Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Three years of marriage!

Dear PK,
Happy 3rd anniversary to you my best friend, my man's man, my opposite, my love. We had absolutely no clue what we were getting into when we said those vows three years ago, did we? Being married to you has been the most incredible journey and I wouldn't change it for the world. Not one second of it. I love what I got myself into and I love that I get to experience this life with you by my side. You inspire me, you point me toward Christ, and you hold my heart so gently, with extraordinary care. I feel so known and loved and cherished by you. We've gone through all sorts of seasons, haven't we? No one said it was going to be a walk in the park the whole time, and they were right. There are times where, literally by God's grace alone, we had to weather some fierce storms. Our "robust dialogues", countless counseling appointments with Dennis, becoming parents and going through the heartache of losing our sweet baby Elston, busy seasons with your work, getting through CPA and CFA exams. It's in all those things where God has met us in such sweet ways, don't you think? It's those seasons that make the sweet seasons sweeter than I ever could have thought up for myself.
By your side is where I have experienced the fullness of life. You've taught me what it's like to listen deeply, think a bit more logically, and love intensely. My life is better with you in it and I am a better woman with you next to me PK. I have so much respect for you and look up to you in more ways than you know. Thank you for leading me well on this journey, for being quick to forgive when I am being a crazy woman, and for being the best husband this girl could ask for. You are my greatest earthly blessing and I thank God every day for the gift you are to me. Happy Anniversary!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sneak Peek Sunday

Sneak Peak Sunday is a little series I'm starting where I let you into the real deal, what life is actually like right in this moment. In my home, in my heart, in my neighborhood, in this city, wherever I am at, whatever I am thinking...this is what it is. Yikes!
Or not so yikes because if you read this little blog, you know the real deal me and you already have not just a sneak peek, but a huge glimpse into my heart. 

Nonetheless, Sneak Peek Sunday is another way I let my guard down, no walls up, and let you into our little world here in Chicago. My prayer is that you enjoy it, laugh a lot, and are reminded that it's okay to be human and not have it all together sometimes. 


Today was one of those days where sleep felt so good, so we woke up kind of late and did just what was necessary to get to church somewhat on time. 

- Quick showers {which we call taking a birdbath}
- Minimal makeup
- Pop the wrinkly jeans {that have been sitting in a pile in our room for days} in the dryer for 10 minutes while we put on a pot of coffee.
- PK warmed up left over pancakes that we ate on the way
- I put lipstick on in hopes that people notice that before they noticed my non-shaved armpits if I accidentally lifted up my arms.
...And so the story goes. 
We made it to church in enough time, but you know when the Konickis are sitting in the balcony that we were a liiiitle later than usual. 

I promised myself that right after church I would go home and clean our house because it is a disaster. I took pictures because some of our dear friends have said they've never seen our place messy. Which is funny to me because they are our people and we're to that level where I know they love us even in our mess. {Literally and figuratively} And I know our place has been a sty when they've come over before. All this to say, here it is. The literal mess, as we've left it for the past three days. May these pictures be ones that make you feel normal. Or maybe they'll make you feel better about yourself. In all of this I gotta remember one thing:
A wise man once said, "only God can judge me." {Thank you Tupac}

{close up with drawers open and all}

Let me rewind for a second to the last song we sang in church. It really struck a chord in my heart this morning. It was one of those older songs that was hip back in college but you haven't heard for like three years, then all of a sudden you sing it and hear the words in a different season of life, with a different shaped mind and heart and it's like the song is new again. 
I left church knowing that I had to write about it. 
I had to leave the mess for a little while longer and reflect on how and why this song made my heart skip a beat. 

The song is called "All Because of Jesus" and the chorus goes like this: 

It's all because of Jesus I'm alive
It's all because the blood of Jesus Christ
That covered me and raised this dead man's life
It's all because of Jesus I'm alive

I thought to myself, yes this is it. My soul is set free, my life is new, my sin is something I don't have to feel guilt over anymore, because of Jesus. Because He died for me. For you. My soul is alive like never before ever since I placed my faith in God when I was 15 and today was a reminder of that. A sweet reminder that God loves me and there is so much for my heart to sing about, to rejoice over, to praise Him for. Yes, this life here on earth is not promised to be one of ease and free of pain, but my friends, God offers a hope that no one or anything else can offer. He offers a relationship with Him, hope in Him and what He has planned for my life. For your life. My weary soul can rest in the promise that He has my heart in His hands and walks with me every single step of the way. 

