It's no secret that I'm really far behind on posting about things, especially this summer's activities. In May we spent a few days in Chicago with Dan and Meg and they showed us around their beautiful city! I have been missing them a lot (always and lately) so I'm posting some of the photos now. It was fun seeing the new dental student and the big-city paralegal in action! We took the train, explored the city, ate liquid nitrogen ice cream at icream, shopped, ate Chicago-style pizza, watched a movie and met up with some friends from Pella in Chinatown. It was a blast!

:type travel tuesday: {tip top tap, chicago}


boring...by the grace of God

I've been reading St. Augustine's Confessions since this summer (took it around Europe with me and everything!), and we're now part of a Confessions reading group lead by our friend, mentor, sponsor and Augustine scholar. It is so amazing to have him guide us through the book, pointing out themes and giving us all kinds of background information and context. Not to mention the discussion that philosophy, english, and psychology grad students add to the experience. I do design. So I mostly just listen and ask the awkward questions. :) The book is FANTASTIC. Apparently, until the 1600s (thereabouts or after, I don't remember exactly) it was the #2 book read by all Christians everywhere, second only to the Bible itself. You should read it.

There have been so many passages I've marked and highlighted that I can't even begin to quote them all. But, the other night at a dinner with friends where we've been going around sharing our own stories (or "testimonies," if you must), one friend shared his amazing journey from death to life, which sounded a lot like Augustine's own journey. It was a beautiful story of redemption where he went from drugs, alcohol and women, by the grace of God, to a sober and thriving life lived for Him. Next, another good friend shared her story, joking that she didn't want to follow him because her story was pretty boring. She grew up in a strong Christian home and never really "rebelled," etc. I was thinking "this is my story too, and it's not as "fun" to tell because it's more "boring." I had similar feelings during a church membership class when we lived in Charlotte where we had to present in front of a group. My testimony took about 5 minutes.

But the situation the other night reminded me of something St. Augustine said in the Confessions that had struck me when I read it...

What shall I render unto the Lord, that I can recall these things and yet not be afraid! I shall love Thee, Lord, and shall give thanks to Thee and confess Thy name, because Thou hast forgiven me such great sins and evil deeds. I know that it is only by Thy grace and mercy that Thou hast melted away the ice of my sins. And the evil I have not done, that also I know is by Thy grace: for what might I not have done, seeing that I loved evil solely because it was evil? I confess that Thou hast forgiven all alike—the sins I committed of my own motion, the sins I would have committed but for Thy grace.
 Would any man, considering his own weakness, dare to attribute his chastity or his innocence to his own powers and so love Thee less—as if he did not need the same mercy as those who return to Thee after sin? If any man has heard Thy voice and followed it and done none of the things he finds me here recording and confessing, still he must not scorn me: for I am healed by the same doctor who preserved him from falling into sickness, or at least into such grievous sickness. But let him love Thee even more: seeing me rescued out of such sickness of sin, and himself saved from falling into such sickness of sin, by the one same Saviour. 
 - St. Augustine, Confessions, Book II, VII, (15)

AMEN! My life story may seem "boring" by the world's standards but Praise the Lord for that, because it is all by His grace and I am so thankful.

(Painting: The conversion of St. Augustine, by Fra Angelico)


wardrobe remix ::: cooler weather

When I saw this outfit by Madewell, I thought, Hey! I can make that, so I used it as the inspiration for (aka copied it) a cooler-weather wardrobe remix. Now let's have some of that cooler weather, Texas.


:type travel tuesday: {alico building, waco}

Oops. Totally missed Tuesday this week. Here is Waco's one "skyscraper" at sunset.


say what?

Pretty much every week lately there has been some new "scandal" surrounding something that Pope Francis has "said." First he "said" something about it being fine to be gay, then he "said" atheists go to heaven, and now in 12,000 words ripe for misinterpretation he has "said" that love is all that matters, and we should stop talking about abortion, gay marriage and contraception. 

Except he didn't really say any of those things. And then, when he speaks out strongly against gay marriage or abortion the media makes statements like "Pope Francis encouraged Catholic doctors to refuse to perform abortions today in a bizarre U-turn on comments yesterday that condemned the church's obsession with such 'small-minded things'. ~Daily Mail

All the ((un?) intentional) misrepresentations of his statements are getting SO OLD. A good rule of thumb is: If the secular mainstream (especially liberal) media says that Pope Francis said something scandalous (especially if it was something they would want him to say) then you can bet they've got the story wrong.

And why wouldn't they? "For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:8.

Francis himself in a beautiful address to the media, right after his election talks about this exact issue:

I am particularly grateful to those who viewed and presented these events of the Church’s history in a way which was sensitive to the right context in which they need to be read, namely that of faith. Historical events almost always demand a nuanced interpretation which at times can also take into account the dimension of faith. Ecclesial events are certainly no more intricate than political or economic events! But they do have one particular underlying feature: they follow a pattern which does not readily correspond to the “worldly” categories which we are accustomed to use, and so it is not easy to interpret and communicate them to a wider and more varied public. The Church is certainly a human and historical institution with all that that entails, yet her nature is not essentially political but spiritual: the Church is the People of God, the Holy People of God making its way to encounter Jesus Christ. Only from this perspective can a satisfactory account be given of the Church’s life and activity.

The thing that is really frustrating is that the media's misunderstandings are being declared as facts and other Christians are reading those headlines, and thinking they're true.

Francis' casual and hands-on approach has gotten the world's attention. Everyone is listening to hear what he's going to say next. He is busy living out the love of Jesus in an open and unscripted way. It's not that he could never mis-speak, he's not a perfect man and that means slip-ups are possible but he must think it's worth the risk.

Francis has decided to approach the world on casual terms, and the world has responded with overwhelming love for him, if not always perfect understanding of the faith.....Pope Francis wants a dialogue with the world conducted in the manner of an after-dinner conversation.  ~First Things

So next time you hear that Pope Francis said something that confuses or troubles you, go and find out what he actually said, and read it with the eyes of faith. If you're still confused I'd be happy to discuss it with you!


:type travel tuesday: {paris en couleur}

Angle Boulevard Raspail, 1914.

Pathé Gobelins, 1918.

Rue de l’Ecole Polytechnique, 1914.

53 rue Cambon, 1918.

Invalides, 1909.

An early colorization process by the Lumiere brothers in 1903 and their invention of autochrome technology (a composite of black and white emulsion passed through a series of red, blue and green filters). While the Lumiere brothers’ innovative method was abandoned in 1935 in favor of Kodachrome technology, they present a dreamy, serene and richly-saturated narrative on early 20th century Paris:

Read more at http://all-that-is-interesting.com/early-20th-century-paris#oRGz3ch9CMswT4fD.99

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