Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Two Natures in Christ "Scripture Passages on Communication of the Majesty" (Flesh of His flesh)--Martin Chemnitz

"However, in order that the assumed human nature might be able to cooperate in these activities, it not only possesses its own natural properties or infused created gifts, but it has the true, divine majesty and power of the Logos personally united with it, with which it has personal communion, using this majesty and power for its own acts of cooperation in these works, just as fire manifests its activities through the heated iron and the hot iron in turn possesses and uses the power of the fire because of its union with it, so that it glows and gives heat, yet without commingling, conversion, or equating of the substances, as we have often stated. And this is a matter of very great comfort, because from this I can be certain that the benefits of Christ the Savior apply even to me, poor and unworthy as I am, that He has included, considered, and cared also for me in His saving work, so that I can thus have an open way, access, and share in His blessings and activities. For not only has His divine nature accomplished the duties of the Savior, but He also utilized His assumed nature for carrying out and completing them, and He performs and accomplishes His work as Savior in, with, and through this human nature, by which He is my Brother and I am flesh of His flesh."

Mark 10:13-16

The Little Children and Jesus

13People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." 16And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

Jesus loves children! There is a little boy in my church who is very sick, and as I was praying for him this week, I thought of this passage. I know he is in the Lord's hands, and how much Jesus loves him. It is so awesome to see the faith of a child. Children trust so much easier than adults do; and they don't put up walls like adults do.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Prime Suspects

I am so hooked on this game for the computer! My mom saw it one day at the store and thought it looked interesting, so I got it for her for Mother's Day, and we ended up playing it together for hours on end. Basically you have to find certain hidden objects in different scenes (like a produce stand, park, theater, etc.) Some objects are really hard to find because of how they blend into the scene. After you find so many objects, then there is another game--either a word search, or matching game or an unscrambling of a scene you have to do. And it keeps track of how long it takes you to crack the case. It is amazing how addicting this game is.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Two Natures in Christ "Scripture Passages on Communication of the Majesty"--Martin Chemnitz

"Therefore, with regard to His church, Christ redeems, makes propitiation and peace, calls, gathers, teaches, converts, justifies, cleanses, gives life, sanctifies, governs, cherishes, sustains, guards, defends, preserves, liberates, and is present with it. He views, considers, fills, works, and hears all things, shows mercy, grace, help, and succor in necessity, supplies all our needs, crushes the serpent's head, and breaks and destroys the kingdom and power of Satan. He crushes, checks, conquers, punishes, and defends us against our enemies, dispels and wards off our dangers, lessens our calamities, frees us from evils, performs miraculous works, fulfills His promises, raises the dead, gives eternal life, etc."

Chemnitz articulates so well what Christ does for us. I love all the verbs he uses.

Monday, May 26, 2008


This show had been on several seasons before I got into it. On Labor Day weekend a few years ago, they had a marathon of season 4 of 24 on one of the cable stations, and I got hooked. The show is unique in that it takes place in real time. So each episode is an hour of the day. So watching it in a marathon or on DVD where you can watch episodes back to back is really best as you can watch events of the day unfold and see the momentum build. The show is about the work of CTU, a Counter Terrorist Unit in the US, and features Jack Bauer (played very well by Kiefer Sutherland) who in the beginning of the show is head of CTU, and later helps CTU even when he no longer officially a part of it. It's unbelievable what Jack Bauer goes through in a day fighting the baddies! It's a very suspenseful show and often has twists such as revealing someone you thought was one of the good guys is really working with the terrorists. And sometimes characters you really like get killed off. Since season 4 was what first got me into the show, I especially like that one. I liked the characters of Tony and Michelle a lot. Great show filled with action, suspense, and drama.


This is a dangerous store--dangerous in that I can easily spend a lot of money there! There is tons of stuff to choose from for my scrapbook projects--all different kinds of papers, stickers, etc. It is so much fun to look at everything. Archiver's sends coupons, so usually about every month, I get a coupon to get a few free sheets of solid color paper. So that's nice. But really they're luring you there, cause they know once you get in that store, chances are pretty slim that you're walking out of there with only a few sheets of free paper! My mom and I really enjoy going to this store together and picking out stuff.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

"Crossroads" Tracy Chapman

I absolutely love the music in this song. The acoustic guitar and percussion are awesome! The song really stuck in my head from the first time I heard it.

