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Charity Matters Quotes

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A different way to view the eclipse

“Nations, like stars, are entitled to eclipse. All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.”

Victor Hugo

Today millions of people around the world are celebrating a cosmic moment, a solar eclipse. Hotels are full across the country for those in the path of totality. Communities are coming together for viewing events, neighbors are gathering for parties and it seems that the world is taking a much-needed pause to realize just how tiny we are in our universe.

In light of all the recent headlines, I think the eclipse is just what we need….a moment to stop and to come together. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling all of us that we have been acting a little crazy and that perhaps we should simply take a pause.  Step back and watch the wonder of our world, think about our role within it and perhaps, ask ourselves what are we doing to make it better?

However you decide to view the eclipse and start your Monday, remember this opportunity isn’t coming back until April 2024. It isn’t just about your view today but more importantly about your perspective. So, as you watch that moment as the moon passes in front of the sun, think of Victor Hugo’s words, “the reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.”  Think of your light and how you can make your universe a better one.

Charity Matters.

 

Sharing is caring, if you are so moved or inspired, we would love you to pass the torch and inspire another.

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Live simply

“Live Simply, so you can give boldly.”

Dr. Allen Hunt

As the precious days of summer go by ever faster, I find myself savoring the most simple treasures of the season. While my day job does not always make the summers of my youth a reality, certain simple pleasures of summer do.

Since the month of August began, I have committed to myself to find a little piece of summertime each day this month. No, I have not been to the beach or on vacation, but I have learned to find joy in the simplest of things. My first slice of watermelon this season, a beautiful peach, the sounds of my sons in the house….all gifts.

At 8pm the other night, I realized that I had not yet experienced a summer moment all day, which ensued a late night search for a soft serve ice cream cone…successfully I might add. It isn’t just food, but rather the simple pauses to stop and soak in the beautiful summer sunsets we had this week, all moments to be savored. The full moon, this past weekend, made me stop and take pause…all these beautiful gifts of summer slowly begin to refill an empty tank.

So while I dream of a piece of sand and sun…I treasure all the gifts big and small that summer brings. It is these simple gifts that give me gratitude, renewal and the ability to continue to give boldly of myself in the service of others.

 

Charity Matters.

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A Passion and a purpose…

Passion for life emerges from clarity surrounding our purpose.”

Matthew Kelly

Photo credit Robin Skjoldborg

 

A dear friend of mine occasionally shares weekly inspirations every so often that she thinks I will enjoy. This week I am sharing one of them with all of you.  Last Saturday, we unexpectedly lost a friend of ours and for obvious reasons I find myself reflecting on what is important…really and truly important. As a result, this quote about passion and purpose seemed so fitting.

As I listened to the eulogy the other day, I heard about a man who followed his passion. A man who loved to learn, loved music, culture, food and made it his life’s mission to spend his time enjoying these passions with his family. Our friend was not here on earth long enough, but his legacy is one of a life beautifully lived every moment. He knew his passions and purpose.

As we get ready to roll into another hot summer weekend, I am determined to have a renewed zest for all I do and the things I love. My hope is to continue to eliminate those things in my life that take away from that clarity.

Each moment we spend and how we choose to spend it, is a choice. As I say to my sons, “Make good decisions….” Today I am taking my own advice to heart and making a few of my own…..and as the quote says, “Passion for life emerges from clarity surrounding our purpose.”

We can only hope and work towards such clarity.

 

Charity Matters.

 

 

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Let Freedom Ring

“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”

Abraham Lincoln

Today is one of my favorite days of the year. I truly love the 4th of July and all it brings. A holiday without stress that is full of friends, family, and summer fun. It is Independence Day and it usually feels that way. We feel free to simply be.

For years we lived across the street from an amazing park that thousands of people would descend upon each 4th of July for their incredible firework show. Our home was up on a slight hill above the park and we had a front row seat to the fireworks. Each year we would have a crazy fun 4th of July open house with people coming and going…it was just the best.

When I think about what made our 4th so special, it was our community. People coming together to celebrate. Community is what built our country. People coming together to work hard to create a place that is free. I write about incredible communities each week that are created by individuals coming together for a purpose greater than themselves….our country was founded the exact same way.

This year, my dream for our country is that we can all create a movement of service towards one another. I dream that we can all come together in community, regardless of our politics, for the country we love….something greater than ourselves.

Just as Abraham Lincoln said, “I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”

 

Charity Matters.

 

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A significant life

“Striving to be of service is not only a noble thing to do, it’s the best way to lead a truly fulfilling and significant life.”

 Michael Josephson

The other day, a friend of mine who started a non-profit called Once Upon A Room.Org and I met for a quick catch up. I told her that I really wanted to interview her for Charity Matters and she said, “Don’t interview me, come and join me….and bring your son.” 

I came home, thrilled about the invitation, my 16-year-old son….well, not so much. I heard a variety of excuses, his summer job, things he needed to do, etc….however, I persisted. Without having a full spoiler alert (the story is coming next week) he relented, as you can see from the photo above.

He was late for his job, his first job ever, and very stressed when he left our work at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Our service had made him much later than I had told him. I love serving others and this experience was magical and yet, I felt guilty that he was late for work and thought that perhaps….maybe…just maybe, service isn’t for everyone and had I pushed too hard?

It was about an hour into his job, that I received a text. It said, “Thank you Mom. Today was so much more than I expected. Even though I was late for work, it was worth it. I had fun and thank you for bringing me with you.”

His text said it all. Leading a significant life is not about looking at the mirror, it is about turning the gaze in another direction. Service heals us all, only if we let it.

Charity Matters.

 

 

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Always better when we’re together

“The world needs new leadership, but the new leadership is about working together.”

Jack Ma

This past weekend was the last day of camp. I sat in the front row like a proud mother listening to 175 children that were not truly my own, talking about love and kindness and acceptance. Never have I been more proud.  The lessons these 6th, 7th and 8th graders taught every parent in the room about their experience at camp were awe-inspiring. If ever this message was needed…it is now.

I am privileged to serve over 3,000 students a year, as the Executive Director of a non-profit leadership organization, which also runs a summer program. We have two full-time employees and hundreds of high school and college students volunteering that serve as camp counselors and mentors. Students teaching students, to listen to one another, to respect and learn from different opinions and how to work together towards resolution. Ultimately teaching them how to lead.

Every night as I watch the news and see the continuing political discord rearing its ugly head,  I can’t help believe that our children will be better than we were, they will learn, listen, come together to lead us all. These children are our hope…just as one of our students said, “It is an eyeopener to learn that you can do something to change the world…”

Charity Matters.

 

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The Power of One

“Please believe in the POWER of ONE.

One person can make an enormous difference in the world.

One person-actually, one idea-can start a war or end one or subvert an entire power structure.

One discovery can cure a disease or spawn a new technology to benefit or annihilate the human race.

You as ONE individual can change millions of lives.

Think big.

Do not limit your vision and do not ever compromise your dreams or ideals.”

Iris Chang

Perhaps a big thought for a Monday, post Father’s Day but a great way to begin the week. The Power of One continues to be a driving force in my life, as I seek these incredible people out. On Wednesday, you will meet Norah Miller, one woman on a mission to change the face of homelessness in her community….a woman using her power to help those in need.

It is the Norah’s of the world, that fuel my belief, each of us does contain the Power of One. The real question we should be asking ourselves, is how are we going to use that power?

Charity Matters.

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Is Father’s Day an underrated holiday?

“We never know the love of a parent until we become parents ourselves.”

Henry Ward Beecher

This weekend we will celebrate Father’s Day and each year I ponder on my Dad. Instead, this year I asked my oldest son to reflect on Father’s Day….

I am here to tell you that Father’s Day is one of the most underrated holidays of them all. It comes but once a year and traditionally entails a card, a phone call, or breakfast followed by leaving your dad alone for the remainder of the day. Dads do so much for all of us and expect virtually nothing in return. A quick Google search of the term Father’s Day shows results for all of the last-minute gifts to get dad. Father’s Day always seems like a “last minute” holiday in comparison to the rest. This year, do something different, yes, I am writing to tell you to actually hang out with your dad. Hang out with him all day… if he allows it.

I cannot remember a single time in my life when my dad was not there to support me, bail me out of trouble, or help me out only to say “we’re not going to tell mom about this”. Your dad has done a lot for you, so consider today like his birthday and celebrate him. Knowing my dad, your dad too probably doesn’t “want you to spend the money” on a gift– just make sure you do something nice for him. Most importantly, make sure that something is something he actually wants to do.

Dad’s don’t want more stuff, they’re probably too busy paying for all of yours. At the end of the day it’s about appreciating them, letting them know you acknowledge the sacrifices they have made for you and letting them know they are loved. I hope my dad knows what a great job he has done showing us the way and just how much we love him.

