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Five Years Strong

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Five Years ago, I nervously slipped on my white dress, clutched on to my father's arm and walked down the aisle to my future. The day was beautiful and I remember being so filled with joy and adrenaline. I can still hear that hotel clerk's voice the next morning as I ordered room service repeating my new name back to me, Mrs. Hutchison. 

We will celebrate with a trip in October, but took the time while up at our family lake house to capture some photos with my sweet and talented sis-in-law, Ema.(She was a champ and even floated out to get some amazing water shots (like the above)!) Minocqua was where we honeymooned and the place that has held a special place in my husband's family for over twenty years, and now in our family of two for the last five years. I love that we get to return to such a special place, that we get to experience it with our loved ones, and one day in the future we will take our own expanded family there too. 

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Happy anniversary Reid. You will forever be my always and I would have it no other way. 

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Life Lately: Family History

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 In late August, we headed up to Chilton,Wisconsin to celebrate my grandmother Emma's family at the Big Schmahl family reunion. My grandmother was one of 10 children from German immigrants, Anna and Peter Schmahl. We gathered in the Eagles Club in their hometown with family I both recognized and family, to be honest, I didn't. On one side of the room, several tables were filled with picture, albums, certificates and the above painting. I knew exactly whose hand produced the work without even seeing the piece before—my father. The line strokes felt familiar and it drew me in as so many of my father's sketches over the years have. The picture is of my great Uncle Peter Jr.'s hotel that still stands in the downtown area of Chilton, now renovated to apartments. I loved that my dad contributed so many years ago to the legacy of his family in the best way he knew how, capturing it in art. He has so many memories going to the hotel when visiting his grandparents, aunts and uncles during the summer, and of the hotel being the hub of large family gatherings and a staple in the town. I loved that he and my mother have past this love of black ink and paper to me, and the desire still lives on in my hands to capture family moments.

I leafed through the pictures showing off the family my father knew and cared for, and I knew only through stories. I read through memories of my grandmother as a young girl growing up in the town, stories from her sisters and brothers and I saw the naturalization certificate my great grandfather was so proud of. He and Anna made a bold choice to move from the country they knew to raise a family in the United States at the turn of the century. My father told me it was one of my great grandfather's most cherished possessions, and now it is mine too. 

Life Lately

I look at my life this year and am in awe in the direction the Lord has pulled myself and my husband. If you would of told us in January of the steps, leaps and step-backs we would have this year I would of thought you were talking about some one else's life. Just like most things in life, the sweetest things come slowly and surprise you when they finally arrive. 

In the course of the year we have committed more to growing in to taking so many steps in our lives. Steps into improving our marriage and relationship, steps in our walk with Jesus, and steps in relationships with friends. I took steps away from a secure, wonderful job into the unknown of self-business to take steps back into an office part-time. Reid took steps to a healthier lifestyle in both meals and working out, and in conjunction we both took steps to run races along side church members in partnership with World Vision to bring awareness of clean water. 

That decision has changed our entire year and our hearts forever.

In the last few weeks we took steps out of our comfort areas and had the privilege to visit Kenya and Uganda along side church mates and World Vision staff to see where the money we raised was being used and how the Lord is working in both these countries through World Vision. I will have to write more later on our amazing trip, but I know for the fact the Lord is doing a mighty work to change lives through the resources World Vision is helping to provide and the amazing staff they have all over the world, and specifically the Buliisa, Uganda team. I am in awe of how He uses people as mighty vessels to bring about change and how deep His love runs through his children. 

Then in a matter of hours we will be taking steps to move, yet again, to a new apartment. We now have the privilege to work with the organization Institute for Community by being apart of their Community Life program to help promote community and belonging within a specific apartment complex in Arlington Heights. We can not be more excited to meet our new neighbors and get to do life alongside them all! 

And just like that I look back and see that all these steps have created such an interesting and exciting journey that I am thankful I could have never imagined for myself. I often think what my 18 year-old self would say knowing she would be here at 25 and all the layers that led me from that freshman college version to the version I am today. She would be shocked, but not concerned; It wasn't what my 18 year-old self planned, but when is it ever what we planned? I thank God that his plans are sweeter and far more expansive than mine will ever be at any age.

Here's to many more steps, step-backs and directions changes ahead. 

 

 

Endings to Beginnings

Tyndale House Publisher, Design Department | Carol Stream, Il  *Note: Above is a piece of artwork that was created by having each design team member contribute to the process - a beautiful picture of collaboration and and what can be made together when a team is in sync. Hung in the main entrance to the design department, I always had a wonderful admiration for the artwork and the beauty it expressed both physically and metaphorically. 

Tyndale House Publisher, Design Department | Carol Stream, Il

*Note: Above is a piece of artwork that was created by having each design team member contribute to the process - a beautiful picture of collaboration and and what can be made together when a team is in sync. Hung in the main entrance to the design department, I always had a wonderful admiration for the artwork and the beauty it expressed both physically and metaphorically. 

I have found in my last few "endings" that the transition between where the end truly leaves off and the beginning starts is often rushed, blurred together, or left to reminisce on in later days or years to come. How do you neatly packaged an ending that is both sad and exhilarating? How do you find the words to say that hold meaning and not just space?

It has been a month since left my first job and work "home" and as I step into the next chapter, a sweet beginning, this time I have space to reflect on both the last chapter and the days to come. The Lord has done so many things in my life, and in the last 4 years specifically I have seen His affirmation and confirmation of me pursuing a life in design and the arts.

Now a little over three years later, as I quietly stepped out of the doors one last time as a co-worker and commercial designer for such a sweet company I was filled with peace and a whole lot of insight and knowledge on design and what a contributing team member looks like. There are so many words I could describe my teammates with - so much patience, creativity, consideration, willingness, and excellence. I will always be grateful for them, and for a company that put Christ at its core to create not only excellent products, but produce excellent teammates and friends. 

Thank you.