Posted December 30, 2010
I was my distinct privilege and pleasure recently to have the CEO of the Chicago Red Cross, Francesca Edwardson, and her right hand woman, Director of Development, Carol Munro Mosley, as guests at our office.
DID YOU KNOW . . . that the Red Cross goes to every residential house fire in the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs?
DID YOU KNOW . . . that as soon as the fire department gets the call, the Red Cross gets the next call, and they show up as the home is still in flames, with offers of shelter and debit cards loaded for use by the victims to buy food, clothes, and other necessities?
DID YOU KNOW . . . that the Red Cross also shows up with toys? Teddy bears and stuffed animals that provide real and meaningful comfort to the children, and often to the adults as well. Young mothers, and old as well, will cling tightly to a plush animal for comfort as they watch their world destroyed before their very eyes. Toys are provided by and hand delivered by volunteers of the Red Cross.
DID YOU KNOW . . . that the Red Cross of Chicago has a network of 3000 volunteers, and prearrangements with over 500 area schools, churches, etc. to be turned into shelters at a moment's notice as the need arises? They have a capacity 'footprint' of 450,000 shelter beds - a capacity that stands at the ready in the event of floods, fires, or other disasters. Incredible.
Posted December 29, 2010
Did you know that the Red Cross goes to every residential house fire in the city of Chicago, and many of the suburbs as well? It is their mandate to be there within two hours. Every single house fire in Chicago and surrounding suburbs.
I had no idea! I was astonished to learn this. It was also a bit of a surprise to me to learn that I am considered by them to be one of their more important contributors in recent years. I suspect the rest of you out there should be just a wee tad, just a 'scosh', as my mother used to say, more supportive.
I am a strong believer that to whom much is given, from them much is expected. And so, greatly blessed, I try to share generously of the blessings I have been given. So should we all.
Posted December 28, 2010
I received a touching note from the CEO of the local Red Cross, Francesca Edwardson, recently after she had seen my interview on the "What's your calling" website.
I have often written and spoken on the power of toys in an individual's life and in our world as a whole. Toys are agents of change and have the power to change a life and to change the world.
This head of the Red Cross, an angel here on Earth, by the way, agrees with me on the power of toys to heal. She has encountered this power personally many times in her work.
The Red Cross feeds, clothes, and houses those in need. After a house fire they are there with financial assistance, toiletries, and all the necessities of life. Fran related to me that she has experienced "the power, and the joy of handing a teddy bear to a child whose home has just burned down," which is why she has devoted herself to the work she does.
God Bless the Red Cross organization and its people for the wonderful work they do for so many. Dig deep and support them if you can, even during these tough times.
Toys matter, toys heal. Toys entertain, inspire, invite exploration and inquiry. Toys matter, a lot!
Posted December 27, 2010
I had also dreamt for thirty years of restarting my illustrious karate career. Once a brown belt, I long dreamt of going back to it and getting my black belt. So one summer a few years back, I restarted my martial arts studies. It was a lot harder now than it was when I was twenty, or even when I took it up again for a year or so when I was about thirty. Much harder. With my busy personal and work schedule, I couldn't get to class regularly. I ended up breaking my big toe and ruining the joint when I broke the boards for my first belt test.
That was the end of my return to karate, but the desire now was gone as well. I did it, I tried it, and I no longer had to think about doing it.
Lund Leather has gone live. Check out the photos - handmade leather goods for sale. The first batch is a very limited production, signed and numbered, each (or most) with Lund's distinctive lightning bolt logo, and many will feature little surprises inside.
One day Lund Leather might be what Coach leather has become. Or not. Doesn't matter. Doing it does, however, matter very much. If you have a long-cherished dream, speak it, act on it, do it. Now or never. We have but one life to live and it's not really all that long. Write the book, learn to dance, start the business.
Success is less important than your attempts to realize your dreams.
Posted December 24, 2010
Guest blogger Tara Blue
Bruce as Santa and the Lund and Company team of elves surprised the children at Hephzibah last week with gifts and holiday cheer, and it was an amazing experience.
As Santa entered the doors of the home, the sleigh bells were ringing and Santa began calling out the children's names. The children were in a large dining room and you could see them peeping around the corner trying to see who was calling their names and where the jingling was coming from. When Santa and the elves burst into the room, the joyful screams, cheers, and hugs to Santa were touching and priceless.
There was a question and answer session with Santa that went very well. Then, as each child's name was called for them to get their gift from Santa, the others applauded. Now, here's the BIG SURPRISE (Santa doesn't know this and neither does anyone Hephzibah): Santa will be calling the children's names a second time, not all in the same order.
"Santa, you already called Deshawn's name and he has ONE gift!" says one child. "I did!" says Santa, as he turns to me and asks, "Is Deshawn getting two gifts?" I replied, "Yes, Santa. All the children are getting two gifts." The response in the room was overwhelming screams and applause. These 26 children were afraid that Santa did not know where they were and wouldn't be able to find them. This year he definitely found them!
Santa's exit: "Ho Ho Ho, I'll see all of you next year!" "Santa, can we open our gifts?" one child bellows out. "Yes!" from someone.
SCREAMS . . . APPLAUDING . . . GASPS . . . JUMPING UP AND DOWN! They didn't even notice Santa and the elves exiting, they were so elated.
What a wonderful way to celebrate the season and end the year!
Thanks to the wonderful staff at Hephzibah for all that they do to bring love and support into these children's lives, and thanks for allowing us all to be a small part of it this Christmas.
Posted December 23, 2010
Fast forward 30+ years, with graduate school behind me and having apprenticed at Marvin Glass and Associates to learn the business of toy invention, I left the nest to begin on my own. I am unemployable and only suited to working for myself. So I do.
All along through the years I have imagined I would retire one day and open up a leather shop like I had years ago, maybe in a college town or a lakefront tourist town. As the years went by, retiring became less likely and less appealing, and but the idea of making leather goods, which I do each year between Halloween and New Years, remains a dream.
Turning 59 recently, which by all reports is near to 60, and is therefore a sobering age to attain, I have realized that the things I have long thought I would do one day, well, I had better start doing them, or just forget about it. Like writing a book. Best do it soon, or forget about it - and this blog is perhaps a warm up to that.
Starting a leather shop or a leather goods company? Same deal; just do it or forget it. I'm not getting any younger, nor better looking, nor more energetic. Do it, or forget about it, quit thinking about it.
Success doesn't matter, doing it does. So here goes.