Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: September 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Saturday Update



      Happy Saturday All! Here's what I've been up to lately: lots!  I've been buckling down with my classes and had my first test this week.  I'd aced the first two quizzes, so I was surprised when I found the test to be a little harder, but I still think I did well.
     I have been focusing on really immersing myself here at college, rather than focusing on a countdown till I can go home for fall break (although I do know its 18 days).  I'm finding that this has been helping me with homesickness a lot, to which you would probably reply: "duh!"  However, it has been a difficult process for me because I've never been a fan of change (RELATED: I'm Feeling More Grateful Now)!
     I also wrote my first article for the Butler Collegian last week.  I know that whether I write in a running magazine, a travel site, or work with one such company: writing is something I certainly love.  I was excited to take my journalism to the collegiate level.
Click HERE to read my first article!
     Yesterday morning, I rode into Broad Ripple with a friend and we got to explore the area a bit.  That was really fun, and I got a (belated) birthday gift I think my mom will really like.  I'm planning to ride my bike to Rocky Ripple in a few minutes because there's a festival going on today that sounds like fun.  Thankfully, I am caught up-- and predominately ahead of schedule-- in all my classes.  There's also a soccer game at seven p.m., so I will for sure be going to that one after missing the amazing Butler  vs. IU game on Wednesday!
     Other than that, I'm still enjoying reading Practicing His Presence (RELATED: One Hour With God), and I'm finding that it is an ever joyful struggle to bring God into my everyday thoughts.  I haven't been doing as good the last few days, but in all honesty: I think of it as a fun challenge for myself.  How much of God can I bring into my life?  How can I bless others in the process?
     I have a statistics test on Monday and a journalism test on Friday this next week.  For the first time in my life, I'm understanding math and enjoying it!  It feels great.  We are having a review session tomorrow night as well, so I can refresh a little then, as I studied yesterday but am aware that math flies out of my brain very quickly!  The journalism test should be easy enough, as most of the class is a review of my three years of journalism-- writing leads, attributing, inverted pyramid, ect.
     Today, there are hoards of potential students wandering around campus for a preview day of some sorts.  Some of them are in tours while others are just wandering around with their parents, peering anxiously around at the campus.  I can't help but think of when that was me, when I visited for the first time last August.  I sure don't feel any older, but I do recognize that I am growing immensely.  Granted, I was always "the responsible kid," but I'm learning to be independent in other ways. My advice to those students visiting Butler-- or any college for that matter-- is to watch out: it'll be you before you know it!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

I'm Feeling More Grateful For...

     This might not be a good idea, knowing how homesick I already feel, but I think that the homesickness it also reminding me how blessed I am to have to family and the home I do.  I try to always be thankful for what I have, so I think that absolutely applies right now too.  Although I'm missing the "old," I am so blessed with this new life God has given me.  I'm learning fascinating things, I'm meeting fascinating people, I'm learning to be independent and I'm thriving-- I'm the first to criticize myself, but I know it is true.
This is the gnome my brother
and I hide back and forth.
     Today wasn't at all what I wanted and it brought on the homesickness.  It was difficult, stressful and one thing after another.  But it not only reminded me to practice God's presence (RELATED: One Hour With God) but to also smile at the amazing things he has given me that I miss so much in the first place.
     Some of these are silly, yes, but so true!  Here's what I miss the most from home:

1. My daddy's hugs
2. Watching survival/home shows with my mom and/or little brother
3. Hiding my brother's gnome in our ongoing game of "hiding the gnome" (It's been on my fan, his backpack, the shower, ect).
4. Having a bathroom that's not a MILLION MILES AWAY..haha
5. Having a microwave that's not A MILLION MILES AWAY
6. Saturday morning cross country meets
7. Sunday mornings with my church family
8. Flopping onto my bed (and not having to climb on a desk and dresser to get there)
9. Family game/movie nights
10. Long runs with friends
11. Walks at Highbanks with my mom
12. Walks around the neighborhood with daddy
The good ol' college days with
the trusty shower caddy
13. Playing with Lily (my adorable chocolate lab)
14. Car rides with my little bro
15. Thursday night prayer group
16. Wednesday night Bible studies
17. Courier brainstorming and Pinterest discussions with my friend Hannah!
18. Hanging out with my older bro
19. My favorite foods, and not having to go to a dining hall to get them
20. Relaxing and laughing with my old friends and family

But there are also things I love...

