. But I've been giving some thought to the practice of prayer...specifically, prayer for (or in) particular areas of life. Sometimes I pray so darn general. That's not bad, but it isn't always the best way, I don't think. So I'm researching schools and programs again with a refreshed heart to maybe start praying more specific--asking about programs, locations, timelines, etc. I want to put myself in a place of trusting God this school year while doing my part to take involvement and live the journey with Him. Pray with me, if you think of it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

skinny love and the afternoon breeze

I am happy to hear this song. I am also happy to feel this breeze coming in our living room window...

Somehow I think that the absence of the stifling humidity has aided the unstifling of my own thoughts. Today has been a day of remarkable clarity, peace, and contentment. Perhaps there are other factors, too, like a few hours of organization (a clean desk; clean bedroom), a much-needed phone conversation with Hallie, and weather that allowed for jeans (yes, you heard me right. i think fall might be on its way and this makes me very, very excited). Seasons are a remarkable thing. We need them, I think. I didn't really grow up with them. Where I come from there aren't exactly leaves on the trees--you'd have to drive up the mountain to see the change of color. I've always loved fall. That first year at Hillsdale brought me such genuine delight as I discovered what fall was all about--colors, leaf collecting, and...we mustn't forget... my favorite: crunching. Chicago fall isn't quite as spectacular because, well, there are more buildings than trees. But, I have an open invitation at the Schnake's in WI where, I hear, they get a fabulous fall :) So I look forward to a few fall visits--the drive through the country, sweaters, cups of warm drink, good conversations, etc.
I also enjoy the change of seasons because it demands some rethinking and reorganizing: out with the summer shorts and tanks, in with jeans and sweaters/sweatshirts; out with summer crafting projects and in with the fall ones (more knitting!!); away with iced drinks, bring in those hot ones (TEA)...pots of soup and no worry about heating up the house with an oven baking homemade bread. Aaaah. Bring it on.

I'm starting to feel a little better about this weird "in between" year of my life. I'm beginning to settle into it a little more instead of staring, frightened, into it's uncertainty. God is providing a certain assurance of His presence, as I have reminded Him time and again that I need Him, I recognize His otherness (and actually need Him in all of His otherness right now), and am hopeful for how He will provide for, lead, and invest in me. Sometimes I have a hard time believing His love for me could be so dedicated and committed to my "becoming." He's been gracious to remind me in small ways that He is indeed dedicated and committed to our becoming. So I hope you also feel encouraged by His commitment to who you are (and are becoming), what you are doing, and where you are going in life. Life is such a journey. So is faith. Be patient with yourself. Live the moments of your days--take hold of life with vigor and value. Don't let it slip by unlived or unnoticed. Face the choices of life with thoughtfulness and care; surround yourself with people who will help you journey.

- - - - - -
Batter my heart, three-personed God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like a usurpt town, to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your Viceroy in me, should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed unto your enemy.
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again;
Take me to you, imprison me, for I
Except you enthrall me never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
-John Donne
- - - - - -
Did I tell you I signed up for my pottery class? I did! I start in a few weeks. Ah, I am so excited to finally be doing it.

pictures of luke's visit!