Choosing to Give & the Story of Widow’s Mite

2013 Israel Group

2013 Israel Group

I’ve had the incredible opportunity to travel to Israel twice with my mother. She brings groups of people over to the Holy Land to learn more about the Bible’s teachings through a gifted preacher out of Texas named Jim Martin.

Widow's mite ring

Widow’s mite ring

After my first trip in 2010 she gave me a gift of a widow’s mite coin that had been made into a ring. To be honest, I wasn’t completely familiar with the actual story (just more the lesson). Back in Jesus’ day He was teaching in the Temple and a widow brought two coins as an offering (at the time the coins were the lowest in currency value). Much wealthier people donated more money than her. Jesus explained to His disciples that the smaller means from poorer people mean more to Him then the extravagant, but less proportional amount from the wealthy.

I’m reminded of this story because May is the month that I’ve chosen to raise money for the last 19 years of my life…ever since my younger brother Will was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes. Year after year I write a letter and send it out in the mail (now I also post on the internet!) and am amazed by people’s incredible generosity. Some of these folks I’ve never personally met, but may be my parent’s friends or someone who saw that I was raising money on Facebook and wanted to donate $5 to diabetes because they knew someone affected by it.

Why I love the story of the widow’s mite is because it doesn’t matter the amount of money you donate to a cause…it could be $1 or $100. I believe you are blessed when you give. I know I’ve found that in my own life when donating my time or money. I’m also touched by people’s kind words that they send me along with their donations during this time of year.

*If you’re interested in learning more about the Tour de Cure for the American Diabetes Association that I’m riding in on Saturday, May 30th in Minneapolis, MN click here…

Type-1 Diabetes from a Documentary Filmmaker’s Perspective…

J.D.was in a Bible study of mine when I was living in Minneapolis last year. He had told me his love and passion for telling other people’s story through the eye of a camera lens. Because I was looking to have a new speaker’s video created…he shot me some ideas. As a lot of you know, the final product was a video that now has had almost 8,000 views in just a few short weeks. In a recent conversation with JD I asked him if he would guest post on my blog about what he learned about someone living with type-1 diabetes from filming this short project with me. Here are his fascinating responses below…..

By: J.D. O’Brien

I’m a documentary filmmaker because I love to tell stories, and I believe that everyone has a story worth hearing. This job allows me to hear people’s stories, and then help shape and craft them so those stories can be shared with lots of people.

J.D. O'Brien

J.D. O’Brien

For each video I produce, I look for a scene that the subject and I can create together that will create a break from seeing a talking head for the duration of the video, but also show the audience another angle of the subject’s character and personality. For Quinn, figure skating was a natural fit. She had competed into her teen years, and so it’s something she’s been passionate about for a long time. From a filmmaking perspective, it’s a graceful, beautiful athletic skill that was easy to capture on video. But the setting of the pond also helped establish Quinn as a small town girl from Minnesota, and it also showed that she’s a very disciplined and determined woman, and that showed equally in the moves that she accomplished flawlessly as well as the ones where she ended up on her backside.

I actually learned a lot about type-1 diabetes from making this project. The biggest thing I learned was the lack of choices involved for those with the disease. While type-2 is often preventable, type-1 strikes completely at random. For most of us, if we have a similar lifestyle of discipline and determination like Quinn showed us in the video, it’s because we’ve chosen that lifestyle. We made conscious choices to eat healthier, or stop accumulating credit card debt, or a whole host of other things. For Quinn, and others with type-1 diabetes, they either needed to develop that determination and discipline as children, or they would die. There were no other options.

I hope that all of my films create an opportunity for the audience to walk a mile in the shoes of someone else. In this case, the shoes of someone living with type-1 diabetes. I hope that they walk away with a greater appreciation for the struggles of those living with type-1 diabetes. I also hope that for the portion of this audience that does live with type-1 diabetes that they can find empathy, hope and solidarity from Quinn’s story.

Here’s the final product: