living with the poor reads more romantically than it is. i mean, we’re barely putting a single toe in the water, but even in choosing the intention of being available and responsive… interruptible… to the poor among us, it’s already sorta rough. like when phil down the street always forgets who we are and that he’s already tried asking us for money before, and we’ve turned him down, but now he wants to use our phone. so we sit on the front porch of the dilapidated boarding house he calls home and talk to his housemate rio whilst he makes what seems like 15 calls on t’s cell phone, then asks for a ride somewhere. meanwhile, i really want to get in our car and drive back to the house where we saw a fantastic piece of furniture on the curb, up for grabs. but by the time we get away from the porch of phil’s house, it’s been taken by someone else. someone who didn’t stop to let a down-and-out guy use their cell phone. i’m more disappointed by this than i have any right to be.
dinner at the Winnebago house tonight had all the house inhabitants (minus jon, who left a homemade pumpkin pie in his place and the pences who are visiting family), plus me and t, neel and kaia, and jake’s brother pete. we sat around one long table and ate family style, which isn’t usually possible because there’s too many folks. but i guess lots of people were still away with their families for thanksgiving. harmony and eric made a mexican pizza, i brought some fried rice, and there were like 4 kinds of pie, 3 kinds of bread, veggie platter and frozen yogurt. anyway, all of this had a cozy family feel (we seem at ease with one another by now). i didn’t leave my seat all night, but had great conversations with the 5 friends who took their place beside me to chat for a spell.
t and i have been on our laptops too much today. there was lots of photo editing to do. and then photo-ordering (for frames in our apartment, for gifts for family, etc.) t has been tackling his email inbox with singular focus unusual for him. he seems to have forgotten that i’m occupying the apartment with him, so intense is his purposeful email sorting and deleting.
this is the beautiful face of claire, which i was staring at for hours today while i edited the photos i snapped of her on her 3-week birthday (for more, see here).
my SIL jess gave birth yesterday. oh, how i had hoped to be able to get in the car and drive over to Milwaukee to see her and daniel, little sam, and baby elijah hours after the birth. but, sadly, eli is in the nicu trying to learn how to breath, as he was born with fluid on his little lungs. of course, he’ll be okay, but i’m sad for jess and dan for this somewhat traumatic first two days, in which they aren’t getting the amount of bonding time that they desire and need. but here is little eli, with a shocking head full of dark hair and a nose that i think is undeniably collier-esque.
one of my Transit girls has left us. on some level, i know it’s normal for the second-guessing and temptation to leave to set in at about this point in their year. but it’s been extremely hard on me to watch her go, to see her decide for something else and, after a week of hard conversations and up-and-down emotions, to bid her farewell, praying for the best for her. the three remaining are standing in strength and a lot of mutual love for one another and i’m so very proud of them.
so now there is “chick church.” i know that e would rather i not call it that, only we haven’t found a suitable alternative yet. chick church is a handful of women whose names were each distinctly pressed onto my heart, who come to breakfast at our place on sunday mornings (so far only twice) and dig into one another’s lives and hearts, also studying the Word together and engaging in listening-prayer for one another. and so far it is very good.
yesterday i got to talk to a wonderful woman whom i’ve always short-handedly called w. there’s one particular thing that she said, full of truth, which i want to remember, so i’ll record it here: “God is always building something. either inside of you or around you.” yes! he is always building, even in those seasons that seem like so much dead space. i guess in the Kingdom there is no such thing as dead space; nothing is wasted.
i got some more things hung on walls this weekend, which felt nice. suddenly this area above our dining room table feels so much warmer. there is a hodge-podge of articles framed here. clockwise from top left: a prayer-room relic snatched from the SBR prayer garage last year, tim and WE International Founder/friend in the Sahara desert, an acacia tree photo inscribed with Psalm 1:3, Lake Michigan relics in a shadow box, and the Tendero’s dining room table.
so, we’ve said “no” to the offer to lead that trip to algeria in january, for no reason other than that we sat down and listened a while and heard Him say the word Stay. now we’re kinda camping out on that command to Stay… wondering what it’s about… for how long and in what way and where precisely to stay. does it mean buying property in our neighborhood, bearing children here, deciding no longer to waver about our role in the Madison Boiler Room, to abandon daydreams about our next move? (i’m reminded of jeremiah 29:4-7).
thanksgiving morning was sorta special in our family of two. i woke up before t did and whipped up some pancakes, which we topped with the leftover berry sauce i’d prepared as a topping of the homemade ice cream we ate with the Transit girls the night before. we had a french press and sat around the table a while lounging and talking casually. here is a scene that i love – t at the table, coffee mug in hand, bed head not yet corrected:
and after this we drove to Milwaukee to celebrate with the collier clan. what a spread of food and goodly number of people were present. we had roasted potatoes with kale (me), gingery apple-yam-plantain saute (me), turkey (linda), mashed potatoes (jess), wild rice (lisa), green bean casserole (linda), pumpkin pie (nathan), and orange salad (linda). sam was a little show-off. and, because they couldn’t be with us from Pittsburgh, we made flat versions of ben, lisa, and little sophia and took turns posing with them (missed you guys!).
no, i haven’t been cooking anything particularly interesting or amazing lately. (well, t might beg to differ, as he was terribly fond of that homemade GF pizza we had last night. he said that it was so good he wanted to punch something, which is his newest form of highest compliment).