13 November 2007


I just read a simply wonderful poem in a blog post on Boundless. Jenny Schroedel wrote on the intersection of loneliness and solitude. I encourage you to check it out here. But regardless of whether or not you read the entire article, I encourage you to read the poem that closed it:

As Daniel Ladinsky wrote in his poem, "Absolutely Clear":4

Don't surrender your loneliness
So Quickly.
Let it cut more deep.

Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or divine ingredients can.

Something missing in my heart tonight,
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice
So tender,

My need of God
Absolutely clear.

photo by misty mawn


Thought it was time for a few updates:

Work: Yesterday I had a phone interview with Teach for America yesterday afternoon and I felt it went well. I will find out on the 19th whether or not I made it to the next round of interviews. My goal currently is to find a full-time teaching position by next fall. I have had some interesting work experience since graduating from school, but it would be nice to have full-time work and full-time income!

Neighbors: In addition to having my TFA interview yesterday, I arrived home to a strange man standing in my apartment. It turns out that he is Ramon, the man who owns 619, and he was in the building because he had a meeting with Jack regarding his tenants and a noise violation. They were partying LOUD on Saturday night... all the way until 4:00am! The tenants were not home when he arrived, but he entered the apartment and apparently found the place trashed and marijuana paraphanelia all over the place. He was about as angry as he could be in front of strangers. He brought a friend who is a Chicago cop (as a witness or in case things got ugly, I believe).

Ramon was very apologetic and said that he would be dealing severly with the tenants. Turns out they are 3 18-19 yr olds that are students at Columbia College Chicago. One is the son of Ramon's wife's best-friend. Presumably he fell in with bad company and they in turn have trashed Ramon's apartment, including all the furniture and appliances that he so kindly left for them. After our conversation, which also included Jack--the building engineer--he went back home to Oak Park. Later that evening he emailed Sara and said that he was coming back to confront the kids with parents in tow (parents are on the lease as well as the boys). I heard a little of the LOUD conversation and I don't think it is going so well for them. I can't say that I feel to badly about it. They were acting like spoiled frat boys, so they belong somewhere else. I will try to keep you updated on what is going on there.

My Birthday: I have been celebrating my birthday month with great joy! It started with a David Crowder band concert on the 1st at House of Blues with some friends from Church. Then Sara and I went out for dinner on my birthday, I had a little celebration with my small group from church on the 8th and tomorrow night I am having some friends over for a birthday dinner party. I will try to take some pictures and post them soon:-) In addition to some lovely gifts from friends and family, I would like to post a special thank you here--Jud subsidized a much-needed haircut as my birthday present. I went to Ashley, she gave me a great new winter cut and I will try to get pics up soon. It is shorter and a bit more funky and I LOVE IT!

That will have to do it for now. I will try and get more up on a regular basis--please leave comments... I love to hear from you!

06 November 2007

So True!

Another gem from amy loves books here. I became acquainted with her over teaching, so it is fitting that I should link to another teaching post. This one is the kind of encouragement I need to hear on a daily, maybe even moment-by-moment, basis.

So Beautiful

My dear friend at TulipGirl turned me on to a delightful blog called amy loves books and today I read a post of hers that was so beautiful that I wanted to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. (Imagine how much more lovely my blog would be if I managed to include anything like this on a regular basis!)

Ministry in the City

I have been thinking a lot about urban ministry, especially since I am part of an urban church plant, working at what could be considered an inner-city school (although it doesn't carry the negative connotations of that name) and volunteer with a few urban ministries including Sunshine Gospel Ministries and GRIP. This thinking has involved a lot of wrestling.

Tomorrow I turn 29 and I have no idea how my life is going to look in the next year. This is not what I imagined for myself 10 years ago. I would have never guessed that I would be living smack in the middle of Chicago with a delightful roommate, no romantic interest, several part-time jobs, and a wonderful church. It is a beautiful life, all told, but often trying and never easy. When I think I have reached the end of my tether, and the idea of living a "safe" suburban life seems irresistible, God brings another encouragement to keep hanging on. The most recent form this encouragement took was a sermon by Joel Hamernick at my church last Sunday. If you want to hear it in full, you can listen
here. If you just want to see the main points you can check out Joel's blog post here.

All in all, what seems to keep coming up is this:
  • My heart for missions and cross-cultural exchange has never dampened in the last 10 years or more, but the focus has definitely shifted several times.
  • There is no doubt in my mind that living and working in Chicago is a cross-cultural situation.
  • The need for the Gospel in Chicago and other American urban areas is just as great as any foreign need that I have seen or heard of.
  • God has strongly impressed on my heart that I need to put my roots down deep in Chicago, regardless of how long my life here may be.
How this will work out in my daily life is beyond me. Some days it terrifies me and others it seems totally reasonable and right. I just wish that I wasn't doing it alone. Sara is a fabulous roommate, but as her relationship with Jud gets more serious, I realize that I cannot count on her companionship for the long haul. This brings up questions about possibly finding a new roommate, moving to a lower-income neighborhood? and what to do about being so decidedly single. If God is really calling me to go deep in Chicago and I take that seriously, I need a man who is committed to the city as well. Am I asking too much? Good men in general seem in short supply, so putting such specific provisos on a match seems almost ridiculous.

And of course, the most disturbing thoughts then role in and they all seem to revolve around that perennially difficult question: Does God want to keep me for himself? Is the best life that he could give me one that does not include a husband and family? Some days I think that would be difficult but amazing. Other days, it sounds like the worst torture possible! Most days, my feelings are somewhere in between.

Any thoughts on this? I always appreciate the insights of my friends and family. And you can always remind me of what Sara says all the time "You just think about these things too much!"

03 November 2007

A new book, with more on the way

As I rapidly approach my 29th birthday, I wanted to post briefly about a book that I just finished: Revelations of a Single Woman, loving the life i didn't expect by Connally Gilliam. First of all, this is the best book, hands down, that I have read about being single and over 25. Gilliam repeatedly talks about "unintentional singleness," a distinction that I think is very important. She is not addressing people who are choosing to forgo marriage and family for career or personal reasons. Her writing is for those who long to be married but still find themselves single. She herself is in her mid to late-thirties with many friends and acquaintances in similar situations. Her writing is accessible to Christians and non-Christians alike, although she does not mince words when she talks about ultimate fulfillment in Christ.

In the next few days (maybe weeks?) I am going to go through chapter by chapter with some commentary and analysis. I think the discipline is good for me, and it will help me to digest more effectively what I have read. Today I just wanted to let you know that book exists and to HEARTILY recommend it to anyone who is unintentionally single (men could benefit from this book as well, I believe) or who has a daughter (or son) who is in this place in life. I am going to pass my copy on to my parents when they come and visit next week. If you do read it, or someone you know has or is reading it, please point them to this blog. I would welcome their voices in the conversation.

Now I must return to my sewing or I won't have my rent for next month:-)