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Monthly Archives: July 2012

the view from saturday

nice old man at farmers market gave me two for the price of one.

:: a nice old man at the farmer’s market gave me two big ol bouquets for the price of one. I also got free range eggs, hippie chocolate milk (don’t worry mom, it’s not raw), some herb plants & a whole bunch of free gardening advice. also, I’d just like to say that the chocolate milk I got was $1/pint… that, my friends, is cheaper than Horizon from Kroger. thankful to live in Mississippi where there’s not as much “cool” associated with healthy/natural, so it remains much more reasonably priced.

:: I was talking with a friend the other day & we agreed that the Olympics & World Cup are some of the only things that get us feeling super patriotic.  I watched the opening ceremonies while babysitting, so I didn’t get the most coesive view of the whole thing… lots of breaks for nail painting & tickling & snacks, but what I saw was wonderful. yay for sports as cultural diplomacy! also in the same vein… this commercial made me bawl, this meme made me laugh a lot, and this is a good summary that touches on the differences between these opening ceremonies & Beijing’s.

:: interesting perspective on the whole Chickfila controversy, from a “secular” source.

:: this whole situation makes me really sad–especially because it’s tied to a church. we’ve come a long, long way. but stuff like this reminds me of how very far we still have to go.

:: my head is exploding with things I want to make. let’s make a tree swing! let’s make an invisible bookshelf! I want to make popsicles! ohhh, what if I glued this to that! makes it hard to focus on the less fun parts of moving, like unpacking & sorting & laundry & doing target returns. ah well… to target I go. but I still really, really want a tree swing.

welcome to the neighborhood

two new friends.

these are two of my new friends. you see, I really like where I live. it’s quirky & close to everything & there’s a farmer’s market that just opened around the corner & a park where people hang out. but my very favorite part of this move so far has been my neighbors. I love neighbors. neighbors are a big part of why I wanted to move here. & I was not disappointed–I met seven of them in the first two days.

to be perfectly fair, I’m probably a bit more excited about the neighbors than they are about me. as my family helped me move, whenever they would see someone venture out, they’d say “hey ruth ann… a neighbor’s outside” and I would (at times literally) chase after whatever poor soul had poked his or her head outside. “hi my name is ruth ann and I’m new here and I live in the tan house down there and it’s so nice to meet you what’s your name oh that’s lovely I’m a teacher how long have you lived here that’s so nice.” andddd breathe. but friendliness pays off & I’m now acquainted with most of my street.

ms. margaret was one of the ones I chased down. she introduced herself by saying “hi, my name is margaret & I serve the lord jesus.” I excitedly explained that I did as well. she then wanted to know where I went to church & if we “baptized in jesus name.” I thought about that for a couple of seconds & replied that yes, I was pretty sure we did. she then sent me home with three tracts.

kevin saw me working in my backyard & yelled “welcome to the neighborhood!” I was ecstatic. someone was welcoming me to the neighborhood instead of me running after them. I could hardly believe it. kevin then continued to say, “I live in that house down there with my partner, christopher. he’s black. do you have a dog?” a lot to take in at once. I said, “no, I don’t” & then followed up with what seemed like the logical reply “…do you?” he very decidedly replied, “yes, I do. and he’s viscous. if you see me walking him, run the other way. because he’s viscous.” welcome to the neighborhood indeed.

& there are so many others. a magazine writer, a widow w/ a beautiful flower garden, a med student, a photographer, an artist, a girl who worked for Mississippi Teacher Corps… the list goes on & on. my favorite new acquaintance this week has been james. he has six puppies that he’s selling but no one is picking them up til this weekend so every afternoon he knocks on my door with a different puppy in tow. the puppy drinks milk in my kitchen while james & I drink orange juice at the table. it’s a good way to spend a july afternoon.

I’m thankful to live in a community that’s so open. & I’m excited to see what God will teach me through this wonderful, eclectic group of people. I’m already kind of in love with them… but I’m still planning on steering clear of the “viscous dog.”

catching up

photo (12)       photo (11)

photo (9)       photo (8)

photo (10)       one of my favorite parts of my new neighborhood.

all things good.       photo (8)

& a week later, I am back in the land of the living. really, what that means is that AT&T & a friend worked very hard to get my little house online. Patrick, thanks for poking around outside in the dark… AT&T, thanks for being approximately a million times better than Comcast.

the last week has been incredibly busy. moving out of DSU & into Fondren. spending time with my family… they helped me move & I owe them big time. seeing college friends. meeting at my school. unpacking, unpacking, unpacking. going on a bunch of Craigslist pick ups (the internet is sometimes awful but also sometimes awesome). making new friends. bike riding to the farmer’s market. kickball in Clinton. sharing popsicles with Target employees. cook out in the park. building forts with Carter & Dylan. life here is overwhelmingly full. sometimes that’s a mixed blessing. but this week, I’m thankful.

wednesday words

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it’s been awhile since I’ve written about a book. mostly because this summer has been full of reading short stories to teach out of & lots of handouts about teaching English. but Picking Cotton came to me via mail (half price, thanks to amazon used books) & I devoured it in the span of a few days. I even skipped an afternoon bus nap to finish it… & around here, that means a book is really good.

