Sunday, October 19, 2014


Like I said the other day, I got to take Kate's senior photos this past week, and the weather, location, and subjects could not have been more perfect. It's hard to choose favorites, but here are some of them! Kate and her mom are the most joy-filled, fun-to-be-with people and I loved an excuse to spend the afternoon with them.

Both Kate and her mom are dancers. It's something they cherish and love!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Lincoln Park Beauty

Amidst Missions Conference with all its sessions, seminars and interactions with wonderful people, I got to take Kate's (college) senior photos today! Although I'm still working on them, here's just a glimpse. Her mom was in the city as well, so the timing could not have been more perfect for these photos. We had such a wonderful afternoon together!

I also got to see a new place in the city that I've been wanting to go to for quite some time. Honestly, I never realized how close it was to campus. This place is a dream and made me giddy today. What a little sanctuary, yet overlooking the city.

Oh the places to discover in Chicago. It's neverending. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Yellow, Orange and Gray

Today is the start of Missions Conference, and the end of midterms! Woohoo! I so look forward to this week at Moody and all that it brings - stories, God's Word, calling and fellowship. 

All day I have been soaking in this absolutely perfect fall day - it's been raining since this morning. I've heard a couple people say that it's a miserable and sleepy day, but for me, it's just splendid. The rain brings rest to my soul and it's comforting. Probably because it reminds me of home, but also just because it's calm and restful. 

I'm thankful we have a fall in the city.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Birthday With Family

We got to have a family birthday get-together on Sunday and the activity planned was a complete surprise to me. 

After a delicious breakfast together, we drove an hour until we reached this lovely place.

They took me to an apple orchard! I'd never been to one before! In Czech, most grandmas or neighbors want you to pick their apples and take them off their hands. So it's strange to be in the city and not have apple trees nearby at this time of year. Although it took an hour to get there, and the orchard was a popular destination for families (they had wagons, corn mazes, bouncy houses and other things as well...this place was hoppin'!), I still loved walking through rows of trees dripping with apples.

Again, due to the popularity of this orchard, it's not the cheapest to go pick apples, and they only let you in the orchard if you payed for a 1/4 pound worth of apple-picking. It wasn't worth it to us to spend more than we needed to enjoy the experience, so just the girls went into the orchard. Meanwhile, the boys were great and hung back, amusing themselves with dried corn cobs and aiming kernels into trash cans.

We still had fun though, pretending that the orchard wasn't just an attraction, but a real place to pick our apples. Of course, we chose the best ones. And really, these Jonagolds are amazing. Obviously, they taste better when you pick them yourself. Isn't that always how it works?!

It started raining moments after this picture, in perfect timing. With warm cider and our bags of apples in hand, it was time to say goodbye to the apple orchard.

Yet more fun awaited us at Tyler and Lara's in the evening. Hayley came out and joined us (THANK YOU!), which was the icing on the cake. 

Mom planned the most random, and most awesome surprise for my cake - a blossoming candle.

I closed my eyes upon request by my siblings, and opened them to see a music-playing, tall-flame-burning, expanding flower birthday candle. Best birthday cake decoration EVER. 

(The music on the candle - the Happy Birthday song - played for the whole rest of the night without ceasing. We had to take the trash out with the candle in it so that the sound would go away! Priceless.)

What a gift to get to celebrate with my family (yes, that includes my "cousin", Hayley Ellenwood, too!). With lots of laughs, sweet moments and fun, I felt very loved. Thank you. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Quartet in Chicago

There are days when I'm super thankful for my assignments for class. And thankful for Chicago. Days like today.

As a requirement for music class, we have to go to one non-classical and one classical concert. At least one of these has to be off-campus. The best part about this assignment is that our professor gives us lists of ideas for places to go and most of them are free or have great student prices. It was in this class that I found out about the free concerts held weekly at Fourth Presbyterian Church.

Fourth Presbyterian stands quaintly across from the Hancock building and is disguised by vines that grow on the walls and trees that surround the grounds. It is, however, a stunning church outside and inside and it's a gem right downtown. It also happens to be just a walk away from Moody.

I was planning on going to this concert and thought I'd have to go alone (since it was in the middle of the day), but spontaneously, Caleb and Haley were able to join me. We made our way over there between classes and I really had no idea what to expect.

What awaited us inside the Buchanan Chapel was the Euclid Quartet. What a treat we were in for, and we didn't even know! This quartet is "one of the most well-regarded chamber ensembles of its generation, known for performances filled with passion, virtuosity, and sensitivity," as they state on their website. I agree! It was (literally) music to the soul and Haley and Caleb and I just sat there in awe of such beauty.

Nothing compares to live music. And especially when you can watch musicians' passion display itself in their facial expression and group dynamics. We sat a few feet away from the quartet and soaked in every bit.

If you're ever in Chicago, please check out the Fourth Presbyterian concert schedule. They have a weekly Friday noonday concert that's almost always free. What a sweet way to end the school/work week.

(If you'd like to hear some of Euclid Quartet's music, go HERE