Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello all, I hope you are enjoying your post turkey hangovers, or waiting in anticipation for dinner start. I find myself in the latter group, as the turkey still has about another hour to cook, and then the feast will begin. We are in Phoenix; there are about 30 or so of us here, and all is set for a wonderful dinner--thanks to our fabulous hosts!! Best pre-dinner appetizer has been pumpkin dip. I had to move to the other side of the room to stop eating all of it...

Today I am thankful for many things and I am feeling incredibly blessed. I have such an amazing family and amazing friends, I cannot believe how lucky I am sometimes. I am grateful for the opportunity to do JVC, and really explore myself and the world for a year. I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for the children at Urban Compass, who teach me something new every day. I am thankful for my community, who are incredibly supportive and encourage me to be the best version of myself. And I am thankful that I feel like I am becoming that person.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Originally written 5/5/10

"Though we must accept finite disappointment, we must never lose infinite hope."
-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
My single greatest value is hope. 
Hope for my own life, that I am able to experience so many things that the world has to offer. That despite my struggles, I will always see a better day. Tomorrow always comes and joy comes in the morning.
And I believe in social change. I don't believe the world is perfect but I have hope and faith that by working together we can see a new world. I believe that we are all a part of this universe and we all have a responsibility to make it a better place. We must respect each other but we also have the responsibility to confront the issues we see that show injustice and need to be changed. It does not mean things aren't wrong if we ignore our problems. They don't just go away or solve themselves. We have to be active in our roles in the hope that things can always be better.
And while I strive to not cause anyone unnecessary pain, I will never be the one to keep silent when I see injustice. Yes, it's hard to see so many problems in the world and feel like I can't solve them all. But that's why I have the hope that working together we can cause real change. And I don't apologize for pointing out problems in the world that others are too blind to see. I should hope I'm not making up problems that don't exist, but I won't turn my head and ignore them.
This is who I am, this is how I've always been. It's one of those things I couldn't change if I tried, and I wouldn't ever want to.
This kind of hope is what got me here today. Got me through the struggles of having one of my best friends die, numerous family members die and church family members die that were also practically blood. This is the hope that got me through my bouts of depression. This is the hope that spurs me on to be so involved in so many things. And this is the hope that keeps my faith strong. There is a better world out there, and I want to be a part of its coming.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Spirituality Night: With Such a Cloud of Witnesses

I led Spirituality Night again a few weeks ago, as a combination of day of the dead honoring/remembrance, discussion of who has been influential in our spirituality/faith, and a bit of reflection through Bible verses. I read some passages, we reflected and shared with the community, and I wrapped it up with another passage.

I read Romans 8 first. Some of the most powerful verses I focused on:

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Then I read Hebrews 12.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

We then had a few minutes of silence to reflect on the passages, before sharing about our clouds of witnesses.

Friday, November 11, 2011

An Armistice Day Prayer

Today, 11-11-11, I prayed from 11:00-11:11 (a little longer to be honest).


I pray to you this day, Armistice Day, in remembrance of all who have been lost to war. I pray to you in the spirit in which Armistice Day was intended--as a message of peace. I pray for the families all across the world that have been torn apart because of war. I pray for the governments that have made decisions of war, out of thinking it's the only way, or greed or power. I pray for healing for all those involved in the direct and indirect costs of war. Healing that only You can provide.

I pray that as a people, we can find ways to solve conflict without resorting to violence and war. I pray that the economic disparities between us become not so stark, and we can fight the root of the problem instead of the people themselves. I pray that You give us guidance on which path to take, which way to go forward in our lives. I pray that we never forget that You are on our side.

In Jesus's Name.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hello November!

I didn't do as good of a job writing about IPV in October as I meant to but you can read a collection of some of the posts I did write here. And you know me, I'll write about IPV whenever I have something to say.

This week brings me to three official months in JVC. In the spirit of this month being about thanksgiving, I would like to mention things that I am currently thankful for:

My job, though intense many days, is fun and rewarding. I love seeing the direct affect I have on children's lives.

sidewalk chalk art, by the kids, celebrating their teachers :)

I keep being known as Queen B now after the crown I made

to the right was Ashley, age 9, to the left, her younger sister Leslie, age 5 copied :)

My Casa-mates. Living in community can be difficult sometimes, but I also would not have made it through the last three months.

Halloween, we bobbed for apples

Kevin dunked his whole head in and spilled water all over the floor

I was not that good...

The greater support system I have from home and around the globe, especially my family and friends.

Including my darling friend Samar that visited last weekend!

Especially in the last few days where SoCal has been COLD, my hoodies, fleece, snuggie, scarves and space heater!

I hope to get better at updating regularly again. The Urban Compass annual gala took place last Saturday, and it went FABULOUSLY. It was so much fun, and most importantly, our founders seemed to enjoy themselves, and that's who we wanted to honor.

Theresa Gartland, Executive Director of Urban Compass, me, Annie Levine, Program Director of Urban Compass (my two lovely bosses!)

the JV's that volunteered to help with the gala! Mike P. & Erica from DK and Carolyn and Jackie P. from CMC!

Casa DK represent!

my lovely casa-mate Erica

Mike P. and I helped keep the dance floor moving :)

Halloween, we did not have Urban Compass, and instead went over to 112th Street Elementary for their Harvest Festival. Annie and I guided kids through the Haunted House, and (shh! don't tell!) Luis was one of the monsters inside scaring people. (I totally convinced a second grader the next day that we had invited monsters to the festival so they could come scare people) It was hilarious. Kids were screaming behind me and I was laughing so hard. It was so much fun seeing everyone dressed up in their Halloween costumes. I was, of course, Hello Kitty.

this is not even an Urban Compass student, but she was also HK, so obv I had to get a photo

one of my first graders--Ani as a tiger

two more 1st graders--Ruth as Supergirl and Elias

Devante, a second grade skeleton, holds a special place in my heart :)