Wednesday, September 23, 2009

See you at the big chicken!

Hello all -

I have found an apartment! I will be living in the Chatham neighborhood. It's a one bedroom, second floor apartment with a dining room - a blessing since I will be working from home again. I can move in around October 1st, so I will be sure to post pictures when I get settled in. Praise God for His provision and thank you to all who prayed for my new home!

I joined Kiva today! It's a website that leverages technology to create a global community where lenders participate in micro-finance opportunities throughout the world. Lenders can lend as little as $25 dollars to an entrepreneur who may otherwise be denied funding. As the loan is repaid the lender may retrieve his money or reinvest in the life of another person. I loaned money to Ahmed, a father of 4 in Lebanon who needs money for an auto repair shop. You can read about it and get involved by clicking on his picture at the top of this post (once his loan is fully funded the post will show another entrepreneur).

Camp Beechpoint participated in the Allegan County Parade. To those who have been to a small town parade, this one would have fit right in. To those of you who have not, you're just going to have to come with me next year to really understand. There was a semi in the parade. Not advertising anything, just ... there. :-) I somehow let the event pass without posting pictures, a clear violation of my blogging ethics, so here we go - a picture tour of the Allegan Fair Parade:

This is Beechpoint's 50th Anniversary. We'll be celebrating on October 10th. Go to to learn more and rsvp.

The parade provides an opportunity for local exposure. I passed out postcards with information on camp and retreats. Now, I've been in a lot of parades (most notably as a blood drop for the Red Cross) - but this was my first time as a postcard-passer-outer. It definitely involved running to catch up to our float.

We had about 30 staff, cabin leaders, teen leaders, and campers join us to walk the parade. People dressed up in gear from camp activities.

The go carts rode behind the truck and boat, definitely the best gig. I'm putting my name into that hat for next year
Tubing. Yup, that's what I thought too. :-)

This sign was spotted along the route. Funny, considering it's posted next to a trail.
The entrance to the Allegan Fair Grounds, and most common meeting place for the event. As in, "I'll see you at the big chicken at noon". So, to all of you who thought you were sending me to the big city and worried that I would lose touch with my upbringing - this post should alleviate all concerns.

**Thanks to Jess Furrow for photographing the parade.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"How many guns would Chicago buy if Chicago could buy guns?"

Well, I am back in Chicago ..... an still apartment hunting. I have been looking for the past 2 weeks and was really hoping to have a solution by this weekend, but alas.
This will be my 7th apartment - and I hope to stay there for some years! There's a lot to consider when looking in the city, here are some of the things I've been looking at:

* how many buildings on that block are boarded up? on the surrounding blocks?
* how is parking? will I have to walk a long way to and from my car?
* am I close to a school, bar, or church? cuz that will FOR SURE affect parking
* if parking is sketchy now, what will it be like in the winter?!? (they don't really plow the side streets, and if they do it's more likely that they plow your car in than really help you get it out! :-) and there is NOTHING glamorous about parking in Chicago!
* how long will it take to get to the expressway?
* once I do get to the expressway, how long will it take to get anywhere else?
* how will I adjust my budget to afford rent without a roommate?
* do I have bars on my windows?
* does the block have an active block club?
* how many police have I seen in the past hour?
* how many flights of stairs am I going to have to walk up?
* is there laundry facilities in the building?
* will I have to buy my own stove and fridge to live there?
* will my friends in Chicago "let" me live on this block?
* what does the area feel like at night? In my previous apartment hunting I didn't have to roll through at 11:30 to see what all was going on before I signed a lease.

Please continue to pray for the perfect home for me in Chicago. I'm believing God for a perfect and long-term housing solution!

Right now I am staying with my friend, Miss Demetrius, while I am looking for a place to live.

These are her kids, and 2 of my PID kids - Jabari, Jabri, and Jireh ..... I feel like for all the times they are on my blog everyone should know who they are by now :-) Since I'm at their house, you know we have to take some pictures! And I taught them how to play Settlers (which they are REALLY good at) and Carcassonne (which I'm sure they are going to be really good at), so now I have me some board-playing friends in the Chi!
Also, since I'm at the house I got to learn how to straighten, curl, and style hair. It's not as much fun as braiding, but Jabri is a little tired of braids. I'm happy to learn something new!
I found some gold beads for Jireh ... this was her idea for a pose. The baby has taken too many pictures - she was positioning grass where she wanted it and talking about "let's go over here where the light is better". Chicago just finished it's 2009 gun turn-in campaign. On August 15th, people could take guns, no questions asked, to 27 locations in the city (primarily churches and community centers, one location was 3 blocks from my previous apartment). For each gun turned in the person received a pre-paid MasterCard: $100 for assault weapons, $50 for guns, and $10 for bb guns.

People here are skeptical that the gun turn-ins make a difference. They say that it's rusted out guns that are being brought in, that the city is paying to destroy evidence for crimes, and that there's probably a better way to spend tax payers money. They point out that a person who actually uses an assault weapon is not going to turn it in for $100 - even if it was broken! This year, a little over 1,800 guns were collected ... but people wonder how many of them were from gangbangers - and if such a small drop will make a difference in such a big bucket.

One reporter for CBS said, "As long as gangs control hundreds of millions of dollars by selling illegal narcotics here, they'll always be able to buy big firepower. Now think of that. Here's the mayor of the city of Chicago asking people to turn in assault weapons. Mayor Daley said, 'We're not in Iraq. We're not in Afghanistan. We're in America. We're asking them to turn in assault weapons. What do we need an assault weapon in America for?' [Mayor Daley] bragged that, since 2005, the city's gun-buying program has led to the destruction of more than 18,000 guns. Still, that's small comfort to the thousands of Chicagoans who continue to get shot each year."

The 08-09 school year saw more than 500 Chicago Public School children shot! You can click this ridiculously long link to view a map of shootings over a 4 day period in April 2008 - something about seeing it makes it seem even more alarming.,-87.695618&spn=0.228741,0.466919&z=11

The increase in violence since last year is a reminder that the city - and the children of the city - need God! Pray for wisdom for the government, safety of the citizens, and boldness of the church.

My favorite quotes from the gun turn-in campaign?

"ALL GUNS MUST BE UNLOADED" (ya think?!?!!!)


"MasterCards can be used at any of the 25 million locations that pre-paid MasterCards are accepted, except at gunshops." (Now how, exactly, are we going to monitor that?!)