Monday, January 21, 2013

An open letter to the angry people out there.

I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.

- Martin Luther King, Jr.
As I write this, it is the day our country celebrates the amazing Martin Luther King, Jr. I posted the above MLK quote on my personal Facebook page this afternoon, which immediately reminded me of the sheer weight that the angry people around me must feel every single day.
In the past seven or eight months, I have had much anger in my life. Thankfully, it hasn't been my own. But, it still scares the crap out of me and, more so, it makes me terribly sad.
There are so many people that are truly angry about many things. As I have found, angry people tend to be angry about everything and virtually everyone. Instead of owning their feelings, many people blame others for "making" them angry.  It is always someone else's fault.
That is maddening.
I am here today to say OWN IT ALREADY for goodness' sake! We have ALL had our share of hurts, fears, disappointments, difficult and trying times that cause anger, but no one is forced or entitled to hang on to that anger indefinitely. What angers you may not anger me, and what angers me may not anger you or to the same degree. But, we have all been there. No, life is not fair. People suck. Circumstances are never quite as we would have hoped.
All emotions are a normal part of understanding who we are and how we fit into our world. Emotions are a communication tool between ourselves and our surroundings. But, it is what we do with our emotions that will make us step forward, backward or keep at a stand still.
No one makes us do anything unless we decide to do it. No one can make you or me sad, happy, angry, or hateful. Someone can do something "to you" to cause an emotion, but you and I get to CHOOSE OUR RESPONSE to that emotion.  Pretty cool and liberating if you ask me.
Fear leads to Anger.
Anger leads to Hate.
Hate leads to Suffering.
Suffering leads to the dark side
- Yoda
It is time to break the cycle or continue to live a miserable, angry life. Which leads to the dark side, according to Yoda, of Star Wars fame (thanks to my friend, Mike, for sharing with me!).

Trust me when I say that the view of the dark side from here is not a pretty one.
Colossians 3:8, 12-13 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I have a confession. I am terrified to go to a developing country. There are a couple of reasons for my fear, and they both are all about me.

My only current valid reason for traveling to a developing country would be as part of a short-term mission trip, likely through my church.  These opportunities come up every few months at our church, and I have avoided partaking because I am afraid that I would make a mission trip about me. I am not totally sure that my motivation for a trip would be to impact the lives of others, versus making me feel better about myself by the sacrifices I would have made by making such a trip. You know, it's the "hey, look at me, doing good, on the other side of the world" kind of thing I am afraid of.

The other reason for my fear is that I am terrified of feeling like a life that is so different than mine, void of all of my necessities and conveniences, needs to be improved or changed. Sadly, I am a fixer by nature - I want to fix things, situations and people. And even more sad, is that when I can't change things out of my control, I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders and then I obsess because I don't want to fail.

So, that's messed up me.
Then, there is my cousin, Louie, and his wife, Gina. Totally not stifled by their own issues and fears, like me.
Louie and Gina recently moved their family to Dhaka, Bangladesh, because he is a diplomat in the U.S. Embassy and has a 14-month position within the Department of Justice to the State Department.  
I used to babysit him! And now, he is an Ambassador!
Louie and his family taking home their Christmas tree in Bangladesh.
They have only been there a few months, since September of this year, and immediately, they noticed that the families of the Dhaka slums were going through their days hungry. Gina and her friends acted.

Gina started Thrive, which is an organization that is already helping to feed the children of Dhaka. Their current project is rooted in the Korail Slum, Dhaka's largest. While they are researching sustainable methods to meet this need, they are also working on a smaller scale of getting one healthy meal a day into 250 school kids. Every week, Gina and her team search for the best prices for the food they provide and hand deliver the food to the school.
Thrive buys farm fresh eggs for 6.9 Tk each (equivalent to about a dime) on a Monday.
They wash them, rinse them, and boil them so they are ready to deliver to
250 smiling children on Tuesday morning.
Get this. With recent incoming donations to Thrive, these 250 children are already guaranteed at least one healthy meal a week until the end of May 2013.
The children in the school, located in Dhaka. 
All donations to Thrive go straight to feeding the children, which obviously helps them to better learn and grow. Thrive makes ZERO profit. Every single cent/taka goes directly to the purchasing of food. Thrive's members cover all overhead, administrative, distribution, preparation, and fuel costs.  Pretty cool feature of a grassroots effort.
I know many of you will want to know how you can help. Thrive needs your donations! It has set up some pretty cool ways to do so in someone's honor, and it can all be done online! A perfect Christmas gift for someone this year!

For every $50 donation, Thrive will feed 250 elementary school children living in the Korail Slums with a meal in your honor or in the honor of someone of your choice. They will take pictures to show you how they spent your money and the joy it brought!

For every $250 donation, they will feed 250 elementary school children living in Dhaka with 5 meals in your honor or in the honor of a someone of your choice. Again,  lots of pictures to share, and you will receive a special thank you gift straight from Dhaka.
If those donation levels aren't doable, especially around the holidays, then give what you can, and be sure to like their Facebook page to keep in touch and hear the awesome stories of how Thrive is blessing the children of Bangladesh!

Today, I am thankful that Louie and Gina took a leap and are in Dhaka, where they are doing what they can do, one day at a time, to impact the lives of others. I hope you will help their effort in any way that you can... pray, give, and share what Thrive is doing! It will make a huge difference for those 250 children.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

six months.

That is almost how long it has been since I have written on here. We made it through an entire presidential election, amongst many (many, many, many) other events, and I did not say a WORD (on here... hahaha...).

It's been a weird six months for me. I "retired"... had a brief stint being "unretired"... had a vacation or two... layed by the pool for hours on end... read countless books... got three kids back in school... turned the big  4-0... carpooled 4,327 times to 587 locations... made it through soccer season and the school musical... celebrated a few holidays... hmmpff.... and, now, it is almost the new year. And, I *think* I am ready to write again.

Although, I have moved into this more guarded state. "Half-time" in life is just weird. In so many different ways. So much to process. Too much to evaluate.

It is the place where you wonder if you have taken enough risks.

It is the place where you wonder if you are doing the right thing... every day in every thing you do.  

It is the place where you hope you are leading your children in the right direction.

It is the place where you look back and realize what a dumbass you have been. On so many occasions... to so many people...

Everything is a question for me right now. Or, rather, an evaluation.

Weird stuff happens in this life stage. Crazy shit.

But...  life is very good. It's all very good.

So, I shall move onward with this little space of mine! 

About six months ago, my plan was to post daily. HA! Well, I have the time to write every day, but can I clear the cranial clutter...??? THAT is the question!

Stay tuned... your guess is as good as mine!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Everything... affects everything.

I just finished the book, "Thirteen Reasons Why" by Jay Asher. Amazing book.

Parents and teens should be reading this book. Teens especially should pick it up, because I bet many of the stories contained within it sound very much like what is or could be happening in their lives.

Here is my favorite selection:
You don't know what went on in the rest of my life. At home. Even at school. You don't know what goes on in anyone's life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person's life, you're not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can't be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person's life, you're messing with their entire life.  Everything... affects everything.
It is so important for all of us to discuss with our children, regardless of their ages, the importance of how we treat others.

We shouldn't be shrugging off the mistreatment of others, especially children... teens... just because we don't think it is severe enough to "deal with". I find it interesting that we, parents, validate other's feelings based on our own opinions. Hardly fair, especially when dealing with children.