It’s MOVING Day!

Photo by sludgegulper (Creative Commons)

Photo by sludgegulper (Creative Commons)

Hey, what am I doing here? This doesn’t look like the sometimeshope website.

What’s going on here?

It’s moving day!

After a few short months at sometimeshope, I have decided to move my blog to this site: ChrisMorrisWrites.

Sometimeshope has been a fun place, but it’s on to exciting adventures at my new home.

Don’t worry — I will still be writing primarily about how to find and keep hope in this busted world, with plenty of stories from my life and others along the way.

If you want to sign up to receive an email every time I put up a new post at my new site, click HERE and you will get hooked up.

I hope to see you at my new home!

Blessings — Chris

Why I am So Afraid of the Finish Line

Photo by infomatique (Creative Commons)

Photo by infomatique (Creative Commons)

I am just going to come out and say it – finishing scare me. To the core of my being. Whether it’s a project for work, writing a book, or hiking to the top of a mountain – it’s the end I am afraid of more than anything else.

This fear has risen to the top of my mind lately, because I have been in a season with a lot of finish lines. I just sent a short book on hope to my editor (details will be forthcoming). I have a presentation for a major client in two days, and a key milestone for another client two days after. My wife and I have decided to stop sitting on the sidelines at our new church and start serving.

Everywhere I look, there are finish lines. And I tremble a bit inside. I don’t think I am alone in this fear.

Why are we afraid to finish?

Our work becomes public. When we are in process, nobody sees what we do. How we operate. What our process looks like. Everything changes once we finish. We can no longer hide what we have toiled over. Our finished product is now available for all (or some) to see. This is the root of the fear.

Other will judge our efforts. Others will place value on what we have done. Good or bad, we will hear the commentary about our efforts and the end results of those efforts. We don’t want to be judged, so we stop before we cross the finish line. Or we crawl forward slowly. Inch by inch. When we have the stamina to sprint.

We assume the worst. Once we give audience to the voice of fear, we can become paralyzed. The worst case scenario suddenly becomes the most likely scenario. We actually start to believe publishing our book will result in the fall of the modern economic system worldwide.

My advice to you, and to myself:

Cross the finish line with bravado. Rejoice in the process. Be proud of your art. (You can tweet that)

Learn from your detractors, but don’t take them so seriously. The economic system will still be running tomorrow. You will still put your pants on one leg at a time tomorrow.

Then get back to creating. As my friend Tim Gallen once told me: Shut up and create!

Guest Post at The Blog Pile

What do turtle and pacifier have to do with freedom? Come find the answer at The Blog Pile, where I am guest posting today.

If you are visiting from The Blog Pile, welcome and I’m glad to see you! Here’s a guide to some of my favorite posts:

You might also like to read some of the other guest posts I have done over the past few weeks:

Have fun poking around!

How One Punch Created Three Friends

Photo by hunterseakerhk (Creative Commons)

Photo by hunterseakerhk (Creative Commons)

Today is an auspicious day for my blog. I have my first guest post – so exciting. Even more exciting is that this post is from one of my favorite young authors. My son Jonathon Woodhall-Driscoll. Jonathon is a junior in high school with a dramatic flair. He enjoys theatre arts and music, and recently discovered joy in writing as well. While still finding his voice, he prefers to share fun and meaningful stories from his past.

The way that I met and lost two of my best friends was an interesting one. I already knew one of them from class. I punched the other in the face. Then we became the best of friends! Then we somehow separated. It began and ended in a very strange way indeed.

As I said before, I already knew one of the twin brothers. Tyler, from theatre. At first we didn’t like each other, at all, but then we started hanging out more and with that talked more. For reasons unknown to me, I started feeling more energized and in a good mood each day. Because of this, I started walking down a hallway in the Performing Arts Center while throwing punches in the air. I kept this up until someone walked around the corner into my fist.

After getting over the shock of hitting someone, I realized it was someone I had never seen before, yet he looked somewhat familiar. While pondering this, I helped the angry fellow from the ground and apologized, then I kept walking. The next day, Tyler introduced that same person I had punched as his twin brother Tayler. Realizing that there were no hard feelings, I began to relax and talk to the both of them.

Now that we all knew each other, we began to hang out more and then eventually became even better friends. It came to a point where the three of us were almost completely inseparable. Unfortunately, that’s when it all started to go wrong. Tyler was literally thrown against the wall by his grandfather who was in a fit of rage, and then later was hospitalized when he collapsed on school grounds.

Fearing his own safety, Tayler wanted to stay at my house until things died down at his house. Three days later, Tyler was released from the hospital with no major injuries and moved in with me as well. A week and a half after the incident, Tyler and Tayler went back to their house.

