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!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting Started

Today I purchased a few things that make it feel as though this year has officially "begun." With Luke leaving in a few days and the reality of Jake's year abroad officially settling in, so will my own routine. I've decided to call it my rhythm (don't laugh). I read this cool article the other day about the rhythm of a day. If you stop to think of it, the day really does carry a certain rhythm--a cadence, if you will. And we make choices that either add or detract from that rhythm, things that carry it or obstruct it. Mom keeps reminding me that there are choices to be made, goals to be set, as I look forward to the enjoyment and the living of this year. Yes, this is true...

So there will be lazy days and study days; days full of intentionality and days that end in a string of unexpected happenings. I'm ok with this. In fact, I look forward to it. In September I will start my pottery class. Today I bought a skein of yarn for a project I am dying to start (I forgot to bring the needles this weekend. gah!). I also ordered three books to begin my "studies" during this time: Liturgical Theology: The Church As Worshipping Community (Simon Chan), Finally Comes the Poet (Walter Brueggeman), and Self-Care: A Theology of Personal Empowerment and Spiritual Healing (Ray Anderson). Alongside these reads, I also plan to reread portions of the Chronicles of Narnia and a few other novels that have been waiting to find their way into my eager little hands. Aaaah.

I have a few craft plans coming together in my mind for simple Christmas presents and I look forward to the fall "crafting mood" (yes, it changes with the seasons).

I have a few weekend trips in the plans for the fall as well as the hope of some camping trips with friends.

I've been card making this summer. I'm discovering some things I didn't know I could do (as well as some things I knew I couldn't do...and still can't).

I'm hopeful for happy reunions with friends coming back to school as well as sweet time spent with my roommates.

Oh, and I have grand plans for the treasures I've collected along the lake shore this weekend. Mmm, I just love discovering these small bits of beauty. Who knew driftwood, rocks, feathers, and seeds could bring so much joy? He's made a great world to pleasure in. It has done my soul good to realize that again this weekend.

Tomorrow morning I'll enjoy coffee in the living room with Grandma one last time, breakfast, and then: on the road again. Eager for the drive back down in daylight so we can admire the trees and "oooh" and "aaah" over the sparkling lake. Grateful for this small bit of earth.

found it

I had saved it on Grandma's computer when we were here for the funeral over three years ago already. Wow, it has gone fast. But actually, in some ways it really hasn't gone fast. I still miss him and it is still hard to realize that he isn't here with us. This is what I wrote for the service insert...
- - - - -

What can I say about a man who has blessed me beyond words? How can I express how much I respect him?
He is a man of great honor. He is my Papa, my teacher, and my friend. He is my "Uno." He showed me what it means to be a person of love, kindness, and integrity. He taught me what it means to treat others highly. He proved to me the strength in and value of a gentle and quiet spirit.
He gave me another "undo dowg" when I begged him for it. He let me pile my stuffed animals high up on his lap, and sat patiently as I introduced him to each one. He let me style his hair any way I wanted. He told me stories...over, and over, and over when asked. He taught me every card game worth playing. He was my partner in crime during raspberry season--filling tupperwares with fat, juicy berries and eating them all up before anyone else got a chance! We encouraged each others' addiction to Grandma's home-made chex-mix, always refilling the bowl in the kitchen and spoiling our appetites for dinner. On pasty night he would always say, "Gee, have some pasty with your ketchup, would ya!" During our visits to the U.P, he and I would exchange messages and pictures on the dry erase board in the kitchen. He sent me notes in college--reminding me to be safe and encouraging me to get, not a 4.0, but a 5.0! My life was richer because of Papa. I think I thought he was super human.
Even after all these things--all these "words"--they still don't seem like enough. These memories don't seem to go far enough. My thoughts don't seem to reach deep enough--these words just don't seem "real" enough. I miss him--a lot--and it hurts bad.
There are, however, a few things that do seem to be "enough" right now--a few things I'm sure of. God is good. He has blessed this world with my Papa. He has blessed my life with my Papa. I thank Him so much for that. My comfort is found in Christ alone, and the words of the old hymn, "Great is Thy Faithfulness, O God my Father, There is no shadow of turning with Thee...Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!"
- - - -

Luke and I leave tomorrow morning to drive back down to Chicago. It's been wonderful--for both of us--to have this little vacation; a break from our regular routines; the chance to enjoy this beautiful place up north, far away from the noise and bustle of the busy city. We've had a wonderful time with Grandma--remembering, laughing, and just being together. Pictures soon :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

hello, upper peninsula

we're here! luke and i made it up last night around 1am. it's lovely to be here--coffee in the morning with grandma; star toast for breakfast; spending a lazy day inside visiting and catching was drizzly but now the sun is out. mmmm, beautiful. tomorrow i think we'll go to the lake.

