How Our Memories Shape Our Resolutions

How Our Memories Shape Our Resolutions

How Our Memories Shape Our Resolutions

We’re knee-deep in the “R&R” season – and we’re NOT talking “Rest & Recreation”… but the season of “Reflection & Resolutions!” Specifically, at this one time of year, everyone seems to be taking a look back at events which have transpired over the past 12 months, whether milestones, cultural phenomena, personal ups-and-downs, fond memories and those crushing defeats. However, did you ever consider, frequently those occurrences in your life last year may now be forming the basis for your 2019 goals?!

Think about it. If you enjoyed an amazing vacation – or two – this year, scheduling MORE leisure time may be among your top New Year’s resolutions. Or… maybe your financial or career outlook took a severe nosedive in 2018. Chances are, reestablishing some sort of solid foundation represents one of your highest priorities in the upcoming year. Some of us will take those “perennial” resolutions to heart this year, making a serious commitment to lose weight, find a partner, start a business, etc.

Yet, at the root of each of these resolutions, lies some memory – either positive or negative – which spurs or inspires us to make a change for the better. And, the same holds true for us at Blind Faith Foundation! Every month in 2018 holds uniquely specific and vivid memories for us… and ignites our desire to do even MORE in this upcoming new year.

In what now seems like a lifetime ago, we continued our outreach to victims of Hurricane Harvey in the early days of 2018. Many forgotten by others as the flood waters receded, our selfless volunteers blessed families in the rural areas devastated by the overwhelming storm damage. It almost seemed like a harbinger for things to come throughout the year!

But, our work had just begun as the scope of our vision became wider. And this expanded vision inspired our Blind Faith Golf Shoot Out on May 8th! Putting together a full-fledged golf tournament, designed to raise community awareness and much-needed underwriters for our charitable outreach, is no small task. And, once again, the Blind Faith family rose to the challenge… and this allowed us to sponsor our first-ever Back-To-School Bash for the Hunt and Ingram ISD students.

Many of these families lacked the basic financial resources to equip their children with the needed classroom supplies. So… we stepped up to the challenge and were able to give away more than 250 fully-loaded backpacks to these kids. Now, if you’ve ever had a young reader in your life, you may be familiar with the “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” series of books. And this back-to-school community event began the same kind of domino effect!

We established REAL connections with these families – our neighbors – and saw so many more areas where we could offer a helpful hand, during hard times. So, we saw and felt their pain as the rivers and waterways of our own Texas Hill Country backyard experienced unprecedented flood levels. Cities which had never been underwater, were completely immobilized. Families were cut-off from even the most basic services. Homes which had withstood the Texas weather for generations, were washed away. And, in addition to grieving with these people, giving them a sympathetic ear and shoulder, we also offered more tangible assistance.

Loaded up with the same type of supplies we had just delivered to the Florida Panhandle areas hit by the previously-unheard-of Category Six destruction of Hurricane Michael just a few weeks earlier, we hit the trails into our Texas home counties. And brought our own special brand of hope… muck buckets!

This gave us an even deeper glimpse into the lives of those around us and we didn’t want to just respond to tragedies – we wanted to help avert the daily crises people faced! And, our Meat2Eat Program was born.

Seeing how a little “food safety net” could make such a HUGE difference in someone’s life formed the basis of some OUR fondest memories in 2018. Ironically, while many people have a reduction in their diet on their New Year’s Resolutions, WE want to add to the diets of many, many, more people this year!

So, while our “vacation” photos and memories of 2018 may not be “Pinterest-worthy,” they DO strongly inform our goals and “resolutions” for 2019. And, yes, we do still have a few things on our individual “personal” list of resolutions, but losing that last five pounds, or remodeling the guest bathroom, or taking a continuing education course, now have their proper perspective… thanks to the indelible memories of people who can’t feed their families, or have no permanent roof over their heads or can’t afford to provide their children with school supplies, we met in 2018.

AND… we have the hope of creating a better world in this New Year, full of promise and possibilities, and invite YOU to join us in making 2019 truly “memorable!”

What’s YOUR “Reason For The Season”?

What’s YOUR “Reason For The Season”?

What’s YOUR “Reason For The Season”?

Okay… we know everywhere you turn, it’s a Christmas “overload.” Between the decorations, shopping, baking, wrapping, parties, concerts, church and, of course, the people and traffic, it CAN be a bit much. Honestly, we get exhausted just thinking about everything!

So, it begs the question: “WHY do we put ourselves through all of this?!?” What happened to that simple stable, with a newborn King lying in a humble manager? When, exactly, did Christmas become all about the “stuff” and this mad dash of “celebration”? If you think about it, that first Christmas was about as low-key as you can get!

C’mon… no elaborate lights, other than a simple star in the sky… no elegant new outfits, just simple traveling clothes… no huge gift outlays, only three small LATE offerings for the entire family… no decorations, aside from some straw in that stable… and, they didn’t even have a TREE. By today’s standards, this would be considered a pretty “shabby” Christmas!

At the true heart of that FIRST Christmas, we find some very basic underlying themes: faith, hope, belief and love. Yep, nary a hint of over-the-top lighting displays, ostentatious gift-giving, shopping till we drop, or more food than one family could possibly eat in a whole week. Hmmm…

Which brings us back around to your personal “reason for the season.” For you, is it all about the “right” tree or the “perfect” gifts or the “idealized” family portrait cards or that “Rockwell-esque” family feast? We each have our own, individual, reasons for jumping through an increasingly-complex set of hoops, trying to capture – or recapture – a specific holiday sentiment. But, maybe… just MAYBE, the Christmas spirit can be found by revisiting the original celebration.

The season should be about recapturing THOSE ideals! How does that luxurious holiday outfit strengthen our faith? Can that mountain of presents reinforce our ability to love? Could a golden browned-to-perfection goose instill us with a solid foundation enabling us to believe? Does standing in a never-ending line at a mall bring us hope?!

For those among the Blind Faith Foundation community, we capture the holiday spirit by seeking a deeper meaning in this Christmas season. We model the Magi, and offer the gifts of our bounty to those in need. We quietly further the spirit of goodwill, by performing random acts of kindness. We draw those near-and-dear to us close, and trumpet our love for them. We find hope and joy in the smiles of children, who receive unexpected gifts from our visiting Santa. We draw faith from faces of the elderly and sick, who light-up when we visit.

THIS is the real Christmas for us at Blind Faith! Many of these activities don’t involve an actual financial investment – but DO require an investment of time and interest. You have to make a conscious decision to step AWAY from the “holiday hustle” and to celebrate in the spirit of the FIRST Christmas.

In one family, while many of their holiday traditions still linger, years ago they began to cast a wider net in conjunction with their seasonal festivities: Serving at a community dinner for those less-fortunate or homeless, was added to their annual activities. “Adopting” families or children in-need to provide gifts or meals – or both – brought them a newly-found joy in gift-giving. Leaving “Secret Santa” gifts for neighbors or friends, reignites a sense of magic for both the recipients and givers. Visiting people in local nursing homes or retirement communities allowed them kindle loving feelings toward those around them. Participating in church Christmas pageants made the story and experience personal for them.

So, what will you do this Christmas to reconnect with the true, biblical, spirit of the holidays? Consider adding just ONE new Christmas tradition to your schedule this year. It can even be something as simple as paying for the order of the person behind you in the Starbucks drive-through. It can be donating to a non-profit organization, like Blind Faith, and directing your donation to helping a family who otherwise would not have a Christmas. How about scheduling time to serve in a local shelter? You could even just sit down with your family and revisit the original Christmas story in the Book of Luke, Chapter 2.

Ask yourself: “What will be YOUR ‘reason for the season’ this Christmas?” Is it the gatherings, the decorations, the gifts – or something more centered around the true spirit of the holiday? May we suggest, putting MORE meaning into your season and following the cue of that FIRST Christmas this year… because, together, we have the power to make it “Christmas” for EVERYONE!

Let’s Get Down To The “MEAT Of The Matter!”

Let’s Get Down To The “MEAT Of The Matter!”

Let’s Get Down To The “MEAT Of The Matter!”

Have you ever given any thought to exactly how MANY phrases or idioms we use daily that revolve around food or eating? “That boy is the apple of their eye”… “Titles aside, she is definitely the big cheese in that organization”… “In my opinion, they bit off more than they could chew“… “She was proud to bring home the bacon for her family.” Sounds like we have the beginnings of a nice picnic here!

