Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Midwestern Wife

I have finally caved in. Growing up in the fantastic land of milk and honey (aka California), I never experienced food items like pork or that horrible thing called red meat. And although my husband finds this generally offensive, I am naturally drawn to turkey burgers, 'Turkey Jaynes' (a turkey-type of sloppy joes), and canned tuna sans mayo. I think tofu corn dogs are pretty tasty.

I really love the fact that my background helped me to be health-conscious as we plan out our meals. While I'm perfectly happy to eat beans every night, Mark has a different opinion. Mark says he has never eaten so little meat until he married me. And I have never eaten so much meat until I became a DeLew. So, we're both doing some growing. Well today I decided to take the plunge and connect to this land known as the Midwest. It's called pork roast. Not just pork roast, but cooking pork roast in a crock pot. And this pork roast included potatos and carrots- my two least favorite cooked vegetables... but I like to please my husband. And let's be honest, things are generally better at the Whipple when he's happy and full :) So, I made the plunge.

This morning before work I threw the onions, potatoes, carrots, garlic, diced tomatoes, and wine (because it's a New DeLew pork roast!), and spices all into this crazy crock pot. As Mark and I left the apartment all bundled up to brave the cold weather, I felt like such a Midwestern Wife. And then encountering the meaty smell wafting through the Whipple after work, I felt even more midwestern. So today was a stretching experience for this New DeLew- using pork roast, crock pots, and potatoes in one meal! The truth is, although I cling to my California roots like it's my job, I must admit that I still enjoyed this midwestern dinner!

So the recipe is as follows (thanks to my wonderful sister Sarah, who was also appeasing her midwestern husband):
Throw a pork roast, 2 chopped potatoes, some sliced carrots, 1-2 onions, 4 garlic cloves, a 15 oz can of diced tomatos, 1 cup of red wine, and tons o' spices into a crock pot. Cook on low heat for 8 hours. Enjoy!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Whipple

The Whipple's lease is up on May 1st, and the New DeLews are trying to decide whether the Whipple can work for another year. Please, let me say, I love the Whipple! I think it is such a fun apartment for a cute newly married couple, namely the New DeLews. A green wall facing a brick wall? How urban chic! There's no way we could ever replace the good-sized kitchen or our wedding reception table cloths that we've transformed into curtains (our first task when we arrived back from our honeymoon). The Whipple has got it all! Or so I'd like to think.

Mark and I walk to the El every day for work, which is a glorious 10 minute walk in the summer. And a hellish 15 minute walk in the snowy winter. The wonderful breeze that wafts through our large windows in the summer? Well, they're a bit drafty in Chicago's tundra. The quaintness of not having a dishwasher loses it's novelty when we're washing dishes from our dinner party of 15 people. So there are pros and cons to any place that you live.

And yes, it sounds alluring to live in a two bedroom place with a deck closer to the El. Really alluring. But I'm not sure if I'm ready to say good bye to the Whipple. This is the apartment where my love for cooking blossomed, where we've hosted tons of people for food, drinks, Bible studies, overnights. Mark and I got into our first married fight here, we've enjoyed wine on our roof, and we have experienced a lot of love here. And the most important thing is that I believe people have felt 'welcome at the Whipple'. The truth is, that is what really matters to us. I kind of feel like I'm betraying the Whipple by browsing elsewhere (ok, I'm probably personifying the Whipple way too much...). But wherever we live, we want to create a welcoming environment. Although the aesthetics of an apartment can assist the hospitable aura, Mark and I must set the tone in being authentic and giving in order for our place to feel welcoming. And we have been practicing that at the Whipple the past 8 months. No matter where we live, we seek to grow in our hospitality and openness to all who enter our lives.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Yet Again

I had such hope in Saviour (third from the left in the tan hat). He was one of the brightest students in my class. Being a natural leader, all the boys looked up to him and wanted to be around his charismatic aura. Saviour Mwila spoke the best english, finished his math sets quickly, and interacted in ways that made the whole class burst into laughter. And to be honest, he quickly learned how to gauge my patience level, and then push me alittle further. I think it was a game he liked to play with me. 'How to Irritate Madam'. Nevertheless, he had influence over his classmates, so I often looked to him for help in settling the class down. He probably felt sorry for my feable attempts at maintaining class order by using Bemba phrases like 'lekeni ichongo!' and 'umfweni!'

