in Chicago

5 06 2011

Last week I was in Chicago for a meeting and a quick visit. Jo Ann and I spent a day photographing various things downtown Chicago–including our priceline-hotel. And its window washers.

from the 19th floor


















hello, window washer

Kajsa conversations

19 07 2010

Kajsa has, as usual, been keeping us laughing… last week there were many funny conversations, and I actually wrote down two of them, so here they are:

Kajsa: I’m going to text Dee Dee…

Me: Ok.

Yeah, because I love her!

Oh, she’ll like that, then…

Yeah.. (then making texting motions and noises..)

What did you write to her?

Dear Love Mommy Daddy…and Dear Love Kajsa I love you. Dee Dee.

That’s really nice, KAjsa. Dee Dee will be so happy to read that.

Yeah. And I pressed the green button so that it send.


Yeah. And, the mailman can give it to her.

Oh, that’s great, hon.


Yes, hon..

I just pretending.

Another day, Kajsa was walking around the house making a huge mess—pulling out toys, clothes, etc.. Jim and I were both slightly aware that the house was being quickly messed up (more than usual!), but so far nothing and nobody was being harmed in the making of the mess… and frankly, we were enjoying a little time to do our own projects, so we let it happen.  At one point she turned over a bunch of puzzles, and packed a small purse with the pieces and a few other odds and ends. She grabbed her sunglasses and said,

Mommy… I going to college to see Bean.

Ok.. have fun. Tell Bean I said hi.

Ok. I will. Bye, Mommy!

A few minutes laterOk… Heeere’s college… !

Then a few minutes after that.



I going to college to see JoJo.

Oh.. But JoJo’s not at college.. she’s in Chicago.

Oh, you’re right. (laughing.) Then I go to Chicago to see JoJo.

Ok.. have fun. Tell her I said hi.

Ok, I will.

Later on, we were cleaning up a bit, and as we were putting away her puzzles, we couldn’t find the purse with the puzzle pieces.

What were you doing when you remember last playing with that bag?” I asked her.

Hmmm. I was here, in the dining room… I was at Go-Cubs-Go with JoJo.


Yes. With JoJo.

Ok.. then after that, where did you go?

Hmmm. Let me think. (tapping her finger on her chin..) After Go-Cubs-Go, I went to my bedroom. And I made this big mess with my clothes. Then I was with Abby… I can’t remember.

A few minutes later, Jim found the purse with the puzzle pieces… he gave it to her, and she exclaimed,

Oh, Daddy! I SO happy… Thank you!

Midwinter, and answered prayers

9 02 2009

dsc_0055Last week we were at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Chicago, for our annual “Midwinter Conference”. Those who are non-pastors think this conference sounds boring: 1000 (give or take) clergy, staff,e tc.. gathered in one hotel for several days of meetings, worship, workshops, and lots of hanging out with colleauges, new and old. Though I have become a bit more introverted in recent years, I still love this conference, and it is one of the highlights of my year. This year Kajsa was with us… dsc_0244Loads of fun. I’ll post more pix later, perhaps on flickr… It turns out Kajsa is probably more extroverted than even Jim and Cathy!In the first of these photos, Kajsa is helping Marge with registrations….  The second photo shows how Kajsa loves to get all her “gear” on when we’re heading out the door. And, by the way, to parents and other caregivers out there… hotels, especially this one, are a GREAT playground for toddlers to run and fall, on plush carpet, etc..

Besides Kajsa loving Midwinter, and her constant audiences to smile at her, take her pictures, play with her baseball cards (AND HOCKEY cards, Sue!!:) … it was an indescribable feeling for us, to be able to share this answer to prayer that is now part of our life: Kajsa. It’s been a long journey. The answer to prayer is wonderful. My heart still aches for those who are still waiting for answers to their prayers for children, spouses, etc. And certainly there are still some prayers in our lives that aren’t answered. But it had been so long since we had some good news to share with Midwinter colleagues in the Covenant.. Thank you, God. Thank you, all who prayed. Thank you, those of you who stuck with me in my constant angst and etc. Thank you to those who create the Midwinter Conference and participate in making it a place I look forward to each year.

I know each denomination has its challenges, and I am certainly not blindly looking past those for mine.. but I do love the Covenant.

Wrigley Field

10 08 2008

Kajsa’s now been to two baseball games, both of them Cubs games. Last week we went to Wrigley Field, for her first Cubs game there, and had a great time. The sun was super hot for the first few innings, burning down right on us, but once we cooled down it was great.

