Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving More Than Thanks.

This may not be your typical Thanksgiving blog post. Instead of listing all the many things for which I am grateful, and I assure you that list is long, I want to challenge you.

You probably spent today doing a combination of the following: eating a lot, enjoying great company, sleeping, planning your day of shopping tomorrow, getting ready for the Christmas season. Undoubtedly you took time to reflect on all of the things you are blessed to have; the things you too often take for granted.

Perhaps some of you even took a moment or two, or maybe even more, to think about the people in this world who have fewer reasons to give thanks. I want to take that a step further. Last Sunday I went to different church (Restore Church in Liberty, MO) than my home church. The sermon was about giving, and it has been swimming in my mind since then. Too, too often I am an extremely selfish person. I do give, but not as much as I should, and I tend to want people to know about it when it does happen. I am not proud of that fact, and I am working to change it.

Today I challenge you to give. Take some of the money you would have spent on yourself and spend it on someone else, someone who needs it. As you are filling out your Christmas list, instead of asking for 10 things, ask for 5 and say that you want the rest of the money to be spent on something great.

In terms of selfless giving, the options are endless, but I want to focus on one particular organization that is close to my heart.

His Voice Global.

This organization creates opportunities for orphans. So far they have built 3 orphanages and a church in Sudan. They have seen many approaches to these types of ministries that end up hurting the indigenous people, and for that reason they've taken their own approach.The staff of these orphanages are completely indigenous so as to build up the community and economy in each location. Their goal is to "strengthen the local church by promoting the reality of God's holistic vision to reach people." They want to see the local church in the states partner with the local church of Sudan. His Voice Global is doing incredible things in the world, and I can't explain how much they inspire me. There is no way this little blurb does them justice, so I encourage you to visit their website: and learn more.

I also encourage you to support them. Right now there are two major ways to do that:
1. HVG is currently working on raising money for a fourth orphanage to house 100 orphans. Not only that, but they hope to also build a school for the orphans and other village children, a medical clinic, a church, and a freshwater well. This is a hefty goal, for which they've already made a lot of progress. Your help would do wonders.
2. Their goal this Christmas season is to outfit each of the orphans with two new full sets of clothes (shirt, skirt/shorts, and shoes). This means 410 sets of clothes! It is $20 dollars to send one set. It might sound crazy, but think of how radical it would be to tell your loved ones that instead of getting them a Christmas gift this year, you clothed an orphan in their honor!
For specific information about option 2, visit

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for you.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Say "I love you"

This weekend was my sister's wedding and it was wonderful. She looked amazing, and even better she looked so happy. Everything went smoothly and I think everybody had a great time. I know that Jon will be good to her and I am really excited for their life together.

This is a video of the toast I gave at the reception, and below are the words to the poem I wrote for it.

Say to each other "we can do this"
Say that you love the way that they kiss
    And you'll miss them for whatever time you're apart.
Say all the things you've said from the start,
    And any good thing you've said since then
Say it too, as long as it's from the heart.

Say that you're sorry, but more importantly
Say that you forgive. Don't keep score.
Say that you know they're worth fighting for
    But do your best not to fight.
Say to her "you're beautiful"
    Even when you wake in the middle of the night,
    Or in the morning when she'd never say it about herself.
Say that he's strong and ask for his help.

Say "I need you. For you I am grateful."
    Bite your own tongue before you let it sound hateful.
Say goodnight, good morning, goodbye, and good luck.
    Don't ever say words to each other like... schmuck.
    Let all that you say have the intent to encourage
    Let all that you say make your love flourish.
   When you think of something nice,
Say it, and mean it- however small.
   When you think of something mean, just
Say nothing at all.
Say "yes."
Say that you care.
Say that you're scared.
Say "it'll be okay" and believe in all the things you say.

Say "I love you"
    And when you say it, let the words carry the weight of their worth,
Say it like, of all the people on this whole earth,
    You'd choose each other every time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Prayers and Poetry.

This is the first piece of my spoken word poetry that I actually performed in front of people. Afterward, some of them asked me for the words and I said I'd post it on here. It's still in the making, and I'd love your feedback. Perhaps I will perform it, and others, someday. Happy November, all!

Dear God, thank you for sun
And thank you for rain
Thank you for the growth that comes with pain
And that moment of healing when only beauty remains.
Thank you for scabs that turn to scars and don’t hurt anymore
And thank you for metaphors about windows and doors
That make us want to get out of our chairs and say yes to the world.
Thank you for beds at the end of days we wish could be erased
For grace
And for mace, not that we would use it, but it makes us feel safe
       on those nights when we walk home alone.
For the ability to hear smiles over the phone.
And for bodies that cry out to You from the depths of our bones.
For brains that send messages to the rest of our parts
That tell us how to feel, when to stop and when to start.
And thank you for the messages that say “feel joy right now.”
For our hearts that pump blood up through our bodies and all the way down
To our toes, to our nose, and even our elbows.
For hearts so strong that we made them our symbol for love.
And for love so true we can never be deprived of it.
Thank you for love.
Because forget the hokey pokey, love is what it’s all about.
And thank you for those times we start to doubt,
Because waiting on the shore of our sea of fears is true understanding coming out.
Thank you for the beauty of blue skies
And for the people in our lives so wise we can see the truth in their eyes.
Thank you for making mornings worth it just for the sunrise.
For jobs that start early and for the ones that go late,
Even at times when we want to say things like I hate
Thank you for always reminding us that isn’t true,
And helping us find ways to love what we do
Because we know there are people who do much more for much less,
And we should never, for one second, forget that we're blessed.
For the people who have shaped who we are.
Who inspire us and motivate us to go far.
Thank you for making us whole always
For the promise of better days and for glimpses of glory in broken clouds’ sun rays.
Thank you for forgiveness, and the ability to forgive.
For redemption, salvation, restoration- the death of abomination
For knowing we'll never die, but through You can only ever truly live.