All posts tagged: #WorldChangerWednesday

Long Days of Small Things – World Changer Wednesday

“Long Days of Small Things is a book that looks at the real life work we do in our everyday lives, and finds God right there in the midst of it. We think of spirituality as something that happens in our minds, in silence. We are taught that our bodies, our mess and complications and noise hold us back from being with God. That doesn’t leave a lot of hope for moms, whose pregnant or post-partum bodies, newborns, toddlers, and van-full of carpool kids have no end of loud, messy, physical, chaotic needs.” – Catherine McNiel

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Zoe’s Visit to See “Refuge: An Exhibit by Photographer Ezra Millstein”

This essay was written by my daughter, Zoë Fritz, after spending an evening in Clarkston, Georgia, in October, 2016.  I got to see Refuge: An Exhibit by Photographer Ezra Millstein on Saturday, October 22. They filled the old Refuge Coffee Company garage with 20″ x 30” photographs. There was Middle Eastern music and food. There were people from many different countries in one room. I can’t believe I got to talk with the photographer! Ezra Millstein is the International Photographer for Habitat for Humanity.  I asked him if the parents of the children he wants to take pictures of say “No, you can’t do that.” He said that doesn’t usually happen. He said that kids love the camera and their parents want people to know what they’re going through. He has a 5 month old daughter and wonders if that’s why he’s been taking pictures of so many other daughters around the world. I really liked the piece with the man looking out his tent towards his old home. I’m sad he lost his home. I …

Mary’s Socks – World Changer Wednesday

Last October we featured World Changer, Mary Reczek. She’s a little girl in Wheaton, Illinois who set a goal to collect 800 socks for SOCKTOBER. But she received 1370(!), and with plenty of October left to go, she upped her goal to 2000(!). Last year Mary received 2635 pairs of socks for Chicago’s homeless! After that, Mary, and her brothers, Charlie, and Sam, went with World Changer Warrior Gayle Bloink several times into the city to feed, clothe, and pray with the homeless there.  The socks lasted almost an entire year. Because they had so many socks generously donated  last year, they were able to always have socks with them when they brought food on Saturdays. The socks were almost more important than the food!  So many homeless friends have come to hope for socks each week. It is difficult to turn them away.  Mary hated when she would run out on any given week. So for Mary’s birthday this year she would like to collect **3000 pairs of socks** for Chicago’s homeless by 10/31/16. (Here is …

The Long Family – World Changer Wednesday

I met Mary Beth years ago. We were both going through soul-crushing infertility. Our friendship was a gift from God in that long, hard season. We kept each other laughing and praying as we shared the absurdities, humiliations, disappointments, and hopes of trying to have babies. We desperately wanted to be mothers. Oh, how I thanked God not to go through all that alone! If you told us we’d have 6 six between us we would not have believed you. I love Mary Beth’s frank common sense, strong faith, and contagious humor. You’ll love reading how this led her family to a brand new, exciting, life-changing adventure. Hi Mary Beth, please tell us about your family! Carter, 12: Our first born. A miracle because there was a time we thought we would never be able to have children. He is funny, witty and has a heart of gold. He is as wise as an 80 year old man and can make you laugh as hard as you did when you were a kid. Mary Grace, 10: She …

Jodie Kitchens – World Changer Wednesday

What if you wake up one morning and realize you’ve been only listening to your brain, and not your heart? What do you do? How do you start something new? I have come to know Jodie Kitchens through the magic of Facebook and our shared love for Haiti Partners. She is intelligent, passionate, fierce, hard-working, and from what I can tell, inexhaustible! After decades in corporate financial services, she joyfully changed her focus toward active compassion. I love her story. I’d love to hear what resonates with you! Thank you for being with us, Jodie! Please introduce yourself! My heart is all about “Helping Families in Crisis While Having Adventures and Learning.” About 2 ½ years ago, I had my moment. On a hillside near Fort Jacques,in Haiti, I reached my limit and sent my son James and Haiti Partners Director John Engle on up the hill to our original destination of a fort. As I sat, I watched the ants and a lizard go about their day, then I heard church singing waft through …