I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t say anything that’s not on the back cover. Picking Cotton is the true story of a women that is brutally raped and the man she mistakenly identifies as her rapist… the man who spends eleven years in prison because of that mistake. both of the protagonists are victims in very different ways.

rape is one of those things in life that, honestly, it’s hard for me to see any kind of cosmic purpose in. it’s difficult to imagine what coming back from it looks like–but the female protagonist does just that, with the kind of grace & spirit that gives me a lot of hope. the last few chapters of this book were one of the best pictures I’ve recently seen of love in the face of hate, forgiveness instead of bitterness.

this was a meaningful book. it’s a fascinating look into certain aspects of the justice system; it’s very well written. but its most powerful message is, to quote Bono, “grace makes beauty out of ugly things.”  I finished Picking Cotton reminded that, while there is a lot lot of terrible darkness in the world, it will always be beaten back by light. worth skipping that bus nap for sure.

p.s. feliz cumpleanos to David!
& welcome back to ‘merica. : )

packing it up

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it’s been a good last few days. settlers of catan. sonic roommate date. avocados on sale for 69 cents. rooftop adventures. & tonight, I finished loading my car. (mostly, anyway.) my delta state dorm room is starting to look lonely. tomorrow is just a few more hours of sessions and then institute/teacher camp is o-v-e-r. & I’m going to see my mom & my family & my friends, in that order. time here has been good. but oh, I’m so excited for what’s to come. bye bye delta… hello jacktown.

p.s. I think these pictures are absolutely mesmerizing
…&  this website makes me smile.

here & not yet

last Monday ever to do this at 5am.

a few days ago while riding the bus, I was talking with a friend about heaven & what I thought it would be like. my theology of heaven & the kingdom of god is not incredibly academic. & I think that the bible leaves a lot of mystery & tension on the subject. but I definitely think that, while the kingdom of god that in many ways has not yet come but is still, on some levels, here (as paradoxical as that sounds).

when I was a little kid, I thought of heaven as a place in the sky, a place with a white & gold motif, a place where angels fluttered around. but the older I’ve gotten, the more my heart has been captured by the element of restoration within the kingdom of heaven. the idea of making things new is expressed all through the new testament, but I think especially strongly towards the end of revelation.

you see, sometimes when I am up on a really tall building, I stop & look around at everything down below. I like to imagine what would be different (& what would be the same) if the kingdom of god were really & fully here. I see access to healthcare & strip clubs closed & quality, affordable housing & the end of domestic abuse & a justice system that is truly just (but we wouldn’t even need it, cause there’d be no more violent crime) & the list goes on & on. these are big kinds of thoughts, the kind that make my heart swell & my stomach flip.

& even bigger & more daunting is the idea that, as a child of god, the disconnect is partly my responsibility. I’m supposed to help get things from “not yet” to “here.” heaven won’t fully come until god ushers it in. but we are called to work relentlessly on this beautiful earth to get things as close as possible to the perfect kingdom.

there’s a lot of talk around here about “why I/you/we teach for america.” TFA asks us to reflect on that question, people tweet their answers, we’re called on to share on the subject in large groups. & it’s good to remember what drives us. it’s especially good to remember what drives us when it’s been a long day & the lesson plan did not go like you expected & Eddy threw a paper airplane at Betsy’s head & Sarah called Peter an ugly name. everyone who stays stays for a reason & that motivation is a deeply personal thing.

but for me, when I think about that question, I think about how, when I stand on top of a tall building, among many other things I see a city where every kid (regardless of his zip code) has the opportunity to receive an excellent education from someone who loves him. that’s why I teach for america. but really, in my mind, it’s a lot less like teaching for america & a lot more like teaching for a kingdom. a kingdom that is not yet but very much here. a kingdom that is coming. I can’t wait.

eleven

finally saw Brave. in the smallest movie theatre ever. #delta

this is the only movie theatre in the delta. I’ve seen both brave (finally) & spider-man this week. but my real favorite was la luna. it was absolute magic & i hope it wins the short oscar.

:: speaking of movies, I would very much like to see beasts of the southern wild & moonrise kingdom. hoping the latter stays in jackson until I get back there.

:: & then, speaking of jackson… I’ll be done with institute in eleven days. I’m thrilled beyond imagination to see my friends & family. but trying to remember every day that I live here for a reason. & I want to be all here for the time I have left.

:: really excited to see what comes of this new relevant column about the relationship between evangelism & inter-faith dialogue.

:: I have found three pennies in the past 24 hours. I love picking up pennies.

:: kinda geeking out about this… it’s the mississippi river mapped out like a metro.