Water (and a baby) changes everything

December 21, 2014

DSC_0969Joy & I have been absolutely overwhelmed the last few days with the incredible gift we have received of Everett Jeanette. I could rattle on and on here about our ever-growing love for this chubby little cherub. Who knew your world could look so dramatically different in such a short period of time?!DSC_1027

When we left the hospital, it was in a car equipped with all the latest safety features and a brand new car seat with straps and harnesses galore. I’m fairly certain the first trip to the moon had fewer safety protocols than our car seat does. We were leaving a hospital with floor upon floor of amazing technology that helps tackle so many of the problems and challenges that babies (and mommas) face. We arrived home at a house with a new kitchen, a first floor laundry, and a bajillion little things to help make Everett safe, healthy and comfortable. I mean, we have a wet-wipe warmer for crying out loud. Sheesh!

DSC_0970Yesterday we found ourselves talking about the miracle of baby Jesus. No…not about being born of a virgin or being 100% man and simultaneously 100% God or any of the other theologically significant miracles. We talked about the miracle that he was born at all. In a time with such limited medical knowledge, in an environment inherently unclean (in a stable, laid in a manger!), baby Jesus survived the odds (including a trans-country migration in his toddler-hood) to even make it out of childhood.

All this to say that we feel overwhelmed by the safety systems in place around our precious Everett Jeanette.

But 783 million people don’t have access to clean water (over twice the population of the US!) and almost 2.5 billion don’t have access to adequate sanitation. CLEAN WATER! It’s a staple to a healthy environment. Mom’s health requires clean water. Baby’s health does. The health of the community. Cleaning, cooking, drinking, disease and it goes on and on…they all circulate around clean water.

DSC_0995With all this in mind, we felt like we had to do something. So we enlisted the help of one of my favorite non-profits, charity: water. Charity: water is an inspiring organization founded by Scott Harrison that helps bring clean water to people all over the world. Originally a night-club promoter in New York City, Scott got to a point where he wondered what he was doing with his life and traveled the world on a Mercy Ship as a photographer for a year. When he got back, he knew he had to take action and he started charity: water, a non-profit that has revolutionized the non-profit sector with their emphasis on communication and accountability.

A part of the beauty of the charity: water model is that 100% of what we donate goes toward actually building a well in a community that needs it. 0% goes to overhead. That’s what we call return on investment! In about a year, we’ll get an email that will show us pictures of the well that we helped build and the GPS coordinates of that well. That’s what we call accountability!


Time to go home dance!

So would you join us in celebrating the birth of our beautiful daughter, Everett Jeanette, by helping others have a bit safer environment to have a son or daughter of their own? Here’s how it will work:

Click here to join us in giving.

We’d love to have everyone participate, so small gifts are great. If you don’t know how much, Everett was born on December 18th, so just give a dollar for every day she’s been alive on whatever day you donate (of course you’re welcome to give more if you like :).

And it’s that easy. Thanks for helping us help a few others. And we look forward to sharing with Everett the generosity of her community in the years ahead that helped mark her wonderful birth.

By the way, click on any picture to see a crazy huge version of it. And Merry Christmas!


Clean water, coffee, and casting convenience aside.

December 3, 2012

This morning I sat with 3 eighth grade guys, hearing their dream about holding a Water Walk, opening up the eyes of their peers and their community to the difficult condition that others live in on a daily basis. Having personally experienced the difficulty of getting clean water in the villages of Mozambique several years back, this is an issue that cuts straight to my heart.

But alongside the obvious importance of the issue was the earnestness of this incredible group of middle schoolers. They had done thorough research and prepared a presentation better than what most university students would put together. They presented with passion and purpose and I couldn’t help but say yes! to getting involved.

I don’t have time to do this. I’m getting married in 25 days. I’m launching a start-up that, yes, does these sorts of things, but I already have 2 projects in motion and am running dawn to dusk figuring out organizational structure, communication strategy, administrative design, funding, and a passel of other things.

But that doesn’t matter. These students’ have an idea that does matter. They have potential and the the ability to act on that potential and I refuse to be the one that holds them back, that limits their possibility.

And I’m reminded in this moment of the importance of what I’m about. It’s not about a job, a salary, a to-do list. It’s about dreams and hopes, about healing and restoration. It’s about not waiting until tomorrow what can and should be done today.

Will you join me in this? I still have spots open over the next two weeks to sit down over a cup of coffee, learn more, and join a growing movement that will change the world. Click here to find your spot.

TomTod drinks coffee. And so can you!

November 26, 2012

What do 750 strips of duct tape (and counting), Google+, an Assistant Superintendent, a stand-up comedian, and a downtown Canton art gallery all have in common? They’re all part of the wild journey known as TomTod Ideas!

As many of you know, 3 months ago this Friday I left my full-time job to launch a crazy dream called TomTod Ideas (www.facebook.com/tomtodideas). TomTod walks alongside middle school students through a year-long, personalized mentoring experience that empowers them to launch ideas they have dreamt up that will bring help and healing to the places in our world that need it most.