Dr. Jamie Aten – World Changer Wednesday

I am so thankful for the timing and content of this World Changer Wednesday post. We’re all watching Hurricane Matthew. It’s ravaging the Caribbean, and we are bracing for impact in the southeastern US. What a gift we can feature Dr. Jamie Aten, the Founder and Co-Director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute. Jamie survived Hurricane Katrina and late-stage cancer. He is an expert on serving those going through trauma and disaster. He teaches, speaks, travels, serves, and writes. I’m so grateful he’s here to share his personal story, big ideas, and practical resources for coping with personal and natural disasters. Please tell us about yourself, Jamie! I am a disaster psychologist, author, and speaker. I help others cultivate faith and resilience amidst personal, mass, and humanitarian disasters. I don’t just study disasters—I have lived disasters. I am a Hurricane Katrina and a late-stage cancer survivor in remission. I channel these experiences into helping others live more resiliently and into helping churches minister more effectively. I hold an endowed research professorship and help train clinical psychology doctoral students at …

CAC – World Changer Wednesday

Are you compassionate? I’m not. My heart doesn’t naturally bend toward suffering with other people. My heart bends towards whatever is going to make my life better in that moment. For me, compassion is an often hard choice, that through years of slow practice, I’m learning to make more often. I started making these choices after a long season of reflection, contemplation, and yes, counseling, under the big fat umbrella of God’s grace. Because only there I can bear to see the true state of my own heart, and my own aching need for others to be compassionate with me. My friend Sam recently completed an official program for spiritual formation. Once I heard he graduated I pounced and asked if he would share some of the things he learned, and how they could help us all be more compassionate. I’m so thankful he was willing to do it. In the interview below Sam generously and bravely shares the who, what, when, where, how and why of his journey toward contemplation and action, and how that might help us …

Seeking Refuge – World Changer Wednesday

Every time there’s another terror attack, my primal fears are flared up. I do a quick security screening on my life: doors=locked kids=safe neighborhood=safe poverty level of my town=low everyone around me=looks like me travel plans=none closest mosque=don’t know Then I breathe easier and thank God that I live an ocean away from ISIS. I’m not proud of it. But I do think this way. Some people don’t get to live an ocean away from ISIS. Some people live in the nightmare of ISIS or Boko Haram or thousands of other places where evil and power and terror are the norm. They are literally dying, running for their lives, or dying trying. I might think, “O God, help them! Tell me what to do!” And then I think right after that, “Thank God my life’s not like that. Thank you for keeping me safe.”  I’m not proud of it. But I do pray this way. This year one part of our Family Compassion Focus is learning more about refugees. It hasn’t been easy. One of my kids …

Refuge Coffee Company – World Changer Wednesday

Refugees get a lot of airtime these days. We’ve all seen the pictures of the overcrowded rafts and dead children washed on shore. We hear about what governments open their doors to them, and which ones have them tightly shut. We hear about Muslims, immigration, and walls all the time in this year’s unfortunate election jibber jabber. It’s a lot to figure out. Are refugees scammers? Just looking for better opportunities in better countries? Are refugees victims? Running for their lives from crazy leaders in hard places. Are refugees uneducated fools? Draining every person, place, and organization they encounter? Are refugees undercover sleeper agents? Slowly weaseling their way into our country to eventually destroy us? When we talk about refugees at our house, we talk about them as people. Refugees are people. They are dads that want their little girls to be safe. They are mamas grieving their dead sons. They are little kids that like toys and candy and are afraid of bad guys. Like all humans they need food, water, and shelter to survive. …

Slow Kingdom Coming – World Changer Wednesday

One of my favorite people is Kent Annan. I’ve known Kent for 21 years, since we were living in Europe doing things like serving refugees, doing economic development, and managing bed and breakfasts. One night he was tasked with keeping me, my mom, and my sister busy while Chris (his BFF) asked my dad for my hand. He was a good sport. Kent delights in empowering and connecting people with humility, grace, and good humor. He does this as a friend, author, and co-Director of Haiti Partners. He was the one we called with the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010. He was the reason our family first experimented with compassion. He has walked along side us and cheered us on from the very beginning. Kent’s newest book, Slow Kingdom Coming, gripped my heart when I read it last winter. I strongly resonate with the vision, hope, and 5 Practices he shares. He talks honestly about how hard it is to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly. But instead of that being an excuse or a deterrent, he …