But, now that this idea is in your head, it kind of becomes a “mental earworm” and you’ll notice it EVERY time you hear it used – or even inadvertently use one of these phrases yourself. It’s an involuntary thing. The truth is, once you become truly aware of something, your brain has now been “tuned” to that particular frequency and will no longer just “skip” over it. Think of it as learning the “secret” behind a magic trick. You can never look at it the same way again!

So, now that we’ve planted that seed to germinate in your head, let’s get down to the meat of this matter… see what we did there?! And, it’s actually quite apt, since the majority of people consider “meat” as the foundational building block of most dietary food pyramids. This probably accounts for the number of those “food” phrases – generously spread throughout our speech – that involve meat:

  • He’s a “meat-and-potatoes” kind of guy
  • She’s got “steak taste on a hot dog budget” 
  • If he makes one more mistake, he’s “dead meat” 
  • I don’t get the whole ketchup on eggs thing, but “one man’s meat is another man’s poison” 
  • She has a gift with that, it’s just “meat and drink” to her
  • They went “whole hog” for the party
  • AND…of course, what we’re talking about today: Getting down to the “meat of the matter” 

Each and every one of these represents some sort of foundational or basic concept. With that in mind, consider this perspective. Imagine your discomfort when you off-handedly use a “sound” phrase around someone who may be hearing-impaired. Or a “walking/running” one, in front of someone who may be wheelchair-bound. Now, did you realize this might be happening with these “food” idioms around someone who regularly experiences food insecurity?! They lack that basic NUTRITIONAL foundation in their lives, yet you probably don’t even know it!

The odds of someone you know facing this plight are MUCH greater than you think! We explored the tip of this iceberg in an earlier post, and will continue to shine a spotlight on this largely-unnoticed need in our own communities. And we have some solid biblical inspiration for this quest:

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith, but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you tells him, ‘Go in peace; stay warm and well fed,’ but does not provide for his physical needs, what good is that?…” (James 2:14-16)

And at Blind Faith Foundation, we take this as a personal challenge, which led to our new Meat2Eat Program… a vision to be the “meat-and-potatoes” safety net for our neighbors and communities in need. Fortunately, we have the real deal – and not just some colloquial phrase – to fill those freezers and pantries! Thanks to the unprecedented donation of white-tailed venison, by generous hunters, we have already begun to make the holidays a bit merrier for countless Texas Hill Country families.

“Now Joseph gave these instructions to the steward of his house: ‘Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s silver in the mouth of his sack.’” (Genesis 44:1)

Although, our “sacks” are professionally-processed and frozen packages, we believe recent actions could be considered comparable. This week alone, Blind Faith gave 250 pounds of venison to members of four local fire departments, for distribution among their communities. And we are just getting started!

“…if you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon. (Isaiah 58:10)

We’re literally taking this mission to the streets… with another donation of 80 pounds of this straight-from-nature meat to The Church Under the Bridge in neighboring San Antonio. This organization ministers to the growing homeless population and provides not only support services, but also those “bread-and-butter” needs so frequently overlooked.

And speaking of bread and butter, this Meat2Eat initiative also fills any other nutritional gaps. Thanks to more selfless donors, we can purchase bulk basic pantry supplies and grocery store gift cards, so these individuals can purchase other staples, we may take for granted in our own kitchens.

We also recognize we need help to identify these “invisible” individuals within our communities, so we reached out to area non-profit organizations. Because their work places them in a unique position to see the local individual needs, they can direct resources effectively and where they will do the most good. Can you think of a better place to provide some “Meat2Eat”? Neither could we… leading to another donation of more than 20 pounds of this pristine venison to a local non-profit.

So, as more individuals and organizations take this “leap of blind faith” with us, we plan to make a real impact to alleviate this food insecurity problem on a much larger scale. And, we don’t think anyone would have a “bone to pick” with us over THAT dream!

“We Gather Together…”

“We Gather Together…”

“We Gather Together…”

For all those folks already decking the halls and cranking up the carols, we DO understand Thanksgiving may not have all the “sparkle-and-shine” of those upcoming December holidays. But, before we embrace the rampant consumerism and non-stop activities, we invite to take just a moment, breathe deeply, and simply appreciate the multitude of blessings in your life.

