Sunday, January 27, 2008

Find me in the River

So, Landon and I have just made a purchase that will raise the morale around here! Though Illinois is the flattest place i've ever lived, leaving us much deprived of our most enjoyed outdoor activities, it has more water than any place i've ever lived (we live in "lake county"). Though Landon is a master on the water: kayaking, canoeing, rafting, skiing, hunting, etc., etc., i am completely lost. Besides the knowledge of how to keep myself from drowning, and some occasional stream fishing, i am beside myself. Soooooo, this should be quite an adventure!
Picture us in our new canoe, with Duvi in the middle, enjoying the "beauty" of a snow-less Illinois. I think that when the heat deprives us of cross-country skiing weather, we will welcome the newly thawed rivers with elation! I don't think we'll actually HAVE the canoe until March (Landon's brother is going to bring it to us from NC when we join the whole McBrayer clan in the Ozarks in March for a river float trip). So, yay!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


This is a movie that creatively brings to light an issue that Landon and i feel very strongly about. Here is a link to the website to watch The Meatrix II and II1/2 if you want to see what happens to Leo and Moofius. You can also go to "The Meatrix" website to learn more about factory farming.

To find local farmers or stores that sell cage-free and free-range meat and dairy near you, click here.
Thanks for taking a few minutes to look at this.

Friday, January 18, 2008

For he's a jolly good fellow, for he's a jolly good .....

Landon's 26th birthday is tomorrow! As he and i both work long days on saturdays, we celebrated his birthday this Tuesday. There is this old tavern in Downtown Chicago (Schubas) that has live music every night. We hardly ever make a chance to go to Chicago, so we were excited to make our way down there. We left the house at 2pm, even though we weren't planning on being to Schubas until 8 (Chicago traffic is enough to ruin an evening). So we had plenty of time for beer/hot cocoa and appetizers, dinner at an Indian restaurant, and Starbucks before we headed down to Schubas. Schubas was just about empty when we got there. I had bought our tickets online so we were so prepared! It was a very cheap concert and a REALLY INCREDIBLE band: Old School Freight Train. Just caught a picture of Wrigley Field as we were driving by on Clark St. on our way to a great local Indian restaurant.
It was wonderful to celebrate Landon's birthday downtown Chicago. Happy birthday dear husband!

Monday, January 14, 2008


So we have been trying to go to church pretty consistently. We've only been to 3 churches in Gurnee, but one of them we have been to on several occasions. It's amazing to go to church. I look forward to Sunday all week long! We went to Lakeland yesterday (i think it was our 4th or 5th time there). We really like Lakeland. I know a few of the people that attend there from my Trinity Wives' Fellowship Bible study and some of people in the church i am starting to recognize from my job at starbucks (or rather they recognize me - "hey, you're the starbucks girl!").

One of the songs we sang was a prayer about surrendering our lives to God. I like to think that i have surrendered my life to God, and try to remain surrendered each day - i guess surrender is continual. Yet, yesterday when the song went into detail about surrender-ment: "I surrender my hopes, my dreams, my everything," I just broke into tears. I, for the first time, surrendered my "hopes and dreams" to God about our future. My hopes about having children and returning to Colorado... those hopes, i so desperately want to hold onto and not surrender them - these IcWANT for ME. To surrender these to God just took me to a place of tears and tears. That initial surrendering is the hardest part, yet i know that this is something i will have to do continually....surrender.

For those of you who this concept is not easy to understand... Basically, i am saying, that as a woman who loves God, i am trusting that his plans in these areas of my life are the plans that are best. Surrender is saying that I DESIRE HIS DESIRES for me more than my desires. And i can do this, not because i have a cruel and selfish God that i need to be obedient and prostrate before, but because I KNOW GOD and have KNOWN his great faithfulness and sweet love. I surrender to him because i know that only in surrendering to his plans and desires for my life will i live in the richness that is living in God's will.

Well, i will try to continue to surrender. Each day. Surrender.

That was a tangent i didn't mean to go off on today.

Well, it's snowing again today, for the first time in awhile. I have bible study tonight and am looking forward to that. I am really needing encouragement from a body of believers. I think that Landon gets a lot of spiritual encouragement at school and i don't encounter a body of believers outside of Sunday mornings, so i'm glad that my Trinity wives bible study is starting again for the semester.

Do you have any new years resolutions? Or rather, is there anything in your life that you are trying to accomplish or any way that you are trying to better yourself?

There are 3 things that are on my list of things to accomplish:
1. find a consistent time/place for me to have "hannah time". I really need a time and place that is just for me. i have a hard time doing this at home since my work is at home - i just have a hard time consentrating on something, especially if it is prayer or reading or journaling while i'm at home.
2. i want to start playing the piano at a retirement community up the street.
3. just yesterday landon and i decided that we want to run a half-marathon in madison, WI in october. so next time i'm at the library, i'm going to try to find a book about training for a half-marathon. Neither of us have ever ran that far before and we have plenty of time to get in shape for the race!

Okay, now that i've put those things out there, i'll have more of an initiative to do them! You see my capacity for self discipline? Maybe i should add that to the list - that's going a little too far, don't you think? these 3 will keep me challenged and busy for awhile...

