Category

children

Great Big World

By | children, food, touring, world | No Comments

This week I have been thinking a lot about the remaining 28 kids on my merch table. To be honest, I’m a goal-setter and I sometimes trivialize important things and make them all about achieving a goal…and I’ve been kind of doing that with my FH kids. Goal: get 5 kids sponsored on this tour. Current sponsorships: 1.

This week has been a long one. So far Ive played 8 shows in 8 days, traveled well over 1500 miles, and had so much to keep track of touring with a band while still trying to fill open dates in my August tour down south. Im feeling incredibly exhausted, a bit sleepy (its nearly 5am and I should probably just go to bed), but mostly discouraged. Discouraged because 290 people disappeared into thin air just 2 days ago – lost their lives…like they never even existed! Just gone. And I’m like WHAT??? How does that even happen? How is that even allowed to happen??? Who’s getting away with this kind of stuff!!? These questions, and the anger that comes with them, weigh me down.

I was sitting in the back of the Theater at our Creative Alliance show on Thursday (Baltimore) and LEA (incredible songwriter) was singing this song that almost made me cry like a baby. I think it was called Great Big World. She sang about how dark the world has gotten and how hopeless it can seem, and how easy it is to be distracted by all the sadness and evil; but how beautiful it is to look into the eyes of a child and see hope through their innocence. The song was so good…and on our drive from Baltimore to Central PA all I could think of was these kids! I’ve got 28 of them and to everyone (myself included sometimes) they are ’’just faces’’. There’s no personal attachment. We don’t know them, they don’t know us, they just sit on my table. And if no one sponsors them, then they don’t get sponsored. And if they don’t get help, they continue living in poverty. And because it’s a great big world, it ’’doesn’t really matter’’ to most of us because they’re so far away, it doesn’t directly affect us, and ’’we’ll never meet them anyhow’’…right? And so I have been very sad about this these past two days because 290 people being bombed out of the sky should never be allowed to happen. And children going hungry should actually be illegal! And we shouldn’t become so apathetic that we accept both and simply go on with our lives.

The Food for the Hungry station at my table doesn’t exist so that I can feel better about myself and convince myself that I am making the world a better place, It’s there so that, with the help of you all, the hundreds of people who come to shows every month, kids who are living in poverty can live in freedom. I believe there is nothing more dangerous in this world than a child with no hope left in their eyes…because that’s all we got!

If you want to sponsor a child, you can do that right here on my FH page: www.joyike.com/fh. Sponsorship is $35 a month and that’s really not much. If you want to ask me question, please shoot me an email: [email protected]

In love,
Joy

 

#317 embrace the day!

By | beauty, children, family | No Comments

Twas another one of those days when I had the pleasure of spending time with Samuel & Emmanuel. On these particular days I know that life will be happier, because these boys are my sunshine. This picture captures it all. They woke up before me and I asked them to give me 30 more minutes. So while i tried to sleep, they hopped onto my bed, sat by the window and watched the stray cats in my backyard. They proceeded to tell me everything the cats were doing (so obviously i didn’t get any more sleep). At this point, I could only get up and snap a photo to capture the absolute joy of the moment. Just pure joy. I found myself once again in awe of how simple happiness can really be. Happiness is just opening your eyes and seeing all the wonder around you. Best experienced through the eyes of a child. :)

#298 Every Story is the Same

By | children, movies, stories | No Comments

I love stories. I love stories so much that I could lock myself in my apartment for a month and surround myself with one story after another.  Movies in particular. One of my favorite things to do with Samuel & Emmanuel is watch movies with them. They are absolutely mesmerized by my popcorn popper :) So we pop popcorn and the stick in a movie.  This happens maybe twice a month. 90% of the time we watch animated movies because they’re kids and they like cartoons.

But lately I’ve been introducing them to real-life movies. Spiderman in particular. Samuel loves Spiderman so much. He talks about spiders all the time and when we found a spider in one of my mugs last week, he asked “Is this the one that bit Spiderman?” Then when i had friends over last week, we didnt realize until later in the night that he was hanging around  my friends, Stephen, because Stephen looks like Tobey Maguire. Everyone got a kick out of that!

To the point: When i first started introducing the boys to real-life movies, I was pretty sure they’d lose interest. I was pretty sure they wouldn’t understand what was happening and that the stories would fly way above their heads. After all, what could possibly compete with brightly-colored animated cartoon characters? Well it turns out that at the age of 3 and 4, Samuel and Emmanuel love non-animated movies! And the reason is because every story is the same. Literally!

