Saturday, December 12, 2009

Silent Night

Merry Christmas to All!

S - Silent Night! In grade school, I had to learn and sing “Silent Night” in German for the Christmas program. Since German was hard for me to learn and pronounce, and because I’m a horrible singer, the song was never one of my favorites. However, in recent years, as I’ve really pondered the words, the song has become beautiful to me. Christ’s birth was the most holy night ever because it ushered in the “dawn of redeeming grace”. Grace and truth come through Jesus Christ (John 1:17). May God’s grace be real to you each day.

I - II! Early in the year, I was asked to serve as president of P.E.O. Chapter II. Although a little hesitant at first to accept, I’m glad I did. The most rewarding part of the job is the opportunity to form deeper bonds with the women in the chapter.

L - Living Room! It only took seven years of staring at white walls for the living room to make it to the top of my painting list. It’s now a very pretty olive green color; I wonder how I stood it white for so long! At an antique store, I stumbled upon a beautiful stained glass window from an old building in downtown Chicago. Hanging the 20 lb. window on the living room wall was a bit of a challenge, especially since the studs are not where I needed them, but it’s been up for over a month and hasn’t fallen down yet!

E - Early Mornings! I’ve been swimming at 6 AM for several years now, but this summer, the practice start time changed to 5:30. Although very much a morning person, even I had a bit of a struggle adjusting to the earlier time. However, at the Big Shoulders 5K race in September, I swam my second best time ever for that event. The extra half hour of practice time must be paying off.

N - Novels! I have to confess that I was absorbed by the Twilight Saga books by Stephenie Meyer. I found the books extremely entertaining and thought provoking on many different levels. I also loved Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, Plainsong by Kent Haruf, and the true story of two unlikely friends in Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.

T - Travels! I didn’t take any major trips this year but did make a short jaunt to St. Louis to visit a friend. My mom and I also spent a few days in California, celebrating my cousin’s college graduation and spending time with family.

N - Nightfall! My evenings are spent watching my favorite TV shows (Survivor and Project Runway top the list), discussing the Bible in my weekly study group, and trying not to spend too much time on Facebook.

I - Impossible! Is it possible that I graduated high school 15 years ago? A group of friends and I went to our 15 year high school reunion this summer. Although I had a much better time than I expected, I’m still thankful that high school is behind me!

G - Growth! No changes on the work front for me this year. I’m still in the IT department at Helzberg Diamonds. Thanks to this job, I’ve expanded both my knowledge of the retail industry and my technical skills.

H - Hiking! In September, I traveled to western Colorado to hike with 20 women from church. Due to snow and 50 to 60 MPH winds for the last hour and a half of the climb, summiting the mountain was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It was a lesson in perseverance!

T - Teaching! God has been teaching me this year about trusting Him to act and not trying to take matters in to my own hands. He’s also been teaching me about closeness with Him and what changes I need to make in my life to achieve that.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mountain High

I just got home from a few days in Colorado. I went with a group of women from church. We hiked and summitted a 14,000 foot mountain. I've now summitted my second "14er". Only 52 more in Colorado to go! Amazing views of God's creation along the trail and from the top!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

One of my favorite seasons!

Not only was last weekend Labor Day, but it was also the start of one of my favorite times of year: College Football Season!!!

I can remember my parents going to KU football games when I was a child. In those days, I sometimes got to sit on "the hill" overlooking the stadium. I can't recall much about the actual games but I remember loving being outside on beautiful autumn days.

When I first start watching football on TV, I thought the object of the game was to see how many guys you could run in to. I never saw the football. Just big guys pushing each other around. He got one! He got a couple! Oh...he fell down without hitting anyone.

My understanding of the game has progressed quite a bit since then. Actually, football is the one team sport that I'll watch, follow, and enjoy even if I'm not a hard-core fan of either team playing. There's just something beautiful about the sport.

Several years ago, my dad started the tradition of tailgating before every KU home game. When we started, it was a simple affair: store bought fried chicken and me and my parents. The menus for our tailgates these days range from ribs, to french toast for a morning game, to baked brie and Jayhawk decorated cookies. Think of the tailgate as weekly party in a beautiful setting, with family, friends, food, games, and even a little TV to follow the other college football action. So fun!!

And now KU actually even wins some games!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"Working" Hard in D.C.

I've been in Washington, D.C., since Monday afternoon, attending a training class for work. The training class is fine, but I've been *loving* my time outside of class.

My hotel is in downtown DC (about a 7 minute jog from the National Mall) and I've been walking to work every morning. Man, I could get used to this walking to work thing. Turn on the iPod. Listen to some good tunes. Don't have to worry about traffic. Or parking. Or gas mileage. Just me and my iPod. (For those that know I don't like to walk, are you shocked at this change in me?)

The second night I was here, I took the Metro to Pentagon City to visit a swimming friend who just moved here. Even though I've taken the subway lots of times in Chicago and foreign cities, I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I figure out how to get where I'm going on it. It's the little things... Anyway, I met up with my friend in Pentagon City. She showed me around and then made a super yummy dinner for me and her hubby. We had a great time catching up!

The unexpected surprise of the week was getting to see my friend Rachel, who lives in Chicago. She used to live in D.C., so I had emailed her Monday night to get her reccommendations for what I should do here in my spare time, and what do you know, I woke up on Tuesday morning to a message from her saying she's actually going to be in D.C. this week! WOO-HOO-WOO!! So, we had breakfast together yesterday morning. It was so fun to catch up. I usually see her in Chicago in September when I do the Big Shoulders 5K swim, but I'm not doing that this year, so it worked out great to catch up this week!

Last night, I had dinner with my cousin Ashley and her boyfriend Mike. It's probably been 2 and a half years since I've seen her. We popped in to her cute walk-up near Dupont Circle before dinner. Great location and tons of character. It was so fun to get caught up on her life!

This morning, I went running along the National Mall. I discovered last fall that my aversion to running isn't nearly as bad with my iPod. Add in some great scenery and architecture along the Mall, and lo and behold, I actually like running! Today, I ran towards the Capitol building. Tomorrow, I'll head towards the Lincoln Memorial. What a great start to the day.

After work today, I'm heading to the National Air and Space Museum. Several people recommended it as a must see.

So, this has been a great week in D.C.! Thanks to my employer for sending me here!