Thursday, January 24, 2013


Pockets.  Pockets.  Pockets.  There are deep pockets and empty pockets.  Back pockets and holey pockets.  Even hot pockets and pick pockets.    But, the best pocket, by far, is a money-filled pocket!   

This week I finally had to pull out my heavy winter coat as the wind chill dipped lower than the final score of a Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars football game.  I was anxiously looking forward to dunking my hands in the pockets to see what I might find left over from last winter.  (Please tell me I’m not the only one that plays this game!)  Winter 2013: A small packet of Kleenex tissues and a granola bar.  Wa-wa-wa…bummer.

Just think about how much better my day would have been if I had only activated Operation Moneybags last year.  I’ve long had this idea that each spring we should all place a $20 dollar bill in our coat pocket just before we pack it away.  Then on that first frigidly cold, depressing day of Indiana winter, you could surprise yourself and add a little color to that fresh blanket of white snow…some currency green.   That, my friends, is even better than Nutella!

I know this to be true because it happened to me this past Christmas.  Like many of you, our family tradition is to open just one present on Christmas Eve.  And, also like many of you, that present is always pajamas.  Brand spankin’ new pj’s with the tags intact, still a bit stiff as new clothes often are, yet boom, I found $5 bucks in the front pocket!  We have no idea how that money got there.  And in a pair of jammies, no less.  But we’d like to think some Secret Santa initiated Operation Moneybags as some holiday random act of kindness.  I know, I know…it was only $5 dollars, but I was over the moon.  Giddy even.  I felt like I’d won the pocket lottery.

Ah, the little things in life.  It truly doesn’t take much to positively impact our lives now, does it?

A hot cup of coffee.  The window seat.   A home-cooked meal.  When the pop you pour into your glass races to the top, but doesn’t spill over.  The smell of a baby’s head.  Oh, and their little bitty hands!  Puppies!  Sweatshirt weather.  Three-day weekends.  Paying your car off (just ask Ashley!).  Going to a job you love.  Your dog crazily greeting you when you come home from that job you love.  Season finales.  Payday!  The first day of school.  The last day of school.  Remembering your umbrella.  The cold side of your pillow.  Chapstick.  Being the first one in the peanut butter.  Getting a card…in the mail.  No cavities. The smell of bacon.

See what I mean?  Little things mean a lot. When it comes to charitable organizations like the Community Foundation, it’s no different.  We appreciate when people give what they can give, now, no matter how little they think the gift might be.  Oftentimes, people want to wait…wait until they can give big.  Wait until their kids graduate or until the mortgage is paid off.  Wait until they get that big raise or until the donation they give can have a comma in it.  And while I don’t fault any of those grand ideas, I know this for sure:  If you’re looking for a reason not to be generous, you’ll probably find it.  So, give a little bit.  Then, give a little bit frequently.  Then see what happens next.  My experience has shown me that generous people have more to give.  If you don’t believe me, just check your pockets.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A little Less LY and a Little More ING

I heard on the radio this morning that there four LY words that people frequently use that  make them appear stu challenged in the cerebral department, if you know what I mean.  How often do you say  actually, basically, literally, and honestly?

Now, no one is saying your smart tank is running on E just because you use these words.  However, according to the website, you may sound like your smart tank needs a fill up if you frequently use these words in your daily vocabulary.

All four words tend to be fillers that could easily be left out without changing your intended meaning anyway. 

Actually should only be used when you need to define that something is real. That’s typically not necessary unless you work for Disney or Pixar.

Basically should only be used when you are simplifying something uber complex.  If you’re a teacher, permission is granted to use this word a lot, especially in chemistry, calculus, and anything involving commas.

Literally is a classic.  It should only be used when you want to emphasize something as 100% true.  Saying ‘I’m literally starving’ is far from true.  Saying ‘I’m literally in love with chocolate’ could be what’s wrong with your dating life. 

Honestly, I must say, is my favorite.  Do you realize when you say this that people have a hard time knowing when you’re telling the truth?  Should we only believe what you say when you begin with ‘honestly’?  On second thought, it’s sort of like a self-inflicted lie detector test.  That could be useful for the lie-ee, but not the liar.

No doubt the English language is tricky.  But, words are powerful.  The words we choose can make or break someone’s day.   Along the continuum there are filler words, powerful words, and words on steroids (often confused with actions…and rightly so).

That’s where ING comes in.  For many years, I’ve said that I want to be a verb.  That’s right, a verb.  Verbs denote action.  We like action.  Our donors are action experts.  Action rocks!

Unlike the filler LY words mentioned above, ING words show that something is happening.  And I always want to be a part of making something really great happen.  Don’t you?  

So, use your words.  Go out there and be a verb!  Make someone’s day.  Show what can be a big, cruel world that you’re caring, sharing, and shining.  Maybe you’re donating or volunteering or mentoring.  I even know some who are praying, revolutionizing, and inventing. 

ING is highly underrated, but we can change that.  Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  Literally.  

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go and do not collect $200

Monopoly might be pushing 80 years old, but they’re not afraid of change.  Hasbro Inc. has made a New Year’s Resolution of sorts and they are allowing America to be a part of it.  From now until February 5th you can click here  to choose the token you’d like to “get out of jail” and which new token you’d like to see “pass go” and live on in board game history. 
So far the  and the  aren't faring too well; 
but, the  looks like he’ll live on to own all four railroads again.

So, I guess it’s true, the only thing that doesn't change is change.  Even the old classics need a little spit polish occasionally.  I guess that’s what we all tend to think about when a new year is upon us.  New year.  Fresh start.  Clean slate.  Change. 

By now, January 10th, I’m sure some of you have already broken your resolutions.  The gyms are already clearing out and we haven’t even entered week 3 yet.  But, why is that?  Is change really that hard or are we choosing to change the wrong things?

This year at the Community Foundation, I asked everyone to simply modify their goals from last year, but the new goal needed to be an ‘ungoal’.  In other words, what is one thing you don’t want to do?

Maybe we shouldn't always add to our list.  Subtracting from our list might be good, too.

With this in mind, we had this silly discussion at home the other night about ‘meanwhating’.  While you may not be familiar with the term (the Brown family tends to have a language of our very own), I’ll bet you have been guilty of ‘meanwhating’ once or twice…maybe even this week.

It works something like this:

Son:  Mom.  Mom.  Mommmmm.  MOM!

Me:  WHAT!

It’s the elevation in your voice, that subtle audible irritation when you sayWHAT! …that’s ‘meanwhating’.  No one likes to be ‘meanwhated’.  Yet, I think people do it all the time. 

So, 2013 will be the year for my at-home ‘ungoal’ to quit ‘meanwhating’.   I’ll have to think really think before I ‘what’, but it’s worth ‘undoing’. 
I think you’ll find that by ‘undoing’ something negative in your life, you’ll be on the road to living harmoniously, loving generously, giving selflessly, and caring deeply.  And, that my friends is better than hotels on Park Place and Boardwalk any day of the week.

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