Monthly Archives: September 2009

Visioneering

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This has been a year of self-discovery. I’m finding out a lot about myself. My natural strengths, my weaknesses. What gives me joy, what robs my joy. How I process, how I perceive.

College group on the trail with Youth Dynamics

College group on the trail with Youth Dynamics

 
My latest discovery is that I am a visioneer. I have these great, monumental ideals. And I start talking about them with excitement and passion and the goals become so real and so attainable. And I’m all-in, completely sold.
 
But then I get burdened by the details of putting it all into place. So the vision sits there on a shelf until I can give it the loving cultivation it needs to grow.

It’s disappointing, to say the least. So I’ve decided that what I really need to do is to focus on what’s most important: the very vision that changed my life.

A cairn of our "burdens" we gave to God & left behind

A cairn of our "burdens" we gave to God & left behind

 

Do you know about this vision? Have I shared it with you? If not, I have been doing it, you, and God a great disservice. The next time I see you, please ask me about my vision for Youth Dynamics. Ask me about my calling into ministry. Because this is one vision I don’t want to see fade away.

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Whirled Peace

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Just the other day, a new Ben & Jerry’s shop opened near my ‘hood — on Dollar Cone Day, no less. One dollar for a large, gooey scoop of Oatmeal Cookie Chunk. Oh my sweet creamy goodness… don’t even get me started, because the POINT is: This company has taken on quite the mission — one that far exceeds the simple sale of scrumptious sweets. 

Even from the start, this Vermont-based biz had the right idea. In 1979, on their one year anniversary, the first and only Ben & Jerry’s cone shop held their first ever Free Cone Day, when they celebrated the people who made their vision a success. Thirty years later, they still celebrate this day. (And it’s generally on my calendar months in advance.)

But besides this, the company has continued to make waves in social-economic standards, funding community-oriented projects, paying their employees fair, livable wages, and paving a path in environmental ethics from the very start — way before “Green” was conceptually born (or at least before it was deemed Buzz Word of the Century). 

Call me a hippie (you wouldn’t be the first), but I love the fact that the company even attaches to the ideal of all ideals: Whirled Peace. Ok, so their new flavor (with fudge peace signs, naturally) may not do the trick, but they do advocate it, nonetheless. On their homepage, for example, they ask: What will YOU do to make peace on September 21st?

What is sowhirled peace special about September 21st, I wondered, in the midst of my ice cream flavor-stalking? So I clicked the link  and came to find out today is the UN-recognized Peace Day: an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence. What?! I never knew such a thing existed (until I watched this documentary clip). Amazing what you’ll learn when you get your news from random places…

Anyhoo, I got off on a bit of a tangent, but my purpose in parading the facts surrounding my fave cone shop is this: Besides the fact that they’ve constructed a fine example for corporations worldwide, Ben & Jerry’s presents a fine example for people worldwide. We can do great things through vision and passion. If we can attach people to a cause through ice cream, we are far undermining our capabilities, don’t you think?

A bit on wisdom

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Spending my summer with YD, I learned a lot. About myself. About Jesus. About what it means to sit in tension and gravitate towards the tough stuff. For, I cannot think of a single challenge that did not result in growth. And through growth, wisdom — one of the most coveted God-given gifts.

I am reminded of this little slice of advice I garnered from my mother, years ago. I was at that age when we don’t want to believe that our parents understand us. Yes, the teenage years, when life is all about fitting in and being liked.

But what dear Mother had to say stuck. (And if you knew my track record for memories, you would understand that this is quite a feat, in and of itself!)

“Wisdom comes from learning,” she told me. “And we learn from our mistakes.” Sure, it sounds obvious. But that quote has carried me through so many mistakes that I have come to realize my mother does, perhaps, know a thing or two about life. Since those words of wisdom, I have understood each mistake to be… wait for it… a blessing. Ok, so maybe that wasn’t my first thought. But I did eventually conclude that my mistakes could, in fact, guide my path. And result in wisdom.

I figure, by the time I welcome my wise years, at about the golden age of 102, I will have embraced so many mistakes that I’ll finally be ready to take on the world, just as my last breaths are before me. Depressing, isn’t it?

At any rate, I welcome challenge. Yes, I’ll say it again. I welcome challenge! Oh Lord, please protect me, for that sounds like a challenge, am I wrong? Well, here goes nothing… Father God, I put my life into your hands.

Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
happy are those who hold her tightly.
                                                – Proverbs 3:18

Harmonizer

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I got a harmonica for my birthday, and it’s already become part of the regular routine. Wake up, brush teeth, harmonize. Make coffee, harmonize. Drink coffee, harmonize. Work. Harmonize. It is fantastic.

I am a musician now, I tell my friends. A musician! They laugh. Apparently, my hand-held wonder is less cool than a guitar. Laugh, I tell them. Laugh away. But when you start thumping that foot to my little bluegrass business, you’ll grin and know that it is just as noble a way to worship as any. And that’s the biggest draw for me – that I can add to worship on a whole new level. It seems every last person in my circle of friends is musically gifted. Gifted or not, I will join the crowd!

The other day, for example, I was surrounded by a crew of nine or so individuals – my beloved YD friends – partaking in worship as one of two without an instrument. Among us, there were two guitars, two drums, a wind flute, a full-sized harp and a tambourine. Now doesn’t a harmonica seem like a good addition? I think so. Jesus will probably like it, too. I’m pretty sure.

So now I just need to learn how to play… any pointers? Reading music isn’t really a strength. In fact, I don’t know the first thing about it. Minor details, I presume. I’ve almost got “Silent Night” down. Too bad everyone is sick of hearing it roll on repeat time and again…