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!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Airport Hellos

Moments like these are priceless.

The Lobels have been in the States the whole Summer, while I have been in Czech for the past month. Now I'm coming back to Chicago, and they were flying from Chicago back to Czech. I'm coming from Frydlant, they were heading to Frydlant.

My flight got in at 3:00pm and their flight left at 6:30pm. So in that window right between our two flights, we were able to see each other in the O'Hare airport!

I hadn't seen the Lobels for a whole year. It was such a blessing getting to see them at least while standing in the airport! That couldn't have worked out any more perfectly. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

All In

I am currently sitting in the Dusseldorf airport, taking advantage of 30 minutes of free wifi. This airport is not particularly exciting, especially coming from my other connecting airport, Munich (free coffee and tea!). 

I happen to have sat down in a gate near my own that has a big picture of the Chicago skyline. It's God's reminder to me that that's where He wants me to be again and that He'll be with me there too.

I look forward to my sophomore year. So many times I've thought about how different it will be from my freshman year. I will get to hug my friends again, instead of coming in not knowing anyone. I am leaving Czech for the second time, which is ten times easier than the first time, because I know what I am going to on the other side. I know the blessings of Moody and I have favorite spots in Chicago to look forward to.

But of course, I will miss these hills.

And these walks.

My parents.

The rich history here.

The quaint houses that are tucked away in villages or perched on hillsides.

One of the things I prayed for when I arrived in Czech a month ago was that I would be able to integrate the two sides of my life. That I would be one person, with two places a part of me, instead of two different people in two different places. It's been tricky figuring out how to still connect fully to Czech while in Chicago and vice versa. After lots of thinking, praying, talking with my parents and friends, I feel so much more rooted again.

As I go back to Chicago, I want to follow my dad's advice: Lean in and engage completely. The more I lean into the Lord and depend on Him for strength (like I got to practice at Gull Lake), the more joy I will actually experience. If I am following Him completely, then I actually might have more energy doing something hard than I would if I did something easy all by myself.

I will live an integrated life. Combine my past with my present, be fully where the Lord wants me to be. But not by my own strength. Only by His grace and with His help.

It won't be easy. I tend to fear, to worry, to hold back and conserve energy for fear of running out. That never works out for me though. God's provision of "water" is a flowing river, mine is simply a cistern that will run out. May I know this running water of Jesus more this semester!

My flight leaves Europe in an hour, and soon I will be in yet another chapter. I guess I'll turn the page and see what happens next!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Photos: Barca and Danek

Way back in the Spring one of my friends who I went to class with at BMA asked if I would take pictures of her and her boyfriend. I'm so glad it worked out while I was home! This past Monday I had the pleasure of capturing these two. 

Barca is a sweet friend, and I'm happy I got to meet Danek too! They are pretty cute together. Here are some of the photos!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Real and True

To be honest, I didn't know what it would be like to come home. I knew what my house would look like, that the mountains would still be here, that I would get to drink bubbly water and eat Mom's cooking. 

What I didn't know about was how it would be seeing my friends again. After a year in the States, and a year of living separate lives, would there still be a connection that ran deep? 

The answer?


I have been overjoyed to see so many dear people since I've been home. Czechs are loyal friends and they remember just about every person they come into contact with in life. They have so much room in their hearts for others.

It took me a few days (ok...maybe more like a week) to regain fluent Czech, but once it came back, I was able to feel totally normal with my friends here. They are precious to me.

I enjoyed every minute of my walk with Kristi today. She and I sat next to each other for two years in high-school and her friendship continues to mean a lot to me. She is thoughtful, a great listener, thinks deeply, cares for people and has such a happy smile.

I'm thankful for all the reconnections I was able to make while I was home. My fears of coming home and not having any friends were proven not valid. Life here was real. My friendships were real. I did actually have roots here. I still do. Life still is real here. Just like it's real in Chicago now too.

Kristi noticed a heart shape made out of the trees that frames Lysa hora perfectly. It accurately captures home for me. I love this land and these people.