Things Around the City in the Hot Hot Heat
We’ve been awfully busy all around Charm City these days. The weather has warmed up which means we’ve got the gusto to be out and about a heck of a lot more.
This past weekend was a rather busy one. It started on Friday night with the Baltimore Bike Party - perhaps one of the greatest monthly events in all of Baltimore (besides the Third Thursday Community Dinner/Potlucks at Jubilee House at 7pm….check it out!). The event is a bike ride (about 12 miles long) all throughout the city streets, visiting so many of the wonderful neighborhoods of Baltimore. This past month’s ride brought in over 1,350 bikers dressed up in their cowboy and cowgirl best for May’s western theme. It felt great to take over the city streets and to share in the celebration of riding bikes as a greater community.
Jubilee House crew before the start of the ride
Who doesn’t love the photo booth at the Baltimore Bike Party after party?! Our good friend Erin Bowman joined us in the night’s festivities!
After we rested up on Saturday from the long excursion of the BBP, we headed to Camden Yards on Sunday afternoon for the Oriole’s vs. Tigers game. Nothing beats an exciting game and an unexpected win while sitting in GREAT seats!
As this weekend shows, we’re excited for the next few months of summer. With the start of the warmer season, comes our community summer schedule. Due to various planned vacations, fun festivities around the city, and the general desire for greater relaxation in the summer months, Jubilee House takes on a seasonal structure and schedule to allow for more flexibility within our community. This means fewer nights of planned meals and less formal time spent together in community. It also means more time for spontaneity within community!
So break out the sunscreen and buy yourself a snowball. It’s summertime!
[Posted by Pat]
posted by Sara
So, last week on Tuesday night, we had a faith-sharing night. We try to do these twice a month. Basically someone will lead it, and will decide on a way for us to do some reflecting and share with each other. So it’s not just a personal reflection activity, there’s a group aspect as well where we talk about things that are relevant to our lives, and our spirituality.
I wanted to share the poem that we reflected on this past week. It’s an Audre Lorde poem called “For Each of You.” We spent some time reflecting on the paradoxes within the poem, the author’s use of hate in the poem, and just how some of the individual lines spoke to us at this point in our lives. Hope you can get something out of it as well!
For Each of You
Be who you are and will be
learn to cherish that boistrous Black Angel that drives you
up one day and down another
protecting the place where your power rises
running like hot blood
from the same source
as your pain.
When you are hungry
learn to eat
whatever sustains you
but do not be misled by details
simply because you live them.
Do not let your head deny
any memory of what passes through them
nor your eyes
nor your heart
everything can be useful
except what is wasteful
(you will need
to remember this when you are accused of destruction.)
Even when they are dangerous
examine the heart of those machines you hate
before you discard them
and never mourn the lack of their power
lest you be condemned
to relive them.
If you do not learn to hate
you will never be lonely
to love easily
nor will you always be brave
although it does not grow any easier
Do not pretend to convenient beliefs
even when they are righteous
you will never be able to defend your city
Remember our sun
is not the most noteworthy star
only the nearest.
Respect whatever pain you bring back
from your dreaming
but do not look for new gods
in the sea
nor in any part of a rainbow
Each time you love
love as deeply
as if it were
only nothing is
Speak proudly to your children
where ever you may find them
you are the offspring of slaves
and your mother was
Oh, Gray And Tender Is The Rain
by Lizette Woodworth Reese
Oh, gray and tender is the rain,
That drips, drips on the pane!
A hundred things come in the door,
The scent of herbs, the thought of yore.
I see the pool out in the grass,
A bit of broken glass;
The red flags running wet and straight,
Down to the little flapping gate.
Lombardy poplars tall and three,
Across the road I see;
There is no loveliness so plain
As a tall poplar in the rain.
But oh, the hundred things and more,
That come in at the door!-
The smack of mint, old joy, old pain,
Caught in the gray and tender rain.
Online text © 1998-2011 Poetry X
From Spicewood | Written c. 1920
Posted by Rosie
The Future of Jubilee House and Living as a Couple in Community
Greetings community lovers and Jubilee celebrators,
Lots of stuff going on these past few weeks. Some good stuff, some not so great. I have felt extremely lucky to have the support of my community. In the midst of all the busy-ness these past few weeks and months, we had a conversation about the coming year for Jubilee House. One question we had was, will we be able to rent the house again? Our landlady had told us last year that she would like to sell, so we were all a little nervous. The good news: she will be renting to us for another year!
