Saturday, November 24, 2007

"Profound Simplicity"

What have the Jaggers been up to this Autumn other than rubbing our eyes because of the mold, mildew, and dried leaf ashes in the "sweet" KY air?

- Visiting a local apple/pumpkin orchard and riding in wagons- see above. Claire dressed up as a tulip fairy for Halloween. She was not a fan of the crowds though and we carried her around with her eyes wide, mouth dropped, never cracking a smile. She hardly even got any candy- we let her eat her raisins and we took the chocolate :)

-A crazy hurried trip to Chicago to visit, evaluate and eventually rule out a DePaul graduate program for myself...we get to see some great friends and stay in a condo overlooking Navy Pier though...did I mention adventures in Chicago mass transit systems?

- Keith has been helping international students settle into their seminary term as well as working on an independant study paper about historical anthropology relating to the NT

-Dealing with a crashed computer and messed up car battery- we just got a new MacBook computer which is why Im finall writing again! It was a bit expensive but we hope it will last through Keith's PhD studies

-I've been working at the residency for pregnant and parenting girls...we've had a few premies in the house lately- always exciting

-Fighting off cold and flu- Claire got to inhale medicine through a gas mask nebulizer for awhile, she would only let us put it on her face if teletubbies was distracting her- I thinks he likes LaLa tubby the best

-Claire has worked from crawling backwards, to forwards, to forwards fast, to pulling up, to standing a few seconds on her own before falling on her butt. I think she'll be walking by Christmas! She now has 6 teeth more coming in. She LOVES people and seems to be a huge extravert at this point- opposite of her two antisocial parents :)

-I have two major goals before the Christmas holiday- Im applying to grad schools in the Chicago area currently- not only do I hope to get those in by Christmas, but I also hope to wean Claire and gain a bit of freedom back. Deep down, I've enjoyed the bond and intimacy of nursing her, but i think we're both ready for some independance in that way.

-We've attended some awesome chapels and concerts in town. Bebo Norman and Shane and Shane came to town. "Amazing Grace" was also shown- and introduced in person by its producer. Tammy - who is not a big name in the world, but is now one in my book- spoke on an amazing children's home she randomnly and inadvertently started in South East Asia. The scholar NT Wright recently visited campus and shared some thoughts on the discourse between politics and religion these days both in the States and in the UK. Michael Jacobs, a Native American/First Nations song artist (who currently resides in Waukesha WI wohooo) came to share his music- its awesome check it out!

And through some personal experiences I've learned a great deal. I was able to get away for a weekend on a women's retreat and learn about my call to a life of consonance with who the Maker has created me to be- to recognize and cast off the labels of those around me and do the ministry "in the margins" I've been called to. More recently, I was able to attend a short retreat called "Profound Simplicty" led by Laura Beach- a time that has prepared my mind and heart for this advent as well as future Christmas that will come my way as a female in our culture. I think the most unique thing I learned relates to the lesson I am learning over all - TO LIVE SIMPLY SO THAT OTHERS MAY SIMPLY LIVE (as Mike Slaughter of Ginghamsburg Church, OH puts it). The Magi who came before Christ were some of the wealthiest and most educated men in their world. They did not bring gifts before the strong or the wealthy, but to the meek, the lowly, and the humble Christ child. We as Americans, some of the wealthiest and most educated are called to the same at Christmas. Rather than heaping mounds of gifts (many unnecessary and forgotten) on our families, we can give as families to the needy around us. Which brings us back to Mike Slaughter who challenged his MegaChurch parishioners to spend as much on the needy as they did on their families and raised MILLIONS for the sufferers in Darfur, Sudan. Which also coincides with some work Ive been doing with Asbury FOR Darfur -helping raise awareness and funds on campus to help those whove been hit most by the tradgedies in Darfur- the children. I find that this type of work brings about more awareness of the darkness and greed in my own soul than it may educate those around me. But I hope that this awareness will bring me to a place in which I can be a person who can humbly stir genuine compassion and empathy in my neighbors for others. If there is one lesson that I could teach the teens I work with, it would be such empathy and compassion for others.
So this CHRISTmas, I challenge myself and perhaps you to live more simply - in your own creative way, so that others can simply live.
Random thoughts, yes, but one can hardly expect more from an overtired, breastfeeding burnout, no relief from eye allergies, overworked, staring at online graduate school applications for hours, mother of an almost walking, attention hungry , but beautiful baby girl.
Hope you enjoy the new pics