Sunday, September 27, 2015

Goodbye Ferris Wheel

I can't quote Brynna's description exactly, but the word she chose to use for the past 24 hours was this: a celebration.

Brynna leaves Chicago to move to South Africa tomorrow, which is both incredible and sad too. It's mostly the former though, since we all know this is exactly where she should be going and the Lord has her going for this time and purpose to care for three precious foster children. It's beautiful to see His hand in every aspect of her moving overseas, and a privilege to walk through these last days in Chicago with her. 

I'm reminded this week of all of the missionaries that we've welcomed on the "other side" throughout my growing up years in Czech. We were always on the receiving end of faithful servants who had left their own countries to move overseas. I loved when new families or singles would arrive in Czech! I loved new teammates and hearing the stories of all of their journeys. It was a thrill and gave me perspective too, since all I knew was life in Czech (other than visits to the States).

This is the first time I am stateside, watching a friend leave her home to go overseas to serve the Lord and His people. It definitely is different on this end! Yet, I love being a part of the process on both sides. It's painful and it's joyful both at the beginning, and at the destination. It's exciting and amazing to watch God bring His provision of peace to these transitions. I am realizing how much I love to see Him precisely in those places of what is "unknown". 

So instead of this being only a parting, it was a celebration. We celebrated friendship, Chicago, fall foods (which Brynna won't have in South Africa!), delicious warm donuts (even gluten-free!) and early mornings. We celebrated what the Lord has done in the past few years, and what He has in store for each of us - some knowns and many unknowns. 

We picnicked in the city on a patch of grass yesterday. We stared up at the sky, trying to find stars...I think we ended up counting three. (We saw a few airplanes too, so I think that kind of counts in the city?) We got up early to take a free ride on the ferris wheel at 6:30am on Navy Pier, since today is the last day it will ever run (Chicago will be getting a bigger one and replacing the old one). Simple things, but ones that mark this time, this season and an end of a time, but the start of a new one. 

Growing up as a Missionary Kid, my parents really modeled and taught us the importance of saying "goodbye" well. It's a lot more painful to do that in the moment, but so much more rich and deep in the long run. I never liked admitting that I had to say goodbye to those who would leave to go back to the States, but it helped to acknowledge that truth and then act like it really was happening, instead of covering it up with casual see-you-soon's.

This was not just a goodbye to the ferris wheel, but a ride to mark a goodbye to Brynna. Though I do hope to see you soon, Brynna! A reunion will happen somewhere, one day! There was some bitterness in realizing this was a "last" of sorts, but joy in dreaming of gathering again, wherever that may be. Chicago, maybe? Or Czech? Or somewhere completely different? 

I understand just a little tiny sliver now of what it was like for the families and friends saying goodbye to those that we would then see on the other side in Czech. It's unsettling because you don't know exactly when or where you will next see those dear people. It's hard; and yet, you wouldn't have it any other way and you love seeing God's faithfulness. 

So after all, yes, Brynna, we celebrate today. Day by day, the Lord shows His goodness. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Good news! The oven I get to use now doesn't burn things!

The oven we had on our dorm floor tended to burn the bottom of anything baked. Some girls were brave and clever and figured out its quirks so that their cookies were still deliciously golden-brown, but just the uncertainty of it deterred me from baking much in the dorms. Now though, I have an oven that works normally, which definitely makes baking more possible.

Here's a recipe that I highly recommend, particularly if you're someone who has to be a bit more creative with your food choices. These are almond flour snickerdoodles, which just melt in your mouth. Click HERE for the recipe.

I substituted the coconut oil for a dairy-free non-gmo margarine, but I did try out the coconut sugar. Since it's not directly from the coconut (it's from sap), I wanted to see if it would settle well. As far as I can tell, the coconut sugar was fine! It does give these cookies their distinct flavor, so I recommend using it if you're able to!

Let me know what you think of them if you try them out! I kept a few out on the first day, and then froze the rest. They make a great to-go snack - just pop them out of the freezer and in no time they're perfectly soft enough to enjoy. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

AWANA: I'm New Here!

