Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Flying into Skylights

Last week I encountered a dragonfly trying to fly through a skylight. We've all seen something similar: an insect or animal trapped by a devious, clear obstacle even though there is a seemingly obvious way to escape. In this case, the skylight is part of the roof over our apartment building's outdoor stairway. The dragonfly needed only to fly down the short roof line and she would've been free to go wherever she wanted. However, upon returning from some errands, I noticed she had lost her battle and was now lifelessly staring out the skylight. For some reason, this everyday event stuck with me, so for those of you still reading this, be prepared for a little soul searching.

We, as logical, intelligent, perspective-claiming human beings, see this dragonfly and wonder why she keeps flying full force into the window instead of navigating herself toward freedom, but I wonder how often we are the ones doing the futile flying. We see what we think we want and we move to fulfill that desire by the shortest route possible. Yet we fail, time and time again. We either can't see or refuse to admit that we may have to fly down to fly up. We either can't trust or refuse to let go to let the One with eternal perspective guide us toward true freedom.

Last week I met with my second temp agency in hope of ending my season of unemployment. Inevitably, as is their responsibility, they asked me the question I've dreaded answering for the last four years: "So what is it you'd like to do?" By this time, I have decent answer to give; however, it is still far easier to explain what I do not want to do:
1. I do not want to work in a call center. (Sorry, Nate. Your skills surpass mine. :-)
2. I do not want to waste the talents I've been given.
3. I do not want to be that dragonfly.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Proud Introduction

Coming in at 7 lbs. 4.9 oz and standing a whopping 18.5 inches tall, please give it up for my practically perfect niece, Miss Lydia Sue!

Her peaceful beauty is currently stealing the hearts of family and friends across the country, but don't be fooled! This precious little one loves exploring how her facial muscles work and surprising herself with the adorable coos and cries she is able to produce.

At three days old, she is highly skilled in nuzzling, eating, sleeping, making her parents giggle at the end result of her eating, and causing hearts to melt. She loves to be held close and is most comfortable with her tiny, wrinkly hands touching her face.

Her parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunt are all completely enthralled--so much so that they are completely unable to contain the kind of consuming excitement and pride that may prompt a slightly ridiculous, albeit completely genuine blog post.

Love you, my lovely, little Lydia. We can't wait to see you again!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Lovely Labor Day Weekend

Happy Labor Day! For the first time in 8 years, I haven't had some type of sport practice (Thank you, high school volleyball and college golf), for the first time in four years, I haven't been in class on Labor Day (Thank you, Northwestern), and for the first time in two years, I haven't had to say goodbye to Nate (Thank you, long-distance relationship)! While it would have been even sweeter if I could have a job to take a break from, it was wonderful nonetheless.

On Friday night, we went to an I-Cubs game with two couples we've been getting to know from our church. The weekend started off on the right foot with a Cubs win, fireworks, sharing ice cream cake at our place afterward followed by a lively board game.

We're accumulating quite a few of ballpark pictures...I'm a fan

Good game, good company, and a good I-Cubs win

Saturday was the official start of the college football season, a day we celebrated by sleeping in and lazily making our way to the living room to watch the games. Nate bravely battled the antenna in order watch his beloved Wolverines on ABC. After a solid 20 minutes and a slightly torn up living room, we were getting ABC with only the occasional glitch. However, he lost the war when ABC chose to broadcast the K-State game instead. He settled for keeping an eye on the Game Cast and the Michigan win. (Unfortunately, my Hawkeyes were on the Big 10 Network, but I'll take our win, too.)

We also have officially been married for 2 months, which means another piece of wedding cake! Friday was technically the 3rd, but who's counting.

For the few that care, I am wearing an Iowa shirt to properly balance this picture. :-)

On Sunday, my parents came down to join us for church, lunch, and a bike ride to celebrate the beautiful weather. On Monday, Nate's parents came down to see us, as well! They brought a few odds and ends including our coffee table and grill (which Nate is very excited about).

