FollowCraig: “Philanthropy”

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Philanthropy? So what is it and do you need to be wealthy to do it? Let’s just take a moment and define: phi·lan·thro·py
1. altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes.
2. the activity of donating to such persons or purposes in this way: to devote one’s later years to philanthropy.
3. a particular act, form, or instance of this activity: The art museum was their favorite philanthropy.

Do you know any “Philanthropists”?

People like Bill Gates, J.D. Rockefeller, Warren Buffet and so many more. Just what drives people to give away their wealth and time? Long ago in an interview with Jerry Lewis, he said that giving is really the most wonderful selfish gift anyone can do. I truly understand that feeling, the wonderful feeling you have when you are able to help another human being. In the months to come I will write about and share some amazing stories of philanthropy and the impact on all our lives.

I sure hope you continue to follow my journey as I begin to investigate and share all the wondrous things people in our world do to lift us all.

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FollowCraig: “On FollowCraig”

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You have been reading this blog for sometime now and I thank you so much for that. As you know by now I have shared much of my life’s journey in this very open forum and it has been a truly freeing experience for me. However it’s time now for this blog to develop a new identity. As many of you now know I have very strong political and religious positions, so I really no longer feel compelled to shout about those issues any longer. On the other hand I have some real issues and thoughts that I believe affect all of us and our world and should be shared.

I have decided to explore and travel a new path. Over the years I have had the good fortune to participate in many charitable organizations, service clubs and recovery groups. These experiences have been so satisfying and rewarding to me that I have decided to expand and share the incredible stories of people who give freely of their time and money to help so many. Over the months to come I will be researching, reviewing and writing of these wonderful and inspiring people and organizations. Perhaps together we can find our way to assist and grow some these same groups to continue their good works.

If you know of or participate in any group or service that lends a hand up to those in need, please send me your story and all the information you can about the organization your part of. I am really looking forward to this wonderful journey of discovery and am very excited to share it with all of you.

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FollowCraig: “Victims”

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Over these last few days we have heard one leading Presidential Candidate speak of the 47% he calls victims. I find it interesting that this leading politician would publicly state this opinion in such an open forum as a political fundraiser. As this man has stated before some things should be discussed behind closed doors.

You may may think this post today is political in theme and perhaps a little of that is true. I will make my feelings clear so there is no misunderstanding, I am a liberal progressive Democrat. However I am not really writing to that subject but rather to those 47%.

I’ve been a professional salesman for most of my adult life. Over these years I have attended countless sales meetings, motivational and inspirational seminars, tactical sales strategy training and so much more. A few things have always held true and I believe hold true in life, that is statistics. As an example, 5% of all salesmen earn 95% of all the money. I’ve seen that and lived it on both sides. Another is 50% of customers don’t buy the product but rather the salesman. Percentages and statistics are very good tools of measure to use when projecting sales and setting goals. Purely determining future outcomes based on past results is common and often accurate. Sometimes though people surprise us and tip those statistics we so count on. If we find that little spur in their heel or that bubbling passion inside ones soul, mountains can be moved. These statistics change and the larger will often become the power.

When this leading politician spoke of the 47% as he did, his comments reminded me of all those seminars, sales meetings and trainings I have attended over all these years. These statistics do hold true in winning a race or making money, however this is real life. Don’t we have another more important mission as a people? I don’t think winning the race or increasing the bottom line is what leading a country is all about. Does it really matter if we are the 1, 5 or the 47%? All of us as a people and America people at that have an obligation to help each other, to offer a hand up and a country where we can freely exceed our greatest goals and dreams. If someone calls another a victim because they are having a difficult time or the circumstance of their life is such that money and life is just plain hard, is that leadership? So many people work everyday raising their families and struggling with just everyday life. We have people who are hero’s among us that never are recognized for the works they do. We have people who have worked their whole lives so they can live in dignity at the twilight of their years. Americans are without a doubt the hardest working people man has ever known and we are not victims.

So yes I used this blog to express my views on this subject. I just think we all should truly consider the responsibility our elected leaders carry on their shoulders. These people are selected by us to represent all of us. I love America and being an American yet when I hear statements like this from someone at this level of a political campaign, I wonder if we are becoming not; America the country but rather America, Inc?

