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Hi, I’m Aamanda

December 12, 2017

Hi I’m Aamanda. Commonly known as Young Aamanda. I’m 19 years old so I guess that’s how I got my ~street name~… I moved into the house a month and ten days ago (I think). I’m originally from Edmonton (but I don’t have any strong opinions about hockey or football so please don’t beat me up).

Anyways, Megan asked me to basically write a blog post about how I ended up at the house, so here’s the long-short of it: Last year I went to Kona, Hawaii to do a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). I spent 3 months in Hawaii listening to lectures about God, faith, worldview, etc. Then I spent another 2 months in Thailand and a few weeks in Laos doing missions with a small team.

The whole experience was super intense and I learned and grew a ton, but at times I felt that we were encouraged to just accept what we were told and to not ask questions. This frustrated me a lot, and probably the biggest thing I learned while I was on my DTS was that I wanted to ask aLL OF THE QUESTIONS! I wanted to learn to read (and understand) the Bible, think for myself and really just make my faith my own.

I considered going to Bible School for a year or two, but wasn’t quite sure if that was really what I wanted, especially given how expensive it’d be. At the same time, I was considering moving to Calgary as I have a lot of friends here. Someone suggested that I move into the House of Commons. I had gone to a community dinner once a few years ago, so I knew a bit about the house and I thought this sounded like a good (but slightly daunting) idea. Not to mention it’s a lot cheaper than Bible School. So I filled out the application and finally moved in a few months later!

I think this is the best decision I’ve made in a while! The past month certainly hasn’t been without its struggles, but I feel like I’ve already grown so much in such a short time and that’s exactly what I wanted to do! I’m excited to continue to grow in this environment and get even closer to my roommates. They’re all pretty cool! (Editor’s note : This is proof that the young crowd approves of me). I’m also really excited for our Christmas Dinner!!! And Christmas in general! There’s so much to look forward to right now and life is good.

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November Update : Punishment Chores For Literally Everyone, And Especially Jason Kenney

November 9, 2017

This is your monthly newsletter telling you what we’ve been up to which I’m going to start off by talking about my favourite topic, Me. Although, truth be told,  what I’ve been up to lately has mostly just consisted of assertively retweeting unpopular political and/or feminist opinions on twitter and collecting a lot of memes.

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I also hit a parked car in a parking lot. And (not simultaneously) had the worst allergic reaction of my life.

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Now I carry around a bottle of lactaid with me.

I also have been spending a lot of time (like, more than is socially acceptable?) on youtube watching celebrity interviews and late night talk show hosts

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At the house Liam has been yelling “PUNISHMENT CHORE” at anyone who says something he doesn’t like. I’ve been trying to explain to him that’s not actually how punishment chores work.

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We have already started prepping for our big Christmas dinner. (Don’t give me that look. An event like that doesn’t plan itself, y’know.)

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We got a new roommate. Her name is Aamanda! Young Aamanda. I am over a decade older than her. Here is an actual photo of us, together.

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We have a house show coming up in November! Maybe! Don’t ask me about it, I have no clue what’s going on, I just came out to have a good time and I’m honestly feeling so attacked right now. Anyway, Sarah’s in charge of that.

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Sarah and I in real life

We also spend a lot of time hanging out in the living room in the evening, arguing about what we should watch on the television and listening to Hamish veer off into academia tangents that are usually, 62% of the time, completely over my head.

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We still continue to build community around the dinner table on Thursday evenings, make mistakes, laugh together, yell at each other (that’s mostly just me doing the yelling, but if you have big ideas you have to speak loudly to express them) cook, clean, live life with our neighbours, talk about theology, and all the other various little monotonies that make up daily life while living in intentional community.

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As always, still looking for roommates! Also, if you would like to help with the Christmas dinner in any way, holla @ me. bownesshouseofcommons@gmail.com

All my love,

Megan from the HOC

No streaking and no skinny-dipping

October 15, 2017

Today we ventured out of Bowness and went to the land of winter (Banff)! Sarah and I (Elena) are writing this as we drive home.

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It was our first house retreat of the year! The goal of the day was to spend some quality time together and reconnect, as well as to have some conversations about house and its vision. Here are some of the highlights: We used Megan’s phone as a talking stick so we could record everything we said and go back over it later. We got separated and lost a few times, we had a winter picnic at lunch.

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Went to the CANDY STORE! We got free food at the library: salad, bread, and fruit! “Nourish our bodies and our minds” – Liam (he is in the car too). (editor’s note : He also said, “It’s library salad. It’s full of olives and knowledge.”)

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Then we sort of got kicked out the library. Next we went to the Banff Center and Sarah carried Emily the whole way up the hill *sarah is super strong* Jade gave us a sweet insiders tour, including the pottery and plant room which is Sarah’s definition of heaven. Then we had a second meeting at the Maclab in the Banff Centre. Awesome view and comfy couches. We had a second good meeting where we freely shared our thoughts, feelings, and talked about the future of the house. Folks, the future is bright!


