Wednesday, December 1, 2010

4th Annual Kurozawa Kids Christmas Wish Drive

Greetings friends and family...the Christmas season is here!
It's time to announce the 4th annual Kurozawa Kids Christmas Wish Drive to benefit the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.
This year the donation drive is coordinated through @AMillion4Kids, meaning this year we are also able to accept cash donations.

Mia (6th grade) and Noah (4th grade) have enjoyed supporting the Milwaukee Rescue Mission the past few years, being able to bring smiles to children and families who are going through difficult times, but none of it has been possible with out the support and generosity of our friends and family.

This year Mia and Noah welcome their younger sister Isabela (Kindergarten) into the fold.

Below is a list of the Christmas Wish items that the Milwaukee Rescue Mission is asking for this year:
ChristmasNeeds
• New toys for children,
from babies to teens
• Watches and jewelry
• Perfumes
• Lotions
• Soaps and Luffas
• Women’s robes
and slippers
• Gift cards
• Wrapping paper—
we will need to wrap
hundreds of gifts!

HOLIDAYWISH LIST
Clothing
• Socks and insulated gloves
(men, women and children)
• Hats and scarves for men,
women and children
• Underwear (all sizes,
especially children’s
sizes 2-6, men’s &
women’s large sizes)
• Men’s belts
KitchenNeeds
• Juice
• Fruit
• Snack items
Personal&Baby Care
• Diapers (sizes 4, 5, 6)
• Pull-ups
• Baby wipes
• Spill-proof sippy cups, baby bottles
• Pain relievers, cough/cold/flu medications with
no alcohol content (infant, child and adult strengths)
• Hand lotion
• Deodorant
• Vaseline

Any help that you can provide between now and December 19th would be greatly appreciated. The kids are hoping for the largest donation to date for this effort.

Please pick something on the list…or if you are interested in making a monetary donation, please make checks out to “A Million 4 Kids” and put MRM in the Memo line.

For more information, please feel free to contact me at jon.kurozawa@gmail.com
The kids will be coordinating donation pickups between December 4-19, with final drop off on Monday December 20th at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.

Thank you and God Bless this Christmas season!

Posted via email from From the mind of Jon Kurozawa

4th Annual Kurozawa Kids Christmas Wish Drive

Greetings friends and family...the Christmas season is here!
It's time to announce the 4th annual Kurozawa Kids Christmas Wish Drive to benefit the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.
This year the donation drive is coordinated through @AMillion4Kids, meaning this year we are also able to accept cash donations.

Mia (6th grade) and Noah (4th grade) have enjoyed supporting the Milwaukee Rescue Mission the past few years, being able to bring smiles to children and families who are going through difficult times, but none of it has been possible with out the support and generosity of our friends and family.

This year Mia and Noah welcome their younger sister Isabela (Kindergarten) into the fold.

Below is a list of the Christmas Wish items that the Milwaukee Rescue Mission is asking for this year:
ChristmasNeeds
• New toys for children,
from babies to teens
• Watches and jewelry
• Perfumes
• Lotions
• Soaps and Luffas
• Women’s robes
and slippers
• Gift cards
• Wrapping paper—
we will need to wrap
hundreds of gifts!

HOLIDAYWISH LIST
Clothing
• Socks and insulated gloves
(men, women and children)
• Hats and scarves for men,
women and children
• Underwear (all sizes,
especially children’s
sizes 2-6, men’s &
women’s large sizes)
• Men’s belts
KitchenNeeds
• Juice
• Fruit
• Snack items
Personal&Baby Care
• Diapers (sizes 4, 5, 6)
• Pull-ups
• Baby wipes
• Spill-proof sippy cups, baby bottles
• Pain relievers, cough/cold/flu medications with
no alcohol content (infant, child and adult strengths)
• Hand lotion
• Deodorant
• Vaseline

Any help that you can provide between now and December 19th would be greatly appreciated. The kids are hoping for the largest donation to date for this effort.

Please pick something on the list…or if you are interested in making a monetary donation, please make checks out to “A Million 4 Kids” and put MRM in the Memo line.

For more information, please feel free to contact me at jon.kurozawa@gmail.com
The kids will be coordinating donation pickups between December 4-19, with final drop off on Monday December 20th at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.

Thank you and God Bless this Christmas season!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Update...please read

Time for a little clarification on a few items from my last blog concerning Rob and his children…

1. His power was shut off a few months back. Yes I am fully aware of the WE Energies policies of not shutting power and heat between November 1 and March 1, but I am investigating whether they will turn previously cut off utilities back on after that time.
2. I know there are a lot of people going through similar circumstances this season…and I sincerely hope each and every person gets help. This one is close to my heart and I am willing to do anything for my friend and his children.

Now is the time to make something happen…I am looking for help in putting together a fundraiser…maybe as simple as a Tweet-up type event at a restaurant or family friendly venue, maybe a few silent auction items and a small cover charge.

