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Give … blood, coats, money, time, prayers

We all have ways that we can help others. It might be spending time helping your favorite charity or maybe you make a financial contribution. And despite what some say, I believe that keeping someone in your thoughts and prayers is a good thing … as long as you actually do so and they’re not just throw away words.

Anyway, I think each of those are outstanding ways to help your neighbor and encourage you to continue but I’d also like to mention two ways you can join me in helping others:

  • This weekend, I’m going to donate blood to the Community Blood Center.  They’re having a blood drive at Avondale United Methodist Church this Sunday (Oct. 15, from 8am to 1pm) and I’m planning to participate.  I received a reminder in the mail from the community blood center that my blood type (A+) can be safely transfused to almost 50% of all patients.  So, come join me in giving blood – you never know whose life you might be saving.
  • You have an opportunity to donate your “gently used” coats and blankets to Project Warmth Kansas City.   The official donation day is Saturday, November 4, from 9am to 3pm.  That day, you can drop off your donations to one of several area locations.  However, if that day doesn’t work, we’re fortunate to have Prime Sleep helping out this year by accepting coats & blankets at any of their 9 area locations in the next couple weeks leading up to donation day.

Think Globally, Act Locally.  Do your part today!

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Categories: Church, Project Warmth Tags: ,

Lent

This is a blog by someone at my church where he reviews what our Senior Pastor said about Lent.  I meant to share it at the time but neglected to do so.  Better late than never as there’s still several weeks left during Lent.

Source: Lent

Categories: Church Tags: ,

My Faith in Humanity is restored

In the last several days, I’ve had a few instances in which my faith in humanity was restored.

On Friday, my faith in humanity was damaged and restored within minutes. I was working at The Star’s Food Truck Friday (they’ll do it again on October 2nd) and one of my responsibilities at that is to go around and empty out the trash cans. As I was doing so, I saw someone walk towards a trash can and, clearly in sight of it, stop and throw a can in the grass a few feet from the trash can. I was tempted to run after him and say “Sir, I think you dropped this” but refrained. I slipped in to the shed to grab more trash bags with plans to go grab the discarded can but moments later was pleasantly surprised to find someone else had picked it up.

On Sunday, after church at Avondale United Methodist Church, I was heading over to my parents for lunch. I noticed my car’s dashboard had two lights on: Volts and Anti-Lock. Since I was close to my parents, I figured I’d just drive up the hill and look at the car once it cooled down. However, the car had other plans and started making loud/strange noises. I pulled over and looked at the car (which for anyone that knows me is humorous since I’m clueless regarding vehicles) and almost immediately a kid (technically an adult but he’s younger than my 3 kids) pulled over to check and see if I needed help.   He was on his way to play paint ball but put his plans on hold to help me out.

Adam followed me up the hill to O’Reilly’s to make sure I made it (which I did) and then went in to help explain what he’d observed. To make it even better, he knew the guy working (Ian) who came out and looked under the hood and instantly confirmed Adam’s observation that the belt was loose and further discovered that the Tensioner Assembly was gone due to metal fatigue and the car was not safe to drive. He then reached in and without even touching the engine pulled out the serpentine belt and we moved it to the front passenger floor board. He agreed to let me park the car until the issue was resolved (later in day) and let his co-workers know what was going on.

Then, Adam (whom I later learned works at Daily Safety Check) volunteered and drove me over to my parents’ house so I could have lunch. As he pulled up, he asked if I knew the Keller’s (my parents’ neighbors) whom I went to high school with and he goes to church with. Naturally, I let Paul Keller know about what an outstanding human being he had attending his church.

By the way, my Chevrolet Lumina is now fixed thanks to the folks at Hunt’s Car Care / Goodyear.

Today, I attended the United Way of Kansas City‘s Spirit of Caring Kickoff Luncheon and Annual Meeting at Union Station.  The Keynote speaker, John Quiñones, shared the following advice that he had received many years ago from journalist Peter Jennings:  “Forget about the movers and shakers, talk to the moved and shaken.”   Plus, he shared a clip from “What Would You Do?” (the TV show he hosts) that seems to fit in well with the theme of restoring faith in humanity.  If you’d like to learn more about United Way, here’s the editorial that appeared in The Kansas City Star.  And here’s the article about the kickoff.

