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Archive for July, 2011

Sneak Peek Sunday

Every Sunday I will attempt to share an excerpt from my work in progress which will hopefully be a book someday…”You Can Hope”.

SO MANY ANNIVERSARIES!!

I had no clue how much a date means after a loss. Of course I can tell you to the date, how many days have passed since March 26th. 214.

In those 214 days we’ve gone through the obvious anniversaries and holidays…Easter, Mothers day, Fathers day, 4th of July…but the griever in me is now experiencing the secret anniversaries that I never knew about before I joined the grief club. The unknown stings that happen, just because of a date. 

1 month past his death anniversary.

Summer starting/universal Teachers holiday anniversary.

 Annual Blueberry Festival Anniversary.

6 month mark Anniversary.

Such a long list of important dates that showcase once again how Dad is not here. When will it be special to remember my Dad? Instead of  just hating that he is not at our BBQ grilling bacon wrapped walleye….

And those are just the big player dates…every week I run into something else that my dad is not a part of. Even just going to the grocery store and seeing Walleye in the freezer section brings me to a place of tears and sadness. Nothing about grief is certain. You never know when it’s just going to pop up and bombard you with emotion.

Heck, nothing about life is certain. I think alot of people think when faith is in the mix, uncertainty is reduced. LIES!

Faith doesn’t diminish uncertainty at all, it EMBRACES it. I hate it.

I’ve always been a girl who flys by the seat of her pants. Loving the thought of spontaneity. Not needing a plan, trusting everything will work itself out. Then I get knocked out by life and now I’m like a kid in the backseat of my parents car, asking over and over again…”Are we there yet? Whats going to happen next?”

Control Freak is somehow now wired into my everyday psyche. But faith involves a loss of control, and what does that bring…uncertainty.  I hate it.

I’m not at a place to embrace uncertainty at all. But I want to get there.

My favorite part of being in a relationship with someone…the surprise date to the zoo I wasn’t expecting.

My favorite part of new experiences…the mystery behind what it may be like.  

My favorite part of getting my first job after grad school….getting fired before my first day and landing my dream job three days later.

My life has proved up to this point that uncertainty has a few checks in the pro list. The goal of the week…ha, who I am kidding…the goal of my life is humbly attempting to let God call the shots and step up in bravery to go where he leads.  I’m going to need ALOT of help.

” To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways; we do not know what a day may bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness; it should rather be an expression of breathless expectation.” Oswald Chambers

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The random thoughts in my brain…shared via internet knowing that you all can’t wait to hear whats happening up there!

  • Its summer in Chicago!!! I cannot imagine a better place to live. Summers in Chicago make the winters bearable because you know true beauty is coming!
  • But…I’m leaving this paradise to have a relaxing long weekend in the senior citizen capital of the US…NAPLES!! Ashley, Allison, and I are packing up and ready to meet swamp people, go on boats with casinos, keep a lookout for python’s falling out of trees, and overall become bronzed beauties. I can’t wait!
  • As my last post reported….Ashley did in deed get baptized on Sunday and she asked me to be her baptism buddy. It was an absolute honor and of course it meant we had to buy Baptism.Buddies. Forever. slap bracelets. Perfect accessory for a lake-side dunk!
  • Ash getting baptized also meant my mom came in for a quick Chicago trip. It was so wonderful to have her live life with us for a day. It looked fairly similar to what life looks like when I’m back home in IC town, but instead of farm houses and pick up trucks we had skyscrapers and taxi cabs. A bit different! What was the same was spending time with great people, drinking alot of great wine,and having encouraging conversations filled with laughter. Pretty much perfect.
  • GPMF Benefit date is booked! It will be at the same location as last year in Lapeer, Michigan and will be on Oct 22nd…SAVE THE DATE! We are improving on last years benefit for sure and have added a Chili cook off to this years line up. It will be an excellent day. More on that to come..
  • A final highlight of the week was joining up with the STORY crew at the 360 Peter Pan show. EXCELLENT!! A must see!
  • Lastly…Today I’m thankful for songs that get stuck in my head that I can sing under my breath and spread to others( I miss those blue eyes, something something something…), tiny sweet plums, intelligensia lattes, Lake Michigan, and my mom.

Till tomorrow…sneak peek sunday in the works!

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My wonderful roommate Ashley Ganski has signed up once again to be a guest blogger! I am very excited and honored that she chose such a deep and vulnerable topic to write on. It is truly a gift to have her as my friend…and to have her make my blog cooler. Spoiler alert…you made need a kleenex. Not a surprise here at the emotion filled blog of ‘You can Hope’, ash is just jumping on the cry-train!  

