Wednesday, June 23, 2010

City Walk #17: Old Town Triangle District

This month's Real Simple had a column asking, "If you were suddenly given a free day this summer, how would you spend it?" My mind shot up its hand so fast and waved it in the air, "Me, me, pick me, I know!"

"City Walks!"

Many thanks to my friend, Kirra, for introducing me to Chicago City Walk Cards, I now have a new obsession. Maybe love is a less offensive word. I love Chicago. And because I love my city, I naturally love a deck of cards containing facts, directions, and maps to 50 different Chicago neighborhoods...that is so "yay!"

After Kirra lent me her cards, I knew this was a $14.95 that was going to have to be spent.

Exploring the rich (and I don't mean wealthy, although to some that would definitely apply) neighborhoods, most of which I have never uncovered, following the winding streets, taking in the flavors and finding the treasures and landmarks of the many nooks of this city completely sweeps me off my feet. Don't worry though, my love is not blind: the cards explore safe neighborhoods and streets.

So whenever I am feeling good and it's not pouring down rain (a heck of an elusive combination this June), I easily know how I want to spend the day.

Hey, if you live in a big city, why not find out if they have city walk cards for your city? Just spreadin' the love.

If not, by all means, please enjoy Chicago with me through my camera lens.  Enjoy the walk through the

Old Town Triangle District

{This area pre-dated the Chicago Fire & was originally settled by German Immigrants.
Today it is re-built after being destroyed by the fire, and is very affluent. The residential streets are quiet and charming!}
{A row of Queen Anne styled homes
lots of detail in the architecture}

{A darling row of houses
a less urban feel than most}

{I would love to live here}

{And drop off my mail here}

{St. Michael's Church
One of 7 buildings in the city to survive the Chicago Fire}

{Home of Joseph O'Connell, who helped Chicago get the telephone}
{Really happy with our first city walk adventure
even though it was so hot outside}

So many beautiful streets and homes in this neighborhood that I was too busy gawking at and imagining the lives of the people who live there, instead of photographing all the charm. So these few random pictures will have to do. Told you I was swept off my feet!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Enjoying the Small Things, Part 1

Today I feel the opposite of good. I guess that statement has been true for the better part of 9 months. I get discouraged. I fight despair and fear. I cry.

But I have also learned to look at the world, at my day to day, from a different viewpoint. I would rather my world didn't get spun around like a wild top, but it has, and I feel like I've been flung into a foreign land with no flights home.

At first I was in denial that there were no flights. I just knew there would be. Then as weeks turned into months, I cried and cried. As months approach a year, I've realized that I will get home, but I don't know when. And that while I'm here, there are things I can learn. New sights and perspectives to see.

One of those perspectives for me is seeing the "small things" and letting them satisfy
. And boy, do they have satisfying power. We just don't often let them, because we are too busy or too focused on the "big things." Or is that just me?

I've been so inspired to celebrate life, even in the hardships,
and to enjoy and savor the small and very good things in my every day, even during another day of Epstein Barr Virus.

Some specific sources of this inspiration have come from a blog called "Enjoying the Small Things," by Kelle Hampton, as well as the book "Cold Tangerines." The more I look, the more I see beauty, blessing, and joy in my everyday life...even in the midst of my body feeling miserable. And I didn't know the two could go together.

As for the "big things" I want, such as a job, ministry, productivity, travel, exploring and learning my city, and living large, I don't know when. I don't know if. I don't know, period. As Psalm 31 says, "My times are in God's hands," and all life and breath is from His hand. Not mine.

People are always saying things like, "It's the little things that matter most." And when I look at the "little" things I've been noticing,

like seeing the huge heart of my husband as he cares for me;

like being with my dad, Neal's dad, and both of my grandfathers for Father's Day;

like my sister telling me she's having a boy;

like sitting on the porch at home with Neal in the night and watching heat lighting and pouring rain;

like eating homemade cherry pie with fresh, tart cherries;

like sitting under the pergola with Neal and remembering how we danced there on our wedding day;

like Lilly taking my hand and exclaiming, "Mmmm!" after smelling each flower in the garden;

I'd have to agree.

Stay tuned for pictures of "enjoying the small things" during Father's Day weekend at home.

Enjoying the Small Things, Part 2

{Rain on the way out of the city}

{After the rain, a rainbow}

{5 summery days spent home}

{Garden goodness}

{Reading and relaxation}

{Pool play}

{Ball play}


{Sand Volleyball}

{Porch dwelling}

{Baby love}


{Father's Day}

{Pie sampler}

{My favorite picture from the weekend}

{Enjoying the small things is delightful, don't you think?}