In that short time, an incredible group of volunteers have risen up to help push this idea forward and all sorts of wonderful things are happening that I would love to tell you about.

To aid in this story telling and to help TomTod continue to move forward, some friends and I are hosting a series of coffee hours over the next several weeks as opportunities to hear the vision and heart of TomTod and to enable friends like yourself to be part of the team that help support and encourage the dreams and possibility that lie within middle school students. There are no monetary, time, or talent requirements to join one of our gatherings…just a desire to hear more about what is happening.

You’ll find a wide variety of times/places available below and I do hope that you’ll join me for one of them! Please RSVP to jdh@tomtodideas.org at your earliest convenience so that we can make sure that we have ample beverages and informational materials for everyone present. I can’t wait to share with you!

Thursday, November 29th at 6:30 am
Hosted by Chip Weisel
Arlington Road Panera

Sunday, December 2nd at 6:30 pm
Hosted by Todd & Kellie Johnson
9220 Bletchley Ave NW,
North Canton, OH 44720

Wednesday, December 5th at 7:00 am
Muggswigz Coffee Shop
137 Walnut Ave NE,
Canton, OH 44702

Friday, December 7th at 8:00 am
Belden Starbucks
4472 Belden Village St. NW
Canton, OH 44718

Friday, December 7th at 7:30 pm
Hosted by Steve & Sue Moroney
701 9th St. NW
North Canton, OH 44720

Sunday, December 9th at 7:00 pm
Muggswigz Coffee Shop
137 Walnut Ave NE,
Canton, OH 44702

Monday, December 10th at 7:30 pm
Hosted by Peter & Paula Guiler
326 22nd St. NW
Canton, OH 44709

Tuesday, December 11th at 7:00 am
Belden Starbucks
4472 Belden Village St. NW
Canton, OH 44718

Thursday, December 13th at 7:30 pm
Hosted by Jeff & Linda Leon
1217 22nd St. NE
Canton, OH 44714

Friday, December 14th at 7:30 pm
*special Columbus, OH appearance*
Hosted by Brenda, Jim & Julianna Smith
7150 Davis Rd.
Hilliard, OH 43026

Are you from outside of the area? Join us for International Cup of Virtual Coffee Day on Tuesday, December 4th! We’ll be hoisting virtual cups of joe at 7:30am, 10:30am, 3pm, 7pm & 10pm (all EST) via Google+ with friends from all over! Just send me your username and your preferred time.

Looking in the mirror…

January 16, 2012

I had the opportunity this weekend to speak at a retreat for nearly a hundred middle school students and leaders from a dozen different churches. On Sunday, I stood before my youth group in both the morning and evening, teaching, challenging and edifying. It was a great weekend, full of ministry and relationships.

This morning I re-read a post that I had put up last year on MLK Jr. Day. It was a challenge to the church to consider why they didn’t more fully engage the meaning and significance of this day. I felt like I got punched in the gut. Read the rest of this entry »

Open Eyes, Open Mind: a weekly reflective (2012; issue 1)

January 7, 2012

Welcome to the first official issue of 2012. If you’re new to Open Eyes, Open Mind, check below the fold for a short description of what you’ll find here.

Some weeks in our lives have themes and this week’s theme is the start of a new year. A lot of us spend time at the beginning of the year reflecting on the previous year and considering the possibilities of the coming year. A number of the resources found in this week’s reflective point in these directions. Feel free to leave any thoughts, comments, or conversations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Why is the church working today?

January 17, 2011

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Schools, universities and government institutions across the country are closed for a day to consider the monumental impact of one man’s life that was part of an entire movement that helped to move humanity forward toward a more just society.*

But if you work for a (white) church** today, you’re probably at work. And this morning I have to ask, “Why?” Read the rest of this entry »

Safe water is about relationships…and so is the rest of life.

August 19, 2010

So there’s a great article from Dr. Jonathan Mitchell over at Ministry Spotlight on the importance of relationships in helping the developing people have continuing access to clean water.  He uses the principles developed by Brian Fikkert’s “When Helping Hurts” to show that we can’t just treat the symptoms of poverty, but have to address the deeper underlying issues.

As I gear up for the coming school year, I’ve been meeting with lots and lots of potential volunteers, casting vision for what it means to love middle school students in the name of Christ.  Over and over I’ve talked about relationships as being a (if not the) core component of our ministry model.  If we get students amped up about a specific program or get them to be able to spout specific pieces of information, or not spout certain four letter words, transformation will not have occurred.  We will only have addressed the symptoms.  But if we connect in relationships that model Christ’s incredible love for us, then we have the opportunity to speak to the deeper root issue for us as humans:  our relationships with God, with others, with creation, and even with ourselves are all broken.

When and how have you been investing in relationships recently?

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