Monday, November 17, 2014

Hanging out with some cool Sr. High kids

Hi all,

The cold, wintery weather has officially set in. This is the first blog of many that I’ll be writing this year while there’s snow on the ground.
The past two weekends I had the opportunity to hang out with COB youth for weekend retreats and conferences. Last weekend Hannah and I served as female youth advisors for the district fall retreat at Highland Ave. It was nice to get to know some of the youth from our new church and the rest of the district, even if they thought we were also youth all weekend. :) We volunteered at the Northern Illinois Food Bank, played lots of games, ate pizza, and hung out together.

Group photo from our time at Northern Illinois Food Bank!
This weekend Ben, Kristen, Hannah, and I traveled to Camp Mack for Powerhouse/Regional Youth Conference. There were lots of shameless plugs for BVS, workcamps, and CCS.  I was the female advisor from Highland Ave. for the weekend and loved hanging out with the youth and other advisors- playing games and worshipping. I also learned how to play the card game Eucher, which I thoroughly enjoyed! It was wonderful to be able to visit a Brethren camp that I hadn’t been to yet.

One of the slides from the workcamp presentation Hannah and I made at Camp Mack! 

And now, I’m back home in Elgin. But, not for long!



Monday, November 10, 2014

My New Elgin Home

Hey everyone! 

This night I'm curled up in a blanket as I type, listening to the giggles of other housemates as they hang up (and get some shocks!) from Christmas lights, full from a wonderful dinner of gluten-free pasta, and legs slightly sore from a earlier 'Just Dance' workout that Kristen and I hilariously danced through. And I am content. I feel at home. 

I'm just about a month in to living at the BVS house. And I can't believe that is the case! Time just seems to be flying by. Even though some days, when I feel sad and miss my loved ones and my beautiful Pennsylvania, it seems like I'll never be there again. But, I know that isn't true. I know that this year is going to fly by so very fast. 

So, I'm trying to enjoy every single moment! 

The little things like decorating Kristen's office while she was out for a couple of days with discounted Halloween decorations, movie and junk food nights, laughing together at supper, and just all around general silliness. 

Hannah and Laura helping to decorate Kristen's office! 

Living in community isn't always easy - sometimes you can get frustrated. But, it is an amazing and wonderful learning process, as you work to grow, have fun, and live with such awesome people! 

I'm excited to see where the rest of this year takes me and this wonderful community!


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fall at the BVS House!

Hello all! It's fall at the BVS House! 

As we've been back in Elgin, we are learning how to settle in and adjust to new living arrangements as a house again. Our first transition as a house was the welcoming of our newest house-member, Laura! Welcome! However, in that same space we also transitioned in saying farewell to Chelsea, who left to go home before a new journey awaits her halfway across the world! We remember her and wish her well on her next big adventure! 

A group of us last weekend decided to have a day out.  Can you guess where we went?!

A Day in the City: CHICAGO!

We met a couple of co-workers from the office at the train to go into the city. The Metra makes a nice and inexpensive way to travel for each of us, as a ticket costs $7 and is good for the entire weekend! 

It was a beautiful day, probably the nicest day all year... We walked downtown and saw the sights - including indulging in Chicago pizza, soaking in the sun, and visiting Millennium Park, of course making room to stop at the Bean. 

 The Bean!

Cat and Don, who are past members of the BVS house and are now co-workers at the offices with us, as well as another co-worker, Kelley, and her boyfriend Brandon, came out to hang out with us. We made it back late in the afternoon, just enough time to freshen up before we made a collaborative taco supper. Everyone was included in helping to prepare and enjoy the meal. 

To round out the day, we procured seven pumpkins and between the nine of us, we carved them all! There were quite the array of animals and designs... I believe a panda and squirrel appeared, as well as creepy pumpkin smiles, a tree of life, peace and love, and the stars and a moon.

Here is a glimpse into our joyful pumpkin-carving extravaganza:

Life is feeling and becoming more routine here. We all head into work and come home to make supper, take an evening run, work in the garden, practice piano and guitar, and generally just take it easy. Nights do seem to go awfully quickly! We enjoy hanging out in the evenings catching fun episodes of our favorite shows and occasionally baking. The past few weeks a couple of us have enjoyed getting out to a series of weekly pottery classes that are instructed by a fellow Highland Avenue church member. 

Sometimes we like to go out and shop at thrift stores. This week it was a house run to search for the perfect costumes... for Halloween! Each year, the BVS house has tradition of dressing up and hanging out for Halloween. Many years, they even coordinate in a matching theme. We were up for the challenge! 

We decided on the theme: Decades!

From left to right: the 20s, 50s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.

We had a good time putting all the costumes together. Laura was our resident fashion-sense coordinator, Ben provided thriftiness, Hannah rocked the comfy pants, Theresa was hair stylist, and I was support staff.


Lastly, I added my first sunrise installment. This photo was taken from my bedroom window. Sunrises and sunsets are something that I always look forward to seeing, wherever I am. They remind me of home especially when I can share in the experience with others. Thanks for coming along!

As a bonus-- Don't forget Election Day is in just a few days: on November 4th!

Have a great week!