The subject matter of the song is interesting. Chapman speaks of the devil, and I think gives a good description of how the devil is and what he does. She says, "He's a fool he a liar, conjurer and a thief. He try to tell you what you want, Try to tell you what you need." So she gives this description of how the devil and demons mess with people. But the end of the song is bad theology as Chapman sings of saving her soul, saving herself. We have no power to save ourselves. Only Christ can save us from the power of the devil.

Like I said though, musically, I think the song is brilliant.
Listen and purchase here.

"Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain"

Come, you faithful, raise the strain
Of triumphant gladness!
God has brought His Israel
Into joy from sadness,
Loosed from Pharaoh's bitter yoke
Jacob's sons and daughters,
Led them with unmoistened foot
Through the Red Sea waters.

'Tis the spring of souls today:
Christ has burst His prison
And from three days' sleep in death
As a sun has risen;
All the winter of our sins,
Long and dark, is flying
From His light, to whom is giv'n
Laud and praise undying.

Now the queen of seasons, bright
With the day of splendor,
With the royal feast of feasts
Comes its joy to render;
Comes to gladden faithful hearts
Which with true affection
Welcome in unwearied strain
Jesus' resurrection!

For today among His own
Christ appeared, bestowing
His deep peace, which evermore
Passes human knowing.
Neither could the gates of death
Nor the tomb's dark portal
Nor the watchers nor the seal
Hold Him as a mortal.

Alleluia! Now we cry
To our King immortal,
Who, triumphant, burst the bars
Of the tomb's dark portal.
Come, you faithful, raise the strain
Of triumphant gladness!
God has brought His Israel
Into joy from sadness!

Text: John of Damascus tr. John Mason Neale
Tune: Johann Horn

This is such a joyful Easter hymn proclaiming Christ's victory over death and speaking of God delivering His people. I especially like v. 4.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XII Repentance (paragraphs 80-81)--Philip Melanchthon

"The promise, however, is received only through faith. It is necessary for contrite persons to take hold of the promise of the forgiveness of sins granted for Christ's sake through faith and to be confident that they have a reconciled Father freely for Christ's sake. This is Paul's meaning when he says, 'That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed' (Romans 4:16). And 'The Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe' (Galatians 3:22). This means that all are under sin, neither can they be freed except by grasping the promise of the forgiveness of sins through faith."

Psalm 91

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the LORD, who is my refuge-

10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

I have shared this psalm with many people. I find so much comfort in it. He is our refuge and fortress and is with us in times of trouble. V. 4 gives us such an awesome image of how God protects us and cares for us. No matter what we face in life, no matter how dark things may seem, the LORD is there always. He has promised to be with us and help us, and to send His angels to guard us.


Crepes are a type of very thin, cooked pancake usually made from wheat flour. I like the sweet crepes the best--the kind that are stuffed with a sweet cream cheese and have fruit like raspberries or blueberries.

Millennium Park--Chicago, Illinois

The website for Millennium Park describes it this way: "Millennium Park is an award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design. The result of a unique partnership between the City of Chicago and the philanthropic community, the 24.5-acre park features the work of world-renowned architects, planners, artists and designers."

One of my favorite things in Millennium Park is the Cloud Gate sculpture, or "The Bean" as some like to call it. It is pretty cool to see the city reflected in it. Another cool thing is the Crown Fountain, "The fountain consists of two 50-foot glass block towers at each end of a shallow reflecting pool. The towers project video images from a broad social spectrum of Chicago citizens, a reference to the traditional use of gargoyles in fountains, where faces of mythological beings were sculpted with open mouths to allow water, a symbol of life, to flow out. Plensa adapted this practice by having faces of Chicago citizens projected on LED screens and having water flow through a water outlet in the screen to give the illusion of water spouting from their mouths. The collection of faces, Plensa's tribute to Chicagoans, was taken from a cross-section of 1,000 residents."

There is a lot to see in the park. Check out the Millennium Park website here.

