Saturday, December 31, 2016

There are no DEADLINES for giving or helping!

As the clock ticks past 12:01 tonight and we celebrate the coming New Year you will have been barraged by an ongoing collection of e-mails and social media posts for nonprofits and churches about yearend giving. Don’t get me wrong I very much appreciated the 85 -year-old grandma whose daughter suggested she give to New City – Barrio Nuevo that precipitated a call yesterday. The opportunity is to see that each day has a deadline that you are called to step up and be a giver and helper not just for a tax break but because it is the right thing to do not just during the Christmas rush but every day of the year.

Christmas Eve saw over 60 plus friends gather at our house to prepare food, sort clothing and put together hygiene product bags for our homeless friends. What struck me about my assortment of friends is that all of them truly care about being givers who have a passion to help those that aren’t doing great. This has become a Christmas Eve tradition at our house over the last 8 years. It’s a priority for many within our circle.

I would love to be the recipient of a matching grant or the AZ State tax credit for the working poor that would or will provide resources to help the ‘working poor’ get a ‘hand up’. What truly blessed me was a good friend that gave me resources to help a few families that are struggling but headed in the right direction. It was a joy to share these gifts with a single mom who works full time at my Starbucks or another mom whose husband was severely injured on the job.

One of the greatest resolutions or commitments for the New Year is to choose to be a person that is quicker to forgive than hold a grudge or be someone that helps without having to interrogate someone or who gives not expecting anything back in return. The greatest gift I believe we can give as adults is to spend quality time with a kid or teen who comes out of tough circumstance. I had one of my 11 year olds last night text me for about 20 minutes about her frustrations but what touched me was the fact that she was willing to tell me her story in a present tense fashion and that she would listen to an old man.

Yes, if you are willing to learn about becoming a giver/helper go to our website and consider volunteering in the New Year as a tutor, mentor or someone that can help paint the house of a grandma living on a fixed income. (

Monday, December 19, 2016

Baby steps will change the world!

 One of my favorite movies is ‘What About Bob’ which stars Bill Murray and Richard Dryfuss. The story is about a PhD dad who is well intentioned but out of touch with his kids and wife. One of his patients, Dr. Dad is a phycologist, is Bob who has some real struggles in life but excels in showing real care and concern to the Doctor.’s kids. The Doctor is in the process of publishing a book, ‘Baby Steps’, that ultimately Bob uses to shame Dr. Dad. The opportunity today as you wake up to a new day is to realize that life changes happen one baby step at a time.

 The difficulty or crisis today is that too many people fail to see that the path to accomplishing their dreams always comes back to taking small steps each day that are intentional and then the great deeds or dreams will then come into fruition. I truly hope there was a proverbial short cut or easy path to pursue but please here me THERE ISN’T! I have fond memories dialoguing with my son over the topic of what is most important in life? Education, experience or who you know? The aging father in this context always came back to the fact that you couldn’t skimp on education, experience or networking in today’s world if you are going to get a job or accomplish your dreams.

Looking back over my life I can admit to the fact that I wasn’t very good at seeing the hard work that went into what looked simple when I saw the accomplishments of my dad, a decorated Air Force Officer who flew B-52s in Vietnam or my young Scoutmaster. Now that I’m the one that has figured out it’s better to get up at 5am and make the day happen there are many around me that that truly think I’m the miracle worker or expert. Yet, the reality is that I’ve learned the obvious, it’s no secret, that nothing happens unless you take one little step at a time! There isn’t any secret formula to success, doing better in school or becoming a more caring parent or spouse.

It’s so true that few of us intentionally plan to fail in life. Yet, when you choose not to plan, take little steps, you are sowing the seeds of self-destruction.

Time for taking baby steps!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The biggest obstacle to learning is? Look in the mirror!

What are the key ingredients that turn a person into a life-long learner regardless of age, circumstances or traditional education? I recently attended the college graduation of three very special friends who have been very much part of my life the last 3-4 years. The challenge or gift I want them to experience is that learning is so much more than taking a class or getting a degree. It’s a daily choice to open your eyes, have your ears perked to hear and more importantly being teachable and willing to do something that is outside your box!

I’m always amazed at how many today don’t read, aren’t actively engage in becoming learners and then are surprised or upset when they don’t get that promotion, raise or happen to be clueless in a conversation that required some forethought! What has amazed me over the last decade as I’ve work with the full spectrum of people from PhD types, high school drop outs and little kids is that the person who is actively learning stands out from the crowd! I truly believe that the real gift that ‘keeps on giving’, to quote from a familiar Christmas movie, is the gift of being a learner!

I recently attended a Boy Scout Court of Honor to make a presentation on behalf of a scout who is in the process of getting the highest award, the Eagle! What impressed me with this group of young men wasn’t the long list of things they were doing; this was expected to be a Scout but it was seeing two moms who had gone on a 50 plus mile hike across the rims of the Grand Canyon. These moms represent what it means to be an active learner who aren’t afraid to do something new, challenging and outside the box. What was hilarious with this was listening to the scoutmaster make the concession, difficult for men, that these moms could kick his ‘butt’ when it came to this exhausting trek!

It’s never too late to choose to be a learner that actively engages in listening, observing and get this; asking questions! Please don’t make excuses about how circumstances or a certain person has stopped you from growing!

Be a life-long leaner!