We ended the day in the magical world of Christmas! Even though it was suggested to go streaking or skinny dipping at the hot springs we did not, next time I guess! (editor’s note : One house member in particular had a lot to say about the “Oppressive rules of outlawing nudity” at the hot springs.) Great day!

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Coming up next at the House of Commons: We have a house concert! Joshua Hyslop will be enchanting us with his musical prowess on the Oct 22! 7 PM! Please come and bring your friends!

We also have a new roommate moving in November, so stoked! There is still space for more roommates though, so if you know anyone feel free to send them our way!

Thursday night dinners: Everyone is always welcome!

Also feel free to just come over and hang out with us!

That’s all for now!

 

Sarah and Elena (Sarena)

Dumpster Jesus Saved Me

September 8, 2017

Editor’s note : I asked Liam to write a blog for September. After I had asked him to do it approximately 52 times, he said he “couldn’t think of anything to write.” Thus, I interviewed him, and this is almost the direct transcription of that interview. Most of it is taken out of context, and I laughed to myself a lot when I was writing it. Would I say too much? Not here. But home alone in my pyjamas with a box of chardonnay, who knows what I say?

I am Liam. I’m 32. I moved into the house a month ago. I’m from Barrhead. I was born there. This is just how I talk! I grew up in the Calgary/Okotoks area. I’m 32!

I love the show Bones, X-Files, watching the Office, annoying Megan, and lounging.

Ok, so let me tell you – I was friends with Steph. Still am. And I remember this house starting, back in 2008, and then I wasn’t allowed in it. LOOK AT ME NOW.

I wanted to live at the house because I love Megan. Just my love of Megan. My obsession with Megan.

I don’t find living at the house difficult. Except for I’m not allowed to sleep in my underwear on the couches anymore. There is a lot of responsibility and it might not be for everyone – but the amount of responsibility doesn’t bug me. It makes me furious. It makes me want to rage out every day. No, if you’re into serving people it’s great and you get to learn about consensus based decision making and compromise. And when we’re gonna get our Nintendo 64. (Editor’s note : We are not getting a Nintendo 64.) I think it’s good for anyone who’s into serving their community, and it’s affordable.

My favourite part of living at the house is Megan. Actually it’s Sarah. My love of Sarah. And Elena. And I’m living with Hamish! Hamish is my best pal. And my serious favourite part is service to the community. I don’t know why I care about service to the community. That’s too complicated to put on a blog! When you serve the community, you feel less alienated. I think intentional community is the natural state of humans. But I wanted to live at the house mostly because I’m obsessed with Megan.

I am enjoying living at the house – so far, so good. Although this is my second time. I’ve lived here before. I’ve been around the block. Also we have apple TV. And live next to a sweet dumpster.

Living in intentional community is good, it’s hard for some people but if you’re willing to have lots of tough conversations and have thick skin you can do it. I had to have thick skin because I worked in a group home. Don’t put that in the blog, it’s depressing. You have to have a lot of tough conversations with people – you just have to deal with stuff. That sounds negative, but you learn a lot of conflict resolution. I’m just writing nice things for the blog.

Jesus is all right with me. I am neutral on religion. I think you could take anything and make it terrible or great, and I think most people are good. I think Christianity has been abused, but with the right people and the right mentality it’s great. I mean, Satanism is hip, but…..also Anita is not an evil witch. Anita’s like a very nice evil witch.

I would like to tell you about my new friend Dumpster Jesus. He is the real Jesus, and not like Trump’s Jesus. Dumpster Jesus loves everyone. I found him in the dumpster. He’s my religious icon that I found from the dumpster. (Editor’s note : Dumpster Jesus is a picture of Jesus that Liam found in the dumpster and then unceremoniously hung up in the living room). Today Dumpster Jesus blessed me with an unwrapped wi-fi. I love you Dumpster Jesus.

I hope I don’t offend anyone….too much.

We need new roommates! We want so many roommates and so much friendship. Just jam everyone together. One big mostly happy family.

We have house shows coming up in September and October. You should probably come. Bring money. And we might have a November house show, but that’s to be released. It depends on me. It’ll have age appropriate music. For everyone. Maybe Anita will play it. If we’re lucky. Anita Pita. We have community dinner every Thursday, everyone’s invited.

I would also like our readers to know that capitalism is a lie. It’s not the natural state of living. We’re not made to just acquire material goods. We’re made to connect with the community.

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Love Liam

Summer : a pictorial essay

July 16, 2017

Happenings in and around the house

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Community Dinners every thursday at 7 pm – Come on by 🙂

5 Things Going On With Us

April 3, 2017

1. Special Guests

 

One of whom is slightly secret, the other who is not. We look forward to the return of Micah, our favourite spoken word poet, in late April/early May.

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Why so serious? Let’s put a smile on that face. Also, I like your hairs.

