Wednesday, December 20, 2006

And I remember ...

2006, December. The invisible list of things to do in my brain is bigger and more overwhelming than the scribbled notes on a wadded-up piece of paper shoved somewhere in my purse of gifts to buy and cookies to bake. Despite this ever growing to do list, I am determined to not let it overwhelm me. Seriously.

"Together in this place of worship, Your greatness we proclaim.
We stand as one in giving You all glory and acclaim. To You our hearts are open, to You our hands we raise ... come take the place of honor in our lives"

The year began sadly as Kennedy’s struggle with her feline diabetes became worse and in February, we had to put her to sleep. It was a very emotional experience for the four of us as Kennedy has been a part of our family for close to13 years. I still slip and call our crazy cat Lottie "Kennedy". For the girls, it has been a year of moving forward. * Caitlyn wrapped up the grammar school chapter of her life when she graduated as class salutatorian. We hosted an open house in June to celebrate the occasion with family, friends and her classmates. * The Summer went by too quickly. Before we knew it, August rolled around and it was time to head back to school. For the first time, the girls are in different schools. Alex is taking every advantage of participating in team sports at St. Andrew as she has finally reached 5th grade eligibility. Basketball and cheerleading are in full swing. She scored 8 points in the first two games they’ve played. Although she is the smallest on the court, she is not intimidated and plays her heart out. Even the referee has commented to Darrin about her basketball skills. * Caitlyn is a freshman at Chicago Hope Academy (,/ which is located in the Near West Side. The first quarter was a bit of an adjustment for all of us, but she is doing well and has made many new friends from around the city. We have been very impressed by the teachers and staff at CHA and know that this is where Caitlyn is meant to be. Caitlyn even made the "A" volleyball team this fall. We enjoyed hanging out in the bleacher and watching the games.

"See the praises of our Saviour rise to open skies, with the dawning of redemption Your glory will arise. For You along are worthy, here in Zion You are praised ... our Lord and King forever, You will reign."

And I remember ... shoveling snow and thinking that this is the year we’ll invest in a snow blower; early morning prayers with a friend; hearing the official tornado sirens wail as a late Summer storm darkened the city; the joy of freshly brewed coffee at 5:30 a.m.; familiar walks; hot chai tea with skim milk; parents who pray; Caitlyn’s salutorian speech; a yellow rose bush that would make Grandma Josephine proud; lunchtime runs through Grant Park with Sandra; the view from the Orange Line as it crests above 18th and State Street each day; falling asleep next to Alexandra; witnessing the unfortunate destruction by fire of two Louis Sullivan architectural gems; continued attempts to grow hydrangea; Caitlyn’s much improved volleyball skills; Coldplay and Bon Jovi; the privilege to watch our friends’ children grow up with ours; a Thanksgiving Day Eve run with Caitlyn in Marquette Park; watching Alexandra at the top of a cheer leading pyramid; family birthday celebrations; hugs from the 4's & 5's on Sundays; working in my garden; meeting Andy Summers from The Police; the autumn leaves of brilliant reds and yellows that frame Millennium Park; moving forward; hearing a voice that’s still whispering; the ability to fill my lungs with air to breathe and muscles that continue to propel this 30-something body; and just how good God is.

2007. May the new year bring you much love and peace. I pray that your celebration of the Savior’s birth will remind you of all that He has done for you in giving His life as a ransom for all –"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11); "for, Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

"Emmanuel, our God is with us. Prince of Peace, Mighty One, the Ever Living God." "Emmanuel " by Raymond Badham

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

You Can Steal Our 6' Spiral Green Light Up Outdoor Christmas Tree, But You Can't Steal Our Christmas Spirit!

Went outside today at 6:50 a.m. to notice that our outdoor Christmas tree was stolen from the front of our house. The deed was done sometime after 10:30 p.m. last night, right under the lighted American flag. Our neighbor's holiday display a few doors down was also tampered with. Christmas in the city ...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Still Crazy After All These Years

I grew up in an apartment filled with lots of music, which explains my vast and scattered listening preferences. My mom had lots of LPs ("albums") in her collection. She loves to remind me how I ruined her Gene Pitney album when I was little. One LP that I remember vividly was Paul Simon's "One Trick Pony," which is the soundtrack to the movie by the same name. The song "Late in the Evening" is probably the most familiar track. I'm not saying that this LP is what caused me to be the fan of the music of Paul Simon/Simon & Garfunkel that I am. Perhaps, your life becomes cemented together with memories influenced by the background music that is filling your life at that moment of time. Three years ago, my mom and I sat up in the nose-bleed section of the United Center during a Simon & Garfunkel concert. We got the chance to hang out and listen to the two old friends harmonize together again. What songs make up the soundtrack to your life?

