Because I Like Lists

I first heard about this idea on Brooke’s blog and later came across it on several other blogs. Basically, the idea is to make a list of 101 things you want to do in 1001 days (long enough to accomplish a lot but short enough to actually push you t o do things). I thought it sounded like fun and have toyed around with the idea of making one of my own for a while. I like the idea of being intentional about pursuing your plans and dreams, both the bigger things and (perhaps more importantly) the little, everyday things. Plus, I’m definitely a list person. So this week I finally decided to sit down and make my list. It took a while and I’m not sure I’m entirely content with everything on it (I found I had trouble remember all the things I’d thought about wanting to do….which is why I tend to make lists :-) ), but really, it’s just a starting point. So, here is my list of 101 things I want to do in the next 1001 days (from August 3, 2010, until April 30, 2013).

Absolutely Treasured

This morning I came across this blog about one couple’s journey in adopting – and now raising – their son from Ethiopia. The posts are written as letters to their son, sharing the adoption process, stories about what they were doing together now that he’s home, all the things about him that make them smile, and how excited they are to be his parents. I think it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve read in a long time. Every post and picture radiates with the love this couple has for their son (and for each other, too). This little boy is obviously deeply treasured. And they’re leaving him a legacy of love by recording the journey for him. Beautiful.

It’s such a striking picture of the love God has for us and the goodness of his design for family.

It reminds me of our friends Jeff and Kristina. They have fostered four beautiful kids and adopted their first son this April (we’re praying and believing that they’ll be able to adopt his baby brother as well). I watched them go from a couple, to parents of a little boy, to parents of three toddlers just a month later. They stepped into that role so naturally.

I love adoption. Three years ago when I went to Haiti, my heart first stirred at the thought of adopting someday. As I watched Jeff and Kristina walk through the process of fostering and adopting (I was privileged to be there to help the day they brought the second two kids home and spent quite a bit of time with them before we moved), walking in faith each step of the way, solidified my desire to foster and adopt. So someday….someday I hope that we’ll have our own story about the child (or, more likely, the children) that we are blessed to love and treasure unconditionally. I know it’ll probably be a while yet before we’re ready, but I still look forward to it.

In other news….

– We went to visit this great little used bookstore on 39th St. yesterday.

Prosperos Books

– Our garden is growing. A LOT. The watermelons grew two feet over the past three days. We have baby green beans now. We harvested our first cucumber last night and should have a zucchini ready in a couple days. And I’m pretty sure the quinoa is getting ready to flower. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this gardening process.

Budding quinoa

– I have an interview on Saturday for (believe it or not) a housekeeping job. It would be very part time (6-10 hours a week), but pays well and is only about eight blocks from here. Once again, walking distance.

– Plans for this fall are shaping up in exciting ways. More on that soon….

On Jobs and Joblessness

A lot has happened with us over these past couple weeks and I know I’m overdue for an update on life.

As I wrote before, Derek was unexpectedly laid off from his job the same day my job ended at the school. We were a bit stunned, but felt like God must be doing something in this sudden rerouting of our lives, though we didn’t have a clue what that might be. To be honest, even now, two weeks later, I don’t feel like I have a much better grasp on what God’s up to with us in this season, but still feel confident that He is working and whatever He is doing will be good.

In the following week we jumped back into job searching (didn’t we just do this?). Derek discovered that the Roasterie (a local coffee roasting company, whose café is just a ten minute walk from our house) was hiring. Interestingly, they had posted the job opening the very same day he was laid off. He applied and went in for an interview a couple days later. He described it as the smoothest interview he’d ever had and came home pretty confident that he had the job. Sure enough, a couple days later they called and offered him the job. So exactly a week after losing his job at the nursery, he was employed again. Talk about God’s provision!

We’re excited about this job, not just because it’s a job (though that in itself is plenty exciting), but because 1) it’s in a coffee shop (pretty much a dream job for my coffee-loving husband), 2) it’s a local company, which fits with some of the lifestyle values we’ve been pursuing lately in trying to buy more locally produced things, 3) it’s within walking distance (and also along the main bus line so it will be easy to get to, even when/if we move), and 4) it has the potential of being a long-term, career sort of job, which has been something we’ve been praying about for quite a while now. The job description stated that they were looking for “a permanent figure that desires to make a career for him/herself in the coffee industry.” Seeing that Derek had previous management experience, the manager interviewing him asked if he’d ever consider moving up to management in the company. Hmm….

