Archive for the ‘Menno’ Category


high five, low five

September 20, 2007

I have a very real weakness for lists.  They are so friendly and transition free, they adapt well to randomness and can also make you look oddly organized.  So really just a great invention all around.  So what follows is a list of 5 good and 5 bad in my life right now:

The Bad

 – Now I understand that everyone (except for those genetic freaks who skip this entire portion of becoming an adult) has to deal with acne at some point in their lives.  So I tried not to whine about it too much in high school and even college, because really, that’s life folks.  But let me just take a moment now to point out that I am 23 (just a few weeks short of 24) and I currently have a blazing trail of zits leading directly onto the side of my lip (wow wasn’t that a really awful mental image their folks!).  If you have ever had the agony of a zit on the outside of your lip, you know what I am talking about, and if you haven’t, just count yourself lucky.

 – I got 5 hours of sleep last night, enough said

 – I didn’t win the lottery this month

 – No hot boys have asked me out this month either (and I haven’t met any boys who I want to ask out this month)

 – Do you like how by saying this month, I made that sound like a very new problem, see I am so sneaky like that.  Now onto the good, which was the real point of this post.

The Good

 – Autumn, I can’t tell you all how much I love this season, from sweaters and skirts, to cider and pumpkin, to crisp weather and windy leaves, I love fall.  And personally I think it is the best season in Chicago, I mean obviously winters are out, and I think summers are too humid, so really who doesn’t love fall.  (Also fall is responsible for that cool word autumnal, which is just so much fun to say)

 – Meryl, she is here, she is cool and life shouldn’t be any other way

 – New apartment, the other evening Jess and I were sitting out on our porch late in the evening chatting and I was just realizing how much I have missed having a place to sit in my pjs and still be outside.  That really is a great combination, especially if you through in some english rose tea, a little bit of a breeze rustling through the tree leaves, a meowing cat (she hates the back porch, but I like having her out there, so she will just have to deal) and a good friend, perfection.

 – MCC Relief Sale, for those of you who don’t know this is the Mennonite bonanza of food, drink (cider that is!), quilts, crafts and stuff-buying that raises lots of money for our overseas service/mission/relief agency.  So I plan on going and stuffing my face with apple fritters, giggling with my friends, running into every single person I know, drooling over quilts, riding the trolley and stocking up on Mennonite staples like cheese and sausage.

 – Returning to normalcy, now obviously one doesn’t want to get complacent or bored, but there is something really lovely about finding oneself back into routine.  As I have made the transition from the freedom of summer back to the demands (I won’t lie they aren’t that heavy) of work, I found myself groaning a lot at first.  But now as we have the chaos of moving behind us and I am in to the swing of my class and work, I find myself actually enjoying the routine of grouching around the apartment in the morning, of doing the crossword with Jane, of seeing the crazy outfits that high schoolers wear, of getting piles of new magazines on my desk, of watching the periods tick by, and savoring the first minutes home after work, of riding the L to my class every Wednesday, watching the city go by the windows of my bus, of walking through campus, and of finally beginning to settle in.


so where’s your buggy?

May 5, 2007

I recently realized that I haven’t posted very much on this blog about my Mennonite heritage. Probably part of this is because I started this blog as Blitherings Sprung Anew and didn’t feel a need to bring up that part of my heritage as much. But now that I am posting as “Mennogirl” maybe I should clarify a little more.

But what really got me started down this line of thinking was a great email I got from The Daily Rant, the blog of a Italian-American woman who travels the country with her boyfriend, driving truck for a living. She had noticed my Mennonite background and emailed me some questions about it. So in order to aid in the great clarification of what exactly a Mennonite is, here are my rather rambling attempts to answer her questions.

1. Are you still a Mennonite? I haven’t had a chance to read through posts that might actually EXPLAIN this, but I just wasn’t sure if you broke away or something to go to college.

First off, there is a pretty big spectrum within the Mennonite community and some pretty key differences between Amish and Mennonites. While there are still conservative Mennonites (such as my grandparents) who still dress “plainly” ( i.e. head coverings and cape dresses) many Mennonites don’t appear that different from the people they live near. However the Amish still hold more strictly to their separation from the world and desire to live free from the pulls of commercialism and materialism. So yes I am still a Mennonite, I consider it a big part of my background and a big influence on my current outlook. Also I didn’t grow up as a conservative Mennonite (like my parents did), so I never had to make the decision to stop wearing a hair covering or anything like that.

2. Are there any really good websites that explain Mennonite life? I’m quite fascinated by it.

Okay, this one is good and actually if you happen to be going through the Shipshewana, Indiana I would definitely recommend stopping by. It does a great job of describing the history of Anabaptists (the larger group that both Amish and Mennonites belong too) and also the current beliefs of the Mennonite church.

