JUNE 2018

#152 Deanna's Last Day at CRF.JPG

#152 Deanna’s Last Day at CRF

01 June 2018 // San Diego, California

This weekend, Deanna finished up her last day at the Douglas Young Clinic, bringing light to darkness there for over a year.

Celebrating the change in jobs with some German eats.

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#153 Pool Fun

02 June 2018 // Bakersfield, California

Yeahhhhhh- we’re due for some summer.

Between Deanna switching jobs and spending the afternoon beating the heat with some swimming pool time, I think today marks the start of the summer feeling. At least for me. And this summer has so many trips and adventures and hopes, I don’t want to miss a minute of it.

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#154 Beth’s Retirement Party

03 June 2018 // Bakersfield, California

What a career.

We got to head up to Bakersfield for a day to celebrate my mother-in-law’s retirement. Beth has been such a big help as I’ve gone further into my professional life, from giving me the best mock interviews while applying for jobs to simply being a great example of pouring out love and hard work into serving people through your career.

Thanks for being such a good example of how to go to work every day with joy, dedication, and purpose.

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#155 Deanna at UPAC

04 June 2018 // San Diego, California

Today Deanna started her new adventure as a therapist with UPAC.

It’s been such a wild ride being with Deanna from the time she was picking grad programs for social work to now being at the final stretch towards licensure. It’s really difficult work that never really gets the gratitude it deserves. Some parts were extremely tough, but I keep seeing her get better with every new experience.

Right now, we’re really happy about this new opportunity. I admire how committed she is to using her professional skills to making sure people get the help they need, no matter where they’re coming from.

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#156 At The Polls

05 June 2018 // San Diego, California

Because I really procrastinated registering to vote this time around, I had to wait in this really long line at the voter registrar’s office for people whose registration status was “it’s complicated.”

I was there for maybe an hour, and I met so many fun people in line. I don’t know how much that speaks to turnout overall but that place was packed. And lots of younger voters too, a lot of people there for the first time.

I love the energy. The desire for things to be better and the desire to play a part in the process, no matter how small.

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#157 The Car Show

06 June 2018 // San Diego, California

Every other Wednesday, the neighborhood gets together for a car cruise of classic lowriders. It’s a lot of fun, and I didn’t know it existed until now.

If I did, then I probably could’ve avoided accidentally ending up in the show, cruisin’ in my 2014 Nissan Sentra. But life is full of surprises.

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#158 Just Mercy

07 June 2018 // San Diego, California

“There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise. You see things you can't otherwise see; you hear things you can't otherwise hear. You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.”

–Bryan Stevenson

Book No. 13 of 2018

Wow. I loved this book. I always knew I would, but I was still surprised that it resonated with me more than I expected. Bryan Stevenson has a heart and mind that every single person should take note of. The way his book emphasizes redemption and justice for everyone exemplifies what my faith is all about.

Bryan provides an intimate look at the issue of incarceration, the wrongful sentencing of innocents, the role that race and poverty play, and the lack of solutions for the wrongfully convicted. His knowledge stems from experience and he weaves in very well-told stories that deeply humanize the issues. (His wealth of knowledge was what I expected, his impactful skill as a storyteller was a surprise.)

Beyond providing knowledge, this book was motivating. It made me want to make sure justice and mercy were key pieces of my life.

I put this in the top five of important books from this decade, and it it’s one of my all-time faves.


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#159 Anniversary 6

08 June 2018 // San Diego, California

Six years ago, there were these two kids who went on their first date.

Y’know, you’re not supposed to date somebody whose been a really good friend for three years. It’ll just make everything complicated and messy. And who knows if the friendship will survive that? Why ruin a good thing?

Or you can say, screw all that, and go on to have the time of your life for the next six years and counting.

Happy dating anniversary to us, feat. Russian food and Improv.

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#160 Happy Birthday Levi

09 June 2018 // Orange, California

Happy birthday, Levi. I hope year three is your best one yet. TFTI.

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#161 Confirmation

10 June 2018 // San Diego, California

“Would you guys want to be confirmation mentors?”

“Okay, sure! Wait… what does that entail?”

For the past few months, Deanna and I had the chance to be confirmation mentors for a couple kids at our church. It meant meeting up over frozen yogurt, greek food, or burritos over the past few months and talking about the topics discussed during confirmation classes, their confirmation retreats, or Star Wars… let’s be real, 80% of my conversations were about Star Wars.

The confirmation director said that was cool, though, so on Sunday, Alex, Jordan, and the rest of their cohort were officially confirmed and welcomed.

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#162 A Corner of Home

11 June 2018 // San Diego, California

Keep aiming for a life of full-fledged empathy. Understand that it’s an ideal we’ll never get to fully embody, but that it’s so important to keep trying and to keep reminding ourselves that we’re meant to be here for each other. Take sips of both grace and ambition, and keep showing up.

