Posted in Inspiration, lent, travel

Be Satisfied with Me

Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone,
to have a deep soul relationship with another,
to be loved thoroughly and exclusively,

But to a Christian, God says, “No, not until you are satisfied,
fulfilled and content with being loved by Me alone,
with giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me.
With having an intensely personal and unique relationship with Me alone.

Discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found,
will you be capable of the perfect human relationship,
that I have planned for you.
you will never be united to another
until you are united with Me.
Exclusive of anyone or anything else.
Exclusive of any other desires or longings.
I want you to stop planning, to stop wishing, and allow Me to give you
the most thrilling plan in existing… one you cannot imagine.
I want you to have the best. Please allow Me to bring it to you.

You keep watching Me, expecting the greatest things.
Keep experiencing the satisfaction that I am.
Keep listening and learning the things that I tell you.
Just wait, that’s all. Don’t be anxious, don’t worry
don’t look around at the things others have gotten
or that I have given them.
Don’t look around at the things you want,
just keep looking off and away up to Me,
or you’ll miss what I want to show you.

And then, when you’re ready, I’ll surprise you with a love
far more wonderful than you could dream of.
You see, until you are ready, and until the one I have for you is ready,
I am working even at this moment
to have both of you ready at the same time.
Until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me
and the life I prepared for you,
you won’t be able to experience the love that exemplified your relationship with Me.
And this is perfect love.

And dear one, I want you to have this most wonderful love,
I want you to see in the flesh a picture of your relationship with Me.
And to enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting union of beauty,
perfection and love that I offer you with Myself.
Know that I love you utterly. I AM God.
Believe it and be satisfied.

By: St. Anthony of Padua

Posted in travel


Man, I love Chicago. I love the skyline. I love the shopping. I love the overall character of the city. To be honest, I was very hesitant to make the trip back to the Windy City. The last time we had traveled to Chicago I had a sinus infection so bad we had to cut our tip short. It was horrible!  I kept getting bad motion sickness and nausea. I couldn’t breathe through my nose, and I completely lost my sense of taste by the end of the trip. The doctor I went to in Chicago prescribed a super strong antibiotic. It was that bad. Yeah, with that picture in mind, it’s easy to understand why I was so hesitant to return.

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The drive from Atlanta to Chicago was much easier this time around. Luckily, we carpooled with a friend and her sister, and we were able to break up the driving times. My favorite part of the drive is this section of road about thirty minutes outside of Chicago. I love driving through the wind farm – it is a beautiful sight to see when the sun is rising. That was one of my original highlights from the first trip. This journey was so different from the last; even the tollrode people were much nicer this time around.


Our friend, Andy, hosted us during our stay in Chicago. His apartment is right on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The sunsets over the lake we breathtaking! We explored the neighboring areas and as the days progressed we hit the basic Chicago highlights. We went to Giordanos to got a deep dish pizza. It was pretty good, but I’m just not a fan on deep dish. It’s just too much bread for me. We explored along the shore of Lake Michigan and found a restaurant along the shoreline. It was nice sitting on the wooden beach chairs and eating Chicago dogs and crepes.

Our anniversary: Navy Pier

Our third year wedding anniversary fell during our two week stay. So, we spent the day at Navy Pier. I really loved the pier, but it was way too touristy; although, it did have a beautiful view of the Chicago skyline. The pier has a plethora of restaurants, ferriswheel rides, an inside water garden, and the swing rides that spin you in the air. It was fun seeing the city from a different perspective.


Exploring the  Magnificant Mile

The magnificicant mile is the most ridiculous shopping area I’ve ever experienced. Several big companies like Burberry and Gucci have their flagship stores there. I’ve discovered new designers I’ve never heard of before and discovered new clothing brands. I feel pretty late to the party, but I really like this store called UniQulo. It’s a Japanese company, and it brings Asian fashion to the US. The clothes are really well made, but the clothes run small. I know I had to size up one on everything.

Another cool thing about this store is that it has a Starbucks on the top floor. I could see my husband’s eyes gloss over in sheer boredom when we walked in there, but when he saw there was a “retreat” up stairs he was gone in a flash, haha!


Skokie and Jollibee

Our day in Skokie was a solem one. We visited the Holocaust Memorial Museaum. It reminded me of why that was my concentration in history. My primary focus was on the treatment of the disabled during the holocaust and the programs that developed from that. It’s rather grim, but it is a memory that needs to be preserved. On a happier note…

I finally got to try Jollibee! Jollibee is a big restaurant chain from the Philippines. I was so excited to be there! It was the only place in Chicago where I wasn’t the only obvious Filipino. It was great having the chance to blend in for a while. Honestly, was one of my favorite highlights from the trip. When we arrived back to Andy’s place, my husband received a very unexpected phone call.


The Field Museum

This was the big day we’d been waiting for. Kurtis had to fly to TN for a job interview, and I stayed behind in Chicago with Andy. We ate Chick-fil-a and then we explored the Field Museum. It’s crazy to imagine that we barely scratched the surface of what the museaum had to offer. I could spend a week there just slowly moving through the exhibit. My favorite part was when we were walking through the gift shop and I stumbled across the museaum house brew beer they named after the dinosaurs.


