Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Review!

  • I started 2011 in the hospital for a handful of inconclusive tests.
  • Back to Chicago for another semester at Moody!
  • Annie and I tried to make rice milk. It was gross. We’ll stick to buying it!
  • Fiction writing is not for me.
  • Founders week at Moody.
  • Massive Chicago blizzard.
  • I got kicked out of my first class ever. And I cried.
  • Blog Post: All I Need to Be.
  • I fell in love with Cary Grant.
  • All the bridal shower madness started.
  • Blog Post: Explosive Anger
  • My mom started teaching me to sew! I started and finished my first dress.
  • I stayed in CA for a few extra days over Spring break
  • I saw Tangled for the first time with Baylee and Jaxon!
  • Annie and I ate more french fries than countable.
  • Junior Senior Banquet.
  • The Royal Wedding!
  • Photographer for the Grad School Banquet
  • Blog Post: Elijah and I.
  • Finished another semester at Moody.
  • Back to California for the summer.
  • VBS Prep with Alicia - AKA How many times will we get kicked out of the church office for being too loud.
  • Blog Post: I Want.
  • I started my internship at Shepherd’s Gate!
  • Spent a lazy weekend with Robert.
  • Summer school.
June (AKA the medical disaster month)
  • More VBS prep in the office.
  • I got pneumonia.
  • Lots of time with baby Vi and Trina.
  • Blog Post: But is he qualified?
  • I tore a ligament in my foot.
  • I taught a VBS class of 25 1st graders!
  • Blog Post: But is he qualified?
  • Pinched nerve in my back = vicodin
  • Trip to Morro Bay with my family
  • Lots of worship team time.
  • I was the photographer at the Alameda 4th of July parade.
  • FIREWORKS!!! :)
  • Month of internship, working, and music.
  • Summer classes are done!
  • Spirit West Coast.
  • Led worship outside at Cedar Grove!
  • Santa Cruz beach trip with the high school youth group.
  • I sang and played guitar in Alicia’s brother’s wedding!
  • Back to Chicago for my senior year at Moody!
  • Blog Post: Striving, Stillness, Adventures, and Me.
  • Women’s Ministry training.
  • Church at New Life Lincoln Park.
  • Blog Post: “I’m Sorry.”
  • Aaron Shust concert.
  • Annnnndddd I’m single.
  • Back to CA for a long weekend.
  • Started working on as the events coordinator!
  • I started a small group with my Smith 5 girls!
  • Blog Post: You’re Who?
  • My camera broke.
  • Missions Conference.
  • Blog Post: Not Guilty.
  • Back home to CA for a long weekend.
  • Lots of time with Danny & Kendra and their girls!
  • Back to Chicago for the remainder of the semester.
  • Campus safety and student engineers invaded our room to fix the heater in the middle of the night.
  • Internship interview is done!
  • Blog Post: I used to be...
  • I got my camera back!
  • Blog Post: Tangled Up.
  • I road the ferris wheel at Navy Pier for the first time!
  • Official Thanksgiving Day photographer!
  • Thanksgiving dinner with Dawn and Josh.
  • Day after Thanksgiving dinner with Laura.
  • 23rd birthday!
  • Aimee’s assistant for the Grad School banquet.
  • Social Justice presentation.
  • Blog Post: Social Justice
  • Romans exegetical paper.
  • Isaiah project.
  • Adventures in the airport with Carley!
  • Epic shopping trip with Alicia.
  • Coffee with my godfather.
  • Christmas Eve service. AKA Band party on the stage!
  • Christmas Morning service.
Over all, it was a very up and down kind of a year and I'm glad I don't have to repeat it And, if nothing else, I've been reminded over and over again that God is undeniably good.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Penguins in Sweaters

Is this not one of the cutest things ever? A little unconventional and impractical, after all, how many of us have cute pet penguins running around, but they’re still adorable!

Kanani - These made me think of you for some reason. :)
Kimela - I'm still holding out for my penguin!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day to be Lazy.

Today I...

Slept in.

Watched Tangled.
Read a few chapters in a book I started a few years ago.
Studied my Greek vocabulary.
Ate cereal.
Listened to music.
Finally changed out of my pjs to go shopping with my mom.
Tried on shoes with Alicia.
Went home and put my pjs back on.
Did a craft with crayons, canvas, a glue gun, tape, and a heat gun. (Cool, huh?!)

Pinned a bunch of pins on pinterest.
Ate dinner.
Played cards with Larissa.
Wrote a few notes and emails.

And now I’m eating apple pie, blogging, and watching another movie. And then I’m gonna go to bed. Early. Because tomorrow’s another busy day!

Today wasn’t productive, but a lazy day was much needed.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

O Holy Night.

Do you have a favorite Christmas song? I have a new one each year. This year my favorite is O Holy Night.

Alicia and I have had many opportunities to sing together at Cedar Grove, but this time was one of my favorites. The Christmas Eve service ended up being like a giant party - the band quite literally had a party on the stage and it was great to see and hear the congregation joining in! :)

Before... Ready to rock!

We sang BarlowGirl's upbeat version of O Holy Night and enjoyed it thoroughly!

