What are you enjoying right now?
Sometimes, we need to step back and ask a question like that.
Philippians 4:8 challenges believers to think and dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable.” So the Facts & Trends staff would like to regularly share our “Favorites” at the moment.
It might be a new book or podcast we’re enjoying or something going on in our lives we want to share. Hopefully, you’ll think about things that are your favorites right now and maybe find something else to add to that list.
Aaron Earls (@WardrobeDoor), online editor: Often times in the darkest situation, light shines out and brings hope to tragedy. In the midst of the horrors in Syria, an aid worker sought to inspire the young girls living there.
Instead of asking them about their war-torn current reality, Meredith Hutchison asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up. She worked with the girls to imagine their future job and life. Then they photographed them dressed up as if they were in their dream job and had them write something to young girls looking up to them.
“We print the photos to have discussions with parents and community leaders about the potential of their daughters, the need to invest in their education, the need to keep them safe,” Hutchison said. “This is possible and this is what it would look like for your daughter. She has confidence, she can communicate herself, she is powerful.”
As the father of two daughters, this was a powerful reminder of the power of encouragement and how small things can be significant to individuals in devastating circumstances. See some of the photos and read some of their stories in the excellent piece at The Washington Post.
Carol Pipes (@CarolPipes), editor: Time recently commissioned freelance photo editor Sanna Dullaway to colorize several iconic photographs by Lewis Hine. A sociologist and photographer during the early 1900s, Hine is known for his “work photos” documenting the lives of workers and child laborers.
This set of photos shows children working in textile mills, coal mines, and other factories around the U.S. While I admire black and white photographer, the colorization seems to make these photos come alive.
I was especially drawn to the photos of the mill workers. During the early ’20s, my Great Aunt Gerell worked in a North Georgia textile mill. She was only 12 or 13 at the time. Her job was to hand-stitch handkerchiefs. She might work 6 hours straight for pennies an hour.
I can’t imagine what that must have been like. But thanks to these photographs I can get a brief glimpse of what her working conditions were like. You can see more of Dullaway’s work at her website.
Lisa Green (@lisaccgreen), managing editor: My father has always been an astronomy buff, so when I learned about the first-ever detection of gravitational radiation, I shouldn’t have been surprised that he’d already heard the news. I sent him a link to the New York Times; he pointed me to the Astronomy Picture of the Day.
Two black holes colliding in a distant galaxy have confirmed a prediction by Einstein and helped astronomers better understand our universe. It’s a humbling reminder of the vast scope and complexity of God’s creation, and His goodness in allowing us to explore and understand it.
Once again I am reminded of the words of Psalm 8: “When I observe Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You set in place, what is man that You remember him, the son of man that You look after him?”
Bob Smietana (@BobSmietana), senior writer: I’ve been a superhero fan ever since my grandfather bought my first comic for a quarter at the drug store on Acushnet Avenue, not far from his house in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Among my favorites has always been the Flash—especially Jay Garrick with his trademark winged helmet.
In recent weeks, I’ve been thrilled with the second season of The Flash on the CW. It’s perfect comic book adaptation. Lighthearted enough to show the joy of having a superpower—Barry Allan loves to run fast—with enough danger of fighting supervillians to provide the drama that makes great television.
Even more, The Flash is filled with small grace notes. Barry is raised by Joe West, an African American police officer, after the death of his mother, and they’ve formed a close knit, interracial family. It’s a nice touch. The show also hits on big picture topics—like the power of friendship, the difficulty of forgiving family members who’ve gone astray, and the temptation of “What If.”
The best part of The Flash—there’s no whining. Comic books and superhero movies have gotten darker in recent years, in part due the influence of Frank Miller’s famed Batman graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns. Now it seems every superhero is mopey and whiney, haunted and burdened by their powers. Sometimes I want to shout out “Give me a break” when a hero says, “I am faster than a speeding bullet, woe is me.”
There’s none of that in The Flash. There’s drama and struggle but also joy. It’s the closest thing to The Incredibles—by far the best superhero movie ever—that’s on TV.
Katie Shull (@KShull), graphic designer: I stumbled on the site typographicverses.com while looking for some design ideas. It is a great source for inspirational Bible verses. Most are created by artist Jonathan Ogden, but others can submit entries as well. Looking at Scripture in a creative and artistic way can really make you think deeper about its meaning.
What has made you smile so far this week? What would be your favorite today?