Saturday, December 29, 2007


Well, I'm on my way to New York for a New Year. I'm about to board the plane from Peoria to O'Hare and then finally on my way to the big apple. I'm running on about 30 minutes of sleep and I'm hoping to catch a few Zzz's (do people still say that?) on both flights and once I arrive at Faith & Becka's empty apartment this afternoon.

I really love to travel. I love flying. There's something about being in airports and the idea that everyone is going somewhere. While I sometimes standoffishly sit in my own little world and people watch, I'm always wondering where people are going and what their stories are. It's intriguing to me. And for some reason I love to fly alone. I love the anonymity of traveling alone. I like finding my own way, figuring things out, and making each little part of the trip an adventure.

I'm looking forward to being in the big city but mostly to spend time w/ 2 of my most favorite people in the world--my friends Faith & Becka. The 3 of us vowed to spend every New Years together a few years ago, and we hope to do it for as long as possible! It's a great tradition and it's fun to reflect upon the year past and make plans for the new year. We always have a theme for each new year, but this year's theme title is still TBD.

Well, I'm boarding...I better go! I do plan to document our adventures in the city whenever I have down time and the girls are at work. Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

a breakthrough for the hypochondriac...and crazy neighbors

So I had a breakthrough this week.

I threw up.

No, really. This is a breakthrough for me.

I know you're laughing now, but I'm actually being serious, and I apologize for the disgusting topic of conversation. I'm just being real here.

For probably the last 15 years of my life, I had not thrown up. And because I had gone so long without doing so, it had become my greatest fear in life...and I'm not kidding. My fear of puking has caused me a great deal of anxiety and panic over the years, and I knew someday I'd have to face it. Aside from the reality that I do want to adopt kids someday, for some time I considered adoption solely for the reason that I would avoid morning sickness.

(you're laughing again, I'm sure...or rolling your eyes at my ridiculousness)

I spent this weekend at my sister and brother-in-law's house, and my niece & nephew were sick last Thursday and Friday but recovering in time for me to babysit on Friday night. Sure enough, they weren't fully recovered. I didn't have a problem with being puked on by them or cleaning them up, but I was more scared I'd get it myself.

And Sunday night when I got home, it hit me. From 8:30 that night till about midnight or 12:30, I laid on my bathroom floor in complete misery. No wonder I had feared it for so many years! The good news is, I survived. And that's what I had to tell myself after each time. I had to keep cheering myself on like I was doing a good job between the sweating and chills and pure panic in me.

Thankfully, it didn't last long. Monday and Tuesday I was still pretty weak and achy, but today I feel about 95% recovered and am back to work. Nevertheless, I had to share that I had a pretty big breakthrough this week.

Who would've thought that throwing up would be so monumental?

And in other news, I'm now afraid to do my laundry. In my apt. building there are 6 apartments, and we share a laundry room with 2 washers and 2 dryers. I went in last week to do some laundry, and both washers were in use. So, as usual, I set my basket w/ said laundry, detergent, and dryer sheets on the table in the laundry room and decided to come back in 20 minutes or so to see if the washers were free. They were! But to my surprise, my laundry detergent had been removed from laying atop my clothes in the laundry basket.

So...washers were open, but my detergent was MIA.

Who steals laundry detergent? Now, I've lived there for almost 4 years now, and I've never had a problem with neighbors other than the few random events in which my former neighbor (a young 20 year old or so who happened to have his boyfriends over...) would have raves (yes, literally...I wouldn't have been surprised if there were glow sticks in motion on the other side of my bedroom wall) at 3:30 a.m. That's the only problem I have ever had.

Until now. Now I have thieves for neighbors. There are new people in that same apartment (where said raves were held...) who just moved in not long ago. And they have little kids. Who run up and down the hallway in their apt. during their leisure time I'm pretty sure. That's what it sounds like. I'm not blaming the new neighbors, but I've never before been afraid to leave anything in the laundry room.

So what did I do? I made a note that said "Could whoever took my laundry detergent please return it to the table in the laundry room?" and taped it to the laundry room door, and shut the door so it would be visible. I checked the laundry room 3 times that night (and the door had been opened, so they had seen it) and several times since then. Still no laundry detergent. And they had thrown my note on the floor. ugh! That pushed me right over the edge!

I've never been so mad about something so silly before! It's not even about the detergent. I already bought more. Now I'm afraid I have to sit in the laundry room to keep an eye on my things to make sure they aren't stolen from the washers & dryers!