 

I especially look forward to it, as I have taken a week off to ferry him around town and assist him administratively. And also to sleep in. (Primarily to sleep in, let’s not kid ourselves). The one bad thing about Micah is he likes to get up at 6 am and sing. Which I am not down with, because Mama needs her 12 hours. Oh, that’s another new thing – I’ve started referring to myself in the third person as “Mama.” Mama’s gotta go to work. Mama’s gotta go to sleep. Mama says no. Etc. But I’m not too alarmed. I just think that’s something all 30 year olds eventually do. Right? Somebody affirm me in this.

 

We are also dismally crushed at the cancellation of Jason Zelling’s advent, but look forward to housing him in future.

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2. Community Dinners

Yes, these are still happening! Community Dinners are the main focus and “mission” of the house, if you will, and we find there’s no better way to build community with our neighbours than to share our food and couches with them. Our favourite guests are recurring, and it’s comforting to see familiar faces around the table and around the neighbourhood each week as we share a meal and our lives with each other. Our walks in life are vastly different, but despite that, we’ve made room for each other. And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing, even if Mama gets a little cranky sometimes. (I can’t stop.) We have saintly Leanne making dinner for us every six weeks, and the eminently generous (and gorgeous) Reize clan making dinner once every four weeks. If you want to get in on this, holla at me!

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In the lives of our guests, I feel I should make special mention of Joanna this month. Here is a nice picture of her.

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Joanna may just be the most welcoming and cheerful person on the planet. If you met her, you’d know. She started coming to our dinners a couple of years ago, hearing about us on the Wednesday night dinners that a local bownesian church, Shepherd of the Hills, puts on. She has been a regular fixture at our dinners ever since then. This year, she acquired her GED through some hard work and perseverance and is graduating in a couple of weeks. Mama (that’s me) couldn’t be more proud. We are going to see her graduation this evening and as her community, we are thrilled to celebrate her accomplishment with cake (and sparkling apple juice, if Sarah says we can get it). One of the best parts of community dinners is being able to share and participate in milestones like this.

3. We Still Need Roommates For Realsies

Starting in May, we will have five roommates. Five roommates is nice, but you know what’s nicer than five roommates? Eight. Especially if you’re trying to pay the bills and run a community house. If you know of anybody who would be interested in living with us, please tell them to check us out on social media and/or email us at bownesshouseofcommons@gmail.com.

4. Already Trying To Forget Winter

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I live for summer. Our preemptive summer plans include a block party (Sarah’s dream) and the continuation of our community garden. Would you like to be involved? Call me! Seriously. Call me. I don’t like how Carly Rae Jepsen says “Call me maybe.” She is such a tease!

5. We Fight In The Living Room

We hold all our fights in the living room. We have been learning how to fight this year. (Well, all of the years we learn that, but this year especially.) Last night, as I was strongly and emphatically elucidating all the ways another roommate had wronged me (in front of at least three other roommates) I thought, this is a weird situation. Who else do I know that does this? But that is how intentional community rolls. We learn how to fight and then we fight. In front of our other roommates. And we aren’t good at it. (Although, in the case of this particular roommate, we are sort of good at it because we have been doing it for decades.) My point is, whether we are good at it or not good at it, whether we fear or relish it, we do it anyway, no matter what, because that is what we have committed to do. And then, after we talk it out and the tension slightly dissipates, we turn to our other stunned roommates, laugh awkwardly, and realize we have to go right from fighting and making up, to praying together, to having a business meeting. As my dear friend Nicole says, What a time to be alive.

LOVE, MEGAN
Here is a nice picture of me
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Hi people who like to read blogs. It’s me, Matthias.

March 1, 2017

Here comes a small introduction to me, the fourth newest member of The House of Commons (including Willow the puppy), and how I came to live in The House Of Commons.

So I am from this wonderful place called Gronau in Germany. When I was 22 I moved to India for 3 years to live in a community with sick people who were experiencing homelessness.

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My time in India changed my life in many ways. One of the things that changed was that through living in a community with around 100 people, I realized that even though I thought before I would prefer living alone or at least with only very few people, I actually enjoyed living with a lot of people more than I enjoyed living with fewer people. I also think this is not just a personal thing but more a human thing. I would still consider myself introverted but there is something in our design that draws us into community. God is a community, in him/herself and we are made in God’s image. We can also think of us as humanity, as God’s body… Now if we think about a body, we don’t really see all the body cells first, we see the whole thing and it’s all connected.

Anyways… I met Alessa in India who told me about this community that she lived in before she moved to Delhi. Over the next few months,  we realized that we would like to spend more time together than just those few months, and since Alessa had to go back to Calgary, I followed her a year later to Canada. Around that time I was thinking about going to a ministry school and one of Alessa’s friends was leading exactly the kind of school that I was interested in, so I went there and moved into The House of Commons after my school was done.

What else I like… theology, gardening, football (the one where you actually use your feet), board games

Soo that’s maybe enough about me for now.

Also… if you are interested in living with me and my fantastic roommates, please email us at bownesshouseofcommons@gmail.com or contact us any other way.