Blog

January 2019 – Sade Adeyemi


I spent one of my first few hours as a Crave Leader in tears. Here I was, in a room full of ambitious, established people dedicated to their respective causes and making major moves within their communities, and I, a recent grad with bright blue hair and little experience in the real world, was still figuring out my path. In this room where I sat between a nonprofit’s president and an executive director I felt like I did not fit the idea I somehow formed of who an ideal Crave Leader should be. I turned to Michele and said, “I don’t belong here. I think you made a mistake.” Nobody has ever told me so adamantly how wrong I was. She told me I seemed to hold a wisdom beyond my years, and invited me to be vulnerable. Taking an unprecedented leap of faith and embracing that vulnerability has undoubtedly been the biggest catalyst in my personal growth and self-discovery. By allowing others to intimately know me, I’ve learned so much more about myself as well. I’ve been pushed to explore what motivates me, the path that has led me to where I am now, and the steps I’ll need to take to reach my goals. I’ve been able to pinpoint my passions, and I can finally say, with more certainty than I’ve ever held, that I know who I am, and where I’m going. In the past 6 months I’ve grown out of the uncertainty that I deserved this exclusive position, and into acceptance that I am exactly where I’m meant to be right now. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and the person I have become, and the person I am striving to be every single day could not exist without the experiences I’ve had so far in Crave.


My mom always told me, “Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are.” Through Crave, I’ve found more than just friends; I have an entire family behind me with my growth and best interest at heart. I have a mentor who has helped me to put my passion into words others can understand. I have a community of people who push me to explore thoughts I otherwise would’ve let slip away. I have leaders to look up to who are also doing the best they can, and who aren’t afraid to admit if they don’t know what they’re doing. Crave has given me more than I possibly could have anticipated. Every meeting begins with the sort of stillness you can feel within the very core of your being, and ends with a glow that reminds me I’m working toward something greater than myself. Crave reminds me that together, as a community, we are stronger, wiser and capable of so much more.


Michele and the rest of the Crave board saw something in me during my interviews that I couldn’t even see myself, and I couldn’t be more thankful. They recognized my craving for the greater good, and my burning desire to make a positive impact, despite being unaware of how best to apply my efforts. I have finally discovered that I am most passionate about personal development and education reform. I believe that every child deserves the opportunity to grow up to reach their fullest potential, and some of the resources and knowledge needed to do so cannot be intrinsically learned, and so must be taught. I believe that this discovery is the first of many steps I’ll need to take in order to help initiate the changes necessary to make this happen. This is only the beginning.


Chantel Aquart


January 2019 – Chantel Aquart

 

Organize – verb

 

     1. Arrange into a structured whole; order
        Synonyms: assemble, systemize, declutter
     2. Make arrangements of preparations for (an event or activity); coordinate

 

I believe that the ability to organize your life is a critical skill that should be taught to us from a young age. Knowing how to make a plan for our life, keep our personal space in order and our mind at ease while managing our daily, weekly, yearly tasks and schedules can aid in preventing enormous amounts of stress and chaos. Our lives are bombarded daily with things to do and attend to. When we have a system of organization in our life we have the opportunity for spontaneity, autonomy and adventure. Despite the amount of things crying out for our attention, being organized can lead to personal growth, meaningful relationships and a more enjoyable life.

 

Having clutter in our space, mind and time interrupts the flow of our life. This clutter causes chaos and slows us down weather we realize it or not. Our mental wellbeing and physical environment become unsatisfying compared to the safe havens we need them to be. The process of streamlining and organizing life can be a key factor in bringing us peace, calm and happiness. This skill is not something that we are born with and it’s not even something many enjoy doing. Thankfully there are professionals like myself and others that can work alongside you gently helping you find solutions for life’s clutter while gaining productivity and efficiency. There are also many online resources such as napo.net and challengingdisorganization.org which can give you some resources to begin the organization journey. The month of January is usually a good month to start this process although it will benefit you at any point during the year. Start small with a plan and believe in yourself that it can be done. If all else fails, call an expert for assistance.

