Monday, December 17, 2007

This weekend was one of friends, shopping and snow. On Saturday we ventured downtown with some LSTCers to the Christkindlmarket, a German open-booth market in Daley Plaza, with is also home to Chicago's giant Christmas tree and menorah. It was beautiful with all the lights, but it snowed all day long and into the night, so we were very cold! Much to Zach's dismay, I decided the best way to warm up was to head over to State St. for some indoor shopping. We met back up with friends for dinner, then hopped on the Red Line to come home.

On Sunday we woke up to 10 inches of snow, so we dug out the car and made our way north to Evanston for church. Afterward we enjoyed lunch from Chipotle and did some suburb-style shopping. Later that evening we crossed the courtyard to visit and play cards with Erin and JT before we all leave for Christmas. In the meantime we've had fun with Mr. Wilson playing in the snow...he loves it!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hannah's Hair

Just a quick note tonight. I got bangs today, so the picture is for my family, who asked to see them! In other news, Zach is done with the semester and done with work at the Lab school, and I only have one more week of work before we go head to North Carolina. Yay!

P.S. It's COLD up here!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Happy Holidays

As I sit here typing this, it is pouring down snow outside...our first real snow of the season. Thanksgiving was wonderful. It was so great to have Zach's brother Matt here, and we ate with the Burks and then played cards and games until 11 at night...we do have a lot to be thankful for. We did miss all of you that we didn't get to see, though.
We did some typical Chicago stuff with Matthew...deep dish pizza, Millennium Park with the Bean, Lake Michigan, and a walk along the Chicago River. We also took him to Chinatown to eat, to Daley Plaza to see the big Christmas tree and the German Christkindl Market. I think the most fun he had was making pumpkin pies with Zach, though.

Zach was scheduled for surgery this past Wednesday, but after we waited at the hospital for a few hours, they told us that after reviewing his x-rays and scans again, they decided the surgery might do more damage than good, so he is still in the cast for the time-being, but he will soon be put in a splint and start physical therapy. We thank you for all your support and prayers, and Zach says he looks forward to doing some more blogging when he has more use of his hand and wrist. Zach's 24th birthday was Thursday, and we celebrated by having a nice dinner with some friends. Zach loved getting so many cards, phone calls, Facebook messages, and even a cake sent to him, so thanks everyone!

This is the end of the semester for Zach, so he's been very busy with all his final papers and things. And work for me has been chaotic, as we are in the middle of moving back into our renovated space and trying to get everything back up and running. Last night, however we had a chance to relax and little bit. We attended a semi-formal Advent party, so we gussied up and had some fun with friends.
We wish you all a happy Advent season. Zach will be helping to lead Wednesday services at our MIC church in Evanston this year, and we hope that all of you use this time of waiting and hope to prepare for Christmas. We look forward to seeing those of you in the Carolinas then.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Happy Thanksgiving from Chicago, ya'll! We are staying here for the holiday this year, and we are happy to have Zach's brother Matthew join us for the week. We'll be spending Thanksgiving Day with some of our LSTC family, JT, Erin, Nora and Sully Burk.

Some of you may already know, but Zach recently went to Gettysburg, PA for the Luther Bowl, a flag football tournament between several seminaries. This was the first year that Chicago sent a team, and they went undefeated to become Luther Bowl champions! Unfortunately, Zach returned to Chicago with a battle wound. He broke his right wrist and will undergo surgery soon. He's doing well, and we'll keep you updated on his recovery. He's mostly frustrated because typing is slow going, and he has some big papers coming up for the end of the semester.

While Zach was out becoming a champion, my mama and granma Pharr visited me in Chicago. We had a great time catching up. I took them to see the Bean, State Street shopping, to eat in Greektown, around Hyde Park, and to Evanston for church on Sunday. I loved having them both here, and hope they will come back soon!

