"dream great dreams and find the courage to live them"

-erwin mcmanus

Monday, August 30, 2010

the world wakes up.

Today my new work schedule begins, which means I'll be awake at 5am every day now.  I'm trying to be more disciplined about going to bed at a decent time - I now shoot for 9 o'clock each night.  My hope is that I become a morning person.  Always a little indifferent about the mornings, I find them to be so beautiful, but I can hardly enjoy them in the midst of my drowsiness and I-didn't-get-enough-sleep stomachaches (which is why I now go to bed early).

I think this will be a new love relationship with the mornings.

Sitting here on the couch, I watch the clouds turn pink with the reflection of the sunrise.  The interstate is actually moving (unlike my usual 7.30am!).  Things are just... slower.  Such a rare thing in a place like Chicago, I imagine these mornings will become my little piece of sanity.  What a beautiful way to begin a day, as my friend Andrea once said, "watching the world wake up."

Friday, August 27, 2010

reminders of folly.

Funny how often we need reminders of things that we've learned before, things that are supposed to stick with us.  I read old posts tonight in an effort to avoid this Elizabethan poetry analysis that I should be doing.  Check out this post from last November.  And here I am, learning it again.  Ugh - if only it would really stick this time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

impress me deeply

"Impress me deeply with a sense of thine
omnipresence, that thou art about my path,
my ways, my lying down, my end."

I recently purchased The Valley of Vision - a Puritan prayer book.  I am especially excited about this book, because it is full of profound prayers that were written centuries ago, yet are still relevant.  I read and pray these words when I have none of my own..

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

until then.

Today I turn 24. While I realize that a year is a short time, so much has happened - so much growth, so much change.  Here is a short list:

- I moved into an apartment building with Andrea and Tiffany for the first time.  An on-campus apartment, but an apartment nonetheless.
- Discovered a love for peppers, zucchini, and squash.
- I graduated from Moody.
- Kristen, my little sister, was finally diagnosed and is doing soo much better now that we know what is wrong. (Huge praise!!)
- Finished my program at Moody in December.  Walked in the ceremony in May.
- Started nannying for a fantastic Christian family while still at Moody.
- Vacationed in Mexico with said family.  And got paid to do it. :)
- Signed my first real apartment lease with the infamous Bethany Grubb, a cute little place in Logan Square.
- Moved into this apartment and finally felt settled for the first time in a long time.
- Started working toward my Masters of Education at North Park University.
- Learned the huge difference between a nanny and a babysitter.
- I slacklined for the first time.
- Grandpa Forsman had a stroke, lost movement in his left side, is now in a wheelchair and lives in a nursing home with Grandma who is in the Alzheimer's unit.  (Unfortunately, not everything on this list has to/can be happy..)
- I bought my first car - a charcoal gray 2010 Mazda 3.  My first big purchase!
- My "first big purchase!" was broken into, ipod stolen, and I had to deal with a very nice insurance company for the first time (go Geico!).
- Visited Julia and Sarah in Omaha, and Audrey, Cathy, and Julie in Sioux Falls.
- Went to Summerfest for the first time to see Tokyo Police Club!
- Tried steamed broccoli and loved it (finally!).
- Made all kinds of new friends and started hanging out more with some old ones.

And while those are all outward things, there is much more that has changed inwardly.  Honestly, I just don't want to take the time to go into detail (mostly because it takes a lot more thought), but I have grown so much - grown up, you could say.

Over the past couple of months I have also come to the conclusion that it's okay to "just" want to be a mom and a homemaker.  I always scoffed when I heard other girls say that, but really... It's a real calling and I believe it to be a part of mine.  Sigh.  Someday.  For the time being, I will pursue my Masters.  I will dream of what could come of it, the kids that I will be able to influence, the dreams I may be able to foster in the souls of youth.  And someday, maybe someday, I will be able to instill those dreams and that hope in Christ in the lives of my own children. :)

Until then, I will wait, grow, and pursue life in abundance.
I came that they may have Life, and have it abundantly.
- John 10:10b

Monday, August 23, 2010

all good things must come to an end.

