November 29, 2010

A Nephew!

Geoff and I had a great Thanksgiving holiday with lots of family. We first traveled to Belton and spent a couple of days with my family, and then traveled to Abilene to be with Geoff's.

On Saturday morning we traveled to Ft. Worth for the highlight of the holiday - Stephen Parker Brantly. He was born Saturday afternoon to Geoff's sister Amber and her husband Kent. He is just ADORABLE and we were so thankful to be able to be there! I am so excited about adding a nephew to the three amazing nieces I already had!

Welcome to the world Stephen - we can't wait to get to know you!

November 8, 2010

Living Dreams

To continue the thought from my last blog, I am very proud of so many of my friends who dream big, live radically, and follow Jesus whole heartedly. I am constantly impressed by how steadfastly they keep their focus on their God-given dreams to change the world using their unique gifts and convictions in spite of what the world calls them to.

Modern design and consumer lifestyles are in stark contrast with the goodness of the original gifts God gave us. Rather than living in harmony with Creation as originally intended by God in the garden, we absorb everything in sight, always seeking more, addicted to consuming things that will never fill us. I have one friend in particular whose dreams have led him to live radically different from this.

I knew Blake in college and loved his dreams of simple living and sustainable architecture that are in harmony with the environment, not in contrast.  Blake's dream has been to take the gifts God has given us on this earth and honor Him by working with creation rather than against it; to live simply, caring for God's creation, rather than exhausting its resources through endless consumption.  I have watched him pursue this dream since 2001 and it is incredible to see him stronger than ever almost a decade later.

He owns a small plot of land south of Abilene and is living completely off the grid, with no conventional water/electric access. He uses a rain water cistern, solar heated shower, composting toilet, and a great sustainable shelter built out of recycled materials and no glue or silicones. Read the article released by Abilene's Reporter News for more info and pictures of Blake's home.

He has learned a lot and overcome who knows how many practical and social obstacles to achieve this dream that is in contrast to the "normal" american lifestyle. With his talent and education he could pick his jobs and live the "normal" comfort first lifestyle, consuming as much as he wanted, and acquiring more than most of us may ever have the option of.  He has laid this down for Jesus.  As a result, I believe (and think he may agree) that he finds and will find much greater fulfillment and contentment than in the pursuit of worldly riches and comforts that will turn out (for the those of us to continue to seek them) to be a "chasing after the wind."  Well done Blake, and well done so many of my other friends whose dreams I hope to highlight on this blog soon as an inspiration to others.