Category Archives: Uncategorized

Forgiveness is Required

From the Wikipedia entry for “forgiveness”:

Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, forswears recompense from or punishment of the offender, however legally or morally justified it might be, and with an increased ability to wish the offender well. Forgiveness is different from condoning, excusing, forgetting, pardoning, and reconciliation.

I’m writing this post exactly one week before the 2018 mid-term elections in the United States. Yesterday I sent in an absentee ballot and I’m relieved to have done so because I’m already exhausted with this election and I want to stop thinking about it. I’m also aware that my country is experiencing an important moment in its relatively short history. It’s not as momentous as many others – anyone who compares it the periods of time surrounding the Civil War, Reconstruction, WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, Vietnam or the Civil Rights Movement needs to find themselves a serious dose of perspective – but it is an important point in time for this country.

Why? Because we have a set of elected officials who are as divided, inept and cynical as any we’ve had in recent history. They are headlined – notice I didn’t say led – by an absurdly narcissistic opportunist the likes of which we haven’t seen since at least the Nixon administration over 40 years ago. I don’t know any of them personally, so I can’t speak to their personal lives, but in their jobs, they are all guilty of ineptitude at best and criminal negligence or corruption at worst. And yes, we chose them.

So what do we do about it? Obviously, we can fire them by voting them out, but would that solve the problem? Even if we elected an entirely new stable of congresscritters and a new president, our newly elected officials would inherit a populace that has just been subjected to extreme abuse. Abuse of our trust, abuse of our community, abuse of our time and treasure. Why should we believe any of the newly elected officials would be any better? Why should we trust anyone to lead us to be a better society? And what about the people who got us here – both the people who were elected and the members of the electorate who embraced and promoted their divisiveness – what should we do about them?

My first step will be to forgive all those who abused our trust, and that includes President Trump, and to forgive those who I might believe have embraced an ideology that offends me and hurts others. Until I forgive them, they own me and more importantly, they prevent me from moving on to more productive endeavors. For our elected officials that doesn’t mean that if they broke the law they shouldn’t be punished, or if they worked against the greater good of the country they shouldn’t lose the election. For those fellow citizens who spew vile and hateful comments towards those they perceive as “others”, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be dismissed and ignored by those whom they’ve verbally abused, or escape legal consequences if they’ve threatened or actually physically harmed others.

What it means is that once I’ve done what I can do – voted against those elected officials I think have harmed our country, tried to share my point of view with those who might value it, tried to defend those who have been attacked, and tried to refrain from sinking into a tit-for-tat argument with those whom I disagree – that I give myself the gift of forgiving those who I feel have harmed/insulted/abused me or my fellow countrymen. That I release them to the dustbin of history and wish them well with the rest of their lives so that I can go on living mine in a way that, hopefully, leaves my little part of the country better than I found it.

Next Tuesday, once all of the election results have been tabulated, no matter who wins the only way I will have lost is if I haven’t found my way to forgiveness and that is completely within my control. That thought alone gives me a sense of peace I haven’t felt in a long while.

Judging the Judge

Yesterday featured the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing dedicated to testimony from Professor Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, of sexually assaulting her in high school back in the early 80s. By all accounts, it was a remarkable day in recent US history, but for me, this had a weirdly personal feel to it. Why? Because I’m the same age as Ford and Kavanaugh, I grew up within a 20-minute drive of them in the DC suburbs, and this whole episode is bringing up intense memories of my own high school and college years.

So yes, it hits close to home. And because I can’t know what happened I, like everyone else, have to wrestle with what I believe happened. And I do have those beliefs and they are influenced by the biases I have based on my experiences, but that’s not what I’m going to write about today. What I’m going to write about is what I saw during yesterday’s hearing and why I think that’s what needs to be focused on when determining if Kavanaugh is fit to serve on the Supreme Court.

What I saw were two people who seemed to sincerely believe their version of events. I saw a woman who tried to remain as composed as possible during her testimony and did about as well as you could expect given the situation. I saw a man who also tried to remain composed, but could not contain his rage or his disdain for many of the Senators on the committee and at some points could even be described as petulant.

Many of Kavanaugh’s defenders/proponents in my social circles have said something to the effect of, “His reaction is totally normal for someone who feels falsely accused of sexual assault in front of the whole country.” I agree, but for a nominee to the Supreme Court, I expect better than normal. I expect the extraordinary. I expect an exceptional level of grace under pressure, someone who can remain composed in the most adverse situations, and perhaps most importantly, a person who can retain their objectivity towards all parties no matter their personal feelings towards any of them in a dispute.

Yes, Kavanaugh’s emotional reaction was what I’d expect from an average man in his situation, but I don’t think the citizens of the United States deserve an average person on the Supreme Court. We deserve an extraordinary person and yesterday’s hearing revealed to all watching that Kavanaugh is simply an ordinary man unable to rise to an extraordinary challenge. We can, and should, do better.

Today’s 30-Year-Olds Face Steep Challenges

The graph below, which comes from this Axios article, paints a pretty clear picture of the challenges being faced by today’s 30-year-old Americans:

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My kids – 25, 24 and 21 respectively – face a different economic reality than their mother and I did at their age in the early ’90s. On average they and their peers are earning the same amount of money as we did, but all of their expenses are higher. The result? Far fewer are getting married, having children or buying a home by the age of 30.