In 1999, my family moved into a new house.  Ever since then, I have had the same bedroom - a bedroom that would be the cluttered mess of a teenager's room.  It then became the disorganized (but no longer cluttered) home of a college student transient.  Now it is an empty shell.

The furniture remains, but all the things that made this room "home" for the last eleven years are gone, save for the big bookshelf that holds my library (I can't bring myself to put my books in boxes in the basement.  An attachment disorder, perhaps?).

This officially is no longer my home.  Next time when I come, I'll stay in the guest room.  Sigh.  Things sure do change when you grow up.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

coffee with dad.

Yesterday morning was the kind that happens slowly.  Waking up before my alarm, I meandered downstairs to find my dad.  These mornings are so special - it's when the emotional side of my dad comes out.  I cherish these moments because they don't happen often.  We talked of life and church, family and death, all the while sipping our coffee.

Today is the one-year anniversary of my uncle's death.  The uncle that was my dad's closest brother and friend for their entire lives... gone.  I tear up just imagining what it could possibly feel like for his family.

Sometimes things are just hard, and there's not much we can do.  On the classic Leave it to Beaver, Beaver once said, "Sometimes things are just so messed up that all there is left to do is cry."  Sometimes that's all we can do - just remember, cry, and move on, knowing that we will continue to go back to those memories, treasure them, and repeat the cycle.

looking back.

journal entry:
"September 1, 2005
Since I last wrote, I really have been praying for God's will to reveal itself.  And WOW! Has it ever!  I want to go to Bible School.  YES, I wrote that right:  Bible School.  No more elementary ed. crap for me after this year.  Studying the Bible is the most intriguing, satisfying, eternally rewarding thing that I could possibly do!"

My oh my.  I was at Northwestern not even two weeks before I wrote that, I already knew I needed to leave.

And then I did, in fact, go to a Bible college.  The rest of the entry would have been a good encouraging reminder for me during my time there.  If only I would have remembered this entry when I really didn't want to be there, when I doubted my decision to transfer - maybe it would have changed my perspective.  All in hindsight..

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Piano: my lost love.

I used to love playing saxophone.  I loved to knit.  I took up guitar for a short time, and enjoyed that too.  But, most of all, I used to love playing piano.

While I wasn't the most dedicated piano student, I always loved playing.  The  majority of the time, it was a chore to practice - something Mom would make each of us do before we got to play, or before we got to use the computer.  So we would sit at the piano, staring out the big front windows of our house on Pecan Street, wishing that we were outside rollerblading with all the neighbor kids.

But for being a chore, I grew to love it very much.  Only when I stopped having to play in competitions did I realize how enjoyable it could be.  For the last five years, my piano playing has been extremely rare, save for the one semester I had piano lessons for an undergrad music requirement.

Last night, however, I played for several hours.  Oh how I've missed the feeling of the keys beneath my fingers, beautiful sounds filling the air (though not quite as beautiful as they once were..).  It was my emotional outlet, and I didn't even realize it.  Last night I searched through my mom's music library and found some of the old pieces I played in high school.  When I began to play them, muscle memory kicked in, and I was amazed at how much I remembered - It was a central part of who I was back then, and I just discovered it's still there, deep down somewhere.  The love for playing music did not disappear when I lost access to a piano, it was merely suppressed.

I kept playing and playing until the wee hours of the morning, letting out all of these feelings, so many thoughts that I've pushed down for so long came out in music.  It used to be a way that I processed things, the way that I coped with the incredible stress of my high school years (years which were even busier and crazier than my time in college, if that's even possible).

"You don't know what you've got til it's gone" is so true in this case.
If only I had access to a piano now in Chicago... I guarantee I would be happier, more at ease, and more content, simply because I would have the outlet to think through the hard things and release emotions that I cannot express in words.  Sigh.  Someday I will have a piano again - someday. :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Today was the last day I worked for the Lane family.

As I played with the kids today, I couldn't help but think that it was the last time I will ever see them.  Sure, there may be occasional visits, but never on a regular basis like it has been.  How much did they grow and learn since I've taken care of them?  Have I actually made a difference in their lives?  What have I taught them that will stick with them?  Anything?

I just pray that these kids will know Jesus someday.  To grow up in a family that wants you to succeed at all costs with your motivation being only the money and prestige that success brings... is a meaningless existence.  I pray for these boys so often, and I'm just glad that I'm passing them off to more capable, Christian hands.

