Thursday, June 27, 2013

Marathon Training.

I am training for the Chicago Marathon. 
It's nuts. It's difficult. It's incredible. All at the same time. 

PK and I ran it two years ago. The details of that one are in my last post entitled "Monday Coffee Date." I'd like to spare you the details on this post. It's was hilariously bad. I'll leave it at that.

{Don't let the smile and wave fool you for one second folks}

This time around, training has been an emotional roller coaster. But that's what I love about running. It brings me to my breaking point.
Physically, mentally and emotionally.

The only way home is to run.
 The only way to keep running is for my mind to believe I can. 

There's the physical and mental. Then enter the emotions from the day, the week, the month, this season of life and you get a nice batch of Christine running on Lake Shore Path crying her eyes out. That's what it's been the last few training runs. Ya know, at this point in my life, if you know me, you know if we hang out for a heart-to-heart, I'm probably going to cry. If you cry, I cry. If I cry, I cry. And apparently, when I run, I cry.
No new news here I guess. 

Welcome to my world Chicago runners and bikers along the path. It's me, the girl along the path that can somehow cry and run at the same time. Hopefully your thoughts are "wow, that's impressive." If you're one of the lucky ones, you'll get a sneak peak of me wiping my nose on my shirt. Oh life. It's a sweet, yet complicated thing all at the same time. 

The thing about running is that it clears my mind. I let my thoughts think what they want. I let my heart pray whatever five words it can muster out in my mind. PK and I let the conversations happen how they want to happen. It's me at my best. It's me at my worst. Jesus in my heart. Husband by my side. Leg muscles sore. Thinking I might die. But somehow getting home in one piece. 

It's raw. It brings out what's really going on. Sometimes I feel like my sin is magnified with each step as I hit the pavement. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with sorrow as I think of this season we are still in and how my heart is still in a million pieces. Sometimes all I've got is extreme joy thinking about the fact that I've got this man next to me. Quoting Scripture to get us through. Telling me we are in this. Together. Every step of the way. 

And I've wondered why I cry. 
Now I wonder why I wondered.

There's a lot going on in there, and by the grace of God running gets to the heart of the matter. It brings to the surface what's really there. It's me at the core of who I am. Real deal. No holds barred.
Joyful. Angry. Peaceful. Broken-hearted. Tempted to give up.
All in a matter of seven miles.

I look forward to what the next 19 miles has in store. It might not be pretty, but it's real and it's good and I thank God for meeting me there five days a week. Right beside me. Guiding my steps. Holding my heart.

{Right after we finished the marathon.}

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Coffee Date

Some of the lovely bloggers I follow write posts every once in a while called coffee date
The concept of it is simple and cute. If we were on a coffee date, just you and me, these are the things on my mind and my heart I would share with you. So, I thought I'd give it a whirl and invite you over for a little "coffee date" of our own.

Going for coffee usually requires some planning in advance for me. At times my schedule is crazy and at other times it's not. And I'm still trying to figure all that out. Scheduling my days, time with Jesus, time with friends, time to myself, time for work, time with my husband. Today, it worked out perfectly for me to have you over for a bit.

When you arrive I would have written you a welcome note on our chalkboard in our entry way letting you know how much you are loved and how glad I am for you to be here. I would have you pick out a mug and probably point out to you the mug I still don't believe my husband actually made when he was  at Miami Ohio. He has chicken scratches for handwriting and the handwriting on this mug is incredibly neat. I would allow you to call me a skeptic with no offense taken.

{The Mug}
{C'mon! Look at that thing!}

On our coffee date we would either sit at our kitchen counter or across from each other on the couch. I would ask how you are doing...the good, the bad, and the ugly probably right off the bat. I want to know your heart and I want you to know mine. 

As we are sipping our cups of joe I would share with you how excited I am for our vacation to New York City soon. I love that city and how big it is and the people and the culture and how you could live there all your life exploring it and falling more in love with it. I think I love that city too because for PK and me, it's ours. It's something we've fallen in love with together. We've gotten to know it together, as we get to know each other as our love deepens.

I would then let you into how much I still think of our baby Elston. About how much I still cry even though I am still able to go about my day seemingly normal. I so badly want to meet him, to experience him growing in my stomach, to be pregnant with my pregnant friends. I would tell you also how I am impressed with how incredibly well my body has worked through this whole miscarriage. My body was able to house a thriving, living baby. It was able to pass our sweet baby naturally and now if we want, we are able to try for another. It's back to normal. Like, total normal. In a matter of three months. It blows my mind. You know, the things I think about my body on the outside are less than encouraging, but this thing, this temple the Lord has given me to live in, is pretty beautiful. All it's intricacies and how it has worked flawlessly through this whole 
season is something to praise God for. 

At this point in our conversation, I would ask if you want a refill and probably continue to process about Elston. I would tell you I am scared to try for another baby. A little piece of me is waiting to not be so sad about our loss, but more of me knows the sadness won't go away for a really long time. I would ask you that if you think of me during your week, to pray for this. Pray that I can continue to grieve in a healthy way and pray that I trust the Lord with everything that comes with getting pregnant again. I don't want to rush anything but I also know time's-a-tickin', so prayers for reliance on God's perfect timing and a heart to step out in faith. With a faith-filled heart and not a fear-filled heart. 

