Friday, June 27, 2008

We went away.

But we came back.

But we want to go again.

Good food, bad bugs, good camping, bad smells, good weather, good street theater, it was everything that we needed.

And now we have a busy few weeks. Jess is taking her motorcycle licensing class all this weekend, we will be away for the 4th of July, and we have lots of people coming to visit and traveling through.

Be well.

Ride a bike.

Soak up some sun.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

it's time.

we're off on vacation this afternoon until the 26th. YEAH! i'm beginning to feel the clostiness of the city. my feet are begging for dirt, my body yearning for dancing in the woods and my soul ready to rest with my beloved by the campfire with a slow moving book to fall into. it's time.

Friday, June 13, 2008

friday night.

i love when jake & i have something to do or someplace to go on friday evening, right after work. i get excited, often not because of what we're doing or where we're going (sorry friends), but because it means that we get to drive to work.

on any given day i despise driving to work. it's too nice outside & truth be told, i've become addicted to my bike. she, my teal trussler, has become a part of me & i enjoy spending time with her daily. but fridays. i really enjoy fridays.

you see, every friday at 7:30am, right on our way to work, is a three to five minute program called StoryCorps, a program of NRP. i look forward to these five minutes of radio each week. i know, with internet i could listen to them all day with little effort. but like most radio programs, there is just something magical about listening to them on the radio. it makes me feel like i'm suppose to listen to them at this time instead of working around my convienence, i do that too often anyway.

StoryCorps (this is not the same link as above) is special though. listening to intimate sories shared from those who both do and do not believe they have something to share, something to give, something to tell. it's a beautiful five minutes of listening to stories that many wouldn't identify as those that matter. but when given the time to listen to, i often find that these stories are often threads of those same stories hidden within that help me to remember that those little stories do matter. those are the stories that make us who we are and how we love and live.

who wants to meet for dinner next friday night, right after work?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

an accidential beautiful find

by Frank Wick

Monday, June 09, 2008

thank you.

jake just called grandma for a moment. see how she is doing. ask her a couple questions. inquire about the status of neighbors & community kids. the usual.

you have to know, grandma is the center of our block. present always like eddie, she is often available through her presence to those who need her love the most. those who often have no place to go and kids who have lost imaginations.

ethan, jermaine & andre's grandparents live next door to grandma with only a chest high wire fence separating them. throughout the summer the boys are known to play ball and "accidentally" throw &/or kick it over into grandma's yard. in the past, because they have not been the most pleasant munchkins in how they ask grandma for their ball back she often times lets the ball sit. sit as the boys look. hoping & wishing for mercy.

she'll often times let it, the ball, wait in the yard a day to teach in a somewhat passive way to use appropriate language in how they ask for things. today was different though. she shared that the boys threw the ball over the fence. they then promptly asked, "grandma, can you please give us our ball back." she did. and then it happened. they said "thank you." they said thank you.

grandma shared, "i knew it was you two who taught them that."

i'm not sure it was, but there is a part of me that hopes for our influence to have caused them to learn how to say "thank you". if so, i can leave chicago knowing that the world is a little better. i guess that's all that we/i can hope for. that wherever we leave, whenever we leave, whomever we leave, they & it will be a little better when we leave. just a little.
a good discussion is happening here.

i would really appreciate hearing any thoughts you have.

here or there.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Toward the conclusion of April I shared with Jake, “I feel as though we have been so loved this month.” So I made it a goal to track throughout the month of May who we have spent our time with, what we would do, etc. A little task for the month & was I ever surprised and grateful as I gazed upon our calendar yesterday, the first of June. Every day, with the exception of two weekday evenings, were willed with love & time spent with our neighbors and extended community. Picnics with friends, gatherings & outings, coffee dates & motorcycle rides, friends from far away staying over, dinners and rides out and about as well as within our home.

