Tuesday, February 24, 2009

another packed week

Last update: last Monday. Since then:

Tuesday the 24th: Second meeting with my Communities in Schools Study Buddy. We meet during lunch and usually start by giving each other an update on what we did since we last saw one another. I then give him any books I picked up for him on my weekly Goodwill trip. He scores higher in math and science and lower in English and reading, so I try to get him science books to marry that passion with what needs some work. Last week we read about mummies, life in outer space, and earth care.
TodayI brought him a Star Wars novel and he FREAKED. OUT. (never mind the fact that it was part two in a trilogy :)) Since it is a little beyond his reading level, I brought a book of my own and we discussed strategies for comprehension. I shared how I circle words I don't know in pencil and then write them at the top of the page in order to easily reference later, when I write them all on a sheet of paper with dictionary definitions. We went through the first page of his new book with this strategy and he seemed to find it helpful! I am lucky to be blessed with an eager learner. But then, I don't think it's unique to my student that he can appreciate someone investing in him. All kids can benefit from it, all kids need it, all kids deserve it.

Also attended an informative lecture at Ivy Tech called "Branding Locally Grown." Asked a question about getting more fresh food onto schoolkids' lunchplates by forming alliances between the community schools and farmers. Go Fresh, Go Local--> benefit the kids!

Wednesday: Babysitting and the much-anticipated Meetinghouse Noise show that turned out to be a little less than I and some others hoped. Seems to have affected a sea change in the way my BF views performing live. Think it's for the best.

Thursday: Class; a profoundly transformative meeting with Frank Massey, ESR Friend in Residence and Gifts Discernment Coordinator at Guilford College. He helped me think about my Mullen scholarship essays by naming some of my spiritual gifts: teacher, encourager, prophet, organizer. Glad to know him and have him as a resource for the future.

Volunteered at the Friends School.Essentially, I am just another friendly adult presence as the students do arts and crafts projects and work on homework. They were all adorably inquisitive and creative. One of the students asked me if she could sit on my lap during snack and it was just about the cutest thing. I helped another student with his homework for a while and then we sang songs together. I loved it! The many-years coordinator who I worked with is an excellent role model for working with children. She and I talked for a little while on steering kids away from violent/gun play because that is the sort of thing I've encountered in some other children I work with and I don't always know how to deal with it. She gave me some good tips. As Quakers who follow Christ's totally non-violent lead, we thoroughly reject all forms of violence and war and believe that "just war theory" is not from God. It can be hard to teach these things, though, to Quaker kids who find the forbidden so fascinating!

Friday: Read Scripture for Joint Worship Service: John 5:1-9a. Invited to do so by Travis. It was a beautiful service with a profound message on the the fractures and breaches in the Church of the Brethren and other mainline protestant denominations that come about as a result of their inability/refusal to do what they ought to model the full inclusiveness and love towards GLBT brothers and sisters that Jesus taught.

Later that day, I participated in a Healing Prayer workshop with Frank Massey and about 20 others. It was pretty much beyond words--indeed, I left the workshop feeling somewhat stoned, and had to take several minutes of rest and relaxation afterwards before I could really talk about the amazing soul-work I had experienced in such loving company. Had the first nameable mystical experience of my adultlife... and so feel more like I can hold my own with my very mystical roommate now. ;-)
Friday night was memorable because we got a cat! She hasn't told us her name yet and she's very likely pregnant, but she is adorable and our household has totally taken to her. It helps that she is housetrained, polite, and asks for what she needs.

Sunday: Another big day! Round three of co-teaching first-day school in preparation for going it alone in March. I'm supposed to be working on my curriculum right now... but of course I'm updating my blog as a mode of procrastination. (Sorta.) (On that note, I think my Lenten vow has to do with be more intentional about using my free time to really get work done. As in, when I catch myself slipping off to gmail or NYTimes health articles, I'm going to take a moment to pray and center and see if that's really what I want & need to be doing in that moment. Since Nathaniel has the same issue, he's backing me up and making similar vows. Yay!)

After Meeting we jetted over to the Church of the Brethren, where I delighted in a service that puts children at the center and heard another great sermon from Carol Wise on GLBT issues. (She's been visiting our town this past week and making the theological rounds.) Afterwards Nate volunteered at the Hardware Co-op and I tried to get some curriculum work done until a precious little one's first birthday party at 2pm, where I had a delightful time catching up with folks and met the Mullens for the first time, collecting an invitation to visit! :)

I spent most of yesterday working on my scholarship applications and had to babysit last night. That was a lot of fun. In an attempt to get some ideas about what children know/find intriguing about Jesus, I surveyed my little guy. Here's what he came up with about Jesus (he's almost 6):

-He lived in a place called "T"
-He didn't have electricity
-He was a famous teacher; he taught people how to play dead, Said "If you die..."
-He didn't have any money
-Nor did he have a house
-He often slept outside
-He was a wanderer.

I mean, I think these things are important to note about Jesus, especially in our materialistic age that is so contradictory to what Jesus taught & called his people to live, but I'm not sure I can do much of a lesson plan for 7-yr olds around them!! :)

Whew. I think that's it for the highlights of the week. As for today? I'm gonna leave that for the next entry. Time to get back to work! <3

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

past tense payment

Just paid the ticket for my accident. This puts my total investment into an accident that has been deemed not my fault not only by my insurance company, but by the person who caused it and the woman who "witnessed" "me" causing and later recanted, at $2,200. All on a student loan that should've gone to pay for two more classes of seminary study. Awesome!



Here are some lines I like a lot:

Are we forever the prisoner of our actions?
It's a good question.
It was Hamlet's question.
And it's the unresolvable conflict in our penal system.
Why do we put people in jail?
To rehabilitate them, and restore them to our company?
Or to punish them, regardless of how much they might change?
One can't hold both of these ideas in one's mind simultaneously--that's why our prison debates on TV and in Congress are so vehement and incoherent.
The two sides cannot be squared by mere politics.

--from This American Life's special on Prison Performing Arts based in St Louis Missouri

Monday, February 16, 2009

two weeks busy

Last week felt so long... not because it eeked by, but because the days were so packed. Clyde went to and was released from the hospital, I had my first lunch with my study buddy, Interfaith Youth Core came from Chicago for training, my zoomie Greg led worship on Thursday, and I attended the College Board of Trustees meetings on Friday. Oh, and I made something like five dozen cupcakes. And we volunteered at the animal shelter after making a crazy vegan Valentine's brunch of biscuits and gravy, eggless frittata with asparagus and sundried tomatoes, and seven-spice potatoes. And there was Team WECI Basketball. Not to mention all that time spent helping/cheering along Nathaniel with his application. And the 100-mi radius potluck last night. And I co-taught first-day school yesterday in preparation for going-it-alone in March. Sigh! I'm gonna stop before I remember anything else. :)

Unfortunately I did not get much done in the way of thesis work. It was very much one of those weeks where I allowed myself to get pulled hither and thither with extra-curricular activity and did not take time to ground myself in my studies. Heck, I didn't even make class Thursday morning because I was so sleepless Wednesday night. I'm recommitting to my work this morning... getting up and out at 8:45 was a good start. I'm about to clean off the whiteboard and make my weekly calendar before listing a bunch of books for sale online. I desperately need cash and am thinking of getting back into, actually.