Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Candy Coated Diversion

There's something strangely absorbing about fashioning one's likeness in cartoon--or in this case candy--form. If you're looking for something silly to do on your lunch break, you too can become an m&m.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Driven to Dream

Though I've lived in the Chicagoland area most of my life, there remain quite a few "quintessentially Chicago" places and events that I have yet to experience. I've been working on that over the past couple years, and so gradually I am starting to feel like a more legitimate Chicagoan. I've now been to a Cubs game at Wrigley. Watched the fireworks at the Taste of Chicago. Seen the big Christmas tree and shopped the little marketplace in Daley Plaza. Went ice skating at Millennium Park. Etc.

This past weekend I checked another experience off my list by attending the Chicago Auto Show for the first time. Though my knowledge of and concern for cars is fairly minimal, I have to say the whole experience pleasantly exceeded my expectations. It was fun to wander through the displays by all the different manufacturers, comparing and contrasting the various models. I sat in quite a few of them (after moving the seat back) and (though I am committed to my dear Malibu until age and infirmity require her retirement) had to admit it was fun to dream about which car I'd bring home if price and practicality were conveniently out of the picture. Though I am still attached to the idea of a Mini Cooper in metallic royal blue with white racing stripes (especially after sitting in one and finding that it did not feel as small as I thought it might), the model that caught my eye and imagination on Saturday was the new Volkswagen Eos convertible. Yeah, I could rock one of those.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Now You Know My ABCs

I saw this on someone else's blog and thought it'd be fun. Today is one of those days when my brain is more inclined toward lists and bullet points than paragraphs and prose. Leave a comment if you post your own!

A-Available or Taken? The position of Suz's significant other is currently available. Apply within.
B-Best Friend? I am blessed with a multitude of amazing friends - the best ones know who they are.
C-Cake or Pie? Hmm, that's a tough one. Probably cake, but at the end of the day a warm gooey brownie trumps them both.
D-Drink of Choice? When I'm "good" - a non-fat, sugar-free, no-whip cinnamon dolce latte. When I decide to splurge - a peppermint or valencia mocha.
E-Essential Item? Hand lotion. I'm kind of addicted.
F-Favorite Color? Lime green.
G-Gummi Bears or Worms? Worms.
H-Favorite Hang Out? Starbucks or Caribou Coffee.
I-Indulgence? The occasional pedicure.
J-January or June? June.
K-Kindergarten memory? My playground crush on Andy Churchill. He was dreamy.
L-Life is Incomplete Without? Jesus.
M-Mom calls me? Suzi (but if you know what's good for you, stick with Suz).
N-Number of Siblings? One brother.
O-Oranges or Apples? Apples - pie, butter, crisp - YUM. Galas are my favorite.
P-Phobias/Fears? Worms (the real kind that come out after it rains). I loath them with a degree of passion that frightens me.
Q-Favorite Quote? "Life is not a problem to be solved. It is an adventure to be lived."
R-Reason to Smile? I'm forgiven and free.
S-Season? Autumn.
T-Tea or coffee? I like both, but coffee wins out. Especially snickerdoodle flavored coffee. It's the bomb.
U-Unknown fact? There's a pencil tip imbedded in the palm of my left hand from an ill-fated balloon popping attempt in second grade.
V-Valued possession? My coffee table, handcrafted by my great grandpa.
W-Worst Habit? Leaving dishes in the sink for weeks.
X-tra xtra! Tall Redhead Makes First Visit to Chicago Auto Show This Weekend
Y-Your Favorite Food? Tapas, esp. datiles con tocino (dates wrapped in bacon) that melt in your mouth like butta.
Z-Zodiac? Cancer

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

And this is love...

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. (1 John 4:7-18 NLT)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Finger Painting

A friend sent me an email today with these incredible paintings. I'm not sure where they're from or who the artist is, but I am impressed enough to want to share them with others. So, enjoy!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Rocky Mountain Highlights - #3

I am happy to report that I have finally found a winter sport where you strap things to your feet in which I can participate with minimal danger of physical injury or psychological distress: snowshoeing. It's great! Last Saturday Chris, Janelle, and I rented snowshoes (or rather, intended to rent but instead discovered that a guy who used to be in C&J's small group works at the outdoor equipment shop in Estes Park and he outfitted us with snowshoes for free) and spent the afternoon tromping through Rocky Mountain National Park, which happens to be one of my favorite places in the world. Although it was ridiculously windy that day, we still had a great time hiking around Sprague Lake and then up to Bear Lake, Nymph Lake and beyond. Having done the Nymph Lake hike last January in just sneakers, it was really remarkable what a difference the snowshoes made...no wonder people looked at us like we were crazy last time.

Rocky Mountain Highlights - #2

Last Friday evening Chris and Janelle collected me at the hotel that had been my residence for the week and we headed into downtown Denver to make our 6:15 reservation at Vesta Dipping Grill, a place that had been recommended by friends of theirs, as well as the recently ubiquitous Rachael Ray (seriously, the woman is everywhere!).

