Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Collage of Summer

The New DeLews are not a picture-taking couple. We like the idea of it, and sometimes we even bring our camera, but all too frequently the camera gets swallowed up by the deep mysterious creature known as my purse. (Why must my purse be so big?) But every once in awhile we (actually, the Other DeLew) manages to take a couple of pictures. In order to make up for all the lame posts that have been pictureless, I've decided to share a couple of our summer events through the medium of rather amateur photos. As summer is sadly coming to a close, here's a brief overview of some (not all, by any means!) of our summer happenings in Chicago.

Let's talk about my brief, yet passionate obsession with kale. Oh yes, my grand idea of making 'kale chips' was supposedly going to solve any desire to eat normal potato chips. These are the types of things I do when Mark is on business trips. Although he tried to feign excitement for the kale after returning from the airport, when he really just wanted a piece of meat, let's just say, I haven't made the kale chips since.

Family visits! We had a wonderful time when my parents visited from California, my sister's family (including 2 babies!), and multiple visits from out-of-towners and overnight guests. The Medill has acted like an inn, and we love it! As Mark and I continue to learn how to be hospitable, we have realized that often we work better as a couple when we are hosting people in our home. So people, when you come over for dinner, you're helping the New DeLews be the couple we're meant to be! Thank you for sharing your lives with us!

Mark has continued to improve on his dishwashing business at the Medill. When we moved, we made the switch from having the dish rack on the counter, to placing it in the sink. And this has really developed Mark's incredible jenga-like stacking skills. It's an art.

Grilling and Lemon Drops. Because of the horror known as Chicago humidity and a lack of central AC, we have increased our use of the outdoor grill, and also perfected our recipe for lemon drop martinis. Sitting outside with friends, grilled burgers or grilled pizza and lemon drops? Now that's what I call summer! We have had wonderful conversations with our landlord and friends, sitting over citronella candles and good food.

Time together. Although it has been a busy summer for the New DeLews, we have enjoyed the bike rides, el rides, frozen yogurt, lake outings, and so many wonderful evenings wandering the city streets. We are deeply thankful to live in the city of Chicago, (particularly during the summer months), and we are thankful for the people in our lives. It's the people that bring beauty into our daily lives. So summer, you have done well this year.

Monday, August 30, 2010


I have had a ton of people ask me (with horror on their faces), 'Why are you training for the marathon?!!' And people, you are right to ask this question for a multitude of reasons. 1. I have never been much of a runner. One time I told a new soccer coach that I was normally a halfback, and he laughed at me. I was even diagnosed with 'exercise-induced asthma' at one time. But in reality, I should have just been diagnosed with 'being out of shape'. 2. A marathon is 26.2 miles. Yes. That's a lot. 3. Training for the marathon is a huge time commitment and lifestyle. It isn't a decision that should be taken lightly. I have a history of making spur of the moment decisions, so it's absolutely right to ask me if I'm really committed to this type of thing.

And let me say, although registering for the marathon itself was kind of a spur of the moment decision, I had been mulling over the idea of marathon running for awhile. And although I thought that all this training would absolutely kill me, the truth is, training for the marathon has been very freeing. First of all, I have a set schedule that tells me exactly how many miles to run every other day. On the days that I don't run, I get to rest. And they actually feel like rest days- I don't ever feel guilty about not running those days. Now that I'm running so much, I don't really have to think much about caloric intake (victory!!), and it just feels so good to really feel healthy. I wouldn't quite say that I get a runner's high, because honestly, I think that's an oxymoron. But I do experience a sense of confidence and accomplishment when I feel really good while running 8 miles. And even though I'm cursing the world during mile 14, when I've successfully run 15 miles, I am ecstatic and relieved.

But there is a deeper reason for why I have continued to train for the marathon. I'm learning a new type of perseverance. I kind of feel like I'm sounding like those locker room sports posters that have an acronym for perseverance- p=power, e=excellence, r=respect, etc.... But anyway, never before have I practiced such a a gradual, yet extreme form of physical perseverance. I have always understood perseverance in an emotional or spiritual sense. There are key moments in my life, like tragic deaths, difficult cross-cultural situations, or times of deep loneliness, that have developed emotional and spiritual perseverance within me. And I believe those times have built my character and given me a type of fortitude that you can't muster up. Those times are an intricate part of who I am. But running has opened my eyes to what it means to physically and mentally persevere. I am forcing my body to go beyond its comfort zone, to do things that I never dreamed possible, and I am forcing my mind to push through it all. And it is really encouraging to remember how I could barely run three outdoor miles last February. I never thought I'd be here now!

Now I am not going to say that I am able to run because "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13), because honestly, I'm don't think my ability to train for the marathon is the right interpretation of that verse. But I can say that I sense God in the midst of perseverance. I mean, we have a God of perseverance. A God that only expects perseverance from us because He constantly perseveres for us. As I force myself to persevere through the craziness of marathon training, which in the grand scheme of things is not that monumental, I reflect on something absolutely monumental- God's perseverance for us, as He seeks after the brokenhearted, pours out love on even the proud, and draws the world to Himself. This thing called perseverance- it's beautiful.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

On the Trash

11:30pm Friday. After a fun evening with friends at a super hipster bar, I packed and tried to remember all the things I needed to do before flying out at 6am. Mark had already flown to CA because he had a business trip out there, so I was in charge of closing up the Medill before our 8 days in California. So of course, I did the dishes, straightened up the apartment and made sure all the windows were closed and locked. There were only 2 more things I needed to do: 1. water the flowers in our cute window box and 2. take out the kitchen trash. 'Hmm, both of those things require going outside, so I'll wait until the morning to do that....'

worthless decision.

4:40am Saturday. I was rushing around with wet hair, with the greatest intention to take out that damn trash. But before I could do that, I got a phone call from the taxi company: 'Your cab is here. If you do not come outside in 2 minutes, the cab will leave.' So of course, I dropped what I was doing, grabbed my bag and ran outside to catch my taxi, leaving the trash and flowers in the dust.

5pm Saturday. I confessed to Mark about my utter fail. Mark scowled and said "Baaaaaaabe..." (disapprovingly).

6pm Sunday (a week later). We walked up to the apartment- dead flowers. I've never seen flowers so dead in my whole life. Fail. We walked into our apartment, and surprisingly there was not a putrid odor as I had expected! So Mark opened the lid to the trash can, and I immediately thought, 'hmm, I don't remember putting all that flax seed in the trash can.' Mark angrily carried the maggot-filled trash can outside as apologies flowed from my mouth. Needless to say, I cleaned the living hell out of that trash can with a power hose and lysol, majorly ashamed at my complete fail. It was probably the grossest moment in our marriage to date.

But, we are planning to buy more flowers and we have the cleanest trash can ever. And although the whole situation was admittedly my fault, Mark kindly (and silently) worked alongside me to clean up my mess. He could have tried to teach me a lesson by making me clean it up all by myself, but he didn't. I'm thankful for his gracious partnership. And I need to learn how to be a gracious partner in return.

But next time, I promise to take out the damn trash.