We walk for the boy who has to exchange his toy for a gun.
We walk for the boy who lost his childhood to another meaningless war.
We walk for the girl who was taught that she is worth nothing.
We walk for the girl whose innocence is stolen from her as she sits in front of the webcam, naked and exposed.
We walk for the man who risks his health in mines as he inhales toxic air.
We walk for the man who is locked behind bars for simply telling the truth.
We walk for the woman who leaves her children behind to find a better life in the city.
We walk for the woman who feels like an empty, soul-less shell everything someone rapes her.
We walk for all the people who are enslaved in sweatshops and mines, trafficked into sex work and prostitution, caught in abusive and destructive relationships.
We walk for all those who don’t seem to have a choice and so often have no hope for the future.
We walk for all those whose voices have been silenced.
We walk to shine a light on hidden atrocities,
hope into the darkness.
We walk for freedom. Because we have this privilege responsibility and cannot be still until every human being has it, too.
Once a year.
One day in October.
In different languages, styles and time zones. One message: until everyone is free.
That’s why we walk.
What are you grateful for? When does praise come across your lips easily? When is it most difficult for you to give thanks?
A friend asked us to ponder these questions this week and I realized that gratitude starts with the perspective. Before we open our lips in praise, we have to tune our hearts and focus our eyes on beauty.
In a world that propagates hatred, destruction and suffering, it’s difficult to find things we could be grateful for because all we see is negativity.
In a week when my calendar is filled to the brim and I am stressed on the outside and constantly nervous on the inside, it’s a real challenge to take some time out and give thanks.
And yet, it is crucial to our entire physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
If we speak praise into our busy schedules , we open up space for rest and restoration.
If we give thanks in the midst of the shadows, we unlock strength and courage and a deep well of joy inside us.
If we call out beauty in the places and people around us, something inside us will change.
We will see light in the darkness, hope in the brokenness, divine in the mundane. Gratitude is the greatest gift we could give to our souls.
So, here’s the challenge:
Watch out for beauty today. Look at the environment you’re in today. What do you see?
Look at the people around you. Tell someone they’re beautiful. Praise them for what they do and who they are. Acknowledge their presence in your life.
I keep drinking, eating, stuffing myself
and yet I can never get enough
I clean out the junk I buried inside my heart
only to find
that there is nothing there
just emptiness and this hunger burning inside
eating me away
There is a gap in my life
a void in my heart that cannot be filled
an unsatiable hunger for more in life
because this cannot be
there has to be something
There is this feeling of discontent and unhappiness
lingering in the back of my mind
and in the depths of my soul
silenced by busyness most of the time
but once in a while it rears its ugly head
and reminds me how needy I really am
There is this idea of being incomplete and unfinished
there is still so much learning and growing to do
so much more transformative work
to be done within and around me
There is this still conviction
this silent prayer
that one day
all hunger will be filled
and my soul will
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
On Monday morning at 8 a.m., summer break was over. Six weeks of freedom and rest and quietness had come to an end.
What people outside the teaching profession don’t know: Going back to school after the big break is like turning a switch. Within one minute you go from silence to full-on noise, from solitude to crowded hallways, from rest to total chaos.
One hour in and you feel like the holidays are already light years away.
This week has been hard.
Sore feet, messed up brain, tired soul.
All I could feel, when I feel into bed at night, was exhausted.
That’s not all what I want to feel. This can’t be it.
When we are stressed, we often lose focus and overlook the really important things.
In the midst of our busyness, there are these little moments of joy.
In the hectic of our task-driven lives, there are these beautiful encounters of human connection.
In the sea of faces, there are these special people who stand out in the crowd and surprise you. Beyond the endless to- do lists there’s the gift of Sabbath and the promise that we are not what we do.
This is it.
This is what I want to learn in this new crazy year ahead of me: Watch out for the essentials. Pay attention to what’s hidden in the crowds.
One week of summer break left.
I have a whole week before I go back to school, and yet I already have ‘Sunday melancholy’. That feeling you have on a Sunday night before it’s Monday again and the weekend will be over.
That yearning to stop time and linger in the moment forever.
That nagging thought in the back of my mind if I have spent my time wisely, if I have taken it all in, if I have rested enough, if I’m ready for this new year.
That sensation of excitement for the new year and all its adventures.
We can’t stay in the past or skip ahead to the future; all we have is right now. And it’s our challenge to be present in the moment, to focus on the now, to not rush by the beauty of today. But it’s also our greatest gift – Now is where we’ll find God, each other, ourselves.
I don’t want to rush on ahead
in my own strength
if you’re right here
I’m not in a hurry
when it comes to your spirit
when it comes to your presence
when it comes to your voice
I’m learning to listen
just to rest in your nearness
I’m starting to notice
you are speaking
Will Reagan & Michael Ketterer
Practice being present today. What are you noticing?
It’s a matter of priority.
To continue asking because I care about you.
To keep investing because you’re absolutely worth it.
It’s a matter of love.
To speak with your lips what your heart contains.
To give freely because you will be given abundance.
It’s a matter of determination.
To keep going when life pushes you around.
To continue writing when others have fallen silent.
It’s a matter of strength. To speak up when you have lost your voice. To stand beside you when others walk away.
It’s a matter of perspective. To always see the good in you. To always give my best to you.
It’s a matter of character.
It’s not something you can learn, it is something that’s inside you. Something that might be buried under a pile of busyness or lies or brokenness, but it is there.
Waiting for you to uncover it.
To grow into it. To be true to who you really are. Who he said you were meant to be.
I am surrounded by amazing women.
Ladies who live their lives courageously and follow their dreams with a wild heart.
Women who don’t give up when crisis hits them and walk through the valleys with dignity until they come out stronger on the other side.
Friends who open up and entrust me with their pain, their secrets, their dreams.
Wonderful men and women who walk this path alongside me and speak truth when I need to hear it the most.
My grandmother became a widow in her 50s and had to manage an entire farm on her own. If you need to know anything about tough life and love, she’s your girl.
My mother who would always say, ‘Women make themselves’, and challenged me to speak my mind and not limit myself in what I could do, may it be to set up a shelf or travel around the globe.
Women can do a lot of wonderful things, but we can’t do it all.
We live in the 21st century, but sometimes I wonder if our minds are stuck somewhere in the Middle Ages. In our self proclaimed ‘postmodern society’, where equality and tolerance stand above it all, we still experience that women are not treated equally as men, let alone as human beings.
Women who are told from an early age on, ‘You can’t do this, you’re just a girl.’
Women who should have a career and still be the perfect mom at home.
Women who do the same work for less money.
Women who are stared at and judged for the way they look.
Women who are sold into enslaved prostitution so that others can satisfy their perverted needs.
Women who are beaten because they don’t obey their husbands.
Women who are seen as ‘little helpers’ and do all the work while others don’t lift a finger. Women who are supposed to function because men are supposed to enjoy themselves. Women who are expected to be everything and yet appreciated for nothing. Women who are shamed into becoming something they don’t want to be because they’re too afraid to be themselves.
We have lamented this misery.
We have protested and been looked down upon with a complacent smile.
We have been promised better things, a quota in every work place.
But that’s not what we want.
That’s not what we need. Unless our minds – and that includes men AND women – change, all policies are empty words. We together are the only ones who can bring about real transformation.