With the shining intensity of May Jake & I found ourselves more in dialog about community and what it was that made May so delightful and engaging. I know, I know, it's a hot topic to discuss. Living in community, concepts of community, community development, community reconciliation, community outreach... It presents as though one of the newest topic of discussion within religious circles: how to develop & engage in community. New nonprofit organizations over the last decade have been popping up with mission statements and visions hopeful of conveying a new message of community. Educational programs regarding community development have been increasing in the number of students applying and studying how to engage underdeveloped communities toward a better way of living. People of natural privilege & religious beliefs have been challenged and encouraged to relocate and assist in restoring under-resourced communities. Opportunities to live in community and learn better how to love others through a relationship with God have been increasing and are beginning to have an influential effect on the lives of young adults and how they are choosing to carry our their lives with God & Christ.

I am a product of these schools of thoughts and am forever grateful of their influence in my life. These programs. These teachings, beliefs, guides, examples. They were/are the outlets that brought me to the place of understanding more how I believe God intended for us to live together and live within. These resources were the tools, I believe, used by God to change my natural school of thought & practice. Through affirmation, conversation, mediation & immersion over the last five years I have been encouraged more than ever before to be the love, I believe, God intended for me/us to be.

Last night I had a really rich and affirming conversation with a new friend. A friend I hope to keep around for a long time. She shared how often times she feels as though we (society) take simple concepts and ideas such as community and intellectualize them into methods and tasks, books and essays, process and conclusions. She continued to share that often times she struggles to be a part of these conversations and struggles to make natural relationships that God intended for us to develop organically into means to obtain some end goal of community.

I struggle with not making a set of rules for myself & I most certainly often times find myself working more often on the side of religion rather than spirituality, judgment rather than perception, education rather than experience, rules and regulations rather than balance and flexibility. So I understand what this hopeful good friend is saying. For I too am guilty of making natural and organic desires of God into educational concepts and processes with end goals. But I feel like I'm not alone in this. Because when I engaged in these programs we always had tasks to stretch us and were encouraged by our stakeholders as to by look at what an end goal would look like. For most nonprofit organizations there has to be end goals and objectives stated in order to receive money to carry out dreams of how to develop and enhance their stated mission or vision, most often to the benefit of community. It's the world we live in. It's how we obtain money to serve others. It's how we get people behind our passion: we give them an end goal to look forward to, a set of objectives of how we're going to get there and the stated change we hope to see in the world through carrying out the goals, tasks, objectives. Wow – that exhausted me to even think about and I write up this stuff for a living (goals, objectives, ect.)

This is the thing, this whole religion, judgment, education, rules, regulations, should have, could have, would haves becomes addictive. Really addictive. Community is one of those “things” in my life. Something that over time turned into all of the preceding adjectives that started to blanket the nouns. The grandma's, Eddie's, Destiny's, Edgar's, those who are without homes, those who are without financial gains, those who are without. Pawns in a game of obtaining something I disguised as community.

So I stopped. I stopped forcing interaction and remembered times in Morocco when Jake, Cory & I would take walks around Midelt, sharing, speaking and enjoying the company that we would encounter as we walked. There was no driving distances, scheduling times, arranging meeting places, etc. It just happened. I miss this. But even then, I was a slave to end goals and means of how to obtain them.

It's at this point that I wish I was able to present some magical process of how I came to embrace letting this go, letting go of the need to follow rules to obtain community. But I don't feel like I have a process to share. I just had to let it go. I had to embrace that I am powerless over the condition of impaired community living that we rest and engage in. I had to let go of the insanity of always wanting to follow a system to obtain community. I had to make the decision to let God be God and be intentional about being part of God. I had/have to learn to simply love without all of those adjectives that have become misdemeanors that have taken me further away from God and God's Beloved.

So I think for now I'm done "learning" and am simply going to try to love in whatever way presents itself through life. Who knows, maybe in the meantime we may stumple upon this whole community thing that so many people are taking about and experience another May.

p.s. read this and maybe this entry will make a bit more sense. he has a way of making things make a little bit more sense in life.