I was invited to go sailing with some friends. It was my first time ever and it was wonderful!!!

We saw some pirates, but they left us alone.


free to a good home

From time to time my friends so graciously share things with me...things that I just can't help but to pass along to you. Here's today's photo, compliments of my friend Kevin.
It's sick...I know. But hopefully it makes you laugh a little.

bubbly goodness

The other day while shopping for important camp groceries, I caved at the urge to buy some bubble gum. I don't even remember the last time I had bubble gum. I don't even really like chewing gum. But this time I REALLY wanted it.

I was unwrapping the treat on the way to my car, eager to taste the sour apple berry flavor. It was delightful!

I headed over to the campground to meet the folks and I started blowing bubbles. The first one popped with a snap and I started giggling. I continued to play and the entire time I was laughing and smiling. I'm not sure if any other drivers noticed me, but I must have looked pretty funny. I was having a grand ol' time! Who would have thought that bubble gum would provide so much entertainment?

I had wondered if that was just a one time fun experience. Would every piece in the package provide that same experience? Well, I'm 4 pieces into it and so far every piece finds me smiling and laughing. I guess I should add bubble gum to my list of favorite things!


two random things i'd like to mention

Last night I noticed that the first three Harry Potter books were stacked up on our shelf. I just recently decided to start reading the series. I was going to ask Katie if I could borrow them but she told me that they weren't hers. What? That's weird, whose books are they?

Oh...there's only one answer to that question. Mr. Kevin Quigley surprised me with yet ANOTHER gift. Thank you thank you thank you!!! I started reading the first book last night. I think I'm really going to enjoy them.

On a completely different note, Anodyne Coffee serves a delightful iced coffee! (Keep that in mind if you ever visit Milwaukee)


a big bunch of pictures

This post is a big collage of pictures. My friend Kevin has stayed with us a few times over the past month. It has been wonderful and comforting and nourishing and fun to have him here. I'm missing him already.

I feel that summer in Milwaukee is best spent on the water. Being so close to Lake Michigan is my favorite part about living here. While Kevin was here we spent a lot of time taking walks on the sand, reading books at the beach, having picnics in the park, and we even went canoeing.

Here are some pictures from this past month.

(Katie took this picture of me and I didn't even know it. I was reviewing pictures on my camera and I discovered it. Thanks Katie!)

(this is the butterfly that I found swimming the lake. Katie tried to rescue it.)

(Finally, here's a picture with my roommate Katie. She's great!)

festa italiana

Last night was the kick-off for Festa Italiana. We received some free tickets from an attorney here at the firm so a whole bunch of us headed out for the evening. Typical of any Milwaukee Festival...it's all about the food and beer, but that's cool too right? We ate a LOT! I had fried ggplant strips, bruchetta, and tirimisu. It was nice to hang out pretend to be in Italy again.
We saw a group of flag throwers perform. I'd never seen anything like it, but it reminded me of my baton twirling years. Well...the men were strong Italians, and they were wearing knit leggings...but other than that, it reminded me of baton twirling :-)
Here are some pictures:

shorewood bike race

Yesterday I returned home from work to find that the entire street was blocked off. I had no idea what was going on. I was somewhat exhausted and I was annoyed because I had to park several blocks from the apartment because everything was closed off. Once I got settled and started walking home I learned that the event was the 4TH ANNUAL SHOREWOOD CRITERIUM INTERNATIONAL CYCLING CLASSIC. My attitude changed from really annoyed to instantly inspired and excited! I took a power nap on the couch and then went outside to watch the start of the pro race. It was really cool!
It was especially awesome that they were racing right past our apartment building. Since we are the first unit on the front and since we have huge windows, we could see and hear the entire event right from our living room.
Here are a few pictures:


a different spin on things

In reference to this post, I am secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) annoyed and judgmental towards people who:

--don't like camping because of the dirt, or the fact that they might have to pee in the woods.

--don't recycle anything.

--add to the pollution and destruction of our world and are frivolous with resources.

--don't stop for pedestrians.

--are afraid to be in public without makeup on or having their hair all pretty.

--never take risks or even attempt to make their dreams come true.

--act as if they have God and Christianity all figured out.

music music music!!!

My friends help me to find the BEST music! **Thank YOU Luz!!!** Please check this guy out. He's really good!
I'll be seeing him play here in Milwaukee next week.


strange and perfect

My car is broken again. Not sure what it is this time. Sometimes there is such a fine line between being totally blessed and completely inconvenienced. Well, at least that's how I feel sometimes.

