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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Portillo’s Stop


Every week I make sure that one of my posts is a curation of “good things” that are making me happy this week. The wild week that it was reminds me why it’s important to keep looking for these things, and I’ve decided to restructure a little bit. I’ll be posting one good thing that’s happening in the world, one good thing happening in my own life, and one thing making me happy from the world of art and pop culture.
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In the world, I absolutely loved being a part of the Women’s March, and knowing that it was the largest gathering of its sort ever was reassuring. It’ll take a little while for that reassurance to turn into real change, but changes that last are always those that are driven by large swaths of people who embrace better ideas. These shape and outlive top-level changes, even if they take longer to create an impact.
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I’ve also started hearing back from a few places I sent resumes too– a lot of “we’ve already filled the positions,” but if you’ve ever been on a mass job hunt, you’ll know sometimes hearing back at all is a kind of a miracle. And guess what? They weren’t all rejections. Some were a little more interested in getting to know me.
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And lately I’ve been watching my way through The Man in The High Castle. The show moves really slowly, so this is my third attempt to get through it. Last week I was sick for a day and saw enough to get hooked to the story. And in terms of visuals, this show has crafted something fascinating. The aesthetics are probably half the reason I keep watching.

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.

Maxwell Street Polish


How much am I missing Chicago dogs right now? Quite a bit. Gotta say I’m on board with the ketchup boycott.
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Here are some things making me happy this week:
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I finally got around to watching Sing Street and I really loved it. In many ways it felt like a spiritual sequel to Son of Rambow which was one of my favorite films from the previous decade.
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I am finding some crazy good flight deals right now. It’s hard to plan travels while looking for a job and not knowing what comes next, but if this drags on and I could use a consolation trip, there are good options out there.
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I’m loving the new album by the xx. Their second one didn’t sit with me the way their first one did, but this one does. I’ve missed out on that sound for the past seven years.

Chicago


Adventure 16

Even before it happened we knew we were gonna love this trip.
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Deanna had never been to Chicago before, or even the Midwest. I have an odd magnetism to Chicago where I keep coming back without much effort, and I love a lot about the Heartland.
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Thankful that this window opened up the perfect opportunity to take a visit. Hope it happens again, but in the summer.

Magnificent


Optimism, hope, thoughtfulness, inclusion and invitation of others, good taste and class and integrity, determination, humility. What a terrific legacy. I would love for these things to be said about me one day.
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I’m sure you’ve noticed how so many of the worst things in the world are contagious. Diseases, sure. And self-righteousness and fear and cynicism and us versus them thinking. Those things are diseases too, and once you allow yourself to be a medium for their growth, then you become their host and a vehicle for them to find their next target.
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The good thing is that a good legacy is also contagious. I’m sure you can also think of a few people who lived such a brilliantly good life that you appreciate your own even more. That you want to use your life as well as you possibly can.
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That’s a contagion I’ll happily spread. Times change and take away our heroes of the past. But change also gives us the ones yet to come, thanks to the carriers of hope, grace, and the things worth living for.

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.