A Family.

I received a disheartening email this morning and must share my thoughts.

You see,  last year in Tangier, I met two precious street children.  A five year old boy who was left to care for his three year old sister.  I met them as they rested during the day before finding their next place to sleep.  One of my acquaintances kept her eye on them, taking them in when they would let her, and using some funds I sent to at least provide some food.  I am planning to return there in a week or so, and had hoped we would be reunited.

And then this morning, I received word that they haven’t been seen in two weeks now.  I wonder where they are, if someone else took them in or if they just blended in with the rest of the numbers of street children roaming the city.

In my staff meeting this morning, we discussed the commitment level of truly caring for street children as family.  To love and serve them, to care for them and teach them, to truly invest in them takes more than just a few months or even a few years.  It is a commitment, and if they are young, it could be 18 years or more.   Now that’s a commitment.

I thought about that.  Is that a commitment I’m willing to make?  For those two, it was, it is.  And in Tangier, there are hundreds more, hundreds looking for someone to invest in them, to believe in them, to simply love and care for them.  I know that I can’t do it all alone, but I can honestly say, that I’m not scared at all of the commitment of it.  As long as there is something in me to give, I’ll give it away…

Beyond the Blueprint

 

It is easy for me to dream, to think of something to do.  I can sit here and think of all the things that are possible, or that I would like to see happen.  In my journal, I can make lists and take off on a journey of plans and things to consider.  This isn’t bad by any means, but can definitely be over done.  Because, the truth is, that at the end of the day, all I can do with my blueprints is sit amongst pages and pages of ideas, thoughts, dreams, theories, projects, etc…and yet see none of them come to fruition.

That leaves me with, sad to say, just another pile of papers of I should have’s or what could have been’s.

You see, I tend to confuse planning with starting.  Again, not saying anything is wrong with planning, it is important.  But when the idea only goes that far, what is the point?

I like to think of all the ways something can work out, map it out to weigh the success vs. the failure percentage rate to see if it is something I am willing to take a risk on.  But then again, is that really considered risk?  And let’s be honest, it is pretty easy to plan your way out of a good idea!

Whether or not you consider your very own idea or dream as life-changing, you know the one you have put on hold or talked yourself out of,  I can guarantee that if you start it or implement it or just do something beyond the blueprint phase, your life will change and the way you live as well. Maybe you will succeed. Maybe you will fail, but you will learn in the process and the next idea you have may not be that scary.

We were given a mind to think, a heart of passion, and gifts and resources to put things into action…

So what’s your idea?  And who is waiting for it?  Act.

“Human nature is to need a map.  If you’re brave enough to draw one, people will follow.” ~ Seth Godin


The Whole is Greater…

than the sum of its parts…

There are some people I know who by just the way they talk, they care, they serve, they love, add so much to a place and to my life.  It is amazing to see how much better they leave a place, how much they add, by their intentionality and by just having that giving spirit and living in a way that does not take, but gives.

In all that we do, in how we interact with others, in the words we speak, the actions we carry out, are we taking or are we giving?  Do you even know what you have to contribute?  Do you even realize all that is in you that can be given, that can add value?

As we live in a consumer focused society, how much better would life be if we simply gave?  What part do you have?  What value are you adding to your workplace, to your community, to your family?  What value am I adding to this world, to those around me?

I believe it’s a question to take seriously…  How am I living?

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts…

So what is your part?

 

¿Sabe Usted?

Tu tienes un propósito.  Hay un gozo que está adentro de ti y lo que brilla cuando sueñas, cuando esperas.  Alguien crea en ti y sabe que va a hacer cosas buenisimas.  ¿Que sea tu proximo paso?

(This was a message of encouragement that I recently shared)

But I ask you…do you know?

Continuous…

There is wisdom in saving.  That I won’t deny.  Ever since I was little I rarely found a reason good enough to spend the money in my savings account.  Even to this day my budget accounts for most cent, dollar, or euro I spend allowing me to forecast what I expect to have at the end of the year.