This site also does a much better job than I can of describing Mennonite beliefs.

This last one is one of the main service branches of the Mennonite church and an organization that I hope to serve overseas with at some point in my life.

3. Is there a Mennonite community in the Chicago area?
Yes in fact there is and I actually live quite near it. Reba Place Fellowship is where I have been going to church and making some connections with ever since I moved to the area in September. This is their website

4. What differences do you notice being in a big city like Chicago as opposed to Lancaster or Goshen?
First of all the major things such as more streets, less yards. But I think a big thing is no longer knowing people that I randomly run into on the streets or coffeeshops. In goshen I could pretty much count on seeing at least one person I knew in the local coffeeshop, that is definitely no longer the case. I think the other thing is that there is always things going on in Chicago, but now that I don’t know as many people, it isn’t always easy to find things to do. But I think that will also change as I get to know more people.

5. Do you ever long to go back to what you called your “Mennonite Bubble?”
No, I definitely look back on my childhood and growing up years with a lot of love, because I did have a wonderful childhood. However I have never been one who wants to hold on to past situations, when one phase is over there is little one can do to change it. Also I have really been enjoying getting to know people outside the “bubble” and it also allows me the chance to examine and explain my own beliefs in ways that I didn’t have to before.

6. Are Mennonites and Amish the same?
No, they aren’t and while they both come out of the same Anabaptist movement of the 16th century, they are different. Those websites I told you about will probably give you a much clearer idea than I can. However I know one of the key differences is the ban, which involves disconnecting entirely from the person it is aimed at. Amish still practice this towards members who leave the church after committing as members, while Mennonites don’t. For example my grandma (a conservative Mennonite) had 11 children and all but one of them stopped dressing plainly and moved away from the conservative end of the Mennonite church. But our family is still connected and very close, despite the choices of the younger generation.


listening: Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy by Queen

June 10, 2006

Yeah wouldn’t I like me one of those. So yeah I have been a bum and not posted at all this past week, but then of course I have worked 50+ hours, so I guess that is a decent enough excuse. So I have learned that while I can do them, I really don’t like extended runs of 11 hour days. But this weekend should bring a nice change of piece, with a jaunt up to chicy-land where I will hopefully hang out with the humboldt folks and do a little orienting for the JOB. Which should be interesting, because everyone else at the orientation thing will be actual teachers, and I am just a lowly aide. But who cares, I still get to go away for the weekend. Then when I come back the schedule will ease up, so maybe I will have time for those all important lemonaide-sipping, sunburn-getting, bike ride-taking, reading on the couch, afternoons and maybe even you know see my friends once in a while (this means you S, B, Z, M, etc).

In other news (and a good example of how the Menno game applies to the Web), it turns out the cool friend of my cousin’s now husband, who also went to school with some folks I know from GC, is also moving to Chicago. How kickin is that? Very, I tell you very.



March 11, 2006

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Tom Fox of Christian Peacemaker Teams was found dead in Baghdad this week. He was among 4 other CPT hostages take last November in Iraq and the sole American in the group. For a beautifully written statement from CPT go here, for news reports go here or for the American view go here.

News like this is hard to hear, even though I never knew Tom, I know a lot of CPTers and it is hard to face the fact that being a peacemaker won’t keep you from dying. But at the same time, that is the role that CPT take on when it goes to violent situations around the world. CPT is there to be “soldiers” of peace and each delegate or team member knows the risks. I think this is also scary because of how those in my family will also probably be going on CPT delegations in the future and there is no pretending that that isn’t risky.

So for now if you are a praying person, then I ask that you hold Tom Fox and his family in prayer and all of CPT.


Peace House letter #1

January 6, 2005

As probably all of you know by now I am not on the Goshen campus this semester and I am instead participating in the Indianapolis Peace House program. The program consists of two peace and justice related courses, an internship and living together with the 4 other participants in an old house located in the Old Northside of Indy. So far I have only really experienced the third part of the program and so far it is wonderful. There are 5 of us in the program, myself, Anna Y, David M, Miriam M, Samuko K. The first 3 all attend Goshen, however other than Anna, I really didn’t know any of them from on campus. So far I really like them all, and we are quite diverse, Miriam although born in the states is from a Muslim background from Somalia, David was born in Mexico, and Samuka is from Sierre Leon. Also Anna and I are the only Mennonites!