it's good to be here. very good. it's nice to see all the trees, the water, the land. i'm drinking it in :)

i look forward to this restful weekend.

pictures of luke's visit to follow--it's been so good to spend such an extended amount of time with him. brothers are the best.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

hard day

there's nothing like getting to the end of a hard day and finding a bed ready to crawl into, you know? hmm.

jake left for hungary today. luke and i drove up to wisconsin last night after work. they finally got to meet. i'm so glad it worked out before jake left. it made my heart so happy. i'm running on about three hours of sleep (because i had to be back in the city for work this afternoon, which meant leaving WI mid morning). saying "goodbye" to someone for 10 months is kind of strange and, well, just plain hard.

i miss him. and will keep on missing him for a really long time. i think that's the hard part right now--feeling the reality of the big chunk of time. but in the midst of it all there is a lot that we're both so excited about and hopeful for. so it will be a good chunk of time--full of potential. we appreciate your prayers--and for him in these next few weeks as he begins teacher orientation, begins to adapt to a whole new life/culture, and faces the prospect of teaching for the first time.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Yesterday was Papa's b-day. Kristen put something up on her blog and I was going to do the same but I can't find what I wrote for that service insert. Instead, I ran across a Halloween card he sent me fall of 2006. He didn't regularly send Halloween cards :) But he wanted to send a little something "extra" that I could spend how I wanted. The card has a weener dog in a hot dog bun and the inside says "Happy Halloweenie." It's hilarious. It's the last thing I have save in Papa's handwriting.

Kristen wrote, It is so strange to look into the future and think that he won’t be there. It seems unreal, not possible. But as there are many memories of the past that point to him, I know that he has left part of himself here, now, and those pieces of Papa will be a legacy for years and generations to come. Who I am, who we all are, has been shaped in some way by the tenderness of Papa, Dad, Carl…

I've thought often how strange it is that he isn't here, meeting the people who are in my life now, watching me experience the things that I am. It does seem unreal, not possible...

Luke and I are going to the U.P. next weekend. I am so excited. I miss Papa. I miss Grandma. I love every single memory I have in that house from sliding down the stairs in our sleeping bags and crawling in bed with Papa and Grandma in the mornings to holidays spent enjoying the SNOW and star toast with coffee in the early morning. I look forward to it. Something about the U.P. holds a certain sense of "going home." I think because it's a place that holds so many memories with people I love and are so dear to my heart.

So, here's to the house on Minnesota St. and all the people that have made it a wonderful place through the years--Can't wait to come, Grandma!!! Bring out the star toast and coffee :) :)
(oh, and are there still raspberries or is the season over?...)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Today I had a bunch of little thoughts about serving. This was probably because I was presented with many opportunities to be a little "extra" to several someone's today. Sometimes I jumped into the opportunity gladly, other times I let it slide by (you know when you pretend like you don't actually see something, even though you do? yeah, kinda like that). I don't think I stop very often during a day to consider how many ways I am capable and available to serve. But I think I'd like to be made more aware of these moments so they don't pass by quite so fast. And I think I'd really like to utilize this huge pile of grace that's been heaped upon me (you know--grace upon grace, right? but we never really live like we're covered with the stuff). Anyway, these are a few thoughts before bed while I finish this delicious brownie that Mariah made. MmmMmm.

Goodnight, world!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Where are you, Lake?

if i could be anywhere right now, i'd be by a lake. walking the shore collecting wonderful things or floating, swimming, canoeing, drifting in the water...

it was kind of a hard day at work. sigh. i hate those days.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

sitting in the middle of a forest

if i close my eyes right now, the wind in the trees outside our window makes me think i'm sitting in the middle of a forest. there are no sounds of city; no horns or sirens; no people talking...just the soft clapping of the leaves. it's beautiful. no, it's glorious. ah, it's a huge gift to me today.

Friday, August 06, 2010

"In eternity this world will be Troy, I believe, and all that has passed here will be the epic of the universe, the ballad they sing in the streets. Because I don't imagine any reality putting this one in the shade entirely, and I think piety forbids me to try." -Gilead

I'm rereading Gilead this summer. I had almost forgotten how much I love this book--almost.

Can you believe it's August? I can't. Life just moves along, eh? August means a lot of different things for me...

