Showing posts from August, 2018

The High School Challenge

Years ago, I felt like I was the volunteer of last resort. I sat next to Maddie in an empty classroom. Because of her obstinate refusal to do any school work, she was failing nearly every class. She didn’t care.
I gave her my High School Challenge:

Multiply the minimum wage by 160 working hours per month. 
Subtract taxes, rent, utilities, food, transportation, and medical costs.
What is the remainder? 
She sniffed and gave me a “So what?” look. 
Here she was, sitting in a publicly funded school, with an all-expenses paid opportunity to jump past the poverty line that awaited if she dropped out. 

High school is the best deal around. Some students can take college courses—saving thousands of dollars. Industrially-minded students can learn marketable trades that can lead to apprenticeships after graduation. Google, Apple, Costco, and about 10 other corporate giants are filling mid-management positions with people only having high school diplomas. It's about their determined work ethic. 


Watch My Time

Time didn’t stop, but my watch battery did. I held the watch and thought how much I’d done in the six hours since it had stopped running. 

Dr. Leslie Weatherhead calculated our lifetime based on the hours in a single day. 
So far, this is my day: 
At 10:25 in the morning I was age 15. I liked skiing fast and was learning to drive a car more slowly.
It was almost lunch time, 11:34 when I celebrated 20 years—thankfully I was half-way through college by then. 

By the time I was 25, married and with an active toddler, it was 12:42 PM. 
Even though I’d been told to dread turning 30, it was still only 1:51 in the afternoon when I did. 

Somehow age 35 didn’t faze me, and we moved our family 250 miles to begin an exciting new chapter in our lives. It was now 3:00 PM. 
I didn’t get any black balloons when I turned 40, but it was now 4:08 on the clock. 

The next five years rushed by with my daughter graduating college and my son entering high school. It was already 5:15. 

Turning 50 wasn’t as …

CMD and Me

My sister and I are traveling to visit our aunt, the last remaining relative on our mom’s side. 
My aunt is like a big kid. She never got the memo telling her to act her age. For her, it's fun to have fun.
As a child, she was rambunctious, and her parents sent her to a Catholic boarding school for a year. But she continually angered the nuns—following their strict rules didn't work out so well. She just couldn’t sit still—and eventually she stopped trying.

To call her accident prone would be mild. From being kicked in the head by her horse, to flipping her car off an overpass on the San Francisco freeway, she’s had her share of broken bones and bruises. But that just gave her stories to tell. Which she loved re-telling. And laughing as often as she could.

Helping others enjoy life has been her passion. 
After a decade in college she earned a doctoral degree in Recreation. Mom always said she was an expert at fun and games. 
But kids flocked to her—her silly songs and the game…

Too Soon

While pushing my granddaughter in the stroller, we passed a large boulder with a small plaque carved into its side. 
Two names were engraved in gold letters—a young couple sharing the same date of death. The large boulder faced a small fishing pond—such a peaceful setting. 
I read the words beneath the couple’s names:
“Celebrating... their love, fish caught, childish laughter, and time shared.”
I sighed. Who were Scott and Trina?

I found out. They’d been teens when they fell in love. Both hardworking –Trina loved people and had found the perfect career in a convention center—her boyfriend of five years was now an electrician in the naval shipyard. 
As I read more about them, they loved what they did, and they loved one another.
A couple days after Trina’s 23rd birthday, they’d taken their first vacation together. After a full day of exploring the Oregon coast, Trina was behind the wheel and was turning left off Highway 101. 
A speeding car, passing a line of cars of which they were in front, …

Do Not Disturb

As an entrepreneur building and managing a hiking tour operation, my son’s days are long and the pressure is continuous. 
Right now every minute counts and he avoids interruptions in order to focus. But this happened:
“I’m busy every day. Always stressed, in a rush. Well, early Tuesday morning, I saw a gentleman with a cane standing outside the gate of my office building. It’s a typical sighting as the VA office is across the hall from me. I asked if I could help him, and he mentioned he was going to the VA. 
I walked down the hall to double check their hours, but it is 10-4 Mon - Wed. He was a very kind gentleman and he asked if I had an extra chair, so I opened my office and had him sit inside with me to wait. I started making coffee and was chatting with him. 
The millennial in me told me to get to work, but the core of my heart and a sense that Christ was telling me to slow down for a second and take time to chat with this gentleman who'd served our country. 
We got to talking. He’…