Another question in everyone’s mind is who would be sticking it out another year. I am very happy to report that all of us have decided to make a go at another year with Jubilee House. It will be interesting as that will give us two years with the same six people. Lots more time to grow as a community!
During this process of discerning about whether I would be staying in Jubilee House or not, Lauren and I had to come to consensus ourselves before we could report back to the group. I will say it has been one of the more difficult decisions we have had to agree upon. Since neither of us had any interest in living apart from one another, it was important that we be on the same page. The process got me thinking about the uniqueness of being a couple living in community, so I wanted to reflect on that in this blog entry. Though I should point out that this is my experience of living as a couple in community, and it may not reflect Lauren’s experience exactly.
So, before Lauren and I moved into community together, there were some things that I thought would be hard. I thought the privacy thing would be difficult. As it turns out, not so much! We’ve all got our own rooms, and Lauren and I have a big room, and our housemates are busy enough that we will-from time to time-have the house to ourselves for an hour or two. I also thought it would be difficult being SO close to one person, but also try to grow into deeper relationship with my other housemates. Once again, not that bad. Lauren and I are pretty intentional about keeping community obligations and spending time with our housemates.
There are some things that I hadn’t thought of that make living as a couple in community difficult. One of them is the fact that we have our own individual relationships with everyone in the house, as well as our own views about what’s going on at any given time. I may think one thing about a certain situation or person, and Lauren could be thinking something totally different. It makes it a little bit harder to support each other, especially when we’re at odds about something.
Another thing that one of my community mates brought up last year, is the fact that s/he is not always comfortable sharing things with me, because it’s assumed that Lauren and I share everything (which we do). So it was the realization on my part that I needed to be more intentional about what I was sharing with Lauren when it had to do with community.
There are a lot of positive things that have come out of community living for Lauren and I as well. There have been many, many opportunities for growth being in community that may not have arisen if we were on our own somewhere. The decision about whether or not to stay, for example, helped us explore how we were compromising with each other, and was a lesson in difficult decision making. It also has helped us cement what our shared values are. There are things we will definitely take from our time at Jubilee House (if we ever do decided to move out) about how to practically live out our values.
Lastly, the best thing about being a couple in this house: we get the biggest room which happens to also come with a big tub with jets!
If you’re not a person who can live in community by yourself, then you won’t be someone who can live in community with your partner, even if s/he is someone who can live in community. But if you are so inclined, I think it is an excellent experience for any couple, and will only help in your development. Thanks for reading, see you next time!
Happy Easter, from Jubilee House!
Throw together a few church services, a potluck dinner, some friends for company, a glass of wine, an adult Easter egg hunt and….BAM, you’ve got yourself a Jubilee House Easter Celebration!
This year, a number of us were able to stay in Baltimore to celebrate the Easter holiday. We were blessed with beautiful Holy Week services with our church communities (St. Vincent de Paul and St. Matthew’s) and the wonderful company of some of our dear friends, Erin, Emanuel and Rachel.
Take a gander below for some holiday photo highlights as well as the beautiful Wendell Berry poem which was read before the starting of our meal.
Many blessings to you and yours during this Easter Season!
Easter Apple Pie made by Pat
SK giving the group some hints for the adult Easter egg hunt. Who knew it would be so hard?!
Erin & Rachel digging through the freezer chest. 15 minutes later, they found an egg…and defrosted many a vegetable.
Emily checking the liquor cabinet for some eggs…
The whole group on the hunt in the kitchen looking for the last few eggs!
Egg hunt winners, Rachel & Pat, with the official Egg Hider, Sara.
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Happy Pi Day!
I look forward to Pi Day every year. This morning a co-worker forwarded a poem she wrote on the topic. It made me smile so I am posting it here in hopes that others will enjoy it too. I am also including photos of me in a t-shirt another co-worker’s mother made for me.
