Some people are called to voluntary poverty, no doubt about it.  And they live it beautifully, and they are confident of their calling, and they might want nice things, but they follow God's leading and live on less than most of us.

I live in poverty.  Just barely, and only according to a number set by the US government.  Really, I have plenty of money for all I need and some left over.  So my issue lately hasn't been "Am I called to voluntary poverty (not really a relevant question)?" but "What do I do with the "wiggle room" in my budget?"  

Nice things are nice.  Soooo nice.  Like cognac-colored boots.  Want them!  And a nice new bicycle to ride around the metro area.  Would be so nice!  And I want to backpack Europe.  So that would mean a nice framepack as well.  And a good-quality new sleeping bag.  So the list goes on.

But there are so many ways that I can use my money.  A missionary living in a tiny village in Bolivia has to raise money in case she needs to airlift one of the townspeople out.  A family is moving and needs some extra cash.  Close friends have birthdays.  A friend goes on a short-term trip.  Kids in my neighborhood need clothes for school.

My tendency is to swing from one extreme to the other. One month of big spending, feel guilt, one month of more giving, ignore things that I need, repeat cycle.  I think what I need at this point in my life is some balance.  I need to follow God's leading when He is telling me to be generous, but I also have to be able to look professional at work, which might mean new shoes or a cardigan.

This is something I've been thinking about for several years, and I've even blogged about it before:
- Simplicity vs Christmas Spirit
-The Weak and Fatherless
- Urbana Thoughts: Working in Poverty

I don't claim to have the answers, but I'll keep writing about this as I live in Phillips and make ends meet.


Life, always interrupted

It turns out that despite my best intentions I am not a great blogger in the United States.  Life here is so fast-paced that I enjoy the few moments of quiet that I get too much to open my computer, even when blog post ideas are swimming around in my head.  Checking Facebook isn't even fun anymore.  We'll see if blogging returns to a therapeutic activity again when life slows down again (like life will ever slow down).

What has my life been full of lately?  Well, exciting things.  Things that have grown me in my spiritual walk and made me feel like I have community here.  Things like:
- Hosting my older sister and friends now that I have a house to live in.
- Joining a new small group that has challenged me to live in community and to live for Christ
- Barely staying up to snuff in my Greek class
- Working extra hours at the coffee shop so I can go visit my grandma in Maryland over spring break
- Taking part in a weekly community meal with my wonderful housemates
- Listening to sermons on Hebrews, which we are studying for small group

So, maybe that's why I haven't been writing, but that's not an excuse to not document in some form the joys and sorrows of life with Christ.  Here's my hope that the next time a great post idea comes into my brain I'll take the time to type it out.