28 days…A Post of “Favorite Things”

It’s official.  We finally have the “confirmed” dates for the movers to arrive and pack and load and deliver.  Twenty-eight days until a moving company pulls up armed with tape, boxes, paper, bubble wrap…..Lee heads down in a few days, but we aren’t closing up Chicago until the end of the month.  (PS-This also means it’s twenty days until our second year graduate student is here for five days until he heads back for that final push towards the pink hood!)

Yes, I’m starting to get excited about being so close to family, doctors, the beach, the mountains, lower COL,  and also being able to get Newks anytime I want it….but as I have said…it’s bittersweet.

So, today, a post of “Favorite Things” so that I will always be able to look back and recall the things I did fall in love with during our Chicagoland adventure.

  1.  Lake Michigan  It’s truly magnificent.  Chicago side is great, in that you have the center of what makes Chicago who she is, right there.  Yet, I have to say…the Michigan side, well, it’s breathtaking.  The sound that reminds you of the waves crashing ashore at any beach in America….the blue tint to the water….the wind coming off of the lake reminding you of the trade winds at a “ocean” beach….when I needed moments of refreshment, Lake Michigan often was what the doctor ordered.
  2. Chicago Mix Popcorn  Ok, y’all.  This is some good stuff.  Garrett’s is the name everyone knows, but I grew to love Kernel’s the most.  Caramel goodness mixed with cheese goodness…..yummy.  I learned Atlanta has a Garrett’s.  Sometimes, you just need popcorn.
  3. Willow Creek Community Church  I cannot even begin to put into words what this church, teachings under Bill Hybel and Steve Carter, the mission, the awe of the Care Center..well…what they have done for this messed up heart of mine.  I think in ten years I will look back at the time at WC and know that is likely the biggest reason God moved us here in the first place…it was never the reason we thought.  This church does Jesus well….actually….it does Jesus exceedingly well.  Things I will take with me from WC: Baptism Day, “Dear Me,” “Love Everyone, Always,” and a congregation that resembled the world around me.  I’m forever changed because of my time at Willow Creek.
  4. Going along with number three, it has to be the zany, mismatched-yet perfectly matched, group that we have as our small group.  I have seen Christianity and Jesus modeled in ways that have forever changed me.  I look back to my little self when they first took us in and wonder why in the world they invited me….but..I’m so glad they did.  Lee and I have grown to love this group and will miss being part of the gatherings…although, I have suggested we do Skype small groups.
  5. Chicago Summer  Summer in Chicago is short, but magical.  Everything around you is in full bloom, showing off daily.  I’ll never get over 85 degrees being “a scorcher of a day.”
  6. Downtown Naperville
  7. Downtown Geneva
  8. The way Chicago showed me the melting pot of America, working together.
  9. Mariano’s
  10. Finally, because I’m pulling a Letterman and stopping at a Top Ten….the people.  Chicagoland, you are an area full of some of the kindest people one could ever hope to meet.  You are a shining star in our Nation..even if it’s not always reported.  You do people well….to the people of Lee’s company here and the wives that reached out to me along the way….you are the best of the best.

So, there it is.  My ten favorite things about Chicagoland.  This is just a “see you later” as the paths will cross again….open doors remain all around me.

Thanks for letting this “Bless Her Heart” girl find her way….guiding her along her broken glass path…..you are forever loved.  (Even though you did welcome us week one with a blizzard.)


Mimi Adventures October Style

“What’s the longest you have been in Chicagoland since your move?”  That’s a real question from a real friend while eating breakfast on my latest Mimi Adventure.  I replied, “A month, I think.”  Given my adventures have become a vital part of my season, it’s time to catch folks up on the latest!

Fall break for our musical son was a few days ago.  After performing at a Saturday AM concert, it was time for him to board the plane to Chicagoland.  One thing we are trying to do is create new traditions in our new home.  This means, if you land in Chicagoland, the first stop is going to be Portillo’s!  I love the look on our musician’s face when he takes that first bite into the long-missed Chicago dog.  As most college kiddos, he was exhausted from the nonstop action from move-in day until now.  He had not had a break of any sorts since early June before he left for the Aspen Music Festival.  So, a trip to the house so he could begin the “vegging” process.  I love having him home.  There’s just something about the nest having one of its chicks back.  We really didn’t do much on his trip to Chicagoland….the musician had graduate applications to complete, essays to write and rest to be had (Seven applications/prescreens….the life of a music performance major.)….we did manage to take him for his first Top Golf experience at the new Naperville flagship location.  I believe he is a fan!  He took it to “The Trench!”  Before you could blink, his visit was over and it was time to head back to school.  It was great him being here to be part of the “Chicagoland” excitement over the CUBS!!!!!  He even got to hang out in the airport with a huge crowd as they watched the Tuesday night game win!!!

FullSizeRender-3 IMG_1588The kid being our Joshman!

