Fingerprints

Recently, I was sitting in a board meeting, and I started to question why I was there—not in the existential sense—but why and how was I really serving the organization? Was I merely “showing up?” As I was listening to members of the board discuss different initiatives, one name was repeated, “Larsen Jay.” It would go something like this, “Larsen had the vision to…,” or “Larsen helped get ___ off the ground.” Larsen, it turns out, had indelibly left his mark on the organization and ultimately changed the course of it. As I thought more about other boards he had served, I realized he had similar impact on multiple organizations. His fingerprints are on each organization he’s touched. How was I leaving my mark? Was I doing just enough to get the T-shirt? More broadly, how am I leaving my fingerprints on my family, my job, my community? Will my fingerprints need…

Keys to Conversation: Integrated Communication for Non-profits

Most of us are decent conversationalists. Some listening, a little talking, a joke or two, an interesting story, and just like that you have a conversation. Unfortunately, when we slap a word like “communications” on it, it’s like we’ve ripped the training wheels off and we have no idea what to do. Some communications are like eating an ice cream sundae prepared by an alien who had seen food, once. It has some of the ingredients but it is terribly unlike a conversation. We can do better. Part of the issue is that cash-strapped organizations focus on the least important aspects of the sundae. While shaving cream may look like whipped cream, the experience tastes markedly different. It’s fairly common for organizations to answer “how” with little consideration for who, what and why? So “why” are you interesting? Have you found yourself in a conversation with someone that could not…

His name is David Legg

There’s few times in one’s life when we cross paths with someone that possesses sage insight. Sometimes when we do, we’re not sure whether to admit them or worship them because they just don’t fit squarely in our world. History, however, is quite kind to the wise men by telling and retelling their stories. Let me tell a little story about a brush with one such man in an unlikely container. I am lucky enough to know one such fellow, and his name is David Legg. About thirteen years ago, I met David at a “play” retreat that my brother was hosting in Townsend, TN. He had literally come down off the mountain to join this retreat. David had been a self-admitted hermit in the Cumberland Plateau for some time, and had decided to rejoin the world. I’m not sure what one learns in the solace of the mountains, but…

Helping Those Around Us (Hint – You Can Help Too)

When Extreme Makeover came to Knoxville in January, it shed light not only on the needs of the Watson family but the many needs of our community. For me personally, a friend of our family, suffered a severe loss last year. Reed Faulkenberry, 40, died unexpectedly from a heart attack last May. Left behind are his wife Jana and five children ranging in age from 8 to 16. Like many families, the Faulkenberrys purchased a house to renovate and truly make the home of their dreams. However, those plans were cut short with Reed’s untimely death. Since last May, the community has identified different needs to help. Gregor Smee, Principal of Smee + Busby, saw something that most would not identify as a need but most families cannot live without–fun. While Smee was visiting the Faulkenberrys to put up a tree swing in the back yard for one of the daughters,…

Help a Brotha Out.

The other day I posted about Spring of Light burning. As I write, a fire restoration group is in the building trying to preserve the books and any equipment possible. So, we will have a better idea what the total damage by the end of the week. In the meantime, if you are inclined to help, I have a few possibilities: Buy a replacement book from Doug’s Wish list. Send a contribution via paypal:

Can I Get A Break?

Because if I could, I would gladly like to give it to my brother. If it isn’t one thing, then it’s another. This week Doug’s church, Spring of Light Ministries, suffered a devastating loss when the place of worship was destroyed by fire. My whole life, Doug has sought out obscure bookstores in the most unlikely of places to build his masterful library. The church walls were lined with thousands of Doug’s books and one of his close friends who also stored his books at the church. All told there were 10-15,000 books in the church. The electronics melted, the pews couches burned, and when the fire melted the overhead water pipe the space flooded. [see all pictures here] The books are not a total loss, but they are Doug’s passion. It is very sad to know that both the object of his passion and vision of his church went…

Alcoa Highway Cyclist Unhatted

Since 2001, I have made the trek down Alcoa Highway 2-4 times per day.  At the peak of rush hour, I seem to always cross paths with an elderly man pumping up the hill heading south on 129 guarded by a white full rimmed hard hat.  He usually is weighed down with a full day pack, but rain or shine he makes the commute daily. Once I saw the man driving down into Sequoya Hills, but I didn’t have the time to follow him.  The wife and I have discussed lone biker sightings, but she shocked me yesterday to tell me that she actually talked to him.  At Food City on 129, she breezed through the aisles but was stopped in her tracks at the sighting of the white full rimmed hard hat safely settled in the lone biker’s grocery cart. “Excuse me” she said “do you ride your bike…

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