Mon Gratuité (That’s French I Think)

gratefullness

“To humbly and proudly return what you have been given, that is the meaning of life.” -Fr. Richard Rohr

I am feeling very grateful.

It has been an odd week with unexpected needs coming up.
These needs begin to worry me and then end up getting met from unexpected places!
It has been the coolest thing!

This has me thinking.
Have you ever experienced that kind of gratefulness that is just welling up inside you?
The kind that needs to come out but at the same time it is very difficult to put into words?An appreciation for everyone and everything that has brought you to this moment even if this moment does not necessarily look the best from an outside perspective or may not be where you thought you would be, you are just happy to be in it.

I have been thinking about how gratitude is contagious.
A friend of mine once said that being thankful for your food and drink imprints on it and makes it better for you.
He called it intelligent molecules.
While I have no idea if that is true or not I do believe it also imprints on others around you.
Gratefulness is contagious and healthy. I want to see it spread.

Gratitude also changes you.
I liken it to a religious experience.
The kind in which it is not that you feel something but you feel nothing in the same way after and you just have to share it!
It actually comes with a need to return the kindness.
I heard it once said that to humbly and proudly return what you have been given is the meaning of life.

So live life from gratitude; live in such a way others are grateful for life as well.
This changes everything!
How we interact with each other, our problems, and even our good times, through this lens, can change the world.

So with all of that in mind I just wanted to say thank you.
Thank you so much to my family for always being there.
For teaching me so much.
For their patience.
For being such an amazing example of what it looks like to think, love, be generous with what you have been given and hold it loosely.

Thank you to my closest friends.
Growing and dreaming with all of you has been and will continue to be such an adventure.
To the one who I myself caught gratefulness from this week even in the midst of uncertainty.

Thank you to the friends I may have only even been around a handful of times or that have been separated from by distant.
I appreciate you and can feel your support even from afar.

Thank you to those who have taught me so much over the years. professors, teachers, mentors, pastors and employers who were available and showed me how to be as well.
For the wisdom you have imparted.

To those who took a chance on me.

Thank you to those who have been like a mother or father to me when I needed it through your availability and hospitality. From the snow plow driver who stopped when I was in need to the family that has always been so supportive that I do not see enough but when I am in their home it is so warm and welcoming, I appreciate you.

Thank you to those who taught me more in one night in the woods or in a tunnel than others could over years and years.
There was magic in those nights I am still realizing and whether you know it or not, the experiences I had then changed the way I see the world forever.
There is something heavenly that happens when you find yourself in a space where it seems like time stops and you learn more in moments than you have in entire seasons past.

Thank you security guard woman in this building who smiles whenever I walk in to go to my favorite coffee shop where I am currently writing this.
It is light in the this place.

I am thankful for the life and health I have and I am thankful for the hope and opportunity I have.
I do not want to take this lightly.
Someone had to pay for it and for them I am also grateful.

To those that press me and challenge my thinking.

I am thankful for roommates.
For the times they celebrate with me and the times they mourn with me.
They help me be present.
Stretch me.
I find later that it is good to be stretched.

And last but certainly not least I thank Jesus for being with me, for having always been with me and for going ahead of me.
A truer friend I have not found and he can be that for you as well.
Just ask.

Experience Hope,
Drew

Better Stories (Guest Blog)

We have a guest blog this week from my awesome friend Chris Johnson!
Chris is an amazing speaker, guitarist, failed vegan, and hustler.
Here he explains something we have been working on and super excited about.
Please check it out and share!

______________________________________________First response

Hey friends,

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written a blog post on here, and there’s good reason for it. It’s about time that I catch you up on what we’re doing here with Everything is Light…

From the inception of this idea I had called “Everything is Light”, my intention was to spread hope and to insist on the fact that there is light in places you don’t think to look. Week after week of posting on the blog (which will continue to be active, maybe just a little less active, by the way), I began to notice that I was only sharing my perspective. The stories that were being told were only mine, and although there is a time and a place for that, my dream had always been to open up the conversation, not just write a one-sided blog every week and let the story die there.

I went out to lunch on a Wednesday a few months ago with my friend Drew. I talked with him about what I was spending my creative energy on and how I was feeling about the future of this site. We talked about all that we wanted to do with the Everything is Light concept. We talked about, if I were to switch things up, what that might look like. We started to dream up the next chapter of the Everything is Light story, and here we are now. After a couple of months of hard work, planning and praying, and getting more people on board, here we are. I want to explain to you what’s going on…

We are building lamps. Not just any lamps, but awesome, super cool Edison lamps. We are using unlikely materials (repurposed wood, industrial piping, vintage cigar boxes, you name it)  and turning them into instruments of light. Our hope is that every lamp that we sell is a constant reminder, whether it’s in your living room, kitchen, or on your bedside table, that there is light where you wouldn’t expect it.

We are using what we are able to raise from the sale of the lamps to help us fund the Everything is Light podcast, which is launching by the end of this month (September). We will also be using video as a medium at different times, if the story calls for it. The news can get depressing, Twitter can get overwhelming. In general, we believe that the stories that we’re told and the stories that we tell ourselves just aren’t very good. We want to be a midweek reminder that there are better stories out there and we want to be a place that tells those stories. We are collecting stories right now, and let me tell you, some of these are absolutely soul-changing. We can’t wait to show them to you.

We will also be adding some things to our online store so if the lamps aren’t your thing, after you’ve checked your pulse to see if you’re even still alive (I mean COME ON! Who doesn’t like those things?), we’ll have shirts, necklaces and a whole slew of other things being added very soon. We are selling unique, one-off pieces from cool things that we found at antique stores and have turned into lamps, and we’re also selling some awesome made-to-order replicable lamps.

