Sunday, 11 December 2011


Today's sermon was about hope. I liked it a lot. He talked about the difference between hope and optimism. Optimism is seeing the good side of things and seeing that things will get better. Hope seeing the goodness of the future even if there is nothing in the present that points towards it. Like in Isaiah 9:1-7. They still had to wait and could not see the good coming, but they could hope that it was coming. I am an optimistic person always but have never thought of hope in comparison.

Also, another neat quote about when when things are not going our way, "it doesn't mean that God is not faithful, it means that he is not predictable." He often doesn't do things in the way that we think he would or in the timing that we would like.

I know that I can be impatient and want to figure things in life out. Often, I do not get this luxury. In retrospect, I can see reasons for why things happened in the way that they did, or why an opportunity didn't work out, I can see what I learned through the experiences. However, you don't always get to see the why or when in the moment. That can be hard and that is why we need hope.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Being Festive

Now is the time of festivities. I even listened to Christmas music the other day while making ornaments out of cinnamon. They worked pretty well. A fun and easy project that my friend's 2 year old helped out with. (we made them in star shapes) And my house has 2 Christmas trees this year. My ceramic little one that my grandma gave me. It is awesome! And a large fake tree complete with lights and tinsel. I have already watched The Holiday and Love Actually. I have drank mulled wine. I have baked Gingersnaps and Christmas wreaths. Plus we are having a Christmas cookie party this weekend too. Tis the season.

Also, tis the season for Advent. 24-7 did great podcasts, one a day (minus Sundays) for Advent. It is great having a reminder each day, a verse to think about and a prayer focus.

Another Christmas tradition that I have fallen into in Madison is making a Christmas brunch. I enjoy this a lot, getting up in the morning and making food for people to come, eat and relax with. Plus it gives people who don't have family here (like me) a place to go in the morning. A lovely and relaxing tradition for me. (sad to miss out on time with my family though)

And it's about time to think of new year's resolutions. I wonder the percentage of people who make resolutions, how many of those take steps towards fulfilling them, and how many of those are successful in their aspirations. Last year, I resolved to drink less caffeine. I did it but should set about to drink less than the caffeine the I now consume. That was probably the first resolution that I have ever made, and I took steps towards meeting it, and did it. Success!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Running in the Rain

A few weeks ago, I went for a run in the rain. It was fabulous! Oh how I love running, and especially in the rain. It was a little bit of a chilly night, so it took a little bit of time to warm up. Also, I almost didn't go because it was cold and dark. The thing is though, once on a run, I never regret it.

Running is usually good God time for me, that night was no exception. Amazing. I came back from my run nearly giddy that night.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Fall has been lovely. My roommate and I went to the farmer's market this morning. We rode our bikes past lots of folks getting ready for and tailgating before the Badger football game today.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Over the weekend, I went to my favorite store, Anthropologie. The store is beautiful. The clothes, books, displays and other artifacts are designed well, look unique, and are arranged well. I love walking into the store and wandering around, touching the fabrics, looking at the arrangement of items, the colors, the textures, even walking in the front glass doors with their giant wooden door handle is enjoyable.

I entered the store and started to wander. Breathing and walking slowly, taking it in and enjoying the moment. I am a person who runs through life, I like to have lots of social engagements, go for runs, work hard at work, have ideas and schemes, thoughts and prayers. Finding times of quiet enjoyment and peace are really important. Stopping for breathing and beauty is good.

The two friends I went to the store with made their way to chat on a couch as I explored. I rounded the corner and headed to the sale area. I flipped through nice shirts, sweaters, jeans, pants, and then turned to the dresses in the middle. There, waiting for me, was a yellow dress that I tried on a fell in love with back in June in Chicago. I like to go try on things sometimes at Anthroplogie, just for fun. You get to experience yourself in this newness, this uniqueness and beauty. There were two of the dress on the rack and one was in my size! Perfection! I grabbed it and held it to me, like I was hugging it. Now I had a reason to buy a dress (a friend's wedding) and it was half price. (This store is expensive normally (another reason it is nice to wander around it, you can't so don't buy stuff)) I gathered some other items and made my way to the fitting room.