We wish you all a blessed and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Patches of Pumpkin

Hannah and I made a trip this past weekend out to a pumpkin patch in Monee, Illinois. We enjoyed getting out of "the city" for a little while, and Hannah was able to find the perfect pumpkin. Hannah, in particular, enjoyed the patch with a hay ride, petting zoo and corn

That's all for now. The semester is in full swing. Upcoming are sermons, an endorsement interview, and of course the Luther Bowl. We'll keep you updated.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Clemson trip

Hey ya'll! We just got back from a wonderful trip to Clemson this past weekend. We caught a flight out of Chicago at 6 a.m. (thanks to our amazing friend Adam, for dropping us off at 4 a.m.!), and then we saw my dad, Zach's grandparents, and Zach's mama and mamaw before heading down to Clemson. I was happy to get to visit some folks at the library where I worked for 3 years in undergrad. We also enjoyed attending several events put on for LSM alumni. It was the LCM Centennial celebration, and there was a pig-pickin', along with time for alumni to share stories about our Clemson LSM experiences, and a big tailgate before the game on Saturday.

Even though the game was painful to watch, we had an awesome time catching up with old friends, tailgating, getting burritos and sweet tea from Ancheaux's, shopping for some new Clemson gear downtown, walking around campus, and going back to worship at University Lutheran. Thanks to Stuart, Kyle, Cliff, PC & Laura for giving us places to stay, and to LCM (& alumni) and Thomas (& family) for tailgating hospitality.

We also loved getting to see my parents, Zach's parents, and Josh and Arden at my parent's house before we flew back to Chicago late Sunday (thanks to Becky for picking us up even though her game was on). I was sad to leave the Carolinas, but we were happy to be back in our little apartment with our sweet Mr. Wilson (thanks to Elisabeth for hanging out with him while we were gone).

Meanwhile, here in Chicago, Zach's classes continue to go well at seminary. He is preaching his first sermon this week in class. We are also getting know the congregation and community at Zach's MIC site in Evanston. The church and Pastor Sheri have been very welcoming, and we look forward to the coming year with them. Zach's taking banjo classes, and he's really getting good! I'm still working at the law library, but when I'm not at work, I've been spending time with our friends Erin and JT, with their 3 year old Nora, and 3 week old Sullivan (Sully). We like taking the kids to the park when Zach and JT are out playing flag football for the newly-formed LSTC team. They are getting ready to go to Gettysburg in November to participate in the Luther Bowl for the first time. I'm also starting to work on grad school applications for next year, so I am excited for that! We are so grateful to have such wonderful friends and family, and for all of you that support us in so many ways.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Summer Don't Live Here No More

Well, it has been a wonderful summer. We've both stayed really busy. So busy that its been difficult to find the time to blog. I apologize for the lack of recent posts. Since our last posting lots has happened. We took a weekend trip to North Carolina for my brother-in-law, Josh's wedding to Arden. It was a great trip. My parents had a pool party on Friday where we were able to see lots of my family. The wedding also brought Katie, Derek, and Simon to North Carolina. Josh & Arden's wedding was great and we congratulate them on that. It was up at Lutheridge. Up at Lutheridge we were able to hang out with some friends from college that we hadn't seen in a long time. All in all, it was a great trip.I have finished up CPE. It has probably been the most beneficial part of seminary so far. I finished up last Friday and I've got a week off before I get back to classes. I also have just sent in my Endorsement materials. Endorsement is the second of three steps towards ordination in the ELCA. I'll have an interview with some folks from my candidacy committee later in the fall to hopefully be endorsed before internship next year. But for this year its more classes. This fall I'm taking:
  • Preaching
  • Hebrew
  • Systematic Theology I
  • Understanding Islam
  • Ministry-in-Context
This year I'll be working at a church seven hours a week. The parish I have been assigned to is St. Paul Lutheran Church in Evanston. My first Sunday in the parish is this Sunday. I look forward to blogging about my experiences there. Also, because I'm taking preaching this semester I will soon be able to preach.

Before I get moving again, I thought I'd let you know how great the weather has been. I know it might be hard for you to hear in the south but our weather has been fantastic for the past week or so. But I imagine it won't be too long before its cold again. Hopefully, I won't make you all wait as long for the next blog.

God's Peace,

Monday, July 16, 2007

More Family!

Zach's parents came to visit us this weekend before continuing on to the rest of their vacation. They arrived on Friday evening, and after unloading we went straight to get some Chicago-style deep dish pizza. On Saturday we made our way downtown to enjoy sightseeing in absolutely gorgeous weather. After stopping to get Chicago-style dogs (and a veggie burger for me), we walked through Millennium Park toward Buckingham Fountain. Then we walked along the lakefront to see the boats and the Cool Planets on our way to the museum campus. We spent the afternoon exploring dinosaurs and ancient Egyptians at the Field Museum before heading back to Hyde Park for dinner on the back porch. Sunday included brunch at the Medici (yum!), going to see Rockefeller Chapel, a walk around the University of Chicago campus, and a drive to the North Side to see Wrigley Field. Unfortunately the Cubs were playing at the time, so we didn't get the chance to park and walk around, but it gave Susie and Rick a better idea of how different the various neighborhoods in Chicago can be. Even though the visit was too short, we were very glad to have them here!

