My journey begins on a crisp, fall morning in October of 2007. While wandering through a local Barnes & Noble, I encounter a copy of Jim Wallis’ latest release: God’s Politics. The title catches my attention. I take the book from the shelf, finger its pages and think, “God? Politics? What an oxymoron!” Confused and intrigued, I stroll over to the checkout line.
While my exposure to Sojourners began less than a year ago, my love of people and passion for the Christian faith has always been a fundamental part of who I am. After a series of events, I pursued the intern program with a strong sense that my faith journey and the active mission of Sojourners had providentially met. I knew I wanted my voice to be added to the chorus—the distinctive resonance of Sojourners’ vision and work.
I recall that my love for God truly germinated during my final years of high school. These years challenged me in wonderful ways. With the support and encouragement of high school mentors and my family, I applied and was accepted to Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. Here, the Jesuit mission of cura personalis or “care for the whole person” became tangible as I worked to be the difference in my community and in the world. My university experience encouraged me to willfully commit myself to excellence, faith, leadership and service, and for that I am thankful. In August of 2007, I graduated from Marquette with a B.A. in writing-intensive English. The impact of professors and mentors at Marquette has led me to where I am today. I now understand “vocation” as the meeting point between service and faith.
While my schooling played a large role in my desire to pursue an internship position with Sojourners, I must not forget the love and prayerful support of my family. I am the youngest daughter of Quentin and Donna, and the proud baby sister to Kimberly. In recent years, I have had the joy of being an aunt to my one and only niece, Leiya. I feel blessed to have grown up in a diverse urban area in the Midwest. I joyfully spent my early years in Chicago and Evanston, IL. My fondest memories are of bike riding around Northwestern University’s campus with my family, taking long walks down Lakeshore Drive, and spending summer mornings on the beaches that border Lake Michigan.
My passions include: reading, public speaking, listening to NPR, writing, making handmade cards and sending snail mail, engaging in conversations about educational policy, going to coffee shops with my mom, learning about space history and all things pertaining to NASA (I was an educator at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center before coming to D.C.), traveling/discovering new cities on foot, eating vegetarian fajita burritos from Chipotle, tutoring, watching foreign films, and trying to become a runner.
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Finding God on the Running Course
I started running because of my sister. Kim and I began when we were pre-teens. I believed running was the key to making me more like her -- 5 foot 9, lean, beautiful, and highly intelligent. There was one problem: I hated running. After forcing myself to do it for a while, I was disappointed. My dreams of who I would become were dashed, and all I got from trotting around was a lower resting heart rate and bulky thighs.
Years later, much has changed -- including my relationship with running. Following her multiple-sclerosis diagnosis in 2009, Kim, who was once a long-distance runner, has retired her running shoes. She hasn't hit the pavement in more than one year. I still run. Something in my spirit won't let me quit.
Last weekend, I completed my fourth half marathon in Washington, D.C. As I toed the start line, a story began to unfold. At 7 a.m., it was barely 35 degrees outside and still dark. I was surrounded by a sea of 16,000 people -- all of whom were present for one thing: to put their bodies to the ultimate test. This morning was all about endurance.
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Happy Birthday Sojourner Truth!
On this day in 1797, Isabella Baumfree (Sojourner Truth) was born in Ulster County, New York. Sojourner Truth was a former slave, women's rights activist, abolitionist, and great orator. On November 26, 1883, Sojourner passed away in her home in Battle Creek, Michigan.