MAY 2019

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#121 A Map of Salt & Stars

01 May 2019 // San Diego, California

The most important places on a map are the places we haven't been yet.

Can we just talk about how much I loved this novel? I think I can easily mark it as my favorite read so far this year. It was one of the most creative ways I’ve seen someone tell the story of Syria’s heartbreak in a way that still captures its beauty, traditions, and strength.

The book switches tracks between two stories. A young girl who moved back to Syria from New York after her dad died, and the hero of a story he used to tell her. In that story, a girl disguised herself to accompany a mapmaker on a journey from the Middle East across Northern Africa.

Of all the nuggets of beauty in these pages, here’s one I’m especially fond of: “Safety is not about never having bad things happen to you. It's about knowing that the bad things can't separate us from each other.”

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#122 Colombiana

02 May 2019 // San Diego, California

Announcement: there is way too much sugar in this drink! That’s not what I’m actually going to announce, but it’s true. I very rarely drink soda but I bought this one for the rad can design and to help me make my real announcement.

Real Announcement: In a couple weeks, I get to embark on my next international adventure. To Colombia!

Colombia’s been on my list for a long time! And those Insta-worthy shots of Cartagena make it look even more enticing, though that’s not where I’ll be. I’ll mostly be on the outskirts of Bogota.

I won’t be there very long, either. But I will be learning about how today’s coffee and cacao growers are using restorative farming to heal the wounds caused by yesterday’s wars. I’ll be meeting soldiers-turned-farmers and I can’t wait to hear their stories.

I’m already excited and I’m planning on capturing as many stories as possible during the short time I’m there.

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#123 Mölkky

03 May 2019 // San Diego, California

I think this game was invented in Finland originally using discarded ale bottles as a way to cope with long winters. It translates nicely at a park on a sunny day.

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#124 Cross Street Bandit

04 May 2019 // San Diego, California

Bandit is such a personality in those shades.

So my birthday just started but I’ve kind of been celebrating for a week straight thanks to a steady stream of visitors. Here’s an odd confession: I love my birthday and hate planning it.

Deep down I’m a people person and I love having the excuse to round up people and to do something fun.

But also, it feels weird to ask people to celebrate myself. And I tend to do a lot of activity planning in my daily life. And I’m at a point in life where it takes moving heaven and earth to get three people’s schedules to line up.

So the best treat for me is getting to celebrate but being totally hands off and in the dark about what’s going to happen.

Deanna has been doing a phenomenal job of pulling together a bunch of great people and planning fun stuff. And I don’t even know what she has thought up for today! She’s amazing at helping me feel appreciated.

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#125 Twentynine

05 May 2019 // Escondido, California

All I really wanted was to be around people I loved. And I got my wish. For like a whole week straight.

Really feeling the love that’s made it a beautiful 29 years. Hope to keep dishing it back out with however many I might have left.

A HUGE thanks to everyone who carved out some time to hang this weekend, out of towners especially. And to Deanna for knowing how to make a guy feel loved.

I hope each trip around the sun does for you what it does for me: reminds you that the days you get here are valuable, that every moment has its place, and that people always matter.

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#126 Beating Guns

06 May 2019 // San Diego, California

A solid case for rethinking guns. I didn’t really need to be persuaded, though. Loved the gorgeous design of the pages.

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#127 International Directors Panel

07 May 2019 // Rancho Santa Fe, California

This evening was a lot of fun.

All week, our international partners at Plant With Purpose have been in town for a strategy summit. I don’t only get to be coworkers with the people I share an office with, but also these partners representing seven countries.

I’ve gotten to visit about half of them in their countries, seeing them at work. I never fail to learn a ton from them.

The Village Church hosted a panel event to give people a chance to ask questions and to hear from the directors themselves.

I also got the treat of moderating/emceeing the event, which was interesting given the varying degrees of translation taking place. But it was fun and this week continues to be wonderfully full.

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#128 Codenames With Durbel

08 May 2019 // San Diego, California

Fun game: Codenames

Even more fun game: Trying to explain and then play Codenames in three languages

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#129 The Power of Proximity

09 May 2019 // San Diego, California

Awareness isn’t enough, you’ve got to move closer to suffering and share it. So thankful for Michelle Warren’s reminders.

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#130 Strategic Summit

10 May 2019 // Ramona, California

Had the rare opportunity to get all of Plant With Purpose’s international directors, USA staff, and board members together all in one spot. I love the Plant With Purpose family.

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#131 To Shake The Sleeping Self

11 May 2019 // San Diego, California

Fun read, but mostly made me really miss being in Argentina.

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#132 Stuck in Miami

12 May 2019 // Miami, Florida

I’m supposed to be in Bogota right now (actually 48 hours ago) but as you can see, this isn’t it.

It’s been an extremely messed up travel day and I’m not really inclined to believe anything  American Airlines announces at this point. We’ve been given a dozen different reasons for not being able to get a plane over the Gulf and at least half were easily avoidable.