It was great even when it was hot, but of course more enjoyable when we weren’t sweating bullets. I took her out for a walk in the stadium, to get in the shade a little bit, and get some cold water.

The Cubbies won. That is always a plus. And Kajsa’s enthusiasm for the game is a plus as well. She claps whenever she hears clapping (almost whenever, at least). And she still seems to confuse booing with the need to clap, so even when Houston scored and Cub fans booed, Kajsa clapped. Fortunately we had friendly fans near us, and fortunately she’s not a loud clapper yet.

Go, Cubs, Go!


21 04 2008

So behind… I know, most of us are. But I’m feeling a bit out-of-control, I’m so behind.

I’m working on the kid’s nursery. Gasp. Big step. HUGE step. Emotionally, I have not been able to even think about that room for so many years, that to actually work on it now feels good. And yet a little freaky, too. A little crazy. Not sure if I should take that step, and yet I kind of have to. We kind of have to.

Why? you may wonder… well, for those who only read this blog and get the rare email correspondence from me… it seems as though our referral could be coming soon! Maybe, MAYBE in May… That’s all I’m going to say about it, because that’s craziness as well.

So, if that happens, when that happens, we travel approximately 6-8 weeks after we accept the referral.

Things are getting into high gear.

Otherwise, life is life. The house is a disaster zone–we should just put that “Caution” tape in front to warn any would-be-visitors. Trying to organize, de-clutter to make room for kid stuff, moving the office downstairs and making a nursery, painting the kitchen… plastic bins full of items we’re taking to China with us… it’s crazy.

But again, feels good.

Last week Jim and I attended an adoption conference in Chicago. so we went a day early, and went to the Cubs game , with Jo Ann and Ken. FUN. Cubs won… Derrek Lee Bobble Head doll to the first 10,000 fans! So I made poor Jim and Jo Ann go to the game early–2 hours early, so we could be one of those first 10,000 fans.. but we got our Derrek Lee Bobble Head dolls! And we were there early enough, then, to enjoy batting practice. It was so fun. I love the Cubbies… I love Wrigley… I love beautiful days and good friends…

So, off to more craziness.

I hope all of you are surviving your various crazy situations.


3 04 2008

Today we drive down to Calumet Park, Illinois, (South of Chicago) for the funeral of a friend. Rev. Larry Griffin died last week at the too-young age of 55. Larry was a fun classmate, an active minister, and a huge supporter of women in ministry. Thank you, Larry. I cannot think of my first two years of seminary without thinking of Larry. He and his friend Ed were always together…. attending the same classes, lectures, etc. as others in that M.Div track (including Karen and me). Karen and I were frequently the recipients of Larry’s encouragement, laughter, stories, insight, and support. It’s so strange to think back to my first seminary years (1993, 1994…). I’d better not digress onto that topic now, but suffice it to say that so many people in my life have provided a realistic, servant-leadership model of faith in God. Larry is one of those.

I’m sorry to say that I have not known him as well in recent years, as I have only seen him at Midwinter and other clergy events. That often happens, doesn’t it? We don’t keep in as much contact with people we care about, until it’s too late. I am saddened by Larry’s death, and grateful that Jim and I are able to drive down to be at the funeral. And grateful that Karen will also be there, as I cannot think of my first two years of seminary without thinking of Karen, and Larry (and Ed). Clergy have been asked to wear their robes tonight, which Larry would like.
Peace be to Larry’s memory.

Monday night

25 02 2008

It’s snowing again… ever-so-slightly. Kind of amusing. (And now I wish we’d break those 100 inches, Sue!)

The Lent Photos website is new and updated.. updated every night, actually. But the web gallery I was using couldn’t seem to figure out chronology. It was all quite strange and confusing. So, now, here’s where you can check out the new photos each day, and see each photographer’s individual page… Check them out.

We’ve had retired missionary David Wood staying here for the past several nights. He and Rachel, his wife, were in the Congo/Zaire for many years. Even though I never met either of them until a couple of weeks ago, it’s been quite fun to swap Congo stories, to remember some scenes and other things about my birth country.

Adoption update: not sure. We’re now hoping for an early April referral, but we’ll see. Hopefully…

Last week I took a short/overnight trip to Chicago. It was an incredibly needed gift, of being with good friends, catching up, going downtown Chicago, etc. Incredibly needed, and incredibly good mental health break. I love Chicago.

So, that’s the latest from Madison and beyond.