0 were inspired.Were you inspired?

“We are a broken people…”

Today’s letter was contributed by Rachel, an extroverted twenty-something writer, reader, learner, and dreamer surviving off coffee and deep conversations. She believes in early mornings, live music, road trips, and finding the good. Follow her thoughts on Twitter at @_rachchristine and her writings at www.sincerelyrachelchristine.com: To the drug-addicted brother from the sister who cannot save you: I just want you to be okay. I heard somewhere that big sisters are supposed to help quench the thirsty dreams of their younger siblings. I’m sorry that I did not do that for you. It’s crazy to be a witness to the erosion of your spirit that’s taken place over the last few years. It’s hard to watch someone so close to my heart become the personification of statistics, symptoms, and stories. It’s safe to say that a drug addict is everything they say he will be; a liar, a thief, and a desperate shadow of a person. You still have a spark every once in awhile, but I sometimes wonder what the size of the flame would be, had heroin not decided to try and squelch it. Would you be a businessman? A drummer? A teacher? Some days I slide down to the floor and cry achingly and I press my palms into my eyes, wishing away reality. It’s like I’m homesick for what used to be, for who you used to be. I want to laugh with the young boy who wore fake glasses in his school picture because he knew “class clown” was in his birthright. I want to joke around with the teenager who will still play Nintendo 64 with me, and won’t laugh when I lose every time. I long for your eyes to see the world through sobriety, through actuality, through redemption. Because the world is an incredibly beautiful place that is desperate for the spark of humanity to come alive. I long for your arms to be pink once more, with signs of life instead of death, signs of healing instead of affliction. I long to know why this is your story – but I don’t know that any of us ever will. It is no less beautiful, and you are no less worthy of hope than any of us. We are a broken people, each of us. You are not alone in this, you are never alone. The fullness of love is attainable; you just have to look for it. I love you. Sincerely, Rachel Christine
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Platforms Were Made to Change Lives vs. My Wife Makes Me Watch (I Swear)

Dear Maker of Dreams, Some may read this letter and think it's a shameless plug. From some perspectives, they may be right. But when someone inspires and engages in beautiful acts of humanity, it moves me. The cynic may even say that when you have lots of money it's easy to make people's dreams come true and they would be right in that assessment as well. But what I find so fascinating and encouraging about you is that you have worked hard for the platform that you now occupy and you're not skwandering it. It is not a place for you to shine in the spotlight but rather for you touch people in ways that they never dreamed possible. Yesterday you changed the lives of two little girls who got to not only meet their idol but perform with her as well. . . live on TV. Sure it'll probably come back to haunt them come graduation day I guarantee that they will never forget it.  I have seen so many people in your position treat it like a rightful throne. I have seen them use it for solely their own gain or push an agenda that is detrimental to the human spirit. But not you. Every day you set out to make people smile, laugh and most of all dance. You set out to change the lives of talented YouTube nobodies. You believe in people and share a humanity that often seems lost in selfish culture.
Today’s letter goes out to Ellen DeGeneres (@THEELLENSHOW) whose heart to make people happy and change their lives comes out every day.
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Wannabe Trend Setter vs. “Compassionate” Label Whore

Dear Wanna Be Trend Follower, It's crazy and frustrating to realize how our materialistic culture has conditioned me. When I saw your TOMS rip-offs (only assuming they are "BOBS" by Sketchers. My first reaction was "Nice fake shoes. Couldn't afford the real ones?" Which if you think about it is a straight by-product of the school yard where kids are made fun of, called four eyes and told that their brown moose sweater and velcro Brooks are for 90 year olds. I caught myself off guard. Who am I to judge you on your shoes? Just because they copied the business/marketing model of another company who gives away shoes to kids who need them? It's ridiculous how we identify with individual labels as opposed to brilliant acts of humanity: how we identify with the latest passing trends as opposed to solid, timeless ethical convictions like giving. Toms, Sams, Jims, or Normans; it shouldn't matter; yet it does. As you stood wearing your fake TOMS and me wearing my fake BOBS, I couldn't help by ask myself: "What's more important, the packaging or end product?" I knew the answer before I asked the question.
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Your Time To Be A Crazy Misfit Has Come (Will You Answer The Call?)

