Monday, January 10, 2022

HBD Emily

There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Ember 2022

Hello, it's been a long time and if you are still reading this, we are grateful for your attention, thanks for still checking this out. Here's a few updates. 

Ember is probably doing a slow restart. Of course, after the last few years, nothing is the same. So we are keeping in mind a few pivots to the way we operate. 

The first pivot is a preference to college age students over high school students. This is life stage stuff - I am getting older. The second pivot is less exclusivity when it comes to faith for people that serve with us. We used to think that everyone that was involved with Ember needed some kind of spiritual baseline. Our faith still informs why we do what we do and our experiences will still have guidelines, but we won't require the same kind of statement of faith. 

Part of this restart is also rebuilding the board of directors. A board of directors for a volunteer organization is a unique thing so let's see how version 2 goes. 

Our first project for 2022 is taking a small team to a European leadership summit in the Spring. Like with all things involving teams, travel and gatherings, we are holding this with an open hand and making sure to book refundable reservations. 

I am indebted to Matt Maloy for his time of service on Ember's board of directors. Matt has recently stepped down and he was there even before the beginning when he helped with the leadership team of SPACE, which was a precursor to The Ember Cast. The Maloys have been /are/will be great family friends as well and Matt's influence on the board is incalculable. 

At every board meeting, Matt would ask me, "How are you feeling?" It was Matt's signal that he was my advocate, he was for me, he was on my side and wanted to make sure my soul was in a good place. Every leader needs someone like that. Thank you Matt for your service to the future. 

I have not written about this here but in October of 2020, I took a job with Amazon Web Services. Even though my kids give me grief about Jeff Bezos almost every day, he has built a pretty incredible company. It's not perfect, but as a database technologist, I have loved every single day there. 

I recently joined two nonprofit boards. The first is Communitas International, who we have done work with on and off since 2007. I've always loved their pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit and in the worlds of nonprofits, community development and church planting, this is a breath of fresh air and resonates with my gifting and interests. 

I also am contributing on the organization structure side of things with The Salaam Center, a refugee resource center in the Highlandtown neighborhood of Baltimore. Ember had done some work with the Center in 2018 and 2019 and it is one of the most interesting things going on around here. The board work here is up and coming and Reda and his family are very dear to us. 

Our family is doing well overall. Deanna has been working a part time remote reading tutor job that has been great for her overall. The job has her involved with Baltimore City students and she has felt like her job has made an impact with elementary students in the city just down the street from us. Katie is going to graduate school at University of Southern California. Emily is in her second year at Biola. Both the girls are sharing an apartment in an LA suburb. 

Thanks for reading. If you read this whole thing, I owe you coffee. Hit me up.

Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 in cities

01 - Harpers Ferry, WV, USA
02 - Jackson, TN, USA
03 - Austin, TX, USA
04 - Cambridge, MD, USA
05 - Fort Payne, AL, USA
06 - New Orleans, LA, USA
07 - Horseshoe Bay, TX, USA
08 - Fairfield, CT, USA
09 - Lake Anna, VA, USA
10 - Los Angeles, CA, USA
11 - La Mirada, CA, USA
12 - McLean, VA, USA
13 - Las Cruces, NM, USA
14 - Blythe, CA, USA
15 - Hacienda Heights, CA, USA
16 - Newport Beach. CA. USA
17 - Carlsbad, CA, USA
18 - Redondo Beach, CA, USA
19 - Washington, DC, USA
20 - Hollywood, FL, USA
21 - Providenciales, Turks Caicos
22 - Emporia, VA, USA
23 - Tybee Island, GA, USA

[2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 in cities]

Thursday, December 23, 2021

HBD Katie

“Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.” — Lady Bird Johnson

Friday, December 03, 2021

Friday Burn

::: Why Fifty Percent of Messengers Voice Traffic Comes from Cambodia 

::: The Post Pandemic Church 

 ::: Each section of this map contains 10% of the world's population.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Friday Burn

::: All the Health Risks for Global Traveler James Bond

::: A Bitcoin Microeconomy to Help the Poor

::: South Korea a cultural superpower

Photo: Iguana Island, Turks and Caicos, October 2021.

Opportunity: if you are interested in serving at a Christmas party for refugees, get in touch.

Friday, October 08, 2021

Friday Burn

::: A Fewer Good Men
Neither the sex lives of young American men nor their relative rate of college attendance is that striking by itself. Except to the men involved. What should trouble all of us is what these statistics portend.

::: The 2021 Most Powerful Passport Ranking
Look down the list if you are from the USA.

::: An Interview with Robert Dunbar, of Dunbar's Number

Photo: White Sands, NM. August 2021.

