- 1. Jan 3rd
As the most underrated poet of his time, Eminem, proclaimed, “Snap back to reality, oh there goes gravity.” Back to the grind as they say. How so fortunate am I to have a job where the grind leaves me with a grin. Returning to the trash laden rocky roads of Mogote was comparable to any Macy’s day parade on thanksgiving. Faces I longed to see in an instant so close to mine as we embrace for a greeting’s kiss. Questions about Home and family flooded the kitchen as the full staff gathered once again. Home. Around the table. Where we come to remember we don’t have to this thing called life alone. What a gift. A glorious grace. As the second most underrated poet of her time, lilo, recited, “ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind.” Surely we see the goodness of this truth manifested each morning as we gather before we disperse to our duties. Everyone matters. Everyone counts. And no one gets left behind.
- 2. Jan 12th:
Once the clock struck noon today, 50 of us exited the front gate of our work building and divided up amongst the streets of the area we serve. It’s not a big area that surrounds the hope center, but it houses several thousand people. Lately, our organization has had some mischief occur in and around it that has not happened in a while. So for the past few days, before we take our lunch break, we have dedicated time as a staff to walk the streets, pray, say hello, and just flat be present. I think there’s a lot of healing that comes through the obedience of presence and a lot of consequence for absence. For example, the family unit. It is clearly proven scientifically that the family unit flourishes with both parents in the picture. There is also proven negative effects for the absence of a parent. Or what about when we make the sacrifice to see that friend in their time of mourning. Or when we take time to listen to the 4 year old we babysit as they tell us about their imaginary world. When we commit to showing up, we speak life and sacrificial love into others without ever having to say a word. On the contrary, if all we ever say are words of promise of presence to no avail, we loose our license to contribute to those lives in any kind of meaningful way. And our love will always be construed as tainted. So. Show up. Be present. I guess the cliche is true that actions truly do speak louder than words. And the action of presence produces peace.
- 3. Jan 13th:
The valuing of certain human life over other human life is the root of almost any corruption faced in our world today. We see 3rd world countries exist as so because a handful of their country’s population has everything while the vast majority have nothing. And never will. Because the majority’s lives do not matter near like the minority does. In some places, we see the majority presented with seemingly more opportunities and preference over minorities. In certain places where deep roots of radical religion spring forth, we see even certain genders given preference and more value than others. And these webs of devalue weave through every community and take up different costumes and performance depending on their stage. What do we do in the face of such clear oppression? Do we raise our voice? Do we create space for real and respectful conversation? Do we rally the troops in defense? Do we write letters to our government? Do we raise funds and raise awareness? Do we use our platforms to display the truth behind the curtain. Are we so beaten up inside that we cant sleep at night because we know in the deepest of our bones someone somewhere is been told they aren’t enough. That they’re nothing. That they’re nobody. Does it break our heart into unmendable pieces? Or. Do we continue sipping our coffee, scroll through social media, and go to bed.
- 4. Jan 17th:
If you’ve ever seen the movie Hitch, you know the opening monologue to the movie explains how communication is so much more than the words you say. It’s how you say them, what you don’t say, and the body language all in between. And man its treacherous waters. Because so much of the time what we say and what we mean are not received. And when they are trying to communicate what they receive, then the initial communicator gets confused and hurt and it just becomes a huge mess. Striving to be a better communicator often starts with becoming a better listener. We cannot engage effectively if we lack the ability to listen to understand rather than just listening to respond. We can avoid a lot of the hardship of communicating if we would just learn to be quiet sometimes and really listen. But I’m the contrary, sometimes our strife comes from not speaking up when we should. People are not mind readers and they can’t read yours. And for anyone and everyone communicating, a good ole dose of “I’m not always right” can certainly do the relational body some good. I heard a famous preacher day once “I’ve met some extreme idiots in my day, but it’s never 100% one idiots fault.” What he means in the statement is, there’s always something we can own. Check yourself. Check your heart. Check your ears, check your mouth. And let’s go out there and love the mess outta people.
- 5. Feb 1st:
To be unclear is to be unkind.
- 6. Feb 8th:
Perspective and Vulnerability are often the results of tragedy. In the aftermath and wreckage of life’s expected unexpectedness, we come to terms that we never see the full picture. We have to admit that in all of life, in every season, we will never know it all or get it all “right”, whatever the heck that actually means. So the perspective to see and the vulnerability to admit are keys to unlocking the chasm of self reliance that was seemingly a facade, all along.