It’s a good thing I enjoy being abroad as much as I do. Transit is the price to pay for travel.

Frustrated to have my time in Colombia cut in half, especially after getting so much good stuff arranged there prior, but sometimes you gotta compartmentalize so what’s left of an ordeal can still be a worthwhile experience.

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#133 Salto de Tequendama

13 May 2019 // San Antonio de Tequendama, Colombia

To put it simply, Colombia is beautiful.

I had a feeling it would be a pretty country, but I underestimated just how breathtaking these mountainscapes would be in every direction. You don’t hear often enough about it’s beauty.

The Colombia of movies is a caricature of drug lords and crime, and while those play a part in some of its recent history, it’s such a one dimensional representation.

We miss out when we treat places that way. The sensationalism robs us of the better stories. The ones that make places far away feel closer to our hearts and relevant to our everyday lives.

That’s what brings me here. This week, I have the rare and special opportunity to get to know the deeper, richer story of Colombia. I can’t wait to share bits of what I find.

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#134 Entrevistas

14 May 2019 // Viotá, Colombia

“It’s going to take them a long time to forgive us for everything we have done.”

Reconciliation is an extremely difficult, beautifully redemptive, and tragically complex process. How do you sit and listen to the stories of somebody whose family you killed? How do you learn to understand what drove a sixteen year old down a dark path?

I’ve always been drawn to stories of reconciliation and healing in areas that experienced extreme conflict. Rwanda. Cambodia. South Africa. Most of it feels above my understanding, but it reminds me of an extremely important truth- that it’s possible.

When Milmer invited me to Colombia, the main draw was the chance to meet with from former FARC combatants, to hear their gut wrenching stories, and to learn about their process of healing and restoration, and the role that environmental renewal had to play.

Nothing about this is easy. Hearing their stories was difficult. Figuring out how to relay them in a sensitive, empathetic, dignified way will also be a challenge. But it’s important.

It isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Today’s horrors don’t need to be tomorrow’s realities.

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#135 Jesús

15 May 2019 // Viotá, Colombia

Jesús was caught by a guerilla group and forced to fight with them when he was just sixteen.

He spent two years trying to earn their trust, following orders, and paying close attention to everything so he could make his escape.

He finally got his chance.

He has now returned to his home community, where he runs a coffee plantation. A healthy environment will be key to their ability to rebuild their lives.

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#136 Homecoming Kisses

16 May 2019 // San Diego, California

Here’s the moment when you know you’re back home.

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#137 Jesse & Raquel in San Diego

17 May 2019 // San Diego, California

I love playing host when out of town friends visit SD. It was pretty great having Jesse and Raquel over this weekend.

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#138 We’re Having a Baby

18 May 2019 // San Diego, California

We’re so happy.

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#139 there there

19 May 2019 // San Diego, California

Believe ALL the hype surrounding this book. The ending was brutal but man, what a good reae.

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#140 dragonfruit smoothie

20 May 2019 // San Diego, California

This was a really specific craving, but hey. I’m thankful I was able to track it down.

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#141 office back room

21 May 2019 // San Diego, California

Spent so much time sequestered in this back room working on projects. Can’t wait for the results soon.

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#142 birthday loot from daniel

22 May 2019 // San Diego, California

Thanks for all the birthday loot, Daniel. Can’t wait for our trip to Vegas/Denny’s.

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#143 library shadows

23 May 2019 // San Diego, California

Today all the books I’ve requested became available. Like, all of them. Even the stuff I was like, 200th in life for. Took me a few trips to the car.

Hello, long weekend!

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#144 afternoon walkway

24 May 2019 // San Diego, California

The timing of the long weekend this weekend probably couldn’t be better.

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#145 Mom’s Birthday Brunch

25 May 2019 // San Diego, California

Happy birthday to mom, and happy discovery of Great Maple’s new location to all of us.

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#146 Babú

26 May 2019 // San Diego, California

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#147 Marlborough Corner

27 May 2019 // San Diego, California

Things never get too quiet on this corner.

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#148 If Cats Disappeared from the World

28 May 2019 // San Diego, California

This was a clever book. A lonely dying man gets to bargain for bonus days to be added to his life for making things disappear from the world. That’s about all you need to know.

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#149 Cali Burrito Sticker

29 May 2019 // San Diego, California

This water bottle is the unsung hero of my work week.

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#150 Gingerbread

30 May 2019 // San Diego, California

I love Helen Oyeyemi’s writing style. Unfortunately I kept finding myself getting lost in this book, losing track of characters, and having to go back and get things straight. The concept and the plot of the novel are really intriguing, and maybe I just read it a little too brain fried after work or before bed, but I wish I could track it better.

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#151 Library Roof

31 May 2019 // San Diego, California

Today’s CreativeMornings meeting was an especially fun one. Great people to run into. Super relatable speaker. Oh, and burritos. Strong start to a Friday.

Philippe Lazaro