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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Christmas List

I told my mom I was doing this and so here it is! Gunn Family, the reunion is fast approaching and if you have a hard time figuring out what to surprise me with, here is a list. Please don't give me any bath stuff because I work for a bath company and only use their stuff. See you all on Christmas!


Whatever it takes - Paul Tough
Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell
Acceptance - David L. Marcus
Student Development in College - Nancy J. Evans
American Higher Education in the 21st Century - Professor Philip G. Altbach
Half the Sky - Nicholas D. Kristof

Donate to my favorite charities:

LIFT (the organization I work for) - http://www.nspnet.org/donate/index.htm

Harlem Children s Zone - https://secure3.convio.net/hcz/site/Donation2?df_id=1260&1260.donation=form1

The University of Florida 'Center for Leadership and Service' - https://www.uff.ufl.edu/OnlineGiving/FundDetail.asp?FundCode=005099

Gift Cards to places I like:

Ikea - I don't have a mattress for my bed
Forever 21
Barnes and Noble

Other Stuff:

Winter Gear
Gator/UF stuff - http://gatorzone.teamfanshop.com/ (I'd really like some home stuff like blankets and some nice sweaters)

Big Gifts:

Laptop :).

Call or e-mail me if you have any questions!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I need a lift

I'm trying to help a client find a job who hasn't worked in 20 years. In any circumstance finding a job for him would be hard. But now.... I honestly believe he could find great work. He is very intelligent. I would hire him. But it's the out there that worries me.

A client came in today in such despair. "It's so hard out there." I let him know that we are behind him and he replied with "that's why I come here. I need a lift."

Do you ever look at things and wish they weren't this way. But the deep longing in our hearts must be a sign that a better world is possible? We all deserve something better. Than this.

Looking at the world from a bottom of a well by Mike Doughty

Thursday, August 13, 2009

give em' hope

So after a very emo day yesterday, I settled into my couch at home, snapped the lid off of a B&J Strawberry Cheesecake pint and prepared to watch some movies.

I watched MILK. It turned out to be just the movie. In the last scenes of the movie, Harvey Milk discusses the idea of hope. It brought me back to the work I do. It is so easy to become despaired and to become burdened by the weight of all the brokenness and pain in the world and distress. But you can create hope, you can break down barriers, you can do something. You can be a listening ear. It doesn't have to end with a question of "what do we do?" Because there is nothing to small.

There is an abandoned hotel in North Philadelphia right on Broad and Fairmount. Someone recently went to the roof and wrote 'free da hood.' Free da hood...

I ask this... If there should be an assassination, I would hope that five, ten, one hundred, a thousand would rise. I would like to see every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out - - If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door... And that's all. I ask for the movement to continue. Because it's not about personal gain, not about ego, not about power... it's about the "us's" out there. Not only gays, but the Blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us's. Without hope, the us's give up - I know you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. So you, and you, and you... You gotta give em' hope... you gotta give em' hope. Harvey Milk (Sean Penn)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

when you love...

My heart feels so heavy.

I came here to love the city. I think thats how I described it in my first blog entry. To love the city.
But love is much more complicated and painful and wonderful than I could have ever imagined. And sometimes when you really really love, love can break your heart.
We recently had an article about us posted in the newspaper. We have been yearning for some great outreach and it was definietely a success. And now our phone rings off the hook with people trying to connect to our services. People who need a place to stay for them and their children. People who have a place to move into but cannot afford the move in costs. People who can't find jobs and I wonder if we can find them jobs. The need is much greater and more devestating than I could have ever imagined. And I wonder if we are the ones that can help them. And I wonder why things are this way. And I wonder how far love can go.
Maybe I'm too sensitive, I worry too much.
But love, love makes everything more complicated. It makes you do crazy things so outside of your character that you fear you may have lost yourself.
I love this city and I love the people here. So now what, what do I do for the people that can't be so easily helped.
What happens when love isn't enough.

To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive - to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment, and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before. Rollo May

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

# 6 Go to a Phillies Game

So I started a list of things I want to do in Philadelphia before I leave. I don't actually know the numbers because I lost the list, but I do remember the things. So our North office and West Office enjoyed a Phillies game. My first Phillies game and baseball game in general. It was so much fun!!!

There are many negative things said about Philadelphia but this city is a city of love and passion. It's the kind of tough gritty love that makes you sort of rough around the edges and maybe a little obnoxious at times. This city sure does love its Phillies and it was an honor to be apart of the hoopla. The field was a bit out of the city so I get to view an unadulterated sunset that was very beautiful. I even enjoyed a baseball tradition: chickie and pete's crab fries with cheese sauce. It was an absolute joy and even more fun with our staff.