O Holy Night was composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Midnight, Christians” by Placide Cappeau. Cappeau, a simple wine merchant and a poet, was asked by a parish priest to write a Christian poem. Below is the literal English translation from the original French. Enjoy!

Midnight, Christians, it is the solemn hour,
When God-man descended to us
To erase the stain of original sin
And to end the wrath of His Father.
The entire world thrills with hope
On this night that gives it a Savior.

People kneel down, wait for your deliverance.
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer!

May the ardent light of our Faith
Guide us all to the cradle of the infant,
As in ancient times a brilliant star
Guided the Oriental kings there.
The King of Kings was born in a humble manger;
O mighty ones of today, proud of your greatness,

It is to your pride that God preaches.
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!

The Redeemer has overcome every obstacle:
The Earth is free, and Heaven is open.
He sees a brother where there was only a slave,
Love unites those that iron had chained.
Who will tell Him of our gratitude,
For all of us He is born, He suffers and dies.

People stand up! Sing of your deliverance,
Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer!

After... Partying with 300 people is tiring.

Monday, December 19, 2011

At the end of it all...

I love going to church when I'm home. My church family is one of the most important and cherished groups of people in my life. I grew up with Pastor Keith and have heard who knows how many of his sermons. This past Sunday he talked about Jesus being the gift of peace.

I feel like God is 4 million miles away right now. Pastor Keith's sermon touched on experiencing God's peace through times of challenge.

"God, when we get all the way through this trial, I want to look back and see that You're good."

When I reach the end of this bumpy road, I want to be able to look back and see God's hand in it all - to see that He was good all along.

At the end of it all...I want to be in Your arms.

Friday, December 16, 2011

This semester I...

I’m just gonna make a list because this semester was...well, special in it’s own way.
  • Women’s ministry training
  • Lived with the best roommate ever!
  • Put my feet in Lake Michigan
  • Craved random yet very specific food
  • Loved and served the girls on my floor
  • Watched 17 Again a few too many times
  • Roommate bonding
  • Alicia and I had a Christmas-Eve countdown
  • Apologetics, Romans, Public Relations, Senior Wellness Seminar, Isaiah
  • Staff writer for the newspaper
  • Aaron Shust concert
  • Fireworks over Navy Pier on numerous occasions
  • Robert and I broke up
  • Metallica
  • Lots of women’s ministry events
  • Bible study with my Smith 5 girls
  • Crafts
  • Fell in love with McDonald’s oatmeal
  • Discovered pinterest
  • Worked on Grad School Applications
  • Broken (and fixed) Camera
  • Ministry Team
  • Cheez-it addiction
  • Went on the ferris wheel on Navy Pier
  • Relied on friends more than ever before
  • Gave up some dreams
  • Enjoyed going to church in Chicago
  • Built a fort above my bed that lasted for a few months
  • Survived counseling
  • Laptop crashed
  • Photographer at the Thanksgiving day parade
  • Didn’t chop my hair off though I thought about it weekly
  • Had more run-ins with campus safety than necessary
  • Confronted more people about dress code and quiet hours
  • Drank a lot of coffee
  • Failed a final
  • Went home more times this semester than I did last year
  • Just generally, speaking tried not to make any big decisions
And now I’m home! Home, home, HOME!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Smith 5 Craft Night!

Tonight we poured paint into glass ornaments! Simple and beautiful!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Always Winter.

"It's always winter, but never Christmas." -C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Today was forever long and it may never end. I'm ready for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Light up the sky.

Light up the sky... show me You are with me.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Social Justice.

When asked the questions, “what do you want to do when you graduate from Moody?” my reply is usually not a serious one. “Oh, you know, be a secret agent in the CIA with my cover as a rockstar.” “Oh”, is usually the quaint and slightly confused response I get. There’s some truth to that; it’s what I want to do! Guns and guitars - does it get much better than that? I don’t think so!

Here’s the reality though... I’m a 23 year old girl studying Bible, Communications, and Urban Ministry in downtown Chicago. I love writing, people, photography, and music.

My desire is to be a voice, not an echo. While I want to work within the media, I don’t want to reiterate the lies that they pour into people. I want to accurately communicate the truth, God’s truth, to people. I don’t have to write or work for a Christian organization, but those values and my deep rooted desire for truth will be present.

In my Apologetics class this morning, I did my final presentation on social justice. There were lots of differing opinions and comments throughout the presentation and discussion with the class. Social justice is hard to define as it means different things to everyone. But, something that the class did agree on was that, as Christ’s followers, our help to the needy is to be done out of love and sincerity.

Generally speaking, I do know what I want to do with my life. I want to use my talents to honor God and to love other people. To be a little more specific, I want to love the marginalized and forgotten people in the world. If you haven’t noticed, inequality did not end in the era of Martin Luther King Jr. It’s still here.

I’m pursuing a Masters in Journalism with the dream of doing some sort of advocacy work. I want to seek justice for these forgotten people by accurately and intentionally portraying their lives through journalism practices.

I love these two verse and want to live them out...

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9

He has showed you, O man what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Way to be 23!!