Seems like I am always promoting something, whether it is for work or something for my kids…but this is something that I hope everyone considers helping with. Doesn’t matter what it is or how much it is, every little bit will help.

My promise to everyone that reads this…every single penny of money raised will got to the things that need to be taken care of…

Thanks and God’s blessings to all of you.

Posted via email from From the mind of Jon Kurozawa

Update...please read

Time for a little clarification on a few items from my last blog concerning Rob and his children…

1. His power was shut off a few months back. Yes I am fully aware of the WE Energies policies of not shutting power and heat between November 1 and March 1, but I am investigating whether they will turn previously cut off utilities back on after that time.
2. I know there are a lot of people going through similar circumstances this season…and I sincerely hope each and every person gets help. This one is close to my heart and I am willing to do anything for my friend and his children.

Now is the time to make something happen…I am looking for help in putting together a fundraiser…maybe as simple as a Tweet-up type event at a restaurant or family friendly venue, maybe a few silent auction items and a small cover charge.

Seems like I am always promoting something, whether it is for work or something for my kids…but this is something that I hope everyone considers helping with. Doesn’t matter what it is or how much it is, every little bit will help.

My promise to everyone that reads this…every single penny of money raised will got to the things that need to be taken care of…

Thanks and God’s blessings to all of you.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Update on my friend...help desperately needed

Earlier this week I posted about my friend Rob and his children and the help they need. I wanted to update all of you...and let you know the seriousness of the situation.

Rob and his children spent the day with our family for a Thanksgiving weekend celebration. It was at this time, later into the evening that we realized the gravity of the situation.

Once again his power (and heat) has been shut off, and he will not have any income coming in until after the first of the year (he works a part-time seasonal job and there are no hours available.
He has been applying for assistance and looking for additional work, but he has had little to no success.

Friends...I am asking you once again to help. Rob is trying to re-build his life for his children, get onto the path that we lead to a meaningful life for them.

They can not get started without some help...lots of it. My wife and I are doing what we can, but honestly we cannot do it alone.

I am going to directly ask....we need financial donations to help them get the following:
1. A new place to live (preferably a 2-3 bedroom apt that is not falling apart)
2. Caught up on their electric/heating so they can have power and heat
3. a stable job with income that can at least cover their bills

Yes I know there are thousands of others that need help...but this is my friend...someone that is dear to our family.

I need help coordinating some sort of a fundraiser for them in the next few weeks, plus the obvious financial contributions to get the ball rolling for them NOW.

This is a tough season to be asking for help, with so many organizations looking for help.

I have faith in the power of social media and the hearts of others. Please please please help Rob and his children

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Posted via email from From the mind of Jon Kurozawa

Update on my friend...help desperately needed

Earlier this week I posted about my friend Rob and his children and the help they need. I wanted to update all of you...and let you know the seriousness of the situation.

Rob and his children spent the day with our family for a Thanksgiving weekend celebration. It was at this time, later into the evening that we realized the gravity of the situation.

Once again his power (and heat) has been shut off, and he will not have any income coming in until after the first of the year (he works a part-time seasonal job and there are no hours available.
He has been applying for assistance and looking for additional work, but he has had little to no success.

Friends...I am asking you once again to help. Rob is trying to re-build his life for his children, get onto the path that we lead to a meaningful life for them.

They can not get started without some help...lots of it. My wife and I are doing what we can, but honestly we cannot do it alone.

I am going to directly ask....we need financial donations to help them get the following:
1. A new place to live (preferably a 2-3 bedroom apt that is not falling apart)
2. Caught up on their electric/heating so they can have power and heat
3. a stable job with income that can at least cover their bills

Yes I know there are thousands of others that need help...but this is my friend...someone that is dear to our family.

I need help coordinating some sort of a fundraiser for them in the next few weeks, plus the obvious financial contributions to get the ball rolling for them NOW.

This is a tough season to be asking for help, with so many organizations looking for help.

I have faith in the power of social media and the hearts of others. Please please please help Rob and his children

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Help a local (Milwaukee) family this Christmas

Thanksgiving and the Holidays….after the “interesting” year the Kurozawa family has had, we are extremely thankful for our friends, family and the community that helped us out when we needed help.

Now our family focus goes to helping others, but primarily one family this holiday season.

Rob has been a friend for 25 years and is going through a situation I cannot imagine.
A single dad raising two young daughters, left in a financial mess thanks to a disastrous relationship, trying to get custody of his stepson who is in the foster care system.

Living in an apartment with a landlord that does not care about his tenants or their safety, limited income dues to employment troubles, and recently had his power shut off due to months of being able to pay.

Our family wanted to “adopt” Rob and his daughters this Christmas to make sure the girls get a visit from Santa, but getting them presents doesn’t seem to be the right thing to do when they are in such need.

Once again I turn to you, my friends, colleagues and social media family. You came to our aid in July, helped out the amazing family of @TeecycleTim…can we do it one more time?

