Monday, March 24, 2008


when i was a child i remember days spent inside grandma & grandpa's home. the same home my grandpa was raised and where he raised his own nine children. two girls, seven boys, one set of twins. each visit my mind teems with memories of times spent sneaking around, peeking in drawers, snacking & gorging on Polish delights and homemade bread with jam.

sleeping upstairs in a room where six children once slept, three to a double bed. such tender memories of being tucked under the covers atop these well worn mattresses, reading with the sunlight and jumping all around without a care.

grandpa sitting in his chair. grandpa's chair next to his pipe tray. now reupholstered and fashioned to shine this was where my grandpa would sit for hours as we took turns at the constant rotation of being able to sit on his knees and listen to stories overflowing with enthralling plot lines with sailor-like character development.

a refrigerator overflowing with polish sausage & links,
spreads & mayo salads, submerged with beans and jam.

she says she has made only 47 afghans, but beg to differ. i believe she made only was able to fashion 47 afghans for the grandchildren before she was no longer able to sit in her parlor chair and crochet away like she use to be able to. yet, blankets like these have been a covering haven of protection & rest since i was a child curling up in the same couch that is still there today.

even today i feel like a trespasser in the adult bedroom, where our parents use to stay
while the children were minded to upstairs to play. this visit our uncle joey was visiting and still, over twenty years later, i still feel like i'm sneaking into the principals office to steal chocolates when i step foot inside the door. the drawers that held the crayons and coloring books was in here, along side the Pope and the trusty Polish dictionary.

grandma's sanctuary.


while visiting i snuck upstairs and dug into the chest where grandpa once kept his pictures, news clipping and memories from WWII. Together, for a couple hours we searched through memories, faces, families and forgotten news and obituaries. She shared that it had been over ten years since she opened the chest of treasures due to an inability to walk up stairs or bend over and lift. Following these realistic explanation she shared,
"there is no one to look through them with any more, pa has been gone for eighteen years."

on the way out of manistee before heading to my parents and his,
we stopped by the Lake to see what riches were to be found.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

practicing resurrection.

this topic could be covered in so many ways on so many levels, today though i encourage you to take a moment and work your way through this virtual prayer pilgrimage represented in the stations of the cross.

artists: Nanette Sawyer, Nick Croston, Jhonathan F. Gómez, Tim Vermeulen

all of the art work presented was created by artists and non-artists alike from the Wicker Park Grace community during Lent 2007. these beautiful stations of reflection were created in order to reinterpret the stations of the cross in contemporary terms both "meaningful and evocative," as stated on their community web-site.

enjoy. reflect. have peace and enjoy the beauty of the resurrected one as well as the resurrection occurring in the spring thaw.

do you see our new bud?

- jess & jake

Sunday, March 16, 2008

a couple up-dates:

moving to Step Two this week. it's been a refreshing two weeks working under the umbrella of Step One but it's time to move on. sanity awaits...

this week has been such a delightful one, filled with friends, children, struggles and celebrations. i feel as though God is beginning to take control of things again. i'm beginning to feel so much more free to live! yesterday i stopped by target in running our errands to try on fancy skirts because i shaved my legs for the first time in months. it was then that i realized that i'm still not okay, but i'm not crying every time i walk into a department store and i haven't gone back to where i was in 2002. i'm at peace with this - progress, not perfection. if there just wasn't so much chocolate and so many plastic eggs... too much stimulation.

in other new:

jake went on a man date yesterday and came home muddy.

the reason i love saturday mornings in chicago:
went out with some girlfriends for a movie and some tea.

went and spent close to an hour and a half here, touching, smelling, strolling and enjoying.

our congregation has been featured two times in the recent weeks.
spent a little cash to begin a project much like this. while there it was such a delight to take my time a touch the fabrics, wrap the ribbons and watch a class of four women and one old man learn how to knit in a sponsored knitting class.

having some "never-met-but-feel-kindred-already" friends over this afternoon for some tea & muffins. this is seeming to be a trend lately in our home and i feel as though it's a healthy one.

we cannot stop breaking our fasts here.

and lastly - our breakfast nook

i bought these (tulips) from an amazing garden blooming (in Home Depot) where i spent at least twenty minutes touching tulip, daffodil, and hyacinth pedals and smooth, rigid, prickly leaves and stems. it's spring! Thanks Rachel & Diana/Ruben for the other life giving clippings.

as we are making cookies for our dinner with some neighbors this later afternoon, i quote jake, "my favorite things all together: pretzels with peanut butter, chocolate chip, dark chocolate M&M cookie dough! Yummmmm!"

Saturday, March 08, 2008


step one - we admitted we were powerless over drugs and alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

three weeks ago the kids from next door stopped coming over. their mom recently got a significant settlement (from who knows where for who knows what, not many seem to know) and decided it was time to seek independence and self-sufficiency for her and her family. therefore, she, her husband and their five children all moved into a beautiful apartment two blocks away. the week of their move i spent time with Mari, sitting in her new dining room chatting about the changes that were about to unfold, the hope that i had for her and her family, the potential growth and peace that may manifest itself through the simplicity of being together. ahh... the potential their home has to be a home of safety, growth, family!

but when this all happened, the kids stopped coming over as much. in fact, they barely come over at all anymore. they call, but often times it's just to say hi.

four weeks ago eddie called us and shared with us that he was on the brink of buying himself a used car. with a suspended license and a significant amount of money to pay in retribution, we feared the manifestation of this decision. that week we saw it sitting there though, a gray old hoopti that had been spruced up for the sale. we use to spend our saturdays with eddie, shopping, having taco bell dates, going out to buy his cigarettes at half price only to turn around and sell that double that price to neighbors. ahh... the independence he must feel to now be able to do it all on his own!

when all this happened though, eddie stopped calling as much. in fact, he doesn't really call at all anymore. once in awhile, but just to say hi.

the snow presents to be coming to it's end. i've been surprised before - early april blossoms and snowflake randevus. it's been a difficult february though, and i'm beginning to enjoy the potential of march.

this time of detox from neighbors and the agony of february presents to be ceasing though, and the early budding presents to give promises of growth and freedom on a more consistent basis.

therefore, i'm going into recovery. it's time for a renewal.

step one - we admitted we were powerless over drugs and alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

it sounds silly, i know. i'm not an active drug or alcohol user - although the potential is there. i'm not an active shopper, eater or sexer - although the potential is there. i'm simply tired of the chaos in my head and more specifically, tired of the conditional love, rules and regulations i have placed between me and God.

entering into recovery. the date of admission: march 3rd, 2008.

no longer am i going to hide in:
or comforts

no longer am i going to let these protestant sins, women bent, culture induced mental rituals:
control me
hide me
wither me
erase me
bury me

the compilation of this body, soul, mind and heart that God created was meant to enjoy.

i have decided i'm going to begin embracing the shame that binds
hold the guilt that is possessive and inflexible
rock the lonely masks of betterment
cradle the crying motivations
let good intentions with no demonstration wither inside
savor the destructive rituals and comforts.

therefore, i am going to begin to swim out of them.
i'm going to begin to swim deeply
exercise large strokes
breathe carefully
kick wildly
allowing God to touch, heal and enjoy every part of me.

i am powerless of so much of what i have let control me and infiltrate this tainted, once pure, mind. i have let these thoughts and life practices become unmanageable to the point of semi-paralysis.

step one - we admitted we were powerless over drugs and alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

today i admit, i am in some serious need of thought and life practice restructuring.

what's beautiful though is that i feel safe. safe and free to do so.