The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations – World Changer Wednesday

When I met John Crilly (aka “Crilly”), he was hosting a loud party at his house. I think he had one of his hats on, and was smiling so big it made my face hurt. Whenever someone would walk in the front door he would shout something like, “HEY EVERYBODY! IT’S PETE AND WENDY DAVIS!” And everyone in the room would cheer. He did this for hours. Crilly is a really touchy feely extrovert who is energized meeting new people and doing new things. He’s up for anything. But he’s also up for getting quiet if you have have a question or need to talk. My kids like to FaceTime him to tell him jokes about boogers. He’s a safe place. Crilly will share his big heart to give you the joy, safety, and attention you need in that moment. That’s why I’m not surprised he was a part of writing The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations. His passion for all kinds of people, for Jesus, for hope, and healing has been hard won, and it’s infectious. Hey …

Dawn Waters Baker – World Changer Wednesday

I meet God in art. When I don’t want to say or pray, when I can’t articulate the questions or joy in my heart, Art has been my sacred translator. I feel known, understood, and not alone when I encounter beauty on a canvas or carved in stone. I buy the postcards, calendars, and coffee table books of my favorites artists and their work. I use them when I pray. They help me listen and speak to God. I first saw Dawn Waters Baker’s work on Facebook. Scrolling on through the people’s quiz results and baby pictures on my feed, Dawn’s grand, majestic work stopped me. My heart raced, and then quieted. I knew I should pay attention. I was beckoned to stop my rush and contemplate the night sky on my screen. I got lost in the colors. Then the scene. Then the Creator of it all. I whispered worship at my kitchen counter, “thank you, God.” I asked Dawn if I could feature her and her work on World Changer Wednesday because her work …

MOPS + Sole Hope – World Changer Wednesday

When I had young children I was in lockdown mode most of the time. I didn’t want to gather with other moms and hear their own crying babies, chronic fatigue, and familiar complaints. All I wanted was silence and alone time. I regret that now. I wish I would have taken up one of the dozens of offers to join playgroups, story times, or MOPS. I think I would have found the understanding and revitalizing courage I needed. Last month I got to visit two MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups in California. These moms show up to hear and serve each other with empathetic grace. They show up wearing, nursing, shushing, and smiling at their babies. They show up hungry to gather and grow. I was moved by their persevering love. One of the moms, named Stephanie, was introducing a service project to MOPS called “Sole Hope.” It sounded great! I wanted to hear how the project went, so I asked for her contact info. I texted her right away from the plane, “Taking off. …

Leeann – World Changer Wednesday

I met Leeann Drabenstott Culbreath my freshman year in college. She was the one in Birkenstocks and glasses, with a guitar, protest signs, and lots of ideas most people weren’t ready for. We’re way older now, and she hasn’t changed! She and her husband live in southern Georgia raising Zeke and Abe and as much awareness as they can. Leeann has extended love and grace to me in recent years, listening to stories of my dark college days, visiting me when I first moved to Georgia, serving me communion in my living room while I cried, and arranging lunch for us at the Whistle Stop Cafe in Juliette, Georgia, where Fried Green Tomatoes was filmed. A few weeks ago Leeann was in town for her new job. We spent a sunny afternoon in my office talking about Creation Care. Below is only a taste of the passion and vision Leeann carries. I hope you’ll be inspired to think about the big picture and spiritual impact of stewarding creation in new ways. Leeann, what is your ministry? One …

The DZ Family – World Changer Wednesday

Some families are called to a regular suburban American life. Some families are called to adventure in far away lands. Some families get to do both.   At this very moment, the DZ Family is in Ind*a. (Due to the nature of their work we can’t share their full name or even type out the country name. We live in complicated times.)  The six of them are doing compassion work all together for many weeks. When I read her updates I feel curious, excited, scared, hopeful, thankful and tired.   I admire Carrie so much. She is a hard working mom with 4 very boyish boys, and a husband that is often overseas for long stretches. She is real, creative, industrious, and steady. She seems to be the right kind of person for the life they’ve been called to. Funny how that happens, isn’t it?   I asked Carrie to share her story, and she generously agreed to despite sick kids, leading a team, and sporadic internet in the developing world. I’m so grateful. I’ve learned more about life …