The dress what the first item that I tried on, my lovely yellow dress, with handkerchief pattern. (and pockets!) The ladies in the fitting room - the two women working and a lady who was trying things on, plus her friend - commented on how much they loved it. Then I went prancing through the store to show my friends, and twirl in my pretty dress. Other people who work there stopped and commented on how great the dress was. Have you ever tried things on that you feel so good in? Things that fit, and it literally puts a skip in your step, or a twirl in the case of a good dress. What a great time, being in the moment (something I often have trouble with) and being beautiful in a pretty dress. What joy. What fun!

God made things beautiful. In the beginning he made the world and it was perfect. It was beautiful, relationships were whole and things were as they should be. Beautiful things can be a great celebration and reminder of God's love, grace and beauty. God's love is one of abundance and extravagance. That is beauty as well. Any dress would be fine, it would get the practical job of being clothes done, but this dress, this pretty yellow dress, is so much more special. I am thankful for it, for walking into that nice store that day and the dress being there for me. What an experience.

Of course, you can go too extreme and become shallow, but if beauty is properly celebrated, there is such freedom in it.

Mid September

I have been apple picking twice already this fall! Yay for fall. It is still warm though (not complaining), so you don't want to make pie or applesauce. I have a pie recipe from Williams Sonoma though and plan to make it this fall. It has homemade caramel sauce in it, yum! I want to learn to make pie crust this year, as I don't want to cheat and buy it anymore.

I have been trying to be optimistic about the idea of winter coming. And I have been able to fool myself for a while. Yesterday though, it struck me that going outside would be painful and cold, that there would be ice and snow! Ah. Each year I seem to forget that it will get cold and snow. Hopefully we will have a nice fall first, pretty leaves, crisp weather to wear jeans and hoodies, good times for hot apple cider. Here's to a nice fall......(though I will miss you summer, come back soon!)

Friday, 2 September 2011

Summer to Fall

Today is a warm and sticky grey day. Then it is going to get chilly. The season is changing and fall is coming sometime. I thought about going apple picking this weekend, but it seems early. I love summer. And summer nights sitting by the water, talking with friends, seeing how they are, and being. The sun goes down, lots of people are around, the sailboats are in the water, idyllic really. Yesterday, I went to my first Badger football game. So many people, all wearing red and flooding into the stadium. What an experience! As each season changes, I usually reflect on what the season was and what is coming next. I don't know what fall will bring. Apple picking. Running in cooler weather. Also I have a new life group starting. It was so fun to get to meet them last week. I love a new group of people, getting to know them, seeing how they react to each other, who befriends whom, what thoughts they have, who they are, and what the personality of the group will be. The new-ness when there is a group of individuals who don't know each other, and yet in a short time, there will be a dynamic to the group. After we got the group, we sat on a half circle patch of carpet to chat. I asked everyone to stare the super hero power that they would have if they could have one. Always a fun question. The carpet was like our little island, or boat in the sea of tile to hang out on for a few minutes. It is great to get to be the person to get everyone talking, what an honor and thrill. We shall see what the group is like and where it goes. What shall the season bring? I have a while to see, as fall comes at the end of the month.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Helping Out

I believe that people at their core are good. And I have gotten to see examples of that lately. There have been a few times where people have gone out of their way to help others. These have been kind of extreme examples, but beautiful none the less.

The first one was when I was playing tennis with a friend. This was the first time that I have played in years, and my tennis "career" was a semester of tennis class in college. But there we were on a nice sunny morning playing. It was going pretty well, meaning that I missed less shots than I thought I would. One volley didn't end well though. My friend ran to hit the ball, fell and dislocated his shoulder. (poor guy) The nice part about the situation was that there were three different people who walked over to us to make sure that we were okay, and one even offered her car if we didn't have one and needed to go to the hospital.

The second scenario happened at the Tough Mudder, a hard core 10 mile crazy difficult obstacle course. A man was running through hanging electrical wires and over mud and hay. He fell and was in pain on the ground. His family ran back to him (some had finished the obstacle) or stopped if they were with him. They all then knelt in the mud beside him. It was a pretty picture of caring well for someone. There they are soaking in the mud.

Now I am not saying that it was good that either of those people got hurt, but there was a beauty and grace to how people around reacted.

As others ran through the same obstacle on the Tough Mudder course, lots of people stood by and cheered, yelling encouragements if they were getting up out of the mud. It was powerful.

