For the next several blog entries, my dog Lucy will be taking over. She will also be answering questions in the comments. I’ll check back in soon after I’ve completed a project that needs focus. Thanks so much for understanding. Best, Don. I came from a litter of Labs and I was the only brown one. My brothers were all black, and we lived in the woods by waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge. We lived in a cabin and we lived in the kitchen of the cabin. We lived on a blanket in the kitchen at first, and then when my mother left we lived on a towel, me and my brothers. We slept mostly, all together like one animal, as though we were still my mother. We became my mothers parts when we were hungry, and went out across the tile floors toward the food, which sat a cold earth away next to a silver bowl of water. There was a board that kept us in the kitchen but it didn’t matter. The kitchen was the whole world and there wasn’t a map to the world. It smelled like wood and cats, like water from the creeks, like [...]
You’ve probably noticed I’ve written fewer blog entries over the last couple weeks. There are a number of reasons for this, including a major project I’m trying to wrap up this summer, and an onslaught of guests traveling through town. All great stuff, but all keeping me from my daily discipline of blogging. The other day, Lucy, my dog, asked if she could cover the blog for a while. We were at the park and I was moderating comments on my phone and I think she felt sorry for me. Lucy is my best friend and roomate and she see’s how busy my schedule has gotten. Lucy isn’t a writer by trade. She’s trains daily as a swimmer at the local fly-fishing pond at a park down the street, but I am going to give her a brief window to share some of her thoughts. I’ve not turned the blog over to another writer for any length of time. I’ve had a few guest posts, but not many. I take this blog very seriously. I do this for free, so there is something pure about it and that helps me love it for the writing and thinking without a mixed [...]
Griffin House and his wife Jane are staying at the house tonight with this song in tow. Man, what an honor. How prophetic. He put it together right about the time Nashville was flooding, and he and some friends shot a video real quick. I think it’s one of those lyrical pictures that will call us back once we are out of this mess. Hopefully we can learn something from our mistakes. Thanks Griffin. The single is called “Head for the Hills” and you can get it on I-tunes. I think this song has a Tom Petty feel. Also check out his new album, The Learner. The new single is If You Want To, and I really like River City Lights.
I’m incredibly humbled by the number of you who have helped us move into the top 50 in the CHASE Bank grant contest currently running on Facebook. Non-profits in the top 200 get 20k from CHASE, and things could certainly change, but we are placing well going into the last week. I called Dr. Sowers, our The Mentoring Project’s President and asked what the chances were that we could win the whole thing, giving us 250k (an entire years budget) and he said it wasn’t likely. That said, though, if we moved into the top ten, I think it’s safe to say we’d launch a major campaign to try to move into the top spot. Honestly, it wouldn’t take much. The current leader only has about 12k votes, and nearly 100k people come to this blog alone every month. At The Mentoring Project, we’d use the money to start mentoring programs at the 600 churches on our current waiting list. That means literally thousands of fatherless boys being provided with a friend who would encourage them through their formative years. When I was a kid, I was breaking into a few houses, just getting into trouble a bit, and a [...]
So about once a month, a friends non-profit starts lighting up twitter and facebook asking people to go and vote because somebody somewhere might give them some money. The Mentoring Project has never had a huge twitter following, so we’ve never entered one of these contests. And to be honest, I normally ignore these twitter requests. It just feels like a teen thing, some sort of popularity contest amongst non-profits. That said, The Mentoring Project President Dr. John Sowers called me a few days ago to say that Chase was giving away 20k to the top 200 non-profits that get voted on on facebook. John said we really need the money to shoot training videos that will allow the 600 churches on our waiting list to start mentoring programs. What that means is, if we get 20k from chase, thousands of fatherless boys will get role models because we can franchise the mentoring program we are currently running here in Portland. We don’t yet have that money designated in our budget. So now I am THAT GUY. I’m the guy asking people to vote on twitter and facebook. And to be honest, I don’t even have a facebook account. So [...]
