Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Art of Slowing Down

A cup of coffee, lovely light, and inspiring pens and pencils. These are all the perfect ingredients for refreshment and time to process life. With all that is going on in thinking and talking about future steps, it was impeccable timing of the Lord to give the gift of this afternoon. He knows his children so so well. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Banana Pancakes and Roomies

Banana pancakes have been a tradition during my college years. They have been a shared experience with a few of my friends now, and they're always coupled with fond memories. Today was no exception.

"Colorado" Michelle is back home for Thanksgiving, so it was just "Maine" Michelle and I in the Little Byt (our apartment) on this day-after-holiday morning. First thing in the morning, I had the opportunity to FaceTime with someone and dream about future steps. What followed that conversation was a late breakfast with my roomie. Banana pancakes.

Our day continued with a trip out to Logan Square, where we stopped for coffee at the Intelligentsia Tyler used to work at, and then hopped over to the old-school movie theater next door. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was playing, and the vintage local theater was the perfect place to experience such a wonder-filled movie.

Our last stop of the day was a thrift store with everything half-priced for the weekend. By the time we got back to the Little Byt after a cold and blustery trip back, all we could think about was hot chocolate. All my hot chocolate dreams come true with almond milk and my favorite cocoa powder that Mom brings me Czech grocery stores. Add a little dab of maple syrup, a pinch of sea salt, and a drop of vanilla extract, and simmered together in a saucepan, and it's perfection!

May memories like these not fade too quickly. They're treasures.

P.S. Ingredients for banana pancakes: 1 banana (mashed), 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 2 eggs. Easy enough! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Seasons of Change and Transition

College memories include afternoons in the neighborhood of Old Town and getting coffee at a French bakery with a friend. It rained, but we didn't care much. If anything, the rain made the window seat at the bakery that much better. 

It was the last warm day of the season. The rain brought the signal that the seasons are changing. The soon-to-be bare trees and chilled winds aren't the only signs of change though. 

Goodbyes with friends are another reminder that my time here at Moody is turning shades of yellow and orange as well. I'm soaking it all in though, even when I know it's fading. Seasons change, and that's what makes it all beautiful and precious. 

Joy is the kind of friend who I may not see very often, but we can catch up whenever from where we left off. She's also an incredibly talented violinist. She works so hard as a music major, but still manages to stay engaged in community and see the beauty of life even in the smallest ways. 

With 24 days left at Moody (well, who's counting, right?!), I'm recognizing that there's really no "right" way to say goodbyes, to go through transition, to make it through to the other end and feel "ok". Am I ready for what's ahead? I think so. Or I'm beginning to feel ready. But before I leave, I'm to be present here. 

There may be the tension of the end coming soon, but the Lord is teaching me that it is an opportunity to stop and reflect on all the people who have made this place home for three and a half years. I'm taking time to try and tell those people what they mean to me, though I don't know if that makes goodbyes harder or easier. Neither, I suppose. It's worth it though. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Memory of NYC

Good evening from the city that does actually sleep: Chicago. But good morning from the "City That Never Sleeps", from a bakery in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan. 

It was the first morning of our trip, and it had taken us way too long to decide where to even start off with so many options available in New York City. We had found a sweet breakfast place on Yelp, and managed to find our way there by following Google Maps intently. Nestled into a normal neighborhood, it was a peaceful way to begin our adventure. 

The breakfast wasn't even anything spectacular (eggs and potatoes!), but it was the environment, and the culture, and the large windows that looked out onto a regular street. And the company. My dear sister-in-law brings so much beauty, thoughtfulness, compassion and love for others wherever she goes. Despite our need for coffee and our uncertainty about what the day would actually hold, it was a joy to sit there, warm mugs in hand, and gratitude in heart. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Supermoon Sighting

I was walking back to my apartment after finishing working with Event and Guest Services as an usher for Handel's Messiah when I almost skipped from happiness at seeing the moon peek out from behind the Hancock tower. I mean really, the supermoon was mesmerizing! 

More than trying to capture an astronomical event, I want to remember through these photos the mundane, yet joy-filled moments of living in Chicago. Beauty is found here too. It just took me too long to see it as the Lord sees it.