A Prayer for the New Year

decThe Time People of the Year are those fighting ebola. I love title of the article.

Do Good, Be Brave.

 

Those little white lights of the season always draw me into a quiet spirit. I am ready for a little stillness. About Proximity will be back in the new year. I love your voices. Growing to know you all more deeply makes my days and encourages me so very much.

 

I pray for our new year…

that we would be brave

that we would kneel often

that we would love in close proximity.

 

The Long Night

The Long Night

As part of my 36 Hope Expands Series, I am practicing proximity by sharing the film The Long Night by Tim Matsui with other members of The Global Team of 200. The film is free to watch through this weekend.

The film follows lives effected by domestic sex trafficking in the Seattle area.

Seattle. The United States. Human trafficking happens here too.

 

The Parents.

The Runaway

The Addict

The Police

 

The film is difficult to watch. Being exposed to such profound pain is not fun. I almost deleted this whole post, when I realized that part of proximity is hard.

Lisa-mcdsI would like to share two parts of the film with you.

Lisa, a heroin addict and prostitute, arrived at Genesis (a program implemented by the police to help trafficked minors into a new life.) A police officer gave her a bathrobe. She wept at the simple act of care.

Here you can see a photo essay of Lisa’s journey.

The runaway returned home, yet felt she would never be able to win her parents forgiveness. ‘I didn’t need to. They loved me unconditionally.’

 

Tim Matsui has not stopped with just making the film. He worked with The Fourth Act, an organization that brings storytellers and images together to create change and The Fledgling Fund doing the same through filmmaking.

 

There are hard things out there that shouldn’t be. It is so easy to look away.

Our challenge is to look and shrink the distance between us and those in need and respond. 

It’s about proximity. 

Start by viewing this photograph. It is cause to pause. 

36 Hope Expands: Little White Lights

36hopeexpands

Little white lights make everything better. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break for those who celebrate. I know I am so very thankful for all the wonderful people in my life, especially all of you. We had turkey and cheesecake. I scored a few presents on Black Friday with the spectacular team of my Dad, Mom and Ellie. Kris and I saw Mockingjay, and we finished up with some Sunday puking, because what’s a holiday without someone barfing? Best of all the little white lights are up.

givingThe new expanding hope ideas:

  • Have you heard of AmazonSmile? Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. Just log into your regular account and they take you through the simple steps. I was so excited to find World Renew the organization Kris works for. Our percentage will go to support their work!
  • I’ve seen Better World Books donation sites in parking lots around my area. When this business was featured in A Path AppearsI definitely wanted to learn more. You donate books which are then bought from the Better World Books on-line store. A portion of every sale goes to world literacy. Over 15 million books have been donated to non-profits, they support grants, and also recycle the books unable to be sold. Read more about their impact here. I’ll be going through our stacks this season!
  • Elf on the Shelf kind of creeped us out last year and I’m really bad at remembering to do it. I also saw on Pinterest an idea for giving elves, or something really beautiful and perfect like that. Our family variation: the kids like the concept of finding the elf. So I have a plan of what to do with him each day, but he will also have a note sharing with us an act of kindness we need to complete. (Will we succeed everyday, or will I remember? No because we are not a pinteresty sort, but we are going to try!)
  • Try this one: go to GreaterGood. On the top toolbar they have nine sections like autism, literacy, and hunger. As you click the cause, a button will appear to support the cause, just click again and you’re set. The advertisers fund the causes. Click nine times and you’ve contributed to nine causes for free. You can give back every calendar day.
  • Rice 2.0 offers 10 grains of rice to the World Good Bank for every correct answer. They offer a number of subjects. I’m loving the spanish vocabulary section right now.

Have you tried any of these? What are your favorite free ways to give back on-line? 

36 Hope Expands: Balancing Giving and Consumerism

36hopeexpands(36 Hope Expands. A series of 36 ways to expand compassion in our daily lives.)

Some people photobomb, my daughter Ellie desk bombs.

ellie bomb

You know this.

We do know this.

How can we go deeper? How can we expand hope in our own lives and the lives of others? We do what we know to be true, love one another, and we seek to never stop learning how to do it better.

