Sunday, September 27, 2009

At last... a new update from Chicago


It has been almost three weeks since our last post and an incredible three weeks it has been. Chicago continues to feel more like home every week, however, every week we also begin to miss friends and family more and are longing for a visit sometime soon.

September 2nd marked my first day of official inservice training at school, and the 8th was finally the first day for our students. It was great to at last be back at school and beginning this next part of our journey. Working at Juarez this year is truly living a dream. The school and the students are fantastic and a great fit. A few stats: 90+% of our students are hispanic, 80% learned English as a second language, 98%ish of our students are low SES, and we were just informed that our school is on probation for the 13th consecutive year. Our school is a family where teachers are passionate about their students and striving to improve. Our students are respectful, courteous and great kids that are fighting an uphill battle to be successful. I know that this year will be full of learning and struggling with some serious issues that I am now living rather than just talking about in abstract terms.

Every year our school loses students to violence related deaths. Just last night on the news in two day 3 Chicago High School students (2 of which were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time) were killed due to gang related violence. In the first four months of 2008 nearly as many people were killed in the city of Chicago due to violence as US soldiers were killed in the war in Afghanistan. My kids are growing up in the midst of a war that they have nothing to do with but will mark the rest of their lives.

Illegal immigration will be another issue that will be close to my hear this year as I live with, teach and get to know students that are in the midst of the reality of being undocumented. I know that some of the issues I'm going to blog about our controversial, I hope and pray that you will give me grace and this space to be real as we learn and wrestle.

As any beginning of the school year is filled with hope, opportunities and excitement it also has been marked with stress, being overwhelmed and illness. I'm excited to get into a routine, gain confidence and get healthy.

We are blessed to continue to plug into the community both here at McCormick and at our church, to deepen relationships and have some connections here in Chicago. We knew that this move to Chicago would be a new chapter in our journey and we continue to live expectantly as this chapter unfolds.

Thank you for reading! You are a blessing in our lives. Feel free to post comments or shoot us an email: or, we would love to hear from you.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A "B" Never Felt So Sweet!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I just received a B in Greek I and I've never been happier to receive a B in my life! There was a day when I hated seeing "B's" on my report cards, but when I saw this grade I had to restrain myself from kissing my professor! I got my final back to day with my course grade. Now I have to get busy reviewing what I learned in Greek I so that I will be ready for Greek II which starts Thursday morning. Along with Greek I am enrolled in a Church History course and a Pilgrimage in Faith course. The one course I'm hoping and praying I'll get into is the Intro. to Biblical Studies Course. It sounds like I have a good shot at getting let into the already full course but time will tell. By the way, we did get approved for the temporary insurance so that I could register for classes. Thanks for your prayers and praise God for his providence!


Loving Life!

So the day after I was going to start 30 days of happiness I fell off the blogging world! (Oops!) It has been a great last week or so since my last post on the 1st of September. The next day (September 2nd) was my first official day as a Chicago Public School employee and my first day of inservice. The three days of inservice last week were great! I had been told by the principal earlier this fall that Juarez is a family it was very pleased to find out last week that it is. People are welcoming and friendly and very helpful (which is very useful when you still don't know how to get from point A to point B). It was a good three days of meetings and work time. Of course there is never enough time in the classroom to get ready and I always feel 6 steps behind.

Great news came on Thursday afternoon! I had the opportunity to chat with my prinicipal for a minute at the end of the day and he said: "Jennifer, I have great news. Your license is being taken care of and it is all going to be okay." That was a huge relief and led to a much more relaxed and exciting start to the school year.

We were blessed with a great Labor Day weekend and are continuing to build relationships in Chicago. Friday night we went to a shindig at McCormick, Saturday celebrated the first Sat. of college football and hung out with friends. Sunday we had a great time at church and had a wonderful time with some Northwestern friends. Monday was two picnics and it was time to crash to get ready for today.

I was excited for today and was blown away by the day. It is an incredible feeling to be where you know you are meant to be and to be living a dream that you have had for years. I know there will still be challening days, and students, but it was a great day 1. I'm really excited for the upcoming school year!

We thank you for your prayers, thoughts, phone calls and emails. We love you all dearly and are grateful for your support and continued friendships as we continue the journey in a new chapter. Matt has good news too... but I'll leave you in suspense and he'll post to let you know more.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Deep Breath

There is no doubt that moving is a learning experience. Mainly what I've learned is patience and faith. As you know it started with the certification/licensing process for Jenny and now I'm currently waiting to get temporary insurance so that I can register for seminary, meanwhile classes are quickly filling up. As much as I'd like to hurry the process along, all I can do is wait for the insurance company to get back to us. I think it's safe to say that God is teaching us to wait patiently and trust that He will provide. Your prayers that this will work out are appreciated. Please pray specifically that the classes will still be open when I am finally cleared to register and that I'd be able to register soon! We are praying that God is blessing all of you and we trust that you'll have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

30 Days of Happiness: Breakfast in Bed

A friend recently started a series: "30 Days of Happiness" on her blog. Thirty days set aside to look at the simple little things in life that make life worth living. The things that bring joy. In the midst of the transition to Chicago I am excited to join her in this adventure and begin my very own "30 Days of Happiness", looking for the positive and the uplifting in each day.

Day 1- Breakfast in Bed.
Today I was blessed to have a day set aside to spend with My Love (Matt). What a blessing it is to slow down and enjoy spending time together, nowhere to rush to, no to do list t
hat must be accomplish but just to be. I am so grateful for the opportunity to start the day with breakfast in bed and then to share the day exploring the Museum of Science and Industry together. Acting like kids and discussing like adults, what a great day with an amazing husband. I am truly blessed.