I don’t remember any birthdays from when I was little. But I do have pictures! And, oddly enough, I don’t actually remember many from junior high or high school either. Birthdays have never been a big deal for me.

My sister "helping" me blow out my candles.

Proof that I had birthday parties in elementary school!

My 19th birthday has been the most memorable so far! My parents invited my godparents (Bill and Nancy) and Danny, Kendra, and Trina over to celebrate with me.

I taught Danny how to play Jingle Bells on the piano.

Trina dancing to the music!

Bill and Nancy

I had rehearsal for A Christmas Carol with 60 other people from church on the evening of my birthday. Everyone sang to me and my mom made chocolate chip cookies.

And, this is my favorite part, through a series of random events, Carley and I became inseparable friends that evening!

Birthdays away at school haven’t been too exciting. December 3rd falls right before finals so I usually end up studying, working on group projects, writing papers...end of the semester stuff.

I do, however, enjoy spending time with my friends here! And my BroSis did get me an awesome Princess birthday card! :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

10 Senses of Writing

I just finished up a paper on the highlights of Writing to Deadline, by Donald M. Murray. The section on titled “10 Senses of Writing” jumped out at me. I love reading a book and getting upset at the end of it because I feel like I’ve lost a friend. It means that the writing draws me in and keeps me captive for the entire story. C.S. Lewis did this for me in the Chronicles of Narnia and Francine Rivers did this for me in Redeeming Love.

Using the senses of writing gives the piece being written a tangible feel. The reader can connect with the story being told and is drawn in with the relatable descriptions. Including descriptions also gives a context to the writing.

  • Sight - What is being done? How is it being done? Sight relates the setting, facial expressions, location, and anything else that can be seen. It also answers not just “what” but “why” and “how” as well.
  • Hearing - Listening to how someone speaks gives insight into their personality. It’s also beneficial to listen to the surrounding sounds - dogs barking, cars honking, food sizzling...
  • Touch - This particular sense is rarely used by reporters. But, when used correctly, the descriptions add to the readers understanding and familiarity with the surroundings.
  • Smell - This is another sense rarely reported and, it too, helps the readers feel as though they are in the setting that the story takes place in.
  • Taste - Like touch and smell, an accurate and appealing description of the taste can place a reader in the setting.
  • Change - Readers should be aware of change. It’s a reporters job to catch the hints of coming change and to report the elements of change that took place before the story they’re reporting.
  • Effect - What does a situation do to or for the reader? How does this story change the readers life?
  • Conflict - Much like reporting change, it is the reporters job to cover collisions before they happen, while they’re happening, and the ramifications and clean up part afterwards.
  • Context - Including the context in the piece being written gives it credibility and makes it understandable. Facts, quotes, profiles, events need to be portrayed in the correct context to make the writing credible.
  • Self - When reporting, being objective is essential. Don’t make up truths even when it fits with what’s being written. It’s important to write from a personal standpoint, but not a biased one.

Bring your story to life. Happy writing!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

100 Things I'm Thankful For (51-60)

I didn't finish my list in November like I was trying to do...

51. Email. It’s the main way I communicate with friends around the world.
52. Laughter. There’s little better in the world than laughing so hard you cry.
53. Public Transportation. My appreciation for the CTA is growing as my ability to navigate it increases.
54. Trials. Not the funnest thing, but oh-so-worth-it.
55. Running. I love running, but my knee doesn’t. It’s my favorite time to think through things.
56. Hugs. I’m not a touchy person, but occasionally when I’m really tired or grumpy a hug makes everything significantly better.
57. Colors. I love black and white photos, but looking outside and seeing a glimpse of the bright blue sky this morning made me happy!
58. Lists. I’ve been making lists for everything lately, but have been able to keep track of things.
59. Apples. Favorite food right now.
60. External Hard Drives. My laptop decided to crash on Sunday night a few weeks and I lost everything I worked on over the weekend. Thankfully I had everything backed up and only lost a few things.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Parade Pictures!

Waiting for the parade to start!

Turkey float!

Captain Jack Sparrow. Kinda.

This group was intense. I was nervous to walk in front of them to get a picture.

One of many marching bands.

Confession. I’m selfish. My favorite part of photographing the parade was flashing my press pass and walking in the middle of State Street without getting run over.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Printed Newspapers

Call me old fashioned, but I love newspapers. I love writing articles and seeing them printed. This morning was the final distribution day for The Moody Standard until next semester. I'm already looking forward to the interesting and new assignments that next semester will hold!

