Tag Archive: mark scandrette


bestill

seems like the message of slowing down seems to be chasing me around these days…

after being inspired by something that my friend at Re:Gen, Albert Lee, preached on Sunday nite [that he told me Dallas Willard said] i wrote this post on rushing, taking special note that Jesus never seemed to.

and today i head into my book reading for the ‘Free: Spending your Time and Money on what matters most’ preparation for the book study tbV and i are leading and it is on Time [and slowing down, disconnecting, not rushing, sabbathing] and so i thought it would be a great idea to invite you to join me in my experiment:

part of my homework reads like this:

‘Experiment: Be Still

Try this. Set aside this book for five minutes. [I did, but then i didn’t know what to do next so i had to look back in the book] Close your eyes, breathe deeply and simply sit. What do you notice? What do you hear? What do you smell? How does your body feel? In the absence of activity what are you drawn to think about? What kind of thoughts come to the surface? Can you let go of those thoughts to be still and know that God is here and that you are alive in this moment?

As a way to reset a sense of restful presence, many people find it helpful to have a daily or regular practice of stillness prayer – five, ten, or twenty minutes of focused silence to be aware of God and be present to yourself. As an experiment you may want to practice this kind of stillness for a period of time each day for a week to see how it subtly shifts your sense of time, hurry or anxiety.’

i just did my first time now and it was great – started with just around 8 minutes and will look to hit 20 for the rest of the week. and i will post about how it goes after that.

but i am looking for nine other people who will sign up now [in the comment section below – just your name and i’m in!] and join me in this journey – for the next week putting aside 5, 10 or 20 minutes to be still, to turn off the phone and move away from the technology [i went and sat outside and that was great] and just experience the stillness.

the commitment is to write your name in the comments, say ‘I’m in’ and then report back next week when i post and add some thoughts on how the experience was for you..

the non eternal-optimist realist in me suspects i’ll be lucky to get three people, but i’m hoping i’ll have a full 9… so come on, who is in?

[To read my response after a week of doing this, as well as many others in the comments section, click here]

tombstone

i read an exercise in a book the other day that encouraged us to imagine that we had died:

‘what do you hope the people closest to you might say at your funeral?’

‘what kind of obituary will they write about you for the local newspapeR?’

[from Free: Spending your Time and Money on what matters most, by Mark Scandrette]

in answering those questions we have to realise that nothing is going to magically happen one day for those things to suddenly become true

if it’s not true now, then it’s very likely not going to suddenly be true later

the truth is, your obituary writing starts here

it starts now

and you write it

not physically, but by the way you live your life, how you speak, what you give your time and money to

do you think you would live life any differently if that was the first thought on your mind as you woke up to start a new day?

my obituary starts here

now, how am i going to live, to make it a good one?

tbV and i met Lisa and Mark Scandrette and their family while over here in Americaland. They have just released a book titled ‘Free: How to spend your time and money on what matters most’ and so it felt fitting to invite them to share with us a glimpse from their story in terms of hearing some ways in which they have looked to help their children grow up well. Here is Lisa Scandrette [who has possibly one of the best t-shirts ever!]:

We moved to the heart of the Mission District, at the time a neighborhood riddled with gang violence, when our kids were 4, 3 and 1.  We had a desire to raise kids who bring good to the world through the gifts and talents God has given them.  Hailey, Noah and Isaiah are now 19, 18 and 16.  When I look back, two things stand out as being helpful in beginning to instill a vision for doing good in our kids:

When we first moved to San Francisco, a friend asked with great concern, “How can you bring your kids to live in the neighborhood that you are living in?  Shouldn’t you be looking out for their safety and well being?”  I responded that I was certain that when God called us to live where we do, that he hadn’t forgotten about our kids.  He had a plan for them that included the kind of parents he had placed them with. So, we took them with us.  In fact, we took them with us to do lots of things.  Together, we ate with homeless neighbors under the bridge and passed out groceries at a food pantry.  We conspired together to show hospitality to visitors.  They often all three shared a room so that we could offer a bed to a guest.  They would help me clean or prepare food or draw a “Welcome” sign.  They came along to workshops and watched us do the work we felt passionate about.

After many years of them being present in our projects, it has been an honor, as our kids have begun to step into projects that they are passionate about, to be able to support and help them.  When the tsunami hit Japan in 2011, our daughter was in the process of organizing a senior prom.  She was struck by the great need and uneasy contrasting that with what her friends might be spending on prom.  She wanted to do something to help,  so she decided to organize a benefit.  Gathering a dozen or so of her theater friends, she planned an evening full of entertainment, rented a church space, and invited everyone she knew.  Noah baked cookies, Isaiah played his violin, and Mark and I helped with food and behind the scenes details.  Her event was a success, raising over $700 for tsunami relief.  Even more, she was able to host an enjoyable evening for her friends that helped them also think about others with need.

