17 December 2008

To Winter

by Emily Bront

The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing dear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.

10 December 2008


We put our tree up this past weekend and we wondered how simple trees with simple trimmings can look so beautiful. Several years ago, for our first Christmas as a married couple, we invited our dear friends over to help us fashion the ornaments for our first Christmas tree. We purchased some materials, poured some wine and laughed over what would soon become cherished symbols of friendship, creativity and a new life together. Every year, Andrew comes up with some newfangled tree topper, usually using something from around the apartment. So far, it hasn't been the same twice.

I like what a Christmas tree represents: light, change, preparation, nature, creation, memories... And specifically, I like that our tree represents a taste of our community, of those we hold dear - those of our past, our present and those yet to come.

08 December 2008

Savings? Solved.

Check this out: SmartyPig. Basically, it's a savings program that allows you to save for a specific goal (like a trip, for example) by transferring money automatically from your checking account. You set the goal and the time frame and SmartyPig will give you a suggested monthly amount to set aside. Your SmartyPig account even earns a 3.90% interest rate. I think the best part is that you can make your account public, so others can contribute to your goal. Once you've reached your goal, you can receive your savings plus interest on a SmartyPig MasterCard debit card, receive the amount on a gift card, or you can transfer the savings plus interest back to your checking account. Oh, and it's all free. Great idea, huh?

04 December 2008

Alternate Routes | Advent

I first saw this on Barbara and Nathan's blog. If you haven't seen it already, you should take a look. Andrew and I have been thinking lately, how can we "do" Christmas differently? How do we best embrace Advent, I mean, really embrace it? Not just by singing some carols and lighting some candles, but rather, how should we change our practices to prepare ourselves for the coming Christ? I'm sure at first thought, we could all rattle off a few things: give more to charity, spend more time in prayer, savor those quiet nights of anticipation, read the Christmas story with more expectation. To be sure, those are all good things. But I think the story of Christmas, and indeed, the life of Christ, requires more. For me, this video excites the imagination and so I find it pretty apropos for Advent, but why stop there? The more I entrench myself in a different kind of Christmas, the more I find that the Christian life requires not just a change of shopping habits in December (although it does indeed require that), but a comprehensive change of lifestyle. Year round.

And so the question becomes, how do we "do" life differently?

This question in particular has been hounding me lately.
A lifestyle change requires not just deeper pockets (that would be easy), but it requires broader perspectives, freer schedules, trusting hearts, a relentless commitment to each other and our neighbors, and hardest of all, resistance to the idols of prosperity, security, comfort and safety. I've given this much thought, but not too much action. And while at times I berate myself over this fact, I am also realizing that perhaps big change takes some big preparation. Of course, maybe that's just an excuse. But either way, Advent is the time of preparation and I will take advantage of it.

02 December 2008


Like the new movie, Australia (more on that later), I think our Thanksgiving had it all: fantastic company, plentiful food and drink, good conversation, relaxation, thankful hearts, and the space to know and appreciate those around us. Mom and Dad Daigle drove in from Connecticut and it provided a wonderful opportunity to share our Chicago lives with those closest to us. Isn't it interesting how out of town guests give you new eyes in which to view old and familiar surroundings? Suddenly, our apartment and neighborhood evolved from a place to live into a place to explore. We showed off our Lincoln Square favorites, visited the Field Museum and sampled some of Chicago's varied cuisine.

And, yes... we saw Australia.

The movie, like our Thanksgiving, really did have it all: action, adventure, romance, you laughed, you cried, you get the picture. (And you won't be disappointed.)

All in all, it was a time to indeed be grateful... for dear family, for God's provision, for our city's endless entertainment and for the chance to pause to give thanks. Many thanks to you, Mom and Dad, for your generosity, curiosity and graciousness in spending a Thanksgiving in Chicago. We are truly grateful.