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“Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom shall be as noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.”
– Isaiah 58:9-12 (ESV) [NOTE: I wanted to use the whole chapter. Go read it 🙂 ]

I ended my last post asking us to accept what happened Tuesday and move on. Since then, there have been a ton of responses to what happened. I got so emotional reading them, I had to take a break from social media.

The responses seem to fall into two categories (I’m generalizing for simplicity’s sake, not to put anyone in a box. Also understand I’m not singling out any particular friend; I’ve seen them all over the place, from all ages, ethnicities and faiths). They are either a) anti-Trump posts saying anyone who voted for him is a racist bigot and to unfriend them, or b) pro-Trump posts saying God and the people have spoken, so grow up and move on.

When I said to accept what happened and move on, I wasn’t saying it wasn’t OK to be upset, disappointed, even angry. It most certainly is. I just wanted us to recognize the similarities we all share, in the hope that we wouldn’t lash out at one another. But of course that was idealistic.

To my friends who supported Trump, may I ask something of you? Pretend you’re an immigrant. You’ve heard Trump say he’ll build a wall and begin mass deportations. Pretend you’re an LGBTQ individual or someone wrestling with your sexuality. You’ve heard Trump say he supports a law you believe is highly discriminatory. Pretend you have a disability. You’ve heard Trump mock people like you. (IMPORTANT NOTE: The story about his mocking the disabled reporter isn’t true. The clips were spliced together to imply that, but it isn’t true. It’s worth looking up again. Regardless, people saw it and it affected their opinion of him. It can be hard to get those kind of images out of your head).

Let me be clear. I am NOT saying you have to agree with their beliefs. I’m only asking you to consider things from their point of view. This is not the temper tantrum of a spoiled millennial who didn’t get their way. It is genuine, deep-down-to-the-core fear, sometimes for their very lives.

I heard a story yesterday of an immigrant (a legal one) who is afraid to go to work, out of fear he’ll come home to find his mother gone. I’ve heard people express fear that Social Security and/or Medicaid (which many with disabilities rely on) will be done away with. And I’ve heard a lot of LGBTQ individuals afraid of a lot of things. Are these fears irrational? Probably. But are they completely unfounded? No.

So, the next time you hear someone complain, resist the urge to tell them to move on. Instead, try to see things from their perspective. Ask what they’re afraid of. If you don’t understand, question. Tell them you love them. Don’t say all Trump supporters aren’t racists and bigots. Show them.

To my friends who supported Hilary: I love you. I’m sorry you’re hurting and afraid. I wish I could tell you it will all be OK. But since I can’t, I’ll do what I can to make sure it is. And I’ll try to do a better job listening too.

In the meantime, can you consider the idea that your friends who supported Trump weren’t doing so to vote against you? They didn’t picture your face in their head and make a conscious choice to vote Trump because they want your rights taken away. They might have done so unhappily, with a sinking feeling in their heart, disgusted at the thought of either person winning. They might have voted on the one issue that’s more important to them than anything else. They might not understand how deeply his policies could affect you.

To my friends on all sides: I understand you’re upset, disappointed, even angry. Feel it. You won’t be able to move on ’til you do. But, please, watch your words. Stop the pointing of the finger. Answering hate with more hate doesn’t solve anything. Instead, support each other how you can. Civilly debate where you disagree. Make each other think. Be the repairer of the breach. May it begin with me.

(Thank you to the friends who expressed some of what I wrote and helped me see a different perspective. You may not even know who are, but this post was inspired by you! Also thanks to CCDA for the Call of Lament yesterday.)

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Don’t let the date or title scare you; this isn’t a political post…

Well, it sort of is. But not one in which I’ll tell you who I’m voting for and why. Or where I’ll try to get you to side with me because my choice is the only suitable one. Or where I’ll assume things about your faith or lack thereof if you vote one way over another. We already have too much of that. It isn’t helpful. I’m tired of it.

I still haven’t decided who I’m voting for. I have an idea, but I’m still researching, thinking, praying. I may not make my final decision until I step into the booth tomorrow. But the process has brought me to a conclusion…

We all want the same thing.

There are deep wants – love, belonging, a purpose in life. There are more “surfacey” wants – doing what we want, when we want, the way we want, with whom we want. Feeling safe while doing those things and knowing our kids and friends are safe too.

Basically, we all want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What sets us apart (politically at least) are the ways we want to achieve those things and who we think will do a better job getting us there. But deep down we are the same. We are all created equal.

Here’s another thing I’ve realized… this isn’t going to end tomorrow. The campaigning will be over. The constant political posts might be over. What won’t be over is the pain this election cycle has caused. The anger won’t just dissipate, the hate won’t stop and the friendships lost won’t magically be repaired. And that hurts my heart more than anything.

Donald and Hilary might have started it. The media might have worsened it. But we continued it. And for what?

