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."