Posts Tagged ‘Beautiful’

There’s a lot of things that make me sad.
Some get more time and attention.
Some happen so often it’s hard to keep them all straight.
Some happen once in a lifetime.

Death makes me sad.
Unnecessary death makes me sadder.
Targeted unnecessary death makes me even sadder still.

Names are powerful.
I won’t pretend to know all the names of people shot this year.
Or even all the people shot this week.
To be honest, I probably can’t even list all the names of unarmed people shot by cops this year.
But there are two names that stand out to me tonight.

One is mine.
I share a name with an officer who is being charged with manslaughter.
I share a name with the person who shot Terence Crutcher.
That makes me sad.
It reminds me I am not far removed from this pain.
I cannot pretend this problem is not mine.
I cannot pretend it is out of reach.

Another name is my baby brothers.
He has a beautiful name. And with it are beautiful dreams for his future.
But sometimes my dreams turn into nightmares and his name becomes a hashtag.
Sometimes I’m afraid he won’t get the future he is supposed to.

Sometimes I get angry that I don’t have to be afraid for myself.
What makes my brother and I different?
We have the same upbringing. The same parents. Even similar dreams.
The only difference is our skin color.
I was born white. He was born black.
But we were both born human.

I don’t know how to fix this.
But I do know that silence is not an option.
I don’t know my part is in the healing that must come.
But I will do whatever I can to not contribute to the breaking.

Will you join me?
Will you be the change?
Will you acknowledge your privilege?
Will you celebrate diversity?
Will you value our differences?
Will you ask questions?
Will you try not to be offended?
Will you open your heart?

Three men. Three races. Similar wisdom. Fighting for peace. Silence is not peace.

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Today was beautiful.

There are so many reasons why. I’ll probably blog about lots of them individually, but I’ll give you the quick list now:

  • IMG_5883It started strong when soon after I woke up my phone reminded me to have a good attitude since I knew I’d need a reminder after getting very little sleep.
  • I got to talk to my Mama in Tanzania for a minute.
  • My phone didn’t break even though I dropped it down a flight of stairs and it bounced on every step.
  • We got to feed 50+ artists breakfast and they were so very happy about it.
  • I heard stories from people who live all over the nation.
  • We got to hand out hundreds of free water bottles to strangers on a hot day.
  • Several friends came to visit me and hang out.
  • My kitchen and bathroom are both clean.

I could go on…there are so many reasons today was beautiful! But the one that stood out above the rest was getting a small white flower from a sweet little girl. After we gave her a bottle of water, I complimented this (maybe 4 year old) little girl on a flower she was holding. She paused, looked at the flower, and then slowly raised it up to give it to me. From someone else, this might seem worthless, a frail flower they grabbed from the side of the road somewhere, but from this little girl, it was clear she gave me a treasure. And by doing so, she reminded me to be intentional about being aware of my perspective. Life is full of moments. I don’t always see the treasure in each one, but I want to. I hope your day was beautiful too.

IMG_5891

A few days ago I made the trek from Pennsylvania to Michigan again to celebrate the life of my Gramps after his short (just 2 week) fight with cancer. I was supposed to drive up today to visit him, but instead I went to his funeral this past weekend. Sometimes life does not go to plan, but I do believe God is still in control.

On my all day drive I had lots of time to think and process. It was a healthy car ride and one that I found rather inspiring. Let me enlighten you…

photo 1-11For starters it felt weird to purposely drive out of sunshine and into a storm. It seemed almost wrong, but I knew that the journey was worth it. It made me think about the rest of life and the challenges we sometimes would rather not face, but how much stronger, happier, more fulfilled we would be in the end if we were willing to keep taking the next step on the journey…no matter what storms we might face.

 

photo 2-11A little later I saw this and did a double take. That wasn’t just a hole in the clouds where the sun was shining through, it was one cloud shining while the rest clung to their dreariness. Kind of like humans, it was one choosing to respond differently than what is considered normal. That lone cloud couldn’t make it not be a cloudy day, but it did add a bright spot into a cloudy day. I thought about the hard things in life, my friends in jail who’s families will celebrate Christmas without them. The many refugees all around the world who are just trying to survive the day. The homeless. The sick. I can’t make all of their days good, happy, or safe. But I can be a bright spot on a cloudy day…and even that makes a difference.