Monday, July 09, 2007


Just a quick update and pictures from my parents' visit to Chicago. We were very sad to see them go, but we had a wonderful time with them. They arrived on Friday evening and we took them to Greektown for supper. On Saturday we slept in and then toured around Hyde Park, showing them where I work, 57th Street Books, and Hyde Park Produce. We also ate lunch at the Medici, then went next door for fresh bread...yum. Later we had friends Erin, JT, and Nora over for delicious homemade pizza and lots of fun! We wanted to show my parents some different areas of Chicago, so we went to the North Side for church on Sunday at Holy Trinity. Afterward we went to pick up some painting supplies for my class (yay)! We went home for lunch and a bit of rest before heading downtown on the Metra. Even though it was 94 degrees we enjoyed a free Brandi Carlile concert, then walked around the Taste of Chicago. We went home on a CTA train and bus to let them fully experience living in Chicago, and then had supper at Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop. It was a very full, but happy weekend, and I wish they could have stayed longer!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Our busy lives...

I know every time we post (which is not often enough, I know) we say how busy we've been. But now it seems that we are busier than ever. Both of us are working full-time and trying to get out and enjoy the summer as much as possible while we can.

My work is chaotic right now because they are completely remodeling the inside of the library, and they are building a brand new dorm right next to the library (and right outside my window). My parents did bring my bicycle to Chicago on their way to Montana, so that is helpful getting to and from work. Zach has been working very hard and gaining a lot of valuable experience this summer working as a chaplain at a hospital in Berwyn, IL. While he has had to deal with some difficult situations, I think he's still enjoying his time there. Most days he carpools with a neighbor of ours that is working there, too, which has been really nice. The worst part of his job is that has to be on-call one night per week, so sometimes he leaves at 7:20am one day and doesn't come home until 5:45 the next day. I'm glad that I have Mr. Wilson for company!

Besides working, we've been looking for fun things to do in the city. So far this summer we've been to the Blues Festival with our neighbors Matt and Chris, and Zach and I went to the Shedd Aquarium during one of its free days. I went up to Evanston for my cousin Elizabeth's graduation party (she went to Northwestern), and had the best time getting to see wonderful family, including my Quaidie! Zach was working that night, but I did bring him back some stellar food. I started taking a painting class at the Hyde Park Art Center, and I'm really excited about getting back into painting again. Also, our good friend Adam came back for a weekend and we loved hanging out and going to see some fireworks with him...we'll be glad when he comes back to Chicago after the summer! We've been spending as much time as possible with our friends, grilling out and enjoying sitting out on our porches. Tuesday we had a cookout with homemade ice cream for the Fourth of July and then headed over to the lake to watch the big fireworks display from the Point. Then for the actual Fourth we both had the day off. We went to the Hyde Park parade and had lunch with friends JT, Erin, and Nora, then rested for most of the day.

In family news, our nephew Simon was baptized this past weekend, and although we couldn't be there, we celebrate with him and his parents. And I can't wait to see them all in August at my brother's wedding! Also, my parents stopped by on the way to Montana a couple of weeks ago, and now they are coming to visit us again on the way back. I am very much looking forward to a longer visit to be able to show them more of Chicago. Shortly after my parents leave, Zach's parents will be coming to visit us, as well. They have both been here, but on separate trips, so it will be wonderful to have them here together! Plus, they are bringing a bike for Zach, and we are both excited to go ride along the lakefront.

We hope that all of you are enjoying your summer so far!

Monday, June 04, 2007

June is bustin' out all over!

It's hard for us to believe that we're already in June. I've especially been grateful for all the sun, warm weather, and flowers we've enjoyed lately; it almost makes me forget how cold the winter was...almost.

We tried to make the most of Zach's time off, so we've been really busy. We went with some friends to see the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie one night last week, which was a good time. Zach and I have also been doing some "urban trekking" to exercise and explore the area a bit.

