Monday, January 2, 2012


There's no easy way to say this without sounding dumb and probably annoying you a little (or confusing you at best!): I'm moving my blog back to its original site. Here are my three reasons:

1. to inspire myself to start afresh with a goal to make 2012 a year of more regular writing habits,

2. to keep all the writing I've done since the beginning of my blogging in 2008 in one place,

3. to enjoy my wordpress again, which I've missed this year. :) 

To make it easy on you, here's a link back to my original site (as well as the web address for you to see): 

In order to keep everything together, I've transfered my posts from this site over to the other one. Please excuse the bit of sloppy formatting on more recent posts. Cheers! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

things to love in the fall

I always thought spring was my favorite season, but after returning to the midwest from six years in always-sunny southern California, autumn may be moving into the lead.

It's especially great in Chicago, because I think fall lasts a bit longer here. It's November 2nd, we're still hovering around 60 degrees, and the trees are still filled with colorful autumn leaves. I love the excuse to have a cup of coffee or tea by my side through most of the day. The skies are often gray, but not dark like they are when the clouds are filled with rain. The inside of my house is filled with a cozy sense of productivity, like I could be content to work here for hours.

September brought us into a fall that began with a host of new responsibilities, sources of stress, and an endless list of to-dos. As I sit in my dining room today (pathophysiology books and study materials close at hand) I'm struck by a new sense of gratitude for this season. There's just not enough time in life not to reflect on the good things that come our way. Of course many of those things are immaterial; the blessings of good friendships, peace in the midst of uncertainty, the license to spend time working toward a meaningful goal. But some of them are very much material. And these, I pass along to you:

I love this stuff. My favorite way to enjoy the morning is to put on a pot of this, burn my pumpkin nutmeg candle, and let the delightful smells of fall fill our apartment. 

This is the tea that just might be able to break me of my coffee habit. Smooth, delicate, floral; this stuff is simply a delight. I especially love it with a little bit of milk and honey.

How many times have you been told by avid Harry Potter fans: "you have to read the books." It took me hearing that about thirty times before I finally dove into the series. Jeremy and I read them one after another in two months, just recently finishing book seven. I loved them. Partly because they're great stories; I had to force myself to put them down every now and again so that I could continue doing normal life things. But also because they're great to talk about and ponder over. This has become the best selling series of books ever written and I think it's important to be a person who can understand why.

Now I'm reading this. I'm only half way through, but I think I can recommend it. First off, I think it's really healthy to read good books about real things that happened to real people. Fiction tends to be my favorite recreational reading, but often a good biography is just as enjoyable and can be far more rewarding. It gets a little intense at times (I probably wouldn't give it to my kids to read), but it's an incredible true story about a rebel kid turned olympic runner turned WWII bomber pilot.

This actually has nothing to do with my fall this year, but in the spirit of reading books (a wonderful pastime for these cozy days inside) I had to mention this. I just realized I never wrote about this book, which I intended to do when I finished it in June. It's actually real inappropriate that this is at the end of my blog post, because this is hands down the best book I have ever read (barring the Bible, of course). Unbroken is great so far, but it doesn't even begin to hold a torch to Eric Metaxas' Bonhoeffer Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Metaxas is an incredible biographer, writing about Bonhoeffer in a captivating yet immensely informative way. This book amazed me, inspired me, and repeatedly caused me to consider my own Christian life. Bonhoeffer will forever be a hero of mine, and I'd read any biography Metaxas wrote. 

Well I suppose it's about time I get back to working on the things that need to get done and won't do themselves. I'm encouraged by this season, and excited to see the beginning of November. Here's to hoping and praying for the ability to keep our lives in perspective, always. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

someday i WILL be an np

Whoever said grad school was easier than undergrad was not in NP school. My program is seriously kicking me in the pants.

I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting. Of course becoming a nurse practitioner would be difficult. It makes perfect sense. I suppose it's mostly that I wasn't expecting at all. I worked hard to apply to grad school and really hard to earn a hefty scholarship as well, but my actual coursework was apparently far from the front of my mind.

Now I'm up to my eyes in the most difficult exams of my life with far less time for school than I ever had as an undergrad. My professors give out A's, B's, and F's, which means I'm doing all I can to keep my head above water, praying that somehow I will make passing grades in all my classes.

Although it's difficult to shake the nagging feeling that failure is within the realm of real possibility, this weekend has been a bit of a breath of fresh air for me. I'm in New Orleans at a conference put on by the National Health Service Corps (those folks who gave me the hefty scholarship), an organization committed to bringing Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, and other clinicians to areas where access to healthcare is extremely limited. The corps is made up of recent graduates of medical, dental, PA and NP schools who have committed to spending a minimum of two years serving in low-income, underserved communities in the US. Over the past forty years over 41,000 clinicians have served in the corps. Currently over 10,000 current NHSC members are providing healthcare to more than 10.5 million people in Health Professional Shortage Areas across the nation.

The weekend has been filled with stories of communities being transformed by committed, dynamic primary care practitioners who are passionate about the underserved. They serve as a powerful reminder that the work I do even now is not about me.