Wouldn't it be wonderful for all children to grow up learning a biblical worldview?  If only...

Monday, August 16, 2010


Is home the place to which you return at night?  Is it a building, an apartment?  Is it where your family is?  Is it where you grew up?

Graduating from high school and moving off to college marks the beginning of a long period of transition.  Somehow, that period of transition becomes even more real after college graduation.  In that time, where is home?

Recently, I have started calling my apartment in Chicago "home," while Green Bay is now just where "my parents' house" is.  It has been a bit of a mental switch, but I've been wondering if this switch in terminology is really necessary.  Can this apartment really be home if I know I will only live in it for a short time?

I suppose I see "home" as a place where you are comfortable.  Where you can lounge around, have guests, and make it your own.  Home is a reflection of who you are.  The way it is decorated, the way it smells, the neighborhood it's in - it all comes together to help define you and and continue to shape you.

What is home to you?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

live in the light - listen to the Spirit

"If you are walking in the light, there is no harking back, the past is transfused into the present wonder of communion with God.  If you get out of the light you become a sentimental Christian and live on memories, your testimony has a hard, metallic note.  Beware of trying to patch up a present refusal to walk in the light by recalling past experiences when you did walk in the light.  Whenever the Spirit checks, call a halt and get the thing right, or you will go on grieving Him without knowing it."

My Utmost for His Highest - August 13
Oswald Chambers

How often do I ignore the voice of God or mistake it for something else?  How often do I pretend like I don't hear, simply because I don't want to do what He says?  It is a result of this ignorance that I no longer am aware of God's voice.  I have chosen to ignore it, so it has gotten quieter and easier to ignore.  Yikes.

"Sanctification is not my idea of what I want God to do for me; sanctification is God's idea of what He wants to do for me, and He has to get me into the attitude of mind and spirit where at any cost I will let Him sanctify me wholly." (August 14)

Somehow we think that sanctification is a beautiful thing (it is, but not in the way we want).  We think that it's easy to look at, easy to experience, because it all happens inside our mind.  Sanctification is merely a thought process, right?  Turning our mind continually to God?  Nope.  That would be too easy.

Instead, sanctification comes through doing those hard things that God tells us to do (at least until we choose to ignore His voice).  It comes through trial, through hardships, through stumbling and falling - those painful things we try to avoid are the very things that will make us grow, that will teach us to be more like Christ.

It takes a real shake, rattle, and roll to get me to take things seriously.  It takes a harsh reprimand, a strong reminder, to bring me to repentance, to make change.  If only that gentle whisper were enough, things would be much easier - but I would forget it more easily.

Listen to the Spirit - Live in the Light.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

IKEA: a compulsive buyer's demise.

IKEA is absolutely enchanting.  Each department sets up rooms upon rooms of beautiful items, perfectly designed to make you want each and every piece of furniture, every storage bin, every decorative item, even the fake, empty books on the shelves.  On my visit today, I reminded myself of my limited budget, my small apartment, and my absolutely selfish desire to own everything that was for sale.

I remembered that I don't have to have everything that I like.  I don't have to buy everything that I think I will use.  I don't have to spend money just because I have it to spend.

Be careful, compulsive buyers.  IKEA is a perilous trap disguised as a beautiful paradise.  You will walk out with a bag full of picture frames, candles, and a bowl of balls that may look nice, but are absolutely unnecessary.  Watch your wallet and your motives. :)

By the way, having a small apartment only encouraged me to spend more money today, as I discovered that buying bed risers will maximize my under-bed storage space.  It was imperative that I invest in them as well as some canvas storage bins to go in this newly explored space so that my closet doesn't have to hold two seasons of clothing at once.  While I'm glad I made the investment, I realize the irony of spending more money to maximize the small space that should actually prevent me from spending as much on unnecessary furniture.  Oh dear, I need counseling.

Friday, August 13, 2010

ask for more

"Save me...from being content with a little measure of the Spirit,
from thinking You will not give me more."
-from the Valley of Vision, a Puritan prayer book

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hummus - you just can't go wrong.

