Monday, November 29, 2010

let me go ahead and get this out of the way... again

'tis the season again. So, this is just your friendly reminder to please not write me a letter about writing "xmas" and how I joined Target in some kind of conspiracy to overthrow the world... just read this 1st.
merry xmas!
(This was originally posted on November 24th, 2009 HERE.)

OK, I thought it might be easier to just say this once and get it out of the way.

It is a lot easier and faster for me to write "xmas" than "Christmas". There, I said it and it's out of the way now.
So, when I am typing something quickly = a blog post, an email, a text, etc... I'm probably going to write "xmas" instead of "Christmas". (So don't be offended when you get an email or text from me with "xmas" in it.)

Lest you think I am some heartless atheist (or a devil worshipper) - it has NOTHING to do with "taking Christ out of Christmas" as lots of people say. It's not some "liberal" agenda to hijack this "Christian nation". It is simply 5 less letters to type. It's easier. That's all. I don't hate Jesus. In fact I love Jesus and am radically following Him as best as I know how.

In case you're curious "X" is actually the abbreviation for "Christ". Therefore xmas instead of Christmas. It's not "taking Christ out of Christmas", it's simply abbreviating.
* "X" is the 1st Greek letter in "Christ" (Xristou). That's why "X" is the abbreviation for Christ.
And that's why I hope you can understand that I'm not a devil worshiper just because I write "xmas".

And actually I think it's interesting in light of this topic that the ancient Hebrew scribes used to write YHWH to abbreviate God's Name because they wanted to revere His holy name and didn't think themselves worthy to even write all the letters - Yahweh... (we think).
[i wonder what they would think of us... actually writing the WHOLE name out. Would they think us irreverant or blasphemous? or even part of a conspiracy to overthrow the world?]

So, again, just to clarify = I'm going to write "xmas" instead of "Christmas", but not because I hate God, just because it's faster.

What about YOU? Do you write "xmas" or "Christmas"?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

advice from 95 year olds

(This article is a repost from February 5, 2008.)

I enjoy learning from a guy named Tony Campolo. I listen to his podcast a lot & have read a few of his books. I'm currently in the middle of about 50 books right now & one of them happens to be Adventures in Missing the Point which Tony co-authored with Brian Mclaren. I really like the book and it has a lot of interesting stuff that really pushes my presuppositions.

At some point in the last year or so I heard Tony talk about a really cool survey he did. In staff meeting on Monday morning our lead pastor Chris talked about this survey & it was an awesome reminder for me. I'm so glad Chris talked with us about it. Basically, Campolo polled a bunch of 95 year olds!!! & asked them this question:

"If you could go back and live your life differently, what would you change?"

WOW! What a great question. When those 95 yr. old dudes started talking I bet Tony was on the edge of his seat! They've got the best perspective for a 25 yr. old like me who will be in their shoes one day. Here were their top 3 answers:

1) I would have reflected more
I don't think any of us do enough of this. We're too busy. We're too scared. We're too satisfied with our current situations and productions. I want to constantly reflect and evaluate the job that God is giving me another breath to do.

2) I would have risked more
Man, I'm gonna be a risk taker! I never want the fear of the risk to hold me back from doing something pimp for God's kingdom!!! I'm not holding back. I can handle coming to the end of my life and saying, "I made some really stupid mistakes." But I will not look back and think "I wish I wouldn't have been so careful and safe... I wish I would have went for it."

3) I would have invested more in things that would live on after I'm dead
WHOOOOO!!! This what I'm all about. I am going to live my life doing stuff that will continue to spread Jesus' fame 100 & hopefully 1,000 years after I'm dead! One of my best friends Ethan and I wrote our epitaphs a while back... I know that sounds pretty freaky, but it was an awesome exercise recommended in a book YOU NEED TO READ - Chazown. I want my epitaph to say that I was part of sparking a revolution that continued to spread God's renown for hundreds of years after I've kicked the bucket.

***Pretty cool Tony, thanks for doing the survey.
What will YOU say when YOU'RE 95? Will you have one of these 3 regrets? I hope not. What are you gonna do about it NOW?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

talking to ourselves

a lot of the time we're just talking to ourselves. and that's about as useless as it sounds.

this week i finished Francis Schaeffer's classic - He Is There and He Is Not Silent.

This sentence was so simple, but so profound and practical for most Christians:
"You have to preach the simple gospel so that it is simple to the person to whom you are talking, or it is no longer simple."

