Saturday, March 18, 2017

R & R

Deanna and I (Paige) just dropped off about 12 Germans at the train station so they can continue the next lag of their journey. I say about because there's too many to keep track of and I'm bad with numbers. Now the BVS house is somewhat empty again with just the core group of Deanna, Shelley, Fred and I. Oh and our friend Destinee from the summer unit (#313) is here too, but she's only staying for a day. She's cool though.

I've never been at the BVS house when it has hosted this many people, so I was a little worried, but the capabilities of this house astounds me. And now I'm stuck with a ton of laundry, which consists of my own and the various things that the German BVS'ers used while they were here for one day. That's okay though. It's Saturday and that means I'll get to be productive at home. I always look forward to the weekends, whether that means I get to have some r & r or I get to spend time with my awesome housemates. Shelley, Deanna and I (oh and Destinee) are going on a field-trip to IKEA later today. I've been before, but they haven't. I'm more excited though to try their vegan food more than anything else.

Well, mid-year retreat for BVS has come and gone, just like that. We spent 5 days at a retreat center for some rest and relaxation and rejuvenation. It was cold, which made snuggling by an indoor fire even better. I'm glad to have revisited with "old" friends from my unit and to have made new friends. You'd think I'd learn some German words by now with how often I was around Germans but nope. Even learning Spanish, which I've been studying since high school, is a struggle.

It's March and the house will gain a new housemate in May. That's exciting! Up till then, with our busy schedules, we'll be in and out of the house and flying all over the country. That's exciting too! And for those wondering about the status of our house... unfortunately, no, it has not been painted yet, but for what it's worth, it still looks like an old haunted Victorian house, which I think is kinda cool.


Friday, October 28, 2016

What's new?

A lot has happened since the last post, but that's the nature of this house, complete with the exterior peelings of light green paint. Life is kinda like paint peeling. Sometimes it needs to peel and chip away in order to unearth something different and new, or to prep the surface for new beginnings. And that's what happens with the house as a whole when each person comes and goes, they paint their layer, intricately woven with the colors of each of the other housemates. And when that person leaves, their layers of paint become worn, waiting for the next person to unearth what they have yet to discover and/or create. But in the end, it's a rainbow of colors, each with a story to tell.

Now I can't speak for everyone who's recently passed through the door into the beloved, but definitely quirky, Elgin house, but I can for me. Having just arrived about 2 weeks ago, I finally feel settled in, thanks to the help of my housemates, Shelley, Deanna, Elizabeth and Fred. I couldn't have asked for more considerate and kind housemates, who also happen to cook amazing vegan food. Thanks ya'll for making me feel at home!

Currently I'm watching the Cubs game with Deanna. Yes, I have been sucked into the world of baseball, specifically with rooting for the Cubs team. No, I do not like sports, but I've learned that sometimes it's more about the fellowship and combined passion for something, than it is just about watching sports. And that's what I love about the house. There's a feeling of intentional community here that I deeply appreciate, and I am blessed to be able to contribute to something bigger than myself.

I don't know what the future holds in store for this house and the lovely people who occupy it, but I hope to continue with this spirit of inclusive community. I get to spend 10 months here, in the yellow "closet room" and then we'll see where life will take me. I'm feverishly praying for a mild winter, since I'm from Southern CA, but for what it's worth, I might get to experience a white Christmas for the first time in my life! That's exciting!


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My Fair Ladies

I have been blessed to live with four amazing ladies the past few months. From adventures in Chicago to Van's ice cream runs, I have loved spending time with my Elgin housemates. They have supported me during difficult decisions and dreary winter months. We have also laughed together over the most ridiculous puns and have created a long list of inside jokes. During our time as housemates, we have become a family. Or maybe a strange version of the Golden Girls. Although we annoy each other sometimes, we are always there for each another with a hug, smile, or listening ear.

Sadly, we are losing two housemates this spring so our five will soon be three. One housemate left last weekend, and we miss her already. Another housemate will leave in a week, and we get to take her home ourselves during our road trip to Roundtable at Bridgewater College. Our house will not be the same without these ladies. They are wonderful and caring individuals, and I will sorely miss them. I will miss hiking, laughing, and watching movies like My Fair Lady with them. I will miss trips to Geneva, long talks after dinner, and sharing coffee in the morning. Most of all, I will miss their hugs, jokes, and kindness. But I know that they will enjoy the next chapters of their lives, and thanks to modern technology, they are only a call or text away.

So, my fair ladies, go have some new adventures and don't forget to come visit us in Elgin. The BVS House doors are always open to you, and we'll be counting down the days until we're reunited with you two.  


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Art makes us relax

Hello, faithful readers who care about Elgin BVSers! The spring season is upon us, and that means...TRAVEL! We have site visits, recruitment trips, orientations, retreats and more that we have on our plates. With all of us in and out of the house constantly, we find it difficult to find times to relax and breathe.

So tonight at our weekly house meeting, we took some time to draw! Everyone had a blank sheet of paper and we each took a minute to draw anything we wanted on them. Then after a minute we rotated pictures and added to the drawing! We passed it around the room until we had these four masterpieces of collaboration!

We might now always be together, but we will always be a community. :)  

What are some of your favorite/meaningful communities?



Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg
Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg

Friday, January 22, 2016

Winter Shenanigans

Elgin, Illinois. Chicagoland. Not quite Chi-beria, but it's still freaking cold. That's the downside of the midwest. For this Virginian, cold weather never meant anything less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Now I applaud the weather if it's anything above a single digit!