The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XII Repentance (paragraphs 75-77)--Philip Melanchthon

"But if the Law is enough for receiving the forgiveness of sins, what need is there of the Gospel? What need is there of Christ if we receive forgiveness of sins because of our own work? We, on the other hand, call consciences away from the Law to the Gospel, and from confidence in their own works to confidence in the promise and Christ. We do so because the Gospel presents Christ to us and freely promises the forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake. In this promise it asks us to trust, namely, that we are reconciled to the Father for Christ's sake, not for the sake of our own contrition or love. For there is no other Mediator or Atoning Sacrifice than Christ. Neither can we do the works of the Law unless we have first been reconciled through Christ. If we would do anything, we must believe that for Christ's sake, as Mediator and Atoning Sacrifice, we receive the forgiveness of sins, and not for the sake of these works.

Yes, it is a disgrace to Christ and a repeal of the Gospel to believe that we receive the forgiveness of sins because of the Law, or any other way than through faith in Christ."

Friday, May 23, 2008

"Allison Road" Gin Blossoms

Allison Road
By Gin Blossoms
Best Video Codes

This is the best Gin Blossoms song in my opinion. Musically, it's awesome, and I love the lead singer's voice, and when the rest in the group come in with some harmonies. I heard an acoustic version of this not too long ago that I really liked. I'm still trying to locate that version to purchase.

"Allison Road" was on the New Miserable Experience album released in the early 90s. It can also be found on greatest hits albums. Purchase/download here.

Ruth--Concordia Commentary by John R. Wilch

I used this commentary a lot when I was preparing to lead a Bible study on the book of Ruth. It's really excellent--it elaborates on the key themes in the book of Ruth and speaks of other Scripture passages that relate to the book. The description of the commentary on the CPH website says this:

"The Book of Ruth tells the story of a destitute foreigner who came to believe in Israel’s God and was welcomed into God’s people. By grace she was privileged to become an ancestor of Jesus Christ, the Savior of all people.

The commentary focuses on the themes of God’s covenant; His loyalty, reflected in the lives of His faithful people; the theology of missions and evangelism; Boaz as a redeemer, prefiguring Jesus Christ; and the promise of eternal life. The commentary’s Christocentric hermeneutic elucidates the rich Gospel message of Ruth and its relevance for the church today. The author’s international perspective and decades of service as a pastor and professor have given him unique insights into the message of this neglected book."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I have been through several graduations in my life--8th Grade, High School, University for my undergrad (in 2000), and Friday, May 16, 2008 I graduated from Concordia Seminary with my Master of Arts degree. That was my favorite graduation. I think I appreciated it more than the others. I mean, I appreciated all of them to some extent, but this being an advanced degree and knowing I worked hard for it, and earned it while working full time in the church--well, it was an awesome feeling. I felt really emotional at the ceremony Friday thinking of how good it felt to get the degree, thinking of all the people who supported me, thinking of how much God has blessed me and how He has been with me every step of the way. I thought I would feel really pumped up Friday, and though I was excited, mostly what I felt was peace. I felt at peace knowing I finished my program, have my MA, and have closed that chapter in my life. Some people have asked me if I will go for the PhD. Well, I have no immediate plans to do so. But I did like the look of those PhD. robes! Who knows what God has in store for the future. But for now, I am very content with my M.A.

Oh, my favorite moments of the ceremony Friday were receiving my hood (which is white for Arts and Letters, and has green and gold lining which are the Seminary colors), and having the president of the seminary address us as alumni of Concordia Seminary.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving thanks.
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

This is short psalm, but it really says a lot. It reminds us God is our Creator and our Shepherd, and that He is always faithful to us. His love endures forever!

I am so thankful for all the blessings God has given me. Most of all I am thankful for His forgiveness and for salvation which I have through Jesus Christ. And in addition to this, He has given me so many other blessings--awesome people in my life, a wonderful vocation, and a million other little things that make me happy. God has been so good to me, and I pray I will continue to proclaim to others with joy all He has done.

"Evening and Morning"

Evening and morning, Sunset and dawning,
Wealth, peace, and gladness, Comfort in sadness:
These are Thy works; all the glory be Thine!
Times without number, Awake or in slumber
Thine eye observes us, From danger preserves us,
Causing Thy mercy upon us to shine.

