Monday, September 1, 2014

Yours Be Done

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:3

This is the very first thing that Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount. Not only that, but as far as we can tell from the Gospels, this was Jesus' first public teaching. This first statement must have been important.

"Regardless of whether it looks like I'm succeeding or not, am I being faithful to what God asked me to do? That brings about the humility that God blesses," are the words that Jim Samra spoke at Gull Lake, week 7, when I wasn't even a counselor there anymore. I received the recordings from his talks while I was in Czech and soaked up all of his teaching on pride and humility through my earphones. It was powerful and convicting.

Jim Samra continues by asking this question, and answering it in turn: "How do you embrace humility? Choose love over knowledge. Choose faithfulness over evaluation. The beatitudes don't say 'blessed are the intellectual and well-informed'. Blessed are the poor in spirit."

Humility is saying "not my will, but yours be done".

These are words I have been pondering as I finish out this series here in Chicago. I think I'll listen to these talks again because I need to be reminded. HE is the reason I'm at Moody. HE is the reason why I'm reading books and writing papers. HE's the reason why I can take a Sabbath and soak in time with family. It's HIM that provides, teaches, reminds, and loves more than we can imagine.

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” - C.S. Lewis

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunny Sunday

Part of the Patty Party of 5 has moved! Tyler and Lara moved out of the downtown area to be closer to Tyler's school where he'll be studying to get his master's degree. They found an adorable little apartment (in the bottom half of a house) that suits them perfectly. With parks nearby and friendly neighbors, it's a good place for them to start this new adventure.

Since they live a little farther out, I won't be able to go see them quite as often as last year, but since they're still in the suburbs, we'll make it happen to be together. Tonight was the first of hopefully more evenings spent with the siblings in this new phase.

A short walk to Walgreens gave us an excuse to stop by their nearby park. Swings satisfied us girls, but the brothers had to try the teeter-totter, not in the normal fashion, of course. Boys can get pretty creative!

We couldn't miss out on some sibling pictures.

Caleb and Tyler being brothers...

I realize, this all looks pretty idyllic. And for one short evening, it was. For the simplest reasons. Sunshine, brothers and sisters and good food and just being together again. It doesn't take much to bring joy to life. It really doesn't. But I cherish days like these, which come now and then. They are the best. And I love these Patty's.

Time to go back inside and make a delicious dinner of rosemary burgers and sweet potato fries.

And one last little tidbit about the day... it was Caleb and Haley's 3 month anniversary!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Evening of Jazz

Even though I'm still sick (sore throat, a cold, the usual), there are still things that I am responsible to do, and homework is one of those things. Thankfully, not all homework means sitting down and reading or writing. Some homework is more fun...

The annual Chicago Jazz Festival happens in Millenium Park, just a short "L" ride away from Moody. I have to attend three concerts for my Intro to Music class, and this counted as one of them! A group of us from our floor went together and enjoyed an evening of listening to talented musicians doing what they love.

There are beautiful things to living in the city. Music at our fingertips, wonderful venues, and so many events here in Chicago. Even though I went back to my dorm with a bag of lemons from Walmart to soothe my aching throat, it was a good evening. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Reality is hitting hard this week. Some people call it syllabus shock. It's partly that, but more too.

The reality is that I have six syllabi that I have to work through this semester.

Reality is that I have two jobs, one that I don't know what to expect from yet.

Reality is living in the city again and being far away from mountains, pastures and wildflowers.

Reality is having a stack of books on my bookshelf that I not only have to read and understand, but write big papers on too.

Reality is getting a sore throat and not having time to stop and rest.

At the same time, reality is this:

I get to study at one of the best Bible colleges in the world. I get to encounter God in new ways this semester, no matter how hard I'll have to work to get there. The city is bustling with people and every one of those people is uniquely put together by our Creator. Although I'm surrounded by peers and that can be overwhelming, God has prepared a community for me to be a part of. Reality is that no matter if I get sick or not, God knows and will take care of me every step of the way.

(This is simply a picture of my view from my desk... and the things that make it feel bright and cheery!)

Classes have started, life is rolling faster than I feel like I can handle, but as always, God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I will cling to that truth. And I am thankful for all the blessings of this new reality as well. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Jetlagged Guest

On my first morning back in Chicago yesterday, I could not have woken up in a better place: Caleb and Haley's apartment. 

Caleb picked me up from the airport on Friday and then Haley came home from work later in the evening and we had a comforting dinner together. This was my first time in their new home, and I loved soaking it all in. It's a cute little apartment with dark wooden doors and windows that look out to trees and charming brick buildings. 

I was up and completely awake at 6AM because of jetlag (granted, I did go to bed at 9:30), but I got to enjoy a nice quiet morning in their place. A few cups of tea later, everyone was up and the scent of waffles filled the little kitchen.

Haley cooked waffles and Caleb made coffee and our morning was leisurely.

Thank you Caleb and Haley for hosting me after my flight! I LOVE your new home!