After we gathered my husband, we were very excited to pay homage to wrigleyville and see where the Cubs play baseball. We ate at a really awesome vegetarian restaurant. Those vegan milkshakes were the best things I’ve ever had! Overall, we had a wonderful time and I’m so happy I didn’t get sick, lol! I can’t wait until my next adventure to the Windy City!

Posted in travel

Just be Israeli

It was probably the hottest day of the summer. The air was so humid and dense it felt like summertime back home. Inspite the weather, the Dizengoff Shopping Center was buzzing with life. I could hear the voices of my husband and our friend Yaron behind me. They were talking about work, but the only thing I could focus on was the elderly man with a grey beard dressed in all black and adorned with curly sideburns rollerblading down Yaffo holding a yellow flag emblazed with a blue crown! Noticing my bewilderment, Yaron paused from his conversation and said, “He’s a rabbi and he’s holding a Chabad messianist flag.”  It turns out, that the man was part of a Jewish Hassidic movement to warn others about the return of the Mashiach.

A few blocks later, I snapped back into the world again when I heard my husband ask our friend, “how are you able to live as if nothing happened? There was a terrorist attack two weeks before just blocks from here. This was the third incident in the past month!” Yaron smiled and said “just be Israeli.”


It had been nearly two months sense my husband and I arrived in Israel. My husband was preoccupied with clerking for the Supreme Court, leaving me plenty of time to explore and worry about the news. While I explored the Old City and the holy sites, the constant threat of attack all around only ever seemed to bother us visitors. Living in a country where you’re surrounded by its enemies on all sides is difficult to describe. Hezbollah is to the North and Hamas to the South. Within, Israel is rife with the religious tension that permeates throughout the entire country. Yet, it was that simple piece of advice, “just be Israeli,” that made the last month of the trip the best we had and spending my time chasing the meaning of that advice taught me more about Israel and its people then all the guidebooks, tours, and exploration combined. What it means to be Israeli is to be yourself, fight by persevering and by existing in the face of adversity, and finding your roots so nothing can take you away from them. It means growth both upwards and inwards.

For me, that growth came in several different ways. This growth was difficult and came with its own set of pains and challenges. The language barrier was always a constant issue and never knowing exactly which parts of the city was safe occurred often. The culture is far more aggressive than I’m used too. The atmosphere in the Mahane Yehuda Market or the Shuk is a good example. The Shuk is a huge open air market filled with a variety of colorful spices, dried fruits, kosher meats, and restaurants. The Shuk is a busy bustling place filled with vendors yelling out in Hebrew and customers haggling. I’ll never forget buying fruit and veggies from the Iraqi vendor or the grumpy pita guy around the corner from him. Oh and eating the fresh baked chocolate rugelach from Marzipan Bakery. My favorite way to end the day was to walk around the Shuk at sunset. It was just so different and peaceful at night. It’s funny, the Shuk intimidated me in the beginning because it can be very intense with the crowds. However, by the end of our trip we could haggle and navigate the crowds with ease. Well, my husband was more comfortable with haggling than me, but even I got into it by the end. These almost daily excursions into the Shuk and forced interaction with locals and tourists alike, surrounded by great diversity, made me more comfortable in crowds, with difference, and by dealing with the merchants, with standing up for myself.

However, I also came more alive as the city quieted down each evening. I became more outgoing by exploring the city at sundown but had a difficult time during the day because of the heat. When I did explore during day I loved discovering all of the local street art and cute little coffee shops nestled in hidden stone alleyways. Jerusalem is a really cool mesh of modern and ancient. A favorite memory would be spending Shabbat dinner with friends and visiting the Wailing Wall (kotel) on Shabbat. The crowds of people were praying, singing, and dancing the hora. I was nervous at first because I didn’t want to be in the way, but I eventually summed up enough courage and went to the wall and prayed.


I also learned how to be brave. The Old City is a very interesting place to explore. I loved hearing the call to prayer echo off the yellow stone walls of the Old City, but along with the beauty there is ugliness to be found. After a tour, we were so lost in the Muslim quarter that the street we were on wasn’t even on our map and we found ourselves surrounded by pictures of “martyrs” plastered all over the walls. They were pictures of mostly suicide bombers and political prisoners.  I’ve heard of this, but I never expected to see it with my own eyes. We had just walked past a group of children playing a block before and I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Just thinking about the children in the area that are growing up in oppression and poverty, knowing that they’re playing in these alley ways and looking up at those figures as heroes. It’s heartbreaking to see the brokenness of this city. Every child deserves more.

Overall, the three months in Israel were a complete love and hate experience and I don’t regret any of it. I learned to not be afraid to speak my mind or speak up when something is bothering me. I learned how to haggle. I learned how to be more trusting of strangers. Yaron, once told us that “no matter what happens, life keeps going and the moment you stop celebrating life that’s allowing your enemy to win.” It was confusing to hear this at first, but then I realized he was alluding to the fact that life is about conquering your fears. So, remember the next time you’re abroad “Just be Israeli.”