Monday, November 21, 2011

1oo Things I'm Thankful For (41-50)

41. Productivity. It feels so great to cross things off of my ever lengthening to-do list.
42. Cookbooks. My appreciation for them is growing.
43. Kids. I love seeing the world through the eyes of a child.
44. Libraries. I occasionally get a lot done there!
45. A Younger Sister. Someone to pick on as well to love and protect.
46. Leggings. These come in handy under skirts on windy days.
47. Can Openers. What would we do without them?
48. Warm Bed. Favorite place in my room.
49. Joy. I’m thankful that I’m learning it’s a choice not an emotion.
50. Church. I’ve been enjoying church more this semester than I have in a long time.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Navy Pier

On Friday night a group of us from Culby 16 and Smith 5 went to Navy Pier! It was cold and windy, but the ferris wheel ended up being free! We rode it like 5 times in a row. Fun stuff!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

1oo Things I'm Thankful For (31-40)

31. Accurate News Reports. I like the truth.
32. Crunchy Leaves. The ones that make the great noises when you step on them!
33. Sleep. There’s nothing like a fluffy pillow and a warm blanket after a long day.
34. Blogs. I thoroughly enjoy writing mine and enjoy all the blogs I read.
35. Cute Jackets. I have way too many lightweight jackets.
36. Dictionaries. I’m horrible at spelling and mix up words all the time.
37. Umbrellas. Things like umbrellas are simple but very necessary sometimes.
38. Handwriting. I love how unique everyone’s is.
39. Alarm Clocks. It’s a bittersweet thankfulness - I don’t like waking up to them, but I don’t like being late for things.
40. Sweatshirts. I’ve been living in them all week!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Perfect and Plastic

I interviewed the most lovely girl today! As a journalist, I’m used to one way conversations and being interested in the person’s life for the sake of the story. It’s not that I don’t have genuine care or concern for the person I’m interviewing, but it’s professional.

The girl I talked to today gave me a very accurate glimpse into my own life and put words to my experience growing up in a plastic and controlled Christian world. Here's an excerpt of our conversation...

In the perfect world I grew up in, the one I thought I could construct and I control, I had a false sense of happiness. I’ve gone through intense suffering and have memories that I still carry with me. But through the grace of God, I have joy from God that others don’t always understand. Many Christians understand what a sorrowful joy is though and it’s not one that comes without tears. The Lord does things too wonderful for me to know during these times of trials.

While I was young, I lived in a plastic self-contained world. This world was one that I thought I could control, but eventually realized I couldn’t as it was gradually falling apart. God wasn’t just a distant piece of information anymore, but a relational and relevant Savior. In this new world that I entered into, there were things I couldn’t manage.

There was great joy to be experienced that I could never experience in the plastic world I built up for myself. Joy was able to be found through the trials and suffering.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fall Colors

Not to betray my favorite season (summer), but fall is gorgeous! I love all the vibrant colors.

Monday, November 7, 2011

1oo Things I'm Thankful For (21-30)

21. Quiet Moments. “Be STILL and know that I am God...” Psalm 46:10
22. Boots. They’re becoming my favorite type of shoe.
23. Chick-fil-a. I’m just really into chicken right now!
24. Fireworks. I think there should be fireworks for every holiday.
25. Patience. I don’t typically have an abundance of it, but I’m working on it.
26. Journals. So many blank pages to fill with thoughts, adventures, memories, emotions, desires, pain...
27. Change. It scares the crap out of me sometimes, but I’m learning that it’s not always a bad thing.
28. Accountability. I’m thankful for the 2 other girls in my small group and that they keep me accountable to my goals.
29. Yoga. Not the creepy spiritual yoga, but the stretching, quiet, and focusing one.
30. Allergy Free Foods. Foods without dairy and soy are a rare but precious find!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I’ve always wanted to be a ballerina. They’re beautiful, graceful, strong, controlled, and driven. And they get to twirl around in tutus. I was a swimmer. I was on swim team for about 8 years and loved it. The early morning practices, wearing the same team swimsuit as everyone else, the initial painful dive into the frigid water and that first breath of bitter air after emerging from the water... It doesn’t sound so attractive in a list like that, but it was a wonderful experience! I learned about dedication, being on a team, having a positive attitude, respecting leadership, losing graciously, and winning humbly.

I have a lovely little pile of trophies, ribbons, and paper plate awards. My favorite were the paper plate awards. Paper plate awards were given out by the coaches at the end of the season. They were ordinary paper plates with a phrase written on them. It was a way for the coaches to remember the funny things that had happened throughout the season.

My paper plate awards included... Tripping and falling into the pool with my blanket, refusing to get in the pool one morning before coloring with the coach (I was 6 at the time), slicing my foot open as I dove into the pool and then getting upset when I was told I was done with practice for a few days, refusing to eat the gummy worms* given to me as a reward for getting first place in a race (I was 7 at the time), and asking if the water was going to be wet (I was 5 at the time).

During my sophomore year in high school, I traded my swim cap and goggles for a guitar. Picking up a guitar opened a wonderful new world for me.
But back to wanting to be a ballerina, it’s not that swimmers and musicians can’t be beautiful, strong, and graceful... It’s just different.

Or maybe I really just wanted the tutu.

*Worms are too much like snakes and I was (and still am) scared of snakes. Therefore, gummy worms are considered gross and creepy in my world.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Crafts at New Life Lincoln Park!

Emma, Gaby, and I had lots of fun this afternoon doing creative and girly crafts with a handful of ladies from church!

