Hello. Welcome.

I'm a very determined kind of individual. Sometimes my determination is misplaced and things get very ugly. But, sometimes my determination leads to laughter, deep thoughts, and words on paper.

I write everything. I'm not very good at filtering ... so you will see it all. Maybe there will be a little inspiration for someone else along the way. I hope so. My sister also likes to guest blog and I'm sure you will appreciate her wit and wisdom.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

one week complete

It's been exactly one week since I last wrote. Gosh, I guess a lot has changed in 7 short days. I no longer live in the Windy City. I no longer work at Sullivan's, or Opportunity. I no longer live in a "vintage" style building on State and Division (I can say that now). I no longer wake up in the morning to the busy, bustling sounds of people moving about.

It's quite bizarre, actually - moving through life. I don't think there's been one time these past four years that I haven't looked back and said, "I never could've guessed that would happen." I think that's beautiful... that God holds back the things about our future that we just couldn't handle knowing. And, then, we travel on, endure through trials and blessings to look back and see the providence in His sole knowledge of what was to come. Hopefully we can look back and see that we've been obedient.

We have some family friends that have lived obedience. They have struggled and persevered in the most formidable circumstances... with eyes fixed on the Author and Perfector. I have had conversations with the mom, especially, about how obedience has not led directly to bliss. In fact - bliss is farthest from their pilgrim journey... but they press on in praise because they know that God glories in the obedience of His people. And, I look at that example and know that God searches for hearts like those - that are completely His - and pleasures in their journeys (2 Chronicles 16:9).

Well, I better recap last week a bit before I move on philosophizing... The rest of the week went well - busy as ever - and steeped in Chicago "lasts." I was more than ready for my sister to come on Friday to show off the things I love and experience a bit of Midwest city charm. We hit up the Christkindlmarket, the fabulous German extravaganza at the Daley Plaza. Warm crepes, pretzels, hot chocolate, and vendors with products from all over the world. It was delightful!

Then, we headed to ComedySportz to watch an hilarious display of clean improv and finally ended up at my apartment - by then quite lonely with its bare walls. Saturday brought more exploring and breakfast with one of my closest Chicago friends - Jenna. From there I went to my last day at Sullivan's - a day that lasted from 3-1030... a long day that ended with huge sighs. I marvel at how much drama is made of such small things. I thought I could make it the whole semester without taking part in the game, but I tripped up on Saturday.

I was able to play the middleman - the advocate for the underdog and staple sensitive girl up until then. But, when one of the girls was talking about her favorite subject - tacky people, I jumped in and we created the token tacky dressed girl who obviously had no clue about clothes, fashion, or how to act. At the end she looked at me kind of funny and said, "Good. You do have a (!?#*!y) side!" I just kind of stared. There's way no way to take it back, but I wish I could. After 4 months of trying to be that light in the darkness and one slip of the tongue turns the rudder of that ship so darn fast! I tried to smooth over what I could, but I don't know if it made a difference. Once again, I realize how important words are... the mouth speaks the overflow of the heart... and I certainly hope my heart doesn't settle for such petty things!

Anyway... the rest of the night went fine - we've had unusually warm December weather, so coat checking wasn't even all that bad. Sunday - glorious Sunday - we went to church in the morning and I said goodbye to dear, dear friends at Park Community Church. My heart will always be grateful for the gift of community and friendship I so relied on this semester.

We came back for a marathon cleaning/packing adventure (my sister would hardly agree that it was an adventure, but would most likely call it a disaster:) ... and then we were off for a wonderful lunch buffet at Gaylord India - maybe some of the best food I've had in awhile! We both love indian style food - and everything was savory and delicious... from the curry to the nan to the amazing tea.

I think I mentioned before that my mom bought us tickets to WICKED. I can't explain how badly I wanted to see that show while I was in Chicago. I started listening to the soundtrack last year and have been obsessed ever since because the music is just that good! We sat center (not front, but still great view!) and I could only eek out, "I can't believe...wow...this is so exciting..."

The show was phenomenal. Beginning to end - loved the story, characters, music, stage, and costumes. I'll be singing those songs for a long time! Right now I'm at this wonderful (and wireless) small town coffee loft with my sister. She's working on finding a job and I'm thinking.

Well, Christina thinks I do enough thinking - probably too much. Especially when I started talking about energies and passions on the way home from Chicago... maybe she would agree with the Emperor in Amadeus when he was criticizing Mozart's first opera. Maybe I just use too many words. Mozart's music was too much of something, the Emperor said, "Well, there are only so many notes that a person can hear in one evening... and there were simply too many notes." Mozart was appalled, because every single note was exactly how it should be and taking any one note away would subtract from the complete masterpiece he believed it was.