- 7. Feb 20th:
Nothing flourishes in the dark. We rot there. We did there. Life cannot exist where light isn’t. The opposite is true as well. Everything begins to flourishes once the light hits. The initial exposure shows the seemingly irreversible wreckage of the emptiness that envelopes the dark. But then. The light. Light comes in and says, I’ll fix this. I’ll bring the dead to light. It won’t be overnight. But it’s coming. It’s growing. It’s alive.
- 8. Feb 24th:
Today is for my brother. Today is for him. 19 years ago was his moment to enter into time. Mason. A name that traditionally means stoneworker. Oh how fitting of a name bestowed upon him as he would grow into a man who thrives in hard manual labor. My brother can out work anybody, especially when it comes to construction work, paving, and anything with a tractor. The physical jobs that most people shy away from he leaps towards. With integrity, discipline, and a whole lot of country grit, Mason proves himself strong. While he embodies strength, he also encapsulates passion. You cannot force my brother to care about something he doesn’t, but the things he cares about, he is 1000% in. There’s no halfway for me. All in or nothing. We all could learn something from that kind of commitment. So, here’s to you Mason. May your day today and your years to come be a shining example of a man who lives and loves with passion, dedication, loyalty, and love.
- 9. March 2nd:
One of the perks of living in a third world country is that the electricity constantly goes out. Trust me when I say that my heart while im writing this is in no way sarcastic (I cant say that every time I think about the lack of electricity stability, but for now, a word of gratitude). When I have plans to watch a movie on netflix, or talk on the phone to a friend, or simply make some food, and then all plans are halted by no power. No power. For literally only the Lord knows how long And no control. Only dependence on the controller of the electric company to fix this in their timing. These times force me to remember my constant state of inability to control. They require me to stop, pause, and reflect on my ever increasing dependence on the creator of life. These moments draw a beautiful picture of grace for me when I often think I somehow can manage this life on my own. Oh, I need thee. And its not until I am faced without thee, that I long for thee evermore. No power puts into perspective that I have no power.
- 10. March 10th:
Nothing roots us like knowing we can’t uproot Christ.
- 11. March 12th:
Today is my Mom’s 50th birthday. It also is my grandmother’s (her mom) 79th birthday. Wow. My mom. I love that woman so much. When I look at her and the relationship we now share, I can’t help but be overcome with the unshakable reality of God’s goodness. In regards to a mother daughter relationship, my mom and I didn’t always have a great one. Polar opposites create incredible tension and easy amo in my teenage years to create division. Classic “you don’t understand me” cries of insecurity becoming flaming daggers to pierce the enemy that was made of my mom. And then. Grace. Woken up by the lord in the middle of the night on one particular night of my sophomore year of high school. One honest letter, a two and a half hour conversation, and many years later, healing began. Fast forward ten years later, Linda Gail is one of my most favorite people on the planet. Rather than means of divisiveness, I now see our differences as intentional markers of perspectives that we both glean from. I see my mom’s enate selflessness that truly astounds and challenges me. I see her unmatched steadiness that grounds a wanderer like me. I see my mom as a broken human in need of Jesus, just like me. Here’s to you, Mom. I love the mess out of you.
- 12. March 15th:
The hardest part in the pursuit of lifetime learning is maintaining the humility and openness to be corrected. To have not only some ideas more and more solidified over time, but to have some of our values shaken and destroyed. If we believe we are never going to get it completely then we have to surrender that we always have more to learn. That we will never arrive to a place of total comprehension but will forever be in a position of unending open-ended-ness. Are we content with being played on a vulnerability repeat?
- 13. April 15th:
All i’m really certain of is that all of this might make sense one day and im going to keep fighting. Simplistic in concept, harder in practice. But my goodness if we haven’t have hope, then we are devastated to live at all. Proclaiming there is purpose in the pain shakes loose a facet of living water to sustain our thirsty unbelief. When all the routines of life scream reminders of decisions left unmade or discernments yet to be discerned, wallowing becomes the soother. Our soul is tired and quite frankly is over the consistent abuse. What shall we do? Fight. Keep fighting. Because our hope is in that one day this will all make sense. That our faith will in fact become sight.
- 14. May 13th:
We want to protect the people we love. Most often, out of great intention, comes disastrous results. We think protection means elimination. Eliminating the hard parts of the truth we need to share. When actually elimination leads to fixation and fixation leads to frustration and frustration leads to explosion and explosion leads to destruction. When all the while, if we saw true protection as unhindered bias, we would all thrive in the freedom that the truth brings. Even when it’s hard.
- 15. June 8th:
When you’re spent in all the right ways, joy and peace are the by products. Rest doesn’t always look like head on a pillow, but joy and peace always look like resting in Jesus.