After things died down, nothing went back to being normal. The twins felt an immense hatred for the family and did everything they could to get away and escape. They got into drugs and shamefully, I have to say that I was tempted to join them in there sweet escape.

My parents had suspicions of what I was doing and of what the twins were doing. They soon decided to keep a closer eye on me and always look at my belongings in my room as well as my car. One day they found something, said the twins were a bad influence, decided that I couldn’t talk to them anymore.

It still saddens me to think about them though because of all the good times we had. From the punch in the face, to hanging out in school and each other’s houses, the trauma we all went through, and then even the bad things we did. What makes it even worse is that the State separated the two of them and didn’t allow them to contact friends anymore. Tyler was sent to California while Tayler was sent to Texas. I don’t know when they will be back, but my door will always open.

What is the craziest way you met one of your friends?

Would you give my son some love and encouragement as he ventures into the adventure of writing?

When my Teacher was Dead Wrong

Photo by Thristian (Creative Commons)

Photo by Thristian (Creative Commons)

Update: My mom read this story and added some more detail which I had forgotten. I have put it into the narrative now.

It was a Wednesday afternoon in my sixth grade class, about twenty minutes before school got out. I went up to Ms. Strauss and said, “I really don’t feel good. Can I go to the nurse?” She replied, “School is out in twenty minutes. You will be fine. Now go back to your seat.” But everything was not fine.

I walked my friend-who-was-a-girl-but-not-my-girlfriend home, and then turned to walk down the road to my apartment. Feeling sleepy, I laid down on a grassy hill before crossing the street. In what seemed like a moment later, I got up and started to walk.

I was still in my postictal state, so I turned the wrong way to go home. I stumbled along for 90 minutes, crying and wondering why I wasn’t home. I started to pass a cemetery and realized I was walking toward my Grandma’s house. Crying from exhaustion and confusion, I finally made it home 4 hours after school.

As I walked into the door, I saw my mom’s face in a panic. “Oh Thank GOD you are okay! Where have you been? What took you so long to get home? I was about to call the police. I thought you were kidnapped, or killed, or who knows what else. What happened?” We both broke down crying with relief and fear.

“I don’t know. I was walking home and then I passed the cemetery by Grandma’s house. I don’t know what happened or why I got there. I am so confused Mom.”

“Oh honey, you must have had a seizure. I am so glad you are home now.”

I realized for the first time that day…I was not like everyone else.

Needless to say, my mom called the school the next day after I got home. I think she wanted me to hear her defending my safety. The principal was on the line with her. Practically yelling, she told him, “My son has EPILEPSY! You and your teachers cannot treat him like any other kid whining about his stomach. He knew he was not alright, and his seizure proved it. I expect better from you and your school. Starting NOW.”

Epileptic or not, I was so proud to be my mom’s son that day. She showed me how to love and defend and protect and care for a child. I still think back on this snippet from my life with gratitude, and challenge myself to rise up and be a parent like my mom.

Do you have any moments where you watched someone else and realized you wanted to parent just like them? I would love to hear your story.

Join TribeWriters

Hello readers –

I don’t normally post things like this, but I wan to share a great opportunity with all of you. If you are interested at all in honing your skills as a writer, you should seriously consider taking the TribeWriters course created by Jeff Goins.

TribeWriters Course

 

In this eight week course, you will learn to find your voice. You will learn to hone your writing to be more powerful. A community of writers will encourage, stretch, surprise and befriend you. A guide to the mystery of using social media will be given to you.

So is so much that can be learned through this course. No course is perfect – and I won’t pretend this course is any different. Here is what I can tell you though: I have learned to take risks, write from my heart, and jump into turning pro as a writer.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, sign up here. This is an affiliate link, so if the course sounds good, I would love for you to click through from this blog.

If you are not sure if this is for you, shoot me a note or leave a comment. I would be more than happy to chat with you about this course.

Show Up and Escalate Freedom

haugenquote

 

In future years, when my children look at the world that existed during my time, I want them to say we left the world a better place. Not fundamentally in regard to environmental issues, though this is important. Not precisely related to governmental structures, despite the idealism with which we as Americans place upon democracy. There is something far more important I want my children to see.

I want the world to have more freedom than when my life started.

Not political freedom. Not religious freedom. Not the freedom to free healthcare. I have opinions on all of these, but it’s a different kind of freedom altogether I’m thinking of here.

Modern slavery needs to end. Now. On my watch.

It pains me so deeply that more than 25,000,000 slaves exist in the world today. Think about that number. TWENTY FIVE MILLION. This is unacceptable. No matter what measuring stick you might use.