Friday, October 01, 2021

Friday Burn

::: Global Trends 2040


::: Instagram and the Well Being of Teenagers


::: 10 Spiritual Traits of the Pacific Northwest that Made Mars Hill Possible


Photo: Joshua Tree NP, August 2021.

And a quick Ember update... exploring a slow relaunch. Reach out if you want to explore working on something together.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

HBD Emily

Dear Emily, Well, welcome to your 20s! And of course, it seems like 2021 should be interesting just like 2020 was. I certainly don't have to tell you that we are all living in unprecedented times. 

My challenge for you this year is to push. Specifically, I implore you to push your faith and your worldview. You might push them together. You might push them apart. Push them to edges or push them to centers. Push them, together or separate, into a box or out of a box. The only thing I suggest you not do is push them out of either your mind or your heart. As a young person today, your mind and your experience is still fresh. You aren't old and tainted, bitter or skeptical. And because of that, it's a great time to explore these in depth. Of course, lots of people have told you this - college is a great time to learn and experience new things. Hopefully, Mommy and I have instilled that all of life is a great time to learn. 

But the combination of these two things - your faith and your worldview - and our current cultural moment - race, class, the pandemic, the state of institutions like our government, our churches, our country - seems like a great time to be thoughtful about what you believe and how you see the world. Dig deep and push them around. I'm pretty sure you'll be pleasantly surprised. We will be too because the world needs you. 

Love DAD

Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 in cities

01 - Ocean City, MD, USA
02 - Shamokin, PA, USA
03 - Quito, Ecuador, SA
04 - Bogota, Colombia, SA
05 - Pine Grove, PA, USA
06 - Pine Knoll Shores, NC, USA
07 - Washington, DC, USA
08 - Cambridge, MD, USA
09 - Tybee Island, GA, USA
10 - Hilton Head Island, NC, USA
11 - Cumberland, MD, USA
12 - Fairfield, CT, USA

Standing goal - get outside the US at least once a year but just made it to South America in early 2020. Here's hoping 2021 allows everyone to get on the move a little more.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2020 in Books

1 - Leading a Church in a Time of Sexual Questioning, Bruce Miller via Greg St Cyr
2 - New Power, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans via Brian Sanders
3 - Rediscipling the White Church, David Swanson ^^
4 - The Ghost Map, Steven Johnson
5 - Canoeing the Mountains, Tod Bolsinger ^^
6 - Rings of Fire, Len Sweet **
7 - Chocolate City, Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove via Mark Batterson ^^
8 - Born a Crime, Trevor Noah ^^
9 - Positive Irritating, Jon Ritner **
10 - The Psychology of Mone, Morgan Housel **
11 - Immeasurable: Reflections on the Soul of Ministry in the Age of Church, Inc., Skye Jethani via Dustin Youngstrom ^^ 
12 - The Biggest Bluff, Maria Konnikova
13 - How to Future, Scott Smith ^^
14 - Beautiful Resistance, Jon Tyson
15 - The Adventurers Son, Roman Dial
16 - The Moth Presents All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown, Catherine Burns

** - Best reads of the year
## - Need to get back to because it is good
^^ - Didn't finish but might.

This was a terrible year for reading, I blame Instagram. 
On my shelf for 2021:
The Practice, Seth Godin
Better Decisions, Andy Stanley
Epic, John Eldredge
Win the Day, Mark Batterson

Wednesday, December 23, 2020


Well KT, 2020. But seriously. Happy birthday in one of the strangest, challenging times of our age.

2020 certainly makes it easy to be a pessimist. In many senses, you have inherited your parents skepticism. As someone told me a few years ago, "You are not easily impressed." On the surface, it looks like cynicism. And 2020 well, yeah of course. 

The difference though, is hope on the horizon. As bad as it gets, you can figure it out. You can muddle through it. Do the best you can, because how bad can it get?

The other side of the coin from pessimism is optimism. Things don't get better unless someone calls it out to fix the wrong. Someone must close the gap between what is and what could be. Optimists envision the art of the possible and work tirelessly towards a new future.  True skeptics are satisfied with articulating the negative from their seat in the stands. There are cynics, though, that are closet optimists and they get their skin in the game. They cannot and will not be satisfied from the stands.

So.... get in the game.

Proud of you - love you


Monday, June 29, 2020

Resource - Naming It: Helping Parents Talk About Racism

If you or someone you know needs a bit of help with talking to your own kids or kids that you have influence, Ember alumn Wendy Usher created a resource called Naming It, which gives lots of practical steps that might help you talk to kids about systemic racism. It's got basic definitions, family conversation starters, general tips, ways to act, and other resources in the forms of books and films. Wendy is a licensed social worker, has lots of experience with marginalized communities including being a foster mom and running a kids development grassroots effort. Love that she has made this available for no cost. Reach out if you think this would be helpful for you. 

Update - here is the link.