36 Hope Expands: Hiddenness

36hopeexpands(36 Hope Expands. A series of 36 ways to expand compassion in our daily lives.)

The largest part of Jesus’ life was hidden. Henri J.M. Nouwen

If we want to follow Jesus by words and deeds in the service of his Kingdom, we must first of all strive to follow Jesus in his simple, unspectacular, and very ordinary hidden life.

 

Our ordinary moments can be so hard. They outweigh the spectacular, by ALOT.

We live hidden lives, our best moments are often not witnessed… except they are. He sees every one, especially those done out of love in hiddenness. Ever feel unnoticed, unappreciated, unknown? It is painful. I promise you He knows. He sees. He loves you for your simple, unspectacular, ordinary, hidden. That makes my hope expand.

colorful chairs

I want to fill my ordinary with God.

Four little, applicable steps I took this week:

1. I downloaded the free CharityMiles App. You can walk, run, or bike. You can also do it with the kids and have them help pick the organization you give to.

2. We also tried Donate a Photo. Another great family activity… you simply take a picture and Johnson and Johnson donates daily to a cause of your choice.

3. I also started using RecycleBank. You can earn points to redeem. What I love about it is that you learn green tips and information.

4. In those ugly moments of feeling completely exhausted of my ordinary… I am trying to remember that showing up is an act of faith. Read this article about just that by Amy Sullivan

 

I pray for you and encourage you. We can do a million acts of justice, kindness, and good… but the most obedient and beautiful is probably the simplest.

Showing up for God in hiddenness.

What little things do you do to give back, that take just a moment in your day? How do you feel about obedience in the ordinary?  

 

36 Hope Expands: Wearing a Path Thin

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I came across this on accident last week, when researching an article.

Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.”

We are made to believe that self-deprecation is a virtue, called humility. But humility is in reality the opposite. It is the grateful recognition that we are precious in God’s eyes and that all we are is a pure give. 

We must grow beyond self-rejection 

(From Henri J.M. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey)

diving board

How would it feel to do this? Grow beyond…

I imagine it feeling like being completely naked.

Like having no idea who I was anymore.

Probably everyone hating my guts.

 

I have to do it, if I want my hope to expand. If I want to be an instrument to expand hope in others, I have to let it go.

I am reading Nicolas Kristof and Sherly WuDunn’s new book, A Path AppearsA film of the same title, will premier on PBS January 26, 2015.

“HOPE IS LIKE A PATH IN THE COUNTRYSIDE. ORIGINALLY, THERE IS NOTHING – BUT AS PEOPLE WALK THIS WAY AGAIN AND AGAIN, A PATH APPEARS.”

—LU XUN, CHINESE ESSAYIST, 1921

 

The enemy wants us to waste our time in self-rejection, worrying in circles, being ineffective.

I want to walk hope, away from my self-depreciation and worry and into life.

I want a path to appear for people because I kept walking it.

What path are you going to wear thin? How can you grow beyond self rejection? 

 

 

36 Hope Expands: Bust Up Single-File Lines

36hopeexpands(36 Hope Expands. A series of 36 ways to expand compassion in our daily lives.)

My hope to expand compassion in my daily life has been taught to me by children this week. (On Monday, my daughter Ellie, and today a student.)

I work in a school with special needs students. Leaning against the wall underneath the white board, I read a Geronimo Stilton chapter book with a student. The going was slow, but we were making progress in an exciting pirate tale. Another little friend scooted closer to us with his Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. As the pages were turned this student progressively inched closer and closer to us. He not so subtly pretended to read his own book as he watched us.

This went on for twenty minutes, until finally, he was knee to knee with us. One student and I reading together, another pressed against us watching over the rim of his book. I dared not question his actions. His eyes conveyed he meant serious business. We sat all pressed together for quite some time. As guided reading ended, he tugged on my arm and waited for my reading buddy to find his seat. He leaned over tight against my ear, ‘I understand now. My friend does not know how to read yet.’ 

Later, the classroom lined up for specials. I watched the two boys stand together. One put his arm around the other, ‘I can read with you too, whenever you want.’ They walked like that for awhile down the hallway, even though they were meant to be in a single-file line.

bust upShow up. Even if you don’t know why.

