Do you remember going to camp as a kid? I never did and maybe that’s how I am fulfilling my childhood dream as an adult. This past week we had 150 sixth, seventh and eighth graders singing songs, playing games and learning about leadership.
While running a summer leadership camp can be challenging at times, there are not words to describe the privilege it is to plant the seeds of compassion in hundreds of middle school students. Our students not only learn about leadership but they learn you can not lead unless you serve others…..my favorite part of the job for sure!
So for those of you who didn’t get to go to leadership camp this week, here is what our kids thought.
I am blessed and privileged to be a part of an organization that inspires true goodness in so many. You just have to love camp, summer and service….a perfect pairing. I may have gotten to camp later in life but it was so worth the wait!
Next month will be Charity Matters five-year old birthday, hard to believe. I had planned on writing this post to you then, however, when I saw the 700 posts appear on my screen I had to stop and acknowledge this milestone.
Five years ago, I set out to share stories of amazing people who make our world better, share a few of my own and inspire people to serve. I didn’t have a plan other than that. I had never blogged, was and am still tech challenged and thought if I could inspire just one person than it would be worth it.
Today, seven hundred posts later with thousands of new friends and regular subscribers, I am in awe. There are not words to express my gratitude to you. You wake up, read this, share, reach out to me with ideas and inspiration and keep me going. You make me a better person. Because of you, I strive to give my best, share what I have, always want to learn and grow and for that I thank you.
Life is a journey and I am so grateful you have included me in yours. Thank you, thank you for all you do to inspire me and for your friendship and loyalty. My heart is full of gratitude. So here is to the next 700….thank you all for knowing and believing that….
“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it”.
Ahhhh…..summer! You are finally here! Yesterday was the longest and if you’re in LA, what I hope will have been, the hottest day of the year. The summer solstice has passed and now it is official, summer has arrived!
Summer is time to take pause, slow the pace and simply be and my favorite season of them all.
Running a non-profit summer camp doesn’t make it the slowest time of year, but it certainly makes it a magical time.
So here is to a great summer, full of fun, sun, joy and simply being….
“One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.”
There are not words to describe what a father’s role is…
To each of us our Dad means something different. For me, my father is a man who understands the art of simply showing up. He has proven his love for me and our family time and time again by being there and present.
Not a man of many words, but one of great depth, great faith, character and heart.
This weekend, it is time to acknowledge those amazing men we call dad and all the roles they play in our lives.
While all of us are still trying to process what exactly happened to our world last Saturday night, in Orlando, moments of unity are occurring all over our globe. From the rally in London, with the release of 49 balloons to monuments lit up from the Sydney Harbor Bridge to the Eiffel Tower, and beyond.
The world is coming together in love and unity, almost like a page from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
Love always wins and overcomes. The world is speaking from their hearts and they are filled with love.
“Our uniqueness, our individuality, and our life experience molds us into fascinating beings.
I hope we can embrace that.
I pray we may all challenge ourselves to delve into the deepest resources of our hearts to cultivate an atmosphere of understanding, acceptance, tolerance and compassion.
We are all in this life together.”
After a weekend filled with love and celebration, to wake up the horrific news yesterday morning was devastating. Trying to find light in the wake of such tragedy is never easy. While one man destroyed the lives of so many, it is our ability to hold one another up, continue to love and accept one another that extinguishes the darkness and brings in the light.
As the quote says, we are all in this life together.
Today, is the last day of my forties. Even seeing those words in type is surreal. While I have to admit that this year has been a doozy for a laundry list of things…I wouldn’t change one single moment. It has been a year of loss and extreme change. However, the gift is that with the loss comes growth, wisdom, and insight……and if I’m really lucky, then perhaps a re-birth.
Just as all things come to me in crazy ways, I heard the infamous song from Rent and thought this pretty much sums it all up…
How do you measure a year in the life?
Celebrate, remember, the year in the life of friends.
Measure your life in love.
So tomorrow, as I move towards the next decade, and second half of my life, I know I am ready. If life is measured in love and the second half is anything like the first…..well its going to be a fun and wild ride.
Have you ever had a surreal moment that you never in your wildest dreams thought would happen? Well, that is what happened to me this past weekend. I was the commencement speaker at my Alma Mater, a surreal experience for sure!
Confession: I was a bit naughty in high school and had at least annual trips to the headmaster’s office, so standing there on Sunday, imparting some of the lessons I have learned this far, was both a privilege and a full circle moment.
If you had to tell students what you have learned along the way, what would you say? I know! It is overwhelming to pick just one message. So to give you all the cliff notes version, here is what I came up with. I talked about living a life full of purpose. Pablo Picasso’s quote, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
A life full of purpose breaks down in to the following 6 categories:
Exercise- You have to take care of yourself first before you can care for others.
Make friends- What is life without them? There isn’t one!
Road bumps- Life is full of them, they are just road signs
Serve, serve and serve- Charity Matters…just sayin
One thing leads to the next-Regardless of your plan, purpose’s plan is bigger
Gratitude-The ultimate key to happiness.
At the end of the day, I think this is what we all aspire to, isn’t it? To find our purpose. It is after all that magical intersection of where your passion and purpose create this elusive thing we call happiness. Sunday, I felt it. Communicating and sharing, the message of service was my intersection, one I never thought I would find….but so worth the wait.
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
This weekend we lost a great one. A man born into a family of pre-Civil War era American slaves, who experienced the segregated South first hand and was determined to use his life to help others, which is exactly what he did.
Muhammad Ali devoted his life to helping promote civil rights, cross cultural understanding, interfaith relations, hunger relief and world peace. He did this through a variety of actions and causes. According to the National Constitution Center, he has been responsible for providing over 232 million meals to serve the hungry in such countries as Indonesia, Mexico, Cuba, Morocco, and Cote d’Ivoire, to name a few.
In addition, to his work abroad as a Goodwill Ambassador he also used his fame and success to bring attention to causes such as Make A Wish Foundation, Special Olympics, Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center and the Muhammad Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
The Muhammad Ali Center’s mission sums up the legend’s life and legacy best, “To promote, respect, hope and understanding and to inspire adults and children everywhere to be as great as they can be.”
He was great and continues to inspire us all, to do the same.