Friday, November 4, 2011

1oo Things I'm Thankful For (11-20)

11. New Guitar Strings. They hurt my fingers, but sound so bright and clear.
12. Clorox Wipes. My roommate and I are anti-germ.
13. Sunrises. “Morning by morning new mercies I see...Great is Thy faithfulness."
14. My Chiropractor. Dr. McCallister is one of my favorite people in the world!
15. Discernment. Knowing right from wrong and then having the wisdom to act upon it.
16. Books. I love reading the words of others.
17. Imagination. I don’t know where or who I’d be without it...
18. Water. Another one of those things I tend to take for granted, but it’s super important.
19. Maps. Not that I’m good at reading them, but they come in handy for some people!
20. Camera. I love capturing moments in time and turning them into treasurable memories.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tangled Up

I walked into my room this afternoon and exclaimed, “I’m freaking out over here!” as I threw myself on my roommates bed. I wish I could say that this was a onetime occurrence, but it’s not.

I know I’ve written a few other posts about anxiety, but that’s what I’m currently working through, so that’s what I’m thinking about and want to write about.
I’ve been doing better overall, but still have moments of mass panic. Today was one of those moments of mass panic.

Story time with Andrea...

I played guitar and sang on the worship team almost every week this summer. I’ve been on a worship team since freshman year of high school. So being a part of a worship team and leading is nothing new for me. And it’s something that I love and find joy in!

My last Sunday at Cedar Grove this summer had the potential to be a fun one! Most of the new sound equipment was on the stage and being used. The sanctuary was painted and the carpeting was new, as well. We also switched from pews to chairs. Everything felt contemporary and exciting! I got to play electric guitar for three songs, acoustic for two of them, and a high hat for like 2 measures of another song. Plus I sang harmony. I was on my side of the stage with Rusty. All was totally normal in my world of worship team and being on the stage.

Except for the mass amount of panicking I was doing. And it was frustrating. I was so annoyed that I couldn’t figure out what was causing the anxiety that I’m sure it was causing more.

Do you have people in your life that can tell when something’s wrong without asking? Because I do. And these people drive me absolutely crazy! BUT, I also love and appreciate them more than I’ll probably ever be able to express to them.

Tom was in the back in the sound booth and walked up to the stage.

“Are you ok?” he asked.“Yes.” He took a few steps away from the stage when I realized I’d totally lied to him.
“Tom. I’m really anxious.”
“I can tell,” (or something along those lines) was his response.

I don’t remember the short conversation that followed except that Tom was gentle, reassuring, and encouraging.
It makes me laugh a little looking back on the scene because I’m really not good at hiding things when I’m overwhelmed, especially when I’m around people who know me.

A trip to Tom’s office was in order early that week (dun dun duuunnnnnn) before I headed back to Chicago. I got to the church and was glad to find Alicia and Robert there. There’s something comforting about having friends to creatively stall with! It literally took me 15 minutes to finally walk through the doorway into his office and I only went through the door because Alicia pushed me.

It’s obviously not Tom I dread - it’s knowing that I’m imperfect and have big hurdles to overcome.
As I sat in the chair (NOT the couch) wrapped in the fuzzy purple blanket I store in his office, we talked through everything and he gave me some great advice. I’ve been giving a lot of advice in the past year. Some pieces have been more helpful than other pieces. But something that's stuck with me these past few months was the advice to cling to Jesus and to place Him over my anxiety. It’s a choice. I need to choose Jesus and run to Him instead of letting my anxiety take root and control my life.

There’s a scene near the end of the Disney Princess movie Tangled that I think gives an accurate picture of how we need to fight against these things we struggle with.

Here's the link to it... (It won't let me embed it. Sorry!)

“No. I won’t stop for every minute for the rest of my life. I will fight. I will never stop trying to get away from you.”

Intentional. Persistent. With all the strength and determination that we have. That's how combating anxiety (or any struggle) must be.

I lost the fight against my anxiety today, but I won’t lose this battle. Tomorrow’s a new day with more choices to make and more chances to succeed.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Social Media Invasion!

Here's a video Mrs. Janosz shared in my Public Relations class today. I thought the statistics were interesting and a little unnerving at the same time. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

1oo Things I'm Thankful For (1-10)

It’s November and Thanksgiving will quickly be here.

During the Women’s Ministry meeting this evening, I was reminded that I have countless things to be thankful for. So throughout November I’ll be writing about things I’m thankful for. Some big and some little.

1. Acoustic Albums. Who doesn’t love a good acoustic set? I’m currently a huge fan of JJ Heller and Brooke Fraser.
2. Long Walks. I love walking through Chicago on warm evenings. The skyline is beautiful!
3. Photoshop. I learn something new each time I use it!
4. Tomatoes. Specifically cherry tomatoes.
5. Waterproof Mascara. Necessary for rainstorms, running through sprinklers, and rough days.
6. Sunshine. Even when it’s cooler outside, blue sky and sunshine will undoubtedly make me happy.
7. Texting. Maybe I’m just lazy, but I really enjoy how convenient texting is.
8. Organization. I’m all for sticky notes, file folders, lists, binders, and labels.
9. Opinions. I love hearing the opinions of others more than expressing my own...
10. Teachers.

The handful of “teachers” that came to mind were Danny, Bobby, Tom, Rusty, Craigen, Nate, and Eric. However, Bobby and Craigen are the only professors I’ve had an actual class with, well numerous classes. I think I’m at 9?

Danny’s like an annoying older brother that I didn’t grow up with. He’s full of wisdom, is good at giving advice without being condescending, and I can’t remember a time that I’ve spent with him that I haven’t laughed!

The Bible classes I took with Bobby taught me to value God’s Word and to be excited and intentional about studying it, even the tedious genealogies and other seemingly boring parts. And he’s just a super awesome professor with two wonderful kids!

While I’m not a big fan of the couch in Tom’s office, I’m always grateful for his understanding and encouragement with my “in-process” life. And Alicia and I just really enjoy making fun of him (all in love, of course). After all, isn't that what youth pastors are for?! :)

Having Rusty in my life is like having a cool and compassionate rockstar dad. He’s taught me some sweet things on guitar and has also been an example of how to humbly serve God through music while on stage.

Through my Urban Ministry classes with Craigen, I gained a different and more accurate perspective of the world. I’ve realized that it’s not all about me and have cultivated a desire to love and serve forgotten people.

Nate is genuine and discerning and I value his honesty and openness. He also killed a spider on the stage one evening for me at rehearsal, thus making him a lifelong hero!

Eric is another wise person in my life. I think him and his wife, Jodi, must be undercover rockstars. Over the past 5 years I’ve had the privilege of learning a lot about music and seeing firsthand that coffee is an essential part of ministry from him. Not to mention the random conversations that happened frequently this past summer and the practicality of the advice he gave.

So there you have it! I'm really thankful for the teachers in my life.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Who knew a simple scarf could be so amazing?

Scarves are great. That is all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I used to be...

A creative and curious dreamer.

Someone who was unafraid to experience new things or take an unfamiliar path.

Someone who wanted a daring and even possibly scary adventure.

A slightly mischievous student who would go out of her way to find answers.

I lost that piece of me a few years ago and I want it back.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sweet Sister Time.

We're both supposed to be working on homework. But we're obviously not.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Not Guilty

I was not called to be an overseas missionary.

I just wasn’t.

I've yet to make it through a Missions Conference at Moody without feeling even some varying degree of guilt.

Today was a little different though. I still had that "everyone's standing except me" guilty feeling during George Verwer's closing prayer, but I believe that the future I'm pursuing is what I'm supposed to be doing.

And I may not be called to be a missionary, but guess what...

I’m not called to be a teacher.
I’m not called to be a firefighter.

I’m not called to be an acrobat.
I’m not called to be a zookeeper.

I’m not called to be a farmer.

I’m not called to be a politician.
I’m not called to be a chemist.

I’m not called to be a surgeon.
I’m not called to be a mechanic.
I’m not called to be a lawyer.

There are a lot of things that I simply wasn't called to do. We all have things that we weren't called to do.

However, as followers of Christ, we're called to be His witnesses.

So I will be His witness. Wherever I am. Whatever I’m doing. And I will happily and joyfully love and connect with people through the things I’m passionate about.

I’ve been asking God to teach me to be compassionate and to show me what breaks His heart. And He is. Through what I love: writing.

Have you seen the news? It’s depressing. That’s not to say there aren’t good things going on around the world, but the focus in the news is a negative one.

I’ve written articles on heartbreaking topics this semester... famine in Somalia, unrest in Libya, combat zones in the Middle East. And now drug trafficking and violence in Mexico. These are all things I had heard a little about, but after reading countless articles and interviewing students and faculty who have a personal connection with these worldwide events, it's more real. Reporting devastating news isn't something to take lightly.

Neil Cole, one of the speakers at Missions Conference said, "The reason God is sending us to the wolves is because that's where the lost sheep are." God sends us among the wolves, into a dark place, to bring His light.

I personally think the news is a dark place. So that's where I'm headed. That's not to say that my plans won't change (or get changed for me - that happens often), but for now I'm pressing on and making journalism my mission field.

Verdict? Not guilty.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Aside from in-n-out, traveling is the thing I crave the most.

(Niamey, Niger West Africa - Summer 2008)

Freedom. New. Adventure. Life.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Even without my camera.

Last Wednesday I was reminded that my identity is not found in my social security number, my fingerprints, or my DNA. (You’re Who?)

I’m also learning that my identity is not found in the things I love.

I broke my camera on Saturday. Well, I didn’t personally break it. It was an accident. While taking it out of my bag it slipped and hit the bed frame and the button you push to take the picture broke off. So I’m temporarily with out my camera. :-/

I love this song by JJ Heller. It’s pretty much a list of things that are in a person’s life and while they seem defining, are really not.

True Things by JJ Heller

I’m not the clothes I’m wearing
I’m not a photograph
I’m not the car I drive

I’m not the money I make
I’m not the things I lack
I’m not the songs that I write

I am who I am
I am who I am

There are true things inside of me
I have been afraid to see
I believe, help my unbelief
Would you say again what you said to me
I am love and I am free
I believe, help my unbelief

I’m not the house I live in
I’m not the man I love
I’m not the mistakes that I carry

I’m not the food that I don’t eat
I’m not what I’m above
I’m not my scars and my history

To Your love I’m waking up
In Your love I’m waking up

There’s not line in this song that I can’t relate to.

I’m not my guitar. I’m not what I write. I’m not my camera. I’m still a loved daughter of the King . And I’m pretty sure I’ll be ok. Even without my camera.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Wake me up...

...when September ends.

September has officially ended and October is off to a...well, it’s started and it won’t be worse than September was.

I had to resort to my twitter feed to remember all the things this past month has thrown at me. September was long and not so wonderful, so personally, I’m glad it’s over.

1. “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” -Abraham Lincoln
2. I don’t think eating in-n-out will make my world become un-ended, but it’s worth a try.
3. The sun is shining, the world is turning, it’s a brand new day.
4. “If you treat every situation as a life and death matter, you’ll die sooner.”
5. Packing again.
6. The stars look beautiful in the early morning sky. God is good!
7. My royal proclamation for today: It’s nap time.
8. “Love as distinct from ‘being in love’ is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will.” - C.S. Lewis
9. I need a chameleon and a frying pan. #Tangled
10. 17 Again is my go-to movie right now.
11. I feel very behind in everything and could easily work on stuff for a few more hours, but sleeping seems more important right now
12. I’d like to go to the ocean today.
13. I’m awake. Yuck. 3:40am is not my favorite time of day to be unable to fall back asleep. #insomnia
14. I just yawned my way through a presentation on sleep. Moral of the story: I need more sleep.
15. The high for Chicago today is 61. So I dressed for snow.
16. 100 days till Christmas!
17. “Don’t worry on it.”
18. I’m finally starting my Romans paper. I think this is gonna take forever...
19. I’m figuring this assignment out one googled question at a time.
20. “When the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change, we’ll change.” [written on a slip of paper in my Bible]
21. Sometimes I get the impression that my immune system is working against me.
22. Taking a bus to go babysit and driver pulled over (not at a bus stop) and walked off the bus. Um, alright then.
23. Journalism and hermeneutics go together. They just do. #contextcounts
24. I’ve learned more about Macs,, and website making in the past 24 hours than in the rest of my life. #happy #overwhelmed
25. Raspberry diet coke has got to be one of the yummiest tasting things in my world right now.
26. And this manic Monday begins.
27. I’m losing my voice and I don’t like it.
28. What a strange day. Strange seems to be the new normal, though.
29. I don’t want to go to sleep, but I don’t want to stay awake. I clearly need a third option.
30. “What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Love this song.

I must say, despite September’s rough patches, it ended on a high note. Singing “Nothing But the Blood” in chapel on Friday reminded me of where I was 4 years ago and just how far God has brought me. (Freedom that Friday).

He was faithful in the past and will continue to be faithful.

God is good.

Friday, September 30, 2011

You're Who?

Sometimes I think my life would make an interesting movie.

Without going into endless amounts of detail, I’ll give you the short and sweet version of my latest adventure...

After much confusion and a few unhelpful phone calls, I headed downtown late this past Wednesday morning to the Federal Building. Someone other than me was using my social security number to gain access to someone else. (Crazy, huh?!) The attempt was unsuccessfully because it was caught fairly quickly, thanks to my daddy and some other awesome people! But, to clear this up, I had to prove that I was me. Which is harder than you’d think. I assumed showing my driver's license would be sufficient, but it most definitely was not.

Thankfully the office wasn’t too busy and my situation was given attention almost immediately. I was ushered to a back room and told to wait. It was at this point that I could feel the tension I’d been feeling all morning quickly turn to anxiety.

I answered what felt like an hour’s worth of questions before getting fingerprinted. And I barely avoided having my finger pricked for a blood test to see if my DNA matched up with a previous blood test done.

So after being told that I indeed was the real Andrea Rose Stimmel, daughter of David and Julie Stimmel, I was given a signed and stamped document as proof to give to the appropriate people.

I got back to campus with just enough time to change out of my wet clothes before going to finish up a few interviews for a newspaper article I was working on. I had a normal morning in my apologetics class, a few totally bizarre hours, and was then dumped back into my normal life.

I temporarily felt like I was in a movie.

Since midsummer, I’ve been working with Moody’s Women’s Ministry group and one of our reoccurring discussion topics has been being “anchored in Christ”. I've been reminded numerous times that my identity and security is found in Christ alone. He is my anchor.

If then, you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. -Colossians 3:1-4

My life is hidden in Christ. My identity is then in Christ.

My identity is clearly not found in my social security number, my finger prints, or the DNA in my blood. And I'm increasingly grateful that, although my identity on earth can be questioned, my identity in Christ is unshakeable.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sisters and Starwars

Larissa and I both ended up coming home from college this past Labor Day weekend.

On Saturday night I couldn’t fall asleep and decided maybe reading would help.

I was planning on curling up on the couch with my book so I dragged my favorite blanket, stuffed frog, and book out to the living room only to find my sister with an identical pile of stuff. However, her book had been cast aside for the TV remote.

She looked over and said, “couldn’t sleep.”

“Yeah. Me either,” was my pathetic response.

So at 2 in the morning we were both curled up on the couch eating goldfish crackers while watching the Starwars marathon that had been on all day.

