It has been almost four months since I began my adventures with Redeemer Ministry Corps. I endured with joy the honeymoon stage where everything seemed in perfect harmony. Then I fell into reality where life wasn't perfect all of the time but it wasn't bad either. My body had to adjust to waking up early (for me) five days a week and working 8-12 hours a day.
In 3.5 almost 4 months I have changed a lot. The biggest change is physical, for I am now happy to report to the world that I have lost a total of 20lbs. It is starting to really show on the outside. This rapid weight loss is due to working out three days a week and trying to eat somewhat healthy or healthier than I have been in the past. My hair is a lot longer and is almost half light brown and half blond for my roots continue to grow each day.
I think I have grown in flexibility and adaptability. My position at Project Rainbow did not exist until I became a full time volunteer here. Now I'm not sure this facility could operate as well as it does without this position. Notice I say position, not me. In 3.5 to 4 months I now have two fully functioning tutoring programs that the kids really look forward to going to. I have created a fully functioning library that the moms love to visit and check out books and games for their families. I have been given other responsibilities such as setting up and facilitating the monthly birthday parties for the residents. I'm getting better at teaching my social and emotional class for my school aged kids. I've been on top of completing my assessments for kids 5 and under. I think I've gotten the swing of things. I can give you a tour of our facility and sound like I've worked here for over 20 years. :) Looking back, it feels as if I literally fell into this ministry site and was fortunate enough to make all the right choices (for the most part).
I can honestly say that I've prayed more in the past 3.5 to 4 months than I have in the past four years. I'm still working on that aspect of my life even though I have abundant resources to help me out.
I find that going without certain things/people allows you to appreciate them more. Therefore I really miss my family and I am stoked to go home for Christmas! I miss William and Mary more than ever. We lost our semi final game against Villanova the other day. Yesterday was Gaudete Sunday. I kind of felt a little homesick for Williamsburg since CCM puts on a beautiful Gaudete mass. I was lucky enough to go to Mary Mother of the Redeemer for mass yesterday. (I think I've mentioned it before but it is a church 30 min away that I really enjoy).
Our community really feels like a family. Sister Alphonse (who I affectionately call Alphie) is my drink/snack buddy. She was also my baseball buddy during the Phillies post season. Sister Kathy Rose is my tv show buddy, we watch Greys Anatomy and House together. Whenever I need a little sunshine I can go to Sister Barbara. She always has the best stories and she is a really good cook too. Speaking of good cooks, Joan has been baking a lot of Christmas cookies lately! I go to Joan when I need a laugh and also when I have something deep and personal I want to share. I connect to Sister Katharina on a deep level too.
Connie and Stephen and I have made an active effort to build our own community. We went ice skating at Penn's Landing on Saturday night. We had a great time even though I was never meant to be on ice. I clung to the wall most of the evening. At one point three Navy guys tried to help me out but I think I was beyond help. Last night Connie and I watched White Christmas. I love that movie since it reminds me of home. My family watches it every Christmas. :)
This weekend (Saturday night actually) Stephen and I also went to a JVC party. We got to meet a lot of the JVC volunteers from the East Coast. I'm glad we got the opportunity to network with more individuals our age. It was a blast and I'm pretty sure we got back home in the wee hours of the morning.
Personally I'm working on my listening skills. I want to talk less and listen more. There is a certain value to conversation. It is a two or four or even seven way street. I need to continually remind myself that it is not a one way street. :)
It has only been 3.5 to 4 months and look how far I've come. There is still much to be explored. Much to be experienced. Much more to be developed and improved within and about myself, my ministry and my life. At times I get frustrated and down on myself because I'm naturally hard on myself but then I get these breaks when I remember all the things I've already overcome. I can't even imagine what the remainder of the volunteer year has in store for me!
Until next time...