This weekend we went with a friend to Lebanon, Indiana for another friend's wedding. We had a really nice time, and it was great to get a break from the city for the day. Sometimes all the noise and traffic start to get old. The city is good for festivals and culture, though, and we had a wonderful time browsing at the 57th Street Art Fair on Sunday.

Zach starts his CPE bright and early tomorrow, so we'll have some updates about that soon.

Monday, May 21, 2007

School Days

As promised, here is a little school update for you. We finished up classes about a week ago. I now have a couple of weeks before I begin my summer CPE at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, Illinois. [Berwyn is just west of the city] I meant to put up some stuff about all of my spring semester classes a lot sooner, but I guess its better nate than lever.
  • Lutheran Confessional Heritage - In this course we basically went through the Book of Concord. For this course I had to write a reflection on confessional subscription. (At ordination you have to say you're gonna preach and teach inline with the confessions.) We also had a big project. I wrote a theme study guide comparing Liberation Theology and the Confessions on Justification.
  • Jesus & the Gospels - Surprisingly enough, this course focused on Jesus and the gospels. We wrote two text analysis. I did one on the healing of the paralytic in Matthew 9 and one on the annointing of Jesus in John 12. For my big final paper I wrote about how forgiveness in the healing of the paralytic is indicative of forgiveness throughout Matthew.
  • Pastoral Care - This course was a course to prepare you for CPE. We looked at a wide variety of pastoral care issues. We also practiced lots of empathetic listening.
  • Teaching Ministry - In this course we looked at the many ways that the church teaches. We looked at stuff like Sunday School, but we also looked at how the church teaches through everything it does.
Here at LSTC you have to accumulate five growth in faith credits before you can graduate. One way you can earn credit is through classes. This semester I took Biblical Spirituality. We looked at the great variety of spiritualities present in the bible and compared them with our own spiritualities and experiences.

Here are some pictures of Hannah's new library, White Sox/Yankee's game with free tickets, and the Moo & Oink.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Everything I've Ever Wanted to Tell You

We've been so busy lately we haven't been able to get to the blog. So let me fill you in.

Since the last time we updated my family visited. Mama, Mamaw, my brother Matthew, and my cousin Anna came up. We all had a really good time. Unfortunately, it was a little bit colder than we would have liked. Hannah and I showed them around the neighborhood. Then we went downtown for a day before they had to get back home.

Also, Hannah was able to sneak back to North Carolina about a week ago. She suprised her grandmother for her birthday. Hannah really enjoyed getting back to North Carolina, if only for a few days.

Hannah and I celebrated our 1st anniversary this past weekend. We went to Indianapolis and saw Monty Pyton's Spamalot. I've got some pictures of this.

We've also been able to get out and see some other stuff. One weekend we were able to make it out to a Chicago Fire game with some of our friends. They are Chicago's professional soccer team. They play at a nice new stadium pretty close to where we live.

I've also been able to make it to some White Sox games as well.

Coming tomorrow I'll get you updated on more academic things. So, stay tuned.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Blogging or Studying??

Friday is the day of the week where I attempt to study all day. I don't have class or anything else "official" to do. I should be able to get a great deal of work done. However, I think my productivity drops dramatically on Fridays. Perhaps, its the lack of pressure of deadlines or the weekend creeping closer and closer. So, today blogging has taken my attention away from a mid-term on monday.

April has and will be a pretty busy month for us. Today, Good Friday, is especially good for Hannah. It is her last day working downtown. Monday she'll start her new job across the street at the University of Chicago's law library. She is pretty excited to lose the commute and stay here in Hyde Park.

On Wednesday, some friends and I headed over to US Cellular Field to take in a White Sox game. It was my first baseball game in the snow. As we left the stadium, it was 24 degrees. The Sox lost in the bottom of the 9th when Joe Crede's shot fell just short of being a home run.

At the end of this week my mom, mamaw, brother, and cousin, Anna, are coming up here. Hannah and I are excited and are hoping to get ahead of the game so we can have as much free time as possible for some pizza and all other kinds of Chicago things.

Studying or blogging?
Back to studying,

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Pat's!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! Hope you remembered your green!

It's been a while since our last post, and lots has happened! We've been trying to recover from the brutal temperatures...we had a week of negative temps, but we've since had a few glimpses of spring peeking through, and we can't wait for it to stick around.

