Monday, March 31, 2014

Dad's Voice

One of the fun things about my dad speaking and teaching is that I get to listen to him, even from afar!

There is something so special about learning from my dad, whether that's through family Bible studies at home, or listening to a church podcast from Colorado. I don't think I'm the only one who loves my dad's teaching.

I feel blessed to get to continue hearing my dad's voice here at Moody (now that I don't hear it every day!), when I listen to his past and present sermons that are recorded. Last weekend, he spoke in Ft. Collins at Faith Evangelical Free Church, and you can listen to him HERE! He talks about temptation, from Genesis 3.

I am in a Studying and Teaching the Bible class this semester, and my biggest example is definitely Dad. He communicates Biblical truth so well, and I think of him every time I do a project. Thanks for following the Lord so faithfully, Dad! 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Addresses and Envelopes

Cornbread muffins on the table, and fancy pens in hand, we set to work on a fun task together: addressing and getting reading to mail Caleb and Haley's wedding invitations!

By this afternoon, all the letters were ready to go! 

Who knew two years ago, when Haley, Caleb and I hung out in Frydlant (before they were even dating!), that we'd be working on WEDDING INVITATIONS together. It's surreal, and awesome. I am so excited that in 62 days these two are getting married!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Simply Delightful

I was sitting in my room on my floor (my favorite spot), trying to gather up the energy to take two quizzes for New Testament on a Friday.

But then this little conversation started in my head... "You know, there's that new coffee shop across the street from campus (Think Simple Foods), and you haven't been there yet. They have macarons. Some macarons would help brighten your day, right?"

I did something spontaneous. Me, the not-spontaneous-hardly-ever-at-all one. But hey, I figured, no time like the present to go get some macarons! I grabbed my purse and coat, and bounced down the stairs.

My New Testament quizzes did wait. I took them when I got back, after I had the delicacies along with some mint tea. I determined that these are some of the best macarons I've had. I'm not just saying that. They were so stinkin' delicious. And right across the street! What could be better?!

Macarons made my day.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

On a Rainy Thursday

It's been a rich day from the beginning, when I woke up at 5AM, while it was still dark outside.

Why did I wake up at 5? To go surprise the lovely Brynna, who will be our RA next semester! We didn't do anything "mean" to wake her up (some floors blindfold the RA or spray silly-string at them), but still came bursting into her room at 5:15 to tell her that Smith 4 will be her floor next year. She already knew that she would be an RA, but which floor she'd be on was a secret until this morning (so was the fact that today would be the day she'd be woken up find out).

I can't believe how the Lord plans things sometimes. I knew my first RA before I met her (Sarah was a counselor at Gull Lake when I was there 2 years ago). My second RA, I also knew before today! I work with Brynna in Event and Guest Services, and I couldn't be more excited to live life with her on Smith next year. She's wonderful. God is such a good Father to provide these amazing RAs!

After class, it was off to Intelligentsia to see Tyler and do homework. Japanese green tea, and calming rain outside.

Then it was lunch in the cafeteria with Haley (who will officially be my sister-in-law in 64 days!!!), and an inspiring class of Intro to Disciplemaking. I hope the video we watched in class today will encourage you too. Watch the whole thing if you can - it's worth it.

I feel content and happy (and that's not only because of the caffeine that I drank today. Hehe). The beginning of my week was crazy, packed with homework and responsibilities, but it started to slow down on Wednesday. Whew. I'm glad it did. And I'm glad for Thursdays.

Lastly: I saw the very first Spring flowers (snowdrops a.k.a sněženky) in the plaza today. Bliss. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fact of the day

Little known fact about Chicago: It sometimes smells like chocolate.

Literally, on any random given day, you might walk outside and get a strong whiff of chocolate. What an odd thing to smell in a city, right?

I finally looked it up today (after smelling chocolate before my morning class), and found that the cause is a chocolate factory about a mile away, called Blommer Chocolate Factory. It actually is on the way to my PCM, so I think I'm going to have to stop by some day once the weather gets warmer. Yet another thing to add to my "bucket-list" for Chicago!

A few other things on my list...
- Go to the Conservatory (Botanic Garden)
- See the city from the Sears (ahem...Willis) or Hancock tower
- Listen to a musical/opera/symphonic orchestra piece in the city
- See a movie in a park (when it's warm)
- Go to as many unique coffee shops as possible

And many more. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Real Life

Homework came faster after Spring Break than I expected it to. All of a sudden, when I got back and started looking through assignments due, I realized that I had better get going.