He also was pretty well-off, relatively speaking. Both his parents were alive, and they both worked. When I met with his dad at the end of the term, he was interested in Saviour's education and proud that his son was second in a class of 61 students. With the help of a translator, I explained to Mr. Mwila that Saviour was very bright and could go to college. I pleaded with Mr. Mwila to keep Saviour in school. If Saviour stays in school, he could break the cycle of poverty... That's what I was thinking. That's what I was hoping.

So Saviour stayed in school this past year, and he got the top score for his Grade Seven Exams- meaning that he could go to secondary school- and his parents were going to pay for his annual school fees!

But then sad news, yet again. Saviour died a few days ago from malaria. He had received anti-malarial drugs, but he wasn't improving. He died on the way to the hospital. And my heart breaks.

My friend summarized it well- 'Malaria is the symptom, Injustice is the disease'. And kids are dying because of the disease of injustice. I could go on about the injustices of extreme poverty. How insufficient healthcare, under-resourced schools, malnutrition, corruption, etc are very real symptoms of injustice and evil in our world. If we put it in the theological framework of 'the kingdom of God is already, but not yet', the cycle of poverty is a clear example of the 'not yet'. We have not yet stepped into a place of peace and restoration.

And so we live in this tension. This tension that says we can have hope because redemption and justice will win- and yet in the meantime, Saviour dies of Malaria in 2010, Alex (left) dies of malnutrition in 2009, and the list of injustices continues...

In the midst of this tension, I ache. My heart aches for all of us that are experiencing the 'not yet'. May our aching cause us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

Monday, February 1, 2010

"Sent-ness" (a made-up word that confusingly sounds like "sentence", and is probably just a euphemism for "purpose")

Being sent. What does that mean to me? I often think of it as a job to do, typical for my task-oriented self. But it’s more than that. It’s part of my identity. As followers of Christ, we are sent out into the world just as He was sent to us.

Sometimes I get frustrated with the question of purpose, of ‘sent-ness’. I feel that Emily and I have been called to Logan Square, to our church, to our friends, to our jobs. We are trying to figure out what that means: how to live lives of purpose in our jobs, who to strike up relationships with, basically being attuned to what the Holy Spirit is doing. And this is a struggle. Because, although we love Chicago, and feel like God is doing something with us, in us and through us, we also feel a very persistent pull to our friends in Zambia and to the Church in sub-Saharan Africa. And it’s frustrating, because this makes us feel like we are in transition, which we have tried to avoid. But it’s hard to think about planting roots in Chicago for the long term because we feel this pull, this urge to live in Africa and to do something about the issues that we care about, the issues that are close to God’s heart. At the same time, there are issues in Chicago that God also cares about just as deeply. And we are getting involved in issues such as affordable housing, education, and homelessness by connecting with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, New Community Covenant Church, and By the Hand.

In addition, our occupations are a major component of our sentness. I am learning a lot at my new job, and I am finding out that I enjoy data analytics and driving program improvement in a consultative fashion. In the future, I really want to find an application for this skillset in a more justice-oriented organization. Ideally, both Emily and I would love for our interests, skills, and relationships to be aligned in a dream job with some cutting-edge organization. It’s hard to know if a job even approaching those benchmarks even exists, and it’s hard to know what to do or when to move on in search of that ethereal goal. These conflicting desires make it hard to decide when to visit our friends in Zambia. So we have all these plans, all these feelings of being sent to different places at different times. It’s hard to reconcile.

All of this means that it is vital for us to be attuned to the Holy Spirit. These questions of purpose are very important, but they can also be paralyzing if overanalyzed. We want to learn how to live in the present, recognizing the beauty in the mundane, seeing small fruits of the work of the Spirit, while also attentive to major shifts in life down the road according to what, to whom and to where God is sending us.