Before I begin my post today I need to discuss the horror that happened at an elementary school on Friday.
Not because it is current or I feel that it needs to be addressed, just that I can’t get it out of my mind.
I have tried not to watch all the coverage on the TV and online all weekend but my eyes wander back to it here and there.
And I can’t stop crying.
And begging God to make sense of this to me.
And just feeling so unbearably sad for those parents.
How do you move forward after something like this happens?
You send your kids to school, one of the safest places on Earth for a child they say, in the morning expecting to see them at the end of the day.
Expecting to be able to kiss and hug them again.
And ask about their day.
Not to expect to plan their funeral.
Please, please pray for those families.
Help out in any way you can.
Let’s focus our energies and anger and fears on them finding healing and peace.
We can talk about gun control and mental health policies next week.
But this week leading up to Jesus’ birthday, can we please focus on praying for them?
So I got to be a part of something pretty amazing last week.
I was chosen to go to a blogging workshop sponsored by Coca-Cola in which I and 20 -25 other Chicago area bloggers would get to learn how to create a healthy balance in our lives.
And it was so exciting.
I will fill you in on the info I learned in a post I will publish Friday but I wanted to share with you some highlights that didn’t make it in that post.
Because I ran out of room.
Because I tend to run on a little.
Don’t act surprised.
You and I both know how chatty I am.
We got to create “vision boards”.
Which meant we got to play with stickers, glue, scissors, and magazines!
It was so much fun.
And really therapeutic.
Who knew cutting a Real Simple magazine could relieve so much stress??
My vision board.
You are impressed, I can tell.
My amazing new friend Jeanette.
Holding the amazing new glue stick we fell in love with.
It’s like gorilla glue.
In stick form.
Too bad I can’t take a good enough picture to see what brand it was.
Because that was why I took the picture, to begin with.
And I don’t even remember the name of it.
We ate lots of healthy food.
But secretly wanted a double cheeseburger.
We got to work out with a celebrity trainer.
Who kicked our butt.
And we didn’t even do cardio.
But I wasn’t the only one moaning in the room, so I feel comforted.
When I got into my room for the first time, it looked like this:
With Christmas music playing softly in the background.
I had tears in my eyes.
This was the first time I have ever spent the night in a hotel alone.
And I am in my forties.
I bet you didn’t know people like me even existed, did you?
I was actually a little scared about it.
I mean, how would I fall asleep in a hotel without my husband snoring like a buzz saw, or the kids waking up ten times to pee?
It turns out I like staying alone in a hotel room!
I should try that again sometime.
My new friend Beth’s view from her room:
Versus the view from my room:
Because I was so excited to be in the city I could have looked at a brick wall and still been so happy.
Oh by the way, when I got in the room, I did a happy dance:
I had to share this.
And it’s not at all a flattering picture.
Because I totally look like a goof in it.
And I totally need to whiten my teeth.
But if you have ever seen Love Actually where Laura Linney’s character does this little happy dance after her date with this guy she is obsessed about?
That is exactly what I did.
Even the garbage can was upscale.
Dinner out at Boka in Lincoln Park.
I cannot talk about this enough.
I even said to my husband four days later, “did I tell you about the bathroom at this restaurant??”
My dinner, beef tenderloin.
Do you see the flowers made of food?
Here is the menu.
Did you ever see such a thing of beauty?
And when I got back to my room, this was waiting courtesy of Coca-Cola:
I felt like a celebrity, a celebrity I tell you!
I was looking under the bed for Angeline Jolie to pop out.
Or Reese Witherspoon.
Yes, more her than Angelina.
Tofurky DOES exist.
The aisles at this city Jewel have aisle names after real street names in Chicago.
What do you get when you have a room full of bloggers??
Tops of heads.
Lots of them.
I have an admission to make:
I don’t have a smartphone.
I have a dumb phone actually.
Sweet Tony Danza is it ever dumb.
So I brought my iPod touch.
And couldn’t get wireless anywhere but the hotel.
I am so behind.
Holy Cheese Aisle.
The folks in this part of Chicago sure do like their cheese.
The Chopping Block was amazeballs.
I could have spent hours in this store.
But we were on a tight schedule.
We had 15 minutes to shop.
I don’t like that kind of pressure.
No Guy Fieri wasn’t our chef but isn’t this kitchen cool?
I want a kitchen like this.
Except for no mirrors on the ceiling.
That freaked me out.