Thomas Nelson Publishers has been working hard for the better part of a year on a really cool concept. For the rerelease of Searching for God Knows What (I updated the book with some new chapters) they created a game complete with prizes. If you’re small group is looking for a book to go through for summer, this one has some really cool added features. You can literally win artwork, music, autographed books, other people’s books and even a signed picture of my dog Lucy. The way it works is there are secret codes embedded in the book and a game sheet in the back. You win by going online and entering your answers. There will be hundreds of winners of lots and lots of real prizes. So if you’re up for it, give it a try. Here’s a bit more about the contest: About every five years, a book that is still selling well will get a bit of a revamp. I’m glad this book is still out there doing well, and I’m incredibly honored that Thomas Nelson would do something this innovative around a rerelease. It’s book history! Thanks team!
I’ve spent the last two days blogging about a movie that, in my opinion, is nearly perfect. I can’t overstate how well this movie is written. And what I’m not saying is that Toy Story 3 is my favorite movie, because it isn’t, or that it’s even in my top ten, I’d have to think about that for a while. What it is, however, is the best-written screenplay to come down the pipe in many years. And of course it has much to teach about life, leadership and the very nature of our existence. So I’ll wrap up this series with a list of things we can learn from the movie. Feel free to keep the list going in the comments. A great story, and a great life, must be clear. Now of course Toy Story is a movie and life is life. Life will never be as clear as a film (unless it’s a poorly written film) but to the degree we can clarify our objectives and define our antagonist, life begins to feel more meaningful. Great stories are about love. Now this one is tough to execute, but life works best when we defend love. This means we [...]
What made Toy Story 3 great was more than just colorful characters and great graphics, though those were certainly in abundance. What made Toy Story 3 great was a strict adherence to some basic story principles, and those principles can also make a life great. I’ll create a short, incomplete list: 1. We knew exactly what the characters wanted. There wasn’t a scene in the movie when we didn’t know what the principles characters wanted. Whether it was to escape the daycare, or get back to Andy, or find a new home, the ambition was clearly defined. And because it was defined, the audience sat wondering how the characters were going to get what they wanted, rather than wondering what it is the characters were trying to accomplish. 2. The characters were good. A constant theme through the movie is family, brotherhood, and a sense that under no circumstances would they separate. They were in the adventure as a team, weak or strong, and they would live or die as a team. 3. The point was love. This may be the most powerful force in the movie, and one of the reasons the Toy Story franchise has made billions. The [...]
Today I’ll launch a three-part series about the movie Toy Story 3. Yes, the movie was that good. It’s rare a story comes along in which the elements are as perfectly clear as they are in this film. The movie is graphically impressive, to be sure, but what really shines is the story itself, and in this movie, the story has been chiseled down to the basic foundational elements, elements that, amazingly, too many screenwriters ignore. The reason I’m excited about this series is because the elements of a great story are also the elements of a great life. And when those elements are clearly defined, it’s hard for a story to go wrong. If you’re leading or managing a team, I’m betting you can learn more from the movie Toy Story 3 than you can from a dozen books on business. If you’ve seen the movie, you know the story. Andy is heading off to college, and the toys are trying to navigate a difficult transition. They might get stored in the attic, or they might get donated to a local daycare center, but what they really want is to be reunited with Andy and to be played with, [...]
I saw a news story recently about a Hindu guru named Mata Amritanandamayi. She’s gaining a considerable following worldwide, even filling enormous stadiums with travelers who’ve come to see her. Her theological schtick is fairly simple, she chants to the Hindu deity Krishna and people sit in front of her chanting to whatever God they choose. She’s referred to as Amma by her followers, which means mother, and she has a motherly aspect, a kind smile, kind eyes and a soft voice. She does not make theological stands, and she does not offer advice that helps people succeed in their families or businesses, at least not with that specific intent. Her message is the same wish wash of a thousand other gurus before her. So why does she have such a following? And why is her following growing? The reason may surprise you. Amma is gaining an enormous following because she gives hugs. Seriously, she’s the hugging guru. Her handlers estimate she has given more than thirty-million hugs. And these hugs are not unlike blessings, in which people receive a kind of enlightenment about the importance of loving one another. Now to the critical Christian mind, this sounds like hogwash [...]