1. Reading with God up on my bunk bed
2. Early morning bike rides to swim/workout at the HRC when I sing to God and its just him, me, and the stars
3. Getting to decorate and personalize my new space
4. Texting and calling my parents and friends, and having higher quality conversations in the process
5. New friends!  New ideas!  New adventures!
6. Piggybacking off #5: I'm loving exploring on my bike! It's so much fun!
7. The worry and anxiety about everything changing.  It's changed, and I'm still here :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

One Hour With God

     Can't be that hard to focus on God for an hour, right?  Even for a little bit, my mind goes astray, but the concept is so captivating.  I've been reading Practicing His Presence, and craving the reckless love and peace the author describes while doing this same "experiment."
     My favorite line so far: "There is no defeat unless one loses God, and then all is defeat, though it be housed in castles and buried in fortresses."
     I long for that closeness with God that never loses him, even in a moment.  While I've found that I am extremely spastic with my attention, I am also finding that truly enjoy the pursuit.  Every hour, for the past few days, I know I've been getting a little better at staying in tune to God.  Every hour, I'm getting a little closer to God.
     It's funny because it truly feels like a "cheat."  If others worry about tests, friends, ect., I find that if my mind is on God, I can just have a simple chat with him and it's all good.  When I'm bored in class, I can talk to him-- though I still pay attention, I promise!
     The point is not to sit at home all day and drill a hole in my Bible with godly focus.  Rather, we are called to bring God into every moment.  For he turns every moment-- even the less enjoyable ones-- into blessings.  We don't even have to wait for these times to become blessings, he makes them blessings within the struggle and pain.
     As Practicing His Presence suggests, start with an easy hour in your day.  Pick a time where your attention isn't pulled in a million directions or your talking a lot with others.  Then, try to commune with God during that time every day.  It will be very hard at first, as it is for me right now.  But slowly, repitition creates a pattern and will bring even greater joy.  Try it out with me!

UPDATE: Read my completed book review of "Practicing His Presence" HERE!

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Friday Blues

     I've finished all my homework due for my next classes.  I've even gotten a lot done that's not due for quite a while.  I've already worked out today and I'm done with classes.  On top of all that: it's Friday!
     In all honesty though, I'm feeling so homesick today.  I think about how I'm looking forward to the weekend because I won't have class, but then it will be Monday again.  On Monday, I'll work my way through another week.  I know, I know: its LIFE.  But I find it strangely sad and depressing.  The next time I see my family is so far away that I don't have a lot to look forward too, other than the dreams I've been having about them increasingly lately.  It's not so fun to jolt awake though, and realize I'm not at home.  Usually, things get better as the day picks up.  I hope that's the case, because I'd like to have a fun weekend.  I don't have anything planned, other than a bus ride to Target tonight, but that might be nice.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What I'm Grateful For on September 18

