In a small book called The Yellow Lighted Bookshop, Lewis Buzbee recounts the wonders of wandering around bookstores, working in bookstores, and much more. Such places, in his view, are unique in that they allow for browsing, and they allow for being alone together. As we browse, we know that there are others browsing, and when we sit down on the floor (or a convenient chair) and read a chapter, we are, also, reading alone together.
Buzbee is not a Shimerian in the sense of having graduated from Shimer or even having attended for a semester. And yet, his book made me think that if he arrived here tomorrow, he would find something familiar – reading alone, and reading together. Indeed, the bookstore where I purchased The Yellow Lighted Bookshop is a place where I know the owners will ask me how Shimer is doing each time I come in for a browse.
There are many ways to join Shimer in reading along and reading together, for we are also about conversation and discussion, whether in the classroom, the hallways, in coffee shops or online. In this we challenge what Buzbee describes as a “silent” community of readers. We are as sure that reading improves with conversation as that reading is worthwhile. For those of you who are far distant from our hallways, we hope you have found congenial Shimer-ish places to continue the conversation and the reading, and that you will take seriously the opportunity to do so with us through online discussions (insert link) which include faculty from Shimer.
And, we hope you will continue to do what all aficionados of good bookstores do – share the knowledge, recruit new Shimerians, and contribute your treasure to help sustain the discussions that are Shimer’s mission. As you do so, you can think of the conversation I overheard at Sandemeyer’s recently, where I purchased The Yellow Lighted Bookshop. “I am buying this,” said a visitor from Milwaukee, “because I was once a bookseller, and I know that you need the dollars to continue to support both those who browse and those who buy. I love bookstores, and I know you need my help.”
I do, by the way, recommend the book!
We know that you don’t want to be just an armchair observer of Shimer alumni events.
There are many opportunities for you to become involved and move to – um – a different armchair. For example:
1. There are regularly scheduled alumni get-togethers that are happening and/or planned in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, and other areas. These present opportunities to meet with other Shimer folks for a pot luck, book discussion, or any other style event of your choosing. You also might want to be involved in planning an alumni event in your area. It’s easy – just make a few calls and the Alumni in your area will beat a path to your door.
2. The Shimer Alumni Board is growing. We are planning to attend the commencement on April 30, and then meet on campus on May 1. The Alumni Board provides mentorship for students and ex-students in career choices, attends college fairs to support the school, and plans other events, such as a possible lecture series or reunion.
3. This month there is an opportunity to meet an alumni author, Young Kim, who recently had his book, Justice as Right Actions, published (congratulations!). Young Kim will be discussing his book on campus March 23, which will provide an opportunity to mingle with students and other alumni in a stimulating conversation of the type we all remember from our days at Shimer.
For information about attending any of these events contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Alex Rosenberg at the school: email@example.com.
In Seasons in My Garden, award-winning writer Sr. Elizabeth Wagner reveals how tending to a garden in her Maine hermitage brought her to a deeper understanding of what it means to have faith, love others, and hope in the mercy of God. Her keen eye for the most intricate details of nature will help you find a path that brings you closer to God as well.
Sr. Elizabeth Wagner believed God was calling her into deeper contemplation, so she built a hermitage in the Maine wilderness in order to ponder nature and become closer to God.
Seasons in My Garden is a thought-provoking series of meditations, written as Sr. Wagner watched her own monastic garden progress through the seasons. Her reflections invite you to look over her shoulder as she tends to her beautiful garden and meditates on the mysteries of God’s creation and how it corresponds with her own life.
In this captivating book, you will relate to Sr. Wagner as she struggles with feelings of a cold heart—just as her garden lay frozen under a foot of snow—and realizing that God was working to renew her spirit. As sudden storms threatened to destroy her hard work, Sr. Wagner will help you understand that careful preparation of the soul will help you resist the temptation to resent others.
Seasons in My Garden intricately weaves insights from Sr. Wagner’s own growth through the seasons with spiritual guidance and an understanding that patient tending to your soul will help you grow into a beautiful garden that God can use to reflect his glory.
Read more here.
From Joy Ibsen:
What are we doing here?
What do we know about the hereafter?
I didn’t intend to write a memoir—that was an accident. I wanted to share some stories about what I’ve learned about life from the experiences I’ve had with death– from the time I was a child until now in my late adult years. Also, I wanted to share glimpses I have experienced of afterlife; the connections between here and hereafter are illusive and fascinating.
These are real-life stories that have given me some glimpses of eternity, but more than that, they’ve helped me understand more about life. Life is real! Life is fantastic!
Here and Hereafter is about life-endings from different causes––illness, accidents, poor judgment, suicide, alcoholism, assassination, old age. The characters are real people who have been important to me, including a neighbor baby, my childhood friend, a college student, a ghetto seer, my ex-husband, my father, mother, grandparents, civil rights leader, minister, patriarch, poet, politician and also my dog.
It may sound sad, but there is a lot of joy in this book!
I invite you to take a look for yourself…
Read a sample chapter and a review of the book on my brand new website: joyibsen.com.
You can buy the book on Amazon.com for $18.00 paperback, $8.99 for Kindle. I also have some books on hand.
Please comment on my book, Here and Hereafter, or any of my other writings via email. I’d love to hear from you.