From our particular vantage point this may be easier for us than it is for most, since we get the opportunity to actually witness God’s goodness and bounty EVERY day! But, among all the preparations for the “Mother of all Feasts,” the possibly-premature glitz of Christmas, the careful coordination of football schedules, the Black Friday strategic planning, and the holiday arrival of friends and relatives, sometimes the “thanks” part of Thanksgiving gets lost or downplayed.

Sure, you probably do say grace over that meal or maybe go around the table to hear what everyone may be thankful for this year. However, let us ask… aside from this particular moment, exactly how much time over that customary four-day weekend do you spend actually cataloging your blessings? Don’t get us wrong – we’re just as guilty as the next person! Let’s be honest; no one is completely immune to the effects of this “holiday hectic-ness.” And, our modern society basically conspires against “Thanksgiving.” Think about it…

Aside from the traditional parades and the food, of course, Thanksgiving doesn’t really have much of a “branded” identity. Once upon a time, we could dress-up as Pilgrims and “Indians” before we became conscious of the untold story, with all its black marks on our cultural history. Buh, bye, Pilgrims and natives! Then, there’s that turkey symbol. We don’t ritualistically sacrifice Santa and his reindeer, Cupid, the Easter Bunny, or Baby New Year as a part of their holidays! Yet, the annual planned demise of our holiday “symbol” somehow just doesn’t say, “Thanks!”

It doesn’t stop with that doomed foul. Consider the musical selections focused on exclusively Thanksgiving. After “Over The River And Through The Woods” the selection becomes pretty slim. Some more modern tunes can be reasonably added, but let’s face it, everyone is just holding on for the EARLIEST socially-acceptable time to start singing “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.” And, this gave us pause… which brought us back to our original “giving thanks” roots – an iconic hymn – “We Gather Together.”

It’s not like “thankfulness” is an alien concept; it was a key part of most upbringings. Between our “elders” teaching us the basics of good manners and the 137 times some version of the word “thank” appears in the Bible, you’d think it would ALWAYS be top-of-mind. Instead, we’re not content to spend a few days simply “giving thanks” and have to manufacture additional “observances.” Like “big” football games… “Black Friday” bargain frenzy… more shopping for “Shop Small (Business) Saturday”… and even spilling over into “Cyber Monday.” And, while we’re good Texans and all about football, a great deal, and supporting our local small businesses, it begs the question: Why are we so uncomfortable just thinking about our many blessings and expressing gratitude for more than a few minutes?”

Could it be too “touchy-feely” for us? Maybe it’s too “religious” for most people’s taste? Possibly this opens old wounds or unlocks long-buried emotions? So, we deflect… with stuffing, sports and shopping.

But, there IS hope! On the coattails of Cyber Monday, we welcome “Giving Tuesday” – a day dedicated to supporting non-profit organizations. And, yes, we will ask you to consider donating to our mission on this day. However, “giving” and “thanks” are things that are always on our minds… especially during the Thanksgiving season, abbreviated as it may be. It is during this time, we relish these opportunities to be reminded of our OWN abundant blessings and share this bounty with those around us!

For us, this is a year-round goal and mission, guided by our Father’s words:

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4)

“Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (Psalm 106:1)

“Devote yourselves to prayer. Be alert and thankful when you pray.” (Colossians 4:2)

So we gather together this week, with loved ones, to reflect – hopefully, for MORE than a couple of minutes – on for our blessings, big and small, and strive to preserve our spirit of “thankfulness” all year long. Share with us, on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn, just ONE thing you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving week. And, let’s reclaim the “THANKS” part of this holiday and spread an attitude of gratitude for the entire season!

WHY Do Bad Things Happen To God’s People?!?

WHY Do Bad Things Happen To God’s People?!?

WHY Do Bad Things Happen To God’s People?!?

One the hardest ideas – or questions – anyone of faith must face, at least one time in their life, is: “Why does God allow bad things happen to good people?!?” And, truthfully, that’s something we’ve ALL asked at some point or another.