The Pruett Family – World Changer Wednesday

Julie is a new friend in Georgia. We were introduced by a visiting mutual friend on a hot summer day, then finally connected on a gray, rainy fall day at Starbucks. We talked about the mysteries of perfectionism, middle school boys, and life in our unique town. But then we started talking about compassion. And it was like we shared our true hearts. We both are trying to raise un-entitled, generous, compassionate World Changers.  I am really excited to learn from Julie and her family. Be warned – her story below is a such a tease!  I want to know 50 more details about each idea she shares.  I hope we will do compassion experiments together in 2016. Introducing the Pruett Family! My husband Paul and I have two children Tyler (age 13) and Avery (age 9). We have been homeschooling for 3 years and feel so blessed to be able to teach our children from a Christian perspective about the world. Tyler is a born leader and perfectionist. He is training for triathlons, plays …

Our 2016 Family Compassion Focus – World Changer Wednesday

It’s always nice to start the New Year off with hope. In 2016 we did this with the help of bacon, our best friends, and a new Family Compassion Focus. As I’ve mentioned so many times before, last year was tough. Moving, grieving, re-starting. We have a lot more reflecting to do, but I think we learned more about compassion by needing it instead of giving it. We were hurting and needy, and felt love from old and new friends, God, and each other. I think that’s going to shape things for a long time. This was our fifth time officially choosing a Family Compassion Focus. The first time we decided to intentionally pursue compassion as a family we voted to love and serve Orphans (you can read about that choice here). Last year we voted to love and serve Haiti (you can read about that vote here). We put our blank pages on the fridge early in the week and all added ideas at random times (you can read about the whole process here). I think this is the …

World Changer Wednesday – You

I’ve been getting lots of tips for 2016. Why is everyone on facebook, instagram, email and text telling me how to be healthier, kinder, more stylish, more mindful, and more productive next year? If I knew how to do all that transforming I would already be doing it. If I had that self-control and discipline I wouldn’t need your planner, juicer, diet, questionnaire, accountability group, or membership. My defenses are high. I don’t feel like a World Changer, especially now, exhausted, surrounded by leftovers, cookies, wine, and noisy kids on Christmas break. I bet you don’t feel like one either. How can I possibly be a World Changer when I gave the kids my fearsome Alligator Face an hour ago? How can they be World Changers when they can’t remember to change their own underwear? Maybe we should all just go back to bed. 2015 was rough for Team Fritz. Chris and I just reviewed the outlandish list of goals and hopes we made during our great date on 1/3/15. We were shocked. Never before have we crossed …

World Changer Wednesday – Jesus

I can’t count how many times I’ve begged God for Rescue in my small life. Chronic pain keeps kicking me. Infertility taunted me. Kids test me. I say and do so many things I regret. And even when I’ve done everything right, I sometimes get lost or mistreated anyway. I can’t fix any of it on my own. I call out for “Help!” and I want a Rescuer to come running. When I call out to God for “Help!” I’m usually wanting Magic. I want the people I’ve hurt to get acute amnesia about our last conversation. I want the drunk driver to swerve a different direction and miss my car. I want my kids to be 100% compliant. Other times when I want God to “Help!” I’m asking for Power. I want to be Right and influence others to agree and act. I want to Perfect and avoid all mistakes. I want pain and suffering to end for me and everyone else. I want “Help!” right in the moment. I want a concierge and team of experts …