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FollowCraig: “WOW”

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Think about this, I’m 60 years old and I was wowed today! Let me share my day with you or at least a small part of how that came to be.

I was invited to a business event held at Travis Air force base in Fairfield, California. Now I have never been on an air base in my entire life, so this experience in of itself was thrilling. The day began with about 20 guests being treated to a great lunch at “The Officers Club” on base and then a tour of the Doolittle Air & Space Museum. If any of you know of and remember the remarkable story of the famous Doolittle raid of World War II, it’s an incredible part of history.

Now for the “Wow”, we were escorted access the tarmac past several very large airplanes. These were KC-10’s, great big incredible machines. Just looking at the airplanes up close is beyond imagination and nothing like the what we see in movies. So big, so powerful and looming. As we walked to an open KC-10 with a set of stairs leading almost two stories to a side door just behind the captains cockpit, I just felt this incredible sense of wonder mixed with good old American pride. As I walked up those stairs and into the aircraft to see the chairs for the crew somewhat placed like the first class section of a modern jet mixed with the utility of an army truck, my eyes and mind continued to be amazed. The interior was of the most utilitarian and functional decor, painted gray mixed with a hint of green tint. So very stark in color and so descriptive of power. As I looked to the right just past the two rows of seats a panel made up of straps and a blanket type material separated the small and dedicated passenger area from the cargo hold area. This cargo area is so large it can hold at least 50 full size automobiles. Under the cargo area were fuel tanks that are designed to re-fuel other aircraft in flight. Yes, this was one of those planes we see in the movies that drop a hose down to the nose of another flying jet and fill it up. Now comes the wow, I was invited to the rear if the plane to a set of stairs that led to a small space meant for only two or three people. This space had three chairs facing the rear of the aircraft with a very large window facing down 45 degrees. As I found out this glass is the largest pressurized glass ever made. Just behind this glass was one chair with armrests on either side. These armrests had two handles much like you would find on a video game console and above this chair was a panel of switches and levers. This is where the operator of this console lowers, positions and executes the fuel hose used for re-fueling of these powerful jets. I was just in awe of seeing this but even more so to actually sit in that chair. Yes I was able to sit in the same place that perhaps less than a week ago a young man would have been just doing his job of filling up the gas tanks of the fastest machines on earth while in flight; Awesome! These planes travel to every corner of the world, every day and every week of the year. This was the real deal, not a toy or old stripped down museum shell of a plane but rather an active on duty machine! It’s an amazing thing to see and even more so to visit the people who operate them. Our host for this event was a young Major who has a family of 6 kids, the young man who operated this boon was only about 25 years old and full of youthful enthusiasm for his career. For me I was a kid again for just a few minutes. This was truly a “Wow” moment.

It’s fun having a career again, having my life come so far from where it has been over all these years. As my business contacts and new friends come into my life I am blessed to be able to share moments like this with you and so many others. I surely hope and pray that your day today offers up a “Wow” moment for you. Everyday really truly is a “Wow day”

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FollowCraig: Above Ground

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I’m so tired, my life sucks, the world is nuts, work sucks, so much traffic, my kids are driving me to drink and the list goes on. How often do we say these lines in our daily life? What about this one, I wish I could have that, I sure want that new or this piece of ….. is broken again? Yes, we humans are surely a bunch of complainers. We can find just about anything to complain about every minute of every day. The oddest of all is how we don’t even seem to know we say it. Whenever someone we know says these things, we may roll our eyes and just say to ourselves “here they go again”. But looking and listening to ourselves is entirely different. Perhaps we should keep a tape recorder strapped to ourselves for just one day and then play it back. What surprises would we hear and would we roll our own eyes?

I wonder if the words we say to ourselves, those statements we utter under our breath and the ones that would make our own eyes roll end up feeding and supporting the outcome of our life? It seems that the more we express our unhappiness with something, the more we become unhappy. If we think we don’t have enough money, it gets worse. If we talk about how much our boss sucks, the more he does and so goes the job. This is the “karma” of life I’m sure.

I walk around for example saying to people when asked “how are you”? I respond just great “Above Ground!”. What kind of statement is that?

I truly think we are all nuts. Isn’t it time we stop and listen to ourselves, think about what we utter under our breath or even what others may really hear when we speak?