Father, O hear me, Pardon and spare me;
Calm all my terrors, Blot out my errors
That by Thine eyes they may no more be scanned.
Order my goings, Direct all my doings;
As it may please Thee, Retain or release me;
All I commit to Thy fatherly hand.

Ills that still grieve me Soon are to leave me;
Though billows tower, And winds gain power,
After the storm the fair sun shows its face.
Joys e'er increasing And peace never ceasing:
These shall I treasure And share in full measure
When in His mansions God grants me a place.

To God in heaven All praise be given!
Come, let us offer And gladly proffer
To the Creator the gifts He doth prize.
He well receiveth a heart that believeth;
Hymns that adore Him Are precious before Him
And to His throne like sweet incense arise.

Text Paul Gerhardt
Tune: Johann G. Ebeling

This is such a beautiful, beautiful hymn. It reminds us God is always watching over us and taking care of us. Everything is in His hands. V. 2 is my favorite--it's a wonderful prayer.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Buckingham Fountain--Chicago, Illinois

This fountain is one of the largest in the world. It is a pretty cool thing to check out. Whenever my friend Abigail and I go to Taste of Chicago in Grant Park, or really whenever I'm in that area with someone, we always stop by the fountain and get some pics.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


When I first saw Sudoku, I didn't want anything to do with it. I knew there were numbers involved and I hate math. But my friend Jeannie told me it's not about math, but rather logic. And when she showed me how to do it, I got hooked.

The objective is to fill a 9×9 grid so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 boxes (also called blocks or regions) contains the digits from 1 to 9 only one time each. The puzzle setter provides a partially completed grid. There are different skill levels, and sometimes it is really challenging trying to fill everything in. It is fun to do these puzzles by yourself, but it is also fun to compete with a friend where both of you do the same puzzle and see who can complete it first. There are game versions of Sudoku and endless Sudoku puzzle books out there. I really enjoy it.

Meatball Sandwich

I am digging meatball sandwiches more and more. They're very delicious, especially with lots of cheese on them.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Genesis 3:15

15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

I love this verse because here, all the way back in Genesis, we have the promise of a Savior. The devil would tempt Jesus and mess with him, and Jesus would suffer, but Jesus would be victorious over Satan, crushing His head. Christ lived a perfect life and did not give in to temptation. Through Christ's death on the cross, He conquered the devil and the power of sin and death. And we know through faith in Christ, we too are victorious!

"Waiting on the World to Change" John Mayer

Waiting On The World To ...
By John Mayer
Best Video Codes

I wasn't originally that impressed with this song. I don't think I ever disliked it, but it was just okay to me. But in the last couple months I heard it in different places again, and I guess it really grew on me, because I just love it now. I think musically it's a lot of fun. And it has an interesting message--discontent with the way things are in the world with a little bit of hope for the future. I think it captures where a lot of people of this generation are at as they look at the world and all the stuff going on.

Mayer won the Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for this song at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards.

To hear the version on his album Continuum go here.
For the acoustic version on The Village Sessions which is very cool and features Ben Harper, go here.

The Art Institute of Chicago--Chicago, Illinois

I have been to several art museums in different cities, but the Art Institute of Chicago is my favorite. I love that there are so many paintings of Christ and paintings with Christian themes. My favorite is The Crucifixion by Francisco de Zurbaran (there is a post about this in my Art posts).

There are paintings by Monet, Manet, and Picasso. And there are other well known paintings like Georges Seurat's A Sunday on la Grande Jatte or Gustave Caillebotte's Paris Street; Rainy Day. I also really enjoy the Thorne Miniature Rooms. These 68 rooms give glimpses of European interiors from the 13th century to the 1930s and American furnishings from the 17th century to the 1930s. It's very cool.

There is so much to see at the Art Institute; one can easily spend a lot of time there looking at all the magnificent artwork. Visit the website of the Art Institute here to see some of the art.

Friday, May 9, 2008

"By Kindly Powers Surrounded" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

1. By kindly powers surrounded, peaceful and true,
wonderfully protected with consolation dear,
safely, I dwell with you this whole day through,
and surely into another year.