These past two days have been filled with orientation which has included icebreakers such as “what’s your favorite color?” and some deeper discussions about what community is and how to create it. Although originally scheduled for tomorrow the 5 of us got the room selection decision out of the way the first night and like last semester’s group decided to just keep the rooms we were randomly assigned. Our first attempt at consensus seemed to work well in that everyone seemed satisfied with their room. That has worked out well for me in that I am going to be residing in the master bedroom which is quite large, contains two closets (one of which I may convert into a sewing room), a jacuzzi and a sauna. I have been dealing with some feelings of guilt about the niceness of my room, which I account to my high level of Mennonite indoctrination about simple living. So while I do have my own bathroom I have promised the rest of the house that the jacuzzi and sauna are there to be used.

Today a large part of our orientation in the afternoon was spent going on an informational scavenger hunt of our neighborhood, which was quite enjoyable (despite the very cold temperatures). We were divided into two groups, myself and David on one and Anna, Miriam, and Samuko on the other. As motivation we decided to make the losing team vacuum the high-traffic parts of the house. David and I won, but only by one point! It turned out to be a really great way to see the neighborhood and get some much needed exercise (considering that we walked for over 2 hours).


exploring the new ways that church can absorb all your time

November 9, 2004

Well I don’t know if I have blogged much about this yet, but this fall I have managed to get myself involved with my church at levels I had previously not experienced. The main one being my participating on the Pastoral Review team, which has meant attending various meetings, taking notes, writing up notes and doing a few interviews. Another is getting involved with Advent Worship planning, which again is mostly one meeting, and will involve me helping to design and create the visual aid for the season, which is really exciting because Advent is by far my most favorite time of year.

Oh and then 2 weeks ago, my small group planned worship and I helped out with worship leading (although I got to do the easiest parts of the morning and it called for minimal prep time). And most recently I agreed to speak in church this coming sunday during second hour. Tim F will be speaking in first hour about N. Ireland and because I was there this summer they thought it would be nice for me to share during second hour (when he won’t be there). So I have that to think about, oh and I still need to complete 3 interviews for the first mentioned involvement by tomorrow morning and attend a 2 hour meeting, which will follow my hour long meeting at Assembly at 9am tomorrow.

So yeah, church is great, but I guess well I just have never before had it be a part of my life that added stress before, very new concept. But hey I am learning a lot about church and what it means to be a part of it that I would have never figured out otherwise.

Okay now for general update about life since Sunday.

-discovered that studying in the lounge is so much more productive than reading in my room (I got a good 5 hours of research done yesterday, and finished a reading and question assignment)
-going to bed at 11, makes waking up at 7:30am at least marginally easier
-I keep alternating between feeling hopeful that all the demands on my life will be met and feeling like I may as well give up now. But I have found reminding myself that in a year almost all of this won’t matter is at least somewhat reassuring. (oh as side note I did way better than expected on my last ethics and morality test, considering that I studied for only 2 hours with my study group, however I did get a good 6 hours of sleep, maybe sleep is the answer to all my problems!)

Okay now that I have filled up my allotted 20 minute break from demands, I must return to them……….


one more reason to love being a Mennonite

October 19, 2004

I just got back from my first stairwell hymnsing. It was incredible and I literally sang my voice away. Although I was hesitant about going at first, because I still had homework to complete, I was so glad I went. Only at a Mennonite college would a small group of people gather together at night to sing hymns in a stairwell. I think our ancestors who used to sing these same melodies in caves in Germany would be pleased to see their traditions being carried out this way. What an amazing tradition I am blessed with!


mourning the return to classes

October 13, 2004

I really can not believe that fall break is almost over, it really feels like a totally inappropriate thing to have work due tomorrow! So what I have been up to for the past day? I finished some little touches to both the long goldish skirt and the shorter brown one. I like them both, however I am not sure I will be able to wear them a whole lot on the coming months, because one is more of a costume skirt and the other is a pretty springish type skirt. But maybe if the weather gets freakishly warm again! Then I sewed a green skirt from the neverending bolt of fabric with the pattern that I have now used 4 times! Talk about getting your money’s worth.

However before I did all that I went to a worship planning meeting about Advent, which is indeed my favorite season of both the year and the liturgical cycle of the church. During the planning I realized that this year we have almost 4 weeks for Christmas break!! That is so exciting for me, I can’t wait to have that much time to relax and unwind. The planning meeting also talked a little about past Advents and one that was brought up was the Advent of 2001. Which was a really fascinating one and very moving, because it obviously occurred in the months after the September 11th tragedy, and on a more personal side, was also when I got baptized. Actually our church had 5 baptizism that Advent; Anna Y, Dan S, Sarah D, Becca S, and myself. Which means my 3rd baptismal anniversary is coming up this year, the 23 of December I do believe.

