Big News!

May 2, 2012 at 11:40 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

HA! I tricked you into reading my blog. I knew I had to come up with something good in order to pull you in. Now let’s see if I can create some content that doesn’t disappoint.

I have been thinking a lot lately about my MVS assignment and all of the things I wanted to do this year. I wanted to remove myself from the rat-race of the American dream and getting ahead. I wanted time to reflect on my skills and desires. But most of all, I wanted to do some good somewhere. In orientation we talked a lot about community and the benefits of being present. This appealed to me a lot. I envisioned myself attending community meetings/meals, volunteering extra time to community clean-up efforts, knowing all of my neighbors, etc. I thought I would immerse myself in getting to know more about Seattle and its issues, then venture out to save the city. (Or at least try.) As it turns out, though, I’ve only really met a couple of my neighbors.

I’ll give myself a little bit of grace and mention that I don’t just sit around inside the house all of the time. I meet a lot of great people at work and get to talk to them about what I’m doing and why I’m here. But I could do so much more to engage in the community. Occupy Seattle was less than a 1/2 mile from my house this fall and I didn’t even really try to seek out activism opportunities. So, the big news is I’ve renewed for a second year of MVS. I want to do more. I want to be more active in the community- and saying this here is my way of asking for folks to hold me accountable. Same house (new housemates, though…*sniff*), same job, new approach.

AND EVEN BIGGER NEWS! Our house welcomed 4 new ladies into the family a couple of weeks ago.

 

Our track record with animals has not been good this year. But Laura and I are co-parenting, and so far so good. The girls are adjusting well, love socializing, and provide the house with fresh eggs. Aren’t they so CUTE?!?!?!?

I am a proud mama. Have a great week, all.

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Work Day

October 30, 2011 at 5:55 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Today was work day for the MVS House. Support committee and friends from our two supporting congregations came to help us work on projects around the house. We accomplished a lot in five hours! It was a bit hard to get up on a Saturday morning and commit to 5 hours of housework, but once I saw how many people showed up to help us, the gratitude definitely won over any negativity. We rebuilt the dishwasher area, painted the laundry room ceiling, repainted some inside doors, cleaned gutters, pruned landscaping, and cleaned up the backyard…just to name a few. It was so fun to see everyone gathered in the living room/dining room for lunch enjoying each other’s company and fellowshipping. The house is looking good!

Tonight Kelsey, Laura and I were part of a flash mob down on Broadway. A video to come later, but here is a photo from the evening. 🙂

Thang 1 & 2, I Love Lucy in black and white, and the nerdy librarian

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A Career Path?

October 27, 2011 at 5:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Prepare to be a sounding board. And another disclaimer: This is not a business plan, but more like a stream of consciousness. There, you’ve been warned.

Last night I was reading the latest issue of Better Homes & Gardens that my boss gave me. There is an article about Karen Mordechai and her Sunday Suppers endeavor. The title alone got me, because as everyone in the MVS house knows, cooking Sunday dinner is my favorite. Everyone is present, not in a rush, and usually completely relaxed and ready for good conversation. But anyway, she has my dream job. She’s a photographer/stylist/hostess/mother and loves good food. She began inviting people into her home to learn from chefs and then enjoy the food they made during a sit down dinner where you could have good conversation.

Anyone who has ever asked me what I want to do with my life has gotten the same vague response: “I don’t know. I don’t want to teach, but being in a creative field is important. I’m not aspiring to climb any sort of corporate ladder, no matter how creative the field is. Using creative strengths and organizational skills are appealing. Graduate school is a goal, but not until I know what I want to do, and only really for the sake of learning. I want to feel like I’m doing some good, be able to pay the bills, and have time to spend with loved ones and pursue other hobbies. I like to be at home, but have the time to go out and explore. I want a family and the time to spend with them. To recap, I don’t know.”

It’s exhausting to float from short term plan to short term plan. God has been very, very good and has always provided. I have complete faith that God will continue to do so. But at some point it would be nice to rest in some sort of long term commitment, whatever that commitment looks like. Upon reading this article I got really excited that this is something I could do for the rest of my life and not get burnt out. A few very gracious housemates listened to me ramble on about this for far too long last night. (Sorry Laura and Kelsey!) But I realized I would love to host people in my home, teach them how to prepare a healthy and delicious meal, and then give them a beautiful space to eat in while enjoying time with their family and friends that they bring along or the new friends they meet at the event. There could be different menus, themed spaces, formality levels. Ticket prices could include the cost of materials. Taking from the Mazon example, guests could pay a surcharge that is then donated to a charity. I could invite low-income families to learn how to cook and eat healthfully and inexpensively! AH- so MANY options!!!

Then the reality check kicks in. It looks a lot like dollar signs and I realize I don’t have any of those right now. How do I make this happen? Is this even something people would be interested in?

Whew…thanks for listening if you made it this far. Feedback would be appreciated.