My soul was revived today. 
My heart didn't need to clean the second I got home, what my heart needed was Jesus.
I was reminded that the everyday tasks will always be there, but there is something so sweet about taking time out to be with God. To think about Him. To be reminded of His goodness. Perhaps that's my challenge to you today. Grab a cup of coffee and take a walk. Put down the dirty dishes and snuggle up on the couch. Let go for a second, breathe, and just be. Be with God. Let your soul be filled with thoughts of Him and His goodness today. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

How long, O Lord?

It's only been five short months after finding out we lost our baby but it feels like it's been five years sometimes. These past couple of months have been filled with lots of tears, lots of love, lots of prayers, lots of trusting God. 

I know I'm nowhere near the end of this season, I'm just able to function more normal now. 
I think this may be a good thing to know about mamas who have lost their babies. The sadness still lingers as life continues to move forward. 

The season after losing a baby is long. Longer than you would ever think. I don't know why I would expect it to be short, but something in me thought maybe the broken pieces of my heart would be sewn back together by now. I will say that by the grace of God my heart is mending, piece by piece. The healing words and prayers from family and friends, quiet times in the morning where it's just me and God, and just when people ask how I am. Those things. Those things are so very restorative for my soul. 

But then there are moments that feel like everything that's been sewn together gets ripped apart again. Mamas who have gone before me have prepped me for these moments. It's those times where out of the blue you are reminded of what isn't there, of what got ripped away from you so suddenly. These moments blindside you and make you feel like time has stopped and all you can think about is how unfair it all is. 

Like the moment on the subway train on my way to work when intoxicated parents plopped their baby next to me only to make a scene that caught the whole train car's attention. I wanted to take that sweet baby and hold him for those five minutes and let him know without saying anything that in that moment he would be safe and okay and away from harm. After they got off the train I sobbed. In front of everyone. Thank you to the sweet girl next to me that handed me tissues and to the middle-aged woman that looked in my eyes and told me one day I was going to make a great mom. 

I know the truth about the big picture of it all and that God has a plan but I just need this moment of humanness for a second to ask why not now? Why can't I know what it's like to be a good mom now? I know we won't be perfect parents, but we were ready to love this baby with all we had and provide him with a home filled with prayers and laughter and hugs and kisses and knowing we are human, but then showing him the beauty in the Gospel and Jesus and forgiveness in it all. 

I trust we will get a chance to do so and I look forward to those days. 
As of now, my heart feels weak. It feels angry. I feel like we got teased. Like the carpet got ripped out from underneath us and I'm still trying to gather my bearings and just when I do, I slip and fall again. 
I can't help but think of David in the psalms. His lament speaks straight to my heart today:

David and I might have different reasons for this lament offered up to the Lord. One thing that is true is that he makes me feel normal. That I'm not the only one that feels a little forgotten. Like the sparkle that once was there has been hidden for a while. 
Yet, through all these feelings, there is the truth of who the Lord is. His love is unfailing. He is the one who can be trusted. He is good. 
Through all this He is so good. 
He is here. With me. With you.
With my broken, confused, yet grateful, fragile, human heart. 
With your broken, confused, yet grateful, fragile, human heart. 
This is where He meets us. 
The sweet intersection where our tired hearts meet His loving presence. 
Lord, help me to trust you as you hold my heart and write my story.

Friday, July 19, 2013

To bring or not to bring. Part three.

Picture's the dead of winter.
{I know it's hard to picture right now in the dead of summer}
Family road trip from Ohio to New York City.
Failed to check the weather before we left. 
Heavy snow. 
Fake leather fashion boots. 
So long feet. So long boots. 
And so the story goes with me last winter. 

If you plan to take a trip to NYC in the winter {which I think you should because it's pretty}, now's the time to glean from me and do what I did not do. Learn from my mistakes and enjoy The Big Apple to the full. 