I think some of you can relate to this.  It is responsible.

But as I sit here studying Proverbs, I wonder to what other areas of my life this way of conserving has extended in an irresponsible way.

I read Proverbs 15:15 this morning.  “All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast”…a continual feast.  As I read this I think of all the things I try to hold on to, to conserve in a way, afraid that maybe it will run out.

Hope, Peace, Love, Talents, Money, and even Time…my cheerful heart…

The cheerful heart has a continual feast.  The knowledge and insight I have gained, I want to share.  I want others to experience more Hope than I even have, more peace, more love.  I want to spend my days not holding onto the great things within me afraid that they will diminish or end, but with discernment give and share and serve as only I can.

Like that cherished drink we have been waiting to open for just the right moment, that decadent recipe that we are saving to make for that special dinner party, the china that is rarely used, our talents and time, the great things we have been blessed with, our hope and love, our cheerful hearts that do not run dry…they are waiting, waiting to be shared, to be given…

I think it’s about time that we all partake and enjoy the continual feast.

 

Unpacking.

This is such an unusual concept for me.  After traveling for a while and then even moving between houses while I was home for a short time, unpacking is something that has become foreign to me.

Yet here I am.

Clothes are nicely folded or hanging in their appropriate place in my closet.  Family photos are set on my bedside tables, while charcoal drawings and pops of color frame my room.  My suitcase is now located in the back of my closet, and there is no intention of using it for quite some time.

Now that all that is in order, there is one suitcase left that is before me.  Metaphorically speaking, it is the one that has held my passion and dreams.  It has been opened, but unlike the one that held my clothes nicely and organized, this suitcase of my vision has burst open tossing each piece into different directions.  That is what it feels like.  And one by one, I’ll collect each piece and move forward into the unpacking of such a large vision of serving street children (those who have been abandoned, used, abused, neglected and ignored).

It is one thing to dream of what you can do.  But it is quite another to actually put it into action what you will do.  Things look different, but you must continue moving forward.  Things may not all make sense, but you continue taking the steps.  Dreaming is one thing.  But unpacking is a process, one that would be easy to put off or put on hold.  But when you feel the weight of a person’s life, a child’s life, at hand, there is no time to delay.

I have a purpose and as I continue to unpack, more will be revealed and more will be carried out.  I am here for a reason;  I want to be intentional and I will invest in others.

Beauty.

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

I received word today that my nephew Tyler made the comment, “I want Aunt Jenn to come back”.  How precious those words are to me.  I  can imagine the sweet look on his face as he made this statement.  My sister, Jess, does a wonderful job of sending me pictures of her and her family, i.e. Grace after she lost her first tooth, Tyler dressed up for a friend’s wedding, the family as they celebrate different events.  It’s been wonderful to know how they are doing and that they all are well.  And yet, to hear Tyler’s comment still brings tears to my eyes.

I miss them.

Honestly, it’s been harder being apart from them this time around.  This isn’t a temporary season; This is my life now.  This is where I am.  This is where I want to be.  And just at the time I needed, a friend sends a message on the topic of beauty.

You might be wondering what beauty has to do with this, but really it is a matter of perspective.  You see, as I read through his thoughts on beauty, though his words were not specifically addressing this situation, I saw the beauty in this moment.  I realized that the tears from Tyler’s comment came not in doubt of where I am, but in appreciation for the time I had with them before I moved out here.  They came because of the love I have for them and the gratefulness for the relationship we have now.  Do I miss them?  Absolutely.  But they know their Aunt Jenn.  They know that I love them.  And that is a beautiful thing.

I want to always see the beauty in a person, a situation, or even a moment…
to see the beauty in life.

I’m thankful for the tears, for the way GOD uses me, for the ability to love, for the opportunities to see the beauty in people and in life, and for the beauty of being Aunt Jenn no matter where I am.