Friday, January 11, 2008

New ideas and challenges

Landon's constant reading and intellectual discussions at school cause him to be even more contemplative than normal. In this state, he challenges me constantly (a very good thing). We have had amazing discussions about our views on important issues and "why it is that we think this?" and "what do the facts say?" and "what does the Bible say?", etc... (well, actually, it is mostly Landon talking and my asking questions).

We have found ourselves to be extremely conservative when it comes to certain views like abortion and marriage, yet more "liberal" when it comes to cloning, evolution and euthanasia. Landon is really challenged by his conversation with fellow theologians/philosophers and his reading. I am so challenged by him, and i am so grateful. by the way, we took this fun quiz to see where we fall on the political spectrum. Each of us took it individually and we pretty much in the same spot (slight liberal libertarian) except landon is a little more libertarian than i am. you should take the quiz. we're not sure how accurate it is, but it was fun to see what great thinkers/writer/leaders in history fall in the same categories that we do.

We still are entirely friend-less and church-less, despite our attempts, though we are still tenaciously searching. My second semester of trinity wives fellowship begins monday, which i am looking forward to. landon has returned to classes recognizing many of his classmates and some of his teachers. What a blessing to get to continue our seeking relationships instead of starting over again. I am blessed by my continually forming friendships with the people i work with at starbucks, yet Landon and i have yet to find friends that we see outside of work or school. The pastor at the church we went to last week said that we can not truly understand God's grace when we are not in strong community with other believers....i'm not sure that i agree with this statement, but i do recognize the importance of our seeking-out Christian friends.

Well, the winter cold has returned to Gurnee without bringing snow. It is difficult when the weather is just cloudy, cold and muddy. Not much we can enjoy outside without snow. We would love for the trails to either dry or be snow-covered so we can enjoy them better. But it has only been a few days since the snow has melted and we do have much to do.

Welp, friends. we love you and miss you!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Christmas in Colorado

Sorry it has taken me so long to post about our time in Colorado. We had a great time with family and friends and don't have many pictures, but i'll share some that we do have.

Every year it is a Christmas tradition for my family to get dolled up to go to the theatre. This year we went to see the musical, "White Christmas" on Christmas Eve and it was so awesome and a lot of fun. Here's our yearly family picture in our get-up.

And, as always, the sisters.

Okay, the rest of the pictures are all of us cross-country skiing in Colorado. These pictures were taken from 4 different trips into the mountains. We went cross country skiing most every day that we were there. What better way to experience the beauty of Colorado!?

Landon took this picture when he and Duvick went hiking together the day that i left to return to Gurnee (also see picture below of he and Duvi)

Man, i love the woods. So sweet to see the sun shining through the trees causing the snow to sparkle as it slowly falls. Yes, love it. Mom, Nell and I formed our girls skiing team so the boys could go ahead with the puppies and let us take our time and stop to take pictures, eat snow, and enjoy each other. This picture was taken when Dad and Landon went on a more ambitious skiing trip into the mountains.

We also had the joy of going to one of our good friend's wedding, where we saw many other friends that we haven't seen in ages.

Landon flew to Georgia for a few days and got to spend time with friends and family as he was a groomsman in one of his friend's weddings. So both of our Saturdays were jam-packed with weddings and reunions with friends.

We spent our Christmas with my mother's side of the family at my grandmother's house down the street. It's a joy to see my family after so many months apart. The "kids" are old enough now that they don't think we're as cool as they used to and we really have a hard time relating on any topics considering i know nothing about what is cool in pop-culture these days: video games, emo (what's that!?), movies, tv, music, and pretty much everything else. But it is so sweet to see them getting older and completely developed into their own personalities with opinions and sweet traits.

We also saw my father's family the Sunday before Christmas, and now that we (the cousins) are all adults, we really connect on many more levels than ever before and had a great time together!

Mom and Dad got an espresso machine for Christmas, so i found myself the resident barista making up drinks for company and every day for breakfast and dessert. It was awesome to have lattes, americano's and cappuccinos in the comfort of mom and dad's kitchen.

It was sweet and relaxing to not be the woman of the house for 12 days (at least that's the best way i can describe it). I was just so tired after working so hard the weeks (or months) leading up to Christmas. Though our schedule was pretty packed, it was great to avoid the grocery store and planning meals and working in general. Just so great to sort-of fall back into the roll of the kid.

So now we've been back in Gurnee for a week. I've been plugging in the hours at both ACSI and Starbucks, lots of time to make-up for. It is nice to get some time to myself after being surrounded by people for many days (even if they are people i love deeply). The weather here has been bizarre! 60degrees! all the snow melted in one day and we have had tornado and flood watches the last few days. It makes it easier to be working at the drive-thru window all day when my fingers don't go numb, but it makes for a very muddy puppy! This is winter!? Illinois is so weird.

Today marks the first day of Landon's second semester at TEDS. Yesterday he bought the rest of his books and began his reading assignments. This semester should be really challenging for him, as he's taking more credit hours and is also trying to do work-study on top of everything else, including working part-time at Erehwon.

Duvick continues to be our favorite thing about the mid-west. He's still hilarious and obedient. What a joy he is in our family!