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.