Happy Father’s Day!

 

Charity Matters

 

-Hunter Johnson

 

 

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A little wiser?

Those who improve with age, embrace the power of personal growth and personal achievement and begin to replace youth with wisdom, innocence with understanding and lack of purpose with self-actualization.”

Bo Bennett

Yesterday, another year passed,candles were blown out and wishes made. Not a big birthday but definitely one that pushed me over the hill, I suppose. Each passing year is additional time for reflection about where we have been and where we still want to go? I feel grateful that both lists are still long.

So as I enter into this new age today, I am embracing my continued personal growth, my quest for wisdom and to living my purpose. What is a birthday if you can’t blow out candles and make a wish?

Charity Matters.

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Shooting Star

“And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day… make a wish and think of me. Make your life spectacular. I know I did.”

 Robin Williams from the film “Jack”

As graduation season begins to wind down,  all of the words of wisdom that we have listened to these past weeks, continue to dance in my head. My hope is that some of the inspiration that has been shared with us will ignite or inspire us to act.

Each of us has or had dreams of doing something spectacular with our lives….we all have dreams. It is taking that dream and taking the first tiny step towards it that begins the process.

We can all make our lives spectacular, and it starts with one tiny step.

Charity Matters.

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Go out there and do something remarkable

“Don’t live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable.”

Wendy Wasserstein

Graduation season is in the air and with it come all of the inspiring pearls of wisdom that go along with the celebration. It is oh so easy to give advice and it is oh so difficult to use it. Every time I speak to a non-profit founder I hear passion, purpose, joy and gratitude in their voices, regardless of where they live or their cause.

The reason is that they have not set out to do something remarkable, they just paid attention to the signs, one thing lead to another, the knew they needed to do this one thing and then they reached out to inspire others to help them achieve that goal….which ultimately became a non-profit and something remarkable.

Each of us makes daily choices with our time. How will you use yours to do something that inspires passion, purpose, joy and gratitude? ” Don’t live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable.”

Charity Matters.

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Memorial Day 2017

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life for something bigger than oneself.”

Joseph Campbell

Over the years I have interviewed a handful of veterans who started non-profits; Eve Chase of American Women’s Veterans, Mark Brenner of Veterans Career Xchange to name a few.  I have also interviewed so many more who started incredible organizations to serve those who serve us….Carolyn Blashek of Operation Gratitude, Rob Berquist of Cell Phones for Soldiers and the list goes on…each person more inspiring than the next.

The common thread between all of these extraordinary individuals? Gratitude. Each one is grateful to have either survived their journey and inspired to help their fellow veterans. Or they are like you and I, ordinary Americans, filled with gratitude for the country we are blessed to live in and the freedoms which we have. They have used that gratitude to fuel their work to serve and honor our veterans.

So today, I will take a page from Carolyn and Rob’s book of gratitude, as I reflect on those who sacraficed to serve us. I am filled with gratitude for these heroes who gave their lives for something bigger than themselves…..

our freedom.

Wishing you all a day full of gratitude.

Happy Memorial Day.

Charity Matters.

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To persist

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Maya Angelou

A few weeks back I wrote about persistence, a common thread in all the amazing people I interview for Charity Matters. Most of these individuals, were dealt a bad hand in life and yet, how they chose to play it, is what makes them so inspiring. They not only refused to be defined by that hand, but rather they persisted in re-defining that experience into something life changing for others.

The other day I stumbled onto a major road block for a project that I have been working on and frankly, I was pretty frustrated and unsure which way to step next. I was driving through the tunnels on the 110 freeway when I looked up to see the sign…literally….which days before read RESIST and someone had now reworked it to read PERSIST.

In that moment, I knew that I would trudge on ahead, undeterred, fearless and committed to making a dream a reality, exactly like the 1.5 million people who have changed out world by taking their bad hand and turning it into a non-profit.

PERSIST.

Charity Matters.

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Well hello May…

“The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.”

Edwin Way Teale

 

Well, hello May! I’m not quite sure when you snuck up but I am so happy you are here.

As May begins, it is time to think about our dreams, our goals and how we can support one another to achieve them. It is a season of hope, of joy and of endless possibilities.

I’m excited to share some inspiration and wonderful stories of incredible people changing our world, this month.

Wishing you a magical Monday and a month where anything is possible!

Happy May Day!

Charity Matters.

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