 It's odd, but I feel as if nothing has really change.  In reality, life has been a whirl of activity lately, leaving me with little idea as to what has been happening.  That is why I enjoy times like this when I can sit down and review-- take inventory-- of where I'm at.
     I was really grateful for an awesome getaway with my mom this past weekend.  We had a blast in Chicago (RELATED: Shedd Aquarium: A Must See Attraction) and I took plenty of pictures (Click HERE to see some more).
Here's some Chicago fun from this past weekend.
     In many ways though, I am feeling much more homesick lately.  Having a couple of days with my mom-- and a super comfy hotel bed-- made it very hard to come back and get back into the swing of college life.  The change in weather has also brought out a bit of nostalgia.  For the first couple of days, it seemed that everything reminded me of home.  It makes sense though, because I've spent the first 18 Septembers in my life surrounded by my family at home.
     Classes are finally picking up, and while I'm finding my workload has increased (Two hours of math homework this morning...yuck!), I am handling it quite well by operating on a "work" schedule from roughly 9-4.  This allows me to get most of my work done, and causes me to be very grateful for the work ethic that's already been instilled in me.  I know I'm very well off in that area compared to many!
     Overall, I've been keeping plenty busy with classes, Bible studies, cross country rehab and training, and trying to sleep enough!  Today is my busiest day, but I'm handling it a lot better than last Wednesday, for sure (RELATED: Crazy Wednesday)!  On a side note, tomorrow I plan to go back to the fresh fruit market.  While I'm there, a couple of friends and I are going to go on the high ropes course we have on campus (Yes: it's pretty awesome!) which I'm super excited for!  I'm hoping the cold weather from early this week doesn't return, or it'll make for a chilly adventure.  On the bright side: I've been able to enjoy my tea more :)  I'm really grateful for tea, like: REALLY grateful!
     My success of the day was jumping right out of bed at 6:10 to go to practice for core, then go straight to swim, go to the trainers, than quickly ride my bike to statistics class.  It was a busy and successful couple of hours.  I'm gearing up for my Wednesday night craziness of dinner, Spanish class, study tables, and at 10 p.m. meeting.  But God's got it and I'm determined to find the joy in every moment!

God's Glory, Not Counterfeit

     It's odd, but I feel as if nothing has really change.  In reality, life has been a whirl of activity lately, leaving me with little idea as to what has been happening.  That is why I enjoy times like this when I can sit down and review-- take inventory-- of where I'm at.
     I was really grateful for an awesome getaway with my mom this past weekend.  We had a blast in Chicago (RELATED: Shedd Aquarium: A Must See Attraction) and I took plenty of pictures (Click HERE to see some more).
     In many ways though, I am feeling much more homesick lately.  Having a couple of days with my mom-- and a super comfy hotel bed-- made it very hard to come back and get back into the swing of college life.  The change in weather has also brought out a bit of nostalgia.  For the first couple of days, it seemed that everything reminded me of home.  It makes sense though, because I've spent the first 18 Septembers in my life surrounded by my family at home.
     Classes are finally picking up, and while I'm finding my workload has increased (Two hours of math homework this morning...yuck!), I am handling it quite well by operating on a "work" schedule from roughly 9-4.  This allows me to get most of my work done, and causes me to be very grateful for the work ethic that's already been instilled in me.  I know I'm very well off in that area compared to many!
     I've been having a difficult time with accepting where I am, both in faith and athletics.  I am so tired and discouraged by my daily swimming and rehab.  In the same sense, I am very tired and frustrated with my lack of God.  I want more and more of Him, but fall short of that in almost every way.  I am on the right path of wanting more of God, but I am in the wrong mindset of how to get there.  In most areas of my life, I have to tell myself to stop beating myself up and just relax. While that is also true here, I realize I also need to buckle down and take my relationship with God more seriously-- more seriously than surfing the internet at night or giving in to sin that I could easily avoid.  I guess that's the problem of the human race though: we are sinful at the core, and as Paul rightfully stated, I (we) have the desire to do what is good, but cannot carry it out.  "For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do-- this I keep on doing" (Romans 7:18c-19).  It makes me feel a little better to be in good company...
     There is a fine line though, between beating ourselves up and being to slack.  Maybe the medium lies in grace (RELATED: Grace).  I'd like to assume that I just dole out grace the way God would desire, but often its the counterfeit of just letting myself off the hook.  Then, I realize that and tighten the reigns.  I guess what I'm getting at, is that God has a better plan in mind for me (and you).  He desires for us to come to him and say: "Daddy, I'm struggling.  I want to follow you, but my sinful desires are taking me all over the place."  He wants us to come to him; he wants us to be honest.  He also promises that he is with us in all things and does not give us a temptation more than we can bare.
     So, looking forward: stare sin straight in the eye!  Don't coddle it or coax it, don't condemn yourself for it.  I had no intention of writing about this, so I take that to be from God.  He is reaching out to us in love and I can just imagine him saying, "Child, I have so much more for you than this counterfeit, and the counterfeit of grace you are using to cover it up and the condemnation you are bringing upon yourself."  I pray that we become so dissatisfied with anything less than God's presence in our lives, that we turn to him in the moments we don't think we should.  These are often the times when God often speaks in real and powerful ways.  These are also the times when we can access the power of the Holy Spirit and make a 180° from where we're headed.  That's where I want to be!
     We are in a raging battle, but there is hope in the knowledge that He is with us and has a better plan for us the sin we often get tangled up in.  We need to fix our eyes on him, and everything else will come into alignment of his will for our lives.  It helps to look at the joy that we will receive, rather than the "loss" we perceive we will have when we leave sin behind and head for the cross.  For me, that's where I'm headed-- after I reread Romans 7:18-19.  It's not an easy journey, but it is an exciting marathon up a mountain.  Every step we take gives us a little better glimpse of the kingdom above and the glory God's created below.  Every step we take, we get a little more "in shape" and a little less desiring of our sinful "couch potato" life.
     Before I drag this analogy on for who knows how long, I'll leave you with a simple quote; a quote that struck me and made me realize that I'm truly fed up with my habits of sin, and I want more and more of God in every moment.  We can't worship _______ (Insert here: ourselves, money, time, control, ect.) and God.  We worship one thing alone.  All else detracts from that worship.