Let me rewind. First let me tell you about my day yesterday.

Kevin is visiting again. He met me for lunch and I took him to the Soup Bros. We had Cowboy Dick's Chunky Chili. Yum! I so greatly enjoy sharing my Milwaukee Favorites with people.

After work we went to Atwater Beach and walked around in the sand and water. It was so nice! I found a butterfly in the water. It was still alive. Katie tried to rescue it. She brought it over into the sunlight so it could dry off and then I think she sang some lullaby's. The butterfly died. Kevin tried to distract Katie and made up stories about seeing it fly towards heaven.

Then we went home and made an awesome dinner! The menu? Cheese pizza, homemade hummus, spaghetti squash, corn on the cob, and adamame. Talk about a random mix of things! It was so satisfying though.

After dinner we went to Cafe Hollandar and had beer and caramel apple pizza.

When we got home I had to move my car from the street into the parking lot. To my dismay, the car wouldn't start. We thought maybe it was the battery so Katie brought her car over so we could jump-start it. I'm embarrassed to say that I froze up. It's been so long since I've had to use jumper cables and I am terrified of accidentally blowing up my car. So we stood there together, trying to figure out how to perform a successful jump-start. That's when we met this random guy who put a smile on all of our faces. He came over to the car and asked if we needed help. He called us "Friends". He connected everything and gave us a quick tutorial. We had to wait a few minutes to see if my car would take the charge. The guy said "I'm sorry I can't help you any further than this. I don't know anything about cars. But I DO know Yoga. I can teach you some Yoga!"

We stood on the side of the road next to the charging cars and he called out these freaky bizarre positions. "Grab your left foot from behind and pull it up. Clasp your hands together. Arch your back and lean to the left. Breathe!!! Push your chest forward and lean back and look at the floor behind you....." Oh my gosh it was crazy! This guy teaches Bikram Yoga in Chicago so he was very skilled. He had is body so neatly wound up it was inspiring!

My car didn't hold a charge so I had to call the city and have it registered and approved for the street parking. Tonight my Dad's going to drive up and tow it home. That should be fun and exciting! Kevin told me he wanted to be a part of my real life. He told me that he didn't expect to have a tourist-type vacation every day. He's definitely getting some glimpses of reality for me. It is so nice and comforting to have him here.

That's all for today. If only every day were that interesting!


if i had it my way...

Weekends would always be spent camping.
We would recycle EVERYTHING.
All of our actions would nurture and illuminate our environment.
Pedestrians would always have the right of way.
Beauty would look like courage.
God would be easier to understand.


all that from a piece of chocolate!!! good grief!

My Roommate's Boyfriend Nereus just returned home from a vacation in Italy. Am I jealous??? Maybe a little. It was really fun to listen to some of his stories, stories that made sense to me because they connect to my own memories.

At one point he dipped through Switzerland since he was so close and like any smart person would do, he bought some chocolate!!! And like an even smarter person would do, he brought back an entire bag of it to share with Katie and me.

Last night, sitting on the couch, listening to his stories of Venice, Cinque Terre, espresso, and dramatic Italian speech, I reached for a piece of milk chocolate. The moment the taste registered, there was a wave of emotions that rushed through my body and almost had me crying. That is not an exaggeration.
I've always heard stories that certain smells or tastes have the strength to bring back significant memories, I guess I've just never experienced it before.
I sat there with the chocolate melting in my mouth and instantly feeling the presence of close friends, pure community, fresh baked bread, bus rides up to Villars, standing in the chocolate isle of Migros or the CoOp, day trips to Montreux and Lake Geneva, lectures in the chapel, sack lunches on Thursdays and Sundays, laughter, knitting, down comforters, thick snow, burning sunsets, wool blankets... Everything felt present, alive, fresh, right there with me as if it were coating my skin, as if I were holding it all in my hands. It was an incredibly intense feeling.

2 years have passed and I still haven't fully adjusted to this "normal" American way of living. 2 years and I still feel like I'm doing everything wrong. How do you take a rich experience and keep it close without trying to recreate it? Sometimes change feels like progress, and sometimes change feels like coping. I'm fighting with that balance I think. I know that I need to move on and stretch my boundaries and challenge my insecurities. I have learned so much and yet I have so much more to learn. As I continue to take steps forward I'm afraid that I'll lose those moments, I'm afraid that I'll forget the beauty of it all.