The need here is immense: a new place to live, a job, money to help get caught up on utilities. I am personally asking for your help to give the greatest Christmas gift we can give Rob and his family.

I am working on arranging a bank account for donations to go to, but I need your help.
With a combined 1,900 friends on Twitter and Facebook, plus another 500 connections on LinkedIn, I figure we could all make a major impact with just a few dollars each.

Rob does not know I am doing this for him (any being the prideful guy he is will get mad) but his family needs our help.
Stay tuned to my Twitter account for updates…Thank you for your help!

Posted via email from From the mind of Jon Kurozawa

Help a local (Milwaukee) family this Christmas

Thanksgiving and the Holidays….after the “interesting” year the Kurozawa family has had, we are extremely thankful for our friends, family and the community that helped us out when we needed help.

Now our family focus goes to helping others, but primarily one family this holiday season.

Rob has been a friend for 25 years and is going through a situation I cannot imagine.
A single dad raising two young daughters, left in a financial mess thanks to a disastrous relationship, trying to get custody of his stepson who is in the foster care system.

Living in an apartment with a landlord that does not care about his tenants or their safety, limited income dues to employment troubles, and recently had his power shut off due to months of being able to pay.

Our family wanted to “adopt” Rob and his daughters this Christmas to make sure the girls get a visit from Santa, but getting them presents doesn’t seem to be the right thing to do when they are in such need.

Once again I turn to you, my friends, colleagues and social media family. You came to our aid in July, helped out the amazing family of @TeecycleTim…can we do it one more time?

The need here is immense: a new place to live, a job, money to help get caught up on utilities. I am personally asking for your help to give the greatest Christmas gift we can give Rob and his family.

I am working on arranging a bank account for donations to go to, but I need your help.
With a combined 1,900 friends on Twitter and Facebook, plus another 500 connections on LinkedIn, I figure we could all make a major impact with just a few dollars each.

Rob does not know I am doing this for him (any being the prideful guy he is will get mad) but his family needs our help.
Stay tuned to my Twitter account for updates…Thank you for your help!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Give...care...help (an update on the Journey of Life)

A few days ago I was inspired to start writing the “Journey of Life” blog…but I was hit with another inspiration that is changing my vision for this blog, at least for the next 8 weeks.

These final two months of 2010 will be filled with thoughts of Thanksgiving and Christmas, two holidays that many of us have begun to take for granted. This is a time of the year that my wife and I have worked over the past few years to inspire our children to care for others and give more than they receive.

With that in mind, I cannot write a blog that is focusing in on my life.

In the spirit of the “Give This New Year Away” blogs from earlier this year, I will be dedicating the next 8 weeks to focusing on others in need.

There will be suggestions of ways to give back, stories of triumph during the holidays, listings of volunteer opportunities and special events to participate in. Plus I will feature people and families that may need our help in one way or another.

This will be something unlike anything I have done before…but I look forward to sharing with you and hopefully inspiring you, while I inspire my children.

Won’t you please join me and my family, as we embark on this holiday adventure. Share your ideas, stories and events with all of us.

In the words of Matthew West…let’s Give This Christmas (and holiday season) Away!

Posted via email from From the mind of Jon Kurozawa

Give...care...help (an update on the Journey of Life)

A few days ago I was inspired to start writing the “Journey of Life” blog…but I was hit with another inspiration that is changing my vision for this blog, at least for the next 8 weeks.

These final two months of 2010 will be filled with thoughts of Thanksgiving and Christmas, two holidays that many of us have begun to take for granted. This is a time of the year that my wife and I have worked over the past few years to inspire our children to care for others and give more than they receive.

With that in mind, I cannot write a blog that is focusing in on my life.

In the spirit of the “Give This New Year Away” blogs from earlier this year, I will be dedicating the next 8 weeks to focusing on others in need.

There will be suggestions of ways to give back, stories of triumph during the holidays, listings of volunteer opportunities and special events to participate in. Plus I will feature people and families that may need our help in one way or another.

This will be something unlike anything I have done before…but I look forward to sharing with you and hopefully inspiring you, while I inspire my children.

Won’t you please join me and my family, as we embark on this holiday adventure. Share your ideas, stories and events with all of us.

In the words of Matthew West…let’s Give This Christmas (and holiday season) Away!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Season of change...the Journey of Life.

Inspiration for writing comes from many different places...personal experiences, reading something, seeing something on TV.

My first blog post in a few months is inspired by a few things. This morning I received an email about the 20th anniversary of a website that I frequent. Recently I have been reflective on life, experiences, successes, failures. Reconnecting with an old friend from two decades ago, someone that was very influential during a difficult time in my life. All of these things have inspired me.

This year I turned 40, sort of a turning point in my life. I have been doing a lot of reflecting, thinking about the past...the good, the bad, the mistakes I have made, the great decisions. Looking back...twenty years ago, the midway mark of my life to this point...was the ending of one part and the beginning of another.