Here are some wintertime must-haves when staying in NYC:

1. Good boots. The ones pictured are the L.L. Bean Boots which I love and adore and keep my feet nice and warm. The thing about it is that you indeed can find a fashionable pair of boots that are super practical. As stated above, the only boots I brought were my fake leather ones from my thrifting-for-a-year days. Let's just say my feet were wet for so long during the day, funny things happened. They were prunes for a really long time. I know I would've enjoyed the pretty snow in the pretty city a bit more if my feet didn't squish every time I walked. 

2. A cute, yet practical hat. I recommend those winter hats that are more floppy at the bottom as pictured. That way, you can still look cute indoors with it on without showing off your hat hair and if the weather gets fierce, there's room to tuck the hair in so it doesn't get snowed on. I'm a girl with bangs, and it the snow touches those puppies, it's over for the rest of the day. So, I need a good hat that I can tuck the bangs into in case of a precipitaion emergency. 

3. Layer up. You just never know really what the weather will be like, so layers are your best bet, and you can put together some killer outfits doing so. If it gets toasty, de-layer. If it gets colder, put the layers back on. Accessorize so that the scarf pairs well with the outfit for when it's a tad cold indoors. Add a cute necklace underneath in case you take the scarf off. It'll be like bam! Cherry on top of an adorable outfit. 

4. Good gloves. Not necessarily the ones pictured. There are cute gloves that can keep your hands warm that still allow you to access all you need to access on your phone. You can find actual cute ones here

5. Get yourself some Smart Wool socks. {not pictured but necessary} Go ahead, let your feet enjoy a big hug every time they step. These socks are amazing. They whisk away water {but aren't waterproof}
 and are so comfy cozy.

So, there ya have it. You can kick winter's butt in NYC now. How does it feel to already have kicked butt before the butt needs kicking? That's my kind of competition, I do say.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

To bring or not to bring? Part two.

The hubs and I love NYC. 
These past posts have been dedicated to it. 
What we experienced.
What I learned from it.
And everything in between. 

Today is part two of what to bring/what not to bring to The Big Apple. 
PK has taught me a lot about packing. The necessary things. The not so necessary. And how to pack it all to fit in a carry-on suitcase.
 This is how it usually goes:
I pick out the clothing.
He packs the clothing so it all fits. 
It's like Mariah Carey and Miguel singing in perfect harmony. 

So, let's get to it. Here are some summertime packing must-haves:

1. Maxi dresses. All day errrday. Maxi dresses are a gift from the heavens for a woman in the summertime. They keep you cool, they make you feel pretty, and they are incredibly comfy. Not to mention, they are easy to pack AND you can pack more of 'em than you think!
 {Packing tip: instead of folding them in your suitcase, roll them}

2. Tight running shorts. If you are like me, I get what's called "chub rub." If you don't know what it is, then google it and consider yourself blessed. The tight running shorts are key when you wear your maxi dresses. Not only do they prevent chub rub, they suck in the stomach a bit. There you have it. Two birds. One stone. Rocking the maxi dress.
{I wear the shorts pictured and I love em. You can get them at Target}

3. Two pairs of shoes only. Yes, only two pairs that match with everything you bring. Ladies, it is possible. I did it.  One pair of cute sandals that your feet are used to and one pair of dressy shoes. OR, like in the last post, wait to get to NYC and get yourself a cute new pair. Make sure to save some room in the suitcase for on the way home! 
You can purchase the cute wedges in the picture here

4. Extra undergarments. I'm gonna go there, even if it's TMI, because I want to save you from what I experienced. Pack extra undies {you too men!} and bras. I only packed one bra, and it was so unbelievably hot the nine days we were there, I ended up washing it a couple times. In a sink. I guess that reveals my laundry habits on non-hot days. Yikes! I guess you can buy more undies if needed at a store, but they are so easy to pack, just pack a couple more. 

So, there it is. Chub rub, my laundry habits {or lack thereof} and the essential clothes to pack for a summertime trip to New York City. Next post will be all about the winter essentials and what I wish I would've known before going there in the dead of the season. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

To bring or not to bring? Part One.

