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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Season of Service: 40 Days of Good Week 2

In case you have not been following, I took it upon myself to do something a little different this Lent Season. How difficult would it be to consciously do a good deed every day? Yes, we can all give up chocolate, soda and other items (not saying this is wrong to do), but I need to do something more this season.

Week one complete...on to Week 2

Day 8
I decided to dedicate this day to my two boys, ages 6 and 10. I wanted to make sure that they knew how much I appreciated them every single day. So, I decided today would be all about them and what they wanted. There were a few rules...1) Nothing electronic. The tv, xbox, DS or Kindles were not going to be used. 2) There would be no arguing. It went perfectly, although we did end up finishing the day with a 30 minute cartoon. I am sorry, it is tough to live back in the stone age!!

Day 9
So today was a great day! I was able to have lunch with Bai's Godfather, Uncle Marc. Afterwards I had to stop at the gas station for a water, and I saw one of the panhandlers that we tend to hear about. They come up saying they are on a long trip and need money for gas. Before, I would have simply ignored them and go on my way. But today was different...I gave them the $10 I had in my wallet. I offered to buy them some food or to get a gas can, but they did not want anything more. I had blessed them enough. Look, I know it is a scam, but if your life consists of you have to beg for money at a gas station and pull this scam, then you need all the help you can get. I figured they needed the money more than I.

Day 10, 11 & 12
Based on how difficult the previous weekend was in trying to perform acts of servitude, I decided that this weekend would be more of what my attitude looked like. I was going to be "nice" and "civil" in my heart and with my actions. I view it as a success. Never did I raise my voice at anyone, get angry at anyone or anything AND take on any aggressive behavior. I went to bed Sunday evening with the knowledge that I was not part of any ill-will. I went to bed with my conscience clear at a peace.

Day 13
Today I decided to pull out an oldie but goodie. I was going to give $1 to every panhandler I came across today. The very sad part is at the end of the day, I had spent $13. It pains me to think about it this way. While our elected officials in Washington are living like kings (both sides of the aisle) and deciding whether to sign bills that effect the lives of ordinary citizens, we have American Citizens who are definitely not "Living the Dream." We have the power to change. This is OUR country. These are OUR brothers and Sisters. It is OUR responsibility. This is MORE than just ONE man. This is about ALL the branches of OUR government. This is OUR United States of America. (can I get an AMEN? Or how about just some patriotic music in the background?)

Day 14
I love waking up and wondering what opportunities are going to be placed in front of me. It is a great way to start the day. Today I did something different. I went into the convenient store where I purchase my lottery tickets (just once, please?). I purchased my two, and handed the lady a five. I started to walk out and she stopped me to say I forgot my change. I simply said, that is for your lottery tickets.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Season of Service: 40 Days of Good Deeds Week 1

Today is Ash Wednesday and is the first day of the Lent Season. In case you didn't the last post (which I hope you did), instead of giving up something for Lent, I plan to do a good service everyday for 40 days. My hope is that you will take part in this with me. If this continues, then pretty soon there will be good deeds being handed out everyday.

Tweet it (#40days) or Facebook it.

Day 1
Instead of giving a homeless man money, I told him I would be right back. I went to the nearest Subway and purchased a $50 gift card and gave it to the man.

Day 2
While shopping for the items to cook a wonderful V-Day meal, there was an older lady behind me with a bouquet of flowers. I told the cashier to go ahead and ring her flowers with my stuff. I think they were both stunned. The older lady thanked me and said it is great to see the love of people is still out there.

Day 3
Today was a little bit harder to find something special to do. The past two days, things just sort of presented itself to me, saying "Here is something to help you on your quest."I had to really search today, so this one dealt with driving. We all have done the thing of not letting someone cut in front of you after you have waited in line. Today, I made sure to be the most courteous driver and let everyone in front AND with a nice friendly wave.

Day 4
This morning I had to be at the soccer offices bright and early for meetings. What a better way to start of the day than by purchasing a $10 gift card at Starbucks then handing it back to the "barista." I told her to use the card on patrons until it runs out. Tell them they are having a blessed morning.

