Monday, December 14, 2009

Calling all (possible) interns!

Hi Internet Party People,

The House Famous will have an opening in the new year. And we want YOU to move in and become one of our world-famous and world-class interns. If this is something that interests you, feel free to contact us.

There is a link to our internship document and commitments to the right ----->

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Movie of the Decade.

Hello ev'ryone.

If you weren't one of the privileged attendees of The House Famous Movie premier, you can now watch it in the comfort of your own home. Or possibly on an iPhone or something in some exotic locale...such as Westport...or East Saint Louis.

Anyway, enjoy!

http://vimeo.com/8121609

*The House Famous is nor responsible for any of the laugh-related injuries you are sure to experience during the watching of this film.

Monday, November 9, 2009

More of the newest House Famous member...

Here are a few more shots of Noah; he is growing well and getting used to life outside the womb. So far, Noah has just a few modes: sleep mode, awake-concerned mode, and awake-grumpy mode. But we have caught him smiling a few times, so we think he's secretly having a good time.









Thursday, October 22, 2009

The newest edition to the House Famous...

Noah Patrick Stelmach
Born: Wednesday October 21st, 2009
At 4:40am
At KGH in Kingston, with the most Awesome Midwives ever (thank you Donna, Leesha and Terri)! After 27 hours of labour and a little help from a vacuum, Noah came into the world! He had a little trouble with breathing, so the lovely KGH staff got him cleared up, and within no time he was a happy camper. We are now at home and settling into life with a newborn, but Noah seems very easy and co-operative so far. Everyone is happy and excited!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And the Winner Is...


Well friends, family, loved ones and all those who attended, the premiere of "House Famous Movie Film" was a hit. We hope you all enjoyed the beverages, company and especially the hosts.
Okay, let's not forget about the film either. As promised the results.

Quick Note: The nominees are comprised of all those who received at least one vote in their category, the winner is the one with the most votes.

Best Actor Nominees.
Brendan
All
Black shirted Mormon
Todd
Jason


And the Winner is... Brendan!!!













Best Actress Nominees.
Victoria
Liz
All
Chelsea
Shannon


And the Winner is... Chelsea!!!

Best Scene Nominees.
Welcome, Intern (Intern shunning at dinner)
Cookies + Friends (Andrew wanting to bake with Brendan)
Fun and Games (Interviews about monopoly)
Kitchen to Go (Liz making a huge mess)
Respect Your Elders (a fight with mormons)


And the Winner is... Welcome, Intern!!!


Best Cameo Nominees
Liz
Mormons
Andrew
Van
Bunny


And the Winner is... Mormons!!!

Best Costume Nominees.
Brendan's Beard
Jason (without a shirt)
A sleepless goat shirt
a shirt
shannon (at breakfast)
Mormon
Van
Blankets
Todd's Beard
All beards
Andrew (as a chef)


And the Winner is... Jason (without a shirt)

Best Set Design Nominees
Pile of Blankets
Van
Kitchen
Monopoly
Dumpster


And the Winner is... The Dumpster

A Note. In the category "Best Score" there seemed to be some confusion, not only from the voting members but also the panel of judges who deal with such issues. In light of this matter, the Award for Best Score has gone to Hans Zimmer for The Dark Knight. Thank You

Finally we asked you the audience to tell us which descriptor you felt best suited the film. Some of you felt moved by it, many of you felt that it was appropriate to title the film "funniest we have ever seen, in our whole lives, ever!"
We thank you.
But more than any other word to be associated with the House Famous Movie Film, you the viewers elected the film be described as

Classic.

We couldn't agree more.

So there you have it, a list of the bests of House Famous Movie Film. The creators of the film would like to thank you all for your support and participation.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Bountiful Harvest


Even though this past summer was not a super-ideal growing season, what with the cool temperatures and many days of rain; yet God provided us with so much food out of our little back yard garden. Here we are harvesting and dealing with the basil plants, which we turned into about 5 litres of pesto (mmmm, delicious fresh pesto will be so tasty in February!).

We were also blessed with MANY pounds of green and purple beans, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, kohlrabi, onions, snowpeas, zuchinni, lettuce, spinach and more cucumbers than you could shake a stick at.

As most of the plants are dying off now, we will spend part of this weekend putting the garden to bed for the winter. Although growing vegetables and herbs is a very normal and simple thing to do, it never ceases to amaze us how God takes the lifeless, seemlingly inactive little seeds and turns them into such a beautiful abundance. It's just one more illustration of what he's doing in the world: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."