 

In August of 2018 I began the incredible experience of being a Crave Leader. Since then, I have benefited greatly by making companions with other like-minded Leaders. I have received tremendous professional skill development from industry leaders as well as mentorship from caring individuals who all crave the common good. Crave is a “soulful learning container for social innovators who lead meaning-making communities” and I am so pleased to be a part of it. I have gained an extensive amount of knowledge from this experience and look forward to continued development and connections with my work, vision and mission of life organization.

 

Chantel Aquart

 

December 2018 – Bill Walker


Reflecting on those matters which have contributed to shaping my life to its present state, I begin with my family of origin, in which I was the only child born of a remarkable couple who were bright, loving, caring, industrious Methodists and whose first concern was others, rather than themselves. Throughout our joint lives they modeled those values, along with Boy Scouting and Rotary. Those institutions not only enriched my life, they set forth models of behavior and core values and disciplines which throughout my life served to guide and hold before me values of the highest order.


We seem to be in one of those times in history in which our culture is awash with change, and in which the direction of change is unclear. Perhaps it is a time in which we have thrown out the bathwater and are unclear what happened to the baby which was in it! That is, we are collectively casting aside that which we knew was useful, albeit imperfect, with no collective clarity as to what will replace. When I think of those institutions which amidst the communities I have lived, I am not clear who I would be without their influence. I am reaching the end of my life, but my children and grandchildren “have miles to go” and out of my devotion to them and their best interests I want to contribute meaningful to the transition, as denying it is futile.


Crave is seeking to form itself as a helpful thing to one important group of this new world, and that is leaders who crave a deeper understanding of themselves and who wish to participate in forming the modeling of the new world what will aid themselves and others to thrive in spiritual health, perhaps the essential component of a leader.


If you would like to learn more or wish to join in supporting the next generation of spiritual leadership and belonging, I welcome you to reach out to me directly via email and follow Crave’s journey on social media at @CraveFLA.


Bill Walker
Founding Board Member
Crave, Inc.


November 2018 – Frank Bailey, Jr.

My name is Frank Bailey, Jr. and I CRAVE to make the world a better place by teaching life skills through plant cultivation with Grow Orlando. We hire disadvantaged youth and teach them how to harvest their seeds of potential and become Stewards of Creation. While cultivating food and taking our students through classes of finance, personal and professional development, I didn’t know (but soon found out) was that my organization CRAVE’d for me to be a better person with the tact and foresight of a leader still packed away in my own seeds of potential. As I hack and strike at my internal earth to plant my seeds of potential, I uncovered people and programs that embraced my torrential struggles of breakthrough and nourish my CRAVE for growth with cultivation tips – and what a trip it’s been. Here’s a snapshot of CRAVE how it’s impacted my life:

When our spiritual formation gathers

Fellow leaders join me in our spiritual place

A place of vulnerability and love in peace

Knowing our latter lives will rise in grace

We center our souls in the Spirit of Trust

Hoping our scattered minds will collect themselves

And through each other’s joys and pains we find unity in growth.

What a blessing for God to invite the Universe to conspire in His favor in our lives for the betterment of others

Social change-makers

Collectively going through professional transformation

And like good samaritans

Our path is intertwined with supporters CRAVEing to see us grow and succeed

Finding time for us in their busy lives to satiate our CRAVE for a better world

My samaritan’s name is Tom,

And our talks grow peace and calm in the mindstorm of my entrepreneurial pursuits.

It suits my cause to change lives through food,

He extends his arm, and helps me pursue stronger connections with game-changing relationships

He equips, converses and strips down the barriers I once faced alone,

Where one was weak, we are strong.

I thank Michele and the CRAVE board for buying into the success of people like me who want to see a better world,

But must first unfurl the embetterment of self.

