Monday, March 27, 2006

Livin Jagger Style

Time for an eve-keith UPDATE!

Let's see...Keith is still working it at Shaker Village. He now watches American Idol on a portable TV at the Village on long, lonely evenings while there. He seems to be rooting for Mandisa. Im all for Taylor! Otherwise, he is continuing to study at the seminary working on Hebrew and an inductive study on Matthew.

I am still the tutoring Coordinator at the E 7th street center. In the midst of deciding what to do next year...While I'd like the cerification that goes along with the MSW degree and the easy career opportunity that follows, I'm also very interested in study for a few years at the seminary. I want to dig into Missions and Evangelism...and while you were most likely just disgusted by and got defense hearing those words, I want to tackle this issue. I almost feel embarrassed to say I want to study this. I feel like putting the degree on my resume would actually LESSEN my chance of getting any job. However, this is the very reason I want to be involved in the subject. Something is not right (obviously the history of colonialism and intolerance that has come with the spreading of Christianity) - but also the church's present inability to truly reach the downtrodden and the broken- not to mention the our inability to see the evangelism that is needed INSIDE the church community. I want to be a part of helping, of applying my mind, experience, and heart to this issue...I have a feeling alot of humility awaits me there too.

Otherwise, Im with VISTA until the end of July...My brother is also getting married then.
Keith may or may not take courses over the summer depending on benefits full time work may offer him.

We are leaving this weekend to go do some hurricane relief work in Long Beach, MS with the seminary. They received a grant FROM a church in Korea to send students down there. I think it's an awesome opportunity, especially with an international sponsor. We are planting seedlings, delivering kitchen boxes to local people, and whatever else comes up. Flexibility is key.

Im currently playing intramural ultimate frisbee, basketball, and soccer in the seminary's gym on weeknights. Basketball is the most organized, soccer less so, and frisbee is a weekend outdoor recreation. Men make up most of my teammates and opponents, but i love challenge and the run. It's keeping my spirits up.

How is married life? This seems to be a reoccuring question. Im not sure how to answer it. My main response is "What is married life exactly?"..which is an answer in itself. Keith and i are simply learning what it is- on top of learning how to live in the "holy" little town of Wilmore. Somedays its surreal, some days it hard, somedays its nice. Simply put, I am enjoying my husband- in the small increments i get to see him that is.

Since the wedding, we have been lucky to recieve several visitors. Michael Cummings came on his own in spite of car trouble to hang with us for a few days. The Hofmeisters (minus the Lori) were passing through Lexington on the way back from a trip to NC and met Keith and I for dinner and a college bball game on TV. My Uncle, aunt and cousins also came down for a short weekend trip to a CRAZY kid's Museum and downtown Lexington...they were sports sleeping on the floor in our teeny tiny livin room.

Any questions? Just comment :)

We are missing YA'LL

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Who me? Opinionated?

Opinion: a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter (according to Merriam Webster Online that is)

So keith and I were talking last night about ME. If you know anything about me, you probably know that it wouldn't be hard for us to come to the conclusion that I'm...well...extremely opinionated. I have certainly reached this self-knowledge prior to yesterday evening, but I have yet to really tackle the issue.

Am I really opinionated-more so than others- or is it just that i actually state it aloud more than others?

If I really do weigh this much on the opinionated scale, do I need to go on a diet? What would that look like? Do i bother or intimidate others? Do I keep people from speaking up?

Here's an opinion: I really am not as opinionated as my mouth may make me seem. I often debate inside my head. Even when I do say something with an extreme amount of passion behind it, there is still an internal peice of me that disagrees or leaves my statement open for questioning. So while I may seem temporarily closeminded or "set", it's just me getting some entertainment out of myself. In fact, I do believe that I think aloud or reach some level of self-actualization as I express myself- so my thoughts are not fully processed before they are shared.

Maybe I'm kidding myself. Maybe I am just opinionated.

What do you think?

And, I will admit, many of my opinions can teeter on ridiculous. But not all...There are those opinions backed up by my real and strong values. Some are based solely on EVE principles...where these principles come from or are founded are in a mystery in itself. I just like having principles in my pocket in case a situation comes along where i must take sides or where i must decide soon. Do you have principles in your pockets? Do you have values in your spirit?

PLEASE post comments and let me know what you think of my opinionatedNESS.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Uganda and Ruffles

Maybe it wouldn't sound appealing to you, but I wanted to hear the Ugandan Professor's talk on "Restructuring the Social Work Cirriculum in Africa: the case of Botswana". I'm still not quite sure what he way saying- something about there being no governmental assistance of citizens and the difficulty of privitized social service. While his speech would make an interesting blog, I found myself more intrigued by the sociology of the room in which I was seated with 50 other random people than his expert analysis. And, while the man had a lot of knowledge, his thick monotone accent and complete inability to engage an audience made listening to the 2 hour lecture near impossible.

I will use the case of the Ruffles to explain the silent imprisonment we face as creatures of a social nature. When i originally sat down, I had no intention of eating, i actually felt more like throwing up (little did i know the flu was slowly taking over my body). I hadn't been seated for more than a minute, though, before the lady next to me leaned over to notify me that they were providing "free" lunch in the wasn't so much of a nice gesture as i felt her real meaning was "hey girl, there is a FREE lunch in that room...i said free...if you don't go get one it must be because you think you're better than me, or thinner, or richer"...I didn't want to deal with the uncomfortability of sitting next to this woman for another hour without having gotten this free lunch. So i went and got it.

At this point, I think I need to at least try to explain the tension in the room. Postures, faces, gestures, and the extreme preoccupation with the lunch were all saying the same thing "Get me the H outta here!". However, it was much too early in the lecture for anyone to have a justifiable excuse for leaving early, so all had to endure it- but no one would do so happily. If anyone made a noise, shifted in their seat, went to the restroom, or tried to leave they were given death stares by all others in the room. These stares were only acceptable because of their ambiguity. Anyone could say the stare was out of respect for the speaker whom YOU just interrupted by making a noise, shifting, or leaving. However, beneath the surface, the stare was actually pure evny and hatred: "Who are you to think you can make a noise, shift, or leave when i have to sit here like a decent social being and endure this torture?". I even recall one women standing up to leave for a restroom break and accidentally nudged the empty seat next to her. Not only did several people turn around and deliver THE stare, but she had such a heavy look of shame upon her face i felt i should follow her into the bathroom to make sure she didn't punish herself- all for nudging a chair.

I spent a bit of time observing, analyzing, and stereotyping most members of the audience with the intention of getting a feel for their exact state of mind and pain at the moment; the bad student who needed to take notes but didn't know where to begin, the foreign student who had a hard enough time understanding native English speakers and couldn't make out a word of what the Ugandan was saying, the sorority girl who was anxious to check her cell phone messages, the campus worker who wanted their duties tied to this lecture to end. After I quieted my pity for practically every individual in the audience, I became aware of my own predicament.

I wanted to eat my Ruffles. I didn't want to eat anything, but the Ruffles and I had saved them for when i was truly bored. By this time, though, I knew the rules. NO noise- and we know how noisy opening a chip bag can be in a sea of angry and silent listeners. I scolded myself several times for not having opened the bag when everyone else had sanctioned a communal opening half an hour ago. I was the only one with an unopened bag and there would be no exception to allow me to open it and disturb the "peace". Now, I like to pretend that I'm above social norms, but I now know how foolish this is. I spent half an hour deciding whether or not to open the bag. About five or six times, I would get up the nerve to touch the bag or try to find a tiny tear to begin with...I even tried to poke it with a paper clip end ...It didn't happen though. I didn't get to open the Ruffles until after the lecture...and post-lecture chips are not half as satisfying as "Im bored to death" lecture snacks.