Other weekend highlights:
- The start of crisp, fall weather which translates into not running the a/c and sleeping in a cool apartment
- Both of us feeling like mildly proficient and cost-effective grocery shoppers after capitalizing on some "hot deals"
- No going into labor on Labor Day, as hoped, but our niece should be here soon!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

a tribute

Last Tuesday I went home to both mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Clint McMartin. Though it seems there are no words to describe this loss, it still seems most worthy of words.

I've written poems and personal narratives, newspaper features and numerous research papers. I've written monologues, debate arguments, restaurant reviews and writing critiques. I've written reflections and ridiculously corny rhymes, but I don't know how to write this.

I don't know how to clearly communicate what it means to lose a man that I admittedly did not know well, but knew well enough to know he was one of the good guys. I don't know how to persuade you to believe that Clint had a God-given talent of teaching and coaching and that he was using his gifts to do great things. I can't tell you the story of all the young men and women in whose lives he made a difference, though I can tell you my brother is a better man for being Clint's friend. I don't know how to express that while I still can't help but think this whole situation is wildly unfair, I am still in awe of how God is using this to His glory. I don't know how to write a tribute, so I'll settle for another form of writing with which I'm familiar: a thank you note.

Thank you, Clint, for living a life that so clearly expressed the love you had for your Savior, your family, and those around you.

Thank you, McMartin family, for handling this tragedy with grace and for using your loss as an opportunity to share your faith with the many who mourn with you.

Thank you, Father, for being sovereign over us all and for giving us Your comfort and peace despite the confusing and painful nature of Clint's death. Thank you for the promise that for those who believe, this is not the end, but only the beginning.

Isaiah 55:8-11
'For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,'
declares the LORD.
'As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.'

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Quick Update and the Weekend Run-Down

Now the key to blogging is to keep writing...and I've slipped up a bit in that department! But I'll try to remedy this. The newest Summers household has been settling into a routine which is a welcome change of pace after so many changes in the last few months. Nate is staying busy in Marketer Services (aka job security!), and I'm getting more and more used to not having him around for the majority of the day. I keep sending out applications and going to the occasional interview, so something has to show up soon...right? ;-) God has been very good in giving me a certain amount of peace throughout the last few weeks. I'm still not a huge fan of sitting still, but it's getting better. In fact, while there is still a longer list of things I will NOT miss, I have figured out a list of things that I WILL miss after I'm employed. Here's a little taste:
1. Being completely rested
2. Writing contemplatively whenever I'd like
3. Wearing gym shorts
4. Going to a movie with a friend at 11:25 a.m. and only paying $6 because it's the first showing of the day (Who knew?)
5. Being able to say "Yes, I'm free" whenever someone asks if I'm available to do something

Other than the job situation, we've been enjoying our time at home. For the last 2 years or so, one of us (usually Nate, bless him) would make a weekend trip to visit the other every 2-4 weeks. The visits were wonderful, but the travelling took its toll. Now we've been able to spend the majority or all of the last 4 weekends at home, and we're loving it! We're in a wonderful place to begin our marriage as we're still close to family and have many friends, old and new, that we're able to see on a regular basis. What a blessing!

Case in point, last weekend. On Friday, we went miniature golfing with Rachael and Scott, a lovely friend from my days of NW Women's Golf and her husband. All four of us took the competition very seriously (please insert a mental picture of all of us reading our putts...I didn't bring my camera). Although our friendly competition may have held up the other putt-putt golfers, we had a great time with it. On Saturday we met up with my parents for lunch to celebrate my birthday, and the celebration continued that night with Jeff and Chelsea, another fabulous Northwestern couple with whom Nate and I are close. We had them over for dinner and a rousing game of Bananagrams. (For those gamers out there, you must check this out. It may just be my new favorite.) Sunday was filled with church, relaxation, and again meeting with friends for an outdoor concert and fireworks at the mall. All of this activity made it a little difficult to return to the work routine on Monday, but we still see it as well worth it.

I'll be sure to bring my camera on our upcoming adventures which will include meeting our niece! Hopefully she chooses to make her appearance soon. Be blessed this week!