So I lied. The Bloomington weekend wrap up did not come last Monday as I promised in my last post. SO sorry. The week just got away from me. And then our internet went out over the weekend. So, no blogging action happened. Anyhow, here’s the scoop from our weekend in Btown, the town of our alma mater, Indiana University.
We took off Friday night after the work day and enjoyed the 4-hour drive talking about our week, chatting about our plans for the weekend, and soaking in the setting sun over the Indiana farmland.
We were so blessed to be able to stay at our friend’s house, Brandon and Megan. They are gone for the summer on a mission project so they let us make ourselves at home. I can’t tell you how amazingly relaxing and vacation-like their home was for us. They live south of campus in a cute neighborhood that has a yard, couldn’t believe it, a yard! I feel like I haven’t seen one of those in ages. Being in the city you’re lucky if you get a 4’x4′ piece of grass, thankfully we have just that so I can have a small garden and few flowering plants. But it was crazy as soon as we laid down to go to sleep, I could hear crickets, CRICKETS! I love Crickets! … okay maybe not love them, I don’t really like bugs (ask Justin, I scream and holler at him to kill them when they get in the house). But honestly what a change to be able to hear nature before bedtime. Here’s a cute picture of their neighborhood/subdivision. I took a walk one morning and really enjoyed it!
Saturday Morning Justin and I woke up early and headed for a bike ride. This was my first time riding around the south side of Bloomington, and oh, it was beautiful. And OH MY, it was hilly. Hillier than the Bloomington I remembered. At about mile 12, I felt like I had gone 40, heck felt like I had ran a marathon already. I was disappointed. I felt a) out of shape and b) sad because there’s no hills in Chicago to even practice on. We’re thinking about doing the Hilly Hundred in the fall, but literally I have no idea how I am supposed to get proper training in! We did eventually make it to 20 or 25 miles, but that is nothing compared to what we used to ride last fall when we were training for Little 500.
After our short but very winded ride (well I was winded at least, Justin probably could have gone 20 more) we headed to Village Deli, it’s the popular breakfast joint right near campus. We met our friends Nate and Kelsie there. Afterwards we took a walk around campus.
Then we headed to Yogi’s and the boys grabbed a beer.
Kelsie and Nate left to get ready for a wedding in Indy while Justin and I went back to the house to get some rest. We ended up not really resting at all and having a very long, but needed conversation about us and our relationship. Those conversations are normally not fun and require a lot of emotional and spiritual effort. But at the end of them they are so worth it. I love him even more after hard conversations. God’s grace and work is so evident in just that.
After our conversation we headed to our friend’s Dave and Courtnee’s house, who are both on staff with Cru, formally Campus Crusade for Christ. Dave was Justin’s discipler when he was in college. Dave really helped Justin grasp the foundation of the Gospel after he first came to Christ. We both spent time our senior year at their house for dinner, tea, catching up, and encouragement. It was great to be back in a familiar place. The only difference is that now they have a little person, who is no longer an infant but an almost toddler. As stated by Justin, Luelle might be the cutest little girl we’ve ever seen. Dave let us play with her while he and Courtnee got dinner ready. She had these little squeaky shoes that helped you know wherever she was (they are actually called Sneak A Roos). Luelle found a new friend while we played. Mr. Turtle the sandbox, with no sand. She loved it. She was just basking in the sun and drumming her little hands on the outside of the bin. She’s so precious.
We ate dinner outside on their back porch and talked about their gardening endevors for the summer. Courtnee is spending her sabbatical working on her backyard. I think it’s a great idea! She’s done so much already and it looks lovely. You can check out her adventure here, she has tons of great ideas and tips for gardening too.