Remember when I switched my major to Children's Ministry, and had no idea what I was doing or why the Lord was leading this way? I had had really no experience with kids at that time, and was baffled at why God had laid this clearly on my heart all of a sudden. The Lord is creative and kind and merciful and knows his children way better than we know ourselves. 

It wasn't until the summer after I changed my major that I worked at Gull Lake for the first time. My PCM was at an afterschool program with kids too. These experiences and more helped affirm that my decision to switch majors was right. Slowly, the Lord has given me such a love and passion for the youngest generation, in ways that I could not have mustered up on my own. I can't wait to see how He continues to lead in what He has prepared for the future. 

For the next semester, and hopefully in the spring too, I'll be helping out with an AWANA program, which serves military kids about an hour outside of Chicago. Military kids are TCK's (which I love!), and I can't wait to get to know them more as we learn about the Word and memorize it. 

We had training today for the PCM, so drove up to the chapel and gathered together. What a dear group of people! We have bonded quickly and the full-time staffers that serve with CRU Military are dedicated, welcoming and have made us feel right at home. I look forward to what's ahead in this next year!

My first time at AWANA two weeks ago was a whirlwind, since I had never participated in those programs as a kid. The closest one was too far for us to go to! I have much to learn about the program, but it's great to just jump in too. I've loved it so far.

Some more backstory on Military Ministry...

It's actually a really sweet thing to get to work with military kids this year. My grandparents helped start Cadence, a missions organization which seeks to reach the military communities in the States and internationally with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Grandpa and Nana (Patty) lived in the Philippines for years doing precisely that, and then spent some years in Germany as well. My mom and dad also worked with military youth, starting up what was then called Malachi Youth Ministries, now Cadence Student Ministries. Even today my uncle and aunt and cousins serve stateside with Cadence. In general, my family has a long history of working alongside, serving and supporting military families. What a privilege it is now to get a small window into that as well "in my backyard" of (the greater lands of) Chicago. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

I Found Chestnuts!

It's become somewhat of a routine now to go grocery shopping either on Sunday afternoons or Monday afternoon. I prefer Monday afternoon, so today I set out on the train to head to my favorite store: Aldi. 

I didn't get any photos of Aldi because, well, it's not very photogenic and isn't the most glamorous store. If you're from Europe, think Lidl (they're actually owned by the same company, I'm told). Aldi's shopping experience may not be at the top, but their prices are the best and so it's kind of a thrill every time I go there!

I took the "L" on this beautiful Chicago day.

Imagine that everything is silent when you look at this photo. Quaint, peaceful and idyllic. Now insert city noise into that with sirens and cars, and you have an accurate portrayal of the scene. 

I settled into a little tiny seating are outside of a coffee shop to work on some homework before heading to the store. There was no way I could pass up sitting outside today! Oh, how I wish I could've sat out in the grass, or perched on a mountainside. But today, this sufficed. Even though cars whizzed by me, I also got to stare at trees and cute coffee shops and watch people go about their daily lives. This neighborhood of Chicago is one of the more peaceful ones in terms of culture and style, so even though it's still not quiet, it was refreshing. 

One of the best surprises about the day: a kaštan!! I grew up collecting chestnuts in Czech every fall. Our school held "chestnut drives" and classes received points for the number of kilograms of chestnuts they could collect. Those points then counted towards a school-wide competition, with the incentive of money towards a trip at the end of the year if your class won. The chestnuts were collected and then sent to foresters to help feed deer during the winter. Such was the life of living in a small town nestled in the Beskydy mountains!

The competition was fierce when it came to collecting kaštany, so of course I tried to play my part in elementary and middle school. Finding a chestnut today reminded me of those days. Chestnut trees abound in Frydlant, but until today, I hadn't stumbled upon any in Chicago. What a treat to find one at my feet on the sidewalk as I carried my groceries back to the train. Obviously, I then went searching for more, but contented myself with only pocketing two of those shiny gems. 

The rest of my day was filled with writing a paper, reading for Systematic Theology, and for my Hebrews class as well. It also included simple things like cooking dinner (butternut squash and kale salad!) and tidying my apartment. Speaking of tidying, we should really get a vacuum soon. The realities of daily life are made up of such details. Thanks for going along for the ride!