Twenty years ago, I was at the lowest point of my life, not sure what I was going to do or where I was going to go. Thanks to a high school friend coming to my aid and the support of two dear friends, I was able to refocus and begin to to get my life back on track. A new chapter began.

Leading up to that "new chapter" were days, weeks and months of heartbreak, uncertainty and regrets. I will openly admit to the entire world...there have been things I have done in my life I am not very proud of. I have lied, hurt people, betrayed people I have called my friends. I wish I could apologize to everyone that I have wronged.

If not for two people, I would not have made it back to where I could "re-start" my life. My best friend and blood brother Rob was there for me through the good and bad, went down the highway of life and hit every bump in the road with me. If not for an argument over something that best friends should not argue over, Rob and I would be as close as we were in our youth. I regret the road I took Rob down in our reckless youth...the troubles I led him through.

The other person is someone I will never forget, can never thank enough for all that she did for me. Kim and I met under less than normal circumstances, teenagers from completely different backgrounds with nothing in common. A chance early morning meeting led to a unique friendship...one that opened my eyes, mind and heart to a whole new world. Kim was there at the darkest night of my life, pulling me in from the edge. She was the voice that brought me home from halfway across the country at a time when I was ready to leave it all, run from what I needed to face. For 20 years, a true angel in my life was lost because of my own ignorance and stupidity, but thankfully we have re-connected. But lost is the friendship that was so special to me.

Why do I share this with all of you know? I have been criticized over the past year for the candidness I display and how open I am with things that go on in my life. Though I have made many mistakes in my life, regret some of the things I have done...I am not ashamed to admit who I am, the struggles I am going through.

I am know for being an active member of the Twitter community, as the loud and sometimes obnoxious MPTV Auction guy, the voice of numerous sports and radio broadcasts, among other things. But how many people know the "Real" Jon Kurozawa?

Outside of my beautiful wife of 14 years (whom I met at the beginning of the "new chapter" I mentioned earlier...only a few know some of the revealing stories of my life.

It's time for the world to get to know who I really am...where I came from, who I am, what I am all about. You see memoirs written by famous people later in life...I will share the past, present and future with each of you...one story at a time.

The next chapter in the life story of Jon continues and I would like all of you to join me...for all the ups and downs, smiles and tears, joy and pain. In the process, share with me your stories of triumph and tragedy...let us lift each other up and encourage as we all go on this journey of life.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pay It Forward..the continuation

Thank you to everyone that has read this blog over the past week plus.
This has been an amazing ride, but it is just beginning.

I wrote about Paying It Forward, as a Thank You to all those that stepped forward in faith and helped my family. Over the past week I have read the stores of @teecycletim and @robertjames1 (both from Twitter) the struggles they are facing and the amazing stories of the Milwaukee community stepping up to aid them.

Based on what has happened (and the fact my wife decided to throw in the movie "Pay It Forward")I want to see this through and really take it to the next level.

Much like my topics of "Give This New Year Away" have been meant to encourage..I want my vision for the "Pay It Forward Project" to do the same.

Will you please consider joining me on this journey, one that will hopefully begin a positive revolution in our community!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More updates...Paying It Forward!

What a week this has been…if you had told me 7 days ago all that would have transpired in this time, I would have laughed in your face.

Last Thursday night, I was feeling like I was at one of the lowest points of my life (but believe me there have been lower). Our mortgage company bearing down on us, I totaled our van and our basement was flooding.

After a weird moment of clarity in the midst of things (and after numerous offers for help) I decided to create a blog post, what has now become not only a Twitter trending topic, but now the inspiration for an upcoming local article (more details on that later)

One of my good friends, and someone who has been a mentor and inspiration for me over the last 6 years described me as “Milwaukee’s George Bailey”. I was and still am extremely humbled by the comment. When I envision Jimmy Stewart’s character in “It’s a Wonderful Life” I think of the young man who gave up his dreams and ambitions to stay in Bedford Falls, run his father’s building and loan, and in the end helping and positively effecting the lives of many in his town.

Over my life (especially the last 20 years) I have prided myself on helping where I can, volunteering, offering support…while trying to stay out of the “spotlight” (OK the Channel 10 auction is the exception…lol). I guess during that time I have either not been as humble as I thought I was, or more people that I realize have been paying attention to what I have been doing.

That’s what makes what happened starting Saturday even more amazing to me. As I posted our “request” for $1 each from my social media friends, I could have never imagined the response that came in. To date, we have been blessed with over $1,900, meaning I will be going to the bank for the first cashiers check for our mortgage company (which I will be posting a picture of on Twitter right before I send it)

Along with the financial donations, we have been blessed with a few amazing offers as well to help us with our vehicle needs.
More importantly, this has opened my eyes even wider to the needs of others in our community. Two Twitter friends come to mind, who have experience huge losses in the last month.
@RobertJames1 of First Priority Printing saw his building burn down after a tragic lightning strike in Mequon about a month ago. @Teecycle_Org had his house suffer catastrophic flood damage.