We are happy to announce that Zach was accepted to a CPE site in Berwyn, IL for this summer. He will be serving full-time in a chaplain position at a hospital as part of his degree. It will be a difficult, but hopefully very educational experience.

For Valentine's we celebrated by going to the Art Institute, because it had free admission that weekend. I fell in love with it, so we will definitely be going back, especially since I just got a library card with which you can get free or reduced admission to most Chicago museums...yay!

That same weekend, we were happy to meet up with Dave, an old friend from Clemson who was in Chicago with the Invisible Children tour. And my cousin Elizabeth also came down to visit us in Hyde Park; she is a student at Northwestern in Evanston, IL. We love getting to see friends and family!

Recently we helped plan a Chocolat party for the Seminary Sampler weekend, when prospective students come to visit. We ended up with 23 lbs of chocolate, and a chocolate fountain, which was the hit of the party. Zach thoughtfully posted a sign at the party stating that 23 lbs of chocolate includes 5 lbs of fat and 45,000 calories. We had a fun time, but couldn't look at chocolate for at least a week.

The Spring "Presidential Shoe" game has come and gone. It is the biannual basketball game between the students and the faculty/staff. The students played hard, but unfortunately their losing streak continues...the staff won again.

This past weekend was my birthday, and my wonderful friend Kerri surprised me by flying up to Chicago. We had a great time sight-seeing, shopping, visiting, and shopping some more! I only wish she could have stayed longer. She left Monday night, and our friends Patrick and Lauryn from UNC flew in on Tuesday for their Spring Break. Unfortunately, Zach and I had school and work, so we weren't able to join them in their adventures, but they quickly became pros at using the "el", and we definitely enjoyed having them here. Mr. Wilson loved being spoiled by all of them...I think he was sad to see them go. We are tired, but happy after a full week of having company, and we are looking forward to some of Zach's family visiting next month.

Zach just got a new cell phone plan and number. He is now using Verizon, so he's finally 'IN' with all of you that use that that network. His new phone number is 773-358-8750.

We thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers, and we always love to hear from you all!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Rurally Immersed in Nebraska

During the month of January we only take one class here at seminary. This "J-Term" I took a course called Rural Immersion. For ten days 3 fellow students, a professor, and I traveled to southeast Nebraska to experience and learn about the realities of rural ministry.
We stayed for the majority of the time in Johnson, Nebraska population 250. Also, in the area around Johnson there are 7 Lutheran churches. To give you an idea of the scale, when I worshiped with my host family attendance was 21. It was a completely different church and lifestyle than what I have experienced.
From Nebraska Rura...

We did experience tremendous hospitality from our host families and community. I stayed with the Ron, Deb, and Doug Grotrian of Johnson. They were incredible hosts. Ron farms corn, soy beans, and wheat. He also raises cattle. Deb works at a bank in nearby Auburn, Nebraska, while Doug is in 8th grade. While I was there I was able to watch Doug's basketball team play in route to a tournament championship. Ron and Doug took advantage of my visit to get Deb to make several pies, and I certainly did not complain.

We did so much while we were there its hard to include everything in one blog entry. We did lots of things to see how people and churches work and live in a small rural setting. We visited feed lots, dairy farms, and lots of other agricultural aspects of society. We also checked out other factors of rural life like anewly built prison, nuclear plant, and a new chicken plant. If you're interested in a more in depth account of what we did it would probably be helpful to check out my classmates' blog. We had to complete a project for the course and theirs was to blog while we were in Nebraska. My project is a video that I am working on posting here on the blog. Here some of my pictures from the trip.

Class doesn't start back until February 5th. So I'm gonna take this week to get caught up with a bunch of odds and ends before we get back to real classes.

God's Peace,

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Christmas Time

Sorry for the delay, but we'll try and get you all caught up. Christmas was a blur, but we had a great time. We were able to see a whole lot of folks and we made it to quite a few churches. It was great to see so many folks we missed and hang out at home. However, Hannah quickly had to fly off to Montana with her parents on Christmas to see our new nephew, Simon. While Hannah flew, Mr Wilson and I drove back to Chicago shortly before New Year's Eve. After a quiet New Year's at the apt in Hyde Park, Hannah got back to work and I began preparing for my class in Nebraska.