School is still hard and still will be hard for the next couple years. But for now I'm reminded why it's so important to faithfully persevere. I only pray I can do as much.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

sweet tea in the midafternoon

Lovely Bakeshop. A lovely lovely place in Chicago that appears to live up to its name has apparently been hiding from me for the past year. I found this place on Sunday (thanks to some friends of ours) and thought to myself I just might have found my favorite neighborhood coffee shop in Chicago.

It's simple. It's just off one of my favorite streets, next to a place called The Butcher and Larder (point for location), there's lots of natural light and an adorable patio that's usually about half-shaded (point for charm), it's got lots of space and not lots of people occupying it (point for low-profile), and they serve Intelligentsia coffee (ten points for my favorite coffee-game over). Good news for me.

Lately I've been thinking about taking up a hobby I probably can't afford to start. I've never really been the hobby-having type, but the other day I was hit with an overwhelming desire to get a real camera and start taking pictures. I've always told Jeremy he needs to take up photography so we can have great pictures of our lives and future kids. I've also always thought it was kind of lame that 90% of the pictures on my blog were taken by someone else.

My dad got a fancy pants camera a couple years ago. Not a crazy professional one or anything, just a pretty simple but high quality digital camera with a great lens and manual capabilities. I loved photography in high school, and I love messing around with normal pictures when I get them onto my computer. I'm pretty nit picky about aesthetics and I think I could really enjoy developing the skill of great picture taking.

The hang up is that I'm definitely not getting a nice camera anytime soon. Our family is on a hard core spending hiatus. Believe it or not, its looking like this house thing I've mentioned once or twice is actually going to go through. It seems we may just be the proud new owners of a multi-family home come July 26th. It's pretty unbelievable and I'm still telling myself it might all fall through, but we're keeping our wallets closed in the mean time.

So for now I'm looking for ways to keep myself busy this summer that don't involve much cash. Any bright ideas?

Monday, June 20, 2011

2% milk makes the world go round

It appears the rain is finally coming after holding off all weekend. It's my favorite kind of gloomy Monday morning. My husband is working from home, the dog is staying out of trouble, the windows are open, and I'm sitting at my dining room table with a delicious creamy cup of coffee, compliments of a little 2% with sugar. The house is clean and I feel delightful.

My family was in town for my cousin's wedding this weekend and we had a fabulous time. My parents got to tour the latest house we're thinking of buying, we had some of the best deep dish pizza in all of Chicago with our cousins, and we all seriously danced the night away at the Trettel-Sullivan wedding. 

Moore girls and our male counterparts
My parents, sister, future bro-in-law, and husband are hands down some of my favorite people to spend time with. There's just nothing like having the whole Moore family together in one place. It's going to be near impossible to wait for my sister's wedding in September.

Our mini vacation came to an end yesterday afternoon and I'm thankful for Monday off to ease back into real Chicago life. The junior Manns have got a lot going on. Jeremy is finishing up the bulk of his teachers' first year, I'm waiting to hear on a major scholarship that will determine how I begin school in September, and we're trying to buy a house as the end of our lease is quickly approaching. It's a bit unreal not knowing what our lives will look like just a couple months from now. It's freaky, but mostly exciting. I take solace in telling myself that we're still young and resilient. 

On the greater Mann family front, I'm practically counting down the days until the big Mann Family Vacation in Door County, Wisconsin. The last time all of us were together was for Jason and Natalie's wedding TWO YEARS ago! Our lives have all drastically changed in some way or another since that time in Stinson Beach, and it's going to be incredible to spend an entire week together. Also Jeremy and I will finally get to meet our little nice, Mercy!

Life is very good, and I am continually amazed at where God has taken us in the past three years. Can't wait to see what's up ahead!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Maytime ramblings

I'm pretty sure whoever said that April showers bring May flowers was from the Midwest. Tulips are seriously popping up all over the city of Chicago and the magnolia trees are beginning to bloom. May Day was one of my favorite minor holidays growing up and it's no wonder we celebrated it every year in Minnesota. There's just nothing better than seeing plants, trees, and flowers come back to life after a long, cold winter.

Jeremy and I took Will for a walk after dinner tonight and it was so wonderful to feel the sun and see people outside again. The weather plays a much more significant role in your life when it's changing all the time.

Jeremy's 26th birthday is on Monday. Twenty-SIX! I can hardly believe we're that old. We're still looking into buying a house and it seriously makes me feel like a kid. I have this feeling I'll think of myself as 22 forever; old enough to be out of college, but never really getting into my mid-late 20's. I'll be 25 in exactly one month from today. Weird.

Today I felt oddly inspired to get back to learning the piano. I've really dropped the ball on the piano ever since I decided I couldn't swallow spending $50 a week on organized lessons. I know enough about music and the piano to teach myself more than I currently know, and I'm determined to get on that.

I'll close with this awesome picture of Brandon Flowers performing in D.C. Turns out I just love his solo album, Flamingo. Pure gold.