Monday, July 30, 2012

life lately

a few things have changed within the last few weeks here in new orleans...

at mid-city ministries we just finished up our 3 week summer camp with the kids...for many months we got together to talk and plan and now i understand what all the excitement was about...we were lucky enough to have about 70 kids involved this year...the kids enjoyed going on field trips..learning about the parables..rehearsing and performing a play..dabbling in art projects..and learning all about cells and the digestive system..all the while brushing up on their math and reading skills..
camp showed me many excited i was to wake up in the morning to pick up some of the kids and drive to showed me just how very special these kids are..they have found a permanent place in my heart and i will miss them immensely..and finally how grateful i am to be a part of mid city ministries since it has such a wonderful way of impacting kid's lives along with mine.. 
we also moved into a new house...and i can say i am completely and utterly jealous of the new yavs coming to new orleans for this upcoming term...just in these few short weeks i have grown quite accustomed to seeing streetcars pass by as i stroll over to rue de la course for an iced's a great part of town and i will be sad to say goodbye to it..
also i would like to ask that you keep my roommates in your thoughts and prayers..a few have returned home due to deaths in their families..they mean the world to me and have touched my heart  and changed my life..they are in good hands with god..but a few extra prayers are always welcome

time has a way of slipping by...especially when i find myself i hope to hold onto what little time i have in nola..

peace & love

Monday, July 9, 2012

thank you

it is part of my responsibility this year as a new orleans yav to raise 6,500 dollars..and as my yav year draws to a close i have thankfully raised over 4,000 dollars from gracious individuals and fpc of i try to raise the remainder of my responsibility i would like to ask you to forward my blog to your friends and anyone who might be interested in the service work i am doing....this is tough for me to ask because i already feel so blessed for all of the contributions already donated and all of the thoughts..prayers and support i have received this year..i can't say thank you enough..

not many things have been so clear to me this year as to how the people in my life continue to surprise and astound me with their graciousness...and i am filled with appreciation..
if you would like to help me with my fundraising (note: the address has changed)

 checks can be made out of the Presbytery of South Louisiana with my name in the memo  
 line and sent to the following address:
    Kathy Lee
    YAV Coordinator
    Presbytery of South Louisiana
    2221 Filmore Ave.
    New Orleans, LA 70122

"my friends remind their steadfastness that goodness exist in the world..and that no matter what..there are and always will be people..loving people through thick and thin" dawn marie carr

peace & love

Thursday, June 28, 2012

things that give me hope...aka things that feed my soul

i have been wanting to write a new post for sometime now.. but i've been feeling a bit blue lately and it's been hard to wrangle my thoughts together..this happens about the time when i feel overwhelmed by the the weight of suffering others the ever growing brokenness..and while i feel it is important to express all feelings..not just happy ones..i felt the need to have some sort of hope to share..

i find that i get a lump in my throat constantly..the one where you know if you pay it the slightest bit of attention tears will instantly spill over..certain things easily set it the seemingly endless sight of people i pass on a daily basis that are living on the streets...the never ending updates of shootings and violence in the church listening to a sermon where i feel both convicted and held back by my human tendency to stray....and then a numbing feeling will sweep in and i'll be fine..i'll be able to continue with my work and every day things but along with losing that gut wrenching sadness in my throat i also lose the feeling of passion in my work for the time being..

and when this happens...these are things that nourish my aching soul..things that i lean on..

the sunlight that lingers heavy into the evenings

opening the mail box and knowing immediately just by the handwriting a lovely friend has sent a card

books that take me into another where light shines where i am uplifted

books that unveil dark places in the world..the fact that there is someone that feels passionately enough to spend their precious time writing and caring about something that needs awareness and change..

lyrics by an artist a seafarer once shared..that have a way of soothing my thoughts..

my roommates..they are ever reminders that there are others in the world with the same drive to serve others and  in turn share many of my struggles..

the beauty in the city that is never far from my reach 

praying and pleading with god at the end of a tough day and feeling the weight being lifted...the peace settling in and him telling you to rest your eyes...for he has it all figured out

"compassion hurts..when you feel connected to also feel responsible for everything..and you cannot turn away..your destiny is bound with the destinies of must either learn to carry the universe or be crushed by must grow strong enough to love the world..yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors" andrew boyd

peace & love

Monday, May 21, 2012

yav video

recently our site coordinator put together a little video about the yav program..if you can find an extra ten minutes in your day i encourage you to check it out..