We hope to be people involved in this mysterious growing of God's kingdom... In the meantime, we will dig in the dirt and plant the seeds we're given, waiting for further instructions.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

...a little more House Famous retreat-related ridiculousness...


video video

Them Changes

Hello. Sorry for the delay in posting but we've been rather busy here at HF headquarters. On September 1st we expanded (once again!) to an apartment 2 blocks away on 22 Vine Street, which we now affectionately refer to as the "22 Side". And then things got better. Last weekend we went on a retreat, this time to a very lovely cottage outside of Sydenham. We had an amazing time while there...perfect weather, camp fires, tomfoolery. You know, the usual retreat bidness. We now leave you with a little taste of our escape to the wilderness...

Monday, August 10, 2009

MAKE!

This week four House Famous members will be deeply entrenched at an arts camp called "make" at Rustle Church. Please be praying for us and the kids who have to put up with us! It would be nice if Jesus and His Spirit paid us a visit.

Friday, July 31, 2009

24 Hour Prayer @ House Famous

From 9:00 pm Sunday (August 2nd) to 9:00pm Monday (August 3rd) we're going to be praying. This little event will be taking place in the living room on the 49 side, feel free to stop by and pray with us if you'd like. You can stay as little or as long as you want! Also, feel free to leave prayer requests in the comment section below and we'll do our best to send them up.

We stumbled upon 24-hour prayer this past winter and seem to have only scratched the surface of this very long tradition, hopefully this weekend will be another step forward towards a deeper conversation with God. You can read this to learn more.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Baby Update



Here is a photographic update of how the baby is getting bigger:
BAM!
2 months and 2 weeks to go.
THAT IS SO SOON!!!!!!


Please donate freely to the "ChelseaStretchMarkRecoveryFund".

love
"Baby Oven" Stelmach

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Little Flowers of Winnipeg

Chelsea and I just returned from a cross country tour to see my brother's family, especially our new niece, Keziah. We were very pleased. He has a beautiful family that really refreshed us as we drove through our vast country.

On our travels we decided to connect with another New Monastic community in Winnipeg called the Little Flowers. Again, another refreshing time. I was immediately impressed by the diversity of their neighbourhood. Everyone seemed to be either of Asian or First Nations descent. It had an inner city energy that we don't experience much out here in the little Loyalist town of Kingston.

This community had much in common with ours. They, like us, are still in the formative stages of the community. They, like us, have an early 30's couple living with a bunch of folk in their early 20's. They also arose out of another organisation (YWAM Winnipeg), where we have our roots in Camp IAWAH. We were able to share some mutual joys and frustrations and forged out a the beginnings of a friendship I hope will last. We'll likely need each other down the road.

Jamie, the pastor of our their community is looking for a couple to join their work in the inner city of Winnipeg. You can find them at http://www.littleflowers.ca/

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Freedom Sold!!!

Yet another successful freedom sale was had at the House Famous this weekend. Despite rain cutting our yard sale short, we were able to raise $505.05 for the new Joseph Street Supportive Housing Complex (final product envisioned above). This will help furnish One and a half units of the 24 unit building, which is great, but work still needs to be done.

NeXt Church will be collecting donations over the next few weeks to attempt to raise funds for a few more units. So... if you're interested in investing in a program that actually helps people get off the streets and stay housed, think about giving to this project!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Freedom Sale 2!!!!!!

It's that time of year again! Saturday June 20th we will be performing the sequel to last year's very successful FREEDOM SALE. Last year we were able to raise over $500 for the Crisis Pregnancy Centre.

This year we hope to raise funds for Home Base Housing's new Joseph Street Complex. They have built a 24 unit building for the purpose of providing supportive housing to previously homeless people in Kingston. Since we work a lot with homeless folk in this town, we want to be supportive of good ideas like this that make an honest attempt to bring an end to homelessness in our city. Check it out here.

All money raised by the sale will go toward this project!

This is a great chance to "Free" yourself from any unnecessary clutter around your home and donate useful stuff to our glorified yardsale!

We are looking for things like: housewares, kitchen gadgets and tools, clothing, books, DVDs, CDs, books, and anything else hanging around your house that might have some value to someone else. We would love to sell your stuff. Bring it by 49 or 51 York Street sometime before the 20th.

And come and buy stuff too!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

summer skin.



House Famous wishes you a frank and productive summer.

Monday, June 1, 2009

My hometown is in Cornwall, Ontario. I used to hate this town, and couldn't wait to get away and find greener pastures. Recently, however, I've come to understand that it has a special place in my heart that can move me deeply in an instant. A story I read today on cbc.ca was one of those moments.

