Our trip to Chicago!

We had been planning this trip for over a year now. Kurtis’ best friend is studying for his Ph. D.  at Northwestern University, and he invited us to visit him in Chicago.  We were really excited to go visit ‘the windy city’! There were so many things to do and to see there! Unfortunately, I got sick and we had to cut our trip short, but despite that, I had a really awesome time.

                                                                             

We left for Chicago right after I got off of work on Tuesday. For some crazy reason, my husband decided it was a better option to drive to Chicago instead of just flying. The cost of fuel was infinitely cheaper than buying two air plane tickets. And hey, who doesn’t love a good road trip?  With that being said, I slept through most of the drive. I fell asleep in Tennessee and woke up in Indiana. I really didn’t enjoy our time in Indiana. Not even five minutes after we crossed the Missouri River my husband said, “Welcome to the north, my dear” and I kid you not we hit a pot hole immediately after. Yeah, just not impressed with the roads there. Although, waking up to the sun rising in the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm was absolutely breathtaking.

Whelp, after our twelve hour drive we finally arrived to our destination! Our first few days there were pretty laid back. We spent the first couple of days sleeping in and relaxing in Evanston. We explored a few restaurants nearby and visited Lake Michigan and relaxed on the beach there for a while. It was really nice, a bit windy, but very relaxing.

I absolutely loved visiting The Art Institute of Chicago! I was finally able to see so many of the paintings I learned about in school in person! It was great! That was a perfect way to spend a rainy day!  I caught  a quick picture of Kurtis and Andy talking about a piece of art.  It was nice seeing these guys hanging out with each other again. I know Kurtis missed it, but I think Andy did too.

After our visit to the museum we did a little shopping and went to Coach Dicka’s for dinner. Da Coach did not disappoint! After dinner we explored a little more of the Majestic Mile. Chicago was still absolutely beautiful in the fog! This is probably my favorite photo from our trip:

On Sunday, we attended mass at Saint John Cantius Church. Yep, while we were in Chicago we visited one of the many traditional polish parishes. That Church was beautiful! We went to confession and attended their 12:30 Latin mass.

 

To be honest, I was a bit nervous to go to confession because it had been a good month since my last confession, but I’m really glad I went. The priest gave a lot of helpful advice. This statue stands outside of the confessional booth at the Church. It was just so moving to me to see :)

While we were in town, Kurtis, me, and Andy had planned to see a Cubs game, but unfortunately, it rained out. They barely missed the crazy bar crowds after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup! I am glad they got home safely. I had stayed home because I really was not feeling well. Good thing I did, it was poring rain! Luckily, Kurtis and Andy were able to catch the game the following day. They both had so much fun. All Kurtis could talk about was how great it was to catch a game with Andy, even though the Cubs lost and Andy never let him live it down. In an attempt to convert me to being a Cubs fan, my husband bought me a Cubs baseball cap and cardigan. I guess I will consider being a fan…

Closer towards the end of our trip we explored China Town and Museum Park. China Town was one of the few places in Chicago where I felt like I could blend in (being Asian and all). I enjoyed my time there. It was kind of miserable being sick in a city I didn’t know very well. Museum Park was so beautiful! We went on a day it actually wasn’t rainy! Unfortunately, I started feeling worse and I didn’t get to spend a lot of time there. Instead I spent a few days in bed and Andy and Kurtis watched something called E3 and had a great time. Boys and their video games!

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We took a break from sight seeing for a few days so I could go to the doctors. During my doctors visit we were advised to should cut our trip short and see a specialist. I really wish my immune system could get it together. So, yes, our trip to Chicago came to a brief end. It was sad to leave, but I knew then we would have to come back again soon (so long as Andy will have us), at least so my husband could see Andy…and I could see the museums!

Because He Lives (Amen)

Because He Lives (Amen)
By: Matt Maher
I believe in the Son
I believe in the risen One
I believe I overcome
By the power of His bloodAmen, Amen
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Amen, Amen
Let my song join the one that never ends
Because He livesI was dead in the grave
I was covered in sin and shame
I heard mercy call my name
He rolled the stone away

Amen, Amen
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Amen, Amen
Let my song join the one that never ends

Because He lives
I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
Every fear is gone
I know He holds my life my future in His hands

Amen, Amen
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Amen, Amen
Let my song join the one that never ends

Amen, Amen
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Amen, Amen
Let my song join the one that never ends
Because He lives
Because He lives

Sigh No More

“Sigh No More”
By: Mumford and Sons

Serve God, love me and mend
This is not the end
Lived unbruised, we are friends
And I’m sorry
I’m sorry

Sigh no more, no more
One foot in sea, one on shore
My heart was never pure
You know me
You know me

But man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing

Love; it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be

There is a design, an alignment to cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be

Love; it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be

There is a design, an alignment to cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be

Love; it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be

And there is a design, an alignment to cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be

A Converts Tale

Thinking about it, this story is a hard one for me  to tell because I have to acknowledge many of my own personal faults from my past. I can honestly say, growing up Seventh-Day Adventist, I never would have imagined converting to the Catholic faith. The thought just never crossed my mind. Faith has always been an important part of my life. Growing up, my father was a deacon in the church, I attended the church school, and  I was there every Friday evening for vespers and Saturday morning  for church. I was volunteered to teach VBS and Sabbath school on and off in high school. It wasn’t until my teenage years I began to feel very stagnant in my faith. This is something I would wrestle with for years.