With you, we are receiving:

Clarity in strategy,

Reassurance in individuality,

Abundance in opportunity,

Virtue in community, and

Eternal love through the family culture created through CRAVE.

Ask, and you shall receive.

I asked for wisdom to carry out God’s deeds here on Earth and I was sent CRAVE.

I pray for love, peace, and purpose for you, dear reader

And I hope you consider Making CRAVE a part of your future.

Your Friend,

Frank

P.S. If you don’t believe in God, it’s okay

I’ve found equal ground

I believe God is Love, so if you wish you can switch all of the words that say God and change it to Love.

Blessings to You.

Crave Is My Church

 

My parents raised me in church.

Potluck Wednesday suppers where mayonnaise was the primary ingredient of every dish.  Ladies with big hats who smelled of rose water and hugged too tightly. Fearlessly exhausted Sunday school volunteers who tried to make ancient, strange stories relevant. Playground time, butter cookies in tin cans, and parents who talked too long in the parking lot.

Church was a gift. It was intimate, safe, and above all it was loving.

Thirty years later, I long for these gifts, but our fast-paced, YouTube soundbite, UberEats life enhancements are hard to enjoy served up with mass shootings, genocide (still), and a painfully polarized nation.

I don’t want to “go to” church anymore. I want to be church. I want my home to be church where we feel intimate, safe, and loved. I want our family to be a light to others — whether it is our neighbor, a teacher, an employee, a refugee from Venezuela, or a youth in Naivasha, Kenya.

Here’s the hard truth I try not to think about: I can’t give my kids the intimacy, safety and love of a faith community the way my parents did. I have to do it another way, because the very thing that grounded my being doesn’t seem to anchor us anymore.

 

Here’s what I do know we need:

 

Divine Wisdom and Experiences

Especially the miraculous life-giving and faith-developing stories of God and God’s people, contained in (especially for me) the Bible. Also, in equal measure and power, the Koran, the Torah, Harry Potter, Star Wars, This Is Us, Instagram posts from The Rock, and other inspired God-breathed art. Sunsets, walks in the woods, hope in the face of everything lost, puppies, babies, and really old people in love.

 

Real Community

The kind of community where people struggle with faith. People who lead incredible life changing projects and admit to having no idea what they’re doing. People who sometimes cuss at their kids and sometimes channel the Holy Spirit in perfect measure. People who are further down the road in work, marriage, citizenry, parenting, and caring for elderly parents. People who still struggle after all these years to really understand forgiveness. People who can patiently and vulnerably explain something I don’t understand. People who are willing to do the gut-wrenching work to mourn together when life royally inexplicably sucks and party together until the sun comes up when life is miraculously and inexplicably is amazing.


 

A Bridge

Without effort, I will live my life with people just like me and miss Heaven completely. I need to know others who make me nervous or scared or mad. Not just serve them, read about them, and pray for them, but have a relationship with them. This will allow me see and experience and believe that I am them and they are me and God is alive and working in all of us. Socio-economic differences, political differences, racial differences, generational differences, religious differences — there is a lot that may seem to separate us. But the whole world, not only who or what is in my immediate circle, is God’s creation and I need the courage and encouragement and introductions to be in and love all of it. I desperately want to learn that, do that, and most importantly model it for my children.

Attending church without these three things (wisdom, community, bridges) becomes poor stewardship and a waste of time. If our church isn’t doing these three things, then I don’t need to “go to” church. But, for the sake of my soul and the sake of the world, I do need to be church.

Crave is where this happens because these Leaders who join in share divine wisdom, engage in real community, and embody bridge work. They are connected to their source, to one another, and to their purpose. I am so grateful to be pastored by these young Leaders who have dedicated their lives to changing the world. By simply being in their company, God is changing me.

If any of this resonates with you, your life, or your faith journey, then let’s grab a cup of coffee and consider what’s next. God is obviously up to something good.

 

Michele Van Son Neill
Founder
Crave, Inc.