“A Boy Named Pi” (by Sharon Moser)
As a young lad of just under three
Pi was tiny and lonely, so different you see
But his mom in her infinite wisdom did know
That his proportions all over were destined to grow
She knew that her pipsqueak of three point one four
Was destined for greatness with numbers galore
“One day you will be exceedingly great,”
“Just wait,” said his mom, “be patient and wait”
And so little Pi expanded and grew
Greater than any assigned value we knew
Great number, great size, and truly great scope
Greater than even this youngster could cope
So great was his number, degree and extent
That his mom imposed limits, her energy spent
“A circle,” she thought, “would be just the place”
“To give him some limits, inside of a space”
So there he still roams to this very day
Content with his mom and his special friend Ray
With his decimal that never does end nor repeat
Blissfully unaware that he can’t make ends meet
Enclosed in a circle, so cozy and sound
Pi’s what it takes…makes the world go around.
Happy Pi Day!
T-Shirt painted by Sarah Ford!
They Shall, From Time to Time
Even though the television series The West Wing ended almost seven years ago I’m still a huge fan. To this day I jump at the opportunity to re-watch episodes. I’m tickled when one of my friends posts a reference to the show on facebook. And be still my heart, I was literally giddy last autumn when the cast of the show re-united to produce a campaign ad for a political candidate in Michigan. Never before or since have I watched a television show so intellectually challenging, so adept at inspiring us to be our best selves.
One of the episodes from the first season of the show is entitled He Shall, from Time to Time. That title comes directly from the beginning of Article II, Section 3 of the US Constitution which directs the President to periodically give to Congress, “information of the state of the union.” Not surprisingly, the episode centers on President Bartlett’s second State of the Union address.
Jubilee House is a union of sorts - a group of people who have chosen to live life together around some shared values - and we think it is important to check in on those values from time to time. And so tonight we’ll begin to take a look at the state of our union by examining the values of mindful consumerism and social justice. In the weeks ahead we’ll discuss the values of spirituality, environmental sustainability, simplicity, community and hospitality as well. May this be an opportunity to learn more about each other. May we grow in our understanding of what matters to us. May this time together make our union stronger!
I have some sad news to report. Phil, the 7th member of Jubilee House, Beta extraordinaire, passed away last Sunday. I accidentally dropped him in a pan in the sink that was filled with water and soap and oil and….well, you get it. Emily made a valiant attempt to rescue him, but we were too late in the end.
This photo shows Phil and I. Phil is in the tank he just got for Christmas. He loved the water heater, and I loved the filter. He will be remembered by all of us as a contemplative, kind soul. At times he struggled with depression, but he was always glad to be a member of Jubilee House. Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite Phil memory!
RIP Phil, you will be missed.
Of Handmade Socks and Other Things
My one and only resolution for 2013 was to learn to knit socks. As the photo above shows, I’m happy to report that I was able to keep that resolution!
Not everyone knits socks, especially beginning knitters like me who have been at it for less than a year. But sometimes I just like a challenge, the sense of accomplishment that comes from working on a puzzle over time and eventually mastering it.
I also think taking the time to make something by hand fosters a sense of appreciation. I mean why spend hours knitting socks these days when you can get a pair for a couple of bucks at Target? Isn’t that a waste of time? But here’s the thing, I don’t think we value the things that come to us that easily. Perhaps abundant access to cheap goods means we mindlessly stuff our sock drawer full and forget that there are people in this world who don’t have one pair of socks, let alone 20 pairs. Maybe we become too quick to toss our socks in the trash instead of mending them when replacing a pair of socks costs us so little.
There’s also something just a little bit holy, I think, about hand making a practical thing - something meant to be used - and doing it well. Maybe you’ve experienced it in the one-of-a-kind beauty of that hand-hewn wooden fruit bowl, or in the comfort of wrapping your fingers around a pottery mug brimming with hot tea or in a wooden canoe lovingly restored over the course of 20 years or, yes, even in the warmth of homemade socks mostly tucked away behind pants and shoes. There’s a little bit of the story of our lives in these things - both the story of the one who made it and the story of the one using it.
And so it seems my first pair of homemade socks has taught me quite a lot beyond simply how to turn a heel or craft a gusset. Here’s to resolutions kept and lots of hand knitted socks!