(Gotta love the iPhone photos, by the way! I don't get to carry around my camera on my daily outings, so most of my photos these days come from my phone!)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Story of Banana Pancakes

There are countless reasons why I love this photo so much:

1. We have a table. Thank you to our dear church family for finding one! It actually used to belong to a friend from church who just got married, which makes the gift all the sweeter. It's small and may be replaced or used for a different purpose, but for now, it is wonderful.
2. Polish pottery. Enough said. (And my big white bowl, which I also love - more on that another day!)
3. Eucalyptus. It was Julia and Kimberly's idea to dry eucalyptus and use it as an "air freshener" and decoration. We all love it so much, even when parts of it look shriveled. 
4. There are three mugs and a stack of banana pancakes. What could that mean? It means guests - friends. 

My guests this morning were no strangers to this scene. The location of this scene has changed, as have the dishes, but the recipe for the pancakes, the overabundance of peanut butter, and the sweet conversation of the morning remains the same as our tradition from last year.

Brynna and Kelley were on my floor last year. In fact, Brynna (left) was my RA, and Kelley (right) was the ARA (assistant Resident Advisor!). These two were more than leaders on the floor last year though; they have always been precious friends to me.

Last year Haley taught me how to make three ingredient banana pancakes (two eggs, 1 banana, dash of cinnamon). I started making them pretty regularly once a week in our floor's kitchen. Kelley noticed that I made these and asked if she could try them one morning. After that she was hooked and we both loved them.

Shortly after, Brynna joined in on the weekly morning breakfast, and the rest is history. We ended up hardly ever missing a week of pancakes together for the rest of the semester. Somehow between the three of us we always had enough ingredients, and the whole thing became comforting to us. It had been spontaneous, and turned into something meaningful, even as simple as it is. Now none of live on Smith 4 anymore and our lives are already so different.

Brynna graduated last Spring. She spent the summer back at home in Oregon. She's actually moving to South Africa in a week (Lord-willing, if she receives her visa in time) to be a foster-mom to three precious children. She's in Chicago for these two weeks to reconnect with friends and prepare everything before moving overseas. Kelley is now an RA in our other dorm building, and giving of herself so beautifully to the girls on her floor. I don't get to see her as often, but I'm so proud of her.

It's bittersweet to have life move forward. It's good and really hard. We all know what that's like. It's right, but it also stings, especially when you know that the change involves being farther away from people you love.

To have both Brynna and Kelley together in my apartment this morning for something that felt so "normal" was the most wonderful gift.

We curled up on our couches (couches!!!) and sighed, and laughed and cried and and read Scripture and dreamt of what could be awaiting ahead in the coming weeks, months and years.

We said, "One day, we'll do this again. Somewhere in the world, we'll make banana pancakes together."

Friday, September 18, 2015

September Rain

It's been a long, full day with classes and work, but also with unexpected visits from friends.

I got to make dinner for two of those friends, both of them coming over separately just to "be". How glad I am that I can finally cook for others again! They didn't know each other yet before tonight, but as we sat around our little table in the apartment, it was as if we had planned it all along. Roasted vegetables, steamy brown rice, warmed chickpeas, a drizzle of lemon and a handful of kale - a comforting gathering for the three of us.

The rain that accompanied this day was fitting. I love rain anywhere - in Czech, in Croatia, in the city. A good thunderstorm will make the sky darker, but my day somewhat brighter.

Every week this semester, I'll go along for an hour drive up and an hour drive back to my PCM (Practical Christian Ministry) on Thursdays. More on that another day, but this view of the "L", the cars, and the Chicago streets will give you a glimpse into the unique beauty of rain in this place. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

It's Dad's Day!

To the dad who models faith, loves straciatella ice-cream, teaches with wisdom and passion, is always ready for an adventure, gives himself until a job is done, seeks to serve, has plenty of hidden talents (did you know he can write poems and play the violin?), leads Josiah Venture with Christ-centered vision, and leads our family by the Heavenly Father's love...


I love you lots, Dad. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

His Majesty

The city sparkled in the sunlight and I tried to soak it in today.

