Bean Snap


“I’ve noticed something about people who make a difference in the world: they hold the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters. They get excited over one smile. They are willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind, and treat one wound. They aren’t determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they’re satisfied with small changes. Over time, though, the small changes add up. Sometimes they even transform cities and nations, and yes, the world.”

–Beth Clark

There is a lot to be upset about for sure, but it’s also so refreshing and reenergizing to see so many people willing to go above and beyond just so that one more family stays together, so one more kid is away from danger, so one more person has a better shot at life. I’m proud to see so many of my friends being exactly this type of person.
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Nothing more to say except keep it up. Help individual people as if whatever you did to them would be done to thousands. You might never find out how far a little compassion goes, but if you do, you’d probably surprise yourself.

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Aurora


“There is no improving the future without disturbing the present.”

–Catherine Booth

I think I’m a pretty natural peacekeeper. In other words I often go out of my way to avoid confrontation. For the most part, I like that I’m stingy about expressing anger, but it is definitely both a strength and weakness.
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These days, I’m challenged in a good way to see the difference between peacekeeping and peacemaking. Peacekeeping makes a priority out of avoiding confrontation but peacemaking involves actively challenging the systems, people, and ideas that (intentionally or unintentionally) prevent others from experiencing peace— feeling safe from bigotry, feeling able to walk at night without fear, feeling financially able to give their family a decent life, and so many other ways.
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Challenging people in this way isn’t easy. You also have to earn the relational capital that it takes to be listened to, and you have to start by challenging yourself. But blessed are the peacemakers, and I think that calls for more than just peacekeeping.

Doorway


“Regardless of the station we occupy; we have to try harder; to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own. None of this is easy.”

–Barack Obama

Rewatching Obama’s farewell speech. It’ll be fun times when I get to tell my kids about how I took a liking to him when he was on Conan, two full years before he announced his presidential bid. When he did, it was like watching your favorite indie band make it big. I’ll recall how in 2008, he was the first president I was old enough to vote for. His administration became the cultural backdrop of my college years and early marriage.
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I’ll note how the funky birth certificate drama made me realize that’s what I’d have to deal with if I ever ran for office, but that’s okay. Anything worth doing in life invites all kinds of drama, and even though I don’t see politics becoming my thing anytime soon, that’s true in so many areas of life.
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You get a little chunk of the world and a certain amount of years to make it better. Some people get big chunks, but those of us who work from the ground up matter just as much.
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I realize not all are as warm towards Obama. And that’s alrite. I don’t fully vibe with every thing that he did in office. But I think we can all agree that we’ve come a long way in eight years. Remember, we started out with Fred Armisen playing Barry on SNL. Keegan Michael-Key makes me believe in progress.

Lakefront


“To love someone is not first of all to do things for them, but to reveal to them their beauty and value , to say to them through our attitude: ‘You are beautiful. You are important. I trust you. You can trust yourself.’ We all know we’ll that we can do things for others and in the process crush them, making them feel they are incapable of doing things by themselves. To love someone is to reveal to them their capacities for life, the light that is shining in them.”

—Jean Vanier

Vanier was the founder of the L’Arche spiritual communities a long, long time ago, but he very eloquently explains why it’s so not cool to try and make yourself look good by straightening out another man’s tie, among other things.
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Think of all the people you’re going to get to meet this year for the first time! A few of them might even stick around and be big figures in your life. Take preemeptive action and let them know they matter. See what happens from there.

Merry Christmas 2016


Merry Christmas from us and the whole crew.

“I have always thought of Christmastime, when it has come round… as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not a race of other creatures bound on other journeys.”

–Charles Dickens

Passing Shasta

“Scratch the surface of any cynic, and you will find a wounded idealist underneath. Because of previous pain or disappointment, cynics make their conclusions about life before the questions have even been asked. This means that beyond just seeing what is wrong with the world, cynics lack the courage to do something about it. The dynamic beneath cynicism is a fear of accepting responsibility.”

–John Ortberg