- 16. June 20th:
Today in colonia Cabañas, a colonia where we do ministry in, I was with two team members as we passed out food. Also accompanying was two of our staff ladies Erlinda and Wendy. Both of these women have the sweetest spirits and im convinced Wendy’s hugs are holy. That in her arms is holy ground. As we are all waiting at a familiar stop on the way, Wendy asked me how I was doing. Answering, I expressed good but that I was tired because team season takes all of me. Her reply struck me. She smiled and said “Yes I understand, but what a great privilege.” Wow. frozen in the silence of remembrance and reflection. Yes Wendy, you are extremely right. What a great privilege that I even get to do this. Tears left my eyes and my spirit freshly renewed. Now im convinced just being around Wendy is being in holy ground.
- 17. June 26th:
The gift of conviction is one that I sometimes would rather return and get some kind of store credit to spend later.
- 18. July 11th:
Engaging in a rhythm of consistency is definitely not glamorous or often notarized…but it’s the driving force in any endeavor as it fuels our discipline towards our goals and acts as a great litmus for desires that maybe aren’t meant to be pursued.
- 19. August 21st:
Dad, you’ve been gone 14 years today. What. That seems insane. 14 years without ya dad. But I had 11 with you. 11 imperfect but memorable years that I will fight to keep alive in my heart and mind forever. While life on this side of heaven will never reach the ideal because its a life without you here, Im elated at the thought of worshipping Jesus with you forever. Thats the hope in Jesus. That this life isn’t the end, merely the beginning. Envy comes to mind when I think about how you got to meet our Creator first. Cant wait to join you one day. I miss the mess outta you. Love you Dad. Love, your baby girl.
- 20. August 29th:
Mackenzie Gail turned 22 today. For those who dont know thats my sister. Wowza she is beautiful. Not many people dont just love her at first encounter. She is a fighter for those she needs to care for. She is seeking to serve Jesus and serve high school girls well. She is so smart its dumb. She has a laugh that is completely contagious. She is funny, but she’s kind. She is not perfect. But she is wonderfully made. My sister she will always be. And I love her forever, especially this day.
- 21. Sept 12th:
Out of many things forcibly learned here in Honduras, the art of being interruptible has shone quite brightly. When things like the power going out or water not being available are a more than average occurrence, you learn how to be more flexible or you just become bitter. You learn to adjust and be creative out of necessity. You remember that the world is a whole lot bigger than you.
- 22. Sept 27th:
When we lean into the spike of heighten emotion, we can make some dangerous choices. Say words that should have never left our mouths. Do actions that our body should have never produced. Think thoughts that we always meant to capture before they took off in a frenzy. Emotions can start running laps in our heart and pressure us to respond immediately and intensely. Caution. Pause. Because no matter the “how” of your response, there will ALWAYS be a consequence. A result of a choice made in this game. Choose wisely. Be oh so careful.
- 23. Nov 2nd:
In this season of life, ive had to learn how to wait and receive rather than initiate and give. Thats muy hard para mi. Im a go getter. In all the things. I make things happen. I do a lot of talking but I also try to back it up with a lot of doing. Yet, here in Hondy, God has called me to a whole lot of leaning and a whole lot of seeking. A whole lot of planting firmly instead of running rapidly. Much more seeking to be present than seeking to find more. It’s felt like the biggest gift of a curse. Today, I had a couple initiate plans with me. They intentionally sought me out to hang out with them. They treated me to dinner, showed me that there is fountain dr.pepper in this city, played games and talked about shows we loved. I stayed the night. Got to meet their family more the next day over a treated lunch, and they drive me all the way back across town to my home. Im so not used to this. This kindness and seeking. I didnt do anything to earn this. They just wanted to know me and love me well. Gods doing something in this mind and heart of mine.
- 24. Nov 15th:
I’d rather meet you at the bottom and ask how the roller coaster ride went than jump on with ya for the toss and turns. That’s what my brain tells me. But man my soul beckons for the journey of the tangle. To be hand in hand in the peaks and valleys of the ride. To share in the experience. To know with great empathy and understanding. To say “I’m in this with you.”
- 25. Dec 5th:
You know you are old now when getting your teeth get cleaned and whitened for free feels like you just won the lottery.
- 26. Dec 31st:
Well. I did it. I wrote everyday for the year of 2018. And I’m so thankful for it. I started this goal as a challenge to myself to become a better writer. To home my craft through the diligence of daily discipline. It was hard somedays. Some days I wrote one sentence. Other days I wrote a page. Sometimes it was a story I thought of and wanted to play it out from imagination to creation. Other times it was a hard moment that I needed to release in words. Rarely, it was like a daily journal. But overall it was dedication to the putting together of words in hopes of creating something beautiful. And I believe that goal was accomplished. And I’m proud of that. 2018, thanks for the memories.