Friday, April 17, 2015

Julia // Senior Photos

I met Julia through a mutual friend, and the first time I got to actually spend time with her was for her senior photos last weekend. Ah, and what a joy! Julia has so much life and faith and commitment to the Lord. I loved getting to see a bit into her world, her passions, stories and hear about her desires for after college. She'll be graduating this May, and I'm thankful for the privilege of having a morning with her in these last months!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rhinos, Kites and Exotic Flowers

I came back from church on Sunday encouraged, but slightly dreading the homework that had to get done that afternoon. God knew better than I did though, and a few minutes after I got back, Michelle came into my room asking if I wanted to go outside to do homework. Sure enough, an hour later, we were on a bus headed north.

Homework did get done, but what was more important was the renewal and refreshment we both experienced on our little outing to Lincoln Park. The sky was overcast, but the breeze was warm and all of Chicago was outside, it seemed. We found a spot on the grass in front of the Conservatory and sat on Michelle's polka-dotted little blanket, while eating dried mango. Michelle did word studies for Hermeneutics and I researched poverty and child development.

I didn't notice how wonderful this moment was until Michelle looked up from her homework and said:

"Claire, not only do we have exotic flowers behind us, we are also sitting right next to rhinos!!"

The laughter came bursting out.

Why yes, this "ordinary" moment in Chicago was actually not so ordinary. We were sitting in front of the Conservatory, which has more flowers than I can count, but we could also spot the rhinos in the zoo on our left. The Lincoln Park zoo is free, but we didn't even walk in on this day. Instead, we sat on the grass and watched kids fly their kites in the light spring wind. I wouldn't have noticed the beauty of this moment if Michelle had not commented on it.

This is the bright side of Chicago.

We got a bit chilly as little tiny raindrops started falling, so we left our perch and found a cute little place called Cafe Vienna, where I drank hot chocolate that reminded me (in a good way) of European vending machine hot chocolate, but better. It was a day of not rushing, not worrying, still getting some things done, and exploring. After it was all said and done, I did have to marvel at this city and all the treasures in it.

I may not have mountains and quiet, but instead, I have rhinos, kites, and exotic flowers - the oddest combination you could imagine. Yet somehow, in this city, it works.

The Lord had planned this afternoon for me and it was just what I needed. Thank you, Father. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chicago Spring

 You have to search a bit more for signs of spring in Chicago. But when you find them, they are precious. Actually, I am quite enjoying this gradual unfolding of spring this year. The weather this weekend has been stunning and I'm thankful to be in the city to watch it come alive - the flowers and the people are coming out of hiding and soaking in the sunshine.

This Saturday could not have been a better pick for Julia's senior photos. I met Julia right before the shoot, but we had fun all morning and by the end our memories were sweet. More photos of her to come! But first, flowers:

Welcome back, sunshine. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Rays of Sunshine

Just a quick shoutout to Brynna: my amazing, insightful, joyful, genuine and truly beautiful RA. Brynna is graduating this semester, and oh, how I will miss her! Until then, we will continue to soak up these days, including ones like these that were full of sun and blooming flowers. 

Love you, Brynna. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

As the Potter, As the Ocean

"But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand."
Isaiah 64:8

God is faithful. Just that. I am learning this over and over again, and there are too many stories to tell of how He has proven Himself to be so. I may try to live rightly before Him, but I will fail again and again, for I am sinful in my nature. And yet, He continues to uphold the Covenant established through Christ and continues to shower His love on His people when they pursue righteousness.

All of these new experiences and quick transitions in college can cause me to run to Him in desperation which leads to joy, or to fret and worry which leads to fear. Sometimes it's both, sometimes it's one or the other. Yet His faithfulness to us is as constant as the daily tide and His love as vast as the ocean. He changes us and molds us, as the potter, only because of His grace.

Our Father is faithful.

Remember that.