I know enough now to not think the pride of Mozart will produce any good thing, and I am hardly at the point where I think my words well up into such a glorious climax as his work, but I do on some level aspire for the exact perfection which Mozart possessed.

Well, this is certainly long enough to last awhile. This is very different from the city - very different. I'm not sure about my whole Chicago experience, but I do know that I loved living in a city... and I know I could live in one again, someday down the road. We'll see. God only knows, right?
I am finishing up my Christmas shopping and giving hugs and love to my beautiful family and friends here at my roots. But it is Christmas and I am bursting with what our souls are made of...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

goodness me

Well, what I projected as a slower, peaceful week has turned into something quite different. But, considering the amount of Christmas shopping I've done, my schedule needs to be this full!:) Today I am meeting my beautiful friend Lis, then heading to work at Opportunity, then coming back to work at Sullivan's. I work every day this week, but I've got something to look forward to - Friday my sister comes into town and I'm so excited to show her around!

I've realized a bundle in the short two days that my friends have been gone (the rest of my program moved out on Sunday) ... I like spending time in solitude when it is my choice, not necessarily when it is the only choice. While my friends were here, I found myself often choosing work, writing, and other relationships over spending time with them. Yet, I always found comfort knowing that they were here, in my building, a phone call away. I've still got the girls from church, who are amazing and I'm so thankful for them... but I guess more of my selfishness is coming through in my reaction to forced alone time.

It's amazing that, given time and open eyes, we continue to see the layers peeled back and more of our nature comes through. I guess this is good because then we can know how to fight back. It certainly keeps a person humble - not only am I trying to keep all the past things I've discovered about myself under control, but I'm always finding new vices vying for my time and treasure.

Whew. I'm ready to wrap up this week, load up the car, and head westbound. Hallelujah for Jesus - what a miracle! The best and biggest reason to fight for joy!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sully's, Endings, and Discoveries

I feel almost as dead as the minks and rabbits coming in to Sullivan's, only I don't have near as snobby of an owner. Last night, a woman insisted we had her Crystal Fox (they kept saying this over and over like I knew what it was and should be amazed) fur somewhere, but we could NOT find it ... later I saw them leaving with their coats - apparently they left them upstairs in the lounge.

Let's just say last night I had to fight for joy. I literally felt in a struggle for what I was going to let take my evening. I rushed out of my last day of internship like a wild banshee and ran from train to train to bus to my apartment, switched out my clothes and ran to work (all this running is literal - I was out of breath!) Then, I got to work and found out, unbeknownst to me, they had changed my start time to 1/2 an hour later! It was one of those ... you've GOT to be kidding me. But, at the same time, that means I wasn't late. Anyway... I would have given anything to be Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia and, instead of retrieving coats for the social elite, retreating into a mystical, wonderful world beyond that cramped closet.

Yet, while I was there, I got a text from a friend. His day had been amazing and full of grace, and hadn't mine? (he said)
And I thought, "self. that's about enough. you are not going to be content with the simple pleasures of being angry, frustrated, and anxious. No, no! You are going to reach for the vacation on the sea - joy!!

So, when one guy asked me, "Tell me, do you like this job?" I simply said, "Well, that's relative. But do I have joy? Yes."
Then he said something like, well of course that's because you just saw me come down the stairs.

Oh man. But, can I just go back to remind myself that GOD is providing through this job. He is providing my rent and opening doors to relationships.

Enough about Sullivan's - yesterday was my last official day as Opportunity intern. From this point on, my relationship will be of the true, working world employee nature. I am going to continue doing temp work for the conference in May.

My boss took me out for Mediterranean food - definitely one of my favorite ethnic varieties. MMmm was it good! I wish I could explain the impact that this relationship has had on my semester and my life as a whole... But for now those words will have to do. I just hope all this "processing" I keep putting off will happen sometime, otherwise I could see a 100 car pileup on my brain highway - not good, considering I don't really trust the drivers up there in the first place!

Okay, I should finish this up. I'm going to do my morning bible study and then hang out with my roomie and do some hard core cleaning - yay! One last thing - I finished up my papers for class - 3 in all at 4:30 Wednesday morning. I know - that is definitely the first time I've done that since freshmen year when I thought it was cool and "college."

Even if it's not what the profs. want, I am happy with how they turned out... and it was truly a discovery process. I'll have to write more (later) about some of the startling things I learned about myself. I realized how much pressure I'd been feeling to 'keep up appearances,' meanwhile my true energies and gifts weren't being fully utilized.