When explaining any movie to them, I simply need to point out the bad guy, the good guy, and watch them as they begin to understand the difference between good and evil. Dora The Explorer is the good guy, and Swiper Fox is the bad guy who tries to sabotage all of Dora’s adventures with the kids. Spiderman is the good guy because he saves people from burning buildings before they explode. And James Franco is the bad guy b/c he is trying to hurt Mary Jane and kill Spiderman. Its absurdly simple! Yet I am still amazed by how this narrative works itself into nearly every single story known to man! Sure there are twists, plot thickeners, and occasionally two bad guys who join forces. But the story is always the same! Perhaps this is why I love movies more than books. I like to see how the writers, producers, and directors choose to make their version unique.  One allegory after another, one Aesop Fable after another, all leading to the same place. Redemption.

I’m actually reminded of a post I wrote several months back about this very thing – War is Necessary. I highly suggest reading it because for me it explains why every story is the same same. It explains why, no matter how hard we could ever try, our narrative will never change.

Today I picked up a copy of Home Alone from the library. I can’t wait to share this one with my bros. I know they’ll get a kick out of it. Up next is Man of Steel, then perhaps an animated movie to mix it up a bit :)

 

#284 Smile!

By | children, world | No Comments

Dear Friends,
Today’s post is simple. If you are buying anything….as in ANYTHING off Amazon.com this season, please begin your search through

www.smile.amazon.com

.5% of your purchase will be donated directly to CURE International due to a holiday partnership with Amazon. CURE is one of my favorite organizations as they provide life-changing surgeries for sick children in several of the world’s developing countries. Your $$$ couldn’t be spent any better.  Actually it could: you could directly donate any amount to CURE via their website.

Thanks for reading :)
-Joy

 

#246 Like A Child

By | children, Faith | No Comments

I talk about my munchkin brothers allll the time. In fact, I’m sure that if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’re sick of it. But today while spending the evening with them, I had another one of those moments – that moment where you ask yourself “How could they possibly be so fully alive without actually knowing anything about life?”

But while watching them I realized that they are happy and joyful because they trust. They trust that we’re here. They trust that we’ll feed them, cloth them, watch them, and do every other thing that a little kid’s heart could possibly worry about. In other words, they have no reason not to be happy. They know they are well taken care of.

And this reminded me of why there are so many scriptures in the Bible that talk about the Kingdom of God being like a child. What if we trusted God to the point where we didn’t think about what we would eat, wear, go, do, (etc) because we know He has our best interest in mind. It would be complete freedom! It would be like watching cartoons all day! It would be great!

 

#229 Why Can’t Kids Stay Small Forever?

By | children, family | 3 Comments

On Sundays after church,  I spend the day at my parents house so I can hang out with Samuel & Emmanuel. If you’re new to this blog and don’t know who these little guys are, they’re my recently adopted brothers. Last week made 1 whole year since they arrived in the US.

These two munchkins are the highlight of my week…and yes, my life! Their smiles are contagious and their overwhelming joy makes me explode with all these warm fuzzy feelings every time I see them. I don’t know how else to describe it!

When I’m with them I enjoy watching them play. I often ask myself if I was ever as perfectly happy and innocent as they are? If all I had was a stick that I found in the grass, could I be content like them? If every time we played hide and seek and I hid in the same place, how could i still never get bored with the game?

I enjoy watching them learn new words and I love that sometimes they talk just so they can hear themselves making sentences. Currently Samuel’s favorite word is “remember”. He says stuff like, “Remember when we went to the Museum? Remember when we went to Sister Peace’s house?” He actually understands memories and how they work! So cool!

Emmanuel on the other hand is the quiet one. His is talking much more more too, but he still likes to communicate with his facial expressions, and hugs. I enjoy watching him make his own decisions. For a long time all he did was follow everything Samuel did since Samuel is older by a few months. But now, he doesn’t always feel compelled to do the same thing. He’s doing more experiential learning these days and that’s a big deal!

When I spend time with Samuel and Emmanuel I feel like I’m seeing the most beautiful part of life – hope, joy, and love. Sure they cry when the can’t share a toy. And they also compete with each other alot. And they also fall, scratch their knee, and cry uncontrollably at times. But they’re also unashamedly happy. Fights end as quickly as they start, tears evaporate in seconds, and joy always trumps sadness. I feel like I see God when I’m with them. I wish they could stay tiny forever.

 

#222 Socks Puppets

By | art, children | No Comments

So over the weekend, 3 little girls (and their parents) helped me make puppet socks for an upcoming music video I’m working on. I can’t share much about the video yet, but I wanted to share the fruit of their labor. Their minds were so creative and we had so much fun! I think I’m in the wrong industry ya’ll! I should be doing thing with kids!

Anyhow, here’s my favorite two from the bunch. You can see the others hereSo much fun!