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Monday, May 31, 2010

Wedding day.

Shawn and I had the privilege of being the photographers for Melissa and Emanuel on their wedding day on Saturday. It was a perfect day in Wheaton, Illinois and these two could not have been more joyful (I think you can tell by the pictures)! 

Here's a preview of what we captured...

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We love you guys.
Congratulations!!!

More photos here.

Family night.

Time with the Porick family is always fun.

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This time around, we got to breathe in the wonder and beauty of a newborn baby (and then give her back to her mom when she got hungry).

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And we even got a little performance. I love the last picture... her signature bow.

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So good to see you guys!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

18 hours.

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I spent 18 hours in the car this weekend.
Normally, 18 hours doing any one thing wouldn't be my first choice.

But when you're with your best friend,
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traveling to your favorite city,
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and you haven't gotten to spend much time with him lately...
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It's quite possibly the best way to spend your time.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Overflowing.

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This week has been full to the brim.

I know that I've said "I don't think I've ever been this busy before" before but it really feels true this time. 

Yesterday's schedule, for example: 
7-8am: drive to class (I am going to a class an hour away for these 5 weeks because it was the only one available)
8am-1pm: lab & class with 2 10-minute breaks
1pm-2pm: drive to work from school
2pm-5:30pm: teach painting class
5:30-6:30pm: grab dinner with Shawn, catch up on our days, and breeeeathe
6:30pm-10pm: teach another painting class
10:30pm: arrive home and begin working on paper for my online class that's due at 1am

So if you've emailed or texted or facebooked or commented and I haven't responded... well, you know why. :) Oh, and I've also put my Etsy shop on vacation indefinitely. It makes me sad, but it just had to happen right now.

With that said, here are some of the highlights and lowlights of the week:

Highlights:
• Looking up from chemistry notes to see two deer munching on our backyard. Beautiful.
• Seeing hope for our little garden - it's growing!!!
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• Learning about the incredibly intricate design of the body for hours every day. God is just so REAL. I don't understand how you can explain the human body as a cluster of cells that just kept developing. We didn't just happen. We were created. And Creations need Creators. Enough said.
• Studying on the front porch with a tall glass of orange juice and a fresh stack of notecards. I really love being a student again.
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• Coming home from work to a perfectly clean home with candles lit by my precious husband, and having the computer all set up to start working on a paper. He could not be more supportive. I love him for that.
• Having time in the car on the way to and from school to catch up with sweet friends and family on the phone. 
• Cooking popcorn on the stove... the best way, in my opinion.
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Lowlights: 
• Getting in the shower only to discover it won't get warm and our hot water is out. Getting out with cold wet hair. Yuck.
• Paying well over $1,000 to have all new tires and brakes put on my car. Necessary? Yes. But not fun.

As you can see, I'd definitely say that the good outweighs the bad, even if it's in the little things. It's really all about perspective anyway, right?
Life is so beautiful if you breathe it in and look around at all you've been given.
God is so unbelievably good.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Easy upcycling.

I'm a big fan of "upcycling" or just making something you already have even better with a little imagination.
I have recently been sifting through my closet, pulling things that I no longer wear, and trying to make them wearable simply by changing them up a bit with materials I already had around the house.
First up: this plain navy blue jersey dress. I think it was $5 at a thrift shop a couple years ago. I really like it for the summer because it's modest and comfortable, but it's just... well... plain. I've added a belt to it before, but it just needed a little more.

Here's the before:
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Next, I found this tutorial on how to make frayed fabric roses. It is seriously easy, even for those who say they aren't super crafty (Kirra, I'm talking to you, friend). In fact, it doesn't even require sewing to make the rosette embellishments for this dress.
Once you follow the instructions from the tutorial and practice in several colors and sizes, you'll have an assortment of fabric roses at your disposal. (I used scrap fabric I had laying around in the craft room... just really cheap cotton material.)
Next, pin a few of your rosettes onto your dress to see where you want to sew them into place.


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Finally, hand sew the flowers onto the dress one by one.
By stitching them (instead of gluing them), you can easily take them off at any time you want to change up the dress.
And these flowers are so versatile - you can add them to t-shirts or purses or make them in any kind of color or size. You can even make headbands or necklaces out of them.
This whole process took less than an hour from start to finish, and now I feel like I have a new dress!

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Ok, that was fun.
Now I'm back to studying... I have to know the name of every bone in the body by the end of the week!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

First day of school.

School starts tomorrow.
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I'm already starting to get those pesky first-day-of-school butterflies in my stomach. I'll probably arrive to my class with 45 minutes to spare, just to make sure I find the right classroom and am not stumbling in awkwardly late. I'll eat a good breakfast, wear my favorite outfit, and get plenty of sleep tonight.

I sound like I'm about to start third grade again.

But really, I'm beginning an accelerated Anatomy & Physiology I class tomorrow which will pack a semester's worth of information into 6 weeks. Then I'll do it again for A&P II. What am I thinking?

It feels a little weird already, being a full-time student (plus an ongoing online class), a part-time painter, and a full-time wife. It's a lot on my plate, but we knew what we were getting into and I know it will be so, so worth it when I walk across the stage in less than 2 years from now with a nursing degree!

All that to say, I'm thankful for a husband who gets excited about school supply shopping with me, doesn't flinch when I pay my enormous school bill, and tells me he's confident I'm going to be the best nurse ever. I know I'm going to need him more than ever in these upcoming months. He's even ok that I'm already slacking in the shopping and cooking department. We've been eating breakfast for dinner or eating out most evenings, and he acts as if he enjoys it just as much as a full-out home cooked meal. What a guy.

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So if the blog posts get a little sparse in the upcoming months, you'll understand why, right? You'll even have an idea of what I'm doing... dissecting something, cramming for an exam, or... of course... painting.

I really love my life. :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nee.

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I never saw it coming, this unlikely friendship with a girl named Nee. 

A few weeks ago, I was babysitting for a friend's little girl and we decided to get our nails done to pass the time on a rainy afternoon. Nee gave me the most perfect french manicure, and as we sat together, we talked. Her whole face lit up when I mentioned I had visited Viet Nam to teach English and I thought her country was beautiful. She asked if I could teach her English, or at least help her practice. I gave her my phone number, but wasn't sure I'd hear anything. 

A couple of days ago, Nee texted me and asked for my help getting to an immigration office she wasn't sure how to find. So yesterday morning, I hopped in my car, headed for Nee's apartment, picked her up, and we drove to the other side of town to the immigration office for her appointment. 

Our conversation to start was difficult at best with long periods of silence as I tried to formulate more simple questions. With a language barrier and little in common, it's hard to know where to start. 

"Do you miss your family?"

"Yes."

"Do you like living in the States?"

"Yes." 

I quickly realized I should stay away from yes or no questions to stimulate the conversation a little more. When we finally pulled up to the immigration office, Nee was nervous. I tried to ease the tension and joked that we were a funny pair: her with half my name and half my size. She had hope in her eyes, though. This was a first big step toward a dream that began a long time ago for her - her dream to become an American. She headed straight to her appointment and I sat in a chair in the waiting room. As I looked around, I found myself to be the minority. I saw immigrants from what I assume to be India, China, and Mexico. I pulled out my phone to pass the time when I was startled by the gruff voice of the guard about 20 feet away: 

"Ma'am, no cell phones allowed. [Then louder] Please put your cell phone away. [Then even louder] Do you speak English?

I tucked my phone quickly back into my purse and had to keep from smiling. I didn't want to give it away that I was actually as American as they come. 

Nee took care of what she needed to and we then headed to yet another part of town so I could introduce her to her first burrito (at the little piece of Heaven I call Chipotle, of course). Over lunch, I told her a little about my life with Shawn, how happy and in love we are, how we're trying to pursue our dreams by going to school and working hard. 

Tonight, I spent some time reading her citizenship study guide into a recorder so she can hear my American accent and study for her upcoming test. She has lots to learn: checks and balances, the judicial system, what year the Civil War began.

As I slowly read the questions and answers into the recorder, I pray for Nee. I pray that she will hear much more in my voice than how laws are made and how old you have to be to vote. I pray she'll hear Jesus speaking to her. Drawing her. That she will recognize a difference in me that can only be Him. I pray that she will find freedom that doesn't come from citizenship in this great country of ours, but eternal freedom with Christ as her Savior. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

National geographic in a hanging basket.

A mama finch decided to take up residence in our hanging basket. I'm very glad she did. I even let our flowers die because I was afraid I would disturb her nesting.

The poor thing built her nest just before the flood, and stayed on top of those eggs during the 48 hours of storming. That's one dedicated mama if you ask me.
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A few days after the flood, this happened.
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And these fuzzy little clumps arrived into the world.
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Within a week or so, they started looking like birds.
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Most precious thing ever?
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I think so.