Thursday, November 28, 2013
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Have you ever had a crappy experience at a restaurant? What about a terrible customer service experience at a department store? Have you ever had terrible service from a company? And have you ever filled out a comment card, jot a quick note on a receipt, or sent someone a letter after having said terrible experience? Chances are maybe you have or you at least thought about it.
Now, have you ever had a great experience at a restaurant? What about a terrific customer service experience at a department store? Have you ever had excellent service from a company? And have you ever filled out a comment card, jot a quick note on a receipt, or sent someone a letter after having said excellent experience? Now maybe you have, some people certainly do, but I feel like the chances are much lower.
Why? It's because we all have a tendency to yell boo much louder, easier, and more often than we are to yell hooray. Well, unless it's yelling hooray about something we've personally done. I know it's easy for me to yell hooray about something awesome I've done, so I'll use myself as an example in lieu of offending anyone. I am a selfish human and am often pulled to only think about myself.
It takes more energy for me to compliment someone else than it does for me to compliment myself. And I like the easy road.
Why the heck is that? I'd say it's probably because I tend to think about myself, my own needs, and how I am feeling most often.
But what happens when I think about myself last and think about everyone else first? In those moments awesomeness happens. I actually start feeling way better about myself because compassionate, generous, and super nice people are way more awesome than the opposite. In the seemingly backwards economy I was created to be a part of I find myself emotionally rich and my deepest needs met.
I would like to try and challenge myself to yell hooray more often. Would you like to challenge yourself, too? Next time we're at a restaurant let's try this: first, learn the waiter or waitresses name. Second, if they provide you with great service let him/her know. Third, give a good tip and either tell them they rock or scribble on the receipt for them to see. Want to add to the challenge? Next time you hear of a company doing something awesome shoot them an email. It can be 2 sentences: "Hey (name of company), I recently heard you were (insert what awesomeness they are providing the world). Kudos to you and what you do! K bye." Simple as that, friends. Will you hear back from them? Maybe. Maybe not.
I challenged myself a couple years ago to become a ninja philanthropist. It's hard to remember to bear that title, but when I do it's so gratifying! Take the previous example with the waiter/waitress. Instead of telling them they did great try writing a sincere note on the receipt for them to stumble across after. Or better yet...write the manager a letter when you get home. "Hey manager....(awesome waiter/waitress) did freaking awesome today! He/she was enthusiastic, provided speedy service, and never let my Diet Coke run dry. Kudos to him/her and what he/she does! K bye." Simple as that, friends. Will you hear something back from them? Maybe. Maybe not.
If we all walk around living life as ninja philanthropists then it will surely circle back around to us. And even if it doesn't I am certain this kind of lifestyle will leave us feeling healthier and happier. How has it felt when someone has gone out of their way to be nice to you? Awesome, right? Right! Ok, let's do it!
Ninja philanthropist on 3.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
About two and a half weeks ago we went to cousin Jasper's 5th birthday party which just so happened to be a costume party. Emily and I were pretty excited to dress the girls up in costumes and Em got excited for us to dress up, too. It took me a little longer to gain that legitimate excitement.
I can't believe Jasper is already 5 years old. Way to make me feel old, dude! Anyway...there he is blowing out the candles on his amazing pumpkin cake. His friend Lucy is clearly very excited for him. I wish you could see her costume because she looked adorable.
Catherine is borderline obsessed with anything Tinkerbell, so naturally she wanted to attend the party as Tinkerbell. Her Auntie Cara spent a lot of time making her costume almost entirely from scratch. Nice work Cara! Norah went to the party as Little Red Riding Hood...which she pulled off incredibly well. Side note: that is the same red cape and basket Emily used when she dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood at three years old. And cousin Jasper was Clark Kent....and/or Superman depending on how you look at it. All three pulled off stellar costumes.
Jasper is such a gentleman around Norah. Here he is making sure she makes it back to the porch safely. Afterall....that's what Superman would've done, right?
Of course I'm sure you're wondering how Emily and I dressed up for the party. I went as Danny Zuko and Emily went as my girl, Sandy (try to say it out loud as if you are Danny). Honestly...after looking at this photo it makes me want to dress like this any time we go out. I could even get that motorcycle that I want!
Emily took the time to make my jacket and her sweater to look totally authentic! "T" Birds and Pink Ladies.
My parents didn't bother dressing up, so they just went in their everyday clothes, but here they are as proud grandparents of the stud 5 year old.
The party offered some great entertainment including the classic fake facial hair. Here is Catherine rocking my dad's afro and a nice mustache.
Here is Little Red Riding Hood rocking the afro that is as big as she is. A friend of mine commented that she looked like a young Macy Gray. I can see that.
It would've been nice to see my parents join in on the fun and dress up, but alas....here they are just being themselves. ;)
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Four months ago on this day we walked through a Ugandan village. This was only day two of an almost 9 week stay in Uganda during which we moved through the steps to bring home our sweet girls. By now you have probably heard or read that those 9 weeks were the hardest 9 weeks of my life for so many reasons. So you'll realize how absolutely crazy I feel when I say....I miss it there.
I don't really know for sure. I do know we met some incredible people while we were there, but I also remember the people we came across that seemed so hateful. I know I really loved a lot of the food we ate, but I also remember feeling like we ate the same thing over and over again. I remember loving how temperate the weather was, but I also remember being so angry at the world those first weeks because of the amount of sweat I was producing. I love thinking about our family of four being stuck in a tiny room to bond, but I also think about our family of four being stuck in a tiny room to bond.
Do you see where I'm going with this?
Life in Uganda for those 2 months was so hard. Emily and I were challenged as a couple, as Christians, and just as people. We were thrown into a culture with which we were unfamiliar. We were told timelines that turned out to be imaginary. We were even told we couldn't complain because that's just how things went when you adopt from Uganda. Yes...that happened.
So, why do I miss Uganda? Why do I even feel like I want to go back? I. DON'T. KNOW. I am hoping you know. Then you can tell me and I can go, "Ahhh...yes. That makes sense." Go ahead now...give me some answers.
Want to know something that just gave me goosebumps? Ok good. Well, after I typed the last sentence in the previous paragraph I glanced over to my Twitter feed. I saw something about Uganda's President being publicly tested for HIV to encourage all Ugandans to get tested. Does that seem random to you? It appears that my computer can't stop thinking about Uganda either.
I'm pretty sure that while in Uganda I saw my God given strengths in a new light. Emily and I clearly had to face a number of our weaknesses, but there were moments experienced abroad that confirmed parts of our personalities like never before. After going to Uganda, then coming back home, I am starting to see a shift in my focus and feel like I view life through a slightly different lens. This lens seems to make more sense of my abilities and passions. I believe that every person in the world has a lens, but some are made to focus on different things. That's why there are hundreds of organizations out there, each attempting to meet needs that align with their passions and their worldviews. I know that's why people spend their time and money in so many different ways. I know many people get upset when America (or Americans) spend their time/money helping other countries, while others are critical of those who do not. I feel it's more important to focus on what Jesus said in Matthew. He says that whatever you do for the least of these brothers and sisters, you have done for Me. And yes, the "least of these" can be right in our hometown or across the globe. And sometimes the "least of these" don't actually have less stuff than you. I think God provides each of us with a specific lens that is made to focus on certain people. If everyone can learn how to use their lens and focus it just right then the world can finally start to make sense.