Mountain steps - don't know where this is, but  it looks awesome!
"I have tasted a thrilling fellowship with God which has made anything discordant wtih God disgusting. This afternoon the possession of God has caught me up with such sheer joy that I thought I never had known anything like it.  God was so close and so amazingly lovely that I felt like melting all over with a strange blissful contentment.  Having had this experience, which comes to me now several times a week, the thrill of filth repels me, for I know its power to drag me from God."
- Frank Laubach, Practicing His Presence


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Shedd Aquarium: A Must-See Attraction

     While in Chicago this past weekend, my mom and I had plenty of things on our to-do list (RELATED: Chicago Girls' Weekend: A Little Teaser).  While some ultimately ended up on our to-do list for our next trip-- kayaking, going up Sears (Willis) Tower and the architectural tour of the city-- we did manage to pack a lot in.  One of the top priorities on the list was Shedd Aquarium.  According to my mom, I've been there before, but I don't remember it at all.  So, for me, it was all new.
     I wasn't sure what to expect exactly, but I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.  If they fail to convince you, I'll offer one piece of advice: don't miss Shedd Aquarium!

 I had some trouble getting my camera mode on the correct function-- which is why some of these are not too high quality.  But I had to add this picture because I just loved the half orange fish in this tank!

 This was the ever-photogenic Pufferfish.  He was my favorite fish of all, and kept looking at us and "smiling" for a good two minutes.  It's hard to get motion very well so up-close, but I certainly did try to capture his smiling face.  It looks like he has little teeth, but it's actually a suction that he was squishing on the glass. 

Here's my little Pufferfish from the side.

They had shrimp, which is my favorite food OF ALL TIME!  Unfortunately, they were very alive and very safe behind their glass enclosure.  It was weird to see them though.  I might feel somewhat remorseful the next time I eat one... 

 The vivid colors of the coral reminded me of my tropical snorkeling adventures, and I was very impressed they had such variety of coral and had an entire section dedicated to the often overlooked sea creature.