On the way home, we rode on the ferry. We did not fit on the first ferry. The second ferry came and we almost made it on. We had pulled up to get on, but then had to back up once realizing that it was full. A man came up to our window and told us that he had saved us a spot in the front of his lane if we needed to back up into it. Nice.

These moments of kindness and people looking out for each other do happen. I hope that they happen often. I was struck by them lately and took notice.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

More Greatness

Last week, I drove to Chicago and spent a lovely day there. It started with a breakfast with a friend. Then a fabulous run by the lake. I ran north along the water and got to a marina. There I stopped and looked back through the sailboats at the skyline. AMAZING! So pretty and amazing! Then I go a sandwich and headed to read at the beach. I ended the day with dinner with a different dear friend. What a great day.

This morning on my run, I watched as the crossing guard waved at all of the cars that drove by. Then he waved at me as I ran by. (don't worry, I wasn't crossing the street) How nice. I am curious how many of the people that he waved at he actually knew. How many of them drive by him at the same time each day? Or are they neighbors of his, as he probably lives close to the school?

These past few days have been so hot that you feel as though you are melting when walking outside. AH. Makes for a very good sticky run though, like you have really worked out. And gives the only legit excuse for being inside on such a pretty day. It is too hot to be out for long.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Nice Days

This week, I went on my boat. It was a perfect day for it. No wind, nice calm water as I paddled and floated. Then I got to go and spend time watching fireworks with good friends. On Tuesday, I had a perfect day too. I went with a friend to Devil's Lake, a beautifully rock cliff surrounded lake. I got to hike, swim, lay in the sun, eat good food, and read. Amazing. And I had a VW Beetle as a loaner car and a new cd for the drive. Good stuff and great time with friends!

Wednesday was a concert on the square. I rode a bike down to the Capitol where everyone picnics on the lawn and listens to the music. The lawn is always packed with people and their variety of picnics. One group I saw had to have been about 12 people in a really big circle with their food and wine in the middle. The couple next to us was playing Farkle.

Thursday, I got to see Ray Lamontagne at the Overture Center. I had never been there before. Beautiful space. And we sat in the very top row. The acoustics were incredible! His voice is soooo gooood.

Yesterday I had 2 soccer games to play in in the evening, with no girl subs for most of it! Sadly, we lost both games. But it is great to get to play outside.

Today I tried to go out on my boat again, but it was too windy. I was out on the water for a very short time. My boat is so light (that's what happens with an inflatable one) that the current and wind really carry it. It is funny to carry the boat normally, and extra awkward when the wind blows it. I carry it with one side of it propped on my shoulder and holding onto the handle. The wind kept catching it and making me stop as I had trouble walking forward into the wind. I abandoned the boat idea quickly today, took it home, and went to sit and read at the little beach by the zoo. A lovely afternoon.

A full week of a lot of goodness, and sweet summerlike times.

Friday, 10 June 2011


The sun finally came out. Today it is hiding again. Quite a shy sun this year so far.

Monday was my birthday. Welcome to 28 me. Some friends and I went to Lazy Jane's for breakfast. Yum! It is a great place, one where the furniture is mis-matched, as are the dishes. You order at the counter, walk away with your coffee and scone, and wait for them to call your name for the order. They shouted "Happy Birthday Chelsea" when the food was done. Fun! And a blessing that I had friends who could make a Monday morning breakfast.

I spent time in the sun that day too. Read a book. What a good relaxation.

That evening, I had people over to drink sangria and hang out on our back porch. I want shopping at Trader Joe's before that to get the supplies. The man ringing out my order asked me what I was up to that day. I told him it was my birthday and what I had been up to. He walked away. When he came back, he had flowers! Could I love Trader Joe's any more?

When I started this blog, I named it "Adventures of Chels" because I was going to conquer the world. Life has been more reality than that in the last few years though. I feel like I have grown up a lot in Madison: learned to pay bills, make decisions about where to live, what paths to pursue at work, what to give time to, where to give money and how to deal with things that don't go my way. Not easy. There are a lot of moments that are so normal, some good small moments, some great, and some difficult. Life is a grand adventure always, just not always in any dramatic way.