We talked sporadically through the movie and giggled about getting each other lightsabers for Christmas. I was excited for the cool family pictures that would most certainly aspire from the gifts! My sister, however, was more excited about kicking my butt while reenacting some of the battles from the movies. In my defense, Larissa’s a nerd and has most, if not all, of the Starwars movies memorized. And I honestly can’t say that I’ve even see all the movies. SO, her knowledge on the subject is far superior to mine and that’s the only reason why my little sister would be able to kick my butt at anything!

I digress... It was around 3:30am when I felt that I had met my Starwars viewing quota for the year and was ready to take another attempt at falling asleep.

I gathered my blanket, stuffed frog, and book and stood up.

My sister’s not the most sympathetic person in the world and we’re not the best of friends, but she knew I was hurting.

“Sis,” she said.

I turned around and smiled at her.


“I’m sorry.”

I dropped my pile of stuff and gave her a hug before heading back to bed.

Sisterly bonding at it’s best!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Satisfy Me.


To keep from suffocating and to counteract the overactive heater turning my room into an oven, I opened a window early this morning to let some cool Chicago air in. The sky is full of puffy gray clouds and the rain is gently falling (although this could change at any moment to a torrential downpour). The usual Saturday traffic is racing by 5 floors below me on LaSalle Boulevard.

I’m staring at my laptop and my slightly cluttered desk. My guitar is comfortably leaning against the dresser just inches out of my reach taunting me with it’s shiny new strings and the promise of reestablishing the rapidly decreasing calluses on my fingers. The clouds are consuming the sky at the moment, but it’s not dark or gloomy outside.

The refreshing chilly breeze is continually blowing my bangs into my eyes. But I don’t mind this morning. I’m grateful for the fresh air and the life it seems to bring into my room.

The light traffic and falling rain rhythmically blending in with the Tenth Avenue North playlist on iTunes creates the perfect soundtrack for my morning.

My coffee is slowly brewing in the purple French Press I just had to have this summer. The familiar smell permeates the air as the wind blows through.

While waiting for my coffee, I’m happily munching away on my gluten, dairy, and soy free apple pie Lara Bar.

Usually a rainy morning of being stuck working would be classified as miserable. But not this particular morning. I’m feeling gracious, weather-wise at least, and am accepting, even enjoying, how new and beautiful today is.

The sporadic rain and shifting clouds allowing the dazzling blue sky to make it’s appearance truly is magnificent! I see God’s hand in all of it.

For the moment, I’m content where I am. My room is peaceful and safe and, although it’s a little messy and I have lots to accomplish, I’m unusually calm and genuinely happy to be exactly where I am. Both emotionally and physically.

It’s one of those mornings where I have no problem believing that God is good.


“BroSis event” isn’t the phrase that comes to mind when I think about things that make me happy. But, hanging out with the girls on my floor is important to me. And I guess getting to know the guys on my brother floor is a good thing, too. And I can’t complain about taking a break from homework!

This afternoon a group of us took the Water Taxi to China Town. It was fun, a little chilly, semi-adventurous, and full of laughter.

And I have no desire to elaborate on this event at the moment. But I’ll post pictures soon. :)


This evening finds me in the same physical place this morning did - back in my room working on newspaper stuff and homework. Mentally, however, I’m surviving this evening millions of miles away. I’m distracted by the dream of going to back to Africa this summer, of California sunsets at the coast, of Outer Space, of anywhere but where I am.

I can’t get away from a few memories and the negative thoughts and emotions that follow. These memories that so easily sneak into my mind and inundate my thoughts are underhandedly destroying all attempts at concentration right now. I’m beyond a little annoyed and am frustrated and feel pestered by them without a just cause.

Life is changing. My state of “normal” has dramatically changed in the past month and my brain is scrambling to update to this forced new version.

And through it all, I’m fighting my urge to doubt God’s goodness. The God that seemed so wonderful to me this morning hasn’t changed in the past 12 hours. Thankfully.

I’m begging You, to help me see, You’re all I want, You’re all I need, oh satisfy me Lord. -Satisfied by Tenth Avenue North

Friday, September 16, 2011

Three girls in search of the Holy Spirit

I’m in a small group for this school year with two other girls. A month ago, these two girls were complete strangers to me, but now the three of us are on an adventure, of sorts.

Our quest began this morning with:

  • Caffeinated tea
  • New journals
  • Pens
  • Prayer
  • Bibles
  • Friendship
  • Curiosity
  • Lots of questions
  • The desire to learn
  • Anticipation of what the Spirit can do
  • Longing hearts
  • Forgotten God by Francis Chan

If you didn’t figure it out from reading the title of this post, we’re on a search for the Holy Spirit. We all believe that the Holy Spirit is with us, but desire both a greater awareness of him* in our lives and a greater knowledge of him in general.

Francis Chan wrote, “He is infinite and we are finite; there will always be more of His character to discover, more of His love to experience, and more of His power to use for His purposes,” (pg. 21).

I'm ready and excited to see what the Holy Spirit will do through this small group.

*I took Greek and know that the noun is neither male nor female but feel strange writing “it” when referring to the Holy Spirit. But thanks to the little Bible student (punk) that pointed that out to me. :)


Declension - Third Declension

Number - Single

Gender - Neuter

Case - Nominative

Translated - Spirit