A positive life begins within us, a daily minute by minute, hour by hour refreshing if our minds. Starting with the belief that life is not about having what you want but rather wanting what you have. Remembering that life is precious and short so what we make of it matters. How we speak to others also speaks to us. What if when someone asked how are you?, our response would be “Absolutely Great, and just how are you doing? When we have a difficult boss or job, just look at the best part of being there instead. Speak to the positive side of every conversation and look forward not backward when thinking of our day. So if it holds true that what we say feeds us, then how about we start feeding ourselves better word foods. This sound easy doesn’t it? Well it actually is however breaking old-established habits are not so easy and that leads to another part of the positive life “new habits”. because just as difficult as it is to break old habits also holds true for the new ones.

As I have said so many days of my life “Great, above ground”, today I will start with I’m Absolutely Great, and just how are you doing?
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FollowCraig: 7 Day Wind

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We have a cuckoo clock here at home that is rather old and holds great sentiment to my wife. We also have a wonderful grandfather clock that holds so many family memories. I just love wind up clocks. They remind me of a wondrous creative time when artist, science and craftsmen come together and create often beautiful or even whimsical keepers of time. Time is very interesting and even more so the methods we use to keep track of it. I remember my son never really grasping the concept of a clock with hands that revolved in a circle but rather was more comfortable with a digital clock or how in awe I was when first learning of the atomic clock in Colorado. Have you ever looked at the beauty of a watch and wondered how all those little pieces just keep working so well together? It’s amazing how much effort, thought and imagination it must take to create these wondrous devices. Then time itself is so fascinating as we all have the same number of hours, minutes and seconds everyday. No matter who you are or where one lives, time is the same for all of us and no one knows when God will call us home. So why do we have such a fascination with time and what would we do if we never kept track of time with all these clocks? What if we never knew what time it is? What would you do if you really had no concept of time?

I love wind up clocks and watches and the attention one must pay to setting them. Our cuckoo clock needs to be wound every 24 hours and if you forget, it just stops. Our grandfather clock lasts 7 days before it just stops. These clocks are much like life, in-fact very much like life. Weather each clock is a 1 day, 7 day or even 30 day wind, these incredible machines must be maintained or they just stop and re-starting them always requires a reset. Sometimes our lives need to be reset when we haven’t maintained our standards, integrity or our faith. Like these wonderful timepieces, daily, weekly or monthly winding often prevents having to reset.

Perhaps comparing wind up clocks to life seems odd however much like clocks we really can reset our lives anytime we want. And we can maintain our lives with daily, weekly or monthly maintenance. Some of us call this faith and prayer.

It so happens that my favorite clock is our “7 day wind” grandfather clock, as I wind it every Sunday before heading off to church. I believe God is the real keeper of time and our beautiful clocks are there to remind us of his love and his precious gift of time.

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FollowCraig: “1882”

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Can you imagine the year 1882? Our country was so young, barely 100 years old. Automobiles, trucks, buses and airplanes just didn’t exist. We had no radio or televisions and certainly no iPhones. Telegraph communication was the norm and the post office was invaluable. In fact most homes didn’t even have indoor bathrooms. People worked in factories, farms, markets and so many other places without coffee breaks or health insurance and the 40 hour work week was unknown. Many children had to quit school at young ages to work and support their families. The industrial revolution was upon America full swing in 1882 and what is now known as the middle class had its beginning. It’s through all this the America we know today was built and in most part by the American worker yes, American labor.

Although history is unclear who really proposed the Labor day holiday, we know the Central Labor Union of New York was responsible and celebrated the fist holiday on September 5th, 1882. Later this day was to become the national celebrated day we now enjoy. The original idea was to have parades and picnics to recognize the American worker. A day that all workers would be able to relax with family, friends and self.

It is so interesting and amazing that in a time when we did not have all the modern conveniences of today a movement of such importance and value was conceived, organized, executed and still survives. America is a wondrous country, our American workers have always been and still are the backbone of our Nation.

This Labor Day weekend of 2012 serves to remind us of what these men, women and children gave to our country then and now. May our families and friends celebrate in humble memory and warm embrace of us. God bless America and American Labor!

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