Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Are you shocked by this?

In my "Sustainability" seminar today, we were discussing fundraising. According to national statistics, the following is true about people who donate money in this country.

If you were the most generous person with your donations you would most likely be the following:
A woman
Under 40 years of age
Jewish, Muslim, or Mormon
Make less than $40,000 per year
From the South

If you were the least generous person with your donations you would most likely be the following:
A man
Over 50 years old
Make more than $50,000 per year
From New England

How do you feel about that info?

Some info

Over the weekend I got two phone calls, and two other text messages, demanding I write. Darn stalkers. ;-)

Well, I'm in Atlanta right now at a Youthbuild conference. It's my first time in the city and I have to say it's pretty nice. My only complaint is that everything is too-far laid out. There's a lot of good stuff to see and do, but it takes so long to get anywhere. The traffic moves really well (I got into town in what should have been rush hour and didn't get held up once) so having to drive distances isn't that big a deal.

A couple things about my drive to Atlanta, if anyone wants to speed through North Carolina, do it at lunch time. I stopped to get some food and I swear every NC State Trooper was at Arby's off I-77. It was crazy. Also, I forgot how much I like to hear Southern accents. Lastly, the lady who took my order was a little younger than me and her name was, Tawanda. Her Mom must have been a huge fan of one of my favorite movies. Ten of Kimmy's blog points to the person who can name that movie. If it's you Kimmy, go buy yourself something nice.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Funny

Many, many thanks to my friend Cyndy who continues to keep me supplied with good Funny material even though we haven't seen or talked to each other in a long time. You're the best, Cyn. This is another of her many offerings. Enjoy.

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this:

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.'

It's easy to understand UP,meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?
Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
We call UP our friends.
And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning.
People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.
We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.
When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP.
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.

I could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so.......... it is time to shut UP....! Obviously, you don't have to be full of food to be fed UP.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thin skin

I was right in the middle of writing a post about emotional detachment when I realized, maybe the root of many of my problems is my thin skin. I am very easily affected by other's opinions, I sometimes take ribbing a little too seriously, and I internalize things I should just let roll off my back. Much of that has to do with the fact that I am an emotional person, by nature. While that can be an endearing quality, it is oftentimes hard to live in.

That's all for now, I guess. Just processing my thoughts early in the morning. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Band of Brothers

I don't talk much here about the guys group I lead on Tuesdays. For one, it's a group where each of us are free to bring whatever we want and come wherever we are; emotionally speaking for both. In that freedom also comes the responsibility of privacy. And secondly, I don't want anyone to think our group is some kind of he-man-woman-haters club; it's not. With those two things in mind, the neither will be threatened if I share what happened last night.

My friends and family like to kid me that I can get emotional about movies. Part of what I experienced may just be those emotions playing out, but maybe there's more to it than that. For the last month we've been watching the Band of Brothers mini-series. We watched the last three episodes last night and they struck me deeply. Partly because for the first (and only) time they showed the American soldiers from Easy Company finding a hidden concentration camp. Even though it was a mini-series, the producers did not shy away from spending a lot on special effects. It was horrible, to say the least, and in that horror lies some emotion. But more so than that, at least for me, was the interview time with actual members of Easy Company, now as old men.

I can never begin to imagine what the effects of war would do to a person. These men spent two to three years over in Europe in some of the worst warfare ever waged in American history. In that ugliness, they bonded friendships and a brotherhood that I could never understand. The viewing of these men's story brought me full circle to the Band of Brothers I was sitting in that room with as the credits began to roll.

I drove home trying to figure out what the meanings to the phrases, "big world" and, "small world" meant and which one I was feeling. It seemed pretty small to me last night. I sat in a room with six other guys I am lucky to call friends. They ranged from slight friends to my best friend, but all were friends. They each arrive from quite varied backgrounds and family make-ups, but on Tuesday nights they are my brothers. And after watching ten episodes of boys turning into men, seeing the wordless bond close quarters create, the intense pain and anger when a friend is killed, and the always present sacrifice they were willing to make for each other, I couldn't help but compare the guys in that room last night to some sort of similar feeling. And strangely enough, feeling a little guilty about it.

(I'm sorry my thoughts on this are so broken and sporadic. I thought about writing my emotions down last night, but they were so intense I'm not sure it would have been better writing anyway.) I want to say those guys would do anything for me, but I can't. Not because they don't value me as a friend, but because we aren't in a war situation where our lives are daily at risk. We don't lay down cover fire for each other, or pull each other into foxholes when snipers are firing at us. We exist on a separated plain, not denying close for some, but separated nonetheless. The world as we know does not require any of those things, but simply a friendly acquaintance most often relegated to text messages, phone calls, and emails.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy I don't have to see my friends die. And please know the last thought was not a rip on the deepness of friendships that many of us have. But none of them have been tested in fire. Even so, as I said earlier, I am proud to call them and to be their brother. I would never ask to lose contact with a single one of them, and it pains me often to know that not a single original member of the group is still in it. I love those guys. In a strange way I'm not sure we deserve each other but I'm so glad we can ignore that and live out our friendships.

To every present member and to every one no longer with us, I salute you. The story part of the mini-series ended with an unpopular face from the first episode reappearing only to be humiliated. The line went, "You don't salute the name, you salute the rank." That was war and honor was held in rank. In 2009, I'm happy to say I salute each of you by name. Chip, Andrew, Brad, Josh, Dan, Zack, Evan, Kyle, Mike, Steve, Sean, John, Dave, Jon, Dave, Grant, Jonathan, Jamin, and anyone else who's ever been with us. Thanks for being my brothers.