Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I'm homesick. Homesick for Chicago. It hit me Sunday after church. While I love our church here, it is not Ravenswood, and it's still not home. While I've met many wonderful people, there are still so many people who I don't know and coffee hour can be intimidating. I had an hour to kill between church and picking Adam up from work and I honestly did not know what to do with myself. I couldn't help but think that in Chicago we lived but two short blocks from church. That thought led me down the rabbit trail to everything I miss about Chicago - and I mean EVERYTHING. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I wished I was in Chicago walking home from church (after a coffee hour spent talking to any number of wonderful people) down the street to our apartment, or to CVS where we often picked up milk after church, or down to the Square for some window shopping. I thought of the cold and snow and slush and could remember where the puddles would form on that walk and could picture every detail. I MISSED the terrible weather, I just missed everything.

Another factor to this homesick spell was spending some time downtown with Adam. I LOVE Seattle's downtown and have spent a lot of time there since we moved. However, being there with Adam, in the evening, around the holidays sucked. It just wasn't Chicago. We didn't get downtown much, but date nights strolling down Michigan avenue or going to Millennium Park never disappointed. It's magical there, especially around the holidays. Seattle's downtown is great for what it is, but it's not Chicago and never will be.

I think it's the familiar that I miss. I miss routine and comfort and familiarity. Maybe we've been here long enough that some of the novelty has worn off. We're new, but we're not. Maybe it's the holidays that make me long for Chicago. Maybe it's that I'm sick of the dreary rain. Maybe it's that I miss having more than a handful of friends - I miss ALL my amazing friends. So, so, so much. I wish each and everyone one of you lived here. I wish we could get together for dinner, just to hang out, watch football or run into each other at a NPU event. I miss having people I know everywhere. It's not just one thing, it's everything.

My point is... I'm homesick, and it sucks. We're heading for Chicago tomorrow morning, and while I'm so excited to be with family and to be in the city, I'm nervous to be in the place that I miss so dearly. (Clarification - this is a temporary funk - I'm already much LESS homesick than I was Sunday and have no doubt it will pass soon. Maybe being in Chicago will help me get over it! ;) But as I was thinking about how homesick I was I couldn't help but note that I'm also incredibly blessed. Blessed that I DO love it here, blessed that the move hasn't been terrible and that homesickness hasn't hit until now. I'm blessed in countless ways, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving I've decided to focus on that.

I am grateful for: (in NO particular order and off the top of my head)
Adam (I have no words to describe how grateful I am for him)
our cat, Jack and his health (knock on wood)
my family - immediate, in-law and extended
the friends who are as close as family
all my friends, acquaintances, buddies and past co-workers - each blesses me in their own way
having a warm, safe place to live
as broke as we are, we really aren't, we have SO much
beauty - Seattle, Lake Union, Mt. Rainier
the health of my family - I am SO grateful for our health
a new church that can't replace Ravenswood, but doesn't need to
the chance and ability to visit Chicago and see old friends
our trip to Europe this last spring
my nephew :)
the constancy and love of my 'little family'
living 2 hours away from Canada - my homeland
the temp job I just got (better than nothing)
small mercies
people that love me and pray for me
my grandparents
the fact that life goes on
good books
good music
good wine
Pastors that care about us and take care of us
that my friends are still my friends even though so many miles separate us
the fact that we still haven't turned our heat on at the end of November
new friends
assurance that while EVERYTHING changes, God does not

the list goes on... and on...

This is one of my favorite songs by Nichole Nordeman - Gratitude
The words never fail to ground, humble and encourage me. They take on new meaning with every situation and every season of life and seem especially appropriate to me this Thanksgiving.

Send some rain, would You send some rain?
'Cause the earth is dry and needs to drink again
And the sun is high and we are sinking in the shade
Would You send a cloud, thunder long and loud?
Let the sky grow black and send some mercy down
Surely You can see that we are thirsty and afraid
But maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to thirst for You
How to bless the very sun that warms our face
If You never send us rain

Daily bread, give us daily bread
Bless our bodies, keep our children fed
Fill our cups, then fill them up again tonight
Wrap us up and warm us through
Tucked away beneath our sturdy roofs
Let us slumber safe from danger's view this time
Or maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
A lesson learned to hunger after You
That a starry sky offers a better view if no roof is overhead And if we never taste that bread

Oh, the differences that often are between
What we want and what we really need

So grant us peace, Jesus, grant us peace
Move our hearts to hear a single beat
Between alibis and enemies tonight
Or maybe not, not today
Peace might be another world away
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to trust in You
That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need
And if You never grant us peace

But Jesus, would You please . . .