 Shedd's is also home to the largest crab I have ever seen!  I wasn't the only one amazed either, as there was a good sized group crowded around the tank.

 The aquatic show-- included in admission-- was very impressive.  The audience was fully engaged by the personable Shedd staff.  Most notably, the show worked in the theme of conservation and animal protection, and did so in a way that children understood.  The aquarium even has a couple of rescue dogs that spend their days among the sea creatures, one of which made an adorable appearance towards the end of the show.  Of course, the dolphins, seals, and beluga whales did many extraordinary tricks.  Though the dolphins were the highlight of the show, there was not a single part that was a lowlight in my opinion.
 This seal jumped up out of the water and came right up by the audience to do some pretty cool tricks!

     Before concluding our trip to Shedd's, my mom and I stepped out on the lakeside balcony, and snapped some pictures of the stunning Chicago skyline.  From there, we hopped on over to the Field Museum and then rode our bikes beyond-- and then back to, once we got directions-- the Chicago Zoo.  That was only Saturday morning!  I've yet to pinpoint my favorite part of the trip; that will come as I blog and reminisce.  Slowly, our girls weekend will become a fond memory, and-- like I did before-- I will forget certain things about my trip to Chicago.  However, I won't forget certain moments with my mom.  

     I won't forget how excited I was when she finally parked, as terribly as she parked, and jumped out to see me.  I can't forget doing a crossword puzzle while eating Orange Sorbet in our soft hotel room bed.  I certainly can't forget how cold and wet we were after getting slightly lost on Sunday.  Everything's a memory, and though I'll forget the details: I won't forget the moments I spent with my mommy.  Shedd Aquarium was just a small part of a great weekend, but a great source of memories for years to come.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Chicago Girls' Weekend: A Little Teaser

     I fully intend on blogging all about my fun weekend in Chicago with my mom (RELATED: Fresh Fruit Market on Campus).  But in anticipation of a busy Monday and possibly Tuesday, here's a little teaser:
 It was so fun to get back to Navy Pier.  I had visited for a day two years ago, but had really not visited Chicago since I was a six-year-old who carrier Kit Kitteredge everywhere we went.

 This canoe sculpture was right by Navy Pier, and caught my eye right away.  It definitely makes a statement, and I can't imagine how the artist put that together.
 Of course, we visited Shed Aquarium.  I loved it!

It was hard to get back to campus and say goodbye again.  That's the awful part about seeing people again :(  But I also found that I was a little excited to be back in my dorm, and that's definitely a good sign.  Hopefully, this week wont' be as hectic as the last, but I know that God goes before me.  Bring it on, Monday (RELATED: Halfway There: A Week of Trials Thus Far)!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fresh Fruit Market on Campus and a Crazy Wednesday!

     I can hear the whispers of the weekend; I only have one class tomorrow and then I'm off to Chicago with my mom- who I haven't seen in 25 days!  That means lots of fun posts next week about "The Windy City."  Yesterday, I hardly had a free minute.  Basically, here was my schedule:

6:15- Wake up to go down to practice
7:00- Start swim workout
8:15- Ride my bike back to the dorms to grab stuff for class
8:30- Make tea (It was great, one of the most relaxing moments of the day
8:45- Leave for Statistics
10:00- Start on Homework for the day and study like crazy for Spanish quiz
12:15- Finish homework and stop studying, grab lunch
12:45- Head to speech class
2:15- Ride bike to athletic trainer for rehab
3:15- Get back to dorm and study again
4:00- Grab food, shower, do a quick blog post, pack for class, and study a bit more :)
5:40- Head to Spanish and find out the quiz was SO much easier than I thought...
7:15- Walk straight to mandatory athletic meeting
8:00- Go to mandatory athlete study tables following meeting
8:45- Ride bike to stadium for Athletes in Action Meeting
9:45- Pedal as fast as I can to my first newspaper meeting
11:30- collapse in bed after a quick snack