These are two of the many stories we are all hearing about, and I feel they are much worse that the situation that my family is in.

We all know others, people that aren’t followed by hundreds of people on Twitter and Facebook, people that aren’t using social media to let people know of their situations. I feel called to help these people in anyway I can.

If you know of anyone that needs help, get the word out, take some time to offer help (doesn’t always have to be money). Offer to make them dinner. If they have kids, offer babysitting for a few hours. Cut their lawn for them so they can get a break. Anything would be appreciated I am sure.
Milwaukee has shown me personally how amazingly caring they can be…let’s show the world what we can do and start a revolution of Paying It Forward!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Update on our situation and some clarification!

Great Sunday morning!!
First of all let me thank all of you for the love and support you have shown my family. It is times like these that really make you realize how special the world can be.
I do need to offer a little clarification on my last blog post, because it has taken on a life of its own.
Yes..we need to pay a lump sum to our mortgage company ($2100 by August 3 and then 3 subsequent payments of $1100 between Sept-Nov.) to halt the beginning of foreclosure proceedings. With my current work situation, this has been a struggle, but we are working this out.
Yes...we need help to be able to obtain a new vehicle for the family (since I totaled the other one on Thursday). We are talking with someone about a used minivan for about $2,000

That's where the $4,000 number came in...but somehow that number came up as the number that was needed for the house.
I have been 100% open and honest during this situation...here's where we are:
The main priority is a vehicle for us...we will only be able to have the loaner for a few more days. The house is a very close 2nd...as we had figured that we could probably scrape up the money for the payment, but have to let a few other things go to do it.
The money that has been donated to this point has relieved a huge burden of trying to figure out what will get paid...and for that we are extremely grateful.

The amazing support we have received...it literally is like the final minutes of "It's A Wonderful Life" when the whole town comes to the aid of George Bailey (Thanks DC for the reference to this).

I promise you...this is the beginning of something great. A few people have mentioned paying it forward...that is definitely not a question. Our family has always helped where we can, when we can...despite financial hardships. We are dedicated to doing more, more often.

Once again...from our entire family we say THANK YOU!! For everyone that has forwarded our story, has told their friends and have given the $1 (or more).

To close...while this has been amazing, please remember there are families that are in much worse situations than ours. I am fortunate enough to have a large network of friends via social media. Many families have been devastated by the recent flooding and have lost years of memories, thousands of dollars in possessions and much more.
Thank you again and God Bless!!

Jon & Holly Kurozawa
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

~ 1 Peter 5:7, NLT

Friday, July 23, 2010

Our family needs your help

This is hard for me to do, especially in a time when so many families are struggling financially and many more have been flooded in SE Wisconsin.
Desperate times require us to humble ourselves and ask for the help of others.

Within the last 8 days, our house has been flooded twice, our minivan (and sole family vehicle) was totaled in an accident and we found out we have 10 days to pay a large lump payment to our mortgage company. For those of you that know me and my work situation, you know this is difficult for us to handle. We have been blessed by help and offers from some amazing people.

We are in a situation where we need to come up with about $4,000 quickly. Due to lack of income and tough decisions...our credit is no good for loans.

I have over 1,100 friends on Twitter, 575 on Facebook and over 200 connections on LinkedIn. This is what I am asking...
If each of my friends on each of these social sites donated $1 each...well it would help us tremendously.
Our main goal is to get a new (ok a good used and running) minivan to transport our entire family.
$1...not much to ask for...can you help us?

I am humbling myself to all of you in this unusual forum...hoping that you can help us.
If you have any questions, please email me at jon.kurozawa@gmail.com, on Twitter @JonKurozawa

UPDATE: per numerous requests...we have a PayPal account setup. go to www.paypal.com and you can send funds to jon.kurozawa@gmail.com Thanks all and God Bless!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Give This New Year Away #31 - Volunteer one day at a food pantry

Food pantries have become a resource for an increasing number of families, supplying them with necessary items to be able to feed them.
Like many organizations of this nature rely on not only donations, but volunteers.
Sorting, packing and distributing are a number of the things that food pantries need to do. Without volunteers, people can not get served.
Find a local food pantry...whether it is one of the larger ones in you city or a small church or community based one...contact them and see what help they need. One day a month would be a huge help for them.
Take it a step further and organize a group from work, your church or even friends and family and go together a day to volunteer.

Posted via web from From the mind of Jon Kurozawa

Friday, May 7, 2010

Give This New Year Away 30 - Plant some flowers (or a tree) with your family

Spring is a time of renewal, of new growth, of new beginnings.

What a great time to help with new growth by planting flowers...at home, at someone else's home, at a business...there are many places to do it.

Get your family together and plant flowers for an elderly neighbor or at a retirement community.

Work with a group at your church and plant a garden at your church.

Get your company to coordinate planting flowers in the city, on a boulevard or median flower plot.