No matter how strong your beliefs or faith, we all encounter those moments when we question God’s grace or mercy… even men and women who have chosen a career in service to God! When faced with one of “those times” years ago, miraculously, a little book crossed our path. Written by a Conservative Jewish rabbi, this book explored this exact question – right in the title: “When Bad Things Happen To Good People” by Rabbi Harold Kushner.

This book was his response to one of the most horrific calamities a parent can face… the diagnosis of a terminal illness in your child. Watching his young son suffer, with no cure or hope even available, KNOWING death was inevitable, gave Rabbi Kushner plenty of reasons to question his faith and God. “Tragedies like this were supposed to happen to selfish, dishonest people whom I, as a rabbi, would then try to comfort by assuring them of God’s forgiving love. How could it be happening to me…”

Which, once again, begs the question… WHY?!? And while Rabbi Kushner comes to his own conclusions, we would like to offer our thoughts. As an organization dedicated to not only performing “random acts of kindness,” but to offering immediate aid to those stricken by calamity, we see people at their lowest moments – and, honestly, it can shake your faith. But, we also see the other side of this devastating coin. We see entire communities band together; we see folks of all ages and walks of life make donations; we see volunteers rush to disaster sites; we see those who may have strayed, drop down on their knees in prayer.

And in these situations, THAT’S where we find our “faith silver lining!” We can’t begin to “explain” to these afflicted people why this happened to them – that’s waaaaay above our biblical pay grade. So we choose to draw strength from Job… the original bad-luck, “why-me” guy. Let’s face it, everything that COULD go wrong in Job’s life, DID go wrong! And, just like Rabbi Kushner lamented back in 1981, Job also questioned why God was “punishing” him.  “Does not disaster come to the unjust and calamity to workers of iniquity? Does He not see my ways and count my every step?” (Job 31: 3-4) Yet, through all the tribulations, the illness, the death of loved ones, the financial ruin, he still clung to his faith!

If Job could maintain his ultimate belief in God’s goodness and emerge with his faith intact, then we can draw strength during our hard times. MAYBE, just maybe, the take-away from these circumstances could be the ACTIONS these instances set into motion! Without that life-shattering occurrence, Rabbi Kushner may have never written his book – which has brought comfort to countless millions throughout the past 37 years. Had Job not faced the most overwhelming misfortunes, we would not have his example for inspiration when bad thing happen in our lives. Bottom line, we know He has a plan and it’s our job to just do our part and keep the faith.

So…we DO! Even when those disasters hit extremely close to home. Even when they touch members of our family. Even when there is no apparent rhyme or reason. And, you know what? During those times, we actually draw closer to Him and feel the warmth of faith spread through us, specifically because we witness – with our own eyes – these miraculous acts of faith performed around us! And this amazing feeling spurs us to continue to serve, enlisting others to join, simply by sharing with our personal inspiration and testimony.

And that’s just what we did when tragedy recently struck in the form of Hurricane Michael, immediately followed by the unprecedented flooding literally in our own Texas Hill Country backyards. But, that just fueled our volunteers and extraordinarily-generous donors to redouble their efforts… shipping flatbeds filled with supplies to those affected!

Okay, now might be a good time to add one more thought to this discussion. Do we think God intentionally sends these catastrophes as a form of “punishment” or to remind us of His power? While He may be very “hands-on” with us as individuals – which some might characterize as micro-managing (and we’re GREAT with that) – when it comes to the bigger picture we don’t honestly believe He sends “death and pestilence” simply because He’s bored or wants to amuse Himself! He created a universe and put all the pieces into divine motion… and now, it’s just a matter of watching and waiting as each piece falls into place. The saving grace is, He remains steadfastly by our sides during these trials to strengthen our resolve, our faith, and to assist us in actually taking those “leaps of blind faith.”

So, while we cannot definitively answer the “Why?!?” question, we CAN find a measure of comfort in our faith and do our very best to manifest that faith in the world around us… and you can grab a bit of that faith for yourself, by following our mission on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn. And, although “bad things” WILL continue to happen to “good people,” here at Blind Faith Foundation, we will consciously choose to maintain our “blind faith” in Him and draw from His strength by taking action. AND, as long as He’s by our side – continuing to support and love us, engaging more volunteers and sponsors for our mission, inspiring us with His blessings – we stand READY to follow Him once more into the face of disaster!