As we continued our conversation, I would probably thank you for letting me process all of that and thank you for letting me be me and just cry it out. Speaking of crying it out, I would then let you know about how marathon training is going and about how for the last couple of training runs, right in the middle of the runs, I start to bawl. {I'll write on this in a later blog post. It's been quite emotional.}

Just to rewind for a sec, yes, we are running the Chicago Marathon, and yes, I know we are insane. We ran it two years ago, and forgive me for giving you TMI, but during those 26.2 miles, about every three miles I had to find a bathroom because my body decided on that day to have an extreme case of the squirts. For 5 hours. Not kidding. Not my prettiest moment either, and for some odd reason, I'm running this marathon again. It's addicting and I'd love to just have to stop to pee once. That's my goal. That, my friend, would be my personal best.

Before we would conclude our coffee date, I would ask you more about how I can pray for you this week, and even if prayer is not your thing, I will still pray for you whether you like it or not. It comes with the friendship. Package deal. I would then tell you thank you again for listening to my heart. I would hope you felt heard as well and loved and cherished. 
Because that's what you are. 

Let's get another date on the calendar soon. 
Looking forward to it! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Forget Me Knodt

Oh Uptown, for so many reasons, I love thee. 
First off, the sirens. Never a dull moment. 
Then there's the overly tan lady with the wig by McDonalds. 
{I need to find out her name and buy her a coffee soon}
 Cant forget the people that sell single cigarettes {and then some} outside the Currency Exchange. 
Aaaaah let us not forget about Target, our north star and saving grace. 
In walking distance. 
Some amazing restaurants include:
Baker and Nosh, Inspiration Kitchens, Dollop, Tweet, and Lao Sze Chuan.
And then, my friends, there's Forget Me Knodt flower shop.

Forget Me Knodt is a true gem located in the middle of crazy, amazing, rough, beautiful, diverse, up-and-coming Uptown. I passed by it a million times in my car for the last two months or so and have been intending on going in and checking it out. Then, finally, on a lovely Farmer's Market day, I took me and my bike right over there. There was no turning back for this girl. 

It is like walking into an oasis.
 Literally everything is beautiful. From the flowers, to the sweet {locally made!} greeting cards and gifts, to the shop pup, Maddie, to the lovely women who work here. 
Like, everything. 
And I love the story behind the shop as well. 
It all started with the grandparents of Janessa {the owner of Forget Me Knodt}, who opened up the first Forget Me Knodt Flowers out their home in California. Sixty years later, enter Janessa and her very own Forget Me Knodt right in the heart of Uptown. You can read the whole story here on the shop's cute lil website. 

In conclusion, you better believe you will find me in here. A lot. For any and every reason I come up with. So, Forget Me Knodt folks, for better or for worse, I'm in this for the long haul. I love that you're in the neighborhood where I live and where I love. Thank you for making this place, this neighborhood beautiful one lovely flower at a time. 

Take a look at how adorable everything is: 

Dish towels, cards, & prints made by Nourishing Notes

"Life is grand when you're in the business of making people happy."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Farmer's Market

Today is one of those quiet, beautiful days.
 The morning started off a little misty, but that didn't stop me from hopping on my bike to meet my friend Sara for some Farmer's Market fun. Sara is a preschool teacher who is now off for the summer, so now we have some time to romp around the city. Let the adventures begin! 

Okay, let's get one thing straight here. 
My order was not as complicated as it looks. 
Tall decaf Americano. 
Room for cream. 
Not rocket science. 

She must be a melancholy.
You can buy this tote here.

Cheers to the sunshine, bright colors, friends, scruffy dogs, 
and all things local! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New Camera

When I  turned the big 3-0, I received an amazing new camera. I took photography in high school and college and I even went to a class here in the city. So, now's my time to remember all I was taught and put it into action! I really do still have so much to learn and to brush up on, but I wanted to share some of the pictures I've taken. Not to show off my awesome skills because I kind of don't have any, but to share with you my life.
 In pictures. 
From my new camera. 
Because I love it and am excited to use it. 
Some are disappointingly blurry, and some might be just odd I guess and even I wonder why I've taken them. And some I probably could have taken better on my iPhone. But, I've just decided to start taking pictures of everything because, why not? I figure it's the best way to learn my camera, and capture some sweet memories along the way. Here goes nothin':

We took a trip to PK's hometown to celebrate the 60th birthday of a woman who is dear to us all named Denise. Here's my favorite picture of PK, his mom, and sis. 

I am so sad this one is blurry! It was a good ol' self-timed one of all of us. My apologies to my handsome husband whose body took on an odd form in this picture. I love you. It was the best one out of the two. 

PK has been studying incredibly hard for the CFA Exam. There are three tests he needs to take in order to receive the CFA designation. He has passed levels one and two (woo hoo!) and just took level three. These exams are beyond difficult and are time consuming and I admire anyone who has taken them.   Here's how I found him one day as he was studying. 

