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 ...