It was a neat thing this break as I was scheduled to fly out the same afternoon our Joshman headed back to school!  It was Mimi time in Arkansas!!!

I landed, I took care of the rental car and I headed straight to the Embassy Suites for a night of rest. (PS-Rental cars at XNA are redonkulous!) I knew the next three days would be nonstop fun!  We did SO much! From just hanging out at the house, to an on-site field trip at E’s school, to lunches/dinners, Amazeum, shopping, parks, hide and go seek, teaching the finer points of tic-tac-toe, coloring, duck-duck-goose, cuddling on the couch, bathroom adventures…..seriously…best days!!!  They are growing so quickly and each have developed such unique, individual personalities.  I love how the two oldest call me Mimi, but Ella has decided she prefers the name from a book they read where the “Grandmother” wears glasses….cutest thing ever.  The giggles from all three are stored in my treasure box forever.  Kisses, hugs, hands being held….fighting over Mimi’s lap…aahhhh….as they saying goes, “my cup runneth over.”

IMG_1625 IMG_1672 IMG_1660 IMG_1679These kiddos are just so perfect.  Dancing in the store, modeling with the mannequin, amazement of a straw, and giggles for days at the dry ice exhibit.

I was so thankful that I was able to sneak in a little “friend” time in the middle of my Mimi Adventures.  Shelley, Kylee, Robin, Karilea, Carole, Anna, Marla, Chelsea/Mia….thank you for still treating me like family even though I went and moved away!  Technology  has been so wonderful during this transition.  I still feel connected to those peeps that I truly call family.  Bentonville is a special place for friendships….it truly is.

IMG_1692 IMG_1690

I was also thankful that I was able to visit my Mom while in Arkansas.  I have felt guilty on occasion for “leaving her,” but God has been so faithful to remind me she is not in the grave!  I still cannot believe it’s been two years.  Seems to be such a raw emotion, maybe it always will be.  She loved mums, so I just love how bright and “fall” this mum is by  her earthly memorial.


Finally back to Chicagoland after nonstop action.  My Leebo went with me yesterday to run a few errands after church.  I was playing in the Pandora store with their rings.  I quickly realized how much I loved the stacking of various rings.  Soon, I was asking for the tray in my size.  I played with SEVERAL combinations and this one was one I just couldn’t stop staring at.  I looked at my Leebo and said, “Early Happy Birthday?” Y’all can guess the rest of the story.  I LOVE IT five times (As the legendary Susan Goss would say.)


So, back to life in this season.  It’s super windy today and there’s much to be done before I begin the latest rounds of doctor appointments, testing, surgery.  Mimi Adventures are the best…and Arkansas will always hold a giant piece of my heart…or should I say me peeps in Arkansas….yes, that’s exactly what I will say!  Love you all to the moon and back!!!

Peace out…drink more coffee!

Seasons Change

I cannot believe it’s October.  Winter, Spring, Summer….gone.  The air has that crispness to it now, there’s a still quietness,  and the dark falls a little earlier each day….another season is upon us.  Seasons change.

Fall is honestly that time of year that brings up memories of so many season changes.  When I think back to pivotal moments, most have taken place in the fall.  Especially in this season of my life. It’s a season that brings me joy and sadness….exuberant joy and the deepest of sorrow.  Fall has brought us that miracle of life in this season as we became Boppy and Mimi-three times.  Fall has also brought us sorrow as it is the season that is  now the season I became a daughter without her mother.

September, October, November-celebratory months.  Ella, Blane and Elizabeth all entering this world as Fall babies. Never realizing that you could possible love someone as much as you do the kiddos of our children.  It truly is the most magical relationship you will ever experience.  As I drove past beautiful mums today, I noticed that the colors of mums match so perfectly with their unique personalities.  Elizabeth is yellow-full of life and shining bright.  Blane, he is as boy as the maroon color that makes that perfect dark accent among the brightness of yellow.  Ella, she is pink-that pink, purple color that just exudes giggles and smiles and little girl.


I am grateful for the celebrations we have to look forward to each year as they grow older.  That celebration, especially Blane’s, will help keep the darkness of sorrow from taking the joy from Fall from us all.  Especially Blane’s.  In the midst of the sorrow on the date we will remember my Mother on this earth, we will also celebrate that joyful boy that was born one year earlier, on the same date.  A day we would like to forget is a day we love celebrating.  God knew and I am confident he orchestrated the dates to be identical for that purpose.  He knew my Mother loved a great party…a great cake…and she is likely wearing the biggest party hat of all on that date. Fall ushered in my season as a Mimi…and Fall brought the change of season that made me a daughter without an earthly Mother…changing seasons.


Just as the seasons of weather change, so do our seasons of life. Choosing to find the joy in those seasons is up to us….the seasons changing…well…just as the colder air ushers in the changing of the leaves, the seasons that change in our lives are most often out of our control.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: