A Year of Service: Community

As a Christian, I believe that we are called to community. 

So during the long process of discerning if and where I should spend this year serving, a program that had an aspect of intentional community was at the top of my requirements list–especially once I got engaged, since I am not likely to have the opportunity to live in an intentional community like this one again.

Paradoxically, beyond knowing that I wanted some community aspect, I didn’t give much thought into what that would look like. I imagined that fulfillment would come through my work, through spirituality, through exploring a new place, while community was a nebulous component. I knew I valued it, but I didn’t know how to envision it. 

Sycamore House 2015-16 on our way to the bishop's consecration; possibly one of the only times all seven of us will be dressed up at once.

Sycamore House 2015-16 on our way to the bishop’s consecration; possibly one of the only times all seven of us will be dressed up at once.

I’m sort of thankful for that, because this community—the Sycamore House—has exceeded my wildest expectations. 

I have never before been in the company of so many loving, gracious, weird and accepting women. That’s not to say that they don’t annoy me sometimes—as I’m sure I do them—but as one of my housemates said so eloquently, where there could be competition there is compassion; where there could be apathy there is interest; and where there could be offense there is grace. 

It is not easy to live in a house, even a rambling manse, with seven other people, much less to commute together, to cook two dinners and a breakfast together, to feed a crowd of (as the church admin likes to say) “four to forty” people each Sunday out of our less-than-food-stamps budget, to keep that big old house reasonably clean, to discuss Bonhoeffer together, to get to church on time each week, to deal with bad days and malfunctioning showers and six other people with their own disparate experiences, likes and dislikes. It doesn’t come naturally. It isn’t always smooth. In fact, when I type it out it sounds terrible

But somehow, for almost two months now, it’s been working. It’s been joyous. And I am so, so thankful. 

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Weekly Wishes #5

The Nectar Collective
Like a true journalist, I have mostly emerged, mostly unscathed, from the crippling pile of deadlines that overwhelmed me last week.
This week I want to:
  • Finish some articles I’ve been working on and write for the blog as well
  • Successfully complete 100 Hours of Poverty, a challenge we’re doing at school where you live for 100 hours on the budget of someone who is on food assistance. 
  • Get enough sleep and enjoy a week where I don’t have too much going on!

I think I can accomplish that! What do you want to get done this week?

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The 5 Shocking Things I’m Doing This Summer (#1 will surprise you)

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I don’t totally love nature. It’s beautiful, it’s fun, etc etc, but I like to see it from inside just as well. But I do enjoy low-commitment activities such as leisurely bike rides, short hikes and walks to the ice cream store, so I plan on spending a chunk of time this summer outdoors, enjoying nature and taking some pictures.

3I love writing. Especially in cafes, because I’m apparently a walking sterotype. I’ve done all sorts of writing this summer: more regular blogging, handwritten letters (send me your address if you want one), writing that’s just for me and of course writing for my job and other outlets.

2

It’s been about a month and I’ve read six or seven books…so I’m doing slightly better than one a week, but not as many as I could read. I’m really trying to set aside some time each day in the morning or evening and on my lunch break to read a few pages.

Reading is so rewarding.

5

I would love to watch TV, especially since I now have a TV in my living room for the first time in a couple of years, but the summer programming is a disappointment this year.

“I Wanna Marry Harry” was too inane even for me (secret: I adore bad television, especially bad dating or competition shows). The Bachelorette has lost its sparkle. Masterchef is the same every single year. Food Network Star is never on. Ugh.

And I’ve run out of episodes of Miranda, which is just SUCH. FUN. Watch it on Hulu ASAP, my chums.

1

I love food. I like trying new foods, and shopping for foods, and cooking new foods, and I even like when people refer to foods as “eats,” because I think that’s funny. 

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This post is part of the #SummerBloggerChallenge, which has a new prompt each week!

Shoutout to Buzzfeed, my dream job, for inspiring today’s title.

 

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Nine Things I Love About Western New York

1. It has its own region. Here I was, thinking that the Empire State consisted of “the city” and “upstate” when in fact these people proudly call themselves western New Yorkers! Obsessed.

A rainbow arcs over Niagara Falls.

A rainbow arcs over Niagara Falls.

2. The accent.

3. Everyone likes hockey, which is kind of charming.

4. Buffalo wings

I apologize for this greasy picture of the best wings I have ever eaten in my life.

I apologize for this greasy picture of the best wings I have ever eaten in my life.

5. Beef on weck

A giant roast-beef sandwich, or something more?

A giant roast-beef sandwich, or something more?

6. Local businesses

The Bar Bill Tavern in East Aurora is my new favorite restaurant.

The Bar Bill Tavern in East Aurora is my new favorite restaurant.

7. Low prices

Pay less than $5 for coffee?! Yes please! I've been in NYC too long.

Pay less than $5 for coffee?! Yes please! I’ve been in NYC too long.

8. Easy access to Canada

Poutine is God's gift to man.

Poutine is God’s gift to man.

9. Natural wonders

Niagara Falls is impressive, my friends.

Niagara Falls is impressive, my friends.

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Now on even more platforms!

One of my goals in the new year is to use more platforms, more effectively and become a media master (dunh dunh dunh dunhhhh!).

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