Tuesday, August 25, 2009

meet alex.

Alex wears a lot of hats-- UW business school grad, violinist extraordinaire, thoughtful observer of the world-- but she impresses me more every time I am fortunate enough to spend time with her. Recently, she turned down an offer from the Gates Foundation (who does that?! has it ever happened before?!) to raise her own salary and work for Mars Hill Church in the UDistrict. She's following her passion of serving college kids, even at the cost of sacrificing something that she (like many others) has dreamed of doing. And she's humble about it, too, which is why I want to brag about her. If you have a heart for UW and/or ministering to college kids, and have a few cents to spare, let me know. I'll send you Alex's way.

There's more: she's also helping start up a brand-new microcredit organization in Ghana called Lumana Credit (http://lumana.org/), which provides loans along with skills training for underserved people, giving them the tools to pull themselves out of poverty. Please take a look; it's pretty exciting to be on the ground floor of a sustainable development project. If helping support a college ministry isn't your thing, but helping rebuild economic viability for families in Africa is, this would be a really good place to start.

postscript: the delicious coffee in our hands is from All City Coffee in Georgetown, hands down the best coffee in Seattle. They serve Caffe Vita, have bypassed Fair Trade by trading directly with farmers (ensuring even better prices for the growers), roast locally, and their doppio espresso with a dash of simple syrup MIGHT be the closest thing to ambrosia that mankind has discovered... Go there. Be transformed.

Monday, August 24, 2009

cost/benefit analysis of dating a monk

I developed a theory a few years ago: if a guy is still single in his mid-30s, there is ALWAYS. A. REASON. Date him long enough and you'll find out what it is. Frank, always the chipper devil's advocate, suggested that the specific reason for singledom is more important than the singledom itself-- did he recently pass the bar? become a doctor? get out of prison?

But what if he was a man of the cloth who has decided to enter the secular world? And the debate began: Frank, Marlo and I attempting to decide if dating a former monk would be worth the trouble.

"Plus side: knows how to make delicious beer."
"Downside: only wears robes."
"Plus side: has never seen the female form, thus rendering one goddess-like."
"Downside: sits alone in his room... a LOT."
"Plus side: will be so happy to leave his room that he'll do anything you want."
"Downside: he quit GOD, of all things to quit!"
"Plus side: he can always go back to God and win 3 championships like Jordan."
"Downside: God will always be making passive aggressive comments about how he left."
"Plus side: knows how to survive minimally, thereby making him a cheap date."
"Downside: he knows how to survive minimally, thereby making him a cheap date."
"Plus side: free gruel for life."

The jury's still out.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

lazy sunday.

Morning with the Irish at Le Pichet...

Fishies on our cappucinos...


Wandering Pike Place...

Afternoon drinks on Broadway...
For all this peace, would one ever guess that this was the same day we saw a misplaced HempFest attendee washing his weiner in the water fountain at Pike Place Park?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

wuv. twu wuv.

In 2004, Malia and I stood at a roundabout somewhere in Northern Ireland and met a dozen people for the first time.

Five years, several cross-Atlantic moves, a few disappointments and frustrations and joys later, Malia is married to one of the random Irishmen we met that day. That summer changed the path of our lives-- we wanted to go to Africa but we got sent to Ireland ("First World?! Aw, no wayyyy"), found out that actually we loved Ireland, and now neither of us would have changed it for anything. The summer we first spent on the Emerald Isle caused our hearts to expand in directions we didn't expect (or always really want), and it brought Malia to Peter: a quietly hilarious boy who loved trees and dreamed of arriving at our doorsteps in America driving a wood-panelled station wagon. And on Saturday, after five years of chasing each other down, Peter slipped a ring on Malia's finger and they became permanent boyfriend/girlfriend!

When Josh got up to read during the ceremony, I was overwhelmed with gratefulness for having a tight little group of four that has made it half a decade and will hopefully make it for many more, for being a part of Malia and Peter's intersecting lives from the first minute, and most of all for genuine love.

Monday, August 10, 2009

wedding season!

It's been the summer of weddings, and in the past 24 hours, two more friends have gotten engaged. Plus one, very kind, invitation to be a bridesmaid.

Is it normal, in light of all this blissful and balmy love in the air, to feel the need to self-medicate with vodka and schadenfreude?

Monday, August 03, 2009

scott and jamie.

Summer 2007:
The end of Belfast was a whirlwind of visits to Child Protective Services, harsh words from angry kids, and an overall sense of having failed, massively, on almost every front.
In July, when an email from a little girl informed me that all of my efforts with CPS had only succeeded in getting her friend removed from her home--nothing helpful or restorative, nothing that would mend the situation, I found myself on the floor of a Croatian bathroom, unable to stem the flood of tears that finally were released after leaving Belfast. My heart has never felt more broken.

A couple years have passed. The weight is somewhat removed; the long separation has helped diffuse the water in my lungs, but my heart still has not fully come home to me either. It's still on a dozen doorsteps in Northwest Belfast, which is why it was so hurt again tonight: the Irish arrived, ready for Peter and Malia's wedding, bearing news that my Hawthorne Effect boys are both dads.

Scott and Jamie, in true northwest Belfast style, have now both become fathers before age 16.

I don't even know where to start describing how much I love these boys and how much more I want for their lives. It's a familiar sense, the heaviness that has settled onto my chest tonight, but so unwelcome.