Looking for something longer lasting?
Get a tree seedling (or more) and plant them...creating a legacy for your family (and helping the environment at the same time)

Posted via web from From the mind of Jon Kurozawa

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Give This New Year Away #29 - Say YES to the kid's fundraisers

Spring is the time of renewal; grass greening, trees budding, flowers growing.

It is also a time when we begin to see more fundraising efforts from kids (much like fall)
Personally I have seen a couple in recent weeks…Girl Scout Cookie tables at the grocery store (which I have a love for since my oldest daughter is a 5th grade Jr. Girl Scout) and Little League Baseball candy bar sales.

I know a lot of times we get annoyed with the number of these selling opportunities we see, and it may seem like we are getting bombarded. Please remember one thing (especially those of you without children) lots of times, these fundraisers are required or necessary. Many Little League organizations require players to sell a certain amount of candy (don’t blame the kids)

Though we can’t say yes to every single one of these (unless you just won the $258 million Powerball), consider saying yes to at least a few. IF you can’t buy, don’t just blow the kids off. Stop for a moment, find out more about what the kids are selling and if you can’t buy, respectfully decline.

Also…now is the time that more and more charity run/walks and events pop up. Pick one or two (especially if they are presented by family or friends) and consider offering some financial support. Even a $5 or $10 pledge can make a difference.

I know first hand how rough things can be financially, but one or two dollars here or there to benefit a group or organization is much more important that that bottle of soda, bag of chips or cup of over priced coffee is!

**Special note to those of you with kids that do a lot of fundraising activities: remember the people that buy from you. If someone that has bought from you comes around selling something…make an effort to purchase from them. Personally this gets a little tough for our family (considering how many Girl Scout cookies and Cub Scout wreaths have been sold by my kids) but we do our best. It’s not a one way street!

Posted via web from From the mind of Jon Kurozawa

Give This New Year Away #28 - Work on cleaning up your neighborhood/community #EarthDay

Today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, a day when we are all supposed to remember the amazing resource we have been given with our planet and do what we can to protect it and save it.

One of the easiest way we can do something to help it to look right at home, in our yards, neighborhoods and immediate communities. One of the things our family loves to do (when the weather cooperates) if go for a walk around our neighborhood.

Take a half hour or more today to do the same…go for a walk. But along with doing this, bring a couple plastic grocery bags with you. If you see some trash, pick it up.

This may seem like a small mundane task, but if each of my 1,000+ followers on Twitter, 500+ friends on Facebook all did this, then encouraged all of their friends…pretty soon we have thousands of people all over the country taking a walk and cleaning up.

Go a step further, get a group together…from work, church or anywhere you participate. Find a local park to clean up. Go into a neighborhood that needs help. Go along a river and cleanup.

Do your kids play soccer, baseball…participate in scouting? Get those groups involved too.

Lots of simple little ways that we can make an impact. And of course there is always Reduce, Reuse and Recycle…the 3 R’s of making our planet a little better.
April 22nd is Earth Day, but let’s make everyday of the year Earth Day

Posted via web from From the mind of Jon Kurozawa

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Give This New Year Away #27 - Volunteer your time and talent with Junior Achievement

When I was first approached 6 years ago about volunteering for Junior Achievement, I flashbacked to when I was in 6th grade and meeting once a week in the evening and working on building a business with other students. I had positive memories of the experience but didn't think I had much to offer.
In the 20+ years since I was first involved on that level, Junior Achievement has changed and dramatically improved. Now the JA programs is geared towards grades K-12, with in classroom programming and activities that teach kids business and economic principles, entrepreneurship and important skills needed in the business world.

All of this is great, but it cannot be done without volunteers. I have personally volunteered in classrooms from Kindergarten all the way up to high school and have realized how easy the program is for volunteers. One hour per week, 5-10 weeks (depending on the grade level) and all the materials and curriculum are provided for you.
No matter what field of work you are in, you can bring personal experiences with you to share with the kids.
Kids of all ages love to hear stories of where people work and what they do...especially if it is something that they have never heard of.
It's not that hard to volunteer that one hour per week...talk to your boss and maybe you can get a team of people from your company to do it.
You will not regret the time you spend helping build the future leaders of our great country.
For more information on Junior Achievement (in Wisconsin) please visit http://ping.fm/WOjXr

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Give This New Year Away 26 -Send a Thank You Card To Someone Who May Not Expect It

Mail...something that most times we dread. Bills. Junk. Stuff we don't want to see.
How happy do you get when you receive something that is not asking for money, that is not selling something?
Christmas cards and birthday cards usually brighten the spirits of us all when we get them in the mail. But what about the rest of the year.
There are many people in our lives that we should say Thank You to, but we tend to forget about it.
The postman, the paper boy, garbage collectors. How about the cashier at the gas station you always stop in to that greets you like a close friend.
The waitress at your favorite restaurant that always goes the extra mile for you.
There are many people that we should thank...that would appreciate that extra little recognition.
Go out and buy an inexpensive package of Thank You cards and keep them with you. Next time you see someone that you want to thank, joy down a quick little note of appreciation...tell them why they are special, and let them know.

