On my first trip, we helped rebuild a house for a widow and her family. The video that got the most feedback from friends say “HOLY COW THAT LOOKS DIFFICULT” was ‘The Long Walk’. We hauled several hundred cinder blocks down 75 stairs down the side of a mountain in Haiti in July. You can check out the video here:
This time we’re going to help start a ministry, with Servants Heart working with myLIFEspeaks to start a feeding program in Haiti. You might remember Servants Heart from my trip last year when Krista and I took our girls on their first mission trip, to the Dominican Republic.
This time I’m leaving the family at home, where they’ll be in the safe keeping of my wife’s family, which is sort of the Italian version of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. The joke is that there are more people at my house when I’m out of town than when I’m in town!
Please keep me, Rob, the rest of our team and our families in your prayers, and the people of Haiti and Neply even more so.
You can follow me on twitter @premierebrian, and http://instagram.com/brianlord.
What do you want to learn about Neply? What would you like to know about the people there?
Ok, I know I’m supposed to be a nice guy, but I’m not really. Sometimes being competitive gets the best of me. You see, since he’s Andy Andrew’s manager, and I’ve been one of Andy’s agents, I’ve been stealing ideas from Robert D. Smith for years. Whether it’s sales or marketing, creativity or book publishing, Robert pretty much knows everything, and I try to take whatever I can get from him. One time I was having lunch with him and asked him if he’d be a mentor. You would have thought I’d just stuck his hand in an electric outlet. “WHAT!?!? WHAT!?!!?” (For those of you who know Robert or have seen his videos, you know exactly how he would have sounded.) “You don’t ASK people to be mentors! That’s too much pressure! You just take stuff from them. You put them on your made up board of directors. You don’t ASK them.” And Robert’s been an unwilling mentor to me ever since, man, has it helped me be successful.
Learning from Robert is absolutely, positively a competitive advantage.
And then he has to go and take all that wisdom and put it down for anyone in his book, 20,000 Days And Counting. What’s up with that? It would be much better for my competitors at other companies to be able to allow themselves to be disorganized, overwhelmed, fearful of rejection, and all those other things that are better for me. But no- now like salvation, Star Wars and slices of pizza, this great thing is available to everyone.
So now I just have to hope that none of my competitors read this book, and actually apply it, because that would just make my life so much more difficult. We can only hope.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 releases today. Here is my exclusive interview with Col. Oliver North, who was a consultant in the making of the game, had the great line in the commercial, and might very well be in the game itself.
Here is the Black Ops 2 documentary with the incredible line delivered by Col. North:
Most people are familiar with an emergency fund- a one to six month supply of readily available cash in case of emergency, job loss, great need, etc. It’s usually the first step toward financial stability.
But have you ever thought of having a donation emergency fund?
A Donation Emergency Fund is a one to six month supply of readily available cash in case of emergency, job loss, great need, etc- but in this case, it’s not for you, it’s for others.
Imagine if fellow Americans were rocked by a hurricane, a friend lost their house to a fire, or people in Japan suffered from a catastrophic nuclear disaster, and you didn’t have to choose between paying your own bills and making a life-changing donation. In fact, instead of nothing or just a $10 text donation, you could quickly make a donation of $100 or even $1,000 without having to think about it. Interested? Here’s how to start.
STEP 1: Set aside some money in a SEPARATE account. Do not keep this money in your regular checking account or other saving account. The temptation to use it for regular expenses is too much for most people. Make sure the account is one from which you can write a check, or use to donate online. Although they’re not paying much now, our family decided to use a money market account so that the Donation Emergency Fund itself would grow. BankRate.com has a list of current interest rates on money market accounts.
STEP 2: Grow your Donation Emergency Fund- Just like a normal emergency fund, you want to have 3 to 6 months (or more) of what you’d normally donate to charity. If the median US household income is $50,000, and you donate 10% of earnings, that puts a one month Donation Emergency Fund at about $400, and a ‘fully stocked’ six month Donation Emergency Fund at $2,500.
STEP 3: Replenish Your Donation Emergency Fund- Emergencies will come up, and you will use this fund- just make sure to put back what you take out so that you’re ready for next time. And don’t stop donating to your church and charities you support on a monthly basis. This is something you have above and beyond for times of great need.
Having a Donation Emergency Fund is a very freeing thing. When Hurricane Sandy hit, we didn’t even have to go and check what bills were due that week. We were just able to give. When friends who were missionaries in a country that began to fall into political upheaval needed to buy plane tickets to get home quickly and safely, we were able to give. Make sure to start yours today.
Are you inspired to start your own Donation Emergency Fund? Let me know below!
As a dad, I knew from the beginning I wanted my daughters to be good at making decisions. So, I had to put them in places where they had to make decisions. Before each of them could talk, I’d ask them to make choices for me. Clothes are easy and colorful and everything goes with khaki pants, so I started by asking them to help me pick out my shirt before work. “Do you like the blue one or the other blue one?”, I’d ask, and they’d point to the one they liked. I also made sure to not only ask their opinion, but to follow it (occasionally checking with mommy’s fashion sense just to be sure). I wanted to make sure my girls knew that their decisions mattered, even if that meant I was a 5’11 mismatched doll that shaved.
