There’s Always an “And” …

Snow 2I walked out my sidewalk to the driveway where the snow was high and shining, but the street was clear  … and remembered those who came in the night and the cold to make it so.

I shivered as I cleared snow off the cars in the driveway … and remembered those shivering at bus stops and Metro stations.

I held my hands over the toaster as I waited for breakfast … and remembered those who have little or nothing to eat … and no gloves.

I listened to the weather reports on my computer  … and remembered those who huddle in dark houses without electricity.

I called or texted my family members to remind them to be safe and warm … and remembered those who nobody calls.

For almost everyone, the weather of late is a real inconvenience and for many, a hardship of sorts.  For some, it is another part of their struggle to survive.  We are all vulnerable to extreme weather … some  more than others.

Think about those who need help and may not have the resources most of us can call on. 

Call someone to check on them and let them know someone cares …

Notice others who struggle with snow, chores, or life and offer help …

Thank those who work regardless of or because of the weather …

Donate your time, treasure, or talent to a local charity or source of help …

Advocate for long-term solutions to weather-related dangers …

Snow 1Feeling a little chilly, but not quite ready to just hunker down and wait it out in the Heartland ….



NOTES:  I grew up in Northeast Missouri (also known as “Lower Iowah” and weather with sub-zero temperatures and feet of snow on the ground were just part of winter.  I don’t remember ever hearing the term “wind chill” … I just knew that icy cold in stillness and icy cold in blowing wind are two distinctly different experiences.

My parents were farmers and my father had grown up in blustery and frigid winters, so I just assumed he was not bothered by the snow or the cold.  My mother was from Australia and had very clear feelings about that part of the year.  Did I mention she grew up near the Gold Coast?

I don’t remember ever worrying about the weather … other things were more important … girls and such.  Now I obsess about what might go wrong and worry incessantly about those I love.

I don’t know if the weather has changed over the years, but I have.

“I’ll Do It …” ~ A Short Primer on Volunteering

Powerful words, these …


Upon joining the Army, several friends who had already done their hitch, advised me to “Never volunteer.  Make them pick you“.   

As a young manager, my mentor told me to “Always be willing to take on extra responsibility“.

My wife on regular occasion reminds me that “You can’t say yes to everything“.

After decades of volunteer activity in both worker bee and leadership roles in a variety of corporate, non-profit, and religious organizations, I have some thoughts about volunteering to share.

I’m commenting from the perspective of a non-employee volunteer role, but most of these fit just as well in a work environment.

When you volunteer, you are making a promise to contribute at least one, and often all three of the following to an organization, group, or cause:


You are agreeing to make the volunteer activity a priority over other things in your life.  You are acknowledging that you will be there sometimes for this organization, a group, a cause.


You are agreeing that certain skills are in need by this organization, group, or cause.  You are claiming to have such skills and are willing to share them for the benefit of this organization, group, or cause.


You are agreeing that supporting this organization, group, or cause costs money.  You are further acknowledging that you are one source of providing that money, both directly and through influencing others to give as well.

The Rules About Volunteering:

1)  Only volunteer when you can honestly commit to at least one of the above.

2)  Only volunteer for what you are capable of providing.

3)  Only volunteer after exploring and identifying the needs you are willing to fill.

4)  NEVER volunteer to enhance your résumé or build your reputation.  You may benefit from your volunteer experience, but  your motivation should be to help.

5) If your situation or willingness to give changes, immediately tell them.  If you have to adjust your contribution, immediately tell them .  If you can no longer provide the contributions to which you agreed, immediately tell them.

6)  CARDINAL RULE:  Do what you say you will do for the organization, group, or cause.

Bonus Points:  Attending a charity event is not volunteering.  This is  “supporting” and is a fine thing to do, but volunteering is rolled-up shirt sleeves, outside the camera flashes and society page news, and is ongoing and sustained giving.  

If you are volunteering to do something outside your paid work position description at work, politics and culture are factors.  This is “additional duties as assigned or as you are willing to agree to“.  It’s usually not true volunteering either:)  

What did I miss about volunteering?  

What rings true with your experiences?

What would you add?  

Trying to keep it all in perspective in the Heartland ….


“Now You’re Thinking!” Book Reading Campaign

They had me at “We Give Books to Kids” . . .

From the “We Give Books” website:

Now You’re Thinking! is the story of United States Marines in the 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, who combined courage, perseverance, and faith with essential critical-thinking skills to conquer unbelievable challenges and save the life of a two-year-old Iraqi girl, Amenah Thabit. The story demonstrates how the power of thought can “move mountains” and help conquer seemingly insurmountable challenges. Learn more

From September 12 through September 30, each time you read a free online children’s book at We Give Books, your efforts will help give a free hardcover or paperback book to one of three great nonprofits that support U.S. military families year round.”

Come on, you know you have five minutes a day between now and  the end of the month to help put books in children’s hands.  Continue reading