30 DOT: Day 11

November 11, 2015


Snack. Scent. Time of Day. These are the days I’ve missed so far; I trust you would forgive me if I told you why I’ve missed them, but instead, I’d like to add them to this prompt. 

You know me. I fancy myself this mysterious, hidden person, but the truth is that I’m quite transparent. I think. At least, to anyone who has read anything I’ve ever written, it should be painfully obvious that I love tradition. I don’t love it exclusively; I love it reverently. And tonight, I’m going to share one of my favorite traditions with you.

On the weekends, I write letters. I sit at the kitchen table with my pen, my scrap paper from journal projects, my doo-dads and envelopes, and I write letters. I brew a pot of freshly ground coffee (my favorite snack), light a vanilla candle (my favorite scent), turn on Christmas music (my favorite of any favorite thing I could name), and I watch the birds scurry around the back yard as the world awakens (my favorite time of day). And there, in that place, I pen a million words that have mostly never seen a postage stamp.

There’s something of a ritual to it. Maybe it’s the familiarity of these things that whispers to my soul, “you are safe here; write what’s on your heart.” Or maybe it’s the simple reminder that for  all of my struggling to answer the question of who I am, I find that I already know the answer. 

We are not such complicated beings as we like to think.

I do apologize, though. To all of my friends and family who are waiting on a letter that you think I’ve forgotten, I probably have started three or four, and they’ve found their way to a folder titled “letter fragments” on my desk. I have no idea why I’m keeping them. 

But I think it’s exactly what I was trying to explain to a friend tonight. Writing, for me, is not simply expressing a thought or opinion. A gifted writer could, after all, argue the flatness of the earth with passion and conviction, having never believed it himself. No, it is more an exercise in fine-tuning a thought or emotion. It’s words and structure and rhythm; it is flow and pause, give and take, yes and no, is and is not. Like that elusive story of the artist who carves the elephant out of marvel without any plan: You chip away everything that is not an elephant. That’s what those sacred moments allow me–a chance to become a marble elephant. And the realization that I already am.

Father God, loving Savior, sweet Spirit; I thank You with all of my being for these gifts You give me–the coffee, the candles, the Christmas music, the birds, the dawn, the ink, the pen, and so many willing recipients. Thank You for the ability to be and to become. I am so grateful. You are so kind. 

30 DOT: Day 9

November 9, 2015


Of all the places I’ve visited on the Internet, one of my favorites is Compassion International. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be.

As a sponsor, the website is far more to me than countless photos of children waiting to be chosen, waiting for the hope that comes from knowing someone loves you. As a sponsor, Compassion provides me with a remarkable resource in their website. I can pay my monthly commitment or send a monetary gift to my boys (or to the other endeavors Compassion has undertaken); I can upload photos and use the templates to write letters to my boys; I can read the latest updates about the boys’ situations; I can read about upcoming opportunities to travel and work with Compassion.

As an organization, none is run better than Compassion. They have made a priority of stewardship, spiritual and financial, and this carries over into every aspect of the organization, including the website.

Oh…and the best part? I can log in and, no matter where I am or how far from my house and photos I am, I can see the most recent picture of my boys. 

Father, thank You for the amazing resource You’ve provided through Your servants at Compassion International. For rose who have made the website their priority, I pray a special prayer of thanksgiving. You have raised up among them a culture of excellence and world-changing. Thank You for the enormous blessing of being a part of that in some small way. Keep them safe and brimming with ideas, and speak to their hearts how very appreciated they are.

P.S. If you have not visited http://www.compassion.com I would urge you to do so now. And I triple-dog dare you to look at the children waiting for sponsors in Burkina Faso. 

How We Respond

My brain wouldn’t allow me to sleep last night. I spent several hours trying to make my way through a difficult maze in regards to mankind, how we respond, why we respond the way we do, etc. Truth be told, I’m not sure there was any benefit to the insomnia, because I still don’t have a clear understanding of the matter. I was (and still am) stuck around this idea: How is it two things that are in opposition to one another can elicit the same response from us?

Examples might include:

  • Tears can be a response to joy or sadness
  • Over-indulging (of any kind, i.e.: careless spending or over-eating) can be a result of having too much (too easily) or to having not enough
  • Jealousy can stem from love or from the lack of love
  • Intimacy might have its root in a secure, trusting relationship, or it may be a response (in desperation) to a longing for security

Am I the only person that finds this intriguing? How is it two opposing ideas can cause us to respond in such similar fashions? Any thoughts?