We must do something. 

And we can. There are many organizations working to prevent slavery, and providing aftercare for slaves. But Exodus Road is my favorite, far and away. They are on the front lines, rescuing slaves. Through covert operations, these investigators are shutting down brothels. And freeing slaves.

Join me in escalating freedom in the most important way. Get involved with the Exodus Road. Blog. Give. Fundraise. Just get involved. Millions of people need your help.

Dori, Abe Lincoln and Jesus Rescue Me

Photo by bendus (Creative Commons)

Photo by bendus (Creative Commons)

What do Dori from Finding Nemo, Abraham Lincoln, and Jesus all have in common? Their words have become guiding principles in my life.

 Just keep swimming Dori

Finding Nemo is my daughter’s favorite movie, and this is her favorite part of the movie. Life is very hard for an epileptic, autistic, socially awkward ten year old girl. Whenever sadness begins to overtake her, I see a small smile cross her face. “I’m going to be like Dori and just keep swimming.”

Her perseverance inspires me. This quote exemplifies the strong spirit within Cynthia. When I come across hard times, I remember this quote and my daughter’s smile. Then I keep on swimming.

My concern is not whether God is on my side; my greatest concern is to be on Gods side, for God is always right Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln is probably my favorite president. His resilience in politics speaks to the passionate pursuit of a goal. His stirring Emancipation Proclamation changed the face of America. His courage to make the difficult decisions in the Civil War unified a divided nation. Abraham Lincoln always seemed to have the right approach to important questions.

But his words here remind us nobody is always right. Our arguments, assumptions, and beliefs should always be subject to correction and adjustment.  We must not forget our minds are busted and broken. Therefore, we should focus on knowing and aligning ourselves with the heart of God.

I will never leave you nor forsake you. Jesus

Sometimes life is lonely. We feel as if nobody understands what we are going through. Nobody cares. There is not even a shoulder to cry on. Jesus tells us these feelings are not the truth.

Instead, our God is fully committed to being there for us. When life falls apart. In our victories. When we’re scared. When we are literally on a roller coaster screaming and having the time of our life. God is with us. Always.

If God is for us, who can be against us? Apostle Paul

This verse in Romans 8 led to my salvation and the beginning of my faith walk with Jesus. I will never forget Doug Fox, the youth pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Hemet, California.

He read this verse, and talked about the amazing Creator. Doug said that God invented the idea of art with His sunsets. Indeed, He created the sun, the sky we see it in, and the Earth we stand upon to view the sunsets. And God creates a new masterpiece every single day. It is this God who is for us when we are in Christ.

I was sold. I talked with Doug and accepted Christ as my savior later that very day. When times are low, I remember this verse. God is FOR me.

We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are. John Maxwell

There is a part of me that is incredibly lazy. This same corner of my heart is entitled. I want and even expect success to come my way with minimal effort. “What do you mean I have to earn it?” cries the selfishness. “Don’t you know who I am?”

This arrogance will get me nowhere. As a writer, I’m no Steven King. John Grisham and I am not equally known. And here’s a sad reality check — the TV author turned detective Richard Castle has sold more books than me. If I am content with this, then I can continue my current path. If I want success (which may or may not include a bestseller), I MUST CHANGE. I MUST GROW.

Punch fear in the face. Jon Acuff

Stepping into something new is terrifying. Fear whispers in our ear:

You are not good enough.

You know you are going to fail. Why try?

Nobody cares what you think. Just shut your mouth!

Fear can be very convincing. It will stifle our vision and creativity if we allow it space. This is where Jon’s advice comes into play. We should never cower when fear speaks to us. Instead we should move forward with intention and aggression. Come out swinging. Punch fear in the face and move forward.

If we succeed, what a win! If we fall flat on our face, so what? Either way we have already won. We conquered fear. We put ourselves out there for the world to see, as we pursue our dream.

What quotes inspire you to move forward, no matter what comes your way?

When Encouragement Saved a Marriage

As my wife and I walked in Dairy Queen, we smelled trouble. Not from the food, but from the couple we were meeting to mentor in their marriage. Let’s call them Suzie and Tim. Suzie was scowling at her husband, and Tim was texting on his phone, clearly irritated.

Our fears were soon realized. Three minutes into our time together, Suzie got a phone call from her mom. Her end of the conversation set the stage for what she expected from our time together:

Heavy sigh. “Mom, I am meeting with the marriage mentors. I know you told me to do this but I just don’t see the point. Tim will NEVER change.” Sideways glare at both of us.

“Sure, I will call when we are done. This won’t take long.”