I will say though, nothing quite equals a memory I have from this past summer - hiking up the mountain on Hvar with Dad. I am settled back into life here, but the thought of Hvar still gleams brightly in memory.

This sunny Sunday in Chicago is a reminder that beauty and the glory of God can be seen everywhere. Memories last though and I'm thankful to see Him there in those moments past too. He works mightily at all times, in all places.

To think! The Lord Himself is that much more glorious than anything He has created. That amazes me. What a powerful and gracious God He is to bring us into relationship with Him by faith through Jesus Christ.

"The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.

The seas have lifted up, Lord,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.

Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the Lord on high is mighty.

Your statutes, Lord, stand firm;
holiness adorns your house
for endless days."

-Psalm 93, NIV

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Slavic at the Market

Since I came back to Chicago, the Brown Line has been rerouted every weekend due to construction. It makes weekend traveling a bit more difficult downtown, but CTA works hard at making sure people are able to get where they need to go. 

There is a shuttle running on the weekends between the Fullerton stop and Downtown, and my study destination this weekend was right in between. The rain came down intermittently today, and somehow I missed it outside each time, which was perfect. I don't mind the rain and enjoy getting wet sometimes, but today I didn't mind staying dry inside the coffee shop!

I walked down to the Brown Line shuttle and stood there for a few moments before looking across the street. 

I could see the familiar white canopies of the Farmer's market peeking through the trees, and made a beeline for the lovely sight. It was almost the end of the day for the market, so the crowds had come and gone and only a few people meandered around the booths. I admired the fruits and vegetables before settling on a few choice carrots, a tomato, and some delicious crisp apples. 

Today's farmer's market had one other little surprise too though. I was at a booth picking out some apples when I heard her voice. It was an accent I would be able to pick out anywhere in the city, especially when I turned my head and was met with the usual sight of a headscarf tied under her chin. I usually can't resist, and just have to stop and say hello if I get the chance, and to ask her where she's from.

"I am from Russia," she said, rolling each of her r's.

"Oh, I'm from the Czech Republic!" I respond. "Česko!" is what I usually add on to the end of that, since they often don't recognize the English word for "Czech" right away.

I am always amazed by the Russian grandmothers here who respond so kindly and fondly to me after we make that connection.

"We are Slavs! We understand each other!" she replied.

It warmed my heart instantly when she said that with a glint in her eyes. We know that our cultures are different. Czech doesn't even necessarily have the best history or connection with Russia. I also recognize that this sense of "Slavism" has been used for good and for bad in the past (see Pan-Slavism). The term carries much weight, yet I know this grandmother meant it in a kindred way. Somehow in Chicago, on this crisp September day, our history brought us together instead of separating us.

The sweet lady went on with her shopping, but the girl behind the table at the booth called over to her dad.

"Did you hear that? She's from Czech!"

Turns out, this little girl (probably 12 years old?) is actually Czech too. I didn't have the chance to hear her whole story or even understand what the connection was, but she said she speaks Czech and actually just visited her grandparents in Moravia three weeks ago. She got to go to Prague and Slovakia for the first time on this trip, and thinks Czech is a beautiful country. I'm guessing, based on the dad's response, that her mom is Czech and her dad is American, but who knows what brings them to Chicago?

There are so many stories here and I wish I could sit down and just listen to people like the family at the farmer's market. Today was a sweet taste of home and a reminder that this world is small and you never know who you'll meet when you least expect it.

My apples, carrots and tomato were impeccable, by the way. I'm pretty much a softie when it comes to farmer's markets.

And hey, if the Brown Line hadn't been rerouted, I would never have seen the farmer's market or met those sweet people today! The Lord surprises us, doesn't he? 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Gluten-free Sweet Potato Kale Soup

Today is the first day that actually feels like fall is coming. I'm so happy. 

It's cool enough outside to wear a sweater, and it started pouring this afternoon on my way back from Walmart. I didn't have an umbrella, so I just strolled down the sidewalk back to my apartment while getting soaked. Sometimes you get to the point where it doesn't matter if you get wet or not, and it's kind of fun when that happens. 

A big bowl of gluten-free sweet potato and kale soup was the perfect warm-me-up on this September day. I was inspired by this recipe, and just adapted it slightly to my own preferences, though I mostly made it up as I went. 