I learned last week that I have been anemic. That is great news actually. I have been weak and frustrated by that for a long time. The most frustrating part was running slowly. I crept along, it was terrible. My body felt really heavy and just wouldn't move. I look forward to feeling well. It is strange how there can be something in life that is not right. And then it gets a little worse, and then a little worse, gradually though, so you almost don't notice it changing. A few days into taking iron pills, I felt a bit better. (not all the way, but noticeable) I drove home Sunday evening, singing loudly and feeling supremely happy and hopeful. So here's to the sun coming back, and me getting back to myself too.....

Sunday, 24 April 2011


I got to go away to Albuquerque and see family. And I got to see sunshine! This winter was too long and cold. So getting away was great. And seeing family does not happen enough, so is always a joy.

We hiked up a mountain to go into the hot springs. Funny that you walk through the woods for a while and then have a soak in the hot springs. Right in the middle of the woods!

Now I'm back in Madison and it's Easter. The day Jesus defeated death and brought hope once and for all. Oh happy day! Even better than the winter being over and the sun shining.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Grown Up Choices

There are times when I wish there was a magic decision maker. Something or someone that you would just hand your life and decisions to, and they would sort it out and hand it back and everything would always turn out, and all annoying details would be sorted out. Also, the magic would make it so that if you were buying something, instantly you understood the pros and cons, you got the best price, and whatever you bought never broke. Would be nice.

Sometimes, I think like there is a cosmic right answer when really there is not. Other times, there are details to deal with in making a decision that I would rather not have to contend with.

The joys of being a grown up. Groan.

There is praying about decisions and praying about life and that helps and is important, but part of what is good for us is probably learning to sort all of the dumb details, paying attention, and researching. And there are times in life, lots of them when there is not a right or wrong answer, some better than others, some clearly wrong, and most somewhere in the middle. So you pray, you listen, you talk to other people, and think. And then let go and hope for the best. This is an important step. Dwelling on a past decision does no good. It is not helpful. Reflect and move on. Live in the now. And there will be a new decision coming your way anyways.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Productivity and Creativity

I have been doing great lately getting projects done that I have wanted to do for ages. These canvas were purchased 3 years ago. And not they are done! And I will have more to hang on the wall in my room, the poor blank walls.

When I went to the store to get the paint though, I feel in love. An art shop! I haven't been in one in a while. All of the great things, unlimited projects just waiting. Aisles of paints, markers, brushes, papers, etc. Amazing! Canvas were on sale, so now I have more. So much for being done.

Creativity is so good. What a nice release. It is a good time in life of experimentation, of doing something, and not really knowing what the outcome will be. Taking things a step at a time, and then going from there. And yes, at any point it could get really messed up and ruined, so there is a little bit of a fear of that. But mostly there is a curiosity. What is going to happen next? What will be the outcome? What needs to be added? When is it done? Being creative is good time with God too, as ultimate creator. It is neat to get to create too.

This time of not knowing the outcome, but seeing it unfold one step at a time, could teach me about having patience in life. What if life is more like creating a painting? Taking things one step at a time. Waiting with excitement as it forms. Changing plans or tact if it gets messed up. Ultimately, having a good time and being present in it. Of course when you are creating, there is some thought of what the outcome will look like, a rough plan, but the plan is flexible and changing. It usually doesn't look exactly like it did in your head. But it is real, it is done, it is something that you got to be a part of. And sometimes it's even better than the original plan. Life as creativity, I like it.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Moving On

Spring is a good time of moving on, of knowing that the winter is over, that there will be sun and warmth soon. I love the first glimpses of Spring, the melting of snow, the sun reflecting in the puddles, and the feeling that everything will be okay. In the spring, there is nothing but possibilities. I love that. Possibilities and new beginnings. (and the knowledge that you survived winter again, hooray!)

For me this year, it is a time of sorting out what to do next. I didn't get the job that I wanted that seemed so perfect for me. It wasn't, or I wasn't perfect for it, or now is not the time for it. In any of these instances, Spring is a time for dreaming big for something else.. Oh new beginnings....

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Sewing and Dinner

I got to call my Grammy this week. I was going to sew pillows (the front one in the picture) and I needed to know how to change the tension on the machine or what the tension should be in the first place. Yay for Grammy! We used to have sewing days where we would buy a pattern that was supposed to take an hour to make, and spend the whole day together working on it. I loved those days! And I love that she is so good at it that I can ask over the phone where things are and what the settings should be and she can talk me through it. Fantastic! We each have those things that we are so versed in, that you can see it in your head and explain the picture in a way that the person who is in front of said object can work with it. Neat.

