It feels like only yesterday we rolled the U-haul up to our new address in Chicago. With the help of several *strong* angels, it took less than four hours to unload and lug our stuff up three-flights of stairs. (To revisit the beginning of this journey, read “Falling Into Place.”) I find myself asking often “where has the time gone?” I can’t believe it has been a year. Enjoy a glimpse into our lives since our move to the Windy City.
A little street cleaning after the mega-blizzard in JANUARY. Normally residents stake their spot, shovel it out, and claim it with lawn chairs or buckets. As a means to serve our neighbors, Rob cleared 9 spaces on our street using a snow-blower. FYI: this is a great way to meet people in the neighborhood.
In MARCH a (fun) group of students from Crown College came to visit Family Empowerment Center for Spring Break. They took this wonderful photo (one of my faves). One of their members gifted us with his stellar talent by producing an awesome video for the Center.
Marking the (real) beginning of Spring, APRIL, normally a happy time of the year, was a challenging month for me. Still grieving the loss of my Papa, a master gardener, Spring blooms and blossoms reminded me of him, everyday.
In MAY we took a little road trip back to the East Coast to visit family. You can read about our adventure by clicking this link: Travels, Birthdays, Memorials, and a Deer.
For the first time since our wedding we were able to travel for our anniversary in JUNE. Rob planned all the details and put together a fun and lovely trip to Wisconsin … where we enjoyed animal sanctuaries, yummy restaurants, a hometown parade, and haybails!
June also marked Family Empowerment Center’s 7th annual Family Fest, a free event open to the entire community. This year the festivities took the form of a block party. On a beautiful sunny day complete with various bouncy houses, a dunk tank, pine box derby car racing, face painting, and all the free hot dogs one could eat, roughly 800 people came out to enjoy the day!
The cuteness factor in our apartment doubled in JULY as we began fostering two precious kittens, Amelia and Thelonious. (Both will travel east in December to make their new home with members of our family.) For more kitten cuteness, see “Kitten Crazy“.
After a season of growing veggies in Family Empowerment Center’s community garden plot, in AUGUST we harvested a small bounty.
For Labor Day weekend in September, we traveled west to Minnesota to visit dear friends, an annual tradition spanning 4 years. Complete with lots of hugs, meaningful conversations, Wii time, Settlers of Catan tournaments (of which we hold the reigning title, buahahaha!), plenty of teasing, and an occasional ‘mallow-roast thrown in for good measure, we look forward to this time together each year.
With only a few weeks left before D-day, I attended the shower of a sweet friend of ours, Katie, and brought along some fun company. (Sorry for the wispy action goin’ on with my hair. Had I known I would have remedied this prior to the photo.) Katie’s shower represented everything that she is: beautiful, elegant, and fun.
OCTOBER brought a full schedule. Rob participated in the Chicago Marathon — shaved an hour off his time from last year! (Woo-woo Mr. Speedy Pants!) To cheer him on, his parents came in for a weekend visit. As if the weekend wasn’t chuck full as it was, we both took part in the beautiful wedding of our friends: James & Lauren. And had fun visiting one of our favorite people, Craig, at Panera.
November’s calendar is filling quickly. This month we will pack and deliver Thanksgiving baskets to families in need, will close down the Center’s garden plot for the Winter, will host friends for Thanksgiving, and put our apartment back together after spending the past few months confined to the living room (due to construction to our building).
Through all that has occurred this year—the good, the bad, the highs, the lows, the struggles, the joys—the one constant has been the hand of God moving in our lives. The transition to the city and the ability to share in the lives of those we encounter throughout the year is under-girded by the love and provision God lavishes upon us daily. We are grateful to walk this journey together and thank you for sharing the ride with us.