Carlos Whitaker Is The Moment Maker
Author, blogger and worship leader Carlos Whittaker never set out to write a book. He simply lives each day with intentionality, hoping he’s creating meaningful moments that make for a good story along the way. He’s spent the last three years blogging daily at www.ragamuffinsoul.com, giving readers a glimpse into his personal life and sharing his thoughts on popular culture. His blog has launched a platform for the Nashville-based evangelical to talk about his faith and how he views cultural issues through the lens of Scripture. That’s led to a recurring segment on “Headline News,” an interview on “The Today Show,” an appearance on “My LA Ink” and even a People’s Choice Award.
His growing blog audience eventually peaked the interest of publishers who inquired if he’d be interested in writing a book. Perplexed as to what he might actually write about, Whittaker began reviewing his most popular blog posts, and quickly learned people loved reading about the “big” moments in his life, some of which, looking back, Whittaker didn’t even see as impactful at the time. That sparked the inspiration for his debut novel, Moment Maker (Zondervan, April 1).
“When I look at our society today, we’re a big curating society,” he surmises. “People are filling bucket lists up; they’re filling their Pinterest boards up, but what I realized is people aren’t doing anything. We love to gather, but our houses don’t look like our Pinterest boards, and our bucket list items never get checked off. Life’s too big to fit in a bucket. Instead of filling up a bucket list, let’s go ahead and make moments every single day.”
Whittaker and his wife, Heather, live out this mantra, looking for unusual ways to engage their three children—two daughters and one son, Losiah, whom they adopted from South Korea in 2006. They’ve found it’s often the simple, ordinary moments in life that actually hold the most significance.
Case in point, when the family was riding in their car four years ago, jamming to Beyoncé, they had no idea the humorous moment they coincidentally captured on their phone would go viral. Today, the video has been viewed nearly 7 million times, and its popularity gave the Whittaker family a chance to share their adoption story with multiple national media outlets who covered the instant viral sensation.
Sometimes the moments aren’t nearly as huge and surprising but every bit as rewarding, like having water balloons waiting on your kids when they come home from school, or forging a friendship with a homeless man on a park bench, or welcoming home a soldier from Afghanistan during an airport layover—all seemingly insignificant parts of a bigger story Whittaker shares in Moment Maker.
However, he’s quick to admit that creating moments takes thought, determination and some creativity. “In order to live a moment-making life, you have to be intentional, and you have to say, ‘yes,’” Whittaker notes. “Hopefully, this book is really going to help people just start saying ‘yes’ and [learn to] create, receive and rescue moments on a daily basis.”
Sometimes moments are meant to be kept, but other times they need to be given away. Whittaker learned this one day when he spontaneously executed a “moment making” experiment while on an airplane. He decided he would complement every fifth person who passed his seat while boarding. This went on for several minutes, and the people sitting nearby quickly caught on. He complimented one last lady on her pearls, and this time, he received a hug from a perfect stranger that literally lifted him out of his seat. She had tears in her eyes as she pulled away from the embrace and thanked him. To him, the compliment was nothing; to her, the compliment was everything. “It didn’t take me planning and executing and Pinterest boarding,” he offers. “It took stopping and giving this moment to somebody else. And of course, what happened? It turned around and made me feel amazing, and it gave me a moment as well.”
Whittaker affirms there are many moments like the now infamous “Single Ladies Devastation” video that are meant to be shared. However, there are other landmark moments that should be kept sacred. While there’s a time and place for social media, Whittaker believes some moments should be reserved solely for us. “I think we just need to put our phones down more. We need to shut our laptops,” he observes. “We need to stop capturing every single moment and giving them away, right away, on Twitter and Instagram.”
Life often brings moments that are too big, too meaningful to capture in an Instagram photo, a Facebook post or a Tweet. Sometimes, we just have to preserve them in our hearts.
Instead of waiting for life to happen, Whittaker hopes others will join him in taking the initiative to create beautiful moments all their own. “If I were to ask my 5-year-old son to start a bucket list, he’d look at me like I was crazy. Why? Because every day is like a bucket list day for him,” he adds. “Hopefully, people will realize that every day you can literally fill your entire bucket list with moments.”