Shattered

Have you ever had a rock or a baseball come flying through a window? The thwack of the initial impact is overwhelmed by the chaotic chime of glass hitting floor. The only thing left in the wake is a halo of jagged shards jutting out at odd angles from the frame. Splinters of glass everywhere. It’s a mess. 

When it comes to cleaning up the mess, we tend toward one of two approaches. Some bust out the rest of the glass and sweep it all up in one fell swoop. Others slap a piece of old cardboard and masking tape over the mess until the repairman can get there to replace the pane. We tend take similar approaches to our own brokenness.

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Brooke It Forward Foundation

What better day than Friday the 13th to share exciting news about the Brooke It Forward Foundation! The creative team at Hoffman Miller Advertising completed and launched our amazing website today. Check it out at Brookeitforward.org.

What is Brooke It Forward?

The Brooke It Forward Foundation is dedicated to shoebox-sized acts of kindness providing “birthday boxes” to children whose birthdays might otherwise be overlooked due to placement in foster care, displacement as a result of disaster, domestic violence, poverty, or other circumstances.

What are “birthday boxes?”

The boxes are so simple – yet so powerful. (Please read about Bella and how she inspired this project.) Clear shoe-box-sized containers are filled with the essentials for a birthday party – cake mix, icing, candles, and so on. Small treats and some special “birthday swag” round out the boxes. Then, they are delivered to children whose birthdays are at risk of being overlooked.

Aren’t essentials like food and clothing more important?

Essentials are absolutely important and we are grateful to the organizations who provide those services. However, one cannot underestimate the power of honoring a child on his or her birthday. When the counselors hand the children a birthday box, they communicate to that child – you are special and you matter. What could be more important!

How Can I help?

There are a number of ways you can “join the party.” Host a Birthday Bash (aka birthday box drive). Make a donation. Become a volunteer. (If you don’t live in the New Orleans area, no worries. We’ll help you make an impact in your community.) And if nothing else – you can like Brooke It Forward on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We’d be honored for you to help spread the love by spreading the word!

SDG

Today, We Remember

Some days are forever engraved in our memories. Some events just stick. We can recount them in such detail it feels as if the flashes of memory are unfolding in real time – again and again and again.

There are some days in collective history that work the same way. For earlier generations, it might be the day the stock market crashed in 1929 or the day that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941 or the afternoon President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. 

For this generation, it is September 11, 2001. The date, “9/11,” stands on its own without further need for explanation of what happened that day. We each have a story (or stories) about the moment we first learned of the tragic events unfolding in New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. 

Eighteen years later – and we haven’t forgotten. We still remember. We should remember.

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That’s All You’ve Got?

Imagine – it’s your birthday. You’ve been wanting a certain something. You’ve dropped all of the perfect hints for the last six months. There is no doubt about what you really want.

The box is set before you. It is the exact size. It doesn’t weigh too much or too little. It shakes just right. You just know that all of the thinly-veiled hints have hit the mark.

Your own cleverness doesn’t even spoil your excitement because you really want this gift. In fact, your cleverness of having figured it out just fuels your eagerness to tear through the wrapping.

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Store in a Cool, Dark Place

Have you ever trusted someone and been betrayed? Then you get past the hurt and place your trust with them again and they betray you all over again? Pretty soon, if that happens too many times, we draw certain conclusions about that person’s character. At some point, we lose our trust in them all together. We stop placing our faith in them.

Sometimes, we do something similar in our relationship with God. We pray to God for something. He doesn’t answer our prayers the way we’d like. 

We pull back a little trust.

We question His character.

We lose a little faith.

Prayers continue. We don’t like the answers. Pretty soon, we start feeling like all is lost.

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That Kind of Tired

You don’t need a medical degree to figure out that the stress from life’s events wreaks havoc on the physical body. Emotional stress tears our bodies apart from the inside out. Our mouths get dry. We can’t breathe. Our hearts, heads, and stomachs ache. We’re tired but we can’t sleep. Even if we did, we’re not that kind of tired.

You also don’t need a degree in theology to figure out that extreme stress can wreak havoc on the spiritual body. Sadness, grief, and sorrow are heavy. Sometimes, our souls simply cannot bear the weight. We are not that kind of strong.

That heaviness seeps down deep into our bodies. Deep – down into the very marrow of our bones. Deeper – down into the core of our cells. Even deeper – down into our very DNA. 

Sometimes this heaviness is not apparent to the outside world. Other times, it can’t be hidden. Whether others can see it or not – it drags us down. It makes us tired – but not the kind of tired than can be fixed with a nap or a jog around the block. It’s not that kind of tired. 

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Take It Away

Just make it stop!

Make it go away!

Let it all be a horrible dream . . .

I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a thought like one of these over some situation in my life. Those numbers have risen exponentially over the past 870 days. When I say, “Make it stop! Make it go away,” I don’t mean make the pain stop. I mean take IT away. Take away the very source of my anguish.

I mean bring her back.

When we ask God to make a situation better, isn’t that what we really mean?

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