2. Though from the old our hearts are still in pain,
while evil days oppress with burdens still,
Lord, give to our frightened souls again,
salvation and thy promises fulfill.

3. And shouldst thou offer us the bitter cup, resembling
sorrow, filled to the brim and overflowing,
we will receive it thankfully, without trembling,
from thy hand, so good and ever-loving.

4. But if it be thy will again to give
joy of this world and bright sunshine,
then in our minds we will past times relive
and all our days be wholly thine.

5. Let candles burn, both warm and bright,
which to our darkness thou has brought,
and, if that can be, bring us together in the light,
thy light shines in the night unsought.

6. When we are wrapped in silence most profound,
may we hear that song most fully raised
from all the unseen world that lies around
and thou art by all thy children praised.

7. By kindly powers protected wonderfully,
confident, we wait for come what may.
Night and morning, God is by us, faithfully
and surely at each new born day.

Bonhoeffer wrote this poem while he was in prison. I love how he is able to speak of God being good and ever-loving as he endured harsh conditions and didn't know what was going to happen to him. God gave him faith that endured through a lot of difficult times. The "cup" brings to mind Jesus' Gethsemane prayer. And Bonhoeffer expresses thanksgiving for the "kindly powers" that have surrounded him in his life--family, friends, colleagues, the woman he loved, etc.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Articles VII and VIII The Church (paragraph 9)--Philip Melanchthon

"We see the infinite dangers that threaten the destruction of the Church. In the Church itself, the number of the wicked who oppress it is too high to count. Therefore, this article in the Creed shows us these consolations in order that we may not despair, but may know that the Church will remain (until the end of the world). No matter how great the multitude of the wicked is, we may know that the Church still exists and Christ provides those gifts He has promised to the Church--to forgive sins, to hear prayer, to give the Holy Spirit."


Lasagna is my favorite pasta dish. And the cheesier, the better! I will often order this when I'm at an Italian restaurant, but I have a really good recipe for it that my mom and I make that is my fav.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Navy Pier--Chicago, Illinois

This is a 3300 foot pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. I always enjoy going there, as the atmosphere is very festive. There are various restaurants and unique shops. There are attractions like the Ferris Wheel (with a great view) and the Carousel. There's the Museum of Stained Glass Windows and the Children's Museum. And there are various musical and theatrical performances held there. Of course there are boat rides available too. There is plenty to do and it is fun to just walk around at Navy Pier.

"Have a Little Faith in Me" John Hiatt

When the road gets dark
And you can no longer see
Just let my love throw a spark
And have a little faith in me
And when the tears you cry
Are all you can believe
Just give these loving arms a try, baby
And have a little faith in me

Chorus: Have a little faith in me
Have a little faith in me
Have a little faith in me
Have a little faith in me

When your secret heart
Cannot speak so easily
Come here darlin'
From a whisper start
To have a little faith in me
And when your back's against the wall
Just turn around and you will see
I'll be there, I'll be there to catch your fall,
So have a little faith in me


Cause I've been loving you for such a long time, baby
Expecting nothing in return
Just for you to have a little faith in me
You see time, time is our friend
Cause for us there is no end
All you gotta do is have a little faith in me
I will hold you up, I'm gonna hold you up
Because your love gives me strength enough
So have a little faith in me

This is a great "there for you" song. I love the words and music (the piano is great). John Hiatt is awesome. Others have covered this song, but I like Hiatt singing it the best. I consider this a great "theme song" for the novel I'm writing.

Listen and download here

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article V Love and Fulfilling the Law (paragraphs 209-210)--Philip Melanchthon

"...all confidence is empty, except confidence in mercy. Mercy delivers us; our own merits, our own efforts, do not. So Daniel also prays:

For we do not present our pleas before You because of our righteousness, but because of Your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for Your own sake, O my God, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name. (Daniel 9:18-19).

So Daniel teaches us in praying to seize mercy, that is, to trust in God's mercy and not to trust in our own merits before God."