Oh, and did I mention that we get a free bag of coffee each week? Yes!

As for me, I’ve been diligently job searching, perusing craigslist, sending out resumes, and taking the bus all over the city to apply places in person. I feel like I don’t have any clear direction from the Lord for this season, so I’m trying to listen carefully for His voice in each step.

This new job has also brought up a lot of discussion about our future. We are still unsure about a lot of details of our future, or even what we want that future to look like. We have ideas, pieces of dreams, but still so many questions. We know we want to like incarnationally among the poor. We know we want to live in community. We know we want to build a foundation of prayer. We know we want to built natural, organic relationships with people. Lately we’ve been talking about things we want to develop in our lives that have the potential of helping us connect with people (particularly people who don’t know Jesus). For me, this includes my sewing, gardening, cooking, and love of children. I want to develop avenues to open our lives and hearts to the people around us.

Which has brought me to consider going back to school to earn a certificate in child growth and development (I only need eight more classes so I could finish the certificate in two semesters and decide then if I want to go on and finish the associates degree). I’m mulling over the idea of running a daycare out of our house in the future (because we do hope to one day have a house of our own). It could help support us in our ministry, even after we have kids of our own, and could potentially provide a way to build relationship with the families in the neighborhood. But going back to school….overwhelms me a bit. It’s a decent time commitment and I’ve never been a student without school being the central focus of my life. It feels like it would be a delicate balancing act between priorities this time around.

In the meantime, I’m trying to make use of this open season. I like to be busy, to feel like I’m working towards something, so the abundance of free time is hard for me sometimes. I feel like God worked a lot in my heart during those six months at home after we got married, though, and I feel more at peace with the openness of this season. I’m actually excited about having time to pursue some of the things that have been on my heart.

In an effort to avoid wasting time this season (the more time I have, the easier it seems to let it slip by), I made a list of things I want to explore and do this summer. A lot of those have to do with gardening, sewing, and other do-it-yourself sort of projects, as well as general sharing-life-with-other-people sort of activities.

Currently, that list includes:

– Work on our garden
– Research community gardens (I’m really hoping to start one next summer, which means starting planning this year)
– Visit a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm in Kansas City (there’s one in particular I want to visit that employs local youth)
– Go to the Brookside Farmers Market (it’s about a ten minute walk from us but I haven’t been there yet)
– Go berry picking (I’ve been trying to find a good place to do this)
– Go corn picking (Derek knows of a place where you pick corn and get to keep half of what you pick for free)
– Learn to sew (or continue learning to sew, I guess. I’ve sewn in the past, but it’s been a while and my skills are pretty basic)
– Sew something from a pattern (I’ve actually never done this)
– Make a baby blanket for a friend who is pregnant
– Learn about sewing machine maintenance (especially with an older machine, this seems practical)
– Put together a sewing basket (I have aspirations of finding a fun basket for this at a garage sale/thrift store)
– Find an air popcorn popper and roast our own coffee
– Make homemade ice cream
– Blog regularly
– Start writing down thoughts for a book (I almost didn’t include this one, because the thought of me writing a book sounds ridiculously far-fetched, but I have some ideas so here it is)
– Go camping (I can’t even remember when the last time I went camping, so I’d really like to get a group of people to go this summer)
– Have people visit us (this one is happening for sure…yay!)
– Invite people over for dinner and other fellowship things
– Work on building friendships, especially within the Boiler Room
– Decide about school this fall
– Finish at least some of the books that I’ve started, including:
Abba’s Child
– Brennan Manning
Stranger to Self-Hatred
– Brennan Manning
Celebration of Discipline
– Richard Foster
Resse Howells Intercessor
– Norman Percy Grubb
Punk Monk
– Andy Freeman (I’ve read this before but want to read it again)
– Move? (we’ve been talking about the possibility of moving east of Troost, hopefully to live in community…)