So to rebel against the frigidness, the BVSers and friends decided to distract ourselves with fun winter shenanigans!

First and foremost...STAR WARS!!! We geeked out and went to see the Episode VII and it was magical.

One of our favorite ways to forget about the soul-sucking weather is...BRUNCH! Buttermilk in Geneva has become a BVSers' favorite.

Walking around in Geneva also makes us happy.

It was MLK Day this Monday, so no work. After a morning of snuggles by the frost bitten windows, we all went out to lunch! Elizabeth was flying in from a work trip, so we all picked her up and celebrated with food!
It's safe to say that we love food and will make every excuse to go out to eat. :)

So if you're ever wondering if the Elgin BVSers are doing alright, rest assured we're stayin warm and having fun. :) For those of you BVS Alumni, what were some of your favorite house activities to do when you lived in the frigid winter of Elgin?

Peace out, and stay warm,

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Very Merry BVSers Christmas

It's Christmastime! And boy, have the Elgin BVSers been busy. With Christmas Parties, trips into the city, Star Wars, and fort building, there seemed to be little time to actually keep up with our Elgin House Blog. Alas, here we are, just two days away from 2016, and it seems unreal.

Much has happened since our last post in...September?! Yeah, it's been a while. Amanda McLearn-Montz and Deanna Beckner have joined us for the Workcamp Coordinator position and Elizabeth Batten joined the BVS team for Recruitment in November. We are also happy to have Kelley Brenneman live with us for a few months as she does her archiving thang. I'm still around and will be finishing up my over-a-year term with the BVS team on April 1st. Nope, it's not an April Fools joke, i'll legit be gone.

But to keep spirits up and the merriment going, check out some pics from our Christmas Party we had the other week. :)

See some friends starting to make some Christmas Cookies!

Some cool people eating some cool food and having some cool conversations.

Important gentlemen and their important conversations.

One of the first decorated cookies of Christmas!

Bruno getting in some snuggles...yes, there is a child under there.

We've had some good times together as a totally new house. We hope all of our friends and followers have had a delightful holiday season, and Happy New Year!!!


Monday, September 21, 2015

Tree Hugging, Incense Burning, Jesus Freaks.

Kum Ba Yah

This Land is Your Land

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

These are all songs we know; they are all songs of peace.  And frankly, some of you might think they are over done and a little cheesy.  People who want peace in this world get labeled as hippies, tree huggers, Jesus freaks.  Sometimes I feel like one of those judgmental persons who rolls her eyes at the excitement of singing some of these songs.  I've been singing them for my whole life and they are getting a little old.  Some people think all peaceful people do is hold hands while they sit in a circle and sing Kum Ba Yah in their yurts while burning incense.  I am here to tell you that this is a pretty extreme example of a person who wants peace, however I have often found myself in situations similar to this.  There might not be a yurt or incense involved, but definitely hand holding and sitting in circles.

Today is the International Day of Prayer for Peace, and tonight my housemates and I joined several other Elginites at the Highland Avenue Church.  We shared a meal and sang.  We sang some of the songs that I sometimes label as "cheesy" or "over done".  I admit it.  But the message inside each song is timeless and important.  We sang songs and enjoyed a peaceful and enjoyable evening with each other.

I believe International Day of Prayer for Peace doesn't get enough attention.  It is so important.  So many people in this world don't know peace.  They don't know what it is like to be safe, to have freedom of education, to walk outside and not worry about being attacked.  I believe it is a perfectly acceptable thing to want the world and all humans to know peace.

Think about it: when you get down to the bare bones of human existence, why are we here?  Are we here to try and be better at everything than everyone else?  Are we alive and on this planet to destroy each other to get to the top?  Were we put on this planet to beat each other up and put each other down?  I have no idea what God had in mind when we were created, but I can say with absolute confidence that God did NOT put us on this planet to kill.  I believe we were put on this planet to THRIVE.  To support each other.  To use our individual talents and gifts to collaborate with one another and enjoy the life that was given to us.

Sometimes I get really sad; I feel that it is too late for the world and all its inhabitants to make things right.  We are too concerned with money and things being "fair".  We have gotten wrapped up into this terrible idea that if someone looks, believes, or talks differently than you then you should hate them.  I like to think that it's not too late.

If I have learned anything in BVS, it is that diversity is the most beautiful thing in the world.  I have made so many incredible friends this past year and a half that are of all different religions, cultures, and ethnicity.  Just because I believe in Jesus doesn't mean I can't be friends with a Muslim.  Just because I am attracted to men doesn't mean I can't hang out with my lesbian friends.  Just because I'm a United States American doesn't mean I can't love persons from Palestine and Israel.  Just because I loath Donald Trump and everything he stands for doesn't mean I can't be cordial to republicans who worship the guy.  We all have differences.  If we were all the same, the world would be such a dull and meaningless place.    

So, for what it's worth, I'm asking you tonight to pray for peace.  Whether you pray about bringing peace in your yourself or peace for the world: pray.  Pray for people on Death Row.  Pray for the refugees of the world.  Pray for the military to no longer be needed in any country.  Sing Kum Ba Yah if you want.  Burn incense.  Hug a tree.  Wear your T-shirt that says "Jesus Freak".  Remember: blessed are the persecuted.  Just take a moment to pray for the peace this world so desperately needs.