Who can you give one of these to today? Leave your comments of who you will write a Thank You note for and why.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Give This New Year Away #25 - Here's A Tip

Leave an enormous tip for your server after a meal in a restaurant. Who knows what kind of day that person has had? That little gesture might make a big difference in his or her day. In fact, I'll take this one a bit further. Say you happen to sit down in a restaurant and it is obvious you server has had it. Maybe the service is so poor that you find yourself tempted to skip the gratuity all together. Well in that case give more!! And don't worry about the extra tip validating the server's rudeness. That's not up to you. You never know what someone may be going through. People are hurting all around you and this is just another small way you can make a big impact.

Remember, God doesn't give grace only to those who deserve it. If that were the case, none of us would receive it. We are called to give because Christ first gave to us.

Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us ~ 1 Chronicles 29:14
Taken from "101 Simple and Thoughtful Ways to Give This Christmas Away" written by Matthew West

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Give This New Year Away #24 - Volunteer for a non-profit or chairty event

On an almost weekly basis, we see different events to benefit non-profit or charity organizations. But do these events just happen after someone comes up with an idea? NO!
It takes lots of planning, execution and volunteers.
Without those dedicated men and women who offer time to work an event, they would not happen.
Consider helping an organization or a cause that you believe in and find a way to help them out. It can be as simple as spending a few hours on the day of an event helping register people or if you are so inclined, assist with the coordination and implementation of an event.
Volunteers are the key to making an event a success, take the time out to help out your favorite charity or organization.
And if thats not enough, knowing you are helping, you can benefit through the Disney "Give a Day Get a Day" promotion http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/disneyparks/en_US/WhatWillYouCelebrate/index?name=Give-A-Day-Get-A-Disney-Day

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Give This New Year Away #23 - Make a Dinner For Another Family

Health problems, loss of a job, death in the family.
New baby, moving to a new home.
Many different scenarios can create changes in peoples lives, changes that can make it difficult for a family to find time to eat a decent dinner together.
If you know of a family going through any of these things or similar situations, offer to bring them dinner. It does not need to be anything elaborate. A pan of lasagna, all the fixings for tacos, a casserole.
I know personally after the birth of our last daughter, when friends from church brought us dinners, how great it was especially for my wife.
It was not a major endeavor, but an extremely appreciated act.
The simple act of offering a dinner for another family, who may not even realize they need it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Give This New Year Away #22-Become an accountability partner

This can be a follow-up to GTNYA 9 (Offer an encouraging word).
As we travel through our daily life, isn't it great to have someone to bounce ideas, concerns, dreams and more off of?
Have a friend, co-worker or colleague that is going through a difficult time in their life? Quitting smoking? Struggling in their marriage? Student having a hard time?
It doesn't matter the situation, be that supportive force in that person's life, but also be that "moral compass" that if they slip, you are there to get them back in the right direction.
This is a role that can be stressful, yet rewarding. It is not meant to be the person that is always nagging, but more that extra set of eyes and ears to help make sure the path is being followed.

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:10, NLT

Monday, February 8, 2010

Give This New Year Away #21-Give The Gift Of Life, Donate Blood

According to the Blood Center of Wisconsin website (www.bcw.edu) "Every three seconds, someone in our community needs blood. By giving blood, donors have the opportunity to save lives. Donating blood is a quick, easy, and safe way to provide patients with the gift of life."
I have been a donor since the age of 18, when the nursing home I was volunteering at through my high school was having a blood drive.
Many people do not realize the impact they can make by taking 1 hour out of their lives to donate blood. Yes it can be somewhat uncomfortable, but giving the gift of life is worth the discomfort.
Have you ever known someone that has needed to go to the hospital and has needed a blood transfusion? That could not have happened if someone had not donated blood.
Take the time, give the gift, help save a life.

Give This New Year Away #20- Stop and Help That Person In Need

We all see them...the guy standing on the street corner with the "Will Work For Food Sign" or the woman "Homeless, need help"
Over the last 2 years we have seen a huge increase in the number of people seeking help...because of lost jobs and more.
Many of you may be thinking "well how do I know these people are really not just homeless drunks" etc? We don't, but we need to love by faith, learn to trust.
Maybe that person will take the couple of dollars you give to go by a bottle of cheap wine or something else...but maybe, just maybe that sign of kindness could be the first one that person has seen in a long time and will help lift them up.
Last summer, as I was setting up chairs for my family at the Great Circus Parade in Milwaukee, I had a gentleman approach me. He was obviously down on his luck from his appearance. He stopped and told me his story of needing a State ID to get a job, showed me what looked like an "official" paper from an employer stating that he needed it to get the job. I have always been skeptical of this type of person asking for money, but something hit me to trust him. I asked how much he needed, and he told me $15. I had $10 to give him...I looked at him, told him I normally don't do this, but God is putting it on my heart to trust you and to help you. We talked for a few more minutes, he talk a little about how God is trying to help him...and we parted ways.
Did he really use the money to get his State ID? I will never know. What I do know is that God did place it on my heart to talk to this man, help him and trust him.
Will this be the case 100% of the time? Unfortunately NO, but we need to show trust in our fellow man. Next time you see that person on the street corner asking for help...offer them a couple of dollars. Maybe that simple act will be just enough to help them and get them on the right path once again!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Give This New Year Away #19- Grab That Shopping Cart