Dear Visionary in the Wings, The other day was a tragic day as the world lost a man who not only changed technology and the way we interact with each other, but he forever changed the way we think. He forever changed "possibility"; for that I will be forever grateful and consider myself so fortunate to have lived in this lifetime of brilliant, impossible change. But he is just one man who dared to be different; who dared to go against the grain and not buy into the status quo. Some will say that he left an unfillable void to which I say "Good". To try and fill the shoes of such a world changing thinker would be childish and foolish. Rather, his passing is a call to the rest of us to lace up our own shoes and change the world in ways the he himself would never have thought possible. That's what he would want. That's what he would expect.  It is time to come out of the shadows. Time to shrug off our insecurities and the illicit cultural expectations that we have lived under for far too long and reimagine what is possible. I know you have what it takes.             Will you change the world?                              I sure as hell hope so.
Through all of the great words spoken of the late world changer, Steve Jobs, these words of Hugh MacLeod (@gapingvoid) are ones that inspire and challenge:
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Dear Silent Punching Bag

Dear Silent Punching Bag, The uncontrollable shrieking tearing through the building as dozens of on-lookers watched the unfolding scene was a far cry from the timid boy I watched you graciously escort to the washroom only minutes earlier. The two of you were out of my sight but I was less interested in what had disrupted your autistic student and more interested in how those around me would react. Children were pulled closer, some ran to see, and every head was turned in your direction. As I watched you emerge from around the corner, shirt torn at the collar and sleeves hanging on by a thread, I could only imagine what was going through the gawkers' heads. But what I noticed as you escorted the still screaming teen out of the building in a style not unlike that of a police officer detaining a dangerous suspect was the calm on your face and compassion in your eye.  Although barely beyond teenage years yourself you remained poised and new exactly what was needed. Seeing you re-enter the building with your shredded shirt hanging off your shoulders, accompanied by a now calm and silent young man and deflecting judgmental stares from every direction, I wanted nothing more than to run up and say "Thank you." You didn't give up. The day at the indoor playground was not about you but rather a special outing for your friend. Your courage and poise are something that I admire and hope to have one day. That young man is lucky to have you by his side.
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The story goes far beyond the cover

Today’s letter was contributed by Sara-Anne (@sara___anne). Her words remind me that stories are often deeper than what we initially perceive. It is these deeper stories that make humanity so beautifully diverse. Check out more of her writing.
To the girl who thinks it's unfair some kids get extra time taking test because it gives them an advantage and better grade:  It is unfair. It's unfair that those kids have mostly struggled until high school until being diagnosed. It's unfair that they study for two hours and still experience test anxiety. It's unfair when they sit down to take the test and only think about how much time they should spend on each question. It's unfair they wonder if they can finish on time and then realize they have just wasted 4 minutes calculating the questions to time and most recalculate, wasting more time. It's unfair when EVERY single noise, smell, or visual stimulation is hyped to their brain. It's unfair when they start hearing book bags zip up and they have not even looked at the last two pages of the test. It's unfair when the other kids are leaving the classroom and they have to decide whether they have time to rush and finish, stay in the class and finish (that is, once they have remembered if the teacher has a class next), or come back later and finish the test (that is, if the certain teacher even allows that). It is unfair when the teacher forgets you have testing accommodations. When you thought they actually "cared" about each student personally. It's unfair when the teacher doesn't understand exactly why you need extra time when some days you can finish a test just like everyone else.   It's unfair to try 4 different medicines and 3 dosage differences after experiencing depression, migraines, panic attacks, anxiety, off of appetite, and loss of interest in being with friends. It's unfair when they have to have a million and one papers signed to even have their accommodations approved, and thats after being testing while moving little red blocks around.   So to the girl who thinks it is unfair for kids with testing accommodations, it's very unfair.   Always remember situations are not always as they seem. There is more to every story than you will know. And loosely joking about the fat kid, the black kid, the short kid, the kid with health issues, and the kid who has testing accommodations actually hurts. Our Creator made everyone different to bring glory to His name, having differences is not bad at all. Being different is a blessing, however it's never ok to let someone take your differences to far and act like they know what is like to have them too.
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If there was a return for our defective parts, we’d all be perfect (and lacking in character)