"Journeys end in lovers meeting." —William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

“Journeys end in lovers meeting.”
—William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

My early interactions with the Catholic Church were limited. Looking back, I can only remember visiting Sacred Heart about five times prior to converting. I  attended Midnight Mass on occasion in high school with one of my friends, but other than that, I had limited contact with the Catholic faith. I guess my actual journey didn’t begin until I met my husband. I first met my husband a few days after my 17th birthday. It was my last semester of my junior year in high school.  I remember not wanting to be in Sociology, but somehow my friend, Greg, managed to convince me to take the class with him. That morning I walked into the classroom and sat behind Greg. It was a cold morning and me being the not morning person that I am put my head down on my desk with the intention of keeping it there until class started, but apparently God had another plan. It was just us sitting in the room and all of a sudden I hear Greg greeting someone.  I lift my head up for a second and see this dorky looking guy walking in with his black cross shoulder book bag, ACDC t-shirt, and jeans. I still remember the first thing he said to me, well, at me. He leaned over to Greg and said, “Is she always this quite?” And I responded,”No, I’m just really tired.” It took a few more interactions with him before Kurtis and I actually became friends.

My husband always flirted with the idea of joining the Catholic faith. A few months after we started dating, Kurtis began going to go to church with me on Saturdays, and after about a year, he converted to the Adventist faith. I was ecstatic at the time, but that was short lived. Everything changed in the summer of 2010. My father passed away and Kurtis was preparing to leave for Emory. I had a very difficult time handling my father’s death and dealing with Kurtis leaving for Atlanta. It just felt like I was loosing  everything. I remember wrestling with the feelings of just wanting time to stop, but understanding that that just wasn’t possible. Letting memories from the past flow and just learning to move on was an extremely difficult lesson for me to learn. Soon after Kurtis left for Emory we fought constantly and our disagreements regarding faith was front and center. 

My first Cat'lic Club trip to  St. Bernard Abbey!

My first Cat’lic Club trip to St. Bernard Abbey!

When Kurtis arrived in Atlanta, he began meeting with the campus priest at Emory and slowly began diving back into Catholicism. At the time I just could not fathom why he would ever want to convert to the Catholic faith. After a year of fighting  a decision was made.  He asked that I either join him in at least learning more about  Catholicism  or we were just going to call our relationship quits and both just move on. Learning to let go of the past and just diving into the unknown was where my faith journey began. I was actually starting to become more active in my faith again and my joy was slowly returning. It was the first time in years when I didn’t feel spiritually stuck behind a wall. It’s been a freeing experience in so many different ways.

In August 2011, I moved up to Atlanta to finish school at Oglethorpe University. This is when I really began to get active in the Catholic faith. It was during my time at OU Kurtis and I started RCIA at Our Lady of the Assumption. I first heard of OLA during the university club fair.  At the activities fair I ran into the OLA Youth Minister, Anne.  Looking back, I never realized how much of a blessing it was to run into her that day. I never knew that same youth minister would be my sponsor at my confirmation, play such a huge role in solidifying my decision in joining the Catholic faith, and even get me involved in youth ministry. This is just scratching the surface. Words truly cannot describe how much I’ve grown to love her.  

Me and my godmother after confirmation!

Me and my godmother after confirmation!

Halfway through RCIA I was really on the fence about joining the Church. It wasn’t until Anne took me on a retreat to a Benedictine monastery that solidified my decision.  It was amazing getting to talk with the monks about faith and seeing their faith in action. Saint Bernard Abbey still holds a special place in my heart. Being an oblate, its nice knowing that I can always talk to my ‘big’ brothers about anything. They’re pretty awesome role models to have.

Well, Easter Sunday came and the rest is history! I’ve learned a lot the past few years. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that joy is never truly lost. It just takes many different forms throughout our lives. Joy is like a star, at times it may seem like a shadow of a distant memory, but that isn’t always the case. I like to think of joy to be always constant, but ever changing. You just have to find time to look for it. My conversion isn’t a miraculous tale of encountering angels, great miracles of healing,  or any other vision from Heaven. It’s a story about encountering God in the ordinary. 

Holy Saturday Meditation

By: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

“We have all, at some point, felt the frightening sensation of abandonment… what we fear most about death, just as when we were children we were afraid to be alone in the dark and could only be reassured by the presence of a person who loved us. …This is exactly what happened on Holy Saturday: the voice of God resounded in the realm of death. The unimaginable occurred: namely, Love penetrated ‘hell.’ Even in the extreme darkness of the most absolute human loneliness we may hear a voice that calls us and find a hand that takes ours and leads us out. Human beings live because they are loved and can love; and if love penetrated even the realm of death, then life also reached even there. In the hour of supreme solitude we shall never be alone: Passio Christi. Passio hominis. (Passion of Christ. Passion of man).