Christmas is coming… we’ve had two snow days already!

 

I love giving presents. It is one of my favorite things. This Christmas season I want to learn more about responsible giving. Inevitably we will all be consumers in some form, I want to do my consumerism with love and in ways that make a difference. I want my buying to be balanced with giving.

  • Remember #GivingTuesday? There is Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and #GivingTuesday. They have some sweet toolkits. Mostly, just consider giving on Tuesday. Join the movement to make the holidays unselfie.

#unselfie

 

  • Made in a Free World has a slavery footprint calculator. You take a short quiz and in turn have the opportunity to send companies you buy from a letter of your support of fair labor practices. This is a worthwhile exercise and you make a difference.
  • I also signed up at igive.com here you can shop on-line and different companies will give a percentage to the charity of your choice. I choose Community Action House a local food bank in my hometown.
  • About Proximity is planning a little Christmas giveaway with fun surprises from three of my favorite cause companies Sevenly, Pure Vida, Delicate Fortress Creations.

We know this…

Let’s keep growing and learning together to love with every action.

How do you balance consumerism with giving? What are your favorite cause companies to buy from? What will you give to on #GivingTuesday? 

 

36 Hope Expands: Hiddenness

36hopeexpands(36 Hope Expands. A series of 36 ways to expand compassion in our daily lives.)

The largest part of Jesus’ life was hidden. Henri J.M. Nouwen

If we want to follow Jesus by words and deeds in the service of his Kingdom, we must first of all strive to follow Jesus in his simple, unspectacular, and very ordinary hidden life.

 

Our ordinary moments can be so hard. They outweigh the spectacular, by ALOT.

We live hidden lives, our best moments are often not witnessed… except they are. He sees every one, especially those done out of love in hiddenness. Ever feel unnoticed, unappreciated, unknown? It is painful. I promise you He knows. He sees. He loves you for your simple, unspectacular, ordinary, hidden. That makes my hope expand.

colorful chairs

I want to fill my ordinary with God.

Four little, applicable steps I took this week:

1. I downloaded the free CharityMiles App. You can walk, run, or bike. You can also do it with the kids and have them help pick the organization you give to.

2. We also tried Donate a Photo. Another great family activity… you simply take a picture and Johnson and Johnson donates daily to a cause of your choice.

3. I also started using RecycleBank. You can earn points to redeem. What I love about it is that you learn green tips and information.

4. In those ugly moments of feeling completely exhausted of my ordinary… I am trying to remember that showing up is an act of faith. Read this article about just that by Amy Sullivan

 

I pray for you and encourage you. We can do a million acts of justice, kindness, and good… but the most obedient and beautiful is probably the simplest.

Showing up for God in hiddenness.

What little things do you do to give back, that take just a moment in your day? How do you feel about obedience in the ordinary?  

 

36 Hope Expands: Wearing a Path Thin

36hopeexpands

I came across this on accident last week, when researching an article.

Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.”

We are made to believe that self-deprecation is a virtue, called humility. But humility is in reality the opposite. It is the grateful recognition that we are precious in God’s eyes and that all we are is a pure give. 

We must grow beyond self-rejection 

(From Henri J.M. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey)

diving board

How would it feel to do this? Grow beyond…

I imagine it feeling like being completely naked.

Like having no idea who I was anymore.

Probably everyone hating my guts.

 

I have to do it, if I want my hope to expand. If I want to be an instrument to expand hope in others, I have to let it go.

I am reading Nicolas Kristof and Sherly WuDunn’s new book, A Path AppearsA film of the same title, will premier on PBS January 26, 2015.

“HOPE IS LIKE A PATH IN THE COUNTRYSIDE. ORIGINALLY, THERE IS NOTHING – BUT AS PEOPLE WALK THIS WAY AGAIN AND AGAIN, A PATH APPEARS.”

—LU XUN, CHINESE ESSAYIST, 1921

 

The enemy wants us to waste our time in self-rejection, worrying in circles, being ineffective.

I want to walk hope, away from my self-depreciation and worry and into life.

I want a path to appear for people because I kept walking it.

What path are you going to wear thin? How can you grow beyond self rejection?