Tim and Suzie were separated. She was staying at her sister’s house. He seemed almost happy she was not at home. Both agreed life was simpler without each other.

This couple didn’t need mentoring, they needed a miracle. My wife and I pushed through our hesitation and finished the meet-and-greet, knowing we were called to minister to married couples in trouble.

At the end of our time, we gave Suzie and Tim some simple homework. Three compliments each day to your spouse. Even if it is, “You take out the trash like a champ.” Anything kind, three times every day for two weeks until we met again. Each time we met with them, we continued this assignment.

I told them encouragement would change their marriage. I believed this statement, but I almost doubted if it would apply here. This couple seemed lost. I am happy to say I was wrong.

A couple months later, Tim and Suzie came to our house for our mentoring session. They didn’t even seem like the same couple. Joking and poking each other, then hugging after their playful war. Sitting close on our couch, holding hands. I asked how they were doing.

“This has been the best time of our marriage!” Suzie exclaimed. “I didn’t believe Tim when he was complimenting me for the first few weeks. I told myself he was just doing his homework. I asked him one day if he meant what he said. He told me…

Tim interrupted with a broad smile. He wanted to tell this part of the story.

“I love you. I want our marriage to last. If three compliments a day will make a difference, I’ll do it. Whatever it takes. You’re the most important thing in my life.”

As a tear rolled down her face, Suzie confided in us that she never believed she was important to Tim. She always felt like the extra baggage in his life, but no more. Now she knew she was loved.

Tim gave us a similar story. He felt like he never measured up to Suzie’s expectations. He assumed he was a failure of a husband, and she never said otherwise. Through her encouraging words, she showered him with acceptance and love. He knew he not only measured up, but made her proud.

Things were still hard for Suzie and Tim. Years of bad habits had to change. They had to relearn to trust one another. Wounds needed to heal. This took time. They stumbled along the way.

But a new foundation had been laid. One of encouragement. Tim and Suzie are still together. Working through the tough times that come in every marriage. Loving each other. Believing the best of each other. Working through the tough times that come in every marriage. All because of encouragement.

My friend James Prescott has written a new book on this topic you need to read, 5 Steps to Encouragement: A Manifesto for Changing the World.

5 Steps to Encouragement

5 Steps to Encouragement

Here are a few snapshots of his powerful message:

  • We were made to encourage. Every single one of us.
  • Encouragement is truth presented to others in the exact way it needs to be heard, at the precise moment a person needs to hear it.
  • You are an amazing work of art. You were designed and created by the divine, to fulfill a unique role in the world.

There is much more where this came from. Click here to get your free copy of James’ book. You won’t regret it.

Epilepsy and Guilt

Photo by Joe Hastings (Creative Commons)

Photo by Joe Hastings (Creative Commons)

Everyone in my family feels guilty because of my epilepsy. Often the first thing I hear from someone once I begin to recover from a seizure is, “I’m sorry.” They apologize for not catching me in time when I fall. For not noticing more quickly I was seizing. For the embarrassment I must feel over the seizure. For any number of other things they didn’t do right.

Sometimes I am the one to apologize. I feel bad as I stumble groggily to the bed for messing up plans for the evening. I apologize because my wife bruised herself trying to catch me. I see the fear in my eight-year-old’s eye, and I feel responsible. I apologize to him for producing the fear.

NO MORE. We have banished apologies related to epilepsy from our house. It’s nobody’s fault I have epilepsy. My kids didn’t give it to me. It’s not their job to always watch over me. My wife is not the one responsible for keeping me safe. I am not intentionally having a seizure the hour before our Bible study because I would rather sleep.

Epilepsy is just part of our lives right now. Nobody needs to feel guilty about anything.

We all do this. We apologize for the pain of others. We say, “Sorry” that our challenges has produced scheduling inconveniences. I was thinking this morning about why we do this and realized something startling. We feel responsible for the well-being of those we love, even in the areas we have no authority, ability, or access to change.

We confuse love with ultimate responsibility, and we unintentionally play the part designed for God. God is the one who keeps us ultimately safe. He is the only one who can stop my seizures, though He chooses not to right now (for reasons I don’t comprehend). He is the one who doesn’t eviscerate that irritating supervisor at work (or is that just me?).

Guilt is always the result of trying to wear God’s shoes, because our feet just don’t fit. Let’s instead draw close to each other when the storms come. Love one another. Commiserate in pain. Hug when it hurts. Cry with each other. This is where true bonds of community are born.

It is always those who have weathered the tornadoes in our lives that appreciate the sunny days the most. Let’s make a decision to be among those who can celebrate in the deepest way as victories come. No apologies needed.