If you are compelled to draw close to someone, they probably need you.

Bust up single-file lines when appropriate, we were meant to walk arm in arm.

 

 

 

 

36 Hope Expands:

36hopeexpands(36 Hope Expands. A series of 36 ways to expand compassion in our daily lives.)

I saw a project on Pinterest. Thanksgivings have passed, and I never followed through. (I’m awesome at pinning- very not awesome at completing something that looks/tastes normal.) Ever seen this website Pinterest Fail– where good intentions come to die, also Epic Pinterest Fails? This is me, every day.

Yesterday we finally made our thanksgiving tree for the month of November. Every night at dinner each one of us will add one more leaf for something we are thankful for.

I want to live in gratitude.

thanksgiving

No, this is not pin-able. It is our little tree.

I know being thankful has a way of re-shaping our hearts.

What seemed impossible softens. What once went unnoticed becomes meaningful. Mostly, the grace of God becomes a consolation that draws you to your knees.

 

My first leaf was this: Ellie’s art work.

When the kids were little, my writing desk was in the living room. Now that they are growing up, I moved it to our little extra room upstairs. It’s snuggled up next to our guest bed, and that is about all that fits, the bed and the desk. I was so excited for my own space, but something happens every time I enter. Another presence is there watching me edit over my shoulder, laying her magazine pages over the bed, dropping markers, rifling through the desk. The minute I started creating the thanksgiving tree, someone was next to me cutting like a mad woman. Sometimes I come upstairs and find things like this paper clipped to my folders.

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My ingratitude for not having a quiet space softens. I know this is more important. I know that God’s grace has been so good to me… that we have layers and layers of purpose.

What would your first leaf say? 

36 Hope Expands: About Proximity Projects

36hopeexpands(36 Hope Expands. A series of 36 ways to expand compassion in our daily lives.)

I have a hefty list of things I would like to do with About Proximity, including a snazzier design. Also, I promise to never have ads, especially pop up ads, or start saying bad words, or talk to much. Mostly, I just really want to be faithful to God and make a difference, however small, to me that is hope. To me, that is why I write.

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This one is simple. I’ve been wanting to start a new tab here. GIVE Projects. (See it up there?) There I will keep About Proximity’s projects. I hope the list grows and grows.

Remember Amy Sullivan’s bookWhen More is not Enough. She gave all the proceeds to a local ministry called Transformation Village. First book, she just went all out. I want to go without looking back too. I will be tithing my freelance writing work into our GIVE projects.

First up, a KIVA loan. We will contribute to a microfinance loan. When it gets paid back eventually, we get to pick a new person to receive the same amount.

Our first loan will go to Calixta Elizabeth from Ecuador, a single mom with a small eatery. The loan will allow her to purchase tables, chairs, and a business sign.

What do you dream of supporting if money and time were not an obstacle? 

36 Hope Expands: Food Waste and Hunger

36hopeexpands(36 Hope Expands. A series of 36 ways to expand compassion in our daily lives.)

requirehunger

A 2013 United Nations report: one third of the world’s food supply, or 1.3 billion tons of food, is wasted annually. Research indicates that about half of all food waste originates in households. There is enough food in our world to feed everyone, yet millions go hungry each day.

Hunger and its implications for families is devastating. I want to use what I have with compassion and be mindful of what others lack. Ten steps/habits I am working on this week:

  1. Freeze leftovers instead of forgetting about them in the refrigerator.
  2. Make a meal plan a week ahead of time (before) grocery shopping.
  3. Learn how to serve proper proportions. (I’m terrible at this.)
  4. Take note of what is getting thrown away. Adjust accordingly.
  5. I listened to Seline Juul’s TEDx talk Stop Wasting Food.
  6. I signed the Bread for the World Pledge to End Hunger.
  7. Our family is going to fill our giving bank with change as we save on groceries to eventually raise $264 to work with World Renew’s Free a Family.
  8. I’ll be reading Ellie and Josiah the books The Good Garden, and One Hen.
  9. I will be reading the book a Place at the Table and continue to advocate for important programs like WIC and SNAP.
  10. Work as a family to donate to Community Action House our local food pantry.

How do you minimize food waste in your home?