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#163 Bel Canto

12 June 2018 // San Diego, California

“If what a person wants is his life, he tends to be quiet about wanting anything else. Once the life begins to seem secure, one feels the freedom to complain.” .

–Ann Patchett

Book No. 14 of 2018

I’ve been such an admirer of Ann Patchett’s writing ever since I bought State of Wonder on a whim years ago. Bel Canto is probably her most known book, at least as far as fiction goes, and gets a lot of praise. I couldn’t wait.

Overall, I liked the idea and the poetic way the story unfolded– a birthday party for a CEO of a Japanese mega-corps thrown in the home of a South American Vice President goes wrong when rebels invade and hold a bunch of the dignitaries hostage. There were some great ideas, but there were other parts that were a little bit too drawn out for me. (I guess that matches the feeling of a drawn-out hostage crisis.) I think I was more partial to State of Wonder, but Ann Patchett is still one of the best literary storytellers out there.


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#164 Writer’s Day

13 June 2018 // San Diego, California

My work flow includes writing three blog posts a week, seven emails a month, a weekly newsletter, and so on.

That’s a lot of writing, and in order to make sure it comes out well, I need to get in “the zone.” I’m a much more effective writer when I can just sit down with a cup full of focus. I can knock out several weeks' worth of writing or so all at once that way.

Batch working is the best.

When it’s this warm, I love getting to do that work outside, and for that reason I love Better Buzz’s front porch. And their Best Drink Ever. Iced. Such a good writing companion.

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#165 Cliff Lines

14 June 2018 // San Diego, California

At a glance, my pursuits are all over the place.

I don’t really like to compartmentalize. But- it would be nice to quickly communicate what I’m all about with a smaller word count.

Lately, I’ve been working to clarify what it is that ties it all together. Here’s what became clear:

I’m a big believer in something MLK said... that the most urgent question in life is what we are doing for others. I want to help people answer that question.

My travels and storytelling follow a desire to help people connect and empathize across cultures and distance. Applying that to the world of nonprofits and social justice helps empower those who help.

Every time I’ve seen someone go all out in answering that question, it leads to purpose and connection- and that’s something we all need.

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#166 Won’t You Be My Neighbor

15 June 2018 // San Diego, California

“I think you’re special just the way you are and I like you very much.”

Morgan Neville’s Mister Rogers documentary was fantastic- and such a timely reminder that standing up against all the scary things of the world can look like being the living image of gentleness.

Fred Rogers had a simple but big belief that was at the heart of everything he did- everybody has value regardless of what they have or haven’t done. If one person acting on that belief can impact so many lives, imagine what could happen if we all did.

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#167 Elote

16 June 2018 // Del Mar, California

Enjoying a weekend at home before we return to the PNW for the first time since moving. If happy wife equals happy life, then elote also equals happy life.

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#168 Neighborhood Days

17 June 2018 // San Diego, California

Whenever I’m stuck in a long line, I’m pretty good at daydreaming and outlining things in my head and running thought experiments to keep myself entertained. I don’t get upset at slow service at restaurants because I think food should be enjoyed slowly. I don’t express anger often. All that made me think that patience was a strength of mine.

I’m learning that patience is so much more than that. And I have a lot to learn about patience.

Patience also means being able to sit through a season of life that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. It means being able to endure the time it takes to resolve uncertainty. It means being able to keep working towards progress, even if change happens so, so slowly.

In that regard, I’m not particularly patient. But I’m getting there.

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#169 Factfulness

18 June 2018 // San Diego, California

“The next generation is like the last runner in a very long relay race. The race to end extreme poverty has been a marathon, with the starter gun fired in 1800. This next generation has the unique opportunity to complete the job: to pick up the baton, cross the line, and raise its hands in triumph. The project must be completed. And we should have a big party when we are done.”

–Hans Rosling

Book No. 15 of 2018

In the last 20 years, the portion of the world population in extreme poverty has halved. Most of the world now lives in middle-income countries.

This is just one of numerous pieces of data that indicate the world is improving, extreme poverty doesn’t always need to exist, and that progress is possible anywhere. Hans Rosling does an excellent job pointing out that we are severely conditioned towards seeing the world as a scary place where everything is getting worse, and even “experts” are prone to thinking this way when our best indicators suggest otherwise. By ignoring these trends, however, we’re adopting a very skewed view of the world.

This book was the best storytelling I have ever seen with data and statistics, and Rosling presents them all in such good humor, that it didn’t even feel a little bit dry. I appreciated how effectively he dismisses the idea of thinking of the world as developed vs. underdeveloped, and instead presents a spectrum of development.


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#170 Open Door

19 June 2018 // San Diego, California

“Never be afraid to show up for someone else.”

–DeBraun Thomas

Happy World Refugee Day. Open doors are a great way to spread Love to the hurting.

An open door can look like activism, phone calls, and letter writing to make sure our policies stay compassionate. An open door can look like grassroots efforts to help new neighbors find jobs and get settled. An open door can look like fundraising to help somebody make the journey out of North Korea… Syria… Somalia. An open door can also look like a literal open door, with some soup and sandwiches on the other side.