Lately I've been experimenting with my handwriting and lettering. I've followed some tutorials and look at things on Pinterest and it's been fun to see what I can create. Above are some them. The one on the left is a card I made and in the right picture are some envelopes I addressed for a baby shower I get to throw for my sweet friend Kinzi.  

About two weeks ago I went to see my friend Dusti for a couple of days. She is one of my greatest friends in the whole wide world. It was so great to be with her and her family. She and her husband have been some key people who have walked alongside PK and me in the hard times and the good times. They love well and we are blessed by their friendship. I just had to include a snapshot of their beautiful daughter. She's the cutest thing ever.

This one is one of those odd ones and I wonder why I took it, but I like it. It's a candid one of PK thinking. His mind is always going and thinking and learning. And repeat. I guess my mind is always thinking something but it's usually about things such as how the new Mariah Carey and Miguel song is definitely going to be my summer jam. Or what filter to use on my newest instagram pic. PK, he thinks about dividends and stocks and what cool places we will go in New York City this summer. His are a bit more refined than my thoughts, but both are equally as good to think about. He thinks ahead, I have the fun, then we both teach each other how to mix the two. 
Nice balance, I do say.

More pictures from my camera to come in the near future, I am sure of it!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Rays of Sunshine.

Sunshine gentle on my face,
Sunshine, caressing, gentle, kind,
Sunshine traveling, through the endless miles of space,
Sunshine forever on my mind.

Sunshine warms the gentle Earth,
Sunshine warms the seven seas,
Sunshine chases sorrows, welcomes mirth,
Sunshine does its very best to please.
--Juan Olivarez--

I feel like the Lord has been so sweet since day one of this season of losing Elston to show me not only bits and pieces of sunshine, but bright, beautiful rays. I have experienced a new depth of joy as a result, and I thank God with all my heart for the mirth. The joy. The laughter that comes after the rain. It doesn't make me miss our sweet baby less, but makes me rejoice all the more at God's plan. God's sweetness to me in the midst of this. God's goodness through people and friends and family. It's like a little taste of heaven. 

Two events that have been beacons of light are:
A. My 30th birthday. 
B. The Bachelorette is back on & America loves Des.
{It's one of my favorite shows. Haters gonna hate. #dontcare}

My 30th Birthday
Yep, life welcomed me into my dirty thirties and there's no going back. 
A couple months ago, while still 29 years old, I started to dye my hair to cover the grays, not just to dye may hair for fun. And to be honest, it takes a lot more work to shed the couple of pounds that once took 2 weeks to shed. Oh my sweet lil metabolism, how I love thee. Other than that, I don't mind turning 30. Truth is, I'm still going to dye my hair because of grays and because it's fun. And I'm not going to stop eating good food and drinking fabulous wine. So, that's that. 
My actual birthday was May 24th. A few Fridays ago. 
I cannot even begin to tell you how loved you all made me feel and you know who you are. I've got some incredible friends and family who made this 30 year old feel what Taylor Swift is feeling these days. 

Here's a recap. In photos:

The ladies of the Dirty Thirty Club took me out for my last day of being 29. 
Dance party in the street.
Best initiation ever. 

The most wonderful college students ever made me notes on notes on notes. 30 of them especially for my 30th birthday! I cried. In a good way. With joy and love and gratitude. And when I don't have the words to say because I am so overwhelmed with how amazing it is, I cry. 
Also, fix your gaze on the most amazing Funfetti cake made by the sweet Sanna Rae Jepsen. {Don't fix your gaze too hard on my editing skills. I wanted to make the cake look 3D. haha!}

I got this delivered to my front door. They were from my beautiful cousin. Best delivery ever. Seriously. These Edible Arrangement things are legit! So lovely. So yummy. 

Our church small group celebrated at Fiesta Mexicana here in Chicago. 
Loved it. Seriously tasty. So fun. I love you people!

The most creative thing I've ever seen. Everyone at dinner got a menu. It's a hilarious recap of my life that my friends Evan & Julie put together. 

Last but not least, the absolute love of my life, PK. 
This picture makes me laugh so much because it sums us up to a T. {Or is it tee, tea?} He is a person I have some serious fun with, and he also keeps me level headed. Therefore, here he is figuring out the bill. As I try my hardest to be the best only child I can be and distract him from getting anything done. Seems like he has caught onto my antics. Haha. Love him. 

Thank you everyone for making my birthday incredibly amazing!! 
I am the luckiest. 

The Bachelorette.
This is a long post but it's worth it in my opinion. I'll keep it short.
I. Love. The. Bachelor/Bachelorette. Desiree's season premiered last Monday and you know we had to prepare formally for it. 

Why yes, we printed out all the bachelors, pre-judged them and picked our favorites. Now they hang on the outside of my coat closet until the season is over. This brings me more joy than I can write in words. What is it about this show?! So good. Good as in, I will never stop watching it. 
#bachelornation always and forever.

In conclusion, my heart overflows with gratitude. 
The Lord has been sweet to provide some glorious sunshine in the midst of a rainy season.