Today, at the border a blockade was set up by people from Akwesasne First Nation, shutting the border crossing at Cornwall. The blockade was set up to protest the arming of Customs Officers at the border with 9 mm handguns. As a Christian who has been thinking a lot about peacemaking, this situation appalls me.

First of all, I am always against arming people for the sake of "security". In the end guns will always make things less secure by adding tension to already tense situations.

Secondly, arming guards on land our country has designated as Mohawk Territory feels an awful lot like an armed occupation. If Canada has taken any steps forward in reversing colonialism, this is definitely a step backwards.

Christians need to speak up in situations like these. Below are some articles and a petition. Pray and consider whether you should take action.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/NoGunsForCBSA/index.html
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2009/06/01/akwesasne-guards-border-guns001.html
http://www.akwesasne.ca/news/PR052909a.html

Sunday, May 31, 2009

RETREAT!!!!

The House Famous got away for a bit this weekend...

We retreated to a safe place north of the city to relax, refocus and get to know each other better. It was a blessing and a tonne of fun. When the eight of us get together we have a blast. And Jesus teaches us stuff. Here is a video of some of our celebration. video

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How do I join this fascinating community?

Since we started, we've had a number of people ask how they could get involved or join our community. This winter (a year and a half later... we never said we were swift!) we finally nailed down how someone would go about it: INTERNSHIPS! There is a document link on the right of the blog that tells about our internships, so if you're interested check it out. Right now we have 3 interns going through the process and one member has already graduated, so you would be following in the footsteps of great men and women!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Conditions are Perfect...

Last weekend we planted our garden. This is the second year we've had a garden and as such, it is our most ambitious attempt yet. This is the year we learn to share with our landlord Stan. He always fills a garden, that's larger than ours, with roma tomatoes and hot peppers. For some reason last year I thought we should grow our own tomatoes. Some of ours rotted on the vine and he gave away tonnes to neighbours and friends. This year, we swung a deal. We'll grow cucumbers in our garden (which Stan loves, but for some reason doesn't grow) and he'll grow the tomatoes in his. And we'll share. What a concept!

This year we planted cucumbers, zuchinis, sage, thyme, basil, oregano, cilantro, parsley, onions, carrots, Kol Rabi, spinach, bell peppers, broccoli, fennel, romain and great lakes lettuce (which grow in smashed televisions), and the plant we're most proud of: eggplant! So far we've kept the weeds back, the seeds watered, and have had lots of help. It's up to God now!

Friday, May 15, 2009

and HE shall be called...well, we don't know yet.

It's a boy! The magic of ultrasound tells us that the little person in my (Chelsea's) belly is in fact male. We're going to have a little boy!
We are crazy excited; if you have any baby boy clothing or items you want to throw our direction, please let us know! In the meantime, here are some pictures.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Give me one more dudes..."



I know that I'm kind of stealing Liz's thunder by posting right on top of her fine portrait below, but I'm being displaced and I thought it would be best to try and get in my last word here before my boxes start getting shipped out and I find myself eating not with seven housemates, but with myself.

I've been thinking a lot about my year of living here in the past couple of weeks. A year is a pretty long time and trying to think about all of the things that happen in a year is a really difficult task so let me some up by giving random points about things I learned and discovered living in The House Famous

1) My opinion matters: When I was in elementary school I was bullied pretty extensively towards the end of my time there. This had the pretty lasting impact of making me feel like things I had to say didn't really matter. Jason and I had a discussion about this a little while ago and he said that when I first moved in, I drove him crazy because I would bring things up and they would be good things but I wouldn't have any faith in them because I didn't think my opinion mattered. Living here has helped me to overcome that and feel like my voice matters in the grand scheme of things.

2) Living with lots of other people is better but not easier: I remember thinking that when I started living with people it would be better. I think some part of my brain also associated that with being easier. This is not the case. When you live with 7 other people in close proximity and intentionality, it's very difficult to maintain all of those relationships. Sometimes you miss talking to a person for a week and then you have to go back and catch up, and sometimes you offend each other just based on the way you live. These things can make life difficult. But in the end, it is better to live with others than to live alone. When you live in isolation, you find that you no longer enjoy your own company anymore and it's very easy to fall into depression.

