Posada Sin Fronteras, Imperfect Produce, & Building an Audience

RECEIVING V. MANAGING

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I was reading something by Richard Rohr about the difference between receiving and managing life. Receivers take it as a gift, holding things loosely and being grateful. Managers try to map it all out and to make sure life goes according to plan.

The idea challenged me a little. I think living intentionally is a good thing and that being strategic is a strength. It took me a little while to realize that these strengths have similar looking weaknesses. Once you start worrying endlessly over things out of your control, life no longer seems like much of a gift. Worry can dull your sense of wonder and gratitude.

That’s something I’ve struggled with a bit lately. Whenever my plans don’t work out, I tend to think of the day, maybe even the week or month, as a total loss. But that just isn’t true. Even in times where things didn’t go as planned, I’ve met incredible people. I’ve collected new experiences, discovered new favorite music.

I still think plans and strategy and goals are all good things. But when they don’t work out, try not to let that make you miss out on all the other good things that come your way.

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BUILDING AN AUDIENCE

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My life’s to do list: Help people. Make it fun. Invite others.

That last part is pretty important. I’m working on a training for my team right now on building an audience. I’m no expert, but I have learned a lot over the past year through practice.

If you want to help people, make art, or create change, you can’t do that all by yourself. Rallying people is a valuable necessity.

I’m convinced that the idea of “if you build it they will come,” has flipped. In the past decade it’s morphed into “if they come, you can build it.” Gathering an audience has led to new books, launched nonprofits, put out records, and so much more.

Building an audience isn’t easy. It takes patience and persistence. You also have to let go of the fear of the crowd.

Popularity contests are unhealthy and destructive, but audience building doesn’t have to be that. At its heart, it’s about consistency, community, and generosity- those are all good things. It isn’t an easy process, though. It takes patience and persistence. But one of the first steps is to lose the fear of going for it and to embrace the fact that you’re trying to bring people together.

I’m still writing the rest of this training, but here’s step one: let go of the fear and embrace the process.

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THOMAS A KEMPIS

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Making it known that I’m in agreement with Thomas à Kempis over here when he said the full version of this wisdom nugget:

“...it is vanity to wish for a long life and to care little about a well-lived life.

It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and not to make provision for things to come.

It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides.

VANITY IS WACK!

Try, moreover, to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring yourself to things invisible- not losing sight of the grace of God.”

I may have added that “vanity is wack” line, but nonetheless, keep going for that well-lived life and invest in those unseen things that last.

POSADA SIN FRONTERAS

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The Posada is an advent reflection on the journey that Mary and Joseph made to Bethlehem, and the rejection they received from innkeepers and homeowners. For 25 years, different faith communities have gathered at the U.S.-Mexico border to worship from both sides.

Worshipping across a border is a reminder that our identity as people of God is much bigger than our national identity. It’s also a visual reminder that many people today are in a similar position to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph– forced to flee their homes to find safety and security. It’s a reminder of the duty of Christians to care for immigrants as if they were our own family.

I got to join a number of clergy members and worshippers at Friendship Park. A larger group gathered on the Mexico side. We sung, worshipped, and exchanged blessings in English and Spanish. We stopped to listen to the names of migrants killed during their journey this year being read.

We also performed the Posada song- a call-and-response song where one part sings the lines of Joseph seeking for shelter, and another sings the part of the innkeeper. The gathering in Mexico did the former, while the U.S.’ side responded as the innkeeper. Singing lines like “I cannot open, you may be bad people” while facing south was bitter, and a reminder that when we deny the most vulnerable, we are denying Christ.

The day ended on a lighter note- bubbles being blown across the border. (Usually there would be candy and tamales passed across, but they were a little stricter this year.) I’m so thankful I got to be part of this ceremony, hopefully for the first of many times.

Check out the new stories in my highlight for some video clips and other replays.

IMPERFECT PRODUCE

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This food isn’t imperfect! It’s very name says- I’m Perfect!

One of the best decisions we made recently was signing up for @imperfectproduce 


I hate seeing food go to waste. I do everything I can to keep the food at home that doesn’t get used to a bare minimum. I get excited about being able to also reduce the food waste of supermarkets.

A box like this is less than $20, and lasts two weeks, so it can totally replace the cost of buying veggies that the market. Also you can select what fruits or veggies you want which is cool- until now I’d been thinking it was like playing Chopped through the mail. (Side note, there’s totally gotta be a market for that. @ me if you want in on this startup side hustle.)

Just off a couple deliveries, we’ve been able to make a roast, some gumbo, curried cauliflower, mashed potatoes- and we’ve been feasting on pears and pomegranates for dessert. I’m a fan.

ROBERT FROST

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“Before I’d built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out.
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.”

—Robert Frost

THE NEWSLETTER

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There’s a couple of things I like putting together at the end of the year:

2️⃣ is picking my word for the year. Most people I know that do this do it at the beginning of the year- but I prefer to do mine looking back. Seeing what I’ll be taking from this year into the next.

1️⃣ is a list of all my favorite books, movies, albums, and podcasts of the year. I love seeing other people’s lists of these things and usually discover some of my new favorites thanks to these lists. I’m a lover of well told stories and don’t want to stop discovering new ones.

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I’ve been slowly growing and building a newsletter to share the things I make and the things I love with people. I’ll be sending an email out this week with those two things in it. If you haven’t subscribed yet, check out this link: philippelazaro.com/join

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Philippe Lazaro