I wrote this last summer and posted it on my blog. These are words that capture it all. Cheers!

The sights and sounds memorable of a place that has shaped my soul
cave my heart to the craved comfort of home.
My eyes closed, I can still feel the breeze whispering over the hills,
around the bend, across my face.
The fog drops, sticks to my skin like frosting.
The blue bus arrives on schedule bringing new people, new faces, another lovely, seeking, broken, humble soul-- another friend.
Through the village the donkey wails, the locals build, the land rests.
The mountain tips burn like amber coals, the sun sets, the day ends,
my heart beats with life life life, i'm alive alive alive, i'm in love love love
with this moment.
I'm pricked, my eyes shocked open,
I'm here, not there.
I'm restless, foreign, homesick.
My heart moves my mind moves my hands to inspire creativity, to unfold hope
to unveil the beauty that must be here...there must be beauty here.
I reach for hands to touch my hands,
my skin to feel, my eyes to see you,
to see you again, to find you, to love you, to hold you...
My hand stretches to the sky, holding on to love that must never expire.
I walk on, my footprints left exposed,
then abandoned,
then covered by dust and I soak in the hope that I will return.



I just looked outside and the clouds are layered and thick and it made me think of whipped cream on a pumpkin pie. Now I want to make a pie. Instead I have to stay here at work until 4:30. Maybe I'll make a pie tonight. Regardless, the sky looks amazing.


i'm so excited, i LOVE to sing!!!

I am SO excited. Stacey and Dustin have asked me to sing in their wedding. I consider this a great honor. It is also a huge step for me professionally as this will be the first time I share my singing publicly.
So, because of this event I have been searching and searching for the best song to sing. It's a tough call! There are so many excellent creative heart-felt songs. I'm searching for the most appropriate and meaningful lyrics so if you have any ideas PLEASE pass them on. I have a few options on my list so I thought I'd list them below. I welcome any feedback.

Song Choice #1 Wedding Song, by Tank

This Is My Wedding Song (Thon Thon Thonthon Thon Thon Thonthon),
If You Feel Me Sing Along Yall,
If I Had Known Wanna Know Wanna Know Wanna Know Right Now,
Things Would Be Different Now, And I Wouldn't Be Standin Here Singin In My Wedding Song (Thon Thon Thonthon Thon Thon Thonthon),
We'll Be Somewhere Gettin It On, And We Still Be Freakin Eachother....

(comments anyone???)

Song Choice #2 I've Had The Time of My Life, by Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley

I've been waiting for so long
Now I've finally found someone
To stand by me
We saw the writing on the wall
As we felt this magical fantasy

(I especially like the part about the magical fantasy. So romantic!!!! It catches the essence of true love if you ask me)

Song Choice #3 Swearin' to God, by Frankie Valli

Swearin' to God (Swearin' to God)
Oh, I dedicate (Don't tell the angels)
Hey, I'm swearin' to God (Swearin' to God)
I cross my heart and hope to die, I do

Just call me a one woman lover
I can't even look at another

(What do y'all think of this one? I would need someone to sing back-up but I'm pretty sure my brother would do the honor. I like the part that says "hope to die, I do". And the "just call me a one woman lover"....well....Dustin that fit's you right?)

Song Choice #4 Bad Love, by Eric Clapton

I've had enough bad love
I need something I can be proud of
I've had enough bad love
No more bad love!!!!!

(Well...this one....I just feel it ya know? Don't you just feel it?)

Song Choice #5 No Bad Love, by Tom Jones

I've known a few bad ladies
All of them got me hurt
Some of them women that seemed sweet,complete,
they treat you like dirt

But I ain't never seen no bad love
Never heard about no bad love
I never really seen no bad love
No bad love...no bad love

(In keeping with the theme of the last song, this one is a little more deep. Maybe I like this one a little better. I mean...how sweet??? Stacey may seem like a "bad lady" or she might "treat Dustin like dirt" but their love is strong....no bad love!!!)

Song Choice #6 My Funny Valentine (an oldie, but a goodie!)

You're my funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable
Yet you're my favorite work of art....

( What a sweet song right? I mean, it's fitting...Stacey is an artist and Dustin can say that she's HIS favorite work of art! So perfect! And besides...I think I can really make my voice shine through this one! Again...comments are welcome)

So that's what I've found thus far. I'm still looking for the perfect song with the perfect lyrics AND something that will allow my voice to shine.


about faith

Wow, two posts in one day! Lucky you!