Packing for trips has always been a toughie for me. 
I'm a girl who likes options but now I share a suitcase with someone whose clothes take up the space for me to have my options. Not to mention, we aren't people who check bags, so the suitcase has to fit in the overhead compartment.  I really wouldn't have it any other way. I love that I get to share a suitcase alongside my favorite traveler, and I love that we can spend the checking-the-bag money on not checking the bag. 
One more cute new shirt for this girl! 

This week I want to give you some tips on what to pack and what not to pack when adventuring over to NYC. We've been to the city in extreme summers and during one extreme winter. We've had some successes and have had some packing failures. May you learn from both like I did.

First things first. Remember this:
It's New York City. If you forgot anything, it's an excuse to get a nicer one that no one has back where you live. So, keep that in mind. ;)

Secondly, if you are intending to do a little shopping, bring less 
so that:
 A. You can wear whatever you bought on your trip
B. Your suitcase can be a little lighter and able to fit overhead

Thirdly, let's get practical. 
Here are some must-brings if you're traveling to the Big Apple:

1. Tide Pen. I don't leave home without it no matter where I am. This little pen packs a punch for my white pants and really anything I spill on. I'm 30 years old and still spill like I'm five. Whatcha gonna do? 
{Bring the Tide Pen, that's whatcha gonna do}

2. Band-Aids. I don't care how comfortable your shoes are. You're gonna do walking, and you're gonna get blisters. We went out to sushi one night on our trip and I was about to walk barefoot around the city because my toes were in such pain in my heels. I failed to pack these and they are SO easy & light to pack. Not to mention non-intrustive. You can just slip 'em in any random pocket for those just-in-case moments. 

3. Camera. Last time we were in NYC I just had my iPhone which works great and I recommend it. Aren't those things such an awesome one-stop shop? This time I brought my DSLR camera and I didn't regret it for a second. I got some really wonderful pictures. I brought it in it's bag as one of my carry-ons and slipped it in my purse when we romped around NYC. #worthit 

4. Cash. Bring cash with you wherever you go in that city. There are more cash-only places than I ever would have thought. Plus, you'll tip more people than you think you would. The three times I have been to NYC, I've been glad when we have the cash and a little frustrated when we don't and have to go to an ATM that charges a fee. 

Stay tuned this week for more on more tips for surviving the to, from, and in between when adventuring in New York City. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

NYC Vaycay

Last week the hubs and I went on a little getaway to our favorite city 
{other than Chicago}, NYC. Well, I'm 90% sure NYC is PK's ultimate favorite city ever, but mine will always and forever be Chicago, so there's that. 

Have you heard of this website called
We've used it for all the places we've traveled and it is awesome. In NYC we stayed in a lovely little studio apartment tucked away in Murray Hill. Didn't I just make it sound like that cottage in the movie The Holiday? Reality is, it was just as adorable, but smaller with more stairs. 
Four glorious flights of them. 

The week was filled with adventures. 
Exploring neighborhoods, drinking cups upon cups of iced coffee from local coffee shops we discovered, riding the subway, hanging out with friends, marathon training in Central Park, eating at yummy restaurants, .99 cent NYC style pizza late at night, 4th of July fireworks, the Brooklyn Bridge, and I am 80% sure I saw Tim Gunn waiting for the train in the Subway. 
"Carry On." 

My dad would've flipped because he loves Tim Gunn and Project Runway. I made sure to text him right away and his response was:
 "Definite wow factor! Carry on!" 
When does my dad ever say "definite wow factor."?? That made me laugh. 

For the rest of this post, I want to share some pictures of our adventures and let you know I am going to be doing a series on all things New York City, so stay tuned for more Big Apple fun!

^ Waiting for the el to take us to the airport! ^

^ I fell in love with this little old lady ^

^ I get to be married to him. Hot-taaaay! ^

^ Oh, Brooklyn, stop showing off  ^

^ We love Birch Coffee just as much as they love us. ^

^ It was SO hot there. So hot that PK was sweating through his suedes. ^

There are more pictures and more adventures to come! 
New York City, you have a special place in my heart.