Category Archives: Family

Lessons Learned Helping A Charity

The past two days I was  part of a radio-a-thon to raise money for a charity that helps sick children and their families.  It was a rewarding experience that taught me a lot.

First, no matter how bad you think you have it someone has it worse.  The stories I heard about heartache, pain, and difficult decisions were the unfortunate proof.  I wouldn’t want to trade my troubles (real or imagined) for anyone else’s.  They’re mine so I must be the best equipped to deal with them.

The second thing that I realized is that people really can be generous if it’s a cause they can understand and believe in.

We were raising money for 2 things.  To have teddy bears to give to to every sick child entering the hospital.  That’s easy to understand.  A sick kid is going to a scary place for treatments and tests that aren’t fun.  Giving them a teddy bear is a great and caring idea.  It’s something soft and warm they can hold on to.  We heard stories from medical professionals that said in some cases giving a hysterical child a teddy bear works better at calming them down than medicine.  Makes sense to me.

The other thing the money is used for is to fill a compassion fund.  This fund isn’t overseen by a super huge committee.  There aren’t layers of bureaucracy.  It’s accessible to doctors, nurses, and social workers who can use the funds to show compassion to the families of those in the hospital that are in need.  Maybe it’s for a tank of gas because funds are tight, a meal for the parents, or lodging when a child has to go to a hospital that’s farther away.

The stat we heard was having a child in the hospital increases your household expenses by 30 percent.  That much additional expense coupled with the potential loss of one of the parent’s jobs because they’re staying with the child in the hospital and you can see how it could throw the family budget into a tailspin.  It’s because of this that this compassion fund exists.

Helping out by contributing to a fund like this is easy to understand. It’s local.  It’s what we would do for a neighbor.  That’s why I think this fund has been successful and continues to grow.  We need more things like this.  Where we don’t depend on the government but instead on each other. No red tape.  No regulations.  No political affiliations.  Just people helping people.

I’m proud to say we beat last year’s total and raised over $105,000.  At times it was mentally draining but definitely rewarding.  It made me realize how small my problems are and that my daughters needed big hugs when I got home.

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Elephant Oranges

It’s that time of year when citrus fruits are plentiful and a good price.  A favorite in our house are clementine oranges.  Maybe you’ve seen them in the store under the brand names Cuties or Halos.  One reason my kids like them so much is the unique way I peel them.

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I’m not really sure how it started but one time I peeled one trying to keep the peel in a single piece.  That way I’d have less of a mess to pick up.  What resulted was a peel that looked like an elephant.  My kids loved it so I thought I’d teach you how to do it so you can share it with yours.

First, start to peel yours as shown in the following picture.

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Continue to peel straight down.

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Now it’s time to carefully unpeel the “ears”.  Start at one side and carefully slide a finger between the peel and fruit.  Continue to do this as you work your way to the middle.  Then repeat on the other side.

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If you have done it correctly you should see your elephant take shape.

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All that’s left to do is to finish taking it off the orange.

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And that’s how you make an elephant orange.  If you’ve done this in front of your kids you should complete the process by holding it up to your face and doing your best elephant noise.  Trust me, if you have young kids it will make them giggle.  The only downside (if you could call it that), you’ll never be able to peel a clementine orange any other way.

Now that my kids are older they’ve learned to peel their own elephant oranges.  It makes me smile knowing that one day they’ll share this with their kids.  This is proof that it doesn’t take a lot of money to make lasting memories.  Just a little time and love.

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Stop Wasting Your Commute

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau the average commute time in America is 25.5 minutes.  Mine is higher than that coming in at 40 minutes each way.  That’s an hour and twenty minutes of my day spent sitting and accomplishing nothing more than listening to the radio or podcasts and making the occasional phone call.

Tom Corely’s “20 Things The Rich Do Everyday” got me to rethink my commute. As part of the list Corely notes “63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% for poor people”.  This simple statement got me thinking about how I could better use my commute.

I haven’t started listening to audiobooks yet but I have used the time to work on another of the habits that Corely shared: “80% of wealthy are focused on accomplishing some single goal. Only 12% of the poor do this”.

My goal of creating this website and blog was realized after quietly thinking about it while commuting.  Now I spend some of this daily time thinking about blog topics.

So, how can you stop wasting your commute?  Turn off the radio.  I know that might sound shocking coming from a guy who makes his living in the radio industry but seriously, turn off the radio for part of your commute.

We have become a society of content consumers (radio, television, internet, etc.) but are lacking in creating our own content or thoughts.

The first thing I’d suggest you do during your now quiet commute time is pray.  Spend some time talking to God.  Don’t worry about saying the words out loud and looking crazy to the person stopped next to you at the stop light.  God knows what’s on your heart and mind.  Simply collecting your thoughts and lifting them up to God silently is all you need to do.

Another thing to do with your quiet time is to form your own opinions on current events.  We are bombarded with the opinions of other people (talk show hosts & talking heads) on a constant basis.

Many times we take those opinions on as our own without really giving them much thought as to how they relate to our lives and our faith.

My final suggestion would be to use the silence to reflect on your goals and how you can achieve them.

Don’t have any goals?  Now would be a really good time to think about what you’d like to accomplish in the next week, month, and year.

I’m starting to rediscover just how much you can get done if you have a goal in mind. From my own experience I can tell you that spending a little quiet time each day where you can just let your mind wander is very calming.  It’ll take your stress down a notch.

So go ahead.  Try it.  Turn off the radio for part of your commute.  Just remember to turn it back on.  I still have to support my family.

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