Moms – World Changer Wednesday

It’s still pitch black when my alarm goes off. I roll out of bed with a heavy head and prop myself up at the counter to brush my teeth. I sometimes pray for grace and joy in the morning, but sometimes I forget. Nine times out of ten, Greta bursts in my room with crazy hair, a scowl, and the declaration that she is NOT going to school. Sometimes she melts in my hug, other times she stomps away and slams a door. At 6:04am. In the next hour and a half I butter toast, wake 11 year olds, put ice packs in lunches, ask about deodorant, break up fights, clean up spills, try to shorten 30 minute showers, check backpacks, brush snarly hair, try not to look at my phone, and ask my kids not to touch each other. Some days I rush them. Some days I avoid eye contact. Some days I bark in frustration. Some days I sigh loudly. Every day I give all three of them full body hugs. Every day I pray …

World Changer Wednesday – The Beaird Family

I really want my kids to be World Changers. I hope they will desire to generously love and serve other people because they are overflowing with grace and joy from God. But how will they learn that? Why would they want to? One year our family chose Orphans as our Family Compassion Focus. My kids couldn’t believe how many orphans were in stories they already knew – Little Orphan Annie, Anne of Green Gables, Moses (Greta wondered if poor Max and Ruby were orphans too). We would say a simple prayer like, “God, help orphans” as we drove around town. Then we researched orphan statistics. The kids learned there were orphans in Uganda – heartbreaking. Then they discovered there were orphans in the United States – surprising. And in Illinois – shocking. And in Wheaton – unacceptable. The kids prayed, “God, why are there so many orphans! Help!” We studied bible verses about the fatherless. The kids prayed, “Every kid needs parents, God! Help!” As the weeks went on, and we kept researching and praying, asking and listening. We all started …

World Changer Wednesday – The Ferguson Family

Christmas is coming. So are all the stresses, expectations, and responsibilities. Isn’t that sad? We really want joyful, meaningful, sparkly holidays, but we can’t really figure out how to make that happen. It’s seems to be some sort of haphazard magic – when the snow falls at very moment Silent Night starts and all the kids are singing and smiling like angels. We feel warm and safe deep inside. What if there really was a way to make Christmas more joyful, meaningful, and sparkly? My good friend Theresa and I believe that starts with compassion. When we look for ways to love, serve, and give instead of frantically spending and wanting, our homes and hearts begin to feel different. It’s heart changing and world changing. It’s joyful, meaningful, and our eyes get a little sparkly. Thank you, Theresa, for letting us share how your family does Christmas! Finding Peace During the Christmas Season by Theresa Ferguson at Family Freckles Buy this! Shop now! Just one more gift! The messages to spend are everywhere in the weeks and …

World Changer Wednesday – Danielle

Do you think beauty can change the world? Let me tell you about my friend Danielle. She creates beauty. Her paintings capture vivid colors, haunting beauty, and secret tenderness. They have been featured at several galleries and art shows. But she also went into my kids’ classrooms with her easel and paints, letting 5 year olds touch her work and asking them to help name her pieces. She designs beauty. She can see potential everywhere. Clients want her to make their homes and offices inviting, artistic, and practical. This is easy for her. But even as the expert she extends grace and confidence as they participate in the process. Clients are empowered and grateful when they see their ambigious ideas come to life. She celebrates beauty. Whether it’s at the Art Institute, renegade craft fairs, or a garage sale, she finds amazing things. She appreciates lines, colors, form, and function. She loves when a piece has a history. This year she found all these things in a new place, and it has changed her. She can’t stop talking about it. Introducing …

Update – World Changer Wednesday – The Powells

Last month we met the Powells (that post here). In just a few years their family has grown from casual, convenient compassion to radical, intentional compassion. They sought out new ways to love those hurting around them, and surrendered their free time, family time, money and relationships to do it. I asked Amy if she could share how their most recent World Changing, Heart Changing, Family Changing trip went. I begged for scoop from her and each of her 3 kids. I couldn’t wait to see pictures. When I downloaded them I was captivated. The Powells radiate joy in Kenya. It’s that gift that comes with surrender. When you give what you have to God, he gives you joy. And you can’t help but share that joy with everyone around you. Summary of the Powell’s Trip to Kenya October 2015 by Amy, Allie, Jack, and Cooper This was the third trip to Kenya for me (Amy) and my daughter, Allie, and the second for my sons, Jackson & Cooper. My husband, Corey, has been before, but he was unable …

