Grieving the Loss of Terry

This is one of the stories of JUSTembrace.  I think it needs to be told for us both. Yesterday was just a normal day in my neighborhood. At one point there were several cop cars parked outside the SRO (Single Room Occupancy – think “dorm for addicts, mentally ill and chronically homeless folks”) across the… Read more »

I’ve Been Ruined.

On Tuesdays and sometimes Fridays I walk a little less than two blocks down the road for dinner at the local Catholic church.  The soup kitchen at St. Thomas of Canterbury has been run by the same guy for over 30 years I think. This is my favorite soup kitchen in town. I had the honor of… Read more »

Generous in Poverty

Sunday afternoon the doorbell rang. I looked out the window to see a man bundled in a thick winter coat to his ankles and a hikers backpack on his back, waiting. I immediately recognized him; he’d attended the Super Bowl party and I had seen him several times at the soup kitchen down the street since. As I… Read more »

New Eyes

Recently, we have redefined the vision of JUSTembrace.  We have simplified it.  Instead of a paragraph of gradschool words, we have simplified our dream: People Living Lives of Restoration* I want to share with you the evidence that our vision isn’t unreachable – it’s actually happening!  This message came to my facebook as I walked… Read more »

Just Playing Guitar

At the Thanksgiving service that Sher blogged about, I was afforded the opportunity to play a few songs in between the more powerful points of the service as a way to transition from section to section. When I was preparing for it, I remembered thinking that it was going to be nice; nice to sing… Read more »

Suicidal Sacraments

A Thanksgiving Lament I felt like the road to Thanksgiving should be paved in honest lament and crying out to God – especially when ministering among the homeless.  How could I walk into a gathering of over 100 of the poorest of my neighbors and instruct them to be thankful?  At least without first giving… Read more »

My Turn at the Foot Clinic

Two years ago, on the day before Thanksgiving, a group of volunteers and myself hosted the first ever Sole Care Foot Clinic in Uptown.  This was before JUSTembrace.  This was before 4942 North Kenmore Ave.  This was before Emma the Intern.  This was before the Board of Directors.  This was before family dinners or holiday… Read more »

A Tegen-Style JUSTembrace

I miss JUSTembrace.  I miss my home, my neighbors, my church, my friends.  I miss my family in Chicago. It’s the end of October – when I get back to Chicago it’s going to be Holiday Time!  We will be decorating and baking and stocking the freezer with Turkeys and the fridge with all the… Read more »

I Broke a Rule…. and That’s Not All

Rules. Guidelines. Values. Jennifer and I have been talking a lot lately about what the values, guidelines and rules are that structure the life of hospitality we live here in Uptown.  I am pretty sure the first time Jenn said the word “rule” I balked and got a very uncomfortable look on my face.  Rules… Read more »

He Has Jesus in his Heart

Tonight there was an uproar. We were having dinner with a new friend and we saw cop cars and heard a helicopter. Just like if it happened in your neighborhood we wanted to know what was going on! So we walked home and stood in the yard to keep our eyes open on the circumstances…. Read more »