It’s a new year.

It is just over a week since the new year, and it has already been an eventful year. January 2 was my 23 birthday and early in the morning my sweet nephew Oliver was born! I am already in love with this little boy and we get to share our special day for the rest of our lives–I feel privileged.


Aunt Lydia and her little lamb, Oliver Daniel.

I spent a couple days in Indianapolis visiting my brother, sister-in-law and little Oliver. It was such a special time. I can honestly say, he has been such an inspiration of hope for me the last few months. I have been looking forward to his arrival, and I find some redemption in his birth on my birthday. Thankful for this little miracle.

When I returned to Chicago, my friend Matt was in town from California for his brother’s wedding. Matt and I played music in the Blue Devils and RCC indoor percussion for three years together, and it was wonderful seeing a familiar face. We ended up at a blues club that plays live music seven days a week. It was an awesome find.


New Year Resolutions

Some people are wary of new year resolutions and skeptical. I have never made many in the past, but I think the idea is lovely. It is a chance to make a fresh start and try to challenge ourselves and grow. This year I have made a few commitments and with so many questions about my future right now, they have rejuvenated my drive and given me a renewed sense of purpose.

First, I will be more available. Bob Goff, in his book Love Does, encourages his readers to be more readily available to others. He specifically refers to answering the phone, and not letting it go to voicemail. I am going to be much better about this, and this will be a huge challenge for me.

I have never been a huge fan of talking on the phone. I’m awkward, I often pace while I’m on the phone, and I never know how to end a conversation naturally. It seems silly right? If you have talked on the phone with me, you’ve probably quickly noticed this. In any event, I am putting my fear aside and being much more readily willing to answer the phone and not let it go to voicemail. Call me? 🙂

Second, I am going to learn how to live more sacrificially. With a group of 18+ other people, I am challenging myself to run 1000 miles (about 20 miles/week) and save $1000 throughout 2013. This money will send food to the Thai/Burmese border. With 18 people participating, we will run 18,000 miles and provide 274,000 meals for Burmese Refugees.

I hesitated to write about this, because I do not want this to come off as just as another “cool” thing I’m doing and to come across prideful. I share this will you in an attempt to share our deep rooted desire to grasp what it means to respond to biblical justice and respond to God’s heart for the poor and needy.

A friend of mine initiated this goal and talked about his goal to live more dangerously, sacrificially and generously in 2013. I am thankful for this challenge and for another year to seek those things that stir God’s heart–how special it is that he allows us to respond and participate in his story of justice.

More on this to come…

This May, I will run my first mini-marathon, and it will be soon after I have a follow up scan regarding my thyroid cancer (we will see if the first round of radiation did the trick). I can imagine completing this race will be quite an emotional experience, especially depending on those results.

Health Update

I have returned to the weight I was before I was diagnosed last August. I never gained that much, but it was enough for me to notice and enough to struggle emotionally. I had no control over my body, and it was certainly a struggle. It didn’t matter how much I went to the gym, how little I ate or how much I slept (or didn’t sleep), my body responded to the lack of thyroid and medication however it pleased.

I have always been able to control and maintain my health and body, and I didn’t realize how much I took that for granted. All of this was taken from me the last few months, and I was not emotionally or mentally prepared for it. I am thankful for the struggle and the time I had to spend reaffirming my identity  without the exterior I was used to. I’ve always been confident in who I am, but I didn’t realize how much I depended on my physical strength to present this confidence.

Here’s to a new year, improved health and new beginnings.

Here’s to new adventures.

Where are you headed?

In his book Love Does, Bob Goff writes a short chapter about his experience hitchhiking from San Diego to San Francisco. He mentions the ease of his journey from San Diego to Santa Barbara, but then he was stuck there more than a day on the side of a highway.

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Now, Goff said before he would normally get in the car with anyone, he would ask them, “Where are you headed?” and decide from that answer if he would get in the car. After a day of waiting, however, he jumped in the first vehicle that pulled aside for him and failed to ask this vital question. He was too anxious to keep moving forward.