Hola Amigos! How's it going? I know it's been a while since I rapped at ya (cf. Jim Anchower). Well, I thought maybe Sara would beat me to the punch on this, but it looks like I get to tell you about our adventure last week at the St. Baldrick's event at IIT's "Bog." In brief, I, Sara, and alumnus Eric Nicholson got our heads shaved to raise $$ for children with cancer (and me to get a haircut at the same time). We raised more than a thousand dollars, though I am not sure how much exactly. Eric's contribution was by far the most impressive though: he had been growing his hair for more than twenty years, after losing it all when he had chemotherapy in his own bout with cancer. Wow. So, he got the pony tail clipped and bagged as it was long enough to help make a wig for a bald child. Now that's giving. Here's a photo of us all after the clipping:
It's been almost a week since my last post. I was getting so used to it being a part of my week-daily routine and then my computer went on the fritz. I suppose I could have written my posts in Shimer's computer lab (which, although small, is quite nice), but to write I need my own computer, my own space.
The last Community Tuesday we had featured Erik Badger, an alum, who spoke about Haiti. He, along with Professor Steve Werlin, have been working down in Haiti for a while now and are especially busy since the recent devastating earthquake.
He told us about all of the help Haiti could use right now, not just donations but volunteer work as well. He also filled us in on the current political situation and connected us (via Skype) with Steve Werlin who is still in Haiti.
To read Steve Werlin's statement about the aftermath of the earthquake go to: http://alumni.shimer.edu/s/1028/index.aspx?sid=1028&gid=1&pgid=252&cid=1154&ecid=1154&crid=0&calpgid=61&calcid=772
Shimerians help out by distributing food donations, getting in contact with other organizations that can help the people of Chicago and collecting supplies like food.
People are encouraged to help out in any way they can, like donating clothing or canned goods or participating in drives like the Super Bowl Sunday Tamale Benefit. Students and other volunteers worked many hours to make vegetarian and meat tamales and then sold them around the community to raise money for the people in need of help in Chicago.
Currently, many people in the dorms here are planning on donating clothing to the MWA to be distributed throughout Chicago.
Playing: Still Mass Effect 2
Classes Today: Nat Sci 2, Soc Sci 2 and Hum 2
Hi, I'm Jessa and I graduated last May. I've been doing some pretty cool stuff that has come, in part, out of my thesis work at Shimer. At Shimer, everyone writes a thesis during their senior year. It is a big project, with a lot of writing to do, and you work on it for the entire school year.
I titled my thesis "The parallel universes of mental health care professionals and patients" (you can read it here) and it is about the gap in perspectives on mental health care between professionals and patients. After I graduated, I bound several copies of my thesis, gave them paper covers, and sent them off with letters to several mental health care professionals I have met in the past. Only one of those professionals responded to me, but it was a very positive response, so I was happy with that. I posted my thesis in a few internet communities of professionals. There I got a lot of negative responses from professionals who were offended that I compared historical mental health care to slavery and current mental health care to racism (you'll have to read my thesis if you want that juicy detail).
I also gave my thesis to a few professionals I still see on a regular basis. One of those professionals was my psychiatrist. When I summarized my thesis for her, she told me that there was a Family Patient Advisory Council getting started at the hospital where I met her. I tracked down the person who was organizing this council and now I am a member. We've only had two meetings so far, but I have already been pleasantly surprised at how well my challenges to the norms in mental health care have been received by the professionals in the council. (When I introduced myself and mentioned my thesis and Shimer, someone had actually heard of Shimer! Turns out he is a professor at IIT, though he still calls us Shimmer.)
At the most recent meeting of the council, one of the nurse administrators invited me to give a presentation in a training/continuing education session for the hospital staff on the topic of building rapid rapport with patients. I was so excited for that opportunity that I completely forgot to be scared. (People who know me will know this is highly unusual. For the rest of you: I was, not so very long ago, so shy that I had to be taught how to make eye contact, at this very hospital. I had to be taught that eye contact does not prohibit blinking and that one should not copy the blinks of one's eye contact partner. I was told that is creepy to copy blinks.) In my presentation I talked about the biggest rapport killer I experienced, being invalidated by the professionals, and that invalidation can be mostly eradicated if professionals communicate with their patient in an assertive, direct, and respectful communication style, the same one they teach their patients to engage in within their own social circles. When I finished speaking, I let the professionals ask questions, discuss things with me, and I offered them a few situations that I have experienced, ones that were handled badly when I was involved, so that they could brainstorm ways of handling these situations better. It was a very positive experience; the professionals allowed me to challenge them and they challenged me back, but in a "help us understand you better" way rather than an invalidating way.
When I wrote my thesis, I knew I wanted to write about some of the objections I have to the way mental health care currently works because I knew this was my only chance to do so in an academic setting (I do intend to go to grad school, but for library conservation) which I thought might lend me a little more credibility and which I knew would help me write a better paper. Perhaps I would have done the rest of these things anyway, but I'm definitely glad to have written my thesis and have something to give people that says, "This is what I think of mental health care." I'm ecstatic at the opportunities I've had so far to share my thoughts on mental health care with professionals and I am looking forward to creating more opportunities to do this.
Also, I've since started my own, very little, blog. It is called Made with Awesome and it is mostly on various topics concerning mental health care with a little bit of arts, crafts, and library conservation thrown in for good measure.
The opinions expressed by the Shimer bloggers are theirs alone, are subject to change upon each blogger's reflection, and do not reflect the opinions of Shimer College. Shimer is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of any of the information supplied on this blog and strongly encourages you to contact the Shimer Admission Office directly if you have questions about Shimer. The entries on this blog belong to their authors and to Shimer College. Shimer encourages and deeply values discussion, but the college is not responsible for what is posted by commenters and reserves the right to delete any comment for any reason whatsoever. Deletions will likely be made if commentary is commercial, irrelevant, abusive, profane, rude, or destructively inaccurate. Shimer students on the regular staff of this blog are modestly compensated for their efforts.