Anyways then yesterday evening I went over to Becca’s house and we had a movie fest and reminisced about past such events for us and had great venting conversations of the type that I only seem to have with Becca 🙂 The movies we watched were Mean Girls, not worth my time and this view is probably biased by how I find the main actress in it Lindsay Lohan, really annoying; 50 First Dates, very funny, a great combination of comedy with a touch of romance, but definitely a step up from the common chick flick, probably my favorite Adam Sandler movie ever; then Something’s Gotta Give, excellent movie, I love Diana Keaton! Basically the movie was so uplifting in its portrayal of both love, relationships in general, but especially for older women. It also made me want to have a beach house in the Hamptons really badly, despite its total luxuriousness!

So all in all a good day, then after only 6ish hours of sleep I went to a Pastoral Review interview with Lois K. Very interesting, I didn’t contribute much, but sort of observed the whole process, Assembly is really a wonderful church. I love many things about it. It also made me think just a little bit about the possibility of ministry in my life, something I had never even considered at any level before! Now this was only really a passing thought, but I think something I will at least try to give some thought to. Oh and yesterday I got a call from Tim, the brother in London! It was a total surprise to pick up the phone and hear his voice, I am getting really excited to see him again in December. Oh and that call is probably why I had a really vivid dream last night about being back in the LMC in Charletta’s apartment. I think it was one of the memory dreams, yet I was impressed by how vividly I saw all the details of it, from the bathroom and kitchen to the living room outside the apartment (in which during the dream, Tim, Char and I moved new furniture into, yeah I don’t know the interpretation of that one).

Well this is quite a windy post, but it may have to do for a while, because I now have to face the rather unpleasant fact of work due tomorrow and sigh getting back into the rhythms of college.

I hope you all had great breaks and look forward to seeing people’s return to campus. Happy Autumn!


reconnection with cousins and faith

September 26, 2004

I never really like sunday evenings, they always seem to have too much of the monday in them and not enough of the friday in them. Essentially I find myself usually trying to squeeze the last bit of weekend out of my time and therefore am rarely productive. Plus in this case, after spending the weekend in PA, I feel like I have so much to process and not enough time to do it in.

So the weekend…

Although my cousin’s wedding was my main reason for going out to PA, it ended up being one of the least important parts of the weekend. My focus ended up spending as much time as possible connecting with Laura, my closest cousin in age. She and I have been going through very similar experiences in the past year and despite our very different places in life have really been able to connect and have really meaningful conversations. Much of what I spent time talking to her about over the weekend was some of the changes or maybe a better way to say it would be areas of growth, she has experienced in the past year. She is currently living in the city of Lancaster in awesome little apartment with three other girls. Yet more importantly she is a part of a group called Gemeinschaft (Christian Community in German) which a very spiritually based intentional community of people who choose to hold each other accountable within their relationships. Another large part of Laura’s life is her involvement with NightWatch which she got involved with through an internship in Kansas City over the summer. In short her and the others in NightWatch focus on providing 24 hour prayer for both Lancaster County and the nation. They do this by meeting from 10pm till 2am 6 nights a week. Part intercessory prayer, part devotional, the evening offers an informal place for others to join them in worship. Yet at the heart of their ministry is the belief in the power of prayer.

While I originally had a lot of doubts about some of Laura’s choices and wasn’t sure how I would react to some of the newer dimensions of her faith, instead I was really impressed with the realness, intimacy, and integrity I saw in her faith and in the faiths of those she has surrounded herself with. It really awakened in me a lot of questions about my own faith and the difficulty in making a head faith, that one of the heart. I really feel that I have had a lot of significant things happen to me in the past year, yet I haven’t had the time or tools to deal with them all. Also in the past few weeks I have had several meaningful conversations about the difficulty with finding the spark in your faith, with which to base a more heartfelt faith upon. Along with that, I have for a very long time been dealing with the feeling of a having this underlying pain/sadness running along underneath my life. I have never been able to figure out why this is and have been frustrated at why I often have trouble feeling happy, despite the multitude of goodness I have in my life. It was while driving back with Laura from visiting her NightWatch on Saturday night at approx. 2:30 in the morning that I first realized that there might be a connection between the feelings of emptyness and that of missing the spark of my faith.
So this has obviously caused me to really think about how I want to be spending life and on what I should be placing my emphasis.

In less related topics, the wedding was very nice and although not my style a pleasure to attend. And Jerad and Nicole are now in the Dominican Republic for their honeymoon. Oh and when I first found out about their honeymoon location, I was like “why would they be going to SST for their honeymoon?” Maybe I have been at Goshen to long…. 🙂