Long story short, the guy was creepy and even called himself “Satan.” Goff eventually got out of the car and waited for someone new to come along, though a bit skeptical now. He found a ride with a woman headed to San Francisco, and was put to rest when she said the black box in the back of her beat up station wagon was for her harp (she was playing music for a wedding).

Why do I tell you think story? Well, Goff continues:

We have a lot more power to decide who we do life with than some people think…What I’ve decided is a pretty good idea is to just ask people where they’re going before you get in with them. If they aren’t heading where you want to end up, just wait in the ice plant by the highway a little while longer. (p.118-119)

I think this is a beautiful reminder. As I get older, I find myself naturally asking the question, “Where are you headed?” before entering into any relationship, whether it be a friendship or romantic relationship. It may seem a little stifling, but I believe it is healthy to ask this question and to wait to invest your heart into relationships until you find those people(or that person) you can head in the same direction with.

If anything, I believe each of us can benefit from answering the question:

Where are you headed?

Radioactive and Quarantined (Day 1)

This morning I went to the hospital to begin radiation treatment. They took me to a “radioactive zone” room and told me all of the precautions and things I will have to do while I’m quarantined. While I waited to begin treatment, I surveyed the underwhelming room and found it pretty humorous.

Apparently, enough patients have mentioned that they would feel much more at ease if there was an element of nature in the solitary room. There were two tiles directly above me that were “clouds” with lights, and they changed in brightness…what? haha.

Eventually, they took a pill out of a metal box, quickly left, and I swallowed it. Just like that, I’m radioactive.

I remained in the room for only a half hour, but they left a nice Women’s Health magazine for me to read. I learned certain beauty products that are “tricks” v. “treats,” as well as the proper bra to use in your early twenties (and every decade afterward)–what an educational half hour for this I-was-a-tom-boy-most-of-my-life-and-I’m-still-learning-to-fully-grasp-being-a-woman-in-her-early-twenties. I mean, I only started carrying a purse about a year a go… I still have a lot to learn. Expert ladies, how on earth do you fill a purse? I am always impressed by women who have full purses that they could probably fit themselves inside. Tell me your secrets.

That half hour felt like a TLC show.

When my radioactive level was low enough to leave the radiation room, I rode in the back seat of my uncle Steve’s car (soon after the receptionist asked him if he was my husband), and went directly into the room in his house where I will be staying for the next eight days. Other than pressure in my head, uneasiness in my stomach and being tired–I feel just fine so far. I am prepared that over the next few days it’ll all settle in a little more. We’ll see!

I am starting to unpack my “bags of tricks” for this period of solitary “vacation.” Thanks to wonderful friends and family, some of the things I have to look forward to include the following:

Reading Material (many that I am re-reading):

  • Glorious Ruin by Tullian Tchividjian
  • Storyline by Donald Miller
  • Love Does by Bob Goff
  • Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer (Thanks Kristen!)
  • The Man of Grace and Grit: Paul by Charles Swindoll (one of my undergrad textbooks)
  • The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer (also one of my undergrad textbooks)
  • RELEVANT Magazines

Watching Material:

  • Netflix
  • Pinky and the Brain (Two complete seasons…YES)
  • The Office, Gone in 60 Seconds (Thanks Skodas!)
  • The Good Shepherd
  • School of Rock
  • Up
  • Tangled


  • Writing letters!
  • Cross-stitch
  • Origami (Thanks Kristen!)
  • Puzzles (Thanks mom!)
  • Coloring Books (Thanks Katie!)
  • Compiling a personal cookbook from my own stash of recipes and friends. I’m still looking for recipes to add and want as many people’s involvement as possible. It’s so much more fun knowing who to thank for each recipe 🙂 If you have any favorites, please e-mail them to me!
  • Riding my bike on its trainer, starting day 3!

While I’ve found stuff to keep me busy, I can’t wait until I can get outside and enjoy my city again. Yesterday was beautiful, and I went to my favorite spot near our apartment and enjoyed the skyline and fresh air. Until we meet again, Lake Michigan, keep fresh (and so clean, clean.)

View of the Chicago skyline from Montrose Harbor. (Lydia Ness; Oct. 16, 2012)