 

photo 3-8And then I wondered why does God go to all the effort to add extra beauty to each beginning and ending of our days? Honestly, I don’t know that it’s extra effort. I’m sure there’s scientific reason…but I also know it doesn’t have to be so beautiful. I believe God created some things in such detail just simply to wow us. He wows me all the time.

 

Last week Hearts for Homeless put on a spaghetti dinner fundraiser, and I was helping out with it. I went shopping for some of the food on “adventure night” (aka babysitting night) when I had my sweet littles with me. The girls were champs as we went to store after store gathering different items that had been donated, and trying to do the math of how many boxes of pasta it would take to feed the unknown amount of people who would be coming… (we didn’t get enough – hooray for an awesome turn out!)

Anna was especially excited when I told her we would be shopping for pasta, it’s a photo-47favorite of hers. But then I followed it up with the fact that it wasn’t for us. I explained that it was for a fundraiser for my friends without houses. One thing I love about living with this family is that I get to see the world through little eyes. Though they are young, my sweet littles know there are people just like them who don’t have homes. They already know it’s a problem, and they know that it’s so much more than just a problem…these are people. They’ve met many of them, and anytime they hear about homelessness they come running over to tell me, because they assume it’s one of my friends.

But this day stood out to me because we weren’t talking about homelessness. We were shopping and having a grand adventure and out of the blue Anna said quietly, “Shelby, will you tell me the next time you need money for your friends without houses, because I have some in my bank.” This is generosity at its finest.

photo-46I think as grownups we so often look at the whole problem and try to come up with an answer that solves every little piece which is a good thing…we want to solve every little piece…but it also takes the faith of a child to step up and say, I don’t have much, but there are coins in my piggy bank, and I believe that we can change the world with that. I believe I can help those around me with my little bit…her coins will never reach the homeless across the world, but they can have a big impact on a life here in State College, even if it’s just a cup of coffee. Her sweet heart reminds me of the little boy mentioned in the Bible in John 6:9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” …if you don’t know the story look it up, but here’s a spoiler…that lunch fed thousands! And it continues to have an impact on many lives to this day.

If you can’t offer much, give what you have. That could be time, money, a meal, a hug, a smile, a word of encouragement. There are people all around who can use the great things you have to share. Lets love like littles do and overcome our big world problems day by day,  one step at a time.

Sometimes I Inspire Myself

Let me just start by saying it doesn’t happen all that often, but recently I did inspire myself! See, I wrote myself a letter over a year ago, and I just received it this past weekend. The letter was an assignment at the Bible School I went to. The requirement was that it had to be a 2 page letter to yourself. The instructions reminded us that moving away from Bible School would be challenging. We knew we would face tough things, even if we didn’t know the specifics of them. So go ahead and encourage yourself, remind yourself you belong to God, etc. So I did.

Some of the good points I wrote to me were:
* You memorized Scripture. Do you still remember it? Are you learning more?
* Remember your spot by the fire for devotions? Where’s your spot now?
* You sought an adventure everyday…even if you never left the house. I hope you still do.
* Mentor. Do you have one? Are you mentoring? It can be hard, but it’s worth it.
* Sit at the kids table once in a while.
* Pray often.
* Give hugs.
* Call friends.
* Write letters (and send them).
* Love well Shelby. You know how…just stop and let Jesus.

I ended my letter by reminding myself, “You are nothing and everything. A bit of dust filled with the breath of God. A beautiful, adopted daughter of the King”. There was much more in my letter. Precious memories. Reminders to pray for specific friends. More challenges. I think I should start writing myself letters more often.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget what God has gotten you through in the past and you can begin to dwell on the challenges you’re facing right now. (At least that’s true for me). When I see friends going back to jail I find it exhausting. When I think of raising hundreds of dollars of monthly support it’s overwhelming. Sometimes even planning the little things can lead to fatigue. But the reality is that God’s got this! He’s done it before. I’ve seen it. He can do it again! Many of my personal challenges are so minor compared to what I’ve seen Him do in other people’s lives already.

So today I focus on the ending from my letter and I challenge you to believe it about yourself… You are nothing and everything. A bit of dust filled with the breath of God. A beautiful, adopted child of the King.