That is brilliant. Whether you're talking to a middle schooler or a person who has never been to church or a true post modern... simple to them is WAY different than the way most people generally explain the gospel "simply".

"So why have we as Christians gone on saying the great truths in ways that nobody understands? Why do we keep talking to ourselves, if men are lost and we say we love them."
- Francis Schaeffer

Why do we keep talking to ourselves? Because it's just easier? Because we never really think about it?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happy thanksgiving Quotes of the Week (repost)

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

(repost from Thursday, November 26, 2009.)
This is the Thanksgiving edition of quotes of the week. They are not all about turkeys or "thanks" but they struck me as appropriate quotes of the week for today.

“What fascinates me so much is that every time we decide to be grateful it will be easier to see new things to be grateful for. Gratitude begets gratitude, just as love begets love.” – Henri Nouwen

"When we see anything as birthright, it ceases to be gift." - Mark Buchanan

Bread exists to help you know what it is like to be satisfied in Jesus." (John 6:35) – John Piper

"Never confuse your value with your valuables, nor your net worth for your self-worth. The greatest things in life aren't things." – Rick Warren

“Better to get up late and be wide awake than to get up early and be asleep all day.” — Anonymous [I definitely thought this was appropriate for today (and maybe especially tomorrow)]

“Worship is bragging about God to God.” – Mark Batterson

“He [God] has more of a right to ask us why so many people are starving.” – Francis Chan

* “Consumerism’s great risk is that we might get exactly what we want.” - Chris Seay & Rick McKinley (in Advent Conspiracy)

“God gives power and blessing so that justice and righteousness will be upheld for those who are denied them. This is what God is like. This is what God is about. This is who God is.
To forget this, to fail to hear the cry, to preserve prosperity at the expense of the powerless, is to miss what God has in mind.” – Rob Bell
“Jesus said whatever you do to the least of these my brothers you’ve done it to me. And this is what I’ve come to think. That if I want to identify fully with Jesus Christ, who I claim to be my Savior and Lord, the best way that I can do that is to identify with the poor. This I know will go against the teachings of all the popular evangelical preachers. But they’re just wrong. They’re not bad, they’re just wrong. Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in a beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken…” – Rich Mullins

I hope you enjoyed these... & HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

how i learned about radical forgiveness from an orphan

Forgiveness is a hard thing to give - a lot of times for most people.
Jesus was all about radical forgiveness. i want to be about that kind of radical forgiveness too. Forgiveness no matter what. i wonder if i could forgive someone who screwed me over BIG TIME. i got a lesson in radical forgiveness from an unexpected source.

This is Nyaga. he is an orphan we have sponsored through Compassion International since 2007. We've always known he was an orphan because Compassion told us, but we never knew what happened to his parents.

Crystal and I got to meet Nyaga this September and you can read about that HERE. We heard the story about how his mother died when he was about 2-3 years old. His oldest brother tried to take her to a hospital a couple hours away but it was too late. Japhet, his oldest brother became "dad" to all the kids (including Nyaga) when he was only 20.

We found out that his Dad had just got up and left some time before that day. never came back. never communicated with them.
just gone.
dead for all they knew.

so, when Nyaga's mom died he was an orphan. no mom, no dad.

Well, Nyaga's dad heard that Crystal and I were coming to visit and probably heard we were bringing lots of gifts, etc... so he showed up. after 7 years he just waltzed right back into his village... into his family's land. All day he just kept his distance from everyone, didn't say a word to anyone... just watched. he looked like he may have been drunk.

This made Crystal and I SO ANGRY! i seriously wanted to walk up to him, grab him, and shake him + shout (probably through my angry tears) "WHAT KIND OF MAN ARE YOU!?!? How could you ditch your family like that?!" how could a man leave his poor defenseless family?

He knew that his wife had died too. He just left his oldest son Japhet to step up and be the man for all the kids. Japhet had to put his life on hold. he never finished school. he has a wife and kid of his own now... not to mention 4 little brothers and sisters that are like his kids. He works his butt off for this "inherited kids" and they all live on about $7 a month!
$7 a month!? 
"You left all your kids without a parent to live on $7 a month!?!?"

i felt like it was righteous anger that was rising up in me making me want to punch this guy in the face. but then something happened.

i was randomly videoing Nyaga as we gave him a bag of candy. Then he started to share it with everyone around which i thought was pretty cool so i kept videoing.
Then something happened that i totally didn't expect. Just watch for yourself.