 I felt overwhelmed, but then I realized that I just needed to step back and take it one thing at a time. So I will, starting here, with my Studying and Teaching the Bible assignment:

Here we go.

Choose joy.

And drink tea. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

On Going Back

Coming back to Chicago is starting to feel normal now. It felt right to fly over the city lights and see the downtown, and know I was going right there - to the city.

It's always a little sad to leave the mountains. Mountains are good for my soul. Their majesty inspires me and reminds me of the Lord's power and value of beauty. But I'm comfortable in the city too. I'm almost surprised that I can say that now.

I guess what's important is what my parents always say... "It's all about the contrast." Because I have been able to get out of the city at times this past year, I've come to appreciate things about living in Chicago that I wouldn't maybe see if I didn't have contrast. Things like walking a block to Walmart for quick groceries, seeing Tyler and Lara (thank you Tyler, for picking me up from the airport last night!!), fun city events, taking public transportation anywhere, or having friends down the hall from me in the dorm.

It feels right to be back, though a part of me will always be somewhere else in the world. That's just how it is with a TCK (Third Culture Kid), but I'm ok with that. There are so many places that are dear to my heart, and people I care about in different places. For that reason, wherever I go, I need to try to "be all there" (the harder part for me), and yet continue to fully value and remember every unique experience.

All that to say:

See you in May, Colorado.

Hello again, Chicago.

Friday, March 21, 2014

It's Still There

The first time I skied, I was three years old. I learned by experiencing skiing, rather than by theory and technique.

If I hadn't learned at that age, I don't know if I would have had the guts to go down a snowy slope with two sticks on my feet. Ok, maybe I would have tried with some coaxing encouragement from Dad, but I'm definitely glad I didn't have to learn later on. When you're three, you don't really calculate what would happen if you fell. And I did. I fell as a kid, but somehow, that never deterred me from skiing. I loved it.

Somehow, in these past five years, I never skied. Until yesterday.

Our friends have ski passes that they let us borrow, so we had the opportunity to go out for the day in Telluride. I'm thankful!

I was nervous to put my feet on two skis again and go down a slope. As I rode the chairlift up with my dad, my legs felt a little like jelly. Could I really manage to remember what I learned as a kid? What if I got to the top and didn't know how to get down? Dad reassured me that it would all be fine, and that it really wasn't that hard. That helped.

As soon as I skied off that chairlift, it all started coming back. It didn't take long before it felt natural again. It brought back memories of family days on the slopes in Czech or Slovakia. I used to love to ski, and now I love it again.

The best part? A day with Dad, and soaking in the beauty of Colorado mountains. What a perfect thing to do before I go back to the city today. I feel refreshed.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Life at Two

There's something so special about observing kids. They are completely themselves, and don't know how to act any other way than the way they feel. 

Our friends that we're staying with have an adorable 2-year-old, who is all boy, and full of fun and energy. His giggles can be heard throughout the whole house, and he is always exploring and having his own adventures. 

I hope he makes you smile today too. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Worlds Collide

My heart is absolutely happy from this morning's surprise. It made my day. But first..

Since Sunday, we've been staying with some of our friends in Telluride. I feel so blessed to be refreshed by views of the mountains, fresh crisp air, and walking the quaint streets of this mountain town. God knows me well - He knows I need breaks from the city (though I'm coming to like it more and more), and He knows how much I admire His creation, especially the mountains!

Anyway... Mom and I have been taking walks down to the local coffee shop in town every morning, enjoying lattes, talks, and splitting a Clif bar as the day begins. 

As we were walking today, we were not only making our way to the coffee shop, but also keeping our eyes out for the "famous" Telluride Free Box that we heard about from our friend who lives here. Even the NY Times and the Denver Post wrote about this Free Box phenomena in Telluride. Apparently, people drop things off there, and you can take anything for free. You never know what you'll find! (The Denver Post says that one person once found Prada shoes there!)

After our leisurely morning coffee, we stumbled upon the Free Box, wondering what we might find. I was first drawn to the book section, and my mouth literally fell open and I laughed gleefully when I found this:

A book about Czechoslovakia. IN TELLURIDE. A book about Czechoslovakia, in the Czech language. How??! Who put it there??! It's beautiful! I couldn't contain my joy. A piece of home, in this little tiny mountain town in Colorado. What are the chances??

I snapped a picture of the place I picked up the book from, and then noticed something else. 