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#171 Mitch’s Harbor

20 June 2018 // San Diego, California

I had a lunch meeting, but since I’m the most painfully slow eater, by the time my meeting ended, I still had half of an octopus tostada left.

I was sitting by the harbor and it was nice out, so like, no complaints. I was ready to enjoy the rest of that tostada on my own. Then the waitress going on her lunch break decided to share the table and I wound up getting to learn about her time living on the Barona Indian Reservation and the challenges of working as a surgical nurse.

That was time I would’ve otherwise spent just scrolling on my phone or getting mad at Twitter or something. Instead I had a good chat. I wish this was more of the norm in our world. Where our default behavior wasn’t just to retreat back into the keep-walking-straight-ahead routines of our day, but where we took more time to notice the places and people around us.

And with more octopus tostada too.

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#172 Canada Badge

21 June 2018 // San Diego, California

The excitement is real. I can’t wait for this time next week and being in Canada!

Even though I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest, all my Canadian experiences have been out East. I’m looking forward to seeing Vancouver for the first time.

Any suggestions? You know I’m always down for unfamiliar foods, good breweries, great hikes and outdoor activities, and such. I’m also also a big fan of meeting new people- so if you’ve got some friends in Vancouver you think I should share one of those local microbrews with, let me know!

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#173 Parts Known

22 June 2018 // San Diego, California

Last night, I was watching a few Parts Unknown episodes, because that’s just a good way to get yourself pumped to travel again. I think peak Bourdain is when he’s at a place you’ve been yourself, so I hopped around to those episodes. Buenos Aires, Manila, then South Africa.

Smack in the middle of his time in Johannesburg, I had to hit pause on some b-roll.

I would know that school uniform from anywhere!

St. Ende’s!

The rest of that episode made me happier than I had words to explain. I felt so fortunate to have South Africa as part of my story. To have had the chance to eat at the markets and to learn about the changes that have taken place in my lifetime by chatting on rooftops with guys my age. I felt so privileged to have had the opportunity to go to church, clubs, malls, and movies with people, being invited into their world.

The best storytelling is the kind that leaves you thankful to be alive.

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#174 GCF Reunion

23 June 2018 // Bothell, Washington

When we first moved to Eugene, finding community didn’t happen right away. It was surprisingly difficult. Then we met these people and that changed everything.

When Deanna and I left, so did most of the rest of us. To Denver and Minnesota and North Carolina and Boston and beyond.

But reunions and weddings and returns to the PNW are great and it was so good to see everybody again.

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#175 Seattle Pride

24 June 2018 // Seattle, Washington

Our visit to Seattle put us right in the parade route for PRIDE.

Not only that, but we had the perfect guides to meet us for the occasion. Deanna’s old coworkers and classmates met up with us along the route for some snacking and spectating.

We learned a lot from an insider’s take on Seattle‘s edge, the massive presence of Amazon, and all the populations you’ll find in town.

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#176 Gastown

25 June 2018 // Vancouver, British Columbia

And my earliest impression of Vancouver turned out to be this: that it was one hip city with a whole lot to do. There’s absolutely no way we’d make it through a three day stay without racking up a large list of things for a return trip.

All this was perfectly reflected by trying to find somewhere in Gastown to eat for the evening. The trendy, steampunky neighborhood by the waterfront was home to a bunch of good eateries and shops.

Oh and Gastown is now one of my favorite neighborhood names, alongside KC’s Power and Light District.

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#177 Capilano

26 June 2018 // San Diego, California

I got to spend my day in this wonderland of trees. BC is beautiful.

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#178 3rd Anniversary

27 June 2018 // Vancouver, British Columbia

Our third anniversary was a really sweet one, trying to make the most of our time in Vancouver while celebrating.

We had a look around Granville Island, went for a bike ride around Stanley Park, and got ourselves a dinner at the Nightingale.

Deanna, thanks for being the best adventure partner I could ask for.

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#179 Go By Train

28 June 2018 // Portland, Oregon

Being in Portland comes with such a strong and vivid feeling that always makes me feel alive and at ease.

A little sad that I only come here now as a visitor but also really happy that I get to come visit, y’know?

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#180 Trillium Lake

29 June 2018 // Government Camp, Oregon

A deep sense of respect for nature. Understanding our connection to the Earth’s natural systems and processes and wanting to be in proximity to that. A deep desire to cut out waste, unnecessary consumption, or dependency on technology. These are things living in Oregon taught me.

It makes sense that my next stop afterwards is a mission to help others understand and value these same things, as I see how much the environment affects the vulnerable around the world. I don’t get to come out to scenes like these quite as easily, but they really are the best teachers.

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#181 Return to Eugene

30 June 2018 // Eugene, Oregon

And just like that we found ourselves back in Eugene.

Philippe Lazaro365