Dear Self-Conscious Mail Collector, Our only encounter was one that was filled with a deafening silence. As I watched you sheepishly fish your little hand around inside the mailbox which most likely contained bills and flyers I could sense that you felt a little uneasy. I stood patiently and shifted on my feet a bit so you wouldn't notice that I was actually inching further away; trying desparately to ease the awkward tension. It wasn't until you turned the lock on your mailbox door and stepped back toward that street that I noticed the source of your angst: your plastic leg brace. As I watched you involuntarily hobble down the street with your head hung low, averting any eye contact with those passing by I could tell that you wished for nothing more than to shrink into oblivion. What struck me more than your intense self-consciousness at the mere of maybe 8, was the pain that I felt knowing that it was people like me who made you feel that way. Whether it's kids at school or their parents who let their gaze linger on your encased calf longer than necessary, we are the ones who make you feel defective . . . broken. Here's a little secret: we're all defective and broken. We're just good at pretending we're not. One day your leg will heal and you will walk tall while the rest of us continue to hide the brokeness we pretend we don't have.
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Your day may have been shit but I bet you were wearing shoes

Today’s letter goes out to Fadra Nally (@allthingsfadra), a blogger from North Carolina who is taking the Flippin’ Good! Deeds Challenge. Let’s help her change the world and give her an opportunity to see it happen with her own eyes. See how you can help.
Dear Community Shoe Collector, "Even my bad days are good days." The truth of these words hit home as I reflect on the difficult season that I seem to be merely plodding through. There is so much to be grateful for; so much that we can still afford to give back despite the "shitty" situations that we may find ourselves in while living in North America. And you're doing it. You are exploiting the abundance (or as a cynic such as myself would say "the overindulgence") of our excessive western culture by giving back in such a tangible way. Shoes. We're obsessed with them. So much so that we have closets full of them that we've only worn a handful of times that sit waiting to be discovered in the front closet or under the bed only to be thrown in the trash; or if they're really lucky thrown into a garbage bag and hauled down to the second hand store. But not you. You're collecting them, and not because you have a shoe fetish but because you want to change the world and see it with your own eyes. There are a lot of people who don't understand the power and strength of online communities but you GET it. You have inspired me to help however I can. Even if I do live in Canada. You truly are an inspiration and a social role model.          Thank you and god speed.
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Restoring hope to a broken world = Culture making

Today’s letter goes out to Andy Crouch (@ahc) whom I had the privilege of hearing talk about what it means to be a culture maker. (Not an affiliate link)
Dear Seasoned Culture Maker, I have been apart of culture shaping conversations for most of my life but never have I understood what it means to create culture as much I do after hearing you so clearly articulate your own passions. What I realized last night was that we, as North Americans, are great at shifting culture, at moving culture, and at rearranging culture; but we have missed the mark when it comes to creating culture. You said that when "culture is created well, threre is a flourishing; it enahnces the world around us." Often we set out to create culture for our own gain: our own ego (despite how noble our intentions may seem). But when this is our approach we end up paying god and can throw our world into a state of poverty that it does not deserve. The powerful portrait you painted of restoration is what clicked for me. We were created to create culture. But somehow most of us have shifted to consuming culture. In order to a create culture that enhances the world in which we live we need to restore hope. Hope in ourselves, who we are and who we were created be. Hope in others. But most of all, hope in humanity.
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A world without #MCV is incomprehensible

Word on the street is that today is Dustin Senos’ birthday. I’ve been following him for a while and he has inspired me to no end…although he doesn’t know it. Drop him a line and wish him a happy birthday.
Dear Genius Code Writer, Guys like you inspire me. Hell, you inspire me. Part of it is probably just the man crush that I've developed over the last couple of years that I've following the work that you do. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't part of me that wanted to be you. But the thing that I'm impressed with the most; the thing that keeps pushing me to better is the passion you for WHY you do what you do. It's not to churn out code for the sake of churning out code. It's not to design or redesign something to simply make it more aesthetically pleasing. By creating, coding and designing ways that enable us to interact with each other in new and rewarding ways, you are helping bring a level of humanity to technology that may not otherwise exist. You see the world for what it is: a big, open, limitless playground that is begging to be explored in ways that it never has been before.  Keep playing. Who knows, maybe one day I'll grow a pair big enough to join you.                                       Happy Birthday,