Tomorrow morning, our company United Way campaign kicks off and for the first time in several years, I’m not in charge.  I had taken it over from Diane Scott and due to other responsibilities, I’ve now handed it off to Vana Sweetland.

So …

  1. thank you to the anonymous stranger for picking up trash
  2. thank you to Adam and Ian for helping me out with my car
  3. thank you to everyone that makes a difference in their local community

And thanks to everyone that has helped restore my faith in humanity.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle … cleaning out paperwork

For the second time this summer, I’m moving. No, not homes (I’ve lived the same place for 18 years) but offices. Ironically, both moves have involved a need to pack up my office before being out of the office. Last time, I packed my office before going to Charlotte; upon my return two weeks later, everything was still where it had been but at least I was ready. Now I’m packing up the office again so that they can move me tomorrow (while I’m out) or Thursday (when I’m in meetings) … also, I’m not sure where I’m moving to.

Whenever we move, I ought to take a look at what I really need to keep.  I did this last time and recycled boxes upon boxes of files.  This time, I’m just taking stuff off my walls to put in the file cabinets to move to my new location.  Hopefully when I come into the office on Thursday morning, everything will be in place.

While I’m in the mode of going through paperwork, I’m needing to also go through my files at home and church to figure out what needs to be kept/passed along and what needs to be recycled after 15 years as Youth Director at my church.  I’m sure my wife will be happy to see some of my paperwork go away.

Categories: Church, McClatchy

Make your partner look good

Recently, I was in Fort Worth for a Design Thinking project and as part of a warm-up exercise for the 2-day project, we visited 4-Day Weekend Improv Comedy.  One of the lessons we learned was that an essential key to success in Improv is to always focus on making your partner look good.  In Improv comedy, you don’t know where the routine’s going to go but you need to build off of your partner.  Another important part of this is using “Yes and …” rather than “No” or “Yes but …” which both shut sound momentum; this is also true in brainstorming, and was the basis for what we’d be doing the next couple days. So, given all of this, you want to make sure you give your partner material with which they can easily get creative.

About a week ago, my wife and I joined my daughter and her boyfriend in going to Knuckleheads in the West Bottoms.  On a Sunday afternoon, the bar had an interesting mix of people (from Bikers in leather jackets to a Hispanic grandma to … well, me who probably looked out of place in my Star Trek shirt) but everyone got along really well and it was Open Mike Night / Jam Session.  The Master of Ceremonies would call 3-4 people up at a time (always a singer and a guitar player but then throw in drums, keyboard, bass, harmonica, …) and the group would start jamming and would sound great together for 3 songs before the M.C. called up a new set of musicians.  I was amazed by how well these musicians sounded together when they’d never done so before.  However, it comes back to the theme of “Make your partner look good” because they didn’t just focus on being the star of the show but giving a lead-in with which the other musicians could have a chance in the spotlight.

So, improv and jam sessions are both a lot of fun but they also taught an important life lesson.  In work and play and really in all relationships, it’s important to make your partner look good.

On Friday, The Kansas City Star said farewell to Randy Lane who retired after 38 years.  In his remarks at the ceremony where we said goodbye and thanked him for his service, he thanked everyone for making him look good for nearly 4 decades and that’s sense of gratitude and putting others first is an important part of why we’re going to miss him so much.

Tomorrow is September 1st which means today is my final day as Youth Director at Avondale United Methodist, a role in which I’ve served since January 2001.  I’d urge those that take the lead to remember that their role is to help the youth to create relationships with each other, the members of the church and most important Jesus Christ.  In order to do this, the leaders need to work to make others look good.  I know that my volunteers always made me look good and I tried to thank them for it but, more important, was to give the glory to God to help the youth form the most important relationship.