UPDATE – World Changer Wednesday – Mary

Last week we met World Changer, Mary Rezcek. (To read that post click here) Here is a little morning message from her to brighten your day. Please watch it. https://youtu.be/SIbdCotDWbw Mary was hoping to collect 800 pairs of socks to give to the homeless in Chicago this winter. So far, she has received 1370 pairs of socks! ***** Now she is hoping for 2000 by 10/31/15! Only 630 more pairs ***** I love it! In the video Mary refers to her friend Sparkles. Here is a picture of them. They met the very first night Mary went downtown when she was 5 years old. It’s not hard for Mary to be a World Changer because she isn’t thinking about facts and numbers. She is remembering real people that she actually talks to. She is thinking about their cold, wet feet. She loves them because she knows them. Mary and her friends are writing notes to go in each pair of socks. They aren’t just going to drive by and toss them out the window. They are going to hand …

World Changer Wednesday – Mary

Do you let your kids talk to strangers? When you see a homeless person do you avoid eye contact and tug at your kids’ sleeves to keep walking? Does the big city scare you? My friend Gabi is a World Changer. She has practical ideas, strong opinions and a big heart. Helping other people is a simple, common sense idea to her, and she’s desperate for The Church to cut the crap and get to work. She and I are Stubborn Soul Sisters in this regard. I really do want my kids to be World Changers, but sometimes I chicken out. Our family’s Compassion Focus last year was Homelessness. We focused on our county, town, and school, but we never made it to downtown Chicago. We learned many new things, but we did not learn how to befriend a homeless person on the street. Gabi’s kids have been serving the homeless for a long time. Their daughter Mary started going downtown to love homeless people when she was 5 years old. Look and see what …

World Changer Wednesday – My Greta

What is your dream for the kids in your life? That they will be rich, famous, loved, healthy?  That they’ll have good jobs or get married? For lots of reasons, I’ve had to die to lots of dreams when I think about my kids’ futures. Now my main hope and prayer is that they will be lovable and loving World Changers. That they will understand God’s love for them so fully that they can’t help but shape their lives around that relentless truth. Greta and I got back from Haiti last night. We went there to Chicken Dance. When Greta was so sad about going to her new school in our new town in a new state I did a little Chicken Dance in the dark at the bus stop. One day she told me to “do it bigger!” so the whole bus could see and smile with her. She wanted to share it. That’s Greta. She wants joy for everyone. She agreed to share it with the whole world by recording it and putting it online …

World Changer Wednesday – The Powell Family

Sometimes parents come up to me and say, “We never did that compassion stuff with our kids. We missed out. I guess it’s too late. Maybe I can try something when I have grandkids.” What? No! It’s never too late! The Powell Family started opening their hearts to make room for compassion a few years ago, when their oldest kids were teenagers. They dipped their toe in by sponsoring a child in Kenya. But now they are swimming all over the deep end! Introducing the Powell Family! I am Amy. I am married to my highschool sweetheart, Corey. We have been following the Lord to the best of our ability for our 23 years of marriage. For the first 20 of those, our lives consisted mostly of taking care of our jobs and kids. Corey has owned his own business, and I have homeschooled the kids part-time for much of that. We have always attended church and Bible studies regularly and have been involved in small groups of Christian community, but our service usually involved serving the served and …

World Changer Wednesday – The Evans Family

Do you have room in your life for compassion?  If your kids asked you to help them Change the World would you say yes?  Does the thought of it make you wince and sigh?  Or does it get you excited? I’ve known Stephanie Evans for more than 20 years. In college I was consistently impressed with her unconditional kindness and quick, eye-sparkling laugh. She was on the leadership team that prepared my group do a summer of service in the inner-city. After college she got married, worked at the Mother Ship for Starbucks, and had kids. Her family is committed to growing in compassion and service. As you read the story below, note the unintentional turning point for compassion in the Evans Family.  It has me thinking hard. Stephanie, tell us about the Evans Family! Erik and I have three kids, Sydney, 13, Kate, 9 and Drew 6. A couple of years ago, I stopped working full time with the intent to spend more time with my family and take better care of myself. I was going …