Thank You Cate!

Hope. Hospitality. Sensitivity. Boldness. Community. These are things Cate lives out. She shows me the love and truth of Jesus in everything. Cate loves and cares for others well because she first knows and experiences the power of the gospel. She also cooks amazing food and I agree with her children that she should be on MasterChef!

Thank you for real conversations. Thank you for setting a place for me at the dinner table. Thank you for your constant generosity! Thank you for your family xx

Video

Last 12 days – Oral History?!

In the vein of Oral history, here’s the unedited audio of my Oral History Summer school days.¹

¹This brief reflection does not do the time justice, but it’s barely been a day. People at the program deeply care and want to make an impact. 12 days of being around driven people like that change you. So many more books to read, documentaries to watch, project design worksheets to fill out, people to follow, ideas to tease out.

Thank You Mellany!

Mellany got me to read “Just Mercy”. She inspires me with her desire to learn and understand. Her child-like curiosity and eagerness make her a compassionate friend and empathetic teacher. Her encouragement is always at times when I need it most. Her stunning penmanship makes her thoughtful notes that much more powerful.

Thank you for your constant generosity and support. Thank you for introducing me to nitrogen ice cream. I love you so much and I am your biggest advocate!

*This is the only time I wish I take more photos. Instead of the beautiful Mellany, I’ve had to settle for a picture of one of her lesson plans. 

Listening

Listening
In the midst of such pain and helplessness, listening might seen indulgent and slow
But before we act, we need an unrushed open space of understanding
There are too many things we don’t understand, can’t grasp, are overwhelmed by
Listening
It’s not a do nothing kind of attitude
It’s not an apathetic silence
It’s a curious and ready precursor to how I’m going to join the work
Listening that moves us to action
Listening that makes us aware of our complacency, our assumptions, our own ill contributions
Listening that crushes our hearts
Listening that rebalances the power between “us” and whoever is on the other side
The “enemy”, the marginalized, the idolized
Listening
An open, curious humility that proves we’re more alike than we are different
That reshapes the easy narrative we can live when we’re at an arms length from others
That rebuilds a unity driven by hope
If we can listen like this
If we can hold this space, pause the judging and open our eyes
It will pull us into action
You won’t just see the hungry but you’ll give the five loaves and 2 fish
You’ll go out and vote
You’ll contact your representative to ban assault weapons
You’ll reach out to say I don’t know what to say but I mourn with you
You’ll stop being so defensive when told about your micro aggressions
You’ll stop blaming the kids from poor neighborhoods for incarceration that is a systemic issue
You’ll go and volunteer at the local community organization to give time to one life at a time
You’ll stop acting so quickly thinking YOU are the savior, You’re not.
You’ll walk the streets of London for a prayer tour
You’ll beg God to move mountains of healing, forgiveness, reconciliation
You’ll create films that break you and mending means generosity and activism
You’ll use your privilege to equal the playing field
Listening
Is more than sitting back and doing nothing
It’s the beginning of action, of hope, of seeing that all of us are in need
All of us are created in the image of God
All of us deserve love and care and safety
All of us long for trust and hope
Maybe these similarities are stronger than our presupposed differences
That we’re fighting the same enemy of hate and apathy
Listening itself is healing
You’re not alone

Grace is receiving & accepting

I work for what I get. I try to earn what I receive. I want to deserve what is given to me. That is why grace is so uncomfortable.

Grace is receiving what I cannot earn
Grace is accepting that I am needy
Grace is receiving more than I expected
Grace is accepting that my worth doesn’t lie in what I can give
Grace is receiving generosity when I can’t equally reciprocate
Grace is accepting that people love me 
Grace is receiving 
Grace is accepting

A dear friend of mine generously bought my plane ticket for London. Initially I said no. I scrambled for reasons to justify why I would merit that generous gift and I found none. I don’t deserve it. My friend insisted, and insisted. It feels uncomfortable. I had to surrender my pride, sit in the discomfort and receive. That is grace – being loved based on the goodness of Jesus. I have nothing to do with it. I couldn’t earn it.

Thank you friend for teaching me that God makes me incredibly uncomfortable for my good. Thank you for giving me beyond my expectations. God works outside our small boxes; He worked through you.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20

Thank You Treats!

I could just say the common puns of how the Treats are so sweet and such a treat, and end it there. Because sifting through the many, many ways they have affected me, the community and this city in order to keep this post a reasonable length, is hard.

The Treats have folded me into their family and that has made LA home. They have shown me rhythms and the care of a healthy marriage and family. This gives me hope and excitement for my future. Their commitment to me and those around them make us feel like we matter. Jeremy and Tiffany lead by example, with curiosity, openness and humility.  Now those precious girls, Ashlyn, Lauryn, Evelyn & Katelyn! It has been a treat for me to watch them learn, grow, explore, fall and get back up. They remind me to laugh, to be silly and to not eat too much candy. We hands down have the best dance parties.

Thank you for your constant generosity and love. Thank you for living out the call God has placed on your family.

Thank You “Bro”

A friend of mine donated and he wants to stay anonymous. I still want to thank him so, let’s call him Bro.

Bro is joy walking into a room ready to embrace you
Bro is generous, hospitable, ready to welcome you
Bro’s got style like no other
Bro’s got rhythm to match that head to toe color
Bro is a brother who’s always got your back
Bro serves anywhere, whenever, whoever, however, if there’s a lack
Bro gives me lots of hope that great men are most definitely out there
Bro, thanks for all your heart and never ceasing care

Thank You Rachel & Evan

Thank you for reaching out, investing in me and being excited with me! Rachel is a fierce woman who lays it out as it is, whether they are things to rejoice over or things we can come alongside her in. Her self-awareness and boldness to ask God for exactly what is on her heart help all of us to be braver. When I think of Rachel, this verse comes to mind.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

Thank you both for your generosity and time. Thank you for showing me that we are and will always be family! xxx

Where I’m At

I want to be okay with where I am right now. I want to trust that where I am right now is exactly where God intends for me to be at.

I feel like a canvas of passions, projects and people, but I can’t see the full painting. I have all these puzzle pieces but I don’t have that cover picture on the box.

I love LA. I miss NY. I love acting and writing. I want to connect diverse people to foster dialogue about difficult things. I work at a restaurant. I’m doing this Oral History Workshop in New York. I’m going to London. But okay, what do all these things mean? What is this life that God has called me to? What!

What does going to London mean? Why at such a time as this? So, I believe in prayer. I believe that God loves the people of London. I believe that God has done, is doing and going to do a great healing in that city. I get excited and feel the privilege of praying with brothers and sisters in one of the greatest cities in the world. Are those things enough? Does that justify this trip for me? Am I lacking faith or being selfish because I want to know how this trip fits into my purposes?

I don’t know.

The London prayer tour is in 2 months. I still have to figure out finances and work scheduling. I am beyond grateful for those who have generously partnered with me. I know that I am not good at receiving love. It’s uncomfortable, but these people love me too much to keep me comfortable. I’m excited to pray.  But right now, I’m exhausted.

Thank You Ruth

Ruth and I spent many many many days sitting at Bricks & Scones waiting, waiting, pushing through the muck of the 20s unknown. Her commitment and faithfulness wildly inspire us in an age of flighty, transient shifting. In her, there is deep friendship, love and service. She always puts others before herself without batting an eye.

Thank you for teaching me how to be still, how to trust, how to commit. Thank you for showing me the beautiful character of God in your service and generosity.