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Double Dipping

October 21, 2011 at 7:09 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I just wrote this blurb about myself and my work at the University District Food Bank for our newsletter, and thought that it might make a good blog post as well. So if you still don’t know what I’m doing in Seattle, here you go. The unit’s website would also be a great resource for you!

I am grateful to have this opportunity to introduce myself to the University District Food Bank community. On August 16 I began my one year commitment to the Food Bank as the Home Delivery Coordinator. I am serving this year through the Mennonite Voluntary Service program and in addition to running and expanding the Home Delivery program, I’ll also be finding ways to connect our customers to benefits assistance programs through the new online portal “Washington Connection.”

    I come from a very small town in Northwest Ohio. I graduated in 2007 from Bluffton University, a Mennonite college very close to my hometown, with a degree in Music education. Upon graduation I worked as a Residence Hall Director and six months later began working in the Bluffton Office of Admissions as their Campus Visit Coordinator. Once deciding to enter Mennonite Voluntary Service, I left Bluffton in May 2011 to move to Eastern Ohio and worked in the box office for the Ohio Light Opera during their summer festival season. The Voluntary Service term then began in August and I arrived in Seattle for the first time ever on August 13.

    It has been a whirlwind of wonderful experiences since I moved to Seattle and began working at the University District Food Bank. Last year’s Mennonite Volunteer, Evan Miller, began the Home Delivery program for home-bound customers in need of food and really made it an easy transition for me. On Wednesday, November 2, 2011 we will mark the program’s one year anniversary and also log our 500th delivery. One year ago Evan, and his first volunteer driver Pat, drove a total of 3.4 miles in 45 minutes to deliver to our first two customers. One year later we have three routes serving 18 current customers (we have had 23 total customers) that drive an average of 30 miles each week. More people are on the waiting list for this service, so if you have some extra time and a car, we’d love to have you volunteer!

    There are so many other incredible things about being in Seattle and working where I do, but I feel most privileged for the opportunity to learn from and serve alongside my coworkers and the other volunteers. It has been overwhelming at times to think of the great need in our city, and then see everyone band together with their time, talents, and resources to try in the best way to meet that need. Attending the October 1 auction was not only a fun thing for me to do, but a very humbling opportunity to meet a lot of generous people and see them in action.

    I look forward to the rest of my time at the University District Food Bank and hope for future opportunities to meet you.

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This one’s for you, Delores

October 20, 2011 at 10:56 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

Oh my, what a week. A quick update for right now because I’m heading off to have dinner with my brother! Woop, woop!

This week the last of our chickens died. We believe that Delores was attacked by a raccoon. Sad times- she was a cute little thing that loved to peck around the yard and was always interested in people working in the garden. Sometimes she got on our nerves when she jumped on the picnic table while we were eating dinner, and it certainly always stressed us out when she escaped the backyard, but for the most part she was a sweet chicken. She particularly enjoyed joining one housemate in the hammock.

To Delores, cheers…

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Pumpkins

October 14, 2011 at 9:50 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Fact: I love Autumn. Let me outline this for you…

1) Weather

  • I hate hot weather.
  • Slightly overcast with bursts of sunlight suits me just fine.

2) Pumpkins

  • Pumpkin carving
  • Pumpkin food and drink
  • Anything else involving pumpkins

Erego, I was pretty pumped when our house had some Autumn festivities last night. It started off with a dinner of lasagna, roasted carrots, fruit salad, and pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes with cinnamon icing. It just got better from there.

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Be Lost in the Call: From Seattle

September 25, 2011 at 8:03 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

For at least one year I have committed to live in community, practice reconciliation, and live a life more sustainable for the earth and all of its inhabitants. I am in Seattle through the Mennonite Voluntary Service program living with seven other people and working at a food bank. Why would one leave a community that she loves, a secure job and lifestyle, and then put herself three time zones away from most family and friends? That is a good question, and we’ll be exploring that in this blog.

“Be Lost in the Call”- by Rumi

Lord, said David, since you do not need us,
why did you create these two worlds?

Reality replied: O prisoner of time,
I was a secret treasure of kindness and generosity,
and I wished this treasure to be known,
so I created a mirror: its shining face, the heart;
its darkened back, the world;
The back would please you if you’ve never seen the face.

Has anyone ever produced a mirror out of mud and straw?
Yet clean away the mud and straw,
and a mirror might be revealed.

Until the juice ferments a while in the cask,
it isn’t wine. If you wish your heart to be bright,
you must do a little work.

My King addressed the soul of my flesh:
You return just as you left.
Where are the traces of my gifts?

We know that alchemy transforms copper into gold.
This Sun doesn’t want a crown or robe from God’s grace.
He is a hat to a hundred bald men,
a covering for ten who were naked.

Jesus sat humbly on the back of an ass, my child!
How could a zephyr ride an ass?
Spirit, find your way, in seeking lowness like a stream.
Reason, tread the path of selflessness into eternity.

Remember God so much that you are forgotten.
Let the caller and the called disappear;
be lost in the Call.

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