#Project365MB: January 18-24

This was definitely a week of learning and new experiences. From celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King, to walking around Chicago’s loop at 1 a.m. counting homeless persons, to seeing firsthand artifacts from the Holocaust, here is a look at the week that was:

January 18: I love MLK Sunday for many reasons, but singing this is definitely a highlight, because I think it captures the essence of Martin Luther King, Jr’s. legacy. And also, I got to sing it twice. Thanks, Fourth Presbyterian Church.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on til victory is won!

We sing lots of incredible hymns at church, but this one is in my top three. I love the melody, I love what the song stands for. #LiftEveryVoiceAndSing

January 19: Stained glass window at First Church of the Brethren.

Today is Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Chicago YAV house is next door to the First Church of the Brethren, in which MLK was based out of when he worked on affordable housing in Chicago. I love walking by this window in the sanctuary not only because it is so colorful, but also because in the lower left hand corner is a depiction of Rev. Dr. King, in commemoration of his time with First Church of the Brethren. Today, we celebrate how far we’ve come as a nation, and remember how much work is still yet to be done. #YAVProgram

January 20: State of the Union Day! The day’s highlight, though– My roommate Teresa and I went with some friends to see The MLK Project: The Fight For Civil Rights, a one-woman show about a high school teenager on Chicago’s South Side who is required to present a project about MLK. The performer alternates between the persona of the young girl who is learning about the Civil Rights Movement, and various figures and leaders from the same time period. The acting was phenomenal, and really provides a unique perspective of the people who lived through the Civil Rights Movement.

“The State of the Union is strong.” And Chicago got a shoutout for offering free community college courses! Also, I love Chicago’s flag.

January 21: Downtown

Downtown, looking up.

January 22: Chicago Homeless Count

Last night, the City of Chicago dispatched over 300 volunteers to do a “point in time” homeless count. In addition to counting people in shelters, hospitals, and other public spaces, volunteers also went to specific neighborhoods to count people outside. This helps to create a “snapshot” which is then sent to US Department of Housing and Urban Development and determines funding for homeless services the city receives. The agency I work with sent quite a few people, myself included.

January 23: Community Day

For community day, we went to the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie. In addition to a powerful collection of stories, artifacts, and first hand accounts of the horrific events of the Holocaust, the museum had a special exhibit on race and its history, privilege, and the ways that we use race to treat others as inferior. Exhibitions like this are so important, because to have progress in our future as the human race, we must understand and learn from the mistakes of the past. “Imagine all the people, living life in peace.” Wouldn’t that be something.

January 24: Capping off the week by celebrating multiple birthdays!

Fourth Presbyterian Young Adults have so many birthdays this week! So we had a mega birthday celebration last night. Such fun, so birthdays, wow

#Project365MB: January 11-17

January 11:

The labyrinth in the Buchanan Chapel at Fourth, which I have utilized on multiple occasions. #zenspot #timewithGod

January 12:

Pretty spectacular sunrise this morning on my walk to the subway. The tall building in the background is the original Sears Tower!

January 13:

Watched the Dominator’s jersey retirement from the Bills Backer bar in Chicago. Because we are #OneBuffalo. Thanks, @LincolnStation.

January 14:

So I love trains. Today in Wicker Park, I went in to a store that sells transit (and Chicago-themed) merchandise! Stickers, magnets, t-shirts, keychains… Even candles and soap. How great is that?!

January 15:

Tonight, we celebrated the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. at the University of Chicago. We heard from The Rev. Jesse Jackson, and also from Ernest Green, a member of the “Little Rock Nine” that integrated Central High School in Little Rock, AR, as well as various university personnel. And of course, we sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is one of my favorite hymns. “Hate cannot drive out hate- only love can do that. Darkness cannot drive out darkness- only light can do that.”

January 16:

This is where we live, colloquially called “Faith House.” There is this incredible mural on the side of it!

January 17:

Spent most of the day making and eating mac and cheese for a fundraiser for @heyjdk’s friends. And then taking pictures of our creation with the #selfiestick.


#Project365MB: January 1-10

As I mentioned previously, I’m taking part in something called Project 365 this year. The concept is straightforward- a photo a day, every day, for 365 days.

Here’s January 1-10:

January 1: Ringing in the new year with a ball drop at the Electric Tower in Downtown Buffalo, New York. 

2015, day 1: Happy New Year from my favorite building in my favorite city. Cheers to 2015 being a great year!

January 2: Even though I was set to board a train at 11:59 p.m., I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see my favorite team play my favorite game. Go Sabres.

No place I’d rather spend my last few hours in #Buffalo than here. #LETSGOBUFFALO! #Sabres #Home

January 3: These are my good friends Ken and Jon. My first night back in Chicago, we had homemade tacos and bro time. I’m going to have dreams about that corn and rice salad. So. Good.

Where two or three are gathered, there am I.” Thanks be to God for these gentlemen, for taco nights, for good wine, and good conversation. I get by with a little help from my friends. #yavprogram

January 4: This is my church home in Chicago- Fourth Presbyterian Church. My year in the YAV Program would not be nearly as full and enriching without this place.

How wonderful to be back at Fourth this morning, and, believe it or not, the FIRST snowfall of the winter in #Chicago!

January 5: Winter swoops in with a vengeance.

Winter decided to show up for real today. But how lovely to sit by the window and watch the snow fall!

January 6: My roommate/co-YAV Teresa and I are transit geeks.

We like (usually) the CTA in our house. So my roommate Teresa got me this El mug and magnets from two stations I use often! What a wonderful Christmas gift! #yavprogram

January 7: NopenopenopeNOPE

it was frigid today. Like, wind chill of -20°F frigid. But, like my mom says… This too shall pass. Hopefully quickly. #PolarVortex

January 8: The L stop I get off at to go to work. I have a tolerable/absolute frustration relationship with the Brown Line sometimes.


January 9: Probably one of the most extraordinary conversations we’ve had during our time here. If you have the chance to read some of John Fountain‘s work (or hear him speak), jump on it.

We had lunch at Lou Malnati’s yesterday. Besides having incredible salad and pizza, we met John Fountain, a local #Chicago author, with whom we had a deep and inspiring conversation about the West Side of Chicago, race relations, politics, and journalism. We also learned that Lou Malnati’s hires people specifically from the Lawndale neighborhood and donates its proceeds to community organizations and revitalization efforts. So, yeah. Awesome lunch. #yavprogram

January 10: Giselle, my pretty kitty who loves to cuddle.

My baby girl with the green eyes