This developed into them wanting to decide not only the shirt, but the shirt-tie-pants combination. They’ve also gotten socks for me, so now I have argyle socks in black-grey- and blue/purple/pink/green/etc. For Christmas, mommy let them each pick out a tie for me. Sydney, not surprisingly, picked out what she liked the best, the brightest solid pink tie they had. Brooklyn, on the other hand, went with what she thought I’d like the best- a rather tame, black and light grey patterned tie (does that mean she thinks I’m boring?).
They’re still only 5- and 7-years-old, so the jury is still out on how well they’ll make decisions, but at least I know they’ve been making some of their own decisions for a long time. I’m always on the prowl to find ways for them to make decisions on their own, rather than always telling them what they should do.
What decisions do you have your kids make? What have you learned about them?
I saw Argo Saturday night- overall, great movie. First, to keep my mom happy, I will warn you that there is a lot of language- not just English and Farsi and Canadian, but also bad words.
They did a great job on the film visually. Most people have seen a lot more video of Iraq than Iran (and Bagdad than Tehran), but they believe the two countries look alike. Not so. Have you ever been to the Seattle airport and seen the beautiful mountains as a backdrop to the city? That’s what Tehran looks like, and they really captured that. They also shot the film in that grainy-70s-we’re-still-trying-to-figure-out-this-color-film-thing style, which really helps. Throw in some original Star Wars action figures, old news footage with young Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather, and Ben Affleck‘s impressively shaggy beard and hair, and you really feel like you’re in 1979.
Per Hollywood union rules, they do have a two minute voice over (possibly by Drew Barrymore?) in which they leave a whole bunch of things out, state that everything bad is the United States’ fault and that anything that happens to us is our own fault. The good news is that after they get that out of the way, the movie gets pretty non-political and really focuses on the story and the people and this unbelievable plan, rather than on making a statement.
As for the cast, John Goodman and Alan Arkin are hilarious and really steal the show. That’s one of those rare times I really wished I cursed like a sailor because Arkin’s “Ar…go (blank) (blank)” line is so funny (So I Married An Axe Murderer is still my favorite Alan Arkin movie). You’ll see Bryan Cranston (Malcolm In The Middle) in a role that will surprise you. And Kyle Chandler looks less like me than he has at any other point in his career. FYI, Ben Affleck is married to Alias star Jennifer Garner (impressive segue, Brian!) You know how everyone in Alias who played an American was really born outside the US, and everyone who played an international character was really an American with a fake accent? Well, it was nice to see Ontario’s own Victor Garber play an actual Canadian.
Overall, really entertaining and interesting movie. I wouldn’t take the kids to see it, but it’s definitely worth watching.
PS- For you nerds out there who really want to know Persia/Iran in a deeper way, I highly recommend A History Of Iran: Empire of The Mind by Michael Axworthy. In reality, everything that we know about Iran is just a small blip, a short sentence, in their massive history.
What did you think of the movie? Have you ever read a book on Iran? Comment below!
I raced my first half Ironman race this weekend, and have lived to tell the tale. My wife Krista made the 7 hour drive with me to cheer me on to make it all the more special, with several friends from our local triathlon club, BEAT, racing as well. My goal was to finish the race in under 7 hours (ironically, the time it takes to drive from Nashville to Augusta). So did I reach my goal? You’ll have to read on to find out.
A couple quick notes for those unfamiliar with half Ironman races or Augusta. A half Ironman starts with a 1.2 mile swim, then goes to a 56 mile bike, and finishes with a 13.1 mile half marathon. I started training in March for this. Over that 30 week period, I swam 67,353 yards (over 38 miles), biked 1594 miles, and ran 339 miles. That’s not a lot for a triathlete, but pretty good for a human.
Regarding Augusta, I learned that it was named after Princess Augusta of England, and is pronounced “Awww-gusta”, like you feel sorry for it. And to an extent, you do- they have this incredible looking downtown on Broad Street that reminds you of Disney’s Mainstreet USA in it’s clean, old-timey feel, but probably 60% of the storefronts are empty. However, the people and volunteers we met there were incredibly nice and helpful. You really root for the town and hope that hosting the largest half Ironman race in the country helps in the rejuvenation of the area.
My goal time for the swim was 58 minutes. The swim is perfect, in that you don’t even need to know how to swim to finish it. It’s a lot like being in a ‘lazy river’ with floaties. You swim with the Savannah River current the entire way (as compared to some where you swim in a circular pattern or out-and-back) with a pretty fast current pushing you along. It’s a wetsuit-legal race, which means you don’t have to make any effort to stay afloat since you’re wearing buoyant wetsuit. Last month, it took me 45 minutes to swim a 0.9 mile Olympic distance race. For this, it took me 34 minutes to swim 1.2 miles. Shocking. I was at 34 minutes, 24 minutes ahead of schedule. (Note: Before the race, they announced they’d have some girls who would be strippers for you after you got out of the water. But not that kind of stripper. Wetsuits are notoriously hard to get out of by yourself. For the big races, though, after you come out of the water and get your arms out, you let down on a mat and two people ‘strip’ the wetsuit off you, saving you a minute or so and some potential frustration. It’s still funny to say, though.)
