Now or Never

Did I already tell you about "Now or Never"? It's a new book by Alexi Panos and Preston Smiles. I listened to it on audio book from the Rochester Public Library a couple weeks ago. I thought it was quite good. It's based on 5 core pieces of guidance. 

You Always Have A Choice
Be Radically Responsible
Act Now
Own Who You Are
Have A Blast

I generally like personal development books, and this one was very accessible. The authors are a couple and they have all kinds of Youtube videos and interviews online if you want to check out more of their approach to empowerment. 


Currently Reading

I'm currently reading The Hidden Life of Trees.


What are you reading this week? 


This Week's Columns

Here's a link to this week's Holy Everything in the Rochester Post-Bulletin. It highlights my learning experiences at the "Principles and Techniques in Fundraising" that I was at a few weeks back. 

And here's a link to the most recent installment of Worship Life which is a column I compose 1-2 times a month in the PB. For this edition, I got to interview Paul Larsen from the Berean Community Church in Rochester. 



Photos from yesterday's excursion with Mumzi to the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary!


Em's Music List

As you know, I have been a John Mayer fan since 2001. He is my all-time favorite artist. He is currently on tour and just released "The Search for Everything." I think it's so good! Sincerely! He's released albums I've loved and albums I haven't loved but still respected. 

This album represents everything I appreciate most about John Mayer's music. 

My favorites from the album...

Enjoy! And let me know what you think!

Also - remember when comments were a thing? People would leave them and it was fun? Want to bring it back? I'd love to hear from you. 

Your prompt is....what was the last food you consumed? 

My answer: potato


Photo tag

My brother and sister-in-law had an amazing team videographers/photographers for their wedding in Kolkata in January: Pranadeep Mukherjee

This snapshot makes me smile. The tables turned for a quick moment, and I snagged a pic of two of the team after one of the evening wedding rituals. 

Photo tag...a universal language. :) *you're it*

The photos and videography they all took turned out amazing! I am grateful to have personal snapshots as well as the beautiful professional photos to remember such a special time of celebration. 

Catching up

Good morning! First off, here are the last two installments of this year's Lenten series for the Rochester Post-Bulletin:

April 8: From attachment toward freedom
April 15: From fear toward trust

How have you been?!

Last week I was up in Minneapolis for a course called Principles and Techniques in Fund Raising taught by Indiana University's Lilly School of Philanthropy. Loved it! Highly recommend it for anyone who works for any kind of non-profit (pastors, markets, communications professionals). It gives a lot of excellent, foundational information about how fundraising works. I loved both of the professors - Sarah and Tracy.

Another update: I have home internet again! After a 10-month hiatus, I am back online in my home. I found a good deal through Centurylink; it's about $24.99/month (but would be $14.99/month if I had my own router). For a variety of reasons, it was the right time to reconnect. So far, so good! It's a self-installation process, and it couldn't have been easier! (get ready for the return of regular BLOGGING!)

Easter was great. Spent Saturday and part of Sunday with mom, Josh, and Sweta and then headed down to Denver, IA to enjoy the afternoon and evening with the Stoll crew. Such a joyful day!

There are signs of spring everywhere in Rochester; I am LOVING it!


You Must Believe in Spring

I heard a lovely arrangement of this song this morning at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Rochester! I had never heard it before.

I looked up a bit of history about the song and album tonight and now I find the song even more powerful.

The Terrill-McDonough Jazz Duo played a few pieces throughout the service. It was such a treat.


Generosity Opportunity

There is a very serious crisis happening in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. There is a famine and safe water is hard to find, and the region has been plagued by violence and conflict.

This NPR piece provides helpful context and background.

Millions and millions of people don't have access to clean water. Many are also experiencing profound food insecurity

I encourage you to give and give generously to organizations supporting meaningful work in these areas. Here are a few ways to give...
  • If you give through Lutheran Disaster Response, 100% of your gift goes to directly help the people of South Sudan. Here's the link. 
  • UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund): Give here
A quick shoutout Nonviolent Peaceforce. I've heard the founder, Mel, speak twice. They're doing important work throughout the world including in South Sudan

I am disheartened that the president is seeking to cut foreign aid at such a critical time for millions of people. But rather than obsess over the president's tweets or value system or nepotistic tendencies, let's do what we can to provide food, water, and sanitary infrastructure to people in the world who don't have access to these basic facets of life we so easily take for granted. 

Our president would have us believe in a scarcity model...the idea that there isn't enough (jobs, wealth, golf courses)...and that the only way we'll have enough as Americans is if we wall off and focus inward. Whether he recognizes it or not, I think Trump's presidential priorities have less to do with what's in the best interest of the people of this country and more to do with his family system.   

If his goal is limitless growth for the United States...regardless of all human and environmental costs to the rest of the world, then he's right - there isn't enough! Infinite growth of the GDP is bonkers. It won't work...which is why many people advocate for a degrowth model - but that's a post for another day. 

In the meantime, if we're talking about access to basic food, water, and shelter - then there IS enough for everyone. There are enough resources...in fact, there are more than enough resources. The problem is the distribution of wealth and resources. Ego and greed. Patriarchy and power. Poverty and inequality. 

The global economic system is broken, and we have to be the ones to fix it. A step at a time. And sometimes it's going to require large, bold steps. 

So start where you are and I'll start from where I am. Thank you for your beautiful heart. 

Inhale peace, exhale peace. Be generous. Be kind to yourself and others. Make thoughtful choices with your money and time. Listen more. Find solutions. Rest well. Love big. 

from yesterday's Post-Bulletin