Our entire experience at Vesta was delightful. To start with, the place has a very sophisticated and intimate ambiance; pleasing aesthetic elements include exposed brick walls, large circular booths, and appropriately dim lighting, provided in part by appealing sconces and table lanterns. We enjoyed cocktails and the atmostphere while waiting for Cheryl and Joe to arrive. VDG's menu features a collection of succulent meat and fish entrees, each with an interesting and (at least to me) unusual collection of things on the side. Each entree then comes with 3 dipping sauces, chosen from a selection of over 30 sweet, savory, and spicy options. Before we made our selections, we regaled our waiter with questions, and he graciously provided answers, definitions, and suggestions.

I ended up going with the garlic tzatziki grilled lamb tenderloin with goat cheese campanelle pasta, fresh mint, and poached pear, and for dipping, the pistacio mint, cilantro pesto, and mango poblano salsa. YUM. The lamb was delicious and the sauces quite tasty. My only complaint was that the pasta tasted more strongly of vinegar than goat cheese, but with all the other flavors going on I found that forgivable. Janelle tried the salmon, Cheryl the pork tenderloin, Joe the bbq steak skewers, and Chris had the lamb. One of the great things about dining with good friends is that you can invade each other's plates, and so I discovered that Janelle's rosemary ginger dipping sauce was incredible, while Cheryl's pumpkin spaetzle was more fun to say than eat (it wasn't bad, just didn't taste like much of anything).

As if all of that wasn't enough, Janelle scored a complimentary dessert in honor of her birthday, and she generously shared her double dark chocolate cake (complete with raspberry, hot fudge, and custard dipping sauces) with the rest of us.

So, I'm with Rachael on this one - the Vesta Dipping Grill is definitely a highlight of the Mile High City.

Rocky Mountain Highlights - #1

Last week I attended WorldVenture's annual Renewal Conference in Denver. Ironically, I went into the conference less burned-out than in past years, and yet came out of it more renewed than ever before. One of the sweetest experiences from that week was getting to know Sherri, one of the missionaries with whom I had up to that point only communicated via email and phone (which is the case for most of the missionaries and staff with whom I work), and having her pray over me. At the beginning of the conference, I was drawn to Sherri by her ready smile, her contagious laugh, and probably her red hair (redheads tend to stick together). As I got to know her, I was touched by her gentleness, sincerity, and the size of her heart. As we bowed our heads to pray together the afternoon of the first day, I felt dwarfed and awkward...this woman has been a missionary in Africa for almost as many years as I've been alive. I know that my faith is real, but hers has been tested and refined by trials way beyond my experience and understanding. I prayed for her first, for the concerns she had voiced, and in the way I knew to pray.

And then she prayed for me. It was one of those experiences where you just know the other person is totally in tune with the Holy Spirit, because as she went before the throne on my behalf, she prayed for things so deeply intertwined in my hopes and fears that I hadn't dared mention them. That alone reduced me to tears, but on top of that I could tell as she prayed that she entertained no doubt about God's goodness and His ability and desire to answer those prayers, and I felt the gentle admonishment of the Lord, "Oh Suz of little faith." I want to have Sherri's depth of faith and confidence in prayer, but if I'm honest I am scared of and not at all eager to embrace the suffering, tests and trials that would produce it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Seal the Deal

From the people who brought us the entertaining Church Sign Generator comes its cousin, the Official Seal Generator. Through this site you can choose from a variety of emblems, fonts, and colors to create an oh-so-official looking seal for whatever purpose you wish...

So, with great fanfare I present the Official Seal of Suz's Musings:

Special thanks to Wikipedia's list of Latin sayings for my very appropriate motto, "Scribendo Cogito" or "I think by writing."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


It's been snowing here all day. Big, fluffy flakes, sometimes floating gently down, sometimes driven diagonally by the wind. I've been watching the snow accumulate, forming a rounded extension of the railing visible from my office window, a fluffy blanket covering the balcony outside the back door. Now in the darkness that follows dusk, flecks here and there catch and reflect the light of streetlamps, reminiscent of the shiny bits in Formica.

A friend said the other day that if it's going to be cold, she'd rather have it be cold with snow. I think I'd have to agree. When it's just cold--achingly, bone-chillingly cold--it feels like punishment. But when it snows, the cold almost becomes forgivable, or at least forgetable, for it's no longer the main attraction. Snow steals the show. It makes the world look soft and pure. It causes headaches on highways and runways. It makes us dig out our sunglasses in the middle of winter. It crunches or squeaks underfoot.

Cold is just there and we resent it. Snow demands our attention. And though we may grumble at the extra time spent cleaning off our cars or getting home from work, I think there's still a part of us--sometimes buried very deep inside--that gets caught up in the wonder of snow. Of no two flakes ever the same. Of the possibility and memories of snowmen, snowball fights, snow forts and snow angels. Of its incredible whiteness.

"Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow."

Sunday, February 04, 2007