study break

We have had the most incredible winter this year. You’d think I’d be disappointed in the lack of snow we’ve received here in Chicago, what with my Minnesota roots. (We didn’t even have snow for Christmas for crying in the night!!!) Perhaps its my California self that’s thrilled about how mild its been and how easy we’ve had it. Whatever the case I am LOVING this pseudo-Springy weather we’re experiencing. Its JANUARY for crying out loud and it was SUNNY and WARM here today. After a majorly well spent Monday morning through midday, I took a bit of a study break to enjoy the lovely weather with my dear husband and our crazy pooch. Thought you might like to see some snapshots from our stroll around the neighborhood.

for the sake of the resolution

Holy cow. This has been a fast moving week. Exams and papers and group assignments have begun, and the rest of my life is moving along at a rather clipping pace.

I can’t say I’ve been keeping all my resolutions thus far, but I’m determined to stick to my promise to write once a week. I realize this is sort of cheating as its 10:43pm on Sunday night (Jeremy is giving me those what-do-you-think-you’re-doing-starting-a-blog-post-at-this-time-of-night-are-you-CRAzy eyes) and this is a blog post about how I haven’t actually written a blog post. I promise this isn’t going to happen every week.

Things are getting much much busier, but I’m sticking to my word on this one. I’ll be here tomorrow. YES, tomorrow. That’s a public promise.

holiday

Federal holidays. If they’re not Christmas, Thanksgiving, July 4th, or New Years, they’ll really sneak up on you. Its MLK Jr. Day today, making this third weekend in January a three-day one. To me, while I’m in school the term “three-day weekend” means next to nothing. I don’t usually have class on Mondays and the fact that its a federal holiday does not mean I’m excused from the work that continues to pile up as the quarter moves along. However, I must say this has turned out to be quite a lovely little holiday.

Jeremy (for whom a federal holiday does mean a true day off) took me out to coffee this morning at my favorite Starbucks in the city. There are few things I love more than spending time with a friend over hot drinks in a coffee shop, so hanging out with my husband over a white chocolate mocha at Starbucks was a real treat. We talked about 2012: our goals, plans, and hopes and dreams for the future. It still blows my mind to think about all that’s happened since we moved to Chicago a year and a half ago. Its also crazy to think that in another year and a half I’ll be a Nurse Practitioner and Jeremy will be nearly half way through seminary.

After running some errands (and grabbing some more coffee) we came home to spend the better part of the day cleaning, rearranging, and finally hanging things on our walls. Now I am supposed to be doing homework, but instead here I am just writing for fun and looking forward to seeing all of our small group friends tonight. I suppose I should get to work, but it just seems like coming across a really truly relaxing and wonderful day like this is rare; I can’t help but stop for a bit to write it down and thank God for it.

befores and afters

In the spirit of following through on my 2012 resolutions, here I am. Winter has finally come to Chicago. We’ve got winter temps, snow on the ground, and more on the way. It’s the end of what has been a surprisingly productive week, so I’ve given myself the gift of a guilt-free morning of relaxation, coffee drinking, and wearing grubby clothes. This afternoon I’ll jump into pharmacology, but for now I’m making good on a promise I’ve made. I’m posting some befores and afters of our new place. I’m warning you now: it’s nothing fancy. I do not have a great camera. But those of you who are far away have been waiting to see what we’ve done, so I’m giving you a peek at our new and improved apartment.

Here’s how we found the place:

Notice the yellow paint that extends to the ceiling! While the color wasn’t awful, it wasn’t exactly our style. Here’s what it looks like now:

True to form, we went with grays again. The dining room is a much darker gray, almost charcoal with a hint of blue. Here’s a shot of the built-in on the opposite wall of the dining room:

I don’t have a great before picture of the hallway, but we snazzed it up with a bit of paint and “artwork” (some old favorites: one of our Audubon prints and our LA map):

We haven’t really done anything to the bedrooms or bathroom, so the last thing I’ll show you is the kitchen. Please excuse the incredibly poorly-taken, blurry before picture:

The kitchen has become my new favorite room. Here’s how it looks now:

We painted (obviously), installed some under-cabinet and above-sink lighting, and (my favorite part) added the island. Jeremy bought it on Craig’s list and then replaced the top with a piece of butcher block. We’re still planning to paint the base of it, but it has added SO MUCH counter space as well as extra storage (the other side has doors, and two shelves inside).

Working on the house has been such a lovely pastime. There’s something so rewarding about making a living space your own. It’s a great combination of creative expression, problem solving, and just plain work. So far homeownership has been much more than it’s cracked up to be. Sure, it’s stressful at times, but I’d say so far the benefits far outweigh the costs. So thankful for this place.

resolution.

I love New Years. I liked it as a kid: an excuse to stay up past midnight, eat junk food and drink sparkling cider? Yes, please. But once I left for college the novelty of New Years Eve began to wear off. It was pretty much just a mildly disappointing, over.rated marker to the end of the Christmas season. It meant back to school, back to life, and not much more than that.

Now I’m 25, and I love New Years more than I probably ever have. I think it really started in 2010, when I seriously and completely began embracing January 1st as a fresh start. It’s my day of jubilee. All the things I neglected to do and all the ways I failed to change in 2011 I commit to letting go. I’m free to start again with all my old hopes and dreams, adding new ones to the mix and believing this just might become the very best year of my life.

So some people hate new years resolutions because no one ever follows them through to the end of the year, but I like them. They are a declaration to myself, that knowing I am bound to fall short will not stop me from having lofty goals and high hopes for the year! This year (for the first time ever AND as an extra measure of accountability for myself), I am publishing my new years resolutions here. And so, my official 2012 resolutions:

1. I will read the entire Bible, using the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan

2. I will exercise twice a week (stretch goal: thrice)

3. I will take a true Sabbath every Sunday (no schoolwork, no work work)

4. I will publish a blog post once a week

Do you have any resolutions? We’re only two days into the first full week of 2012, so you’ve got plenty of time to begin and be successful! Cheers! And happy New Year!

begin again. again.

Tonight I gave some dear friends a ride home from the airport. Their flight got in around 11:45pm and true to form I arrived much earlier than I expected I would. Fortunately for me, O’Hare is nothing like LAX and I sat in my car outside the terminal for at least twenty minutes before I was shooed off to make my second lap.

I had a decent amount of time to sit and think and found myself feeling especially reflective. I love love love to reminisce, so it was scrolling through my very oldest of blog posts that I came across some words from my 22-year-old self that perhaps my 25-year-old self needed to see:

“I’m a blogfectionist. A blogfectionist, in case you haven’t heard, is a perfectionistic blogger. I’m afraid the reason I never blog is due to the fact that I always spend a criminy-dutch-load of time making sure I’ve written something witty that people will think I wrote in a mere few minutes. Sometimes I sit in front of my computer trying to figure out a clever title for a blog post I have in my head and end up forgetting the post all together because nothing I can think of sounds quite catchy enough.

Well, friends. I’ve had an epiphany. I realized three things one day:

1. My original goal was to start a blog so as to encourage myself to write on a regular basis (not to construct lengthy blog posts that will make people think I’m great).

2. I think there are maybe four people tops who regularly check out my blog.

3. Those people already think I’m great.”

Good call, self. Writing is good for me. Good for the skillz, good for the soul, and good for my future self. Let’s keep this up in 2012, shall we?