Let’s Publish a Children’s Alphabet Book!

It’s a little out of the blue, but in the past couple of months I have started writing content for a children’s alphabet book that I plan to self-publish. Eventually, I want to throw it up on Kickstarter for direct funding, but, for now, I’m just trying to gain a little momentum and visibility to help launch the project.

A little bit about the book: A mother/daughter duo go on a camping trip. Throughout their journey they learn, discover, and find fun in different elements of the trip. Thus, each letter of the alphabet would be represented by different objects/elements from the trip:

A is for Adventure

LoLo and Rain are going on an Adventure!

To discover the world and make memories together.©

Fortunately, Fatherly, in association with the United Nations Foundation, has selected my book project as a finalist for their Fatherly Fund! This means that if my project receives the most votes by 2/15 (by the way, voting is very easy), I will be awarded a $1000 grant to go towards my project.

Here’s how you can help! (steps below)

  1. Visit https://www.fatherly.com/jeremy-chan-1578384635.html
  2. Sign up for Fatherly or sign in with Facebook or Twitter (don’t worry, there’s no spam)
  3. Click to vote for my project
  4. SHARE SHARE SHARE <—- this is the real money maker and how my project will get major visibility

I’m pretty excited about this for a couple of reasons. The first being that this idea, which practically began with me trying to come up with words that rhyme with “adventure,” was even considered and evaluated by a popular network like Fatherly (they’ve got like, 168k followers on Facebook). Second, regardless of whether or not I receive the grant, I’m going forward with the book! I’d love to create something tangible that my daughter can hold in a few months and would be ecstatic to see her face when I tell her that she was my main inspiration for this book.

So, please take a quick minute (literally) to vote for my project and another minute (also, literally) to share with your network and let’s publish this book together!

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Let’s Publish a Children’s Alphabet Book!

Response: Why We Pray

Today, the New York Daily News released a front page design and short video critiquing the Republican candidates’ response to yesterday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, using it as part of the narrative for gun control. Proponents who share this viewpoint argue that it’s not enough to pray, that those prayers are meaningless unless there’s some type of action taking place afterwards. Some would even say that they rarely see any type of “follow through” from people who pray (i.e. Christians) and that people (i.e. politicians) should enact some type of legislation to prevent future atrocities and episodes (i.e. gun control) – never mind there’s a greater concern with this situation. While I’m not entirely “qualified” to discuss the theology of prayer, as a Christ-follower I do think the critique of “meaningless prayers” is offensive and inaccurate for a couple of reasons.

For one, I actually know of more people than not who don’t do nothing after praying. They don’t pray then go to sleep, or work, or school. Instead, they encourage. They speak out and speak to. They get involved and campaign and may even write a letter to their Congressman. If don’t believe me, I invite you to my church where I’ll be more than happy to introduce you to some of these individuals. Second, praying is doing something. For many people, it [prayer] provides hope. For some, guidance. For others, it actually is a way for them to get clarity and direction on how they can take action and what to do from here. It’s not just sitting around. It’s not just watching tv. It’s not scrolling through my feeds to get enough sound bites to come off as informed. It’s a deliberate, thought- and heart-filled action that believers are called to do, in seasons of praise and in seasons of need (James 5:13).

Prayer is so important that we should do it without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17) and even more so that the Holy Spirit prays on our behalf (Romans 8:26)! God prays for us! Our prayers to God aren’t futile or meaningless just because we’re not in a public office to make change (or laws), just as your condolences aren’t meaningless if you attended a funeral for my daughter who was in a fatal car accident while riding her bicycle on the street (will you call for legislation for safer bike riding?) It’s much simpler – it’s a direct and accessible way of interacting with the Creator of the universe. It’s also, in the least, our way of doing something, anything, if there really isn’t much more we can do. When you chime in about how ineffective our prayers are or assume nothing more is being done, you are passively demeaning a deep, spiritual conviction we may have. Would you do that to a Buddhist in meditation? Would you do that to a new age healer? Would you go to the Muslims praying in their mosque?

As individuals, the least we can do is pray just as the least you can do is write a letter to Congress. After all, it’s not the greater institution that helps or heals or will enact change – it’s God within the people who are praying to and for Him to move. When we, the Christians who pray, come together under the Church, there is a change and transformation that takes place through our prayers.

“The problem, however, is that institutions can’t really help people. Only spiritual families will bring people to spiritual maturity where they themselves can reproduce.

Charles Simpson has made the point that institutions never save people. He has noted, for instance, that hospitals don’t save people; doctors and nurses do. Likewise, it’s not churches that save and restore people, but God working through the individual members of that church. Institutions and bureaucracies don’t care for individuals. But families do care for the individual. It makes a huge difference whether we build our churches to be institutions or families.” Mark Hoffman / The Joshua Principle 

I’ve seen and experienced incredible things with prayer and know how destructive things could have been without it. If you are still skeptical or don’t believe/agree with me, that’s okay. I’ll still be praying for you.

Response: Why We Pray

It Was a Dark Night

It’s snowing outside. Hard. The rushing winds from the mountain swoop down onto my house, blowing open the front door and letting in the cold snow. I managed to barely find enough energy to creep to the living room leaning on every wall, chair and table in my path so I don’t fall over, and slam the door shut. But it won’t last long. The stove isn’t on, either. Somehow, I had enough energy to fill the stove with pellets, but I am far too weak to walk out to the office and grab the torch to light the stove. Somewhat disappointed, I go back to my room. After two hours of vomiting, I am still lying down with three blankets, sweats, a thermal sweater, socks, a beanie and a hooded sweatshirt. And I’m still shivering.

Aside from breaking my collar bone and getting the stomach flu in Thailand a few years ago, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a bad night of sleep, if I got any sleep at all. The pain in my back was excruciating. So much so that I had to keep rolling over so I wouldn’t feel the pain from laying stagnant.

I had texted Christa to bring in the torch when she left the office. An hour or so went by, and I had no response. I wonder if she had already left for Ben and Gena’s? Was I going to lie in pain and in the cold for the rest of the night? She then texted me back and said she was in the Lodge and heading to the office.

She comes into the house, and I hear her light the stove. I also hear her slam the door shut as it had blown open again. It’s so cold that it didn’t even make a difference whether or not the door was open.

I’m saved.

It was slowly getting warmer. I could start to feel my feet again, and the shivering was subsiding. But I was alone.  Literally and emotionally. All of my roommates had now left, going to Ben and Gena’s place to watch a movie on their new TV. Aside from Mom, there was only one other person whom I wished was here, but we said our goodbyes not two days ago. That was probably just as painful as the pain in my back.

I turn back over.

The pain (physically and emotionally) is so bad I can’t even cry, although tears start to well up just a tad bit.

It was a long, dark night.

 

It Was a Dark Night