We want everyone to be a part of this. We believe everyone could use a little bit more hope. We believe that we are filling a need that we see in the world and we would absolutely love it if you were to join us in this cause. Click here to subscribe to our email list. This is how we’ll let you know about new products on the online store, new podcasts, videos, you name it.

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for being interested! We’re so glad to have you join us on this journey! If you’ve been reading these blogs consistently, thank you for following along! I hope that this is even half as exciting to you as it is to me. Here’s to a new, better story!

Let there be light.

-Chris
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Experience Hope,
Drew

Drove to Chicago (All Things Know)

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The six minute adult contemporary version.

I used to really love driving.

Years ago when I got out of high school I drove everywhere and anywhere my friends, or the concert, or the party was at (usually to the other side of the state).
One of my best friends and I used to drive to Grand Rapids and back every week.
That same friend and I drove straight through to Orlando last year just to meet some of our podcast heroes!
Even Crazier was when we drove straight through to colorado with no place to stay (so I know about driving long distances)!

What I really want to talk about though is Chicago and Peace.

It’s been such a crazy and busy year and because of that I have not really gotten to go many places.
If you have been around me at all in the last few months you know I had this itch in my soul to go somewhere.
Last week it finally happened!
We drove to Wisconsin, Chicago, Grand Haven, and Sandusky Ohio and let me tell you I’m a bit tired of driving (I sound so old in this one).

Chicago was crazy.
I’ve been there a few times before and I really love that city, but if you know Chicago you know it is very fast paced.
It is busy and it never stops (very different from Detroit).
I really wanted to experience the beauty of the city and to be present in it.
I tried so hard to look up with wonder at the buildings and all that was going on but I had such a hard time especially with getting caught up in the flow and busyness of the people all trying to get where they needed to go and it just would not seem to let me slow down.
No matter how hard I tried, distraction and rushing from place to place was inevitable (Pokemon Go did not help much either).

Sometimes we get into different places, stages and circumstances in life where it can seem we are caught up in a flow or routine that maybe we do not want to be in or it’s bad for us. We struggle trying to be present and not just let life happen to us or carry us away.
To really live abundant and full life.

In the last few months I have had a really hard time getting out of a flow that was not good for me. It felt like life was happening to me and I was along for the ride.
Actually it took a real shock in the last month to wake me up!
Not that I was asleep but I was so restless and frustrated with knowing I was not doing what I was supposed to do and not doing anything about it.
Can anyone relate?

I just was not at peace.
With myself, my situation or others really.

There is a story in the Bible (Mark 4:35) where Jesus and His disciples are in a boat during a storm.
The disciples are freaking out!
They are caught up in a flow carrying them away.
Caught in a situation they did not want to be in they went down and found Jesus sleeping on a pillow.
They ask him if He even cares that they are all about to die!?
So Jesus gets up, says to the storm “Peace. Be Still”, the storm stops, He drops the mic and walks away.

How could He do this?
Where did Jesus get this kind of authority?
How is it that He was able to rest in the midst of these crazy circumstances?

I have a word I made up for the kind of sleep that is so good, refreshing and empowering, despite whatever is going on in your life.
I call it “Jesus Sleep”.
Where you are not phased, and when you are awake you know that despite all that is going on around you that everything is going to be ok.
It is like you are in a new flow that is greater.
Really Sabbath is what it is.

Have you ever heard that word Sabbath?
It is a Jewish thing.
On the seventh day they were commanded to rest in such a way that they were not even allowed to work or make food or do laundry.
That sort of thing would drive some crazy today but it had a brilliant point to it.
STOP.
Do not do a thing.
Look around.
You have let go of control and schedules and lists.
Know that your world still turns without you.
That it is not in your hands but the whole world is in His hands!

This can be very freeing.
In fact it can free you up to really rest, and in that rest you can find powerful peace.

You know how at Christmas we sing about peace on earth good will toward men?
What if that is where it starts?
When you find yourself in this new flow where there is powerful peace, good will toward one another is how it spreads.

There is a scripture people misquote a lot.
It says that “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33).
He does not promise order or that storms will not come, but there is peace through resting in Him through the chaos.

Real and abundant life is to be at peace with God and yourself.
My pastor told me the other day that “peace” or “shalom” in hebrew meant to them to destroy the authority establishing chaos in your life.
We can do this by rising above it.
If you are living from the chaos you will get swept away in it, but when you are living from rest in the One who in the beginning hovered over the chaos (Genesis 1:2), you will automatically be above it.

This world has a pattern, a flow.
I was in a different pattern and flow when I used to drive everywhere all the time.
It is an easy one to get caught up in.
Hung up on busyness, keeping schedules or world news that is out of our control.
Outrage is easy too, but it does not help.
There is however, another flow that we can all be in when we rest in the One who holds it all in His hands and is not phased by it.
Who brings peace in the storm and meaning in to the meaningless.

If you are reading this and you don’t know Jesus as one who can bring peace in your life I’d like you to.
Ask Him to show you.
He will.
He will show you a peace that surpasses anything I can understand, put words to or imagine.
He is that good!
Just rest in Him.
Let go of the things we try to hold onto so tightly that have never really been in our control to begin with

This kind of peace is something that gives me hope for it all.

To know Him is to know rest and peace and life and hope!

Experience Hope,
Drew

P.S.
Some amazing friends and I are starting an organization on Monday called Everything Is Light with the purpose of communicating stories of great hope through all sorts of different mediums.
Also we will be selling lamps!
They are pretty cool.
I made this one yesterday.
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Til Monday we will be doing a countdown to launch our site and we would love for you to be a part!
So get excited with us and come see us Monday at EverythingIsLight.org