After dinner we had some excellent peach cobbler that I helped Courtnee make. After dessert little Luelle went to bed and we played a great game of Settlers of Catan. And if you don’t know what it is. You should stop reading this and go buy the game right now. It’s one of the best strategy games out there and is so much fun! And the night didn’t end there. We spent another couple hours afterwards talking with Dave and Courtnee. Dave jokingly but upfrontly asked us when we would be moving back to Bloomington to join staff with Cru at IU. I think someone else could find this similar to a recruiting antic, but actually I felt very encouraged by his question. Joining full-time staff with the Cru ministry has been a desire of mine for a while, but since starting work and living in Chicago, it has really slipped my mind. During my senior year I seriously considered joining the IU staff as an intern. But God called me back home to Chicago, the last place I wanted to go at the time. After graduating I had a lot of student loans and God was calling me to take care of that first. These are the verses that God brought to my attention.
“Pay to all what is owed to them taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fufilled the law” – Romans 13:7-8
“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” – Proverbs 22:7
And although it may not sound fun, paying off our loans has been one the most rewarding experiences. We can reduce our total debt amount significantly by simply paying a few extra payments a month. It’s incredible. It’s so freeing. And it challenges us to grow because it means that by being a bit more frugal (turning down vacations, avoiding expensive dinners, and shopping at the cheaper supermarket) we are letting God have control of our money and ultimately are experiencing more contentment in Him. It’s so worth it. And we also know that there is an end in sight and once we get there, Justin and I will be able to embark on adventures and take more opportunities and risks.
And where we land someday is still up in the air. There are endless possibilities. Cru staff is still an option for us. We’ve also tossed around the idea of a owning a small business, working for a university, or continuing in the corporate environment. We would love to be back in Bloomington for any of those options. It feels like our real home. Not just because we went to school there and lived there for 4 years, but because it’s the place where we both met Jesus and started our Christian journeys. It’s the place that has so much deep meaning and deep memories for us. It’s the place where we get fired up and passionate about life. It’s the place where feel completely relaxed and completely ourselves. Maybe someday we’ll be back. We’ll see. For now, we are here, in Chicago, working in the corporate environment, having a small yard, and a basement apartment. Although those things don’t get us excited or passionate and although we don’t see Chicago as our long term home, it’s where we are at now. And we must continue to ask, how do find joy in where we are at now? And how life unfolds afterwards is the whole mystery that God asks us to be a part of. How awesome is that? Forget the 5 or 10 year plans, hop on God’s plan! Corny, I know, but seriously.
Anyways, to continue on… Sunday we spent the whole day with Nate and Kelsie. We headed to church with them and afterwards snapped some pictures at Sample Gates, one of the best photography scenes on campus (although my shots don’t do it justice)!
Then we headed across the street to Buffa-louies (that I always mispronounce as Buffalo Louie’s, whatever). Justin claims he hasn’t found better wings anywhere else yet! Afterwards we went to the pool, and even rode the slides. Then Justin got a haircut.
Later we took a ride on the B-line trail, which is now finished. Yahoo! It’s a fun way to see downtown Bloomington and the wooded scenery too. We ended our ride at Upland Brewery. It was delish! Their Wheat Ale is my favorite. Justin and Nate really enjoy the Amber Ale.
Later we played Scattegories and Bananagrams with them. Kelsie and I obviously dominated the boys in the word games. Maybe it’s because we talk so much so our vocabulary is quite vast.
Monday we prepared to get back on the road. But we had one final stop we couldn’t forget. Cresent Donuts. Justin’s spot. When we were in college he used to sneak out to get donuts late at night and would later confess to me how much he had eaten. Sometimes we would go there later in the day, only to find out he had already been earlier that morning! My man loves his donuts.
Last stop on our mini-vacay weekend was Fishers, Indiana. It’s where our good friends Carl and Danielle live. They are currently raising support to be on staff with Cru in Boston. We are so excited for their journey and praying hard that the Lord will continue to provide so they can report to Harvard’s campus in the Fall (check out their blog here). We had lunch with them and did some catching up. It was just a quick visit because they are coming to Chicago in 2 weeks. We can’t wait to see them again. I didn’t take a picture while we were there, but here’s one of all of us from our wedding.
Hope you enjoyed learning some fun things about Bloomington, we cant wait to go back! Until next time…