Hope- it’s beautiful.
After a conversation with some bloggers I know, I jumped on board to return for a second edition of the ‘ramblings of a roommate’.  Since signing up for the guest blog, I have been a roller coaster of emotions. I have had some wonderful highs and some dipsy-do’s (as my friend Linda P. may say).  The highs included celebrating by 27th birthday and the dipsy-dos included a challenging conversation with my not-so-thrilled family about my decision to get baptized. With the encouragement of my blog friends, I decided to share the ride on a guest blog about baptism.
Now a blog about baptism could be about so many things. I could write about faith, I could write about obedience, I could write about trust (because all of those things played into this decision), but I am choosing to write about hope.  I am choosing to write about hope because I did not realize the significant role hope had played in my journey to baptism until I was in the water.
Hope: (n) the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. (v) to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.

Hope- it’s tricky. Since beginning my walk with God, I have tried to “tackle” some of the struggles we all have: faith in God’s sovereignty, trusting in God’s plan, being obedient…”the big players”, but I have never really allowed hope to play a part.  While I trust in God’s plan and have faith in His work, I never “get my hope’s up”.  I guess my thought process has always been “If I don’t get my hope’s up, I can’t be disappointed”.

After telling my family what baptism means to me, having tough conversations about what my faith looks likes, and  truthfully listening to how they felt about it, I cannot even begin to describe the joyful moment when I looked out from the water and saw my whole family standing on the beach. They may not have been on the exact same page of why I chose to do this, or have a deep understanding of what this means to me in my pursuit of faith, but they were there. They knew it meant a lot to me, they showed up smiling, brought me flowers, and just loved me. I don’t think I could have hoped for more.
In that moment, I had such a clear realization that hope has been intertwined in my whole story.

Looking back on my testimony and how I came to where I am now, there are glimpses and glimmers of hope throughout. My story is a symbol of hope for my best friend and her family. How could I not be on the hope boat?!

All of the baptism participants were asked to write a one page summary of their testimony.  I decided to share mine with you.
About two years ago I wrote an email to JR (a pastor at my church).  As I was thinking of how to put my testimony on paper, I realized I couldn’t paint a better picture of where I was and where I am now than by sharing this with you. Here is just a glimpse of where I was…
Tuesday, April 14, 2009-

I feel as though I am having a crisis of faith. I realize this that is an intense way to open an email, but it seems to be all that is on my mind. Recently my close friend and roommate suffered a tremendous tragedy and I have been walking with her though this. She is a member of Park. Her family is a very strong Christian family and seeing how faith and spirituality has affected them during this dark time has opened my eyes to something that is incredibly lacking in my life.
I grew up going to Catholic Church every Sunday, attended catholic grammar school, and have always had religion in my life, but until recently I haven’t really listened.  I am aware that statement would give my parents and schoolteachers that spent years trying to teach and inspire me in Christ a heart attack, but being honest, it never really soaked in. I have attended many services and walked away feeling inspired for a limited amount of time, but I have never had a fire for faith. The more I think about it, the more I realize I have had this hole, this emptiness for a long time, and I believe horrible situation has caused the fog to lift and allow me to begin to see what I have been looking for.
Flash Forward June 17th 2011. The family that suffered through such a loss is standing on the beach and watching a living symbol that their tragedy was not in vain. That because of their faith, God has made something beautiful out of the toil.  My life is changed. I am forever grateful.  I walked forward from that day seeking God and never looked back. Once I was so desperately aware of how much I was missing, there was no choice but to pursue God.  God has more than honored his promise to be continually teaching and molding me into a new creation.  I have faith that He will do great things through me. 

After looking back and realizing the key role hope has played in my story thus far, I can start looking forward for what the future holds.  I am getting my hopes up for what is in store for me.

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Waiting…

I know, I know. I’ve been on another blog hiatus. I can’t help it. Its summer in Chicago. I could argue pretty easily, theres not a better place to spend your summer.

But..tonight I was disciplined and made myself a writing plan for how much of the book I hope to have done by September, so expect more sneak peeks…and if I get lazy you have full permission to yell at me.

I also roped Ashley into writing another guest post. So, even if I get lazy this week…Ash will take care of us.

In the meantime, I thought I would share this poem. I saw this clip awhile ago, but just re-ran across it this weekend and it just knocked my socks off. Too good not to share for all those single ladies!

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Sneak Peek Sunday

Every Sunday I will attempt to share an excerpt from my work in progress which will hopefully be a book someday…”You Can Hope”.

January, 2010

It’s a new year! 2009 is soooo over. I am happy to say I celebrated that fact in style.

I did not do the typical Chicago new year. With a new cocktail dress, at a fancy bar, dancing the night away. I actually didn’t even leave my apartment.

But, I was surrounded by amazing people with champagne, dance moves, laughter, and many protest signs describing how horrible 2009 was.

2010 petition to sign as you enter the party

 How else do you say good riddance to 2009, but by protesting it. In costume.

Giving out the parts awards....ps. all my parties have an awards section.

And of course to celebrate the fact that it’s a new year!