Day 5
I was struggling this morning to even get out of bed. Let's just say wife and I had a lot of "fellowship" last night with very good friends. Today I had to be out at the baseball fields to run tryouts for Snake's age group (he did great, thanks for asking), so I thought it was going to be another difficult day. But wouldn't you know, as I was walking around, I noticed a man's wallet on the ground next to the restrooms. It was really bulging with cash. I found the family's phone number and called them to tell them I had the wallet. He and his family were very thankful, and they told me the money in the wallet was for a family vacation today.

Day 6
What a wonderful day today! Sure it was a tad gusty at times, but you cannot beat 70 degree weather in February. Today's 40 Day Lent task was very sneaky good. It seems everywhere I look in the house, I seem to find another gift card. I am kind of suspicious of them partying and doing who knows what to reproduce, but back to the subject. I found a gift card for $15 to Chick Fil A just laying in a pile of junk. That is when a brilliant plan hatched in my mind...So I had to stop and get gas ($3.70? Really?) this afternoon and decided to pull up next to someone already pumping gas. I saw them go in the store, so I carefully placed the envelope (gift card and note inside) on the gas pump so they would not miss it. The front of envelope said, "God Bless. Pay it Forward". I couldn't but giggle when I saw the lady looking around and then she got a smile on her face when she opened. Good day indeed!

Day 7
Today took on a different type of service for Lent. I was now thrust into helping our four-legged friends who tend to use the restroom outside and bark. I don't know if you were thinking of something else, but the correct answer is a dog. As I was leaving to go to our warehouse this morning, I saw a dog roaming the neighborhood by herself and dragging a leash. She was dangerously close to a main street so I ended up stopping her (I lured her in with some beef jerky). After about 5 minutes or so, a frantic man and a young girl (4 or 5) came running. The girl was walking the dog with her grandfather and the dog got away from them. This young girl went up and gave this dog a big hug and the dog was happy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Season of Service

As the season of Lent approaches, it is time for everyone to start giving up the things they love for 40 days. In the past I have given up alcohol, candy, french fries, work, just to name a few. It is really a good thing to do, but is it enough?

This past Sunday, our Sunday School class lesson was about what the season of Lent is actually all about. Yes, it is great to give up something or sacrifice in order to remember about Jesus' ultimate sacrifice. But can we do more?

So, during the sermon (not that I wasn't paying attention Larry) my mind began to wonder about what else I can do during this time of the year. Then I came up with this idea, for the 40 days of Lent I will do one selfless act for another person. This could be as small as dropping change in the donation box at the pet store or it could be buying someone's gas or meal. Then I will make a post on Facebook and Twitter about what I did that day.

My hope is that everyone reading it will also do one selfless act themselves each day. This would then grow into a much larger event. We did this for Christmas in honor of the Connecticut Tragedy, so why not do it for ourselves.

As a parent, my ultimate job is to leave this Earth in better condition than when my life began for my two boys and the rest of the younger generation. This should be the goal of everyone. What if, for one day, everyone decided to do something good for someone else? Then we move to two days, then three, then a week, a month, a year? What would the world be like then?

So beginning tomorrow with Ash Wednesday, my 40 Days of Service will begin.

David Harrell (Facebook)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Kindergarten Chili Cook-Off

Blue Ribbon Camp Chili

This simple but delicious chili recipe was one I created for my youngest son’s (Snake) Kindergarten Chili Cook-Off. Of course, it contained absolutely no peppers, onions or other vegetables (hey, I was trying to appeal to the K palette).

2 lbs ground beef (I actually used ground sirloin)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
One 8-oz can tomato sauce
2 T chili powder
1 t cumin
2 t ground dried Mexican oregano
2 t salt
1 T Montreal Steak seasoning
1 T Smoked Paprika
1 T Hershey’s Ground Chocolate
¼ t cayenne pepper
¼ cup Masa Harina (corn flour)
One 15-oz can kidney beans
½ lime, juiced

Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in garlic. Cook until browned. Drain off excess fat. Transfer to slow cooker. Pour in tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, steak seasoning, paprika, chocolate and cayenne. Depending on consistency, you might need to add water. Let simmer in slow cooker for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

After one-hour, place masa harina in small bowl and add ½ cup water and stir. Dump mixture into chili. Stir together and adjust seasoning to taste. Add more masa to get to preferred consistency. Add beans and lime juice and simmer until ready to eat. Serve with your fixins (we used cheese and Fritos).