Saturday, August 22, 2015

Good Chi Bad Chi


Moving unused furniture into the basement.  Re-arranging rooms.  Moving out of rooms.  Cleaning rooms.  Spending as much time together as possible.  Get the bad chi out and the good chi in.

This past week has been all about Chi.  It was the last week in Elgin for three of our housemates and two more are moving in this weekend so the house has been in a tizzy!  We've had fun activities each night to enjoy the make the good memories last.  And I've been doing a lot of re-arranging of furniture in some of the rooms in the house while cleaning as I go. 

When you move into a community house there are a lot of things that don't seem to get used: bookshelves, dresser drawers, chairs, lamps, mattresses, the list goes on.  It can be difficult to feel at home when there is so much crap sitting around that isn't yours.  
Last weekend our house had a yard sale to help with this problem!  With so many of us moving out, we all went through our things to try and get rid of things we don't want anymore.  We also had a lot of things that were in the house (that were here when we each moved in) that we didn't want/need anymore.  So we got rid of it!  And it felt great...but we still have some furniture that we don't really use.  As a community house connected to a church, many people donate things to the house.  It is SO greatly appreciated since we come here to live without anything but our personal belongings, but sometimes it can get crowded.  So we got rid of some of the junk that has been sitting in the basement.

The Elgin BVS house also has a bunch of mattresses for when we have visitors.  We had three stacked up in our piano room and since I have such a large room I decided to move one of them into my room as an extra couch!  And I love it, but it took the place of the gross, heavy, uncomfortable chair that I don't even use and can't get out of my room because it's too big...and Hannah moved all her things in my room so that our new housemate could move into that my room right now has some pretty terrible chi.  (I'll spare you a photo...)

On the flip side, I cleaned and re-arranged our living room, ridding it of unnecessary furniture thus opening up the room for more activities and more sitting!  Good chi.

Three of our housemates are moving out.  While they are excited for new steps, we are all sad to see them leave after growing so close to each other.  Bad Chi.

Celebrating with each other at yard sales, cook outs, movie nights, game nights, and snuggles: Very Good Chi.

I also bought the George Ezra CD and have been listening to his delicious voice all week:  GOOD CHI.


It's been a week of ups and downs, good chi, bad chi, sadness, and happiness, but the house is happy and the future is bright. :)

Peace out, y'all.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Summer Breeze - Winds of Change

It’s that time of year…

Transitions are in full force. School is starting for many, Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren is undergoing a pastoral calling and discernment of the congregation, summer is in its final glory before fall arrives.

The BVS house feels this as a significant time of transition as well.

So, we're kinda crazy, but we're a great bunch - this was taken during our last day of shenanigans. 

For Hannah, Theresa, and I transition is feeling very real to us as part of our BVS experience. We are preparing to leave in a little over a week. This is my final blog post for the house.  And yes, that is a weird thing to admit, finally.

These past few weeks have become another significant part of my BVS year – an important part that sometimes gets neglected or ignored or rushed. The end part.

Ben has already left. His transition out was one of packing, lots of office “see-you-laters,” a final meal with the housemates still around for the summer. And then he was off.

Endings are hard; I don’t think anyone has ever claimed to feel ease or stress-free during the end of something that has been a major part of their life. Life in these strange times, becomes suspended in a feeling of limbo, perhaps wildly searching for the right thing to come next, preoccupation with rushing to finish everything, the pull of people staying for goodbyes, the anxiety of moving on. This can be quick for some or can seem to drag on, wondering how the next step will look. You can also find yourself with transition for the perfect amount of time.

This coming week I will be planning and speaking for a final time at chapel. Not surprisingly, a lot of my mind has been processing this new change in my life – transition from BVS. Funny, the end of something can really sneak up, even when you have been preparing awhile for that feeling.

BVS has been an interesting year in my life. This is the first year I’ve been without a structured schedule, the first time I’ve lived in a house without family, the first 8-4.30 job I’ve ever had, the first time I’ve ever intentionally and publicly dedicated a year of my life for full-time service.

There have been many ups and downs this year, as any other year goes I suppose. I am so pleased to report that I’ve grown in many ways, feeling a deeper awareness of myself emotionally and physically, honoring time and space in spiritual ways, extending my own health through self-care and boundaries.

BVS has taught me to dream, to keep searching, to keep serving. My role as coordinator for two major denominational youth conferences (Christian Citizenship Seminar in NYC and DC and National Junior High Conference in Elizabethtown, PA) never changed. At the office it was difficult at times to understand my service to the denomination and to the world. Today I began to realize my service impact. For many of the youth at NJHC, this was quite possibly the first time they spent time away from home without family. I facilitated many of the inner workings of both conferences in ways that make the conference what it was. With this BVS position, as coordinators, programs become extraordinary. Events can be imagined and evolve into meaningful experiences for youth are in the perfect stage of growth and wonder.

That is an amazing feeling.

Service looks like a lot of things. Anytime you smile at someone, sit to chat for a few minutes, look someone in the eye, pick up trash, you are serving. There is not one type of service; there is not one act of serving that is greater or less than another.

My term is coming to a close. This past week I have begun to realize that as reality. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s crazy, and awesome, and terrifying. I am so grateful for the support in colleagues who have formed relationships with me, housemates who are loving and funny and challenging, for BVS for the program that provides such real experiences. The service that one provides has a lasting effect on any who are privileged to be the recipient. And, you know what? Just like positivity and happiness are contagious – I believe serving is passed on, too.

My year is coming to a close. But really, that is only my year. To everyone reading this, your years all look different to you. We all find ourselves in different stages of life. 

Sometimes all it takes is a shift in perspective. 
Thus, at this time I would encourage you all to enjoy the journey… because after all, we are all in a journey, woven with others in their life journeys.

This is an ending for me, but the start of a beautiful beginning. I’m on the cusp of something great that’s about to start, I just happen to not know where life will take me next.

Tonight – it’s my choice to grin, to eat a lot of cake, and watch a movie with housemates. Because I know life is changing and I will continue to embrace it. And I know that I can also let myself have fun in the process!

One step at a time…


Some things I've not mentioned but are fun updates of the house:
We have a new piano - graciously donated to the house from Ms. Nancy, a colleague, in place of our old (1917) upright grand piano.

Our garden is making lots of wonderful produce. We hope it keeps it up a lot longer!

We are hosting a yard sale!


Two more housemates are moving in soon! :D

...And so it goes...