"and once you live a good get a taste for a kind of meaning in life..and you can't go back to being can't go back to meaningless scenes together by the forgettable thread of wasted time" donald miller a million miles in a thousand years

peace & love

Monday, May 14, 2012

gratitude continued

like i said in my previous post the word gratitude has been appearing in all regions of my life good friend kate surprised me by sending a book in the came at the perfect time when i was having a particularly disheartening day..the title of the book is 'the gifts of imperfection' by brene brown..if you haven't heard of her before i highly suggest you check out her two ted talks 'the power of vulnerability' and 'listening to shame' and this book if you like the looks of the excerpts i've used..

within her book there is a chapter titled 'cultivating gratitude and joy'...the author explains that she found through her many years of research that these two concepts emerged together consistently..she encountered these three powerful patterns with the relationship between gratitude and joy
"-without exception..every person i interviewed who described living a joyful life or who described themselves as joyful, actively practiced gratitude and attributed their joyfulness to their gratitude practice
-both joy and gratitude were described as spiritual practices that were bound to a belief in human interconnectdeness and a power greater than us
-people were quick to point out the differences between happiness and joy as the difference between a human emotion that's connected to circumstances and a spiritual way of engaging with the world that's connected to practicing gratitude"
as part of my gratitude practice like a lot of people these days i take the time at the end of the day to write down three things or experiences where i felt joy throughout my day...some days it's easier than others..but it reminds me of all that i have to be thankful for..i also try to take time throughout the day to repeat a quote that i have used as a prayer to keep me centered and intentional with my life..
"be with me in my silence and in my my haste and in my company and in the freshness of the morning and in the weariness of the evening..and give me grace of all times to rejoice in thy mysterious companionship" john baille
i have always cherished this poem and when it comes to gratitude the end really stands out to me...'and give me grace of all times to rejoice in thy mysterious companionship' because when i take a breath in my day and recite this poem out loud or in my mind the amount of appreciation i feel for this mysterious companionship i have with god is remarkable..and i'm flooded with gratitude

later in the chapter brene speaks about the difference between happiness and joy

"anne robertson, a methodist pastor, writer, and executive director of massachusetts bible society, explains how the greek origins of the words happiness and joy hold important meaning for us today. she explains that the greek word for happiness is makarious, which was used to describe the freedom of the rich from normal cares and worries, or to describe a person who recieved some form of good fortune, such as money or health. robertson compares this to the greek word for joy which is chairo. chairo was described by the ancient greeks as 'the culmination of being' and the 'good mood of the soul' robertson writes 'chairo is something, the ancient greeks tell us, that is found only in god and comes with virtue and wisdom. it isn't a beginner's virtue; it comes as the culmination. they say its opposite is not sadness, but fear"

these are two things i can say that have been very obvious in my year here in new orleans..both joy and gratitude were and continue to be major aspects in my daily life..not until i read this chapter devoted entirely to both was i able to grasp that this is what has made my year most meaningful..yes i've been plenty happy here but that is often linked to external goes much deeper than that..i've been joyful and felt much gratitude towards my life and more importantly to god throughout this's by my intentional efforts to seek god through my day and take a step back and appreciate life..this isn't always an easy effort but it is one that makes my life fulfilling..

peace & love

Friday, May 11, 2012

gratitude in pictures

in the past few months i've followed a photo challenge..i was to take a picture that represented the word/s to me..this one in particular's overall goal was gratitude..

while doing this little challenge i kept the word gratitude in my mind..and in the last week it's been appearing over and books and blogs i've been conversations i've had with friends and roommates..and when this reappearance of a concept or a word happens..i get a feeling there must be some deeper meaning to with that are pictures (all but a few were captured in nola) displaying gratitude...