At home, it’s essential to remember the lesson of making your partner look good but I really like the way my Dad has phrased it to me before.  If a relationship is 50/50, you’re going to have problems because that’s when people keep score.  Both members of a couple need to aim to give 100% and if they each succeed, then everyone wins.  I adore my wife and appreciate how she has given me so much through the years and realize that I need to step up my game and truly relish the opportunity to spend more time with her.  And I have it easy if my role is to make her look good because she’s already awesome … but that doesn’t remove the challenge to do my best all of the time to help her.

My friend Vince’s personal brand statement is “Helping the best of the best get better” so I’m going to work at the same.

Make new friends, but keep the old

A few weeks ago, on Scouting Ministries Sunday at my church, one of the Girl Scouts sang this song:

Make new friends, but keep the old
One is silver and the other gold.

A circle is round, it has no end
That’s how long I want to be your friend.

Here is my hand, and here is the other
Let’s put them together and we have each other.

This came to mind as I reflect back on my recent travels for work as well as my trip taking the youth group to Young Christians Weekend in Branson, at Silver Dollar City.   Plus, I’m seeing friends from work leave,  some due to downsizing and others due to retirement or new jobs.

It’s hard to say goodbye to anyone but it’s nice to be reunited with old friends.  I am also reminded that my old friends were once new friends.  During our trip to Sacramento, Kim made a comment at dinner on Wednesday evening that “We’re family and this is our dining room table.”  While I agree completely with her that the group is all very close to one another, I realize that some of those in the group are folks that I’d never met until January.

I was really pleased to see Pauline and Nikhil at NAA mediaXchange in Nashville but sad to think of all those that were there in years past but no longer joining in the fun.  Still, new members of the Media Research industry are arriving.  The newest members of our McClatchy research team are Isaac in KC, Kate in Sacramento and Galen in Columbia, South Carolina.  I just met Kate on Thursday and she’s already contributing to the team.  I’ve only spoken to Galen once but he seems really sharp.  Meanwhile, Isaac has been an amazing gift; looking back to the past 3 months, I don’t know how I could’ve managed to do everything without him there day-in, day-out taking care of so much of the ongoing research support.

On my youth trip, one of the young men going with us is one that was part of our group a few years ago and is being reunited with us for this weekend.  It was nice to see him on Sunday morning yet ironic too.  Back when we went on a Mission Trip to Jefferson City, I commented that Nickolai reminded me of my nephew Kenny and when we were reunited on Sunday morning at church, it happened to be Kenny’s birthday.

And then there’s all of my friends/classmates from years ago; I keep up (primarily through Facebook) with people that I knew at NKC High School, Missouri State, and Ohio State.

So, in closing, let me repeat:

Make new friends, but keep the old
One is silver and the other gold.

Of course, my closest friend is my bride and just the sound of her voice makes me smile and know that all is well in the world.

Are you creating a “Toxic Charity” or teaching a community to “fish and thrive” after you’re gone?

My friend Jonathan has had an entire series of blogs (starting with this one) about this book (which we’ll be discussing on Sat., April 11 at 10am at Avondale United Methodist Church) but I’ve focused on just one part of the book.

For me, the first part of the book felt like I was being lectured but around page 100, the book turned and started actually providing helpful advice. Specifically …

Page 108

Feed a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he’ll east for a lifetime …

But what happens when the fish disappear for the lake due to pollution or overfishing?

Teaching a man to fish is an individual matter; but gaining control of the lake is a community issue.

Page 109

If we are to teach people to both fish and thrive, we must figure out how to make use of the lake’s potential.

Pages 117-119

Community building

  1. Who are the producers?
  2. Where is the energy?
  3. What’s the “win” and is it achievable?
  4. Who are the principal investors?
  5. What’s the organizing mechanism?

Community economic development

  1. What are the local assets of our clients?
  2. What are the local assets of this place?
  3. What’s happening in the local, national and international markets?
  4. How are entrepreneurs supported?

So, where do we go from here?  I’m eager to hear the conversation in April about how we plan to implement this within our church and community but I’d also be interested to hear ideas about how this is implemented elsewhere.

Now it’s your turn …