Showing posts from June, 2013

One Day

6:30 AM
My site partner, Emily, and I wake up, get ready for the day, and head downstairs. (Side note: if there is not a Church here to cook breakfast for the guests in the shelter, we skip running and instead wake up at 3:30 AM to cook breakfast and hand out sack lunches.)

7:00 AM
We go for a morning jog with a group called "Crossover," which includes volunteers, staff members, and some of the homeless people (the "guests") of the shelter. Beginning with group introductions and prayer, we walk or run down the beautiful trail behind the shelter. For more information on Crossover and its efforts to bring physical activity and personal optimism to the lives of the homeless, please visit

8:00 AM
After returning from our Crossover experience, we make breakfast for ourselves in the kitchen of the Transitional Living Center and prepare for our daily tasks.

10:00 AM
Our main task each morning is be sure that the lobby is clean and clear of donations. He…


Dear sweet readers, I need your help. This summer, God is teaching me about forgiveness. He's a great teacher, but it just so happens that I am a horrible student when it comes to a topic like forgiveness. Forgiveness stems from anger. And anger stems from hurt and fear. Once I am hurt, I am afraid I will only continue to be hurt time and time again, and it is nearly impossible for me to put my trust in people who may only break my heart even more.

So this is where you come in. I need your help. Whether I know you personally or not, I want to hear your opinion about forgiveness. You can leave a comment under this post (anonymously or not). You can email me at You can Facebook message me if you're friends with me on Facebook. You can text me, call me, write me, whatever you're comfortable with.

I need your input. Send me your thoughts, questions, and stories about forgiveness. It doesn't matter what it is, how personal or not it is, if it's ab…

When Words Won't Suffice

A word can be one of two things: an all-consuming concoction of captivation or a dull declaration, devoid of meaning. A person's ability to communicate with another is perhaps his or her most valuable tool in the toolbox of his skill set. Yet somewhere along the road we find that sometimes words are, well, just that: only words. When words simply won't suffice, to what do we turn?

In my life, this is where prayer comes into play. According to Henri Nouwen, "prayer is not a pious decoration of life, but the breath of human existence." Prayer is more than just a collection of words; even our very breath can become a prayer.

Here at Hesed House (the homeless shelter where I am interning this summer), words don't always suffice. This morning, my site partner (Emily) and I woke up at 3:30 A.M. to make breakfast for the homeless people in the overnight shelter. Joining Emily and I in the kitchen was a homeless man named Stevie. Stevie is an alcoholic. With a bad hangov…


Tonight, I'm catching up on my friend Jake's blog. Jake is serving abroad in Nicaragua for the summer. As I was reading, I sat alone in the dining room of the homeless shelter. I felt a tap at my shoulder. It was my little friend: the sassiest, cutest of six-year-olds. She always seemed to be just around the corner.

"Can I sit on your lap?" she asked in the sweetest voice. "What are you reading? Who are those kids in that picture? Can I touch your computer?"
It's always an interview with her. Question after question after question.
"My friend Jake is helping little kids in another country. That's him with some of the children he's living with. He's friends with them, just like I'm friends with you."
"Right, we're sisters," she said. "Forever and ever."
"Of course," I agreed. "But you know, there's something special about these kids. These kids don't have parents. They're orphan…

The Lucky Ones

"Compassion means going directly to those people and places where suffering is most acute and building a home there.

God's compassion is total, absolute, unconditional, without reservation.
It is the compassion of the one who keeps going to the most forgotten corners of the world, and who cannot rest as long as there are still human beings with tears in their eyes.
It is the compassion of a God who does not merely act as a servant, but expresses the divinity of God through servanthood."
[Henri Nouwen, Compassion]
The more time I spend at Hesed House (a homeless shelter in Aurora, Illinois), the more I grow in compassion. I'm technically participating in an internship here at the shelter, but to me this experience is so much more than a "resume stuffer." When I tell people about the work I'm doing, oftentimes their first response is, "Oh, that will look good on your resume." But that's not at all what this is about. To me, this experience is a …