Secondly, we have tried to observe our kids for hints about the work they might feel passionate about. Noah loves to explain things.  In fact, one of his earliest words was the word “actually.” As he’s grown, we’ve looked for healthy ways for him to explore his passion for knowing and telling. When he was twelve, he was asked to assist teaching five and six year olds in a nature studies class.  In high school, he worked at a science museum, explaining exhibits to the public and how various scientific demonstrations work.  One summer, he helped kids in East Oakland document where they saw God’s beauty through photography. Our hope is that as he has had the opportunity to explore different ways of explaining and teaching, he might have a better idea of the sorts of things he is made to do and even some things that he is not made to do.

[For more information about their book titled ‘Free’, click here]

[For another excellent story on how to raise your children as world changers meet Dalene Reyburn here]

scandrette

I am a big fan of Calvin and Hobbes!

…or i used to be before the creator Bill Watterson gave it all up and went into hiding… or something like that.

Like all really great cartoonists before him, such as Gary Larsen from ‘The Far Side’, Scott Adams of ‘Dilbert’ fame and ‘Pearls before Swine’ creator Stephan Pastis and off course such classic cartoonists such as Charles M Schulz who created Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the ‘Peanuts’ gang and others, Bill managed to have a complete grasp of funny while at the same time interjecting it with a serious view or commentary of life. All the greats were able to combine the two. Take you from a moment of complete laughter to ‘Wait one minute’ – Boom! Right between the eyes.

It was no huge surprise then when i stumbled across this brilliant cartoon strip that was done as a homage to Watterson using a quote taken from a graduation speech Watterson gave at his alma mater, Kenyon College, in 1990, which began with the words: ‘Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your souls is a rare achievement’

The reason the words jumped out at me is that recently our friend, Mark Scandrette, released a new book called ‘Free: Spending your Time and Money on what Matters Most’ and we are having a book launch party on the 19th September in the Lake Merritt area [which if you’re close enough to attend, you should totally come to]

This homage cartoon finishes with the line ‘To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy… but it’s still allowed… and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.’

As a follower of Jesus, the line of ‘inventing your own life’s meaning’ takes on a bit of a different context, as my pursuit in life is to follow Jesus and see His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven [a place where Love God, Love people and look after the least of these does not sound like the worst life’s meaning to have] but the line, ‘Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul’ completely resonates as I see far too many people who call themselves ‘christian’ yet are clearly not living the free and abundance-filled life that Jesus clearly calls us towards.

Take a look at the rest of the homage cartoon and read the post below to see just how Bill Watterson was able to achieve that. The one useless fact I know about him is that no Calvin and Hobbes merchandise is ever legal as he intentionally held the rights to those so that he could maintain control and care of his characters. This post takes you into a little bit deeper of the why.

Would you say that your life reflects your values and satisfies your soul right now? And if not, what are you prepared to do about it..?

calvinmean

calvinsnow

Calvinschool

calvinsnow2

do you wish to be FREE?

tbV and i are friends with a guy called Mark Scandrette, who together with his wife Lisa, just finished a book called ‘Free: Spending your Time and Money on what matters most.’

the presentation that they did for the book was so inspirational that we signed up to lead an 8 week book study which will be starting early October. the main question the book asks is whether you are spending your Money and your Time on the same things that you claim to Value most in life [which most of us probably aren’t]. then through activities and discussions it seeks to help you put some things in place and change some mindsets so that those things will line up a lot more.

i have just started reading the book and this ‘prayer of abundance’ really connected with me. The invitation is to pray this prayer daily as you are working through the book:

I know that I am cared for by an abundant Provider

I choose to be grateful and trusting,

I believe I have enough and that what I need will always be provided.

I choose to be content and generous.

I know that my choices matter for myself, for others and for future generations.

Help me to live consciously and creatively,

celebrating signs of your new creation that is present and coming.

Creator, who made me to seek the greater good of Your kingdom,

Guide me to use my time, talents and resources to pursue what matters most.

Teach me to be free,

to live without worry, fear or greed in the freedom of Your abundance.

Give me my daily bread, as I share with those in need.

Thank You for the precious gift of life.

[From ‘Free’ by Mark Scandrette]

imagine what the world could, and would, look like if we all prayed that, and meant it, every day.

[To look at the next post i did on Avoiding the Rush of Life, click here]

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