(Serves 2, if you eat big bowls of this deliciousness!)
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed
- 2 cups of kale, chopped
- 3 cups of vegetable broth (I used Czech vegetable bouillon cubes!)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning or thyme
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2/3 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
- Pepper, to taste
- Optional (and recommended!): grilled or pan-seared chicken, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Spread sweet potato cubes on a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Bake until lightly browned and fragrant (this will just add more flavor to your soup!).
2. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add chopped onion and garlic, until onion is translucent.
3. Add kale, and sauté until kale starts to glisten.
4. Add sweet baked potatoes, vegetable broth and seasoning, and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and simmer for 15 minutes. If using chicken, you can add this at the end of the 15 minutes, just to make sure it's all the way warmed through.
5. Serve in a wide bowl, because it just makes everything feel more fancy.

I hope you get a lovely fall day soon! I don't think we'll have many of those in the next week, but the cold Chicago weather will be coming, I know that! I'm sure this is the first of many soups to come from my tiny kitchen. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

While Carrying Groceries

I had to walk through a neighborhood to get from the grocery store back to the "L" train, and somehow on this particular stroll on the streets, I was struck by the beauty and uniqueness of the homes.

These houses may not be as old as the ones I grew up seeing in my town, but they have charm all the same. These are the doors of city homes, and I can't help but wonder what stories are being written inside, even today.

I've done a lot of walking in Chicago these past two weeks, since I take public transportation and walk to the grocery store. I don't know what it'll be like in the winter, but right now I'm loving an excuse to get out.

I got a special meal exemption here at Moody with a recommendation from my doctor, so I'm off of the meal plan here on campus. That means that I will awkwardly carry my heavy bags of groceries back to my apartment, and hopefully not look silly as I do so! I wouldn't have it any other way though. Getting to cook my own food that doesn't make me feel sick has already made a huge difference. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Present Realities (And a Sibling Photo!)

I'm sitting on a couch. 

I'm writing on my own computer. 

Just those two things are amazing to me right now. Today was a long day, though not in a bad way, per say. 

I went to church with a friend who so kindly picked me up from Moody this morning, since Caleb and Haley were out of town this weekend (I usually go out to church with them). Right after church, it was off to the Apple store for me, since last night my computer decided not to reboot completely. I had no access to getting into my computer, so there wasn't anything else to do but seek help from the experts. 

The people at Apple were so kind, but with the busy weekend, I had to wait for two and a half hours before getting an appointment. I dawdled around the neighborhood, popping into shops and Trader Joe's for lunch. 

Eventually, a few hours later, someone at the store was able to figure out the problem with my Mac. He had to wipe my computer and reinstall the software, so that's unfortunate, but I'm just thankful I still have my own Mac in my hands right now. I was not expecting that at all, and it's a gift from my Father to have had help with that today. 

When I came home to my apartment, a couch awaited me in our tiny living room. One of my roomies and her friends picked it up today (Yay! for Craigslist!) and it couldn't have been a better welcome after a long (and hot!) afternoon in the city. 

I got my computer at least slightly back into sorts this evening, and uploaded a few photos from these past couple of days - this one being my favorite.

This looks like a group of five, but in fact, it's a group of six. Soon the next generation will join this photo. Lara is due at the beginning of November, which is coming up so soon! We talked giddily about baby Patty and what he's going to look like, who he's going to be.

All of us Patty's are actually in a stage of transition in one way or another. Caleb and Haley only have one more semester at Moody. I've just moved into an apartment and am already thinking towards my internship, which I have to complete for my major. And then of course Tyler and Lara are expecting a little boy and their lives will be forever changed, in the most beautiful way.

Every Patty Party marks a stage of life, and this one was no exception. It's a gift to live through these years together and to all grow side by side, in different contexts and ways. Caleb and Haley won't be in Chicago much longer, so we savor these days all the more. The joy is that our Patty Parties will just get bigger...perhaps more seldom, but more lively altogether!

(And just for fun, here's a couple of the little flourless chocolate cakes I got to make. Recipe HERE. The mint is just for fun. I found it growing semi-wild/uncared for by the street on a walk back to Tyler and Lara's).

