Monday, January 10, 2022

HBD Emily

There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Ember 2022

Hello, it's been a long time and if you are still reading this, we are grateful for your attention, thanks for still checking this out. Here's a few updates. 

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Ember is probably doing a slow restart. Of course, after the last few years, nothing is the same. So we are keeping in mind a few pivots to the way we operate. 

The first pivot is a preference to college age students over high school students. This is life stage stuff - I am getting older. The second pivot is less exclusivity when it comes to faith for people that serve with us. We used to think that everyone that was involved with Ember needed some kind of spiritual baseline. Our faith still informs why we do what we do and our experiences will still have guidelines, but we won't require the same kind of statement of faith. 

Part of this restart is also rebuilding the board of directors. A board of directors for a volunteer organization is a unique thing so let's see how version 2 goes. 

Our first project for 2022 is taking a small team to a European leadership summit in the Spring. Like with all things involving teams, travel and gatherings, we are holding this with an open hand and making sure to book refundable reservations. 

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I am indebted to Matt Maloy for his time of service on Ember's board of directors. Matt has recently stepped down and he was there even before the beginning when he helped with the leadership team of SPACE, which was a precursor to The Ember Cast. The Maloys have been /are/will be great family friends as well and Matt's influence on the board is incalculable. 

At every board meeting, Matt would ask me, "How are you feeling?" It was Matt's signal that he was my advocate, he was for me, he was on my side and wanted to make sure my soul was in a good place. Every leader needs someone like that. Thank you Matt for your service to the future. 

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I have not written about this here but in October of 2020, I took a job with Amazon Web Services. Even though my kids give me grief about Jeff Bezos almost every day, he has built a pretty incredible company. It's not perfect, but as a database technologist, I have loved every single day there. 

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I recently joined two nonprofit boards. The first is Communitas International, who we have done work with on and off since 2007. I've always loved their pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit and in the worlds of nonprofits, community development and church planting, this is a breath of fresh air and resonates with my gifting and interests. 

I also am contributing on the organization structure side of things with The Salaam Center, a refugee resource center in the Highlandtown neighborhood of Baltimore. Ember had done some work with the Center in 2018 and 2019 and it is one of the most interesting things going on around here. The board work here is up and coming and Reda and his family are very dear to us. 

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Our family is doing well overall. Deanna has been working a part time remote reading tutor job that has been great for her overall. The job has her involved with Baltimore City students and she has felt like her job has made an impact with elementary students in the city just down the street from us. Katie is going to graduate school at University of Southern California. Emily is in her second year at Biola. Both the girls are sharing an apartment in an LA suburb. 

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Thanks for reading. If you read this whole thing, I owe you coffee. Hit me up.