(fyi - Nyaga's dad is the man sitting by himself way off to the right by the trees.)

that's powerful.

i was absolutely shocked. i couldn't believe what i just witnessed.
if i were Nyaga there is no way i'm sharing my candy - this prized commodity i just received for once in my life - with the man who pretty much ruined my life.

i mean orphaning your own kids is pretty much the worst thing i can imagine. when you get screwed over like that then it would really take RADICAL forgiveness.

i probably fought back tears when i witnessed that moment. my heart melted. it completely changed my heart and my thoughts about what i could/would/SHOULD do in a similar situation.

later Crystal and i were talking about how angry we were at his dad for having the audacity to even show up. then we talked about how if Nyaga can forgive him then surely we can forgive him too.

then i got to thinking that if Nyaga can forgive his dad then surely i can forgive anyone who ever does anything to me.
but where does that kind of radical forgiveness come from? how can someone even do that?

i'm convinced it's just Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate Radical Forgiver. He started it. He asks us to follow by turning the other cheek. pretty radical.
without Jesus i have no idea where this radical forgiveness could come from? it's hard enough with Him.

Monday, November 22, 2010

advent conspiracy year 3

It's time for my favorite thing of the year again! = Advent Conspiracy! (In order to save some time in this blog you can read what I wrote about Advent Conspiracy HERE, HERE, HERE, & HERE. If you read those I won't have to repeat myself a lot.)

Here's a short video that will give you the scoop too:

So that's what we're about in this conspiracy. It's a conspiracy because it is sooo counter-cultural. It's a rebellion really. We're trying to take Christmas back!

Here's the bottom line if I can summarize it really quickly:
Dirty water is killing more people than anything on earth! People just don't have access to clean water. 5,000 children die every day because they don't have water to drink! That's 1 child dying every 15 seconds because they don't have something we take for granted. That does something in my soul. That makes me outraged and devastated all at the same time.
Jesus SAID that if we see someone thirsty and give them water it's just like we gave the water to Him! And if we don't give them water it's like we refuse to give water to Jesus when He's thirsty. not cool. (Matthew 25:31-46)

It would cost $10 billion to give everyone on earth clean water... & just in America we spend $450 billion on Christmas crap every year!!! Something is jacked up with that & you know Jesus agrees.
So, 2 years ago I jumped in on this advent conspiracy. For my birthday (december 3rd) & Christmas all I've asked for was for people to take the $ they would have spent on buying me a gift AND GIVE IT TO ADVENT CONSPIRACY, so that Living Water International could use it to build wells so people could have clean water! People did it and in 2008 almost $1,000 was given to build a well! It went to rebuild a well in Nicaragua and over 450 people in the San Rafael village of Leon now have clean water! - All because of this little Christmas rebellion!

Last year I did it again. I was feeling really rebellious. I also invited all of my friends in Student Impact (our student ministry at Ridge Church). It was awesome.

So, we're cranking it up again this year with Student Impact.
It would be so awesome for us as a student ministry to say in a couple months - "Because we did Christmas differently this year, we helped a whole village have clean water!"
I know... that's a pretty audacious goal for a handful of broke middle school and high school students. But I think we're up to the challenge!
& that's advent conspiracy in a nutshell.

*So, let me be clear (this is my open letter to all of you) - I do not want anyone to buy me birthday or Christmas presents! The only gift I want is for you to give money for Advent Conspiracy so that Living Water International can build a well with it! SO THAT people can drink clean water and stop dying from dirty water.
You can click here and donate or you can give it to me & I will add it to our water cooler in Student Impact to help us build a well.

In case you missed it at the top, below are 4 articles I wrote last year about advent conspiracy. check them out!
double advent conspiracy
happy advent
best Christmas EVER!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

quotes of the week #27 - HARRY POTTER edition (part 2)

In honor of the newest Harry Potter movie coming out this weekend - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1... here are part 2 of some of my favorite Harry Potter quotes! (You can read Part 1 - the best quotes - HERE.)

"Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth." - Professor Albus Dumbledore (Half-Blood Prince)

"As much money and life as you could want!  The two things most human beings would choose above all - the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them." - Dumbledore (Sorcerer's Stone)

"Fear makes people do terrible things." - Professor Lupin (order of the phoenix)

"It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends." - Dumbledore (Sorcerer's Stone)

"Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open." ~ Dumbledore (Goblet of Fire)

"Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike." - Dumbledore (Order of the Phoenix)

"We must try not to sink beneath our anguish, Harry, but battle on." - Dumbledore (Half-Blood Prince)

"It was, he [Harry] thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high.  Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew - and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents - that there was all the difference in the world."  ~ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

"The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with caution." - Dumbledore (Sorcerer's Stone)

any favs?

Friday, November 19, 2010

security doesn't exist

there's no such thing.

security does not exist. it's a myth. a lie we've been told.

and that's just fine with me. i don't like being secure anyway... especially when it's false.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

insatiable need to know more

i want to do big things with my life. i want my years on earth to count in big ways. there's a certain renown i want to further... and it's not mine.

sometimes i get frustrated because there are a lot of abilities and qualities i don't have that seem to be the ones people need to accomplish big things. 
but... i was encouraged when i read this:
“The people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more.” 
– Michael Gerber, in E-Myth Revisited 

(we read this book and discussed it in the leadership coaching network i was in. Gerber was writing specifically for business people, but the principles in the book - including this one - apply to any type of organization.)

for the record, i think "insatiable" is a great word.

that sentence GRABBED me! because thankfully... that's ME! 
not necessarily the "good in business" part... but God has blessed me with an "insatiable need to know more". which some days i have felt like it is a curse. but i know it's not. it's a blessing. i hope i can steward it well.

i do not know a whole lot but i have this undeniable entrepreneurial spirit inside me coupled with an insatiable need to know MORE. it's not just a "desire", but a need that i can't do anything to squelch. i hope that can combine with all my shortcomings and imperfections to produce big things.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

less for more

i love that phrase = "less for more". it applies to SO MANY things.

it applies to me daily in relation to communicating (speaking, etc...) - i've GOT to say less if i want what i say to be heard and effective. but we usually say too much.

recently i read:
If you say 3 things, you don’t say anything.” 
– James Carville 

that is brilliant. i don't know much about Carville (other than him being in that coke commercial shot in DC)... but i do know that he churned out 3 brilliant campaign slogans for Clinton in the 90s, but because of this philosophy he threw out 2 great slogans! 
they went with "it's the economy stupid" and many say that won them the election.

i know most of us aren't big Clinton fans, but we can all learn a lot from this piece of James Carville wisdom.

it's why i only have 1 point in every talk i give. if i tried to say 2 things i might as well shut up and say nothing. it's about saying less... for more.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

must have iPhone Apps (via NY Times)

i really feel a lot smarter when i read The New York Times. you know what i mean... i just feel like a smart person holding that newspaper.
When they pass them out on the airplane i like just holding it because i feel like a professor who actually reads it.
Or i just picture myself at some hotel in Paris in a fancy bathrobe eating breakfast out on the balcony reading the NY Times.

anyway, maybe that's just me. i do have the NY Times iPhone app and read it from time to time as i walk my dog. yesterday i was reading it and found a GREAT article!

the author was pointing readers to the BEST iPhone apps. i've started using several of them already and i think they're really helpful and cool, so i thought i would share them with you.
i trimmed it down to be about half the length... but now i present to you the (partial) great article by Bob Tedeschi from the NY Times:

Top 10 Must-Have Apps for the iPhone, and Some Runners-Up

"In this column, I’ve compiled 10 must-have apps that will save you time, make your life easier and make you smile. You won’t see Twitter, Slacker or Facebook, among others, on this list. Although I find them indispensable, the services aren’t unique to a mobile phone. To make my Top 10, an app must deliver an experience you couldn’t find on your computer — something, in other words, that exemplifies the smartphone at its best.

REDLASER (FREE) It may not tell you if a clothing item makes you look fat, but otherwise RedLaser is a perfect shopping companion. Scan a bar code and it retrieves product information, including prices at online merchants and local stores (in case you are in the mood to haggle). Or follow a spouse or child around a store, scan what they like and you have an instant gift list.

SOUNDHOUND (FREE AND $5) You’ve probably heard of Shazam, the app that identifies songs. SoundHound is faster, and it offers a broader range of ancillary features. You can hum a tune into the phone and it’ll find the song, look up lyrics and run YouTube videos of song performances.