These trends are already having an impact on our country. At my day job I spend my time thinking about housing, the apartment industry in particular, and I can tell you that we’ve been seeing the impact there. That decline in the rate of homeownership you see in the graph above? That translates into more rental housing, which is obviously a positive thing for the apartment industry.

Even when they do get married, this generation isn’t rushing into parenthood mode. From the article:

  • Having fewer children: When Boomers were in their 20s, the fertility rate was 2.48, well beyond the replacement level of 2.1. Today, it is just 1.76.
  • When a recent survey asked why they were having fewer kids, most young adults said “child care is too expensive.”

And these folks are understandably more risk-averse than we were. After all they saw what happened during the great recession, when millions of people lost their “American Dream” homes to foreclosure. They are much more likely to wait until they know they’re financially solid before they venture into parenthood and homeownership.

So how do we fix this? Well, it begins and ends with household income. Until household income starts increasing at a faster clip than basic household expenses, we’re going to be stuck in place. Sure we can look at trying to control the costs of everyday life, but inflation is an economic reality so even if we reduce the rate of inflation we still need to make up lost ground on the income side. Easier said than done, but it’s something we must get serious about.

Hiking Bryce Canyon – Support from ProSource Fitness

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Hunger Fact of the Day:

42% of residents in Northwest North Carolina are low-income and are unable to make ends meet to cover even their most basic needs, from housing to health care to transportation to food. Source


Today’s sponsor:

ProSource Logo

ProSource Fitness Equipment is a very strong supporter of Piedmont Triad Apartment Association (my day job), and their point person in our market, Josh Owen, is an active volunteer who recently won PTAA’s Supplier Vendor Partner of the Year Award. They’re also very involved in the community, including PTAA’s Food Drive.

ProSource is a provider of fitness equipment, both commercial and residential, and I can vouch for them personally because I’ve purchased from them for my home gym and have had nothing but a good experience with the equipment and the company.

They donated enough for a week’s worth of sponsorship and Saturday in Bryce was the third day. Much thanks to Josh and the team at ProSource Fitness for supporting the walk (and PTAA’s Food Drive) and for continuing to be leaders in our community!


Activity Day 40: An incredible day of hiking in Bryce Canyon. Words can’t do it justice so check out the pics below.

Miles walked/run: 8.31 miles. Here’s the screenshot from my FitBit:

Miles remaining in challenge: 157.02

Want to donate to support Second Harvest? It’s easy to do right here!

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Heading to Utah – Support from ProSource Fitness

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Hunger Fact of the Day:

Second Harvest Food Bank of NWNC serves as a critical source of food and grocery products for 232 Pantries, 40 Soup Kitchens, and 18 shelters. (Source)


Today’s sponsor:

ProSource Logo

ProSource Fitness Equipment is a very strong supporter of Piedmont Triad Apartment Association (my day job), and their point person in our market, Josh Owen, is an active volunteer who recently won PTAA’s Supplier Vendor Partner of the Year Award. They’re also very involved in the community, including PTAA’s Food Drive.

ProSource is a provider of fitness equipment, both commercial and residential, and I can vouch for them personally because I’ve purchased from them for my home gym and have had nothing but a good experience with the equipment and the company.

They donated enough for a week’s worth of sponsorship and Monday was the first day. Much thanks to Josh and the team at ProSource Fitness for supporting the walk (and PTAA’s Food Drive) and for continuing to be leaders in our community!


Activity Day 39: Friday was a long day of travel from NC to Utah. Flew into Salt Lake City then drove down to Bryce Canyon. Checked into our hotel – let’s just say it was rustic and leave it at that. Then headed over to the park to do some walking around and scouting for a serious day of hiking on Saturday. Exciting day for sure!

Miles walked/run: 4.2 miles. Here’s the screenshot from my FitBit:

Miles remaining in challenge: 165.33

Want to donate to support Second Harvest? It’s easy to do right here!

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How Many People in NC are Food Insecure?

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Hunger Fact of the Day:

1.6 million residents of NC are food insecure.

Activity Day 38: Walking the dog and running around preparing for our trip to Utah and then San Diego.

Miles walked/run: 3.94 miles. Here’s the screenshot from my FitBit:

Miles remaining in challenge: 169.53.

Want to donate to support Second Harvest? It’s easy to do right here!

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People Seeking Food Assistance are Diverse – and Thanks, Rotary District 7690!

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Hunger Fact of the Day:

People seeking assistance from Second Harvest’s network are diverse. 52 percent are white, 31 percent are black, 11 percent are Hispanic and 6 percent identify as other racial backgrounds. – Source


Today’s sponsor:
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Rotary District 7690. Rotary is a huge organization, with 1.2 million members in thousands of clubs around the world. Rotary District 7690 is located in the central Piedmont region of North Carolina and is comprised of 49 clubs, all of which are active in supporting their communities. One significant effort across the District is the RUSH (Rotarians United to Stop Hunger) program which encourages clubs to raise money and collect food to help feed the hungry. Started just two years ago this program has already raised enough to provide tens of thousands of meals for our communities.


Activity Day 37: Back on the tennis court, and was amazed how good it felt despite the continuing blister problem. To paraphrase Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own, “There’s no crying in tennis! (unless you’re John McEnroe).

Miles walked/run: 6.00 miles. Here’s the screenshot from my FitBit:

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Miles remaining in challenge: 173.47.

Want to donate to support Second Harvest? It’s easy to do right here!

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Here are some pictures of Crescent Rotary in action at the Community Cupboard a week after a tornado struck that part of Greensboro.