3) Poverty exists in North America, it has a face, and it needs love: Having lived in the rich, vast sub-urban area of Kingston for 18 years, I've lived at a distance from those in poverty in my own community for quite sometime. I was over here and they were out there (wherever there is) and so it was easy for me to say that poverty wasn't a big issue in Kingston. Moving downtown (and more specifically to the north of princess area) was an eye opener. Not only was there poverty in Kingston, there was a lot of poverty in Kingston. And there wasn't just poverty, there were people living in conditions of poverty with names and faces and stories that would break your heart. Living in this neighborhood and having our house be as open as it has been has been uncomfortable for me at time but it has taught me things I never would have learned on my own.

So there you are friends, as I head out to a different level of interaction with The House Famous, I leave you with these thoughts. It's been swell.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

welcome newbie!


The House Famous is pleased to announce the arrival of another house mate - Liz Nolan! Liz hails from Ottawa where she has just recently graduated from the School of the Photographic Arts (SPAO). Liz has been a great friend to all of us for a long time and we are happy she's moving in to our crazy community. Let the tomfoolery begin!

Also. 1,000,000,000 House Famous points to whoever guesses what Liz is drinking in this picture...

come now and join the feast...

Dumpster diving is pretty darn awesome. This past weekend we got probably 30 feet of carpet from a hotel renovation, and then shortly thereafter we got a huge garbage bag of fresh bread. It's odd, on one hand it's a fun thing you can do with your friends that also cuts down on your grocery bill. Or on the other hand you can think about how incredibly wasteful and excessive our culture is, so much so that some people can actually live off of the excess of others.

I think this will be our new hobby. And if you happen to hear a ruckus outside your home or business late at night - don't worry- it's probably just us shopping.

Friday, April 10, 2009

An Unlikely Criminal...

But still guilty as charged.
My day in court is over and my fifteen minutes of fame are up. I must say, I've learned alot. That's not to say I've learned my lesson, if I could go back in time, I'd do it the same way. But I learned alot about how the courts work, how the media works, how important friends are, and that seeing things through to the end gives the closure I need.
Above is a picture of a prayer vigil we put on before we all went in to hear the verdict. We all got cold and wet, but I'm glad we prayed before it all started as it kept things in perspective for me. Whatever the judge decided meant very little - staying true to the gospel of peace (and my Lord who spoke that gospel into existence) as I understand it was far more important.
In the end I was found guilty and given a $300 fine. There was a small victory in it all that the judge did not give me a court order to fill out the census, as this would have put me into a much more serious situation of being in contempt of court if I continued to refuse to comply. God was good and showed me mercy. My job was done.
Thanks to everyone who prayed. Thanks to all who came out and filled up the courtroom and helped intimidate the powers (extra baliffs were called in to protect the judge from us rowdy peaceniks!). Thanks especially to those who helped me pay down the fine, your generosity will not soon be forgotten.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On Neighbourhoods and Community

7) I commit to the members of this community. I will connect one-on-one with every member of the household on a weekly basis. This will also require openness to invitations and inviting. ‘Connecting’ means: Separating a portion of time for each member of the household to have a conversation, growing in knowledge of the other person. I will also pray for every member of the household on a daily basis.
This is the second in a series of 15 posts on our house commitments and the scriptural basis surrounding them. You can read the first post in this series here.

I have fond memories of my neighbourhood as a kid. This has something to do with an aspect of my childhood that I’m not sure kids experience anymore. When my older sister was younger (probably about 3 or 4) she got introduced to another boy in our neighbourhood who we shared a backyard with. They began to play together often. This process happened enough times that by the time I was old enough to play with this group, there were 8 or 9 of us (depending on the time of year) who were a pretty steady group of friends. We became a tight community of friends and would play together almost every single day of the summer.

As we all got older though, things changed a lot. Because I was 4 or 5 years younger than most of our group, we were all in different life stages by the time we were out of elementary school. People moved out, kids moved away, and DINKs (Double income no kids) moved into the houses they left vacant. The community broke up, and they was nothing left to take its place.

This is a story that’s all too common in North America. Increasingly, neighbourhoods are stepping away from being communities, where people are approachable and friendly, and are moving towards being blocks of houses where people don’t interact.

Part of our commitment to each other is a nod toward this idea. We feel that all too often, we don’t interact with others in our communities (geographical or otherwise). We simply exist and any contact we do have with each other is superficial at best. I mean, how many times have you heard the exchange “How are you?” “Good” and the conversation stopped dead right there?