Friday, November 6, 2009

'just a cat'

I feel compelled to blog about what's been going on with Jack since most everyone that might read my blog has probably been well informed via facebook of the ordeal. However, I really just don't know what to say. It's been a loooong two weeks. He seems to be doing well overall, but there is still cause for concern and will be for the next two weeks (and to some degree forever after that).

Facing the thought of losing him has been tremendously difficult and I have realized to just what extent his constant companionship and love have helped me through this move and transition. It would be very lonely here without him. The ups and downs of his recovery (I think there have been FIVE times we've been positive that we'd have to put him down) have taken quite a toll on me. There have been many times in my life when I have underestimated my strength and been surprised by it, but this time I think I have overestimated it and that in itself has been a shock to my system. I am weak, I need help, I need prayer. I am doing my best to embrace this vulnerability and to simply ask for the help and intervention that I need. It's terribly humbling, but a little hit to my pride is a small price to pay at this point. Perhaps there is strength in admitting weakness. While the transition to this new life has been largely positive, losing Jack could emphasize a lot of the hard parts and I would greatly miss the comfort and consistency he provides.

So I pray. I pray that he will continue to heal, that this whole process and all these bills will not simply end in tragedy, but in recovery. I pray that he continues to pee, that he eats, and that soon he will decide to pooh again. I know, right? What absurd concerns. I pray that I will continue to draw near to God in this time and that I will find his peace no matter what happens and that his strength will be sufficient. I pray for strength to continue taking care of Jack even though I just. want. to. be. done. with it all. I hate this weakness, I hate the feebleness that this has brought out, but I ask for the courage to not deny it and seek the help I need when I need it. I pray for Adam as he struggles to take care of Jack and me at home while burdened with his highly stressful job that is starting to burn him out. As always, I'm grateful for the support, love and prayers of my friends and family. I have been so blessed through so many in this time. And I appreciate those who are graceful enough to simply accept how hard this is for us even if Jack is 'just a cat.' When all is said and done, he's OUR cat, he brings us a lot of love and joy and I pray that he sticks around for a lot longer.

P.S. This whole ordeal has also increased my need for any sort of job. It would be good to get out more, and a paycheck would be - well a big help. :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dwell in possibility...

You know the poem, right? It's certainly not a new sentiment, but it is taking on new meaning to me these days. It is a freeing and exciting truth, the utter possibilities that my current situation brings when I am capable to believe it. I am free to do most anything, really. I can wait, and pray and hope and explore possibilities and new horizons may be opened. I am not restricted by an employer, a paycheck, a routine or many expectations. My future may be very different from anything I have yet imagined or hoped. I may receive the opportunity to pursue a passion or dream that I never thought I would, or never knew I had. Indeed there is freedom in this possibility. But here is the flip side. Possibility, the very essence of it, is incredibly unnerving. With this lack of structure and limitations comes, well, lack of structure and a large does of uncertainty. Realizing that the possibilities are endless means that well, they are in fact, endless. The exhilaration of such possibility is counter-balanced by its very vastness and lack of focus. And this lack of focus, I feel, has always been my problem, just as certainly as a lack of passion has never been. So I continue to seek focus, toe the line, find the balance and at least attempt to follow my heart. How blessed I am to be supported and encouraged in this by those who love me most. To those of you who kindly remind me that I have nothing to prove - I am grateful.

On this same note there are some lyrics that play on perpetual repeat in my head lately and the relevance is not lost on me. Adam & I share a love for the song "I Never Lost my Praise" on a Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir cd. While the entire song is incredibly powerful, it is these words that I am praying over... "I've lost some battles by walking in fear." Certainly food for thought.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

zero to sixty... in reverse

I have a whole list of things that I want to blog about: the Josephson family reunion, my time home in Calgary, short trip to Chicago for Grammy's memorial, a LONG overdue Europe post, etc. And it's certainly not a lack of time that is keeping me from writing them. But it seems that sometimes it's harder for me to get things done when I have nothing but time.

