Saturday, March 28, 2009

To write love on her arms

"To Write Love on Her Arms began in Orlando, FL in February 2006 as a (written) story, the true story of five days spent with a friend who was denied entry into a drug treatment center. The story was a look at those five days, and the t-shirts were printed and sold initially as a way to pay for our friend's treatment.

The vision is that we actually believe these things…

You were created to love and be loved. You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you're part of a bigger story. You need to know that your life matters.

We live in a difficult world, a broken world. My friend Byron is very smart - he says that life is hard for most people most of the time. We believe that everyone can relate to pain, that all of us live with questions, and all of us get stuck in moments. You need to know that you're not alone in the places you feel stuck.

We all wake to the human condition. We wake to mystery and beauty but also to tragedy and loss. Millions of people live with problems of pain. Millions of homes are filled with questions – moments and seasons and cycles that come as thieves and aim to stay. We know that pain is very real. It is our privilege to suggest that hope is real, and that help is real.

You need to know that rescue is possible, that freedom is possible, that God is still in the business of redemption. We're seeing it happen. We're seeing lives change as people get the help they need. People sitting across from a counselor for the first time. People stepping into treatment. In desperate moments, people calling a suicide hotline. We know that the first step to recovery is the hardest to take. We want to say here that it's worth it, that your life is worth fighting for, that it's possible to change.

Beyond treatment, we believe that community is essential, that people need other people, that we were never meant to do life alone.

The vision is that community and hope and help would replace secrets and silence.

The vision is people putting down guns and blades and bottles.

The vision is that we can reduce the suicide rate in America and around the world.

The vision is that we would learn what it means to love our friends, and that we would love ourselves enough to get the help we need.

The vision is better endings. The vision is the restoration of broken families and broken relationships. The vision is people finding life, finding freedom, finding love. The vision is graduation, a Super Bowl, a wedding, a child, a sunrise. The vision is people becoming incredible parents, people breaking cycles, making change.

The vision is the possibility that your best days are ahead.

The vision is the possibility that we're more loved than we'll ever know.

The vision is hope, and hope is real.

You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story."

Jamie, the founder of the To Write Love on Her Arms movement, is speaking at Central Christian Church this weekend at 4:30 tonight, 6:00 tonight, 9:00 Sunday morning, 10:20 Sunday Morning, and 11:45 Sunday morning. If you live in Vegas, bring your friends and come check it out.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Yesterday at school I saw a woman walking in the opposite direction from me scattering Pringles crumbs on the side of the grass for the birds. I smiled to myself, and kept walking along the path towards my class. As I walked further I saw more and more crumbs, then I saw birds flying away with entire chips in their mouths. Along the rest of the path there was a frenzy of hungry birds feasting on entire potato chips. Did the woman really pour out an entire can of Pringles to feed the ugly, black, birds that plague the UNLV campus? And why? Crumbs were one thing, a sweet gesture, but an entire can of whole potato chips?

Then, it dawned on me. The same thing that God has been speaking to my heart about for far too long was being played out before my eyes.

I have been giving out crumbs.

I have half-heartedly maintained my relationship with Him and with others. I have put the most important things in my life second, and put the meaningless things first.

I heard a sermon yesterday morning from Flat Irons Church that I had downloaded on my Ipod and listen to when there is a lot of traffic, and basically its come down to this:
I could spend my whole life trying to do more. Experience more. Succeed more. Get better grades and take more classes to graduate faster and fit more into my life.

But God is telling me to stop. Take a time-out. Breathe. Reconnect. Reevaluate.

I've found myself looking forward to the end of things. The next thing coming. I can't wait until this day is over. This month. This semester. College. Can't wait to be pregnant. Until the baby is born. She goes to kindergarten. To college.

How much more am I willing to miss?

I don't want to forget the finer things in life, the things that really matter to me. Like sipping green tea, and immersing myself in books, and writing on the driveway with chalk, or running through sprinklers, or flying kites, or playing scrabble, or blowing bubbles, taking walks and riding bikes and doing all of these things with people I LOVE. Taking time to not just fit people in my schedule, but be there, with them, in ups and downs and in between. I highly doubt that at the end of my life I will be thinking about how I wish I spent more time writing better lesson plans or doing dishes.

The question comes down to this: Based on the pace of life today, the stuff you spend your money on, and the stuff that fills your day planner- what do those things say is most important in your life? What are you counting on to make your life mean something?

Lets navigate through these questions together.
And maybe blow some bubbles and make wishes on dandelions while were at it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

spiritual food

Last Saturday night, Omar, Bob, and I went to take Bob's friend, Slade, to listen to a pianist at a piano bar. Listen is the operative word, because Slade is blind, and has been for his entire life. To be honest, I have never spent any real time with a blind person....or a homeless person. Until now. The past weekend served as a chance for me to see past my inhibitions and misconceptions and into the hearts of some of Gods most treasured children. Rather than give a detailed description of the adventures, which included a challenging and wonderful night with Bob and Slade, and a day with 450 sandwiches, i'll sum it up in pictures. And quotes.

"If someone wants to make a difference or whatever, they should. They shouldn't just keep it inside."
-my darling (almost) 12 year old sister.

"But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish."
-Psalm 9:18

(the picture says enough, to learn more about my brother, Andrew, click here)

"I would rather be a drunken bum in the streets than a person who thinks of themself as righteous and doesn't take time to love others. If a religion makes you hate people, youve got the wrong religion dude."
- Bob, the musician/homeless man

"We are here with you man. And we are praying. You guys are not in this alone."
-my husband

"Thank you for the food. You done a good job getting us food, and the Lord will bless you, but what we need is spiritual food. Sandwiches waste away, but the Lord can fill us in a way no food ever can. "
-the man in the green beanie

(by the way, I promised this man 20 bibles. If you have any extra bibles lying around, let me know.)

Its so funny what happens to your heart when you love other people.
Jesus has definitely wrecked my life.

Like Shane Claiborne says, "Another world is possible. Another world is already here."

Check this out: