64 Days of Love (Day Eleven and Twelve)

If you missed the earlier posts, see them here. In my role as a Technology Director (and more importantly as a father), I have come to realize that we have to engage the culture of the internet to turn it for good–64 Days of Love is my attempt to shine a bright light in what is an increasingly dark space.


Day 12 is all about grace. The thing about grace is that it is so easy to give to others (usually) and eleven-billionty times harder to give to ourselves. On this twelfth day I need grace, because I missed Day Eleven.

I told myself, “Self, There’s no excuse to miss a day of this blog. Success on this project is posting everyday with absolute perfection.” In that “self” talk, I set myself up for not having grace for myself. The same grace I can extend to others, I removed as an option for myself.

Forget the fact that last night I literally I drove two hours home from work and arrived at 6:30ish (after leaving the house at 5:15am), I cooked a real meal for my kids, had meaningful conversation with each one of them, laughed with them, did the dishes, cleaned the stove, and then hit a wall at 9:45. I fell asleep almost instantly and never posted.

This morning, the regret was quick and the failure thought was prominent in my head. I processed missing the day and wondered if I should just quit since I missed, but then I heard myself and realized that was crazy talk! Grace! Glorious grace! I can give some of that to myself too.

So today, today’s day of love is all about having the grace to forgive myself and keep going because, as Stuart Smalley once said “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me!”

64 Days of Love (Day Ten)

If you missed the earlier posts, see them here. In my role as a Technology Director (and more importantly as a father), I have come to realize that we have to engage the culture of the internet to turn it for good–64 Days of Love is my attempt to shine a bright light in what is an increasingly dark space.


On Day Ten of these 64 Days of Love I have to brag about how much I LOVE how a project I was working on turned out.

I will spare all the details that led to the creation of this graphic below but suffice it to say it was a big undertaking to a major concept with district-wide implications and make it into a graphic. That said, here is the graphic.

Now, the LOVE part of this is that after designing that a few months back I decided that it would look pretty cool as a coin. BOY WAS I RIGHT!!! Check it out!

I love these so much and am excited to share the story of how Alamo Heights ISD Engaged Classrooms are changing the culture of teaching district-wide using this coin!

64 Days of Love (Day Nine)

If you missed the earlier posts, see them here. In my role as a Technology Director (and more importantly as a father), I have come to realize that we have to engage the culture of the internet to turn it for good–64 Days of Love is my attempt to shine a bright light in what is an increasingly dark space.


Today has been a hard day. A long day. One of those days when the coffee runs out right as you need it. One of those days when the alarm goes off right after you set it. One of those days where you just can not seem to get momentum.

Even in these kinds of days though (perhaps especially in these kinds of days) love can and will shine through. For Day Nine, here is a light-hearted look at politics in a day filled with ups for some and downs for others. Both sides can, and should, get along.

IMG_6669

Obama Bush

Laughing Presidents

 

64 Days of Love (Day Eight)

If you missed Day OneTwoThreeFour, FiveSix, or Seven of the 64 Days of Love posts from last week, please read those first. In my role as a Technology Director (and more importantly as a father), I have come to realize that we have to engage the culture of the internet to turn it for good–64 Days of Love is my attempt to shine a bright light in what is an increasingly dark space.


Day Eight is pretty straightforward. Cowboy Mouth. The pride of New Orleans Soul Rock. I have loved them since the first time I saw them in concert. They are fun. They are entertaining. They are definitely a band that plays with so much life and love.

With songs like “Kelly Rippa” which is an ode to their infatuation with the daytime talkshow host, or “Belly” about the unusual body part that he loves on his wife–it is hard not to laugh with Cowboy Mouth. And with songs like “The Avenue” which delights in the love for a hurricane torn New Orleans, and “I Believe” which is an inspirational nod to the power of love to heal this world–it is hard not to love the heart of Cowboy Mouth.

Check out some of these songs below and tell me you do not feel more alive and more in love.

Kelly Rippa

Belly

The Avenue

I Believe

64 Days of Love (Day Seven)

If you missed Day OneTwoThreeFour, Five, or Six of the 64 Days of Love posts from this week, please read those first. In my role as a Technology Director (and more importantly as a father), I have come to realize that we have to engage the culture of the internet to turn it for good–64 Days of Love is my attempt to shine a bright light in what is an increasingly dark space.


Seven years ago I happened into a book called Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff. I am not sure who recommended it or how I even heard about it. All I know is I opened it and found myself lost in the world through the eyes is a guy who was absolutely crazy about living out love.

Love Does

I literally could not put the book down once I started it and finished it in one sitting. Bob’s description of how love is something you do everyday and not just a feeling was not a new concept to me. His stories of HOW he actually did this though was awe inspiring. I was challenged to do more in love and so we did.

In Love Does Bob described what he called “10 year old” adventures (or something like that) where he took his kids on a one on one trip to a place in the world of their choosing and created memories that were both planned and spontaneous. The idea was so crazy that I knew instantly that I wanted to do the same thing with my kids! Problem was our oldest was already 11.

Thus began our family tradition that we call “12 Year Old Adventures”. We challenged or kids to dream and challenged ourselves to make those dreams come true. This coming year will be the last of our five children’s adventures. We have been to Aruba twice, once by plane and once by ship. We have seen the wonders of Australia and the beauty of Hawaii. We have been blessed to make life-long memories with kids that were embarking on a hormonal journey that we were sure would build a temporary wall in our relationship.

It is hard to express the heartfelt love that has grown from these moments. Our children still talk fondly about their trips reminiscing about moments that we hope will inspire them all the way to their own parenting days. It is bittersweet to know that this coming summer our youngest will turn 12 and these memories will all be in our past, but we can guarantee that these adventures moved love into our lives.

Here are some pictures of our kids on their Adventures:

64 Days of Love (Day Six)

If you missed Day OneTwoThreeFour, or Five of the 64 Days of Love posts from this week, please read those first. In my role as a Technology Director (and more importantly as a father), I have come to realize that we have to engage the culture of the internet to turn it for good–64 Days of Love is my attempt to shine a bright light in what is an increasingly dark space.


Inspiration in my life has come from a lot of places. I have been blessed to visit a lot of of places in my life and see a lot of this world (especially the US). As a result I have come into contact with a lot of different inspirations in the forms of people, music, places, and books. Throughout all of those journeys, one author has captured my heart and expressed the words my soul could not seem to find. His writing and speaking have moved and inspired my wife and I to take risks, leaps of faith, and to chase our dreams all in the name of finding the good things of this world to spread a little love.

Erwin McManus is a self-described, “iconoclast, artist, and cultural thought leader known for his integration of creativity and spirituality. He is the founder and Lead Pastor of Mosaic, a Los Angeles based church of faith recognized as one of America’s most influential and innovative churches.” (http://erwinmcmanus.com/). He has authored many books and given many inspired sermons that have moved me to action–always towards love and generosity.

Below are my two favorite things from Erwin, one a book that moved me and connected me at a deeper level than any other book I have read, and the other his sermon from this past Sunday in LA.

Soul cravings

 

Soul Cravings
by Erwin McManus

 

 

 

 

 

64 Days of Love (Day Five)

If you missed Day OneTwoThree or Four of the 64 Days of Love posts from this week, please read those first. In my role as a Technology Director (and more importantly as a father), I have come to realize that we have to engage the culture of the internet to turn it for good–64 Days of Love is my attempt to shine a bright light in what is an increasingly dark space.


I was not always an educator. I spent 11 years of my career as a Pastor prior to this being my 9th year in education. During that time I learned a ton about love. Some of it I learned from my great experiences, and some of it learned the hard way from mistakes that I made where grace and love was not extended.

In my time in the church I began reflecting on my interaction with my family and the shape it gave to my life and worldview. That reflection led me to realize the impact my Buddhist Uncle had had on my life. To be honest, I was surprised and caught off guard.

What flowed from that reflection is below in a piece I wrote in 2009 as a submission for a book called “Not Like Me” by Eric Bryant. I was also fortunate enough to be able to read this piece at my Uncle’s funeral to help others understand my love for him.

Matt Locklin


What Are We Waiting For?


Growing up I knew I had an Uncle named Matt who lived in the Seattle area.  He was my father’s brother and he sent me wrestling action figures like Bret the Barber for Christmas.  Other than that though, I knew nothing about him.

 

Then one day he moved back to Houston to be closer to his family.  I was excited to meet my new Uncle but my family seemed a little hesitant to introduce him.  That’s when I met him and his partner, Joe. My world was thrown for a loop. Growing up in the suburbs of Houston, TX you just don’t talk about homosexuality—that’s something that happens “somewhere else”.  But there he was, and at the ripe age of 11-years-old I was thrown into a world I had never known or even thought about it.

 

Over the next 18 years that have passed since the day I met my uncle, I have come to find out that not only is he a homosexual man, but that he is also a Buddhist who is living with HIV/AIDS.  To some Christians, that is enough to put my Uncle in a category that would make him untouchable and unmentionable. He’s someone to hide under a rug that you don’t talk about, but for me, it’s been an adventure in learning what it means to truly embrace persons of all backgrounds.

 

My Uncle has taught me what it means to serve, to love, to care, and to sacrifice without conditions, without judgment. His efforts to change the world around him have inspired me to be a more devoted follower of Christ.

 

I wish I could tell you that I always thought positive things and never judged him in these 18 years, but I can’t.  I am guilty of being the “typical” American Christian who despised not just the sin, but also the sinner. Despite all the insults hurled at him, despite all the roadblocks put in front of him, my Uncle still loved and cared for those around him.  

 

I have been fortunate enough to serve beside him over these 18 years with those who are suffering through HIV and AIDS, to serve those who are openly homosexual and to learn what it means to love with God’s love.  It’s strange actually that a homosexual Buddhist taught me what it means to really love and to see people with God’s eyes, but it’s true. I saw more of Jesus in my Uncle than I ever saw in the “Christians” around me growing up and it became a huge wake up call to me.

 

Don’t misunderstand me; I never doubted that God was real, or that Jesus was the answer to the problems that plagued our world.  I did, however, doubt that the faith that had been handed down to me was whole and complete. The experiences with my Uncle are what led me to become a pastor.  The interactions with my Uncle led me to explore my beliefs, to seek a deeper understanding of myself and why I did the things I did and believed the things I believed.  

 

And for me, I think that is what really keeps us from embracing those who are different from us.  We have been taught, purposefully or accidentally, that questioning God or our own faith will lead us to a dark place or down a road that ends in destruction—so we avoid people or experiences that might cause us to question ourselves, doubt our beliefs, or stir emotions that we don’t know how to process.

 

The reality is that answering questions is what God is good at and He loves to do it.  God is crying out for us to embrace the diversity around us. There is so much to experience, so much to learn, so many questions that God wants us to ask Him.  So what are we waiting for?!?

64 Days of Love (Day Four)

If you missed Day OneTwo or Three of the 64 Days of Love posts from this week, please read those first. In my role as a Technology Director (and more importantly as a father), I have come to realize that we have to engage the culture of the internet to turn it for good–64 Days of Love is my attempt to shine a bright light in what is an increasingly dark space.


On Day Four, it’s easy to talk about love when it comes to my wife, Lorinda. The love of my life has taught me more about love than anyone I know. She has been patient, kind, and generous with her love. She has been my friend, my companion, my confidant, my accountability partner, and so much more. So for today, here are some pictures of what love looks like! I love you Lorinda.

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64 Days of Love (Day Three)

If you missed Day One and Day Two of the 64 Days of Love post from yesterday, please read those first. In my role as a Technology Director (and more importantly as a father), I have come to realize that we have to engage the culture of the internet to turn it for good–64 Days of Love is my attempt to shine a bright light in what is an increasingly dark space.


On this third day of the 64 Days of Love it is one of my favorite songs from the Black Eyed Peas. The lyrics (see below) are piercing and to the point as they ask Where is the Love? and then answer there own question by singing “Love is the key…Love is the answer…Love is the solution…”

Enjoy the video.

Where is the Love
by the Black Eyed Peas
People killin’ people dyin’
Children hurtin’, I hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preachin’?
Would you turn the other cheek again?
Mama, mama, mama, tell us what the hell is goin’ on
Can’t we all just get along?
Father, father, father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me
Questioning
(Where’s the love)
Yo what’s going on with the world, momma
(Where’s the love)
Yo people living like they ain’t got no mommas
(Where’s the love)
I think they all distracted by the drama and
Attracted to the trauma, mamma
(Where’s the love)
I think they don’t understand the concept or
The meaning of karma
(Where’s the love)
Overseas, yeah they trying to stop terrorism
(Where’s the love)
Over here on the streets the police shoot
The people put the bullets in ’em
(Where’s the love)
But if you only got love for your own race
(Where’s the love)
Then you’re gonna leave space for others to discriminate
(Where’s the love)
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate
Madness is what you demonstrate
And that’s exactly how hate works and operates
Man, we gotta set it straight
Take control of your mind and just meditate
And let your soul just gravitate
To the love, so the whole world celebrate it
People killin’ people dyin’
Children hurtin’, I hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preachin’?
Would you turn the other cheek again?
Mama, mama, mama, tell us what the hell is goin’ on
Can’t we all just get along?
Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questioning
(Where’s the love)
It just ain’t the same, always in change
(Where’s the love)
New days are strange, is the world insane?
(Where’s the love)
Nation droppin’ bombs killing our little ones
(Where’s the love)
Ongoing suffering as the youth die young
(Where’s the love)
Where’s the love when a child gets murdered
Or a cop gets knocked down
Black lives not now
Everybody matter to me
All races, y’all don’t like what I’m sayin’? Haterade, tall cases
Everybody hate somebody
Guess we all racist
Black Eyed Peas do a song about love and y’all hate this
All these protests with different colored faces
We was all born with a heart
Why we gotta chase it?
And every time I look around
Every time I look up, every time I look down
No one’s on a common ground
(Where’s the love)
And if you never speak truth then you never know how love sounds
(Where’s the love)
And if you never know love then you never know God, wow
(Where’s the love)
Where’s the love y’all? I don’t, I don’t know
Where’s the truth y’all? I don’t know
People killin’ people dyin’
Children hurtin’, I hear them cryin’
Could you practice what you preach?
Would you turn the other cheek?
Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questioning
(Where’s the love)
(Where’s the love)
Love is the key
(Where’s the love)
Love is the answer
(Where’s the love)
Love is the solution
(Where’s the love)
(Where’s the love)
They don’t want us to love
(Where’s the love)
Love is powerful
(Where’s the love)
(Where’s the love)
My mama asked me why I never vote never vote
‘Cause police men want me dead and gone (Dead and gone)
That election looking like a joke (Such a joke)
And the weed man still sellin’ dope
Somebody gotta give these niggas hope (Please hope)
All he ever wanted was a smoke (My gosh)
Said he can’t breathe with his hands in the air
Layin’ on the ground died from a choke
(Where’s the love)
I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders
As I’m gettin’ older y’all people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin’
Selfishness got us followin’ the wrong direction
Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what they see in the cinemas
What happened to the love and the values of humanity?
(Where’s the love)
What happened to the love and the fairness and equality?
(Where’s the love)
Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity
(Where’s the love)
Lack of understanding leading us away from unity
(Where’s the love)
Songwriters: George Pajon Jr. / Justin Timberlake / Michael Fratantuno / Printz Board / Allan Pineda / Will Adams / Jaime Gomez
Where Is the Love? lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Tuono Music

64 Days of Love (Day Two)

If you missed Day One of the 64 Days of Love post from yesterday, please read that first. In my role as a Technology Director (and more importantly as a father), I have come to realize that we have to engage the culture of the internet to turn it for good–64 Days of Love is my attempt to shine a bright light in what is an increasingly dark space.


Strength to Love Book Cover
Photo Credit: https://www.vialibri.net/years/items/32991327/1963-king-jr-martin-luther-strength-to-love

One of the most important and impactful reads of my life came to me in my late 20s. At the time I was working as a Associate Pastor for a United Methodist Church. I learned a lot about love during my time as a part of the UMC. Openness and acceptance permeated my interactions with the church and on that journey I stumbled into Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr.

This book moved me in very deep ways towards compassion, empathy, and love. The admonitions from Dr. King ran deep into my soul and changed me forever. I would argue that his points in Strength to Love, though made from a Christian point of view, are applicable to all regardless of your belief or faith. One of the most renown quotes from the book reads, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate only love can do that. Martin Luther King Jr.
Photo Credit: https://www.celebquote.com/10881

Dr. King would argue (and ultimately live out) in Strength to Love that we need to love, love fully, love deeply, and love ALL–at any cost. What proceeds and follows this quote in the text of Strength to Love an explanation of why love is the only way to reduce hate in the world:

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. So when Jesus says “Love your enemies,” he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies– or else? The chain reaction of evil–hate begetting hate, wars producing wars–must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”

― Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love

Dr. King is clear. Only love can win the battle over hate and fear. If you see hate and fear in this world, especially on the internet, resist the temptation to meet it with more of the same and instead return hate with love, return hate with compassion, return hate with kindness, return hate with care. In a world increasingly full of hate, this is how the world will be changed for the good.

One person at a time.

One choice at a time.

One day at a time.

Or maybe 64 Days at a time.