The pillows have been on my list of things to do for three years now. And they are done! Hooray. I am checking off my list of crafty things that I have been building for years. Time to get them done!

And I got to have people over for dinner, something that I love to do! I turned on loud music, and had such a good time worshipfully preparing the food. Good God moments. Precious. And when the people came and ate the food, they enjoyed it too, which is excellent. Making food and having a bunch of people over is definitely the kind of experience that gives me a lot of life, you know those times when you are doing something that it feels like you were meant to do. I love cooking when you are planning what to make, then making a mess of the kitchen as the preparations start, and thinking through the timing of everything, and praying that things (food, people enjoying and talking) will turn out. And I love people sitting around a table, enjoying. It is temporary and experiential art, and I love it! I had help too in the set up, and other people did the dishes in the cleaning up. Wow. Good times.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Wait

There are times in life when there is nothing that you can do but wait, like in the instance of applying for a job. The application is turned in, and the wait has begun. I feel good about it though, I feel like I gave a good effort. So we shall see.

Now is another raining slushy day to relax, to paint my nails, have lunch with a friend, and go to church. I took a walk in the slush today and am convinced that I will always be a person who is perpetually the little kid that really just wants to jump in the puddles with valiant splashing. My boots are waterproof, so though I did not fully engage in splashing, I did walk through all of the biggest puddles.

An interesting quote that I found today says, "Your outlook on life is a direct reflection of how much you like yourself." I think there could be truth in that, as if you love and accept yourself and see the image of God within you, you are more apt to be loving and accepting of others. Thoughts?

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Productivity in the Rain

Today is a rainy, feels like Spring kind of a day. I set off to a coffee shop, armed with my computer, this morning with goals of productivity. Instead of starting on my projects right away, I read the paper. (the parts talking about the happenings in government in Wisconsin now. Also, I learned that Borders is closing a third of their stores) Then I ordered some new boots, talked to my sister, searched for flights to Albuquerque to see her, perused Facebook, emailed people, looked at different eyeglasses online, (maybe I'd like some brown, responsible looking ones) and looked over the new 24-7 Prayer American website. Whoa distraction!

Then I got to work, serenaded by Pandora radio of course. My Joe Purdy station and Mumford and Sons station too.

And things went well. I am having another chance in life to apply for a traveling job, to take a risk in trying to get something that I want. The job would be great and difficult too. As always, risks and applying for things and putting yourself out there, are good opportunities for growth. There is potential to shine brightly and be noticed and there is potential for it not to work out. What a thrill.

A few years ago, I would have have said things in this way. The rejection that could be associated with the possibility of not getting it would have crippled my efforts in application. God is good in teaching me about risk and joy and how this can be a thrill. Plus in putting yourself out, you get to see others opinions and be encouraged or challenged by that. Neat.

Friday, 7 January 2011

A Little Small Town

Yesterday, I walked to the little pharmacy on the corner in order to get some sticky tack. (I hung Hipstamatic photos on the wall, hooray!)

When I got home from my pharmacy and Trader Joe's shopping trip, I looked in my purse where the sticky tack was supposed to be. Alas, it was not there.

So I walked back to the pharmacy to see if I had left it on the counter. Sure enough, there it was sitting off the the side with the note attached. (written in cursive!) I think this is great.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Growing Roots

I have been in Madison for three years now. Whoa. That is a long time. But not at the same time. The thing that happens the longer you stay, so I have found, is that you grow more roots. And really this is a good thing. More friends, more favorite spots, more moments with God, more experiences, favorite running routes, and repeating experiences, building mini traditions. These are good things.

But I get scared. All of these good things, and the growing of roots, would make it harder to move away. But the thing of it is, I don't know for sure that I will move, nor is it worth worrying about now and putting a damper on the here and now.

So time to just live, and be and see what happens. Time to continue relationships and build new ones. To run in my favorite spots and explore other ones. To go to concerts, to have gatherings, to get to know people more and more. And the future will come when it comes and bring with it things that I don't need to know right now.