"The first thing I remember, I was lying in my bed
I couldn't've been no more than one or two
And I remember there's a radio, coming from the room next door
My mother laughed the way some ladies' do

Well it's late in the evening, and the music's seeping through.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Do The (Red) Thing

Only in Chicago! Yesterday, Bono and friends kicked off the (Product) Red campaign here in the U.S. By purchasing red branded products (Gap, Converse, American Express, Motorola, Emporio Armani and Apple), you can make a difference in the lives of people affected by Aids in Africa. The Gap is donating half of the profits from their red products to Aids organizations that support women and children. The campaign is also helping to create new business opportunities in communities affected by making a portion of the (Product) Red collection in Africa. (I am now the proud owner of a Desi(red) t-shirt made in Lesotho).

Although the Windy City has played host to Bono twice in the past three weeks ... we've missed him each time. I did get a chance to brush past actress Penelope Cruz and Bobby Shriver on Thursday. It was cold and flurry-filled day, but the air of hope and creativity surrounded the city ... not because a bunch of celebrities were in town, but because we were reminded that each one of us can make a difference.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Random Thoughts

Well, I've decided to get a little more serious with my photography. Last weekend during our girls "day o' fun," I came across a photography center on the northside that offers classes. I've been interested in learning more about exposure, composition and lighting, but have not really pursued it. The Chicago Photography Center offers 8-week sessions, including darkroom/lab sessions, that start every seven weeks. Darrin gave me the green light. I'll probably wait until after the holidays to start.

I also came across a blog last month of a photographer whose work is absolutely amazing! Her name is Davina Fear and you can view her work at I emailed her with a few questions and she graciously responded with some ideas as well.

Anna and Philip's wedding is next weekend. This will be my first solo wedding. I'm nervous, but excited. Hopefully, I can use some of the photos from this wedding for the beginning of my official porfolio.

Enjoy the colors and coolness of your autumn weekend.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

School Bells

We did it! We somehow managed to leave the house on time and make it to the near west side by 7:30 a.m. Today is my oldest daughter's first day of high school. She began her day with an indulgent 20-minute shower and then headed up to her room to get dressed and listen to her Fray CD. Where did my little baby girl go?

Surprisingly, I was not emotional. It has been much more of a relief than anything. I am confident that Caitlyn is ready for this new season in her life. She has a solid foundation and has been, in essence, groomed to get to this point academically, socially ... spiritually. I am confident that God will keep watch over her and protect her everywhere she goes. It's time for Caitlyn to spread her wings. I am confident that she will succeed. She is ready to fly. I am confident of that, too.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It's Hot in Here!

I'm pretty sure that today is the hottest day that I've ever experienced in Chicago. It's currently 98 degrees with a heat index of 106. Walking up Randolph to the AON Building and over to the farmer's market was brutal. I've been zapped of any energy ... unmotivated ... fussy ... sticky ... . I snuck in a quick 20-minute run late Sunday night because I was too lazy to get up at 6:00 a.m. to beat the blazing sun for my usual Marquette Park weekend run. The Nike Run Hit Remix 5 mile race is coming up in 2-1/2 weeks. I'm hoping that the temperatures will have dropped down by then because, if memory serves me correctly, 88 degree late night runs and me do not mix well. Keep cool.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Trouble Sleeping

I am craving a straight 7-hours of sleep right now. It would be oh so nice to find a comfortable pillow combination. My body is definitely "adapting" as I slowly merge into 40's. (Hey, we're talking a few years still). Anyhow, there are changes and I'm beginning to log them ... I'll spare you the gory details for now. Good night ... sleep tight.
Coneflowers from my garden shot in black and white.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

One Day I'll Be a Gardener in Heaven

Peony power! It took three years for my peonies to finally flower and once they did, the flowers lasted only two weeks. Maybe God will let me be a gardener in heaven one day. No more dirt under my nails.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Be nice to me ~ I gave blood today

There's a strange feeling to be had when you're sitting partially inclined on a hospital-type chair with the feeling of your own warm blood running through tubes lying across your arm and into a collection pouch. It was lunchtime and I had no where in particular in go; so, I stumbled into the LifeSource Center in the Thompson Building and donated some O+ positive blood.

Help save a life ... donate today!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Take My Hand, Precious Lord

Sometime yesterday afternnon around 3:15 p.m., the attorneys with south facing offices noticed a large fire engulfing a structure. The flames were vibrant oranges and reds and were gaining in size. It took a while to find any news, but as WMBI gave a traffic report, they identified the structure as the Pilgrim Baptist Church located at 33rd and Indiana in Chicago's historic Bronzeville neighborhood. The building is a complete loss. This is a significant loss for the history of our city.

Pilgrim Baptist Church was designed by the renowned Louis Sullivan and his partner Adler. It originally was home to a Jewish temple, but Pilgrim purchased the building in the early 1920's. Pilgrim was the place where Thomas Dorsey introduced the world to Gospel music. The walls witnessed many greats: Mahalia Jackson sang inside; Aretha Franklin's father taught music there; the funeral for boxer Jack Johnson was held there; and Dr. King also spoke at Pilgrim.

It is a sad day not only for the members of Pilgrim, but for their brothers and sisters around the world.