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