     I'm sure you really didn't need that much detail.  But at the same time, I feel really good about yesterday.  I knew it was going to be absolutely crazy, but after I fell apart on Monday from stress (RELATED: Halfway There!), I was determined to go forth with joy.  At first, I was struggling with the timing of the last minute newspaper meeting, but when it actually came about: I found myself filled with so much joy and singing to myself as I pedaled furiously to the communications building.  That was a God thing, because there was no way I had the energy or external joy to do so.  Isn't God so good!  Anyway, the whole ordeal was really a blessing.  I've always be the type to stress out and get extremely anxious when overwhelmed.  It was a chance to practice the opposite.  I'm also extremely glad its over and that I accomplished it all!
     Today was much more relaxing!  I slept in (sleeping in nowadays is 7:40) and went swimming at 8. In hindsight, I shouldn't remembered the pool closes for a while at 8:30.  So I went to my 9:30 class and then returned to the pool to finish up.  My other class today was cancelled so the only scheduled things I had today were a rehab appointment at 1 p.m. and the mandatory study tables later in the evening.  I spent the rest of the time doing all my homework (yay!), chilling out with some crossword puzzles-- one of my favorite parts about the free newspapers on campus-- and cycling down to the Butler farm market.
     It's the coolest thing: the university runs a farm that students help out with in certain classes.  It is all naturally grown-- no pesticides or anything-- and is delicious and inexpensive.  It's only every Thursday though, and I just missed the time slot last week.  Thus, I was anxiously awaiting today.

I got a buddy to go along and we had so much fun!  I almost went raspberry picking, but remembered I'll be out of town for the weekend and would have to eat them all tonight or they'd go bad.

 So I settled on two zucchini squashes and two lemon cucumbers.  The lemon cucumbers are bizarre.  I can't wait to try them!  The woman told me that they taste just like cucumbers but look different.

I got it all for only $2.75 as well!  It's every health-conscious college student's dream!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Halfway There: A Week of Trials Thus Far

     Believe it or not, this is my first full week of school, which is why it's dragging on forever.  Monday was killer.  I got all my school work done, but struggled to fit in all the other necessary activities-- seeing the physical trainer, going to freshmen-athlete study tables, Spanish class @ 7 p.m., and eating in between everything!  I basically broke down on Monday night.  I think it was a combination of tiredness and homesickness.  Either way, I decided I wasn't going to let the day "happen" to me anymore.  I need to be proactive and set my mind that I'm going to walk through the day with joy and determination.
     I think the most frustrating part though, is all the spiritual warfare that's been flying my way.  For instance: I typed up my life Bible passage (Hebrews 10:32-39) and hung it in my dorm room with sticky tabs when I got here.  The first few weeks, it ended every day hanging by a thread to the wall.  Finally, it fell.  After it fell three more times in a matter of days, I began to figure out a new plan. Gravity, I reasoned, was the culprit; I couldn't hang it up on my ceiling in high humidity and expect it to just stay there.  So I grabbed 6 more sticky tabs and hung it on the wall beside my bed.  It fell.  And fell.  And fell.  Shouldn't 9 (Brand new) sticky tabs be able to hold up a piece of paper?  I mean, 8 are holding up my giant running poster just fine.  Four are holding up another piece of paper right next to where I had my Hebrews 10:32-39!  
     I've also been having some pretty bad nightmares.  A lot of fear.  I know God is revealing a lot to me through these dreams, but I don't think they are of him because I wake up terrified in the middle of the night!  Satan doesn't even give us a break when we're sleeping!  But my dad reminded me last night that actively praying for joy and rest will really help me in this.  God loves it when I speak to him, but lately, I've been less willing and more: "Take it away!"  Ya, I know.... really mature of me.
     I'm grateful that I've been able to get cross training again.  I'm able to swim for 30-40 min., and I can slowly increase it as my hip agrees.  I'm doing rehab exercises as well, and I'm finally starting to think I'm moving forward!  God is moving in all these things, otherwise: I wouldn't be making it through this crazy week!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Go Ahead and Celebrate the Little Things!

