Listening To: I Saw What I Saw by Sara Groves
There are many losing battles worth investing in simply because winning is not the point.
- Sara Groves
Happy Monday lovelies! I jumped in my Dolorian (it just occurred to me this joke might be lost on those of you who didn't grow up with Back to the Future) and posted Tuesdays With Emma. Even though I just wrote it, I made it magically appear on Tuesday :) Who knew the interweb could make time travel possible? If you're reading along, I would love to hear your thoughts on chapters 11-20 (it should show up as the post before this one). I'm a bit confused but still enjoying the read. Jane Austen writes great characters. (Though I haven't read much about Mr. Churchill, I'm getting bad vibes. Just sayin.)
Like many places in the south, my city got hammered by snow this weekend. This is funny because I was convinced it would not snow at all. It just doesn't happen here. Ever. It's a good thing I didn't bet the last of my heart-shaped Sweet Tarts because ...
It snowed so hard all the neighborhood kids were busting out sleds and garbage can lids and pretty much anything else they could use to spill down The Hill of Doom! (The Hill of Doom is my affectionate name for the hill I avoid when I walk because I'm embarassed by how hard I suck wind. I'm always afraid walking up The Hill of Doom will result in Biscuit pulling me all the way back home.) It's all melted off now, but it was sweet to have a snowy weekend. I sat in the floor, beside the window, and tried to write. Then I tried to read. Mostly I ended up watching snow fall. I don't think I'll ever outgrow snow. I hope I don't :) It looked so glittery and pretty. Also, snowed in weekends = excuse for wearing pajamas all day long. That's always nice! I hope you got a snow day too. (Unless you're sick of it.)
I've been looking forward to this week for awhile. Starting tomorrow, I'll be posting my interviews with three blog readers who have inspired me all to bits. I can't wait for you to read about them. First, some necessary back story for how this week came to be:
Chapter 9 of Paperdoll is called "Love that Moves." The idea behind that chapter, the concept I was learning when I was writing it, had to do with compassion and advocacy. I'm part of a faith community that puts a heavy emphasis on love and service but, a few years ago, I realized I talked about those two things, and heard about them, more than I was actually doing them.
Love, at its best, is active.* That feeling you get when you find a way to align your passions with a really pressing need can't be beat. (And sometimes neither can the moments you move out of your Zone de la Comfort and do something you're afraid of). One thing I learned is that I'm always able to give in some way, but that way will look different depending on what's happening in my life. Sometimes, all I can do is pray for a cause and spread the word about it. Sometimes I'm able to donate my time. A few years ago, I was able to do relief work overseas. I've been able to make phone calls (I almost messed that up big time but still ;). Sometimes I'm able to send money (either to an organization or to friends who are doing something awesome). The only way I'm ineffective is if I choose to be apathetic.
Last year when I started this blog, I linked two of my favorite causes (To Write Love On Her Arms and Blood Water Mission) over on the side.
You're probably familiar with To Write Love on Her Arms. I'm wild about that movement. I've never seen an organization that takes on the topic of teen suicide so honestly, and so directly, with such a profound call to action. I don't like to use the word "relevant" because it's so buzzy, but they truly are relevant to a media driven society like ours. TWLOHA has managed to get loads of musicians, actors, and artists involved in spreading their message of hope (a message that started because someone wrote down an experience that changed his life ... I heart the power of words :)
A few weeks ago, I got an email from a blog reader named Ashley who shared a story about her experience with TWLOHA.
Ashley is a high schooler who spends her free time passing out fliers and information about the organization because she wants other people in her school to know that they aren't alone, that they have someone to talk to and, most importantly, that their life matters. I loved reading her story. (And I can't wait for you to "meet" her tomorrow :)
When I hear people talk about how lethargic and lazy teens and young adults are, I always get snippy. And I get sad too - because I know, obviously, those doom criers don't know many teens. If you look at shows like My Super Sweet 16, it's easy to think every teenager, or young adult, is shallow and materialistic. But it's a silly thing to judge anybody by a stereotype. In my experience, teens and young adults don't see changing the world as some petty ideology; they see it as a challenge. They don't ask why. They ask how.
Even though they're some of the busiest people I know, they don't use being too busy as an excuse (Emily, who you'll meet on Wednesday, got up before sunrise on a Saturday to build a house for a family in her hometown). And they don't take no for an answer (On Thursday, you'll meet Tiffanie. When her school wouldn't help sponsor a book drive for schools in Uganda, she did it on her own). This week I'm celebrating them. And you :)
I don't know most of the people who read this blog personally.** I know there are different faiths represented and different backgrounds and so much different it makes my head spin with delight. From what I've seen in clicking over to your blogs, I can see a few commonalities though: this community is a passionate group of artists, thinkers, dreamers, and doers. (And nerds. Represent!) So. Dear adorable blog readers: whether you are in your pre-teens or in your seventies, I am a big fan of yours. Thanks for reminding to avoid apathy at all costs. Thanks for reminding me I'll never be too young, or too old, to do something that matters. I don't know who gets to label generations - x, y, z, mtv, etc.,- but I love being part of a generation that isn't into labels. You're using your creativity, your time, and your compassion to do so many amazing things. You have something to say about respect, and decency, and standing up for people who don't have the rights (or the courage) to stand up for themselves. That sounds a lot like freedom. And it looks a lot like love.
To celebrate all the good stuff happening this week (a week full of good interviews + birthdayfun), I'm also giving away a copy of Paperdoll. All you have to do is leave a comment on any of the posts this week. Next Monday, I'll stick the # of comments in The Random Number Generator *cue synthesizer music* and send the pink in someone's direction.
To kick things off, here's an idea: in the comments, share a little bit about one (or more than one!) of your favorite places to read about, volunteer with, send money, raise awareness for, or whatever you do to get involved. It can be a national organization. It can be a people group. It can be a ministry in your church, a community outreach indigenous to your area, or just something you're dreaming up that doesn't even exist yet. And be sure you share a link to the site if they have one so we can all learn about some new causes.
I can't wait to hear what's on your heart. You're the brightest little stars I know.
True love frees us up. Love lets us worship the way we want. Love gives us permission to dance to our own music and sing songs we make up out of thin air. Love doesn't care if our jeans are from Target or Saks. Love isn't into labels. Love looks past a fake smile and into an aching heart. Love forgives.
Love isn't obsessed with celebrity; it pushes another person into the spotlight instead. Love is the first to give a round of applause. Love uses 15 minutes of fame to make an impact that will last a lifetime. Love is counter-culture, fighting the good fight even when losing is imminent. Love sees a world that is dying, empty, alone, and afraid and offers hope and acceptance. Love doesn't back down. Love vows to change the world. It pushes past emotion or feeling into the act of doing. Love is a voice for the voiceless. Love is a brave little light in the darkness. Love is the advocate, the rebel, the dreamer the world is waiting for. And love doesn't just dream -- love moves.
So be that girl. Be that girl who can love outrageously because she is loved unconditionally. (from Paperdoll Chapter 9)
*Love is not putting those wacky chick tracts in my mailbox crazy neighbors from my former street!
** Sometimes I feel like I do though. I never thought interwebby stuff could feel authentic, but this blog has proven me wrong. Thanks for reading (and commenting) :)