EVERNOTE (FREE) The company advertises this as a personal digital assistant, and it’s an apt description. Evernote is a traveling notepad that synchronizes with desktop and browser software (also free). Use your iPhone to copy an image, take a photo, record a voice memo or jot down a note, and it appears on your computer (and vice versa). It also recognizes your written text, within limits.

HIPSTAMATIC ($2) Scores of photography titles are in the App Store. Many are terrific, but not one matches Hipstamatic’s blend of simplicity, serendipity and art. At heart, the app is a filter that will unpredictably saturate, blur or discolor your images, among other things. The results are always surprising and often stunning.

URBANSPOON (FREE) Not sure what to eat, or where? Spin Urbanspoon’s slot machine and it will dial up a suggestion. You can also select certain attributes — Japanese food, for instance, or inexpensive food — and local eateries appear. The app includes user reviews and contact information, and you can press a button for a map and directions.

GOOGLE (FREE) You can find Google through your mobile browser, but the app is a major time-saver. The voice search function is seamless. Ask it for specific Wikipedia entries, for instance, and it complies. Or just say "Starbucks" and the app uses the phone’s GPS to find the nearest location. A recent update put the "Goggles" service within the app, so you can snap a photo and let Google search for information on that object. And given Google’s emphasis on mobile, the app will continue to improve.

ANGRY BIRDS ($1) A runaway favorite among the iPhone crowd, the app tests your ability to break down the barricades that protect green pigs. The weapon: flightless birds, launched by catapult. No wonder they’re angry. The game is easy to learn, yet challenging to play, with witty touches throughout.

FIREFOX HOME (FREE) In the same vein as Evernote, Firefox Home is a way to synchronize your desktop and mobile lives. Once you load the app and register, Firefox Home will show your browsing history and bookmarks. If you’re reading an important document online when you leave the office, you can start the app later and pick up where you left off.

STAR WALK ($3) Point your phone toward the heavens and this app identifies all you see — constellations, planets, individual stars — in brilliant clarity. If you pivot in another direction, the app follows. It’s an astonishing app that’s great to pull out during dinner parties, beach walks or sleepless nights in bed. You needn’t have a clear view of the sky to experience the starry night.

QUICKOFFICE MOBILE SUITE ($5) The next time someone e-mails you a Word, Excel or Powerpoint document, Quickoffice will open it and allow you to make quick edits from your iPhone. (Otherwise, you can open, but not edit, Microsoft Office files.) You can also create documents with the app, but it is far less useful for that purpose. Rather, Quickoffice offers a way to complete small work tasks easily while you are on the move.

Quick Calls
No Top 10 list is fully useful without an “honorable mention” list. The following apps should not be overlooked: Instapaper (free, with $5 “Pro” version; for saving and reading Web pages after you’ve moved offline); Yelp (free; find local services, restaurants and bars, including reviews); Layar (free; see customized information about your surroundings); Ocarina ($1; turns your phone into a musical instrument); and Glympse (free; let friends track your location temporarily and easily)."

any of your fav MUST HAVE apps to add?

Monday, November 15, 2010

quotes of the week #26 - HARRY POTTER edition

"quotes of the week" are back after a little absence & i know i usually post them on the weekend, but i had to wait until this Harry Potter weekend was over when basically all the movies were on TV.

i know you think of them as kid's books, but they are brilliant. seriously, these quotes i've compiled from the Harry series may be my best & most poignant qotw ever!
As i've started reading the books and watched all the movies i would just jot quotes down as i would read them or hear them & as they impacted me... pretty awesome stuff for "kid's books".
[my commentary & thoughts in brackets]

"Dark & difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right & what is easy." - Professor Albus Dumbledore (goblet of fire)
[this has always been my favorite because it is so true - our choices in life are usually between "right" and "easy"!]

"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." - Dumbledore (Sorcerer's Stone)

"The world isn't split in two - good people & [bad] death eaters. We've all got both light & dark inside of us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are." - Sirius Black (order of the Phoenix)
[right on. a lot of theology in that]

"a true leader does what is right, no matter what others think." - Dumbledore (goblet of fire)

"You place too much importance... on the so-called purity of blood!  You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be! - Dumbledore (goblet of fire)
[man, where has Dumbledore been through the centuries!? we needed him during slavery, civil rights, and every battle with racism...]

"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."  - Sirius Black (goblet of fire)
[that is awesome. Sirius is probably my all time fav. he's like Dumbledore with a "dark/rebel" side. too bad he's dead.]