     With my perfectionist tendencies, I've learned to value celebrating the little things.  My dad started telling me that a few years ago, and I now realize how important it is to stop and look at the successes and the little victories along the way in life.  God does some pretty HUGE things, but he also does little things that are so intricate and beautiful.  We often miss them in the blink of an eye though.  For instance, I hardly realized that today-- yes, TODAY-- marks 3 weeks since I shipped off to college and turned my life upside down.  I'm seeing God work in amazing ways though (RELATED: God's Perfect Peace) and it makes it so much easier when I know I am exactly where God wants me.  He planned this out for me and I am so grateful for all he has done and will continue to do.
     I hope you can take a minute and look at the little successes God has brought you this month, this week, and even this day.  Don't loose the blessings in the rapid pace of life.  Here's to three weeks:

A Bike Ride to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Oldfields House

     With a stress fracture comes a very small list of approved activities, one of which is "leisurely riding my bike to class."  Well, I get a little stir crazy when I seem to be the only college student who finished all her homework on Friday...
     I extended that permission to the scope of riding my bike around the area, figuring that I'm good as long as it doesn't hurt my hip (RELATED: When Things Aren't So Easy).  Last week, I went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which is only like two miles from Butler's campus.  I didn't hang around though, but was rather in the mood to just ride around.  However, I was intent on returning.  After twenty minutes of pacing my dorm-- while complaining about how bored I was-- and probably annoying my roommates, I decided to just hop on my bike and go to the museum.  I had seen there were home tours of the historic mansion going on today, so that was my aim. I made sure to take lots of pictures!  I'll have to go back though because there was so much more-- heck: I didn't even make it to the actual museum (and although I'm not a big "artsy" person, it was fun to explore around).

First up was locking my bike, which I have gotten quite fast at doing with my three weeks of college experience.
Then, I headed to the Oldfields House, a 1910s mansion that was most recently home to the Lilly family (founders of Eli Lilly and Company) and their 40+ full time servant staff!  It is now owned by the museum and the give FREE tours.

I'll tell you upfront: I'm not a fan of old-fashioned houses.  But I LOVE houses in general, and it's cool to see how people lived in the past.  This library for instance, was so neat!

The parlour off of the library-- one of many rooms that seemed to hold the same stuff chairs and the same purpose.  It must've been so weird to live back then!

I loved this hallway.  It overlooked a beautiful veranda over the canal.  Gorgeous views!
The unique artwork on the other side of the hallway.

This was the Butler's pantry area.  There were also separate bathrooms, bedrooms and eating areas for the staff.  Additionally, there is a third story ballroom that's used for weddings but closed to the public.  I wanted so badly to sneak up there and see the views :)

Here's a look out onto the veranda.  I can just imagine having a morning tea and fruit out there... ahhh.  That would be the life!  The Lilly family had three other homes though, and I'm sure their Cape Cod house won out as far as view is concerned.

The furniture in the upstairs portion of the house was all sold before the house and land were donated, so the upstairs serves as the more informative part of the tour.  It was cool to see where the kids slept and where the family lived though.  Mr. Lilly had his own bedroom and his own study-- complete with a secret spiral staircase!
It reminds me of Nancy Drew stuff.  My inner detective was dying to really tour this house, but alas: the museum would frown upon that, and I have to go back to see the rest of the grounds.

Speaking of the grounds, here's a cool map that shows just how big the area is.

 And now for the outdoor landscape:

I loved this picturesque water area.  Seems like the perfect place to come and write. 

Here's a view of the canal, which has an awesome path we run along for practice.  It goes for about 20 odd miles, and into the city of Indy.

A look back at the house.

Gorgeous fountain in the formal garden area

Just another sky view that reminds me how awesome God is!

And the path continues.... I'll have to go back again soon!