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Walking is one of my favorite forms of exercise. It's nice to walk with someone else, but I really enjoy walking alone too. I love listening to music (on my iPod) as I walk. And as I walk I think about stuff. Lots of times I play out scenes for something I'm writing. Or since I analyze myself, others, and various situations to death, walking time provides ample opportunity for this. Another great thing to do while walking is pray.

Matthew 6:25-34

Do Not Worry
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

It's our human nature to worry. And when we're worrying, it's pretty much about something out of our control. Jesus reminds us in this passage that if God cares for the birds and lilies the way He does, He will certainly take care of us, His dear children. We are valuable to Him, and He is always watching over us; He knows exactly what we need and does what's best for us. V. 34 gives us good words to live by!

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

I finally got to read this book that I had seen in so many stores up in Chicago and had heard so much about. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. The book tells the story of the World's Columbian Exposition (World's Fair) held in Chicago in 1893. It interweaves the stories of two men--Daniel Burnham, the chief architect of the fair, and H. H. Holmes a serial killer who had a hotel near the fair where he committed many of his murders.

Since I am from the Chicago area, I really loved this book because it gave some history of Chicago, and showed how the city was really proving something to the world by pulling off having this elaborate World's Fair. It was fascinating to read about how the men worked to design the various buildings and plan the fair. And it was interesting (yet disturbing) to read about Holmes and all the people he killed. I liked reading about how the detective retraced Holmes' steps and traveled to all different cities to figure out some of his crimes. There obviously weren't all the means of investigating crimes that there are today, so you can really appreciate how hard this detective worked to find out the truth.

This book was such an easy read. Though it is non fiction, it really almost reads like a novel.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Hostess Mints

I am selective in the mints I like, but Hostess Mints are awesome. I like these because the chocolate is so good, and the mint isn't too overpowering. I love getting a box of these at Fannie May.

Things We Lost in the Fire

This 2007 drama starts Halle Berry as Audrey, a woman who is devastated when her husband is killed while trying to help a woman in danger. When he was alive, her husband had continually tried to help Jerry (played by Benicio del Toro), his friend from childhood who is a heroin addict. Audrey seemed to think this was a lost cause, yet after her husband dies, she then tries to help Jerry and even has him live in a room adjacent to their garage. Jerry bonds with Audrey and Brian's children, a 10 year old girl and a 6 year old boy, and they quickly see him a father figure. Audrey and Jerry's bond is fragile and complex. She takes her anger out on him, yet at the same time seeks him out for comfort and wants to help him since this was something so important to her husband.

I think Berry and del Toro are outstanding in this. I like how this movie captures the raw emotions they struggle with. Berry really shows what grief can look like, and del Toro shows what's it's like to battle addiction.

One thing that was really powerful to me was del Toro in the film saying at the end, "One day at a time. One day at a time. One day at a time." Addicts need to constantly remember this. People grieving too need to remember this. And we all do I think--it's easy to get so caught up in the future and wondering what we're going to do or worrying about something. But that can be so overwhelming and cause us even more grief and stress. Jesus says in Matthew 6:34, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." One day at a time.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Chicago, Illinois

I grew up in a south suburb of Chicago, so I consider the Chicago area "my homeland," and it is a very special place to me. When I was growing up, I didn't really get into the city much. But when I went to Columbia College back in my film school days, I took the train downtown every day during the week. I remember walking around the city back then, exploring it, and that feeling of excitement I had being in the city and knowing there was always something to do and something going on--it was really cool. I still have that feeling of excitement when I go into the city. There is so much to see and do in Chicago, and there are so many different kinds of people in the city. It's a fascinating place.

There are many great museums in Chicago like the Art Institute and the Museum of Science and Industry. There is great shopping, especially on Michigan Avenue. Great food too--any kind you can imagine including Chicago specialties like deep dish pizza and hot dogs. There are fun attractions like Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and the Sears Tower, and there are festivals like the Taste of Chicago or various music or film festivals. And of course sports--Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks, and my favorite the Cubs who I will be loyal to no matter where I am. There is another baseball team there too, but I don't care too much about them! All that is only a fraction of what Chicago is about. It is such a fun place, and I love it when I'm up north and have the opportunity to go into the city. Just walking around and taking it all in is fun.