Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Great Week End

I suppose it depends on how you view it - it's either a great end to a week or a fantastic beginning to a week!

Either way - what a nice Sunday evening!
Itzhak Perlman and the CSO 

At Ravinia
 Crowded but... With friends and a picnic 

With a glass of wine 

If I'm ever ready for Monday, it would be now!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Perfect Story

Ok - I'm back!  Sorry the long lull but I'm here and I have a post...

And it's all because of a perfect story that God wrote a long time ago.

And like so many perfect stories, it starts with...

Once upon a time there was a boy and there was a girl...

This boy was pretty special because he actually won the heart of a girl that had kind of thought she was would be single forever and was starting to be acclimated to that thought!  But like a true Prince, he came in and was kind and patient and gentle and treated the girl with so much respect and so much honesty and so much care that she started to like him .... a lot!  And then one day she liked him so much that, like a true fairy tale, she couldn't help but fall in love with him!

So there they both were, in deep like and finding love growing.  And they started exploring doing life together in little ways, and really liked it.  And then started diving in a little deeper, and some of it hurt and some of it was fun, and overall - it was pretty great!  And then a year or so went by and great turned to amazing and the boy and girl kind of started feeling like,  when one went away for a week or a day, things just didn't feel right.  The boy and the girl started spending more and more time together and all their friends and family and even people that were just acquaintances started asking the boy ... So when are you going to stop saying goodbye to your girl(friend:) every night?!

Poor Prince Charming!  How much he endured from so many of you!:)

And then a week ago, on a hot and bright Monday, early evening in Florida, while visiting the boys home and family - a surprise trip was planned for the girl.  They both got in the car and drove from Ponte Vedra to Amelia Island and the only information given to the girl was "bring water shoes!"

So she did...
And as she sat holding her water shoes they drove up to a boat ramp in downtown Amelia Island and saw a truck loaded with kayaks!  The girl was pretty excited:)

The boy said "I have a private kayak excursion planned for us!"

So they met Amber and her dad and they were fitted for kayaks and life jackets ...

And then they set out....

And they paddled and paddled, and then Amber pointed to one side and said - "do you know what that house is?  It's the house they made the Pippi Longstocking movie in!"  And the girl got really excited - and the boy - not so much ... :)

And they paddled some more and almost an hour after they left the boat launch they got to a little uninhabited island and Amber and her dad said "hey!  Why don't we go over to that beach and you can look around on Tiger Island!"

So the three kayaks pulled up to the beach...

And the boy and the girl got out and Amber said "you should just walk down the beach there and see if you can see the wild horses."

And so the boy and the girl walked down the beach...

And then they couldn't walk any further and so they turned back.
And when they got back by the kayaks, Ambers dad said "you should look over by that stick, I think I saw a horseshoe crab over there."

And so the boy and girl walked over to look and the girl thought "what's that in the sand?  I wonder if the horseshoe crab was kicking up a fuss in the sand?"

And then they walked closer and the girl thought "wha?...."

And as she was trying to figure out what was in the sand, the girl turned to look at the boy, and the boy was down on one knee in the sand...

And then all of a sudden the girl saw a word in the sand - just one word...

And the girl started to cry...
And the boy asked her the question in the sand...

And of course she was so much in like and so much in love with the boy that ....

She said yes to his question!

And they immediately started to plan to live happily ever after!!!!:)

And as they kayaked back to their car, the girl tried to act indifferent but every time she looked over she saw the boy smiling at her with a huge smile... And she had to smile back bigger than she's ever smiled!

So there you have the perfect engagement story topped off by the setting sun ... And the most memorable evening ever!

Thanks to Amber and Mark at Amelia Island Kayak Excursions (whose Facebook page you can look up and go to July 18th "She Said Yes" album to see a plethora of pictures!

And thank you to every single one of you who have prayed for us and encouraged us and loved us and have shown us how to love God and each other!  You are examples and lights to us and we're so excited to share this part of our lives with you!

We're planning on having a smaller wedding down in Florida in April and then we'll come back up and have another wedding party a month or so later to share with so many many of our friends/family in IL and other places!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

My Friend Flora

I have known Flora for about 8 years now... I first met her her freshman year at University in Budapest.  This was us then...

This is us now - ok well a few years ago now but I think we look pretty much like this now!:)

She became a believer through the CRU program in Budapest and now works with the CRU program in Budapest!  It's the gift that keeps on giving!