This is just a brief thought/comment. We talk about faith a lot in our world. We are encouraged to have faith in all things. We are taught directly and indirectly that faith has the power to change things. Have faith and...things will get better. Have faith and...you'll see changes. If you want to be successful you have to have faith. If you want to be wealthy you have to have faith. If you want....if you want....if you want.....THEN have faith.
Okay, so I know that seems a bit exaggerated but I'm going to assume that you understand and can resonate with this. We are taught so fervently that faith changes the results, and therefore our faith becomes very self-centered.

The truth is, faith is not faith FOR someTHING, faith is faith IN someONE. Read that again and make sure you understand what I'm saying.

We have faith IN God. Faith teaches us about the personhood of God. Faith teaches us that life is in God's control no matter what. The results??? Ultimately it doesn't matter because that's not the point. Faith teaches us to love and respect God regardless of the circumstances. Having faith doesn't always change the situation but it changes the way that we see the situation. We understand God better by making room to believe in him. The result then, is a deeper understand of who God is. That's what we are here for right?

Think for yourself about faith. What comes to your mind when you think of the importance of faith? Why do you have faith? Why are we taught to have faith? How have you seen faith misrepresented? The past few days I've been reflecting and realizing that in so many subtle ways this false understanding has not just been taught...but it has been preached! This is all stuff Tommy has been talking about at church. It has been good for me to hear.

something i'm singing today

These words from Jennifer Knapp's song Refine Me have been somewhat meaningful to me today. I thought I'd share them with you.
I come into this place
Burning to receive your peace
I come with my own chains
From wars I've fought for my own selfish gain
You're my God and my Father
I've accepted your Son
But my soul feels so empty now
What have I become?

Lord, come with your fire,
Burn my desires; refine me
Lord, my will has deceived me
Please come and free me
Refine me

Speaking of worship....I was at Starbucks this morning and a cute barista gave me my tall soy chai latte for free. How nice.


good music

Funny story: On Saturday I was at the Lifehouse concert at Summerfest. It was amazing! They play an incredible live show. So they started playing "Hanging by a Moment" and being the popular song that it is, the entire crowd started singing along. The band put the microphone out into the crowd for the chorus and it was as clear as a choir. It was cool. And then we stumbled upon the line that no one knows.... haha, it was awesome. "I'm living for the only thing I know... I'm.....hm.......nnnn....mmm...umm..........go" The crowd-choir faded out and everyone started laughing because it was so obvious. The band laughed a little too. It was funny.

I'd like to share with you two new artists that I have discovered. I think they are quite talented!
Cedar Avenue is from Minneapolis. They are actually close friends of my church-family here in Milwaukee. They played 2 shows at Summerfest this past weekend and really...they are very good. People were drawn in by their music and their polished sound. Their lyrics are heart-felt. They are beautiful people as well and I feel honored to have spent some time with them. Please check them out www.myspace.com/cedaravenuemusic.

While wandering around Summerfest I also discovered Ari Herstand. How do I describe him??? Here's the blurb from his myspace profile: This explosive new artist, blending genres from acoustic pop/rock, folk, hip-hop and jazz, busts down the walls of the tired acoustic rock, singer/songwriter box and has forced the world to take notice. Ari's unforgettable live shows display his talents on the guitar, piano and trumpet. Fusing them with his vocal percussion and beautifully angelic vocals - with the help of his loop station - Ari stuns every person that has the opportunity to catch his performance. Critiques have started crediting Ari's unique "Folk/Hop" genre as the next big wave in music and the artist to look out for in 2007!

He was really incredible! I'm not sure that his recordings quite match the live show, but I haven't taken the time to listen to the recordings yet. You can find him at http://www.ariherstand.com/ or www.myspace.com/ariherstand.

Finally, it was nearing midnight. The Lifehouse show was coming to an end and I thought "Wow, I made it through an entire day of Summerfest without having beer spilled on me or without being vomitted on! Amazing!!!" Last year at the Wilco concert a girl turned around and...well..I'll spare you the details but I had to spend some time near a pool of water to clean myself off.
But I kid you not.....I WAS feeling relieved, and seconds later Nick and I felt a splash up the backs of our legs. Then we heard "Oops, I'm sorry" from the guy behind us.
Hey...what's Summerfest (or Milwaukee) without it?