2010. Just writing it and I feel better.

Those numbers, this year. Makes me feel old….and for the first time I’ve ever said this. I feel old, in kind of a good way.

I’ve been thinking alot about the person I was 8 years ago, when I went off to college. And the person I am today. Holy Change-fest.

There’s so many things I wish I would have known back then. About myself. About life. About everything. And I know that going through the experiences of the last 8 years have  made me who I am…. But, what would life be like if I could have told myself a few things that I know now…(insert back to the furture soundtrack music)

Dear College me,

Not much to report here about the future. Phones have become much smarter and Aim is still a cool way to talk to your friends….except now its disguised as ‘g-chat’.

Sorry. You haven’t started your fairy tale life yet with prince charming, but there are a few things to report on:

1)       You are living the big city life.

2)      You did land a kick ass job.

3)      Life is not what you thought it would be. At all.

Lets expand on this point # 3- here are a few things that I wish I would have learned earlier:

  • He’s never going to be the man you need him to be. MOVE ON. Or wait 4 years and get a screwed up head about relationships.
  • Keep loving people as a top priority. ‘Grades’ will not drive 20 miles to get you a starbucks when your roasted by emotions.  
  • You do not have God figured out. At all. And you need him much more then you think. Invest in that relationship as much as you can.
  • You are happiest when you think about yourself the least.
  • Give people grace. You screw up all the time.
  • Hug your family every chance you get.
  • Take a writing class.
  • Don’t spread yourself to thin.
  • Keep your ‘grumpiness’ as a check for how much Jesus time you have had lately.
  • Stop wearing Abercrombie. Seriously.
  • Hear grandma’s stories.
  • Buy stock in google.
  • When you find people who make you funnier, keep them around.
  • You are given so much more then you deserve, stop wanting more.
  • Dream big.
  • Loving people hurts. Pain follows love.  LOVE the cuss out of people every chance you get. You never know how many chances you will have.
  • Life is hard. There is nothing about life that is breezy easy. Take stock in that. And know that joy comes in the morning.

Think on that for awhile.  Your doing pretty good but the sooner you can realize that life is not about you, the sooner we can start changing the world.

Love,

The more mature and beautiful you

(COMMMENTS WELCOME FOR ANYTHING YOU WOULD SAY TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF!)

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The wedding of the century is officially over and my brother and sister-in-law are currently en-route headed back to the great state of Michigan.

The wedding was beautiful! I will never be able to mention that wedding without smiling from ear to ear. It was truly a moment where laughter would be the sound associated with the day. There was not a person in that tent that did not tangibly see the pain that the Prendergast’s have gone through, and the victory we are experiencing now.

I am finally un-packed from wedding week, returning the emails from work that will probably pile up on me until Summer is over, glued to facebook seeing if any new pics have been posted of the wedding weekend, trying to figure out how to get the ‘pure michigan’ guest bags to the appropriate owners (since I slacked on that job on the day of) and finding a place in my closet for my first navy blue bridesmaid dress.

I would be lying if the tagline always a bridesmaid, never a bride has never been associated with my name. It has been used….on a few too many occasions! And yes I can say with all too much certainty, that I probably will not wear any of these dresses again….but I can say with so much more certainty that I LOVE each one.

When Sarah asked me to stand up with her in her wedding I knew it wasn’t a question she was taking lightly ( and it especially was not because of my keen eye for wedding details). She was asking me to make a covenant with her. Greg and her were asking me to stand with them not only on their wedding day, but also in their life. This is a bit of an interesting situation because Greg is stuck with me. We’re blood.

And now, so is Sarah. She took  that ‘stuck with each other’ one step farther and asked me to support and encourage them through the duration of their marriage so they don’t become another divorce statistic. She was asking me to be her friend and her sister, through the good and the bad. By me saying ‘yes’ to being a bridesmaid, I was saying yes to being a ‘lifer’ with her until were rejoicing in heaven.

This was an insta yes. Just like it was an insta yes for Tara, Sarah, Sam, Steph, & Kelly.  Yes, I will probably be the Bride with 27 bridesmaids…but the thing is, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m no-where near bride status. I’m still playing with the ‘girlfriend’ status question! I’m not in a place to be someones wife. To sign a covenant to step into a life them, whatever that means.

But I am in a place to live my  life with passion, attacking it and making a difference every chance I get. And the cool thing is, I see me saying yes to the girls I mentioned above, and they’ve said yes to me as well. They’ve said I’m walking with you through your dating drama, work challenges, and life as a whole. They’ve stepped into my life and have indirectly taken some of the sting of being single away, so I never have to think of myself as ‘alone’.  They have been and hopefully will continue to be those friends until that day when I take the ‘plunge’ and they sign up for the next part of being this crazy girls friend who is also a wife!

But for now, I’m enjoying my season of bridemaid-ing.

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