"What's comin' will come and we'll meet it when it does." - Hagrid (goblet of fire)
[oh yeah, i forgot... Hagrid might be my fav. but for different reasons.] 
"It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices." - Dumbledore (chamber of secrets)

These are only half of my best quotes, so i think i'll post "Part 2" when "The Deathly Hallows" releases this weekend.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

funny sign

i'm not the most politically correct person in the world but i KNOW you can't have a sign like this!

it was up at this church where we went to get BBQ. had to snap a pic.

Friday, November 12, 2010

will the poor always be with us?


(i know it may seem long, but this was worth 8 1/2 minutes of my life & i think it's worth the same of yours)

"you were made for this."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

what Elias & Doris are NOT doing today

There were only a couple Class 8 students at the Havilla orphanage we lived at in Kenya. Class 8 is a big deal because at the end of the year you take a HUGE exam that 100% determines if you move from Primary school into Secondary School (High School). for a lot of kids this one test determines their future - whether they will continue to live in poverty their entire lives... or whether they might actually have a shot at life by getting an education.

there's a lot of pressure riding on this one exam where all your past grades are thrown out and it comes down to this 1 test.

this is Elias and Doris. Both in class 8. And this is what they were doing A LOT! locked in this quiet room away from everyone else - STUDYING hard.

but i can tell you what Elias and Doris are NOT doing today...
that's for dang sure.

because the big exam was Monday. it's all over. the pressure is off. well... sort of. school is out and they have had their graduation ceremony. summer break has begun and they don't start again until January 1st. BUT... they won't find out their exam scores for like another month!

but at least it's over.
Crystal and i tried calling Elias this past weekend just to let him and the others know we were praying for them to do AWESOME on their big exam and that we BELIEVE in them.

we talked to Joseph (the director) and they went looking for Elias, but, like always he was off hiding somewhere studying. :)
we can't wait to call and actually talk to him within the next week.

i miss all these kids. a lot.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

when is your birthday?

Seriously. when is your birthday? i love to tell people HAPPY BIRTHDAY" on their special day.
you know right off the top of your head right? the day you turn the next year old, the next age... you don't really have to think about that date, right?

This is Abraham. he is one of my homeboys who lived at the orphanage Crystal and i were at for a couple weeks.
Abraham is one of the oldest of all the orphans who live there.

One day Crystal and i were out milking the cows with Elias (the oldest) and Abraham. I was asking when their birthdays were. Elias had just turned 17 in August. Abraham is 16 so i asked a simple question:

me - "When do you turn 17?"

Abraham - "This year."

me - "Yeah, i know this year, but what day? When is your birthday?"

Abraham - "I don't know when my birthday is, it's just some time this year."

me - "wait. so you just pick a day and from then on you're 17?"

Abraham - "yes."

me - "well, is it today? Maybe today is your birthday? We could throw your birthday party if you turn 17 today."

Abraham - "no, it's not today. i don't feel 17 yet. it will be later this year."

what a weird conversation. i've never had one like that before. it honestly made me really really sad that he had no idea when he was born.
Abraham and so many of these kids just don't know anything about their story - where they came from, who their family is, what their dad was like, etc...  that makes me sad.

but to Abraham it's just the way life is. and he just went on milking the cows... as a 16 year old. (we think).

Monday, November 8, 2010

where have i been?

i've been right here.
just not blogging lately. sorry about that.

i've actually got tons of stuff written. literally hundreds of semi-finished articles that i'm excited about. i guess i just ended up taking a week off.

i've always told myself that if renown ever becomes a chore instead of something i love doing then i'm going to quit... just kill it.
well, i still love writing. i want to write.

i've just been busy since we've been home from Kenya & in my small bits of free time i just haven't felt like blogging. i hope you understand.

but, now i'm back in the game. starting today i'm going to try to write pretty much every day again. i think there's a lot of good stuff coming your way!

Monday, November 1, 2010

a goat walked up to my door

yeah. we're chillin' on the couch on Saturday & a goat walks up on our porch with his hooves clangin'... seriously?

then while walking our dog he started chasing us. then after we were safe i shot this video.

i really don't know what the difference is between a "billy goat" and any other kind of goat. i just kind of felt like calling this guy a billy goat.

pretty crazy. 1st time i've ever seen a goat walking around the neighborhood!