More Philadelphia adventures to come!!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

riding through clouds

There are many reasons I enjoy plane rides. One reason is that you can say "I rode through a cloud this morning" and have it be absolutely true.

I finally got back into Philly this afternoon. It was a great trip that involved a lot of opportunities for learning and growth. I got to spend time with some wonderful people including spending some time with mom. I really enjoy Florida and have now begun to see that it is a naturally beautiful place. It was crazy humid and even crazier hot but still I really enjoyed it. I really miss the beach and lament that I won't be able to just cruise down there whenever I want. I know that many people praise the Jersey shore but I can't imagine that it even holds a flame to a Florida beach.

I thought the trip would be purely relaxing but a few things happened to me that have placed me in a questioning phase. Mainly around my religious and spiritual place. A few things happened that made me think 'is my new found independence a distraction from my relationship with God?' After much deep thought and reflection I found this to be a silly idea but at the same time I realized that I had some really conservative inflexible ideas about my religion and society that I just didn't want to have anymore. Maria Shriver wrote a book a while ago called 'just who will you be?' In it she poses the idea that our life is now about finding out what you will be but who will you be. I returned to that book for some inspiration and guidance. My own spiritual journey has been a rocky road these past few years. Finding my voice within the larger context of a religious identity has brought about some really intense challenges. Am I not following God when I follow my own heart? To answer that question I first had to get at the root of who I think God is and whose concept of "following God" am I really measuring my own actions by?

I also learned that I still have many areas of growth in my life. I want to become the best version of my self but who is that exactly. I have felt so ungrounded and even more so these past few months. I really want to find my own voice and my place in society instead of being swayed by every good idea. I believe that I was created with a plan and that I am on that plan and yet the next step is still unclear to me. But also that life is about choices and commitment at some point you have to start living by that. I also want to change the world for the better. But maybe there is where I've stepped into too much pride. Maybe I should realize that I do have something that I contribute but I very well can't do everything. There are many capable and compassionate human beings out there all itching to make a difference in this world. I just have to find my place in that bigger picture and do the best that I can.

Ultimately over the past week, I've come to realize that life is very short. I am sorrounded my wonderful and inspiring human beings. I am very blessed. I am always becoming. I accept and embrace who I am and the mistakes I have made. And life is about finding love, giving it away and feeling it.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I am very excited to be here. I already feel relaxed!

This morning I had to leave the house by 4 to catch my train to the airport. Preparing my stuff the night before was def. a huge help and prevented my past packing foibles such as forgetting my charger and such. I made it to the airport, early as usual because my worst fear is missing my flight. However I wasn't so luck on my connecting flight. I had a flight from Philly to Atlanta and then Atlanta to Jacksonville. My flight in from Philly was delayed and I got to the gate at 9:23 for my connecting flight. It was scheduled to depart at 9:30. I wasn't sure if I had missed the boarding because their were still people sitting there and thier was a lady at the desk. For some reason I didn't approach the desk until she walked away onto the boarding dock and closed the door. The man at the desk looks at me and goes "I hope that wasn't your flight." It was my flight. Missed.

But everything happens for the reason and I was determined to stay positive. I called my friend Kara who was picking me up and she suggested that I try to get a flight straight into Gainesville. Her tire light (I don't know anything about cars) had just gone off anyway so she had to go to the tire place? After checking with the Delta lady (Karen, really nice) I found out that there was a flight leaving to Gainesville at 10:57.

This is an amazing fact for many reasons. 1. I never fly Delta because it is too expensive but Delta is one of the like four airlines that flies into the Gainesville airport. 2. There are only two flights that leave Atlanta and head to Gainesville on any given day and one was later in the afternoon and 3. I got in the same time that I would have gotten in had I flown into Jacksonville and drove down. So I got to fly straight into Gainesville and it was wonderful. Everything happens for a reason and works out in the end. Just have a little faith.

I really love this place. While it holds a lot of memories it also just feels like home. I grew a lot here and while many of the people that I met during college no longer live here my two best friends are still here as well as many people from my church and of course my much loved advisors/mentors/generally good people-ers.

I really love my job. Like love love love. But the past few weeks I have just felt incredibly tired. I hate that feeling and so I'm thankful for the time to just reenergize. I hope that I enjoy it and make the best of it. Here's to straight chillin'.