Somehow I'm trying to figure out what Jesus would do in this situation. I know I'm supposed to love my neighbors as myself...but I don't steal laundry detergent! And did he mean that literally? Do I really have to love my actual neighbors? Even if they're stealing from me? I might have some lessons to learn...

until then, I'm pretty sure I'll be getting laundry detergent for Christmas from my mom and sister who have been laughing at me about my super dramatic apartment life.

Monday, December 10, 2007

o come, o come, Emmanuel...

I feel like this Christmas I'm really praying for our Savior to come as were people 2000 years ago before Christ was born. There is so much hurt and turmoil this year and it's just hitting me today...all in one big slump. And the gray skies and cloudy, foggy, gloomy air don't seem to help much.

Yesterday I watched on the news as CNN and Fox News covered the 2 stories of the shootings in Colorado. One was at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs (which seems to be getting the most coverage, and sadly some reporters can't seem to get over the issue of their former pastor Ted Haggard who was arrested for being with a male prostitute...but this is not the issue at hand, and I'd like to send that in a memo to the reporters), and the other shooting was at a YWAM (Youth With A Mission) center in Arvada, CO. The YWAM thing struck me simply because, while I was in Romania last spring, we were there along with a BDTS team from YWAM Denver. Immediately I thought of them. I remember a few of the staff people from their group who most likely lost some dear friends this weekend and will be needing lots of prayer for grief and healing from that traumatic tragedy. I can't imagine being there and seeing that with my own eyes.

This morning, in a meeting, I found out that a friend, Jessica, has a brain aneurysm and is in the hospital. Jessica is a year younger than me and was one of the sweetest, greatest girls at LCC while we were both students. Jessica gives the best hugs in the world...other than Shawn Hunt. Anyhow, I felt pain for her to imagine her in so much intense pain from headaches and fear of what's going to happen. Unfortunately, her aneurysm isn't operable. The good news, though, is that Jess is doing much better tonight and somehow may be released to go home tomorrow! She will be starting a gamma ray treatment in February that will hopefully reduce the size of the aneurysm over the next 3 years. Please be in prayer for her and her husband Jon.

Not much later, at lunch, Lynn Laughlin informed me that he had just found out that one of our students' fathers had 2 brain aneurysms and was in surgery in Milwaukee. I asked who, and found out that it was one of the girls in my spiritual formation group (SFG) that I lead w/ Lindsey. She hadn't been told yet, so we hurried back to campus to find her and talk to her, and we drove her to meet someone from her church in Joliet so she could be there. It was hard to see her hurting and in fear for her dad, because I've been there several times myself. Please pray for Amanda and her dad.

And on top of all of this, it is constantly on my mind that in just 12 short days will mark one year since my dad passed away from an aneurysm in his intestine. Needless to say, I hate aneurysms. I just don't understand them. And I'm not sure they're meant to be understood.

Either way, it has been a dull day, and in the midst of most of America's joyous Christmas celebrations, I find it hard to believe that all the world is celebrating. I think more people than we realize are hurting and in need of prayer. I don't say that to de-value the celebration. In fact, I think the coming of our Savior should be even more anticipated and celebrated! And in these times, I can't help but to think of how all of Israel must have felt 2000 years ago in the midst of turmoil and without hope...but they had been promised a Savior. They were told He would come. And He did. And He will again.


O Come, O Come Emmanuel
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

O Come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our Spirit's by thine advent here.
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death's dark shadows put to flight.

Friday, December 07, 2007

the first snow

So last night as I was having dinner with my SFG at a little restaurant in Lincoln, it began to snow. It was a beautiful moment...almost magical. With my lovely girls, enjoying each other's laughter and presence, and then suddenly it started to snow. After we took some pictures outside in it, I headed home and watched it fall perched in my windowsill. That is one of my favorite things to do. As I sat there, I wrote down some words in my journal that I don't have with me at the moment. But I remembered writing a little poem that I posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2005, and thought I would share it again. Here it is:

the first snow

have you seen it?
no, really, have you seen it?

little flakes of white...

oh, the snow
and fireplaces aglow
makes you not want to go

like magic dust
for a little while
until it piles up
and we sled
and we slide
and we ski
and we slip
and we build snowmen
but until then

it's just the first snow.
have you seen it?
have you felt it?

the freezing
are like little pieces of grace

i love the first snow.