My goal time for the bike was 3 hours, 40 minutes with the first transition, about a 15.5 mph average. The bike course is hillier than you expect, but in a gradual way. There aren’t any steep sections where you have to stand up and mash on the pedals for five minutes. My goal was to keep an even pace and not chase anyone on the bike, so that I wouldn’t burn myself out. About 10 or 15 times I had to stop myself from speeding up to catch someone who passed me. I just had to keep at my own pace. 56 miles is a lot, so you have to keep your mind going a bit. Your first name is on your number bib on your back, so as I passed women, I’d say their name and something encouraging (the women who were passing me were too fast to say anything to). For the guys, I’d usually drop some good-natured trash talk. One guy and I kept passing each other, and had some pretty good banter going (you’re not allowed to ride side by side, so conversations are for a few seconds every few miles). Finally, about 40 miles in, he had to stop at the side of the road and answer nature’s call, and that’s the last I saw of him. After that, I pushed pretty hard and finished at 3:20, 20 minutes ahead of my bike goal time, and 44 minutes ahead of my overall swim + bike goal.
My goal for the run was 2:14 minute for the 13.1 miles and 3 minutes transition time, a 10 minute per mile pace. The run is incredibly flat, and does a modified two loop course down and around Broad Street. One of the highlights was at the beginning of the two loop run, where I saw Krista cheering for me on the side of the road. I flipped my visor bill around backwards, and gave her a big kiss as I passed. A guy running behind me yelled, “Well done!” I turned around and replied, “And I didn’t even know her!”
There were a lot of spouses with kids lining the roadway, too. They’d been selling cowbells, and I saw a little daughter pause her ringing long enough to ask her dad, “Do ants have ears?” If they do, that anthill she was by was in for a long day.
The first half of the run went perfectly. I wasn’t pushing the pace at all, and was running about a 9:30 pace, and I intentionally had to slow myself down. Then the cramps hit. First my right hip. Then my left quad. I was stopping at every water stop to get pretzels, water, and Ironman-aid, or whatever they call it. Eventually, I’d just stop by the rest stations and chat for a bit, trying to work out the cramps. Then my right calf and my left calf started to cramp. The frustrating part was that I still had energy- when I was running, it was probably at a 9 minute pace or so. Finally, when I was just 0.2 miles from the finish line, closing enough to hear the music blaring and people cheering, I got my worst cramp. My big toe completely curled under my foot. It was bizarre to see. I had to take off my shoe and pull with both hands to get it to stop cramping. I knew Krista and friends would be at the finish line, and I wanted to run down the final stretch instead of limping, so I took an extra couple of minutes to stretch out my foot. I was able to turn the corner and gingerly run the last 100 yards, finishing the run in 2:24 minutes, and 11 minute pace, 13 minutes slower than my goal time. I finished the race in 6:22, 38 minutes faster than I’d planned. Overall, I finished in 2,194th place out of 3,335 racers, and 309 out of 416 men in my 35-39 age group.
I raced this half Ironman, and am running the 200-mile over-night, over-mountain Ragnar Relay race to raise money for Servants Heart Ministry. If you’d like to donate, please do so here: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/robert-dublin/teamshm. Thanks!
*photos by Sherri Kerstetter
Can you run Ragnar and make a difference? You absolutely can!
I just got back from the Dominican Republic, and shot this video of what our Ragnar team was able to do:
In a nutshell, last year, Servants Heart Ministry‘s donations were down, so they had a tough decision- do they A) still serve chicken, rice, and beans for their meals, but stop feeding as many kids in Santiago, Dominican Republic, or B) feed as many kids, but cut out the chicken. Rob (my good friend, SHM co-founder, and one of our runners) told me the story of the time he had to be the person at the end of the food line, and had the difficult job of telling a grandmother that they didn’t have enough food for her grandchild- basically, that they had to turn her away and the child would have to go hungry. So the decision was made- the kids would lose the chicken, but at least the same number of kids would have something until donations came back up.
So, we set a goal of raising $2,675 (the cost of chicken for one month for the kids in the program), so all the kids can have chicken (and the much needed protein it provides)- and we hit it!
One of the most moving times came when the food was served. It’s hard for us to imagine, but if you have food for 93 kids, you don’t have enough food for 94. Kids from around the neighborhood came by, and even though I’m sure they were hungry, they said, “no program, no program”. They wanted to be honest and not take the food that was meant for kids who had been sponsored. My wife had to go inside the house for awhile because that was so moving- both because it was so sad the kids couldn’t eat, and so moving that 8 and 9-year-old kids were honest despite their hunger. Luckily, we’d gone to a store the day before and loaded up on a rare treat- Oreos- and were able give those to the ‘non-program’ kids. It wasn’t as nutritious as the chicken, rice, and beans, but at least it was something. (If you do want to help sponsor that 94th or 95th child in the village of Esperanza, you can do so here).