The other night I had a dream that I was on vacation somewhere and forgot that I had a couple papers due. The dream was filled with stress and that frantic feeling - scrambling to get something done last minute. When I woke up, it took me a minute to realize it was just a dream. So relieved... sort of.

Friends and family are quick to remind that I deserve this break, that my life this spring was so hectic, that it takes some time to decompress. They are right, and I appreciate the reminder. Life WAS hectic. Overly so. I who cherish the downtime, the nights to myself, I should relish this time. I was running myself ragged, pushing too hard, going a million miles an hour. I'm not the type to enjoy being over-scheduled and hyper busy. I love rest.

But I have a confession. I'm bored. Europe was phenomenal. It was the breath of fresh air that we wanted and needed. We lived for the moment each moment, loved every second of that great adventure. It was rejuvenating and relaxing. We came back to the chaos of packing up our lives and starting new ones. Moving here was a whirlwind and it's taken some time to gather up the pieces of our lives and to decompress - take a deep breath.

I've had the entire summer off to play. And play I have! As I've mentioned it's been an incredible and fulfilling summer, and now it's coming to an end. My plans for the year take shape and fall apart - sometimes multiple times a day. Some days I'm full of optimism and enthusiasm and others I'm simply restless,unfulfilled. I want a job, I crave structure. I'm starting to miss school. I miss working, thinking, doing.

So my prayer is this: that I will act on ambition on the days that I have it, and that I won't beat myself up when I don't. Beyond that, I pray that I live each day in His joy and peace. Contentment doesn't always come easy, but it has the power to transform and transcend these worries. I need to figure out some of these temporal pieces of my life, but I also need to remember that they are just that.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Quelle belle ete

I always said that there is nothing like a Chicago summer, or that summers in Chicago almost make the winters bearable. And then I thought that maybe it's simply that summer is the best time in ANY city. But now I know the truth. There is NOTHING like a Seattle summer.

Since the week after we first arrived in Seattle almost each day has been perfect. Hot, sunny, blue skies. Mountain backdrops, shimmering lakes and trees everywhere you look. We spent this Sunday afternoon laying on the grass at South Lake Union Park watching the sea planes land and sailboats go by. I've spent plenty of time up on our rooftop deck soaking up the sun, but this time we decided to venture down to that little patch of green. There aren't a ton of parks in Seattle, given that land is at such a premium - but the waterfront more than makes up for it. Here we got the best of both worlds. That grass felt like a little piece of heaven between our toes. That same evening was spent on our rooftop deck, grilling, drinking wine and talking all night with my cousin Ben and wife Jen. We have had any number of these perfect days in Seattle.

We've been truly blessed by our friends and family who have come visit us in the short time that we have been here. It's been such a gift to have people to share my days with and to explore Seattle with. It's also a nice reminder that we're not alone here. My sisters have visited, friends have driven down from Vancouver just for the day, and those who have passed through town have made a point of seeing us. It's been wonderful. We settle in more each day, meet more people and are starting to feel connected at church. It's still too early to tell what the year will hold for us, and so much remains up in the air. I'm trying to embrace this uncertainty. So we are grateful, we are at peace, and we are loving summertime in Seattle. Come visit.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Adam's dear grammy, Virginia (Ginny) Johnson, passed away this week. It didn't take long for her to find her way into my heart, and over the nine years that I knew her she became my grammy too. She had such a calming and peaceful demeanor, and you couldn't help but feel loved and comforted by her presence. She was never one to talk much of herself, but when she spoke you always wanted to listen. Without fail when we'd ask how she was doing she'd respond, "I can't complain." Never a truer remark was made as I believe that she was in fact incapable of complaining. It was a classmate of Adam's who cared for her in her last few days and even he noted her selfless disposition and kind heart. Grammy was a famous and gracious hostess, never happier than when she was able to take care of those she loved. When someone that knew her discovered my good luck at having married into her family, I would always be treated to raving accolades of her cooking and stories of her legendary hospitality. I was always humbled and honoured to hear the words that were spoken of Ernie & Ginny Johnson. I never knew Grampy, but I was blessed with nine years with Grammy. There is no way for me to know how many lives she touched throughout her 85 years. I only know this, she touched mine. She is missed.

