Art, a Birthday, and Family

Although we technically no longer live in the city, it is really nice to still be fairly close. I do get to drive into Chicago for work, and Lara and I go to church in the city, but it’s nice to be able to return to the quiet suburbs afterward. We love our little home in Highland Park.

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Our favorite part of living close to Chicago, however is being just a car-ride away from family. Caleb and Haley have a cute little apartment in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, and Claire lives on campus at Moody. This last week has been full of family, and all the better for it!

Last Sunday, Claire stayed over at our house, where we spent the majority of the evening painting with watercolors. Art has always been one our favorite things to do together — it’s much more motivating to have someone by your side! I am working on a series of botanical paintings for our kitchen, and Claire jumped right in. (The two left are mine, and the pine branch on the right is Claire’s.)

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The next Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which meant we both had the morning off from classes! Before work, we drove downtown to visit the Art Institute and wander around the city.

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I also got to spend some special time with Caleb as well. We don’t always get extended time together because of our busy schedules, but it worked out to grab coffee together last week. I so appreciate Caleb as a brother. We are both very different from one another, but his perspective is often so enriching and challenging. It was so good to laugh, discuss coffee, get caught up on each other’s lives, and to encourage one another.

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And finally, we were all able to celebrate Caleb’s 22nd birthday this weekend. His wife Haley was an amazing host to us family and friends — we ate a great dinner, had dessert, gave gifts, encouraged Caleb with words, and even sang some songs. I was telling Caleb and Haley that we always feel so refreshed upon leaving their home, because of the laughter and rich conversation we have just been a part of.

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We’re soaking up the time we get to have with family these days — especially the concentrated amount over the last week. We know it probably won’t be like this forever, but for now we are so thankful!

*Thanks to Claire for the majority of these photos!!

Remembering Christmas Joy

What a joyous time to celebrate the one who came to “give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79).

I already shared this on Instagram, but thought it would be worth repeating here. Mom found this old drawing of mine from many years ago of the nativity. There are a couple of interesting things to point out in it. First, all the characters are speaking in Czech, saying things like, “Wow! Would you look at that!” Second, I think it’s hilarious that a car is driving up to visit the manger (“We’re here!”).

Third, and most importantly, there is Hebrew writing on the top post. I have no idea where I copied that from as a child! But thanks to the text-critical work of my good friend Becca, we can assume that I was attempting to write בתלחם = Bethlehem. It’s pretty amazing to think that God was sowing seeds in my heart at this young age to be drawn to the Hebrew language!

Christmas 2014

Lara and I got to celebrate Christmas three times this year. First we celebrated with my siblings (before they flew to be with family in Czech and Slovakia), then we celebrated just the two of us on Christmas day, and then we drove down for a quick visit to Tennessee (and North Carolina) to be with Lara’s family. This was such a joyous season for us, despite having to work the days surrounding Christmas. We are so thankful for the time we got to spend with both sides of our family, as well as the time celebrating as our own family of two!

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