Gap weeks

Gap years are the thing. My great-nephew hasn’t figured out whether he wants to do political science or biology in college, though he knows which college he’ll attend and has already been accepted. So he’s taking a year to work and figure that out. It seems that for an 18-year-old he has figured out a lot already and a gap year is a sensible part of the plan. Continue reading

An appropriate house

A front window of the Pink Lady is cluttered with three signs. The sign in three languages, welcoming neighbors no matter where they come from, we put there by choice. The other two we display as required: permission to put in a driveway/sidewalk, subject to city inspection, and a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission for that and other anticipated improvements. Continue reading

Broad is the way to the Kentucky Derby

 

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My husband and I went to the Kentucky Derby last Saturday. This was surprising to some people who know us. It was also surprising to us. It is not something people who grew up rural Mennonite generally put on their bucket lists.

As if to confirm how out-of-place we should feel at such an event, the last quarter-mile of the long walk from our parked car to Churchill Downs was lined with preachers shouting repentance. Continue reading

Introvert in a new neighborhood

You know how I thought we were too isolated out there in the woods and that it was time to move to a city neighborhood? Well here we are in the new neighborhood, close to friends and strangers alike, close to downtown events and restaurants, surrounded by the hum of activity and you know what? Not that much has changed.

I should say, I haven’t changed. Continue reading

Training literacy teachers in DR Congo

I feel like I’ve been on vacation for the past week–a spa experience complete with steambaths and plenty of rest. My bum knee is recovering from the strains of the past weeks, moving house and traveling long distances. I have few responsibilities except doling out money as needed. There is plenty of time for hanging out with friends new and old.

I’m doing all this ease-taking in one of the roughest cities in the world, Kinshasa, DR Congo. Continue reading

Heart vision in Congo

When I go to church in Congo, as I did yesterday, it’s usually all about the music. Enough glorious, full-volume, tam-tam–beat harmony can get me through 2-3-hour services without totally wilting in the heat. And now, after many visits over the past five years to the same little congregation in the heart of a cramped Kinshasa neighborhood only partly accessible by vehicle, it’s about the people, too. This is my community, my home church in Congo.

I have trouble concentrating on the sermons, though. Continue reading

Moving in, moving out

Today I took a break from unpacking boxes and moving furniture and packed my bags for Congo. I leave in three days.

We began moving into our new home nine days ago and yesterday it began to feel like home. Our daughter had played house, arranging furniture and rugs, and her husband had moved extra stuff and boxes upstairs, while Ethan, the two-year-old Entropy Machine, scattered cars, trucks, and improvised light sabers faster than we could collect and stash all the stuff of our existence. Hazel, 6, picked daffodils that popped up on a warm day and explored all the nooks and crannies. The house felt blessed and broken in by their presence. Continue reading

Being and Moving

IMG_3778 (1)It is March 13 and a fresh snow slows time as if to say, Let’s have some more winter before spring bursts upon us.

I could use a real time stop, to let me catch up with myself. Maybe that’s why time has been playing tricks on me. Like I was sure today is my grandson’s second birthday when it was actually yesterday. Continue reading