Maybe you think you wouldn't have submitted to the no Ruffle noise rule, or the no shifting in your seat regulation, but i can assure you that if you are a human being living in society, you wouldn't have left that lecture early without a heavy feeling of guilt and shame- for leaving your fellow man alone to preserve the norm that keeps us civil.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Still Lighting that Unity Candle

" Keepin it goin" was the theme of this years Seminary Marriage Retreat. While it may be too early for Keith and I to warrant a retreat for our marriage, it was worthwhile.

The Seminary booked a bunch of suites at the Embassy Suites up in Lexington for real cheap. They also went in early and decorated the place nicely- sparkling grape juice (since the Sem's ethos statement prohibits alcoholic beverages although they might heading for a change in a bit here), rose petals on the bed, chocolates...They reserved the ballroom for Friday night and a Seminary couple taught basic Swing Dance moves to all who were interested. keith and I were in for learning a few rock steps and simple turns. There was also a live band of about 15 playing, but once there music got going only the experienced swing dancers could keep up. Regardless, Keith and i got to "play" together and when the hall got to loud, we could go out to the lobby and enjoy the water fountains- no not the drinking ones, those are called BUBBLERS!

Then we went back to the room and spent some time browsing through some old cards, emails, notes, and pictures , some from before we had even started dating. I stayed up watching late night Malcolm in the Middle. The other Jagger was snoring away.

In the morning, we were spose to be up for a breakfast buffet...needless to say Eve and Keith slept in and the Eve made the Keith run downstairs last minute to grab us some food. What a wonderful Hubby I've got.

Then the sessions with Marilyn and Steve began. Marilyn is actually in charge of the Spouse Ministry nights i usually go to, she is hilarious, blunt, and an amazing story tell with an awesome Canadian accent that makes me feel at home- its my dream for my Wisconsin accent to grow into one as great at hers...Anyway, they were married in 1978 and are a real, happy couple. They were not afraid to share their weaknesses or to talk about sex, to joke about the mistakes, or to encourage people to make an EFFORT at a long lasting marriage. Their definition of marriage is "Someone covenanting with you to do the work of life with you through self-giving love"- this is obviously a Christian subculture defintion.

The points that hit me most:

- Mutual self disclosure is a KEY bond in marriage (Keith and i felt this needs to be our main focus currently)

- An early marriage must focus on building a "marriage identity" that can withstand the weight of life

-A more seasoned marriage must focus on each person working toward self expressing and differentiating themselves again

-Your marriage should be unique to you as a couple- definately loot and pillage from couples you admire but never try to imitate them

-Each person must take responsibility for their own spiritual life, but you must share how youre growing with the other person...also, it's more important to LIVE devotionally together than to do devotions together

-Submission comes into play regarding each others gifts...if there is a decision that deals with a certain spouses gift or skill more, the other need to submit to following their lead

- All career choices should get filtered through the life plan or vision you have as a couple, not the other way around

-No one lives in their "First Choice World", we all live in a "Second Choice World"...we cant blame our spouses or think theyre responsible for our unhappiness. We just need to get over it, embrace the world we are in, and recognize how much our spouse does for us and means to us

-Dont let other peoples "toxicity" be imported into your marriage

- Watch out or completely exclude sarcasm in the home, especially make sure the truth is never joked about

-Get help early if there is a problem

-Have fun! Play together!

We certainly learned ALOT. The best part was giving communion to each other at the end and reaffirming our vows and our giving of ourselves to the other. So we danced, we discussed, we played, we listened, we prayed, we sang...did i mention we got lost for an hour trying to meet some couples at an applebees before the retreat? Nothing like getting lost to get a couple ready for needing a retreat:)

If youre ever at a marriage retreat remember to stop, take a breath, and look around you. There are so many amazing couples God has brought together or so many shapes, sizes, and personalities. Man and woman in His image- unified to be one creature before Him. I saw it for a moment...the united spirit of each couple serving as a reminder of the sacrficing love Christ has for us. And i get to be a part of it :)