She's now married to Atti...
(Warning this is what happens when you steal Alison's phone and put a selfie of yourself on it... It gets reused and resused:)
Ok I'll give you a more flattering picture from around the time they first got married.
Cute right?:)

Anyways - all this to say I've known Flora a long time ... I'm bringing it up now as they're staying with me this week while they do some support raising in the area. And we met up yesterday and talked for about 3 hours and they gave me this adorable picture collage with all these pictures that I didn't even remember!  So I had to look back in my pictures and, it just made me smile!:)

I've been not only in Budapest with her but all over the world!:). Almost:)...

Eating our way around Venice - I never noticed that we ate so much there!

And speaking of food, there was this year in Budapest that we drove out to Floras home town and her mom and dad cooked this huge Hungarian meal... Complete with the forced drinking of the Palinka!  Ok it wasn't forced but it was strongly encouraged:)!  It's this really strong alcohol that they drink before their meal and it supposedly helps to digest food.  They made it homemade so - it was STRONG:)

And then there's Floras excitement for their ministry there in Budapest.  

It's pretty cool to see a passion that started in her in high school years and that's just growing stronger now in her 20s.  And to see this passion trickle into other people and make them love God more and pass her faith along.

I love Flora!:). She's only gotten better with age!!! 

BTW - if you happen to want to donate to Atti and Floras ministry...

Monday, June 6, 2016

F. Scott What?!

Saturday was a busy but enjoyable day spent with many various friends!

We had a wedding in Lake Forest to attend.  The wedding was downtown and then the reception was out by their house.  We didn't spend all day and actually left before everyone started eating. Which just means that I'll have to try Urban Barbeque on my own!

And then we went downtown to our friends - I had to return some stuff that I was storing for Kim - because she's getting married next week!!!
We ended up spending a good portion of time helping her move and then chatting with Steve and her and then, because we were there so late, we ended up going out to dinner with them.  

So the super amazing thing that made my morning is that... The house we were at for the reception was across the street from this abandoned house that they were using for everyone to park at.  As were talking to someone - he tells us the significance of this abandoned house and I don't think I could have been more excited!!!

Creepy but so cool that possibly F Scott Fitzgerald walked through these doors at some point?

And I think my favorite thing that I learned is that F Scott Fitzgerald was told "poor boys shouldn't consider marrying rich girls"!  I wonder if Mr Rich Banker ever felt stupid anytime in his lifetime?:)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Camping Catch Up

Last weekend we strapped our kayaks on the car and headed up to Door County for a weekend camping trip away from the world!

We drove up after a morning meeting and got on the ferry from the mainland to Washington Island!  It was actually pretty calm for a holiday weekend!

Ah the wonderful first site of the island!  The flags of the Norsk!

I took Sean by one of my old nanny day haunts... The Holiday Inn!  Melissa and I used to come here for breakfast - Irish oatmeal!  Yum!

We then headed over to the other dock to catch the Karfi, the ferry, to Rock Island.

It takes about 20 minutes to get to Rock and then we grabbed a cart (courtesy of FORI - friends of rock island!) and loaded our camp gear in it and trucked over to our campsite.

We put our campsite together and then headed out in the spattering rain and started on a hike around the island.

Such messy trails, we felt the need to clean up a little!

And then after an exhausting hike, we found a shore and sat down for a nice little lunch of crackers and local smoked fish.

On the far side of the island there was a fishing settlement back in the 1800s... And so being said, a little cemetary.

We climbed down a bank to the water.

And then hiked back to our campsite, being welcomed by the amazing sun that had be alluding us all day!

We even thought it was sunny enough to take the kayaks out!

But ended up heading back with some rain clouds - where we made it to the 4:3 wood fetching:)

And wandered around the campground area and enjoyed the lake views!

Got back to the campsite and I HAD to have a cup of burner brewed coffee!

We roasted fish and potatos on the campfire and watch the sun set over our lake view!

Night came and we tucked into our sleeping bags by 9 - but had some amazing campsite neighbors who had a nice all night party...:(

Breakfast at the campsite!

And then kayaking out around Rock Island in the amazingly crystal clear water with the amazingly bright sun shining!!!

The long hike up to the lighthouse where we kayaked around to.  It's like 200 steps up or something and the lighthouse keepers used to have to bring water up from the lake that way!

The weekend ended on Monday and we loaded up our stuff on the Karfi to head home!

Such an amazing weekend of campfires, tents, no showers, hiking and kayaking!  And tons of time with Sean!  Good times!