Luke comes a week from Sunday.
Jake leaves a week from Tuesday.
I won't be going back to Moody--but Moody friends will be returning to the city (I look forward!)
No classes at COD
Time. I'll have time for...things...and I still don't really know what it will "look like" yet.
In a lot of ways I'm really excited about all these changes. In other ways I feel a little uneasy. Sometimes I feel purposeless when I'm not busy--or when I'm not "accomplishing" things (like papers, i guess).

My heart is in a million ways twisted up inside of me right now. The past few days have been an equal mixture of terribly difficult and incredibly beautiful. Isn't it strange how life does that--mixes the two? Sometimes it's a little infuriating because I can't be 100% happy and I can't be 100% sad. But I think I'm actually truly grateful that it comes to us this way. I can find myself on the floor before the Lord in a small pool of tears confused and frustrated in prayer and then I can find myself with the kiddos eating ice cream in the summer sun or laughing with C so hard about stupid things he begins to drool on himself. I love it.

You know what else seems to be a good mix of hard and beautiful? The way God answers our prayers. I've been rereading some old journal entries full of prayers I'd forgotten I'd uttered. And God's been answering them...and I've been frustrated with Him because I didn't think He was, or I thought I was getting in the way. Yeah, we can get in the way. But He's big enough to move us out of the way, too, and I think I'm learning that right now. So He's taken me up on some of those prayers, and now I have to learn contentment in the process. I'm having to learn contentment in new ways--ways I haven't really thought of before...I can't really explain how yet so you'll just have to take my word on it :)

Can I share a few more quotes with you? I'm working on a project that requires some review of books I've read and so I'm constantly sifting through great quotes, and I've come across a few that have just hit me in the face as purposeful and useful.

"To one who has been long in city pent,
'Tis very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven,-to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament." -John Keats
(this is wonderful to me for obvious reasons)

"...there are certain attributes our faith assigns to God: omniscience, omnipotence, justice, and grace. We human beings have such a slight acquaintance with power and knowledge, so little conception of justice, and so slight a capacity for grace, that the workings of these great attributes together is a mystery we cannot hope to penetrate." -Gilead
(I've been brought low this summer in realizing how "big" God is but how very present He is at the same time. Sometimes in my embrace of His ambiguity and hiddenness, I push Him off when He is right here with me--not actually very ambiguous or hidden at all. We live in seasons, you know? Sometimes I forget that and so am unable to interpret the season I'm currently in)

"Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." -CS Lewis
(I throw this one in here because I've had to think this summer about what "Christianity" is--what it means to "be a Christian" and "live Christian" when I hardly appreciate the term on the one hand and, on the other, I can't escape it. I think I'm facing in demanding ways the reality that to follow God is not a matter of moderate importance, and so I can't play around with it, although I think it's perfectly normal--even healthy--to wrestle and struggle a bit. There's a lot to unpack here and maybe someday I'll post about it)

"Love is holy because it is like grace--the worthiness of its object is never really what matters." -Gilead
(I'm beginning to learn so much more about love: of God, of self, of others. That's really all I have to say about this one right now)

I'm sure that's enough to think about for now. I'd love to hear your thoughts back...

The afternoon sun has made our yellow living room most wonderful. I am so very happy sitting here. I think I might take a nap on this couch. Or maybe I should write some letters...

Thursday, August 05, 2010

where to spend a week?

If I could, right now, spend a week anywhere in the US, I'd choose...



somewhere along HERE.

Anyone in? Ok, now I just have to get off work and such. Sigh...
Maybe next summer. Definitely need to plan something like this for next summer.
Lately I've been having a hard time living in the city. I just really miss wilderness. All the people are getting to me...and all the noise...and all the smells...and all the lights...and all the busy rushing and pushing and moving...

Monday, August 02, 2010

the words of my mother

i love talking with my mom. she's a wonderful woman--a simply fantastic mom. anyway, i appreciate her simple one-liners. i don't very often share them on here--or anywhere, really--because i usually just tuck them away in my own mind and heart. but today i must. she said on the phone this afternoon, "God is in the business of life," and it was spoken to me at the perfect time, in beautiful synchrony with so many of my other thoughts, conversations, and prayers these days. there is much more i'd like to share. i know i end a lot of my posts with such a statement but i just haven't had much time to spend on the computer. i'll try, though, i really will. perhaps tomorrow morning.

God's been gracious in the stillness of this time of life. He's been moving in His quietness and I am beginning to see it, which encourages my heart very much. He's been revealing things to the deeper parts of me without me realizing it (until more recently) and i am thankful to finally catch glimpses of that reality. sigh. He is good in His hiddenness.