My faith teaches me that hope shouldn’t come from a political party or president. Regardless, I can still do my part to make the world a better place, to repair the damage done during this horrible season. Anybody want to join me? I confess I don’t know how to do it any better than you… or Trump, Clinton, Johnson, Stein or anyone else on any ballot. But I do know anger, hate and only being friends with those like you isn’t the answer. As Abraham Lincoln wisely said (quoting the Bible by the way), “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

So, research, think, pray and go to the polls tomorrow. Cast your vote for whoever you feel has earned your vote, but remember that yours isn’t the only “right” option. Respect the choices of others who are, deep down, just like you. Then… accept what happens, and move. on. Please! We have work to do.

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Hello Friends!
Below is the letter I sent out about my upcoming mission trip to Chicago, which is only 15 days away! I am SUPER excited to get there and see everything God will do. If any of my few faithful readers would like to support me with prayer or finances, please let me know.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Friends and Family,
I hope this letter finds you well! I’m writing to update you on what is happening in my life. In 2006, I enrolled in college at Radford University, and now, two years later, I am graduating! During my time here at Radford, I have had the amazing opportunity to become involved in Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) here on campus. Last year, I was part of the band that led worship during the weekly meetings. Besides attending these meetings, I am also involved in a small group Bible study. Through Cru, my faith has grown and matured in ways I could have only imagined two years ago.

This summer I have the opportunity to participate in a summer missions project sponsored by Cru! I will be going with about 20 other students to Chicago, Illinois, where we will be ministering to the inner-city community. During this eight week project, I will learn how to effectively witness to those around me, whether it be through working at a homeless shelter, serving at a soup kitchen, or running a program for children at a community center. Small group Bible studies with my teammates with continue to strengthen my faith, and I will develop leadership skills and abilities I need in order to carry out the responsibilities I am given.

In order to participate in this project, I need to develop a team of ministry partners: a group of people like you who will help make this trip possible. I am raising both financial support and prayer support. I am in need of $3,500, which will cover room and board, transportation to and from Chicago, and all other ministry needs. Will you prayerfully consider joining my team by giving a gift of $25, $50, $100, or more? (Please make checks payable to Campus Crusade for Christ).

1 Peter 3:12 says, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer.” I am also asking you to consider committing to pray for me, our project, and what God might do this summer. I am asking specifically for 15 people to become my Prayer Partners. This is a group of people who will commit themselves to 15 minutes of praying everyday this summer for the project and for me. Please respond by filling out the enclosed card and returning it to me. If I haven’t heard from you within about two weeks, I’ll give you a call to see what you’ve decided and to answer any questions you might have. Thank you for considering joining my team to help reach people in inner-city Chicago for Christ.

Sincerely,
Danae

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Reading

So, I have now been out of school for a week now and have enjoyed it thoroughly. There have been a few thoughts of “what do I do with myself,” but I usually come out of that pretty quickly. One of my goals for the summer is to read more now that I have the time, so I can usually content myself with that. I love to read, but when school is in session I usually do not read much of my own choosing, because I’m either reading textbooks or working on schoolwork. So it’s nice to be able to read whatever I like at my own pace.

Speaking of reading, here is an interesting fact:

* If a child reads just 6 books during the summer he will be up to his grade level in the fall. If he doesn’t read, he will struggle.

I heard that on a video from Scholastic about reading and writing. I don’t know what kind of research went into getting the information, so I don’t know how true it is, but thought it was interesting nonetheless. Anyway, Scholastic recently held a conference that discussed every aspect of writing, from inspiration to publication. They had a panel of well-known children’s authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, etc. Those of you who, like myself, are familiar with children’s literature, may recognize some of the panel, which included:

* Brett Helquist, illustrator of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
* Ann Martin, Newberry Award-winnig author of The Babysitter’s Club
* Arthur Levine, editor of the US edition of the Harry Potter Series
* and more that I didn’t know

So, for those of you who are interested there are clips of the conference on Scholastic’s website at http://www.scholastic.com/summerreading/eventvideo.htm. I thought they were very cool, especially if you have any interest in getting published one day.

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Funny Survey

I got this from my friend Kathryn. It’s funny, but not as good as hers.

1. YOUR ROCKSTAR NAME:
(first pet and current street name)

Strawberry Elm

2. YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME:
(grandfather/grandmother on your mom’s side, your favorite candy)

Evelyn Almond Joy

3. YOUR COOL-CAT NAME:
(first initial of first name, first two or three letters of your last name)

Dwen

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME:
(favorite cartoon animal, one of your favorite colors)

Pooh Blue

5. YOUR LORD OF THE RINGS NAME:
(middle name, city where you were born)

Lynne Southfield

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME:
(first 3 letters of your last name, last 3 letters of mother’s maiden
name, first 3 letters of your pet’s name)

Wenallnon

7. YOUR JEDI NAME:
(middle name spelled backwards, your mom’s maiden name spelled backwards)

Ennyl Lladnek

8. YOUR SUPERHERO NAME:
(“The,” your favorite color, the automobile you drive)

The Purple None (sounds like nun, how funny!)

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