First, Czechoslovakia. Then it got closer to where we live: Ostravsko. Ostrava is about half an hour from where we live in Czech.

But then it got even closer: Beskydy. Those are the mountains that we live in!! Really, how could there be a book that was more perfect for us than the Beskydy?! That's about as close as you can get to our home. 

Flipping through those books, which are 40 years old, gave me butterflies in my stomach. Here I am, in Telluride, looking at pictures from home. What a sweet blessing from the Lord. I love Him, and I love these books! 

I wonder who put those books in the Free Box? Are there Czechs living in Telluride? I guess I'll never know... but I'm sure glad we stopped by the Free Box today!

P.S. As I was looking through these pictures just now, I noticed that there was one more Czech book on that shelf that we didn't even notice! It's about the "Narodni Divadlo" - the National Theatre in Prague. Maybe we'll have to go back!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Comfort Food

This, to me, is comfort food. It's home food. It's the kind of thing that I make with Mom.

We have traded off stirring a delicious risotto for half an hour, until it's perfectly creamy and full of flavor. We add extra lemon, because that's our favorite part.  Occasionally, we add something else to this lemon risotto, like asparagus, or green onions, or any other veggie that sounds good.

Cooking (and eating!) risotto last night made my heart happy.


Monday, March 17, 2014

PB Fruit wraps

I don't know why I haven't thought of this before, but now that I have, it's going to become a staple college snack!

Corn tortilla fruit wrap.

It's one of the quickest and most versatile snacks that you probably already have the ingredients for. You can make it however you want, to your liking.

Want to use flour tortillas? Go ahead. Or you could swap pears for strawberries, blueberries, bananas, or oranges. Don't like peanut butter? Sub almond butter, or even cream cheese. Top with cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, or a dash of sea salt.

To make:
1 corn tortilla
1 pear, sliced
2 tsp peanut butter
Dash Cinnamon
Drizzling of honey

Wet a paper towel slightly, and wrap tortilla in it. Microwave for 30-40 seconds on high (or until warm - the wet paper towel will keep the tortilla from becoming dry). Spread a layer of peanut butter on tortilla, top with the rest of the ingredients. Put a dot of peanut butter on the edge, and fold on top of the other side, so the peanut butter acts like glue. Optional - pop in microwave for another 15 seconds if it's not warm enough.

Side note - this peanut butter is great! My absolute favorite peanut butter is THIS one (Woodstock), but since it's a little pricey, I don't get it all the time. I am picky about peanut butter, so it's worth it though! I like this peanut butter (pictured) too.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Race in Moab

I don't usually consider myself a "runner", but I've always told myself that "anybody can run", meaning, I can be a runner if/when I want to. If you have two legs that are healthy, a body that can move, and a strong will, then you can run. Well, that sounds nice until I feel that stitch in my side, and my muscles cramping up.


After just a little bit of training, I was able to run more than I thought I could. Mom and I ran in a five mile race in the canyons of Moab, Utah (for more of the story, go to Mom's blog). Dad ran the half-marathon, and did great. Five miles isn't a lot compared to 13.1, but it's farther than I've gone before. And I enjoyed it!

I'm thankful for a body that can run, and don't want to take that for granted.

What a better place than Moab to run in my first race ever? I'll definitely remember this day! And who knows? Maybe I'll run more often now. It was pretty fun with everyone around, all running towards the same goal. I'm glad we did it!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Into the Kingdom

We knocked on the door to another world today, and the King of the faraway land was kind enough to let us in. What an honor to explore this new land and see its wonders!

On the other side of the door...

What a glorious day in the Kingdom of Arches. Thank you, oh King, for allowing us to come visit on this fine Spring day. Your land is fantastic and spectacular. I bid you farewell. I hope to come again. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014


I never know what to expect from a day's drive on this trip. All of my stereotypes that I've had about places are being changed!

I didn't expect rivers and mountains in Idaho. I didn't even know that there were rolling hills of farmland in the state of Washington. I had no idea what Boise looked like before. I didn't anticipate the lake we stumbled upon on our drive to Utah. The list goes on!

I'm thankful to be learning about and experiencing my "passport-country" more. What an adventure this is! Hours and hours and hours in the car do bring some fun memories.

Since I didn't grow up learning about each individual state in school (we learned about Europe though!), it's been good to experience things firsthand. The ever-changing terrain and the expansiveness of the States blows my mind. Sometimes we could see all the way across the horizon, and other times we were driving through narrow canyons, or alongside rushing rivers.