#1 favorite treat: ah the delightfully delicious beignets from cafe du monde

#2 smile: i acquired this business card that says "god you have a beautiful smile" pretty uplifting don't you think? i've noticed a lot of new orleanians have unique business cards

#3 happiness: enjoying one of the many mardi gras parades

#4 leaves: my realization i would not actually miss out on autumn leaves...they would just appear in january

#5 morning sky: the constant sunny sky here always brings beauty to the day

#6 book: reading on the beach is one of my favorite things..what am i reading right now? 'class matters' a sociology book our community is reading together

#7 something funny: teaching my kiddos i tutor how to play go fish..they were very secretive about their cards

#8 inspiring person: my site coordinator..kathy lee with her sidekick thomas

#9 nature

#10 something old: yes i do still have a beloved stuffed animal that traveled to nola with me this year

#11 hands

#12 written word: one of my many books i write quotes in

#13 movement 

#14 animal: i found a hoof print in audubon park where people are able to trail ride...oh how i miss having horses in my life

#15 memories

#16 something new: tutoring graduation was just this past week so i'm going to be missing having those children in my life on a constant basis

#17 best friend: my sister..lauren..who never fails to be all that i could have ever wanted for a sister and best friend

#18 seasonal: since there are hardly four distinct seasons in new orleans..i choose mardi gras season as my favorite 

#19 gratitude: for all that i have learned while living here

#20 artwork: jon absolute favorite blues musician

#21 transportation: a mardi gras float shaped as a street car

#22 daily routine: my musings tumblr which if you are in mood for some quotes and more photos check out

#23 night time: our view from our balcony where we witness some beautiful sunsets

#24 light: my roommate ashley and i..yes the sunlight played a role in this but she also brings quite a bunch of light and joy into my life

#25 self portrait: thomas makes another appearance with this picture of me..say cheese!

if you enjoyed this on the look out in the next few days with my continued thoughts on gratitude..

"count your blessings..once you realize how valuable you are..and how much you have going for you.. the smiles will return..the sun will break out..the music will play..and you will finally be able to move forward the life that god intended for you with grace..strength..courage..and confidence" 
og mandino

peace & love

Sunday, April 29, 2012

reflections from 4512 s. derbigny st.

as part of a community we have put together a newsletter reflecting on our time serving in new orleans...the following is my share..but i encourage you to click on the link below to also check out what my lovely roommates have to say..

i am already halfway through my service year..or less than halfway to go for those pessimists out there..and what have i stumbled upon during these months in new orleans as a yav? too many sights..lessons..and experiences for me to count no doubt..but overall my experience this year has been all about linking..linking people..ideas..concepts..cultures..together

i strive to be a positive influence and role model for the children i serve with the hopes that they will make smart and healthy choices as they group up..i hope that some of my work will inspire those who i serve and possibly create a chain reaction that motivates others and even though i could be getting ahead of myself here..but one of my biggest hopes is to have an effect on the broader conflicts in the city and even our country..maybe by just giving my time and attention to the children i work with they will see that they matter to someone and in the long run maybe this will give them a positive outlook on life and themselves..which could link to reducing their likelihood of getting into crime..yes i realize this is a bit of a stretch..but i am quite the optimist and this is what gives me a flake of hope when i feel like i am trudging along without a lot of instant gratification..i link the small things that i do on a daily basis to what could be in the link their reality with their potential..

while working with the seafarers i am provided a face with many of the social justice issues and global issues that are occurring in our world..i am able to have a first hand account as to the fact that the decisions i make on a daily basis have an impact on those all around the makes a very personal place in my heart to fight for these issues and provides me with a little bit more passion in my convictions..

i've learned that making a personal connection..that link..makes quite the gives one hope and bridges the gap literally and figuratively on who and how we help..and helps us realize it is christ who brings us together for a greater purpose..

"be a lamp..a lifeboat..a someone's soul heal..walk out of your house like a shepherd" mevlana rumi

peace & love