If we’re going to live together, we want to really know each other. We want to understand what’s going on in the lives of our housemates, we want to spend time with them, and we want to grow in understanding of them so that we might come to love them more fully. Our commitment to the members of our community is an expression of this idea.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

In Memoriam: Stove Famous

We lost our cool green stove. The front right burner (the big useful one) burnt out. And as it turns out, according to Stanlord, this oven had been in use since 1966. Seriously, they don't make them like that anymore. Plus they stopped making burners and such for this model in 1986 as well. It lived a good life. I imagine it's in Mexico or Europe right now, enjoying oven retirement. That's beautiful.

We're going to miss it's retro dials and olive green coat. Farewell, Stove Famous, Farewell.

Todd's Day in Court!

So, it's all over until April 6th, when the judge will make his final decision on the matter.
Here is some great coverage from our local media about our day in court:



Thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement!
love
Todd and Chelsea

Friday, February 27, 2009

"Objection to Census Could Land Alumnus in Jail"

Todd is headed back to court this coming Thursday (March 5th). This court visit is Todd's trial for his refusal to submit his census. If you've missed out on what's going on with this situation, the Queen's Journal did an interview and write-up with Todd in the latest issue. You can check that out HERE!.

If you're interested in a further explanation of Todd's reasoning for refusing to submit his census you can check out his reasons in a post from last year when he began this whole process.

And if you'd like to know what Todd's thoughts are on reconciling his refusal to submit his census with Romans 13 (you were just about to comment about that weren't you?) you can read Todd's thoughts on that as well here.

Please keep Todd in your prayers as he goes before the courts to represent himself.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday is drop-in day. In February we've been conducting an experiment to see if offering our house up as a drop-in for our homeless friends is helpful in our Fruit Basket (another name for the criss-crossed streets North of Princess) community. We started with lunch after church, for which we had between one and six people show up for about half an hour to eat soup with us. Then one of our guests recommended opening our doors between 5:30pm-8pm when all other downtown drop-ins are closed. Our friends on the street have a much better understanding of what is needed than we will ever know, so we changed our times. This Sunday we had a great time with 6 different people over the full two and half hours allotted to our drop-in. I hope next week is even more fruitful!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Welcome Newbies!

We at the House Famous are very pleased to announce that we will quite soon have two new housemates! Shannon and Andrew will be joining our little experiment of faith and love in the coming weeks. We are very blessed to have them, and are excited to see how God will build them up and into our community! We also anticipate many hijinx and rumbles and crafts and debates to ensue promptly after they move in.

Here is a lovely picture of our friends; if you can guess what holiday they are celebrating in this picture, I will personally send you a prize.
(from Chelsea)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hmmmm, this might be interesting...


February doldrums got you down? Got the mid-winter blues? Me too. So, how about a little creative exercise to stimulate those mind and heart muscles? Break out the pencils, blank notebooks and bibles. Check it out: a chance to rant, rave, share, challenge, joke, philosophize and perhaps inspire yourself and others. (Oh, and there's money to be won too.)
Let the sermonizing begin!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

If it's yellow let it mellow...

This will probably turn out to be an odd post...
This is what our toilet often looks like at the House Famous (minus the toilet paper as this is not actually a picture of our toilet but a google image, our toilets have more provocative colours such as violet or cream). That's right, our toilets often have pee in them! This may seem odd to our guests but, I assure you we have our reasons.

The average North American uses 142 liters of quality drinking water each day.Of this amount 50 per cent is flushed down the toilet. I can't think of a more arrogant manner to flout our affluence than by peeing in half our drinking water.

This is a crazy stat as drinking water is fast becoming the key issue of the 21st century. The United States of America is getting thirstier and beginning to eye the delicious waters of Canada. http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080424/water_wars_080424/20080424?hub=SciTech

Unsafe drinking water is also the number one killer of children in the world.
http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2005-03/2005-03-17-voa34.cfm?CFID=103336814&CFTOKEN=27025139&jsessionid=6630844b00a466c7ef9073781b6bb4b39107
Those are just 2 of many compelling reasons we've stopped flushing yellow (don't worry, if it's brown, we flush it down) So for thi reason, if you decide to come and visit the house famous, or are thinking of joining our community, you should consider carefully whether you can stomach yellow toilet water. We don't pretend to be solving the world's problems with this policy, in fact, many people have far more effective methods of conserving water by toilet. We know we're actually pretty moderate in this respect. http://www.thesimpleway.org/practical/water.html

That said, we figure if we can cut our flushes by 50-75% we can save about 35L of water per day, per person in our household. It's a humble attempt but one we've stuck to in our short life as a community. It may seem a little gross to the average guest, but hey...