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sitting Around A...Storage Tub?

Dinner for two, please. 

(Don't worry Uncle Mike - not for a boy!) 

I had dinner with a friend tonight. We used a storage tub as our table. Hey, that works, right?

And yes, that's Polish pottery. My favorite.

Although it's been almost two weeks since I moved into my apartment, me and my roommates have been working hard to get into the swing of school. We will just now be getting a couch over the weekend, and we're still hunting for a table (we have chairs from Tyler and Lara - yay!). It has been great to have more space, even in a tiny apartment, but it will feel so much better once we get all of our boxes put away, and once we have a table to sit at, and decorations on the walls.

Possibly the best part about living in an apartment down the street from Moody* has been getting to cook again. If you've been following along on Claire's Corner for a while now, you know how much I love to cook and bake. My kitchen at home became a safe haven after long days at school, and I have missed that aspect of "normal" life since being in college. I'm so glad it's back now. I feel like I can add that part of my identity back into the mix, and it's wonderful. Now I can actually cook dinner for friends, which I love!

Even though we don't have a table, and we're still moving in, I appreciated tonight because it felt like "real life" - catching up over a bowl of hot food at the end of the day. I needed that today.

Recipe for Korean Beef Bowl can be found HERE (just ignore the blog name - ah well!). It's delicious. Tyler and Lara introduced me to this recipe, and it's one of the simplest and most comforting meals. It's a staple of theirs, and I made it for the first time today. Thanks Tyler and Lara!

*(it's technically still on-campus housing, but part of the building is used by senior residents, and part by married students or groups of 3 female upperclassmen). 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Best Treat

I walked down the great big aisles of the American grocery store, staring up at the shelves, which were twice my size and full of candy. It was the candy that I couldn't buy in Czech, and the kind that held special memories of sweet care packages shipped across the ocean or trips to the States. I couldn't have any candy this time though. The doctor told me I couldn't.

In my child's mind, being deprived of this special treat in America was one of the worst parts about being sick. Mom encouraged me, but it still made me so sad. I was sick all the time, and now I couldn't even have treats.

I was 6 at the time. 

I was in California with Mom, staying with someone I had never met before (to whom we are so grateful for her hospitality!), visiting doctors and getting to know the hospital well. They hadn't yet figured out where my health issues stemmed from, so they were trying anything, including removing sugar. I can't even remember how that played into the bigger picture. I suppose I'm glad that the loss of candy is what I remember, instead of long days of awful tests and visits to doctors.

The candy taunted me. But Mom had an idea. 

We bought a carton of raspberries from the fruit section (which was also impressive and larger than the one we had at home) and went outside. Mom and I feasted on raspberries that day. I've loved them ever since. I remember little bits from being at the hospital, but it's moments like "raspberry day" that I remember more vividly. 

Somehow that memory of Mom finding something that would be special is comforting. We took time to just sit and enjoy something amidst the craziness and struggle with health issues. Mom helped me find a treat that would get my mind off of what I couldn't have and remember there were other wonderful things to have instead. 

That has basically ended up being my motto with all of my food intolerances. If you can't have one thing, then there must be something else you can find that you absolutely love (and that won't make you feel sick!). When I couldn't have pastries, I learned to love gluten-free baking. When I couldn't have ice-cream, I found smoothies instead. I realized I couldn't eat coconut, so I used almond milk, or had to get creative with dairy and flour substitutions.

But back to the raspberries. I LOVE raspberries. I don't particularly have any special affection for raspberry flavored things, but fresh raspberries are one of the best treats to get. When Mom surprises me with something at the grocery store, she knows that what will make me happy is either dark chocolate, or raspberries (honey comes from other sources than the grocery store! haha). 

When I found a carton of raspberries at Aldi for $1.25, I was thrilled. Sure, I could have sugar these days now, but I'd rather eat raspberries. There couldn't have been any better treat to find as I started my second week of classes. Thank you, Lord, for creating raspberries, and for redeeming even the roughest times, like when I was sick. I love how you redeemed that time and gave me something even sweeter than sugar - a memory, and joy.