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November 2021 – Michele Van Son Neill

Confessions of a Founder: This is so about you

My mom would have turned 78 later this month. She was a kind soul and she died too young. I miss so much about her, but especially her simple direct wisdom. “Life is daily” was a good one. Another favorite: “Men. Women. What was God thinking?” As a teen I’d whine to her about how my brothers were treating me and she’d turn to me and say, “It’s hell living with people.” I repeated that back to her 20 years later when I lived with two 3-year-olds and a 2-year-old. We laughed until tears ran down our cheeks.

Michele’s mother Rev. Robbi Walker on her birthday, November 26

My favorite line of hers she once used as a sermon title she preached on God’s grace, “This Is So Not About You.” Isn’t that the truth?  Don’t we need to be reminded of that? We can get trapped so easily into thinking it’s all my fault, my responsibility, my job alone. Nine out of ten times, no matter the situation, it really isn’t about you. It’s really about something or someone else. Rarely though, we find ourselves in circumstances where it is about you.  For example, there is only one Founder – and it is me.

Five years after the founding of Crave (can you believe it?!?), we are taking intentional time to reflect, respond, and recalibrate. Crave has grown from a small group of spiritually curious social entrepreneurs to a wildly diverse, deeply connected, powerfully impactful collection of people only the Holy Spirit could gather for times such as these. I attended a prestigious university, I attend a powerful church, I live in a heavily resourced influential neighborhood, but never have I EVER been part of such a rich, dynamic, blessed, passionate, and brilliant group of people as Crave.

Preparing to Start cohort five was the time for the leveled-up 2.0 God-size dream for Crave. What will we become? What’s next for us? How will we get there? As I prayed over and over these questions while walking our dog and in the carpool line, I kept coming up blank.  Worse than blank, I felt overwhelmed, tired, and tangled up in too many and too few good ways forward. As Founder, considering what the next five years should/could/would be, I was in over my head. I needed to learn my mother’s lesson again, “this is so not about you.”

In the middle of a recent “overwhelmed/tired/tangled” week, Crave IV graduate Simon Adams and I met for coffee. He excitedly shared with me a THREE PAGE DOCUMENT of his vision for the future of Crave. As I listened to his explanation of his experience with his project, with Crave, and how Crave will become a launching community for spiritually grounded, experienced change-makers in central Florida, I remembered my mother’s lesson. The 2.0 God-sized dream of Crave will emerge from our Alumni Leaders! They have lived the pain they now work to help heal. They have the trauma of injustice and scars of racism but now stand strong and open-hearted to restore our city and the people in it. Crave attracts people who have the lived experience and then invite the rest of us to join in their God-sized dream of a loving, flourishing central Florida. Their story is our story is my story is your story:  

Inevitable life trauma/scars meets…

loving community that is spirit/grace centered + 

support/education/opportunities

expanded network of helpers to show us the way = 

the good life (aka: kingdom of God/heaven)

You’ve lived this story. I’ve lived this story. This is Crave’s story. This is God’s story. 

This is a time when God’s grace and abundance IS all about YOU. Many of Crave’s leaders started life way behind my starting line. Many of their trauma and scars were setbacks and barriers I will never experience and understand. What I do experience and understand is abundance and I want to help them bring about a loving, flourishing community in Central Florida and beyond. That’s why I and many others financially support Crave Leaders’ spiritual grounding/education/project development. This time it is so about me. And, this is so about you

Keep an eye out for lots of opportunities to contribute to Central Florida’s God-sized dreams through Crave during the giving season. Finally, over the holidays please share the good news with your friends and family about the amazing people of Crave who bring hope to the world! 

Happy Thanksgiving 
(and Happy Birthday, Mom!)
Michele Van Son Neill
Crave Founder
Join Central Florida’s revolutionary change-makers by volunteering your gifts of time, skills, relationships, and seed funding. 

 

Tags: Crave IV, Michele Van Son Neill, Simon Adams

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Thank you to the following generous donors:

CRAVE CHAMPIONS ($20,000 +)

Susan H. Marcy & Wilbur H. Marcy Trust, Winter Park FL

Dean and Jill Bosco and Family, Orlando FL

Davidson Family Foundation, San Jose CA

Bill Walker and Rev. Debbie McLeod, Winter Park, FL

 

CRAVE CHEERLEADERS ($2,000 +)

Rev. Michele Van Son and Rob Neill and Family, Winter Park FL

Ivor and Mary Scott Singer, Winter Park FL

Future Generations Fund, Lakeland FL

Florida Methodist Conference, Lakeland, FL

Kathleen Hoffman, Clearwater FL

Phillip Henry, Orlando FL

Charlotte and Dave Nielson, Winter Park FL

Bell Bank, Winter Park FL

Angie and Jeff Winn, Windermere FL

Ashley and Brian Vann, Winter Park FL

Katrina and Mark Jackson, Winter Park FL

Jim and Liz Stroz and Family, Winter Park FL

Blaire and Josh Lynch and Family, Winter Park FL

Barbie and Steve Boyd, Winter Park FL

Laura and Miles Toshie, Winter Park FL

Carin and Oscar Anderson, Orlando FL

RJ Sonomo Family Giving Fund, Orlando FL

Catherine and Skip Matthias and Family, Winter Park FL

Debby and Jim Manuel, Orlando FL

Kristin and Ryan Morgan and Family, Winter Park FL

Janice and Randy Ellington, Maitland FL

Massey Services, Inc., Orlando FL

Bailes Family Foundation, Winter Park FL

Beth and Bill Neidlinger, Winter Park FL

and the over 200 Crave Community Builders who’ve donated $2 to $2000.00!