Everybody pees!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

speaking of prayer...


I've been thinking a lot about prayer lately. Below is a prayer by Rabbi Jack Riemer that has been on the lips of quite a few people in our churches and larger community...I think it's quite excellent.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end war; for we know that You have made the world so that all of us must find our own path to peace within ourselves and with our neighbors.

We cannot merely pray to you, O God, to end starvation; for You have already given us the resources with which to feed the entire world, if we would only use them wisely.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to root our prejudice; for You have already given us eyes with which to see the good in all people, if we would only use them rightly.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end despair; for You have already given us the power to clear away slums and to give hope, if only we would use our power justly.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end disease; for You have already given us great minds with which to search out cures and healing, if we would only use them constructively.

Therefore, we pray to You instead, O God, for strength, determination, and willpower – to do as well as to pray, to become as well as to wish.

For Your sake and for ours, speedily and soon, that our land may be safe, and our lives may be blessed.

Praised are You, O God; You bless Your people Israel, and all humankind, with peace.

Amen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I watched President-elect Obama's inauguration today and, I must say, it was a beautiful thing to watch. There were many parts of this inauguration that I found moving, but one part in particular stuck with me. The part I refer to was the closing benediction that was written and delivered by the Reverend Joseph Lowery. Lowery is a Methodist minister who was integral in leading the civil rights movement with Dr.King in the 60's, and this is some of what he said...

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far along the way, thou who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee. Shadowed beneath thy hand may we forever stand -- true to thee, O God, and true to our native land.

For we know that, Lord, you're able and you're willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor or the least of these and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that, yes, we can work together to achieve a more perfect union. And while we have sown the seeds of greed -- the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power and your heart of love.

Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right.

Let all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

No Clothes for a Year


Happy New Year! Welcome to 2009. Chelsea here. I think that New Year's as a celebration is very interesting; it seems to bring out in people a desire to reflect on the past and plan for the future. It seems to inspire us to want to do better at living life to the fullest. It seems to act as a reminder that time is marching along, and we'd better make the most of the year(s) ahead of us.

The whole idea of resolutions has always interested me as well, and while I have never been particularly good at keeping resolutions like exercising daily or becoming vegan (it's just so hard to get around to those ones), during the past year of 2008 I was able to keep one resolution: I did not buy any clothing for one year.

Many good and noble reasons jumped to mind when I started out on this 'fast' from clothes-shopping: I've long been interested in promoting "recylcled" second-hand clothes, the use of sweatshops in the developing world is a terrible problem perpetuated by Western greed, by not buying clothes I would have more money for helping our community, etc, etc, etc. Lots of answers that would make me look socially conscious or whatever. But the real reasons that I abstained from buying clothes for a year were 1) I was becoming obsessed with my exterior appearance, including my clothes, rather than focusing on my internal condition, and 2) I wanted to see if and how God would provide for my needs, as He has promised.

So, with no scientific measures or formal parameters, I did not purchase any clothing for myself for 365 days. No shirts, no underwear, no pants, no shoes, no dresses, no coats. And it was way easier and more fun than I imagined it would be.

By the end of the first two months, I had stopped thinking about how to justify spending on whatever cute shirt was in the window of the shops that week: since it was out of the question, I eventually stopped fussing and obsessing and worrying about it.

At the end of April, we moved into the new side of the house: at this point, since I had to pack all my clothes up anyway, I gave away a full garbage bag of clothes that I wasn't using any more.

Our house held a community yard sale in the summer, where lots of people donated stuff; after the sale was over, there was tons of clothing left over, so I was able to glean a few items before we sent them along to the thrift store.

There was also a Clothing Exchange at the local artist's co-op called Made-For-You; I took in a bunch of clothes, and swapped them for other people's stuff.

A few friends of mine gave me their old clothes when they were finished with them. They also let me borrow clothes for special occasions.

I became much better at sewing and fixing rips and tears and buttons, rather than letting them go.

In the end, this experiment was very worthwhile; I saw God provide absolutely more than all I needed, and I feel as though I've learned alot about identifying with people who simply don't have the option of buying new clothes whenever they feel like it... Like the people who make most of the clothes we find in stores today...

I encourage everyone to try this experiment: give it a shot for a year, don't buy any clothes. Or try only buying second-hand clothes. Or cut your clothing purchases in half. Try something. After all, clothing is just coloured fabric to cover our dangly bits and keep us warm in the winter. It's not nearly as important as the colour and fabric of your soul and mind.