Hummus is wonderful.

It has protein and fiber, is low in calories, and all-natural in its ingredients (usually - check your label!).  It can be a snack food, or it can be an appetizer.  It can be served with cucumber, carrots, peppers, chips, pita chips, pita, and so much more.  It can even be smeared on a sandwich in place of mayonnaise, or put in a toaster oven on a slice of bread

I love hummus.  In fact, I ate it with carrots tonight for dinner, and I was not disappointed.

Here's a little basic hummus recipe for you, in case you are now inspired to make your own:
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • the juice of half of a lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 T olive oil
Put it all in a blender and blend it until smooth.
Sooo good.

For variety, you can add some coarsely chopped grape tomatoes or red peppers, or experiment with other herbs and spices (i.e. rosemary)... the possibilities are endless!

Enjoy :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

a little background

I want to throw out a semi-apology for my last post.  I failed to give any background information, hence the uncharacteristic rant about consumerism.  Here is a short blip to clarify:

As you probably know, I work with children - I am a nanny.  I work with two different families that have two very different philosophies on parenting and what childhood should look like.

One family has ALL of the Baby Einstein books, movies, CDs, and toys under the false impression that these items will make their children smarter.  In reality, they are merely books, movies, CDs, and toys labeled with a genius's name to make parents feel better about sitting their kids in front of a TV instead of really playing and learning.  TV shows disguised as "Preschool on TV" (a.k.a. Nick Jr.) are still just TV shows.

The other family uses as little technology as possible, because they believe very strongly in traditional child-directed play.  When a television show is supposed to teach a child about proper social interactions (as are many that run on a daily basis), would it not be more effective to have the child actually play and interact with other children and learn by experience?  This family has given me several books to read and websites to check out based on this philosophy, as well as other parent/educator topics.

As a result of their philosophy of technology, these things have been running through my mind the last couple of months, and finally ran out into something coherent.  Yet its validity was lost when I cited nothing, gave no background information, and essentially spewed it out at you, the reader.  For this I am sorry.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Consumerism rules our society.  Companies feed our minds from the day we are born with images and slogans, infiltrating us with their brands.  They condition viewers to want products, services, and brands that we would otherwise look past.  The colors and movement of television, advertisements, video games, and movies make our minds unable to focus on anything less attractive.  We are conditioned to be lifelong consumers.

Instead of playing outside, kids sit on the couch and watch television or play video games.  What happened to the Boxcar Children?  We used to go outside and imagine.  We would say there was hot lava under the swingset so we couldn't touch the ground.  We would dress up like pregnant women (yes, even Timothy :)).  We would make houses for families that we would design from catalog cut outs.  Everything we did was pretend, involved real brainpower, and grew our imaginations.  My, how things have changed!

Now, companies have child psychologists help with their marketing strategies to find the best ways to infiltrate the child's mind.  They psychologically evaluate children, knowing their reactions to every piece of media that meets their senses. They watch and know kids as well as a pedophile watches and knows kids, and that is absolutely horrifying.

When I see product placement, I cringe.  Watching commercials, I am now conscious of exactly what these companies want me to think and what they want me to do or buy as a result, and it makes me sick.  So many people fall victim to these ads, all so that a company that makes a sub-par product can make a profit.

To what level has our society fallen?  How much farther can we fall before we fall apart?  How will this affect a child's future, thus the future of this nation?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

a love divided.

I love this city.  Its rich history is cleverly disguised by the homes, the boulevards, the parks, the buildings, and the people.  So much to be explored, so much to be learned.

This evening I drove out to the suburbs, only to find myself longing for green space.  Driving past Channel Runne Park, the sculptures decorating the open lawns, and the North Branch of the Chicago River making its way through the trees, something inside stirred.  I miss clean air, greenery, stars, and open spaces.

I ask myself the question:  Is it possible to satisfy both of these loves without living in one and "escaping" to the other?

Monday, August 2, 2010

a weight off my shoulders.

One good thing about the new health care bill is, selfishly, that I can now stay on my parents' insurance until I am 26, regardless my student status.

Therefore, I will be able to take the spring semester off of school and keep my insurance.
JUST what I need :)

I am thankful to God when bad legislation works to my benefit.