I love you, Grammy.

Friday, June 26, 2009

although I've traveled far...

It's impossible for me to believe that a month ago we were having the time of our life in Europe, and that only two weeks ago we were finishing packing up our beloved apartment and getting ready to bid adieu to so many of our friends and family in Chicago. I have little concept of time these days. Tuesday is no different than Saturday and I couldn't tell you if we've been here for days, weeks or months (well I'd have to think about it first).

We arrived last Tuesday afternoon and since then we have spent most of our time unpacking, spending time with friends who passed through town last weekend, and visiting with my sister and nephew this week. So if you're wondering how we're adjusting to our new life it'd be almost impossible to answer. So far so good, but this isn't normal life yet. The reality hasn't quite sunk in.

Adam had his first day of residency yesterday and is on his first overnight (30 hour) call today. Nothing like jumping right in. His rotation this month is at the Medical ICU at Harborview (similar to Cook County in Chicago). He's overwhelmed and nervous. He is responsible for patients in a way he never has been before and that surely is a sobering, yet empowering thought. I am enormously proud of him and loved seeing him come home from orientation one day with his new, full-length white coat embroidered with Adam Johnson, M.D.

His life is full and structured and mine is anything but. I have kept busy and distracted with friends, family and fun and haven't started thinking about the job search or really accepted the fact that I am unemployed. Yikes. I keep saying I need to give myself a grace period, and extend myself some grace. I know it's true, but it's hard to live in that and not feel like I'm just making excuses. The job search and all its stress and insecurities will come soon enough. I could be convinced to take some time off this summer, but once the bills start coming in the sense of urgency will arrive.

We miss Chicago. I'm not crippled by homesickness, yet. I live somewhere in the tension between sadness and loss and hopefulness and expectancy. I think that when all is said and done, when we've uprooted our lives and driven across the country with all our belongings in the truck behind us and our cat in between us, and arrived at our new 'home' that we'd never seen and could only find thanks to the wonder of GPS and Garmin, that being OK is more than I could have safely hoped for.

I did experience a strange sensation on our trip. The further west we got, the more I felt at home. I loved every mile of the scenery that rolled by. The plains, the badlands, the foothills, the mountains. It's all achingly beautiful in my eyes. The west is where I belong and I believe that soon it will become my home. It hurt to the very core of my being to leave our life in Chicago, and the longing is far from subsiding. When we passed the junction of 94-E and 90-W somewhere more than a 1000 miles away from Chicago I wanted nothing more than to take the exit and head back. I may have if we would have been able to resume life as normal, if our apartment and jobs were waiting for us. I praise God that they are not, and that I wasn't faced with that decision. We were led here and in the midst of all the newness and unknown there is peace and there is hope.

So that, my friends, is our update.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

a list

I love lists. This one is in honour of the last 8 years of my life. I'm making a running list of the things that I will, and won't, miss about Chicago (I'm not listing any people - that's obvious).

here goes (in no particular order):

Will miss:
Tre Kronor
Lincoln Square
Winnemac Park
North Park
the RP (Ravenswood Pub)
my apartment
annual pub crawl
Ravenswood Covenant Church
kickboxing class
downtown Chicago
living on the first floor
Cubs games
impromptu barbeques
playing bags at Foster beach
watching little league baseball with Adam
Old Orchard
Cesar's margaritas
chocolate martinis at Bowman's
walking to the Davis Theatre

Won't miss:
the smell of the North Branch
crossing Foster Ave.
North Park
the weather
using the bathrooms in Magnuson
the water pressure in our apartment

it's time...

I used to have a Xanga (didn't we all). I posted on it occasionally, but I always hated the thought that people could be reading it, and its true purpose was to waste time at work. Now Xanga days are gone and blogspot is here. I created this blog about two years ago and have been hesitant to "give it a go." I wanted the site so we could save it for a time when our lives are more exciting, or my writing skills are better.

Well... perhaps that time is now here...