Mom in a parking lot with kids in the minivan and a load of groceries. Elderly man that is struggling to get from the store to car. The woman that seems to be in a hurry.
All examples of people that would benefit from you offering to grab their shopping cart and take it to the corral or back up to the store. Are you limited to who you can offer this simple gift to? Absolutely not.
It's the simplest things that pave the way to good deeds through others. While you are walking into a store, look for that person who is almost done unloading their cart. Walk up and offer to take it back for them...and don't say anything else.
Simple acts of random kindness, no matter the size, lead us to a better world

Posted via web from From the mind of Jon Kurozawa

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Give This New Year Away #18 - Put Down The Remote, Pick Up A Book

If you are like me...once you get home from a busy day of work, running kids from place to place and who knows what else...you just want to plop down in your favorite chair and zone out to your favorite TV show. Maybe even share that TV time with you kids.

STOP!!!

Put down the remote, grab a couple of books and spend some time reading with your kids. This can be an important bonding time between you and your children. Make a point of making funny faces, goofy noises and really going over board reading the story.

For those of you that don;t have kids...well you can still grab a book. Read up on a topic you are interested in, learn something new or even let your imagination run wild in a fictional title.

Better yet....read the Bible, the greatest book ever written. Take 20 minutes a day and you can knock out the whole bible in a year. There are great online tools to help you get through the bible in a year. There are even specialized  "One Year Bibles"

Posted via web from From the mind of Jon Kurozawa

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Give This New Year Away #17 - Offer a parent a night out

For those of you that do not have children, this one may not have a lot of value to it.

For those that have children...it is priceless.

Parenting is a full time job, whether you are a stay at home parent (God bless them for the under appreciated job they do every single day) or a two income family, being a parent has no days off.

This is one of the most amazing gifts you can provide a parent (especially single parents). It can be as simple as watching kids for an hour or two so they can go grocery shopping in peace, for a weekend afternoon so they can see a "grown-up" movie, or a date night for the couple that only gets a few minutes once the kids go to bed.

As a husband and father of four children, I would love to have a date night with my wife once a month, but it is next to impossible. Imagine the mother who has an infant, that never gets a break. An hour of peace and quiet without the added stress of a fussy baby. Worth more than anything you can imagine.

Of course this only works if you are comfortable around children and the kids are OK with you being around. But give this gift, more than once (maybe once every other month). Those parents will LOVE you forever (if they don't already!

Posted via web from jonkurozawa's posterous

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Give This New Year Away #16-Invite a friend to church

This could be one of the more difficult ones of the year, because the topic of church, religion, faith can be a hard one to discuss with other people when you don't know "where they stand". If you are confortably involved in a church, why not invite that friend that is having difficulties to join you.

I have found that people that have been away from church, for whatever reason, have a difficult time returning to church if they do not feel comfortable. Each church family is different...what they offer for new comers. This is not the place for me to say one church is better than the other.

The process of inviting a friend to church is not one that can be done on the spur of the moment "Hey Jim, wanna come to church with me tomorrow". It is one that will take time to cultivate and lead up to the appropriate time to ask.

Do not be afraid though, reach out to that friend, embrace the opportunity to bring light to a friend's life.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Give This New Year Away #15-Help Those Who Help Others

Do you know someone with a thankless job? Someone who is always going out of his  or her way to help others? Where do those people go when they need help? They may not even ask for help when they need it, because that's just how selfless they are. Maybe there's a pastor or counselor who has walked with you through tough times this year. Maybe one of your children's teachers has given extra time and attention to help your child grow. Take this opportunity to lift up someone who lifts up so many others.

Taken from "101 Simple and Thoughtful Ways to Give This Christmas Away" written by Matthew West

Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me. Romans 16:2

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Give This New Year Away #14- Plug the parking meter

Isn't it nice when you receive an unexpected gift?

One thing we have done in the past when our family has been on vacation up north is randomly plug the expired parking meters of vacationers that are busy sight seeing or shopping. In this town $.25 would get you an hour of parking, so it's a small gift but one nonetheless.

If you are walking to your office, running out for coffee or lunch or just taking a walk during the day, if you see a car parked at an expired meter, toss a quarter or two into it. You may never knnow why they let that meter lapse, but most likely you will make a positive impact on that persons day but dropping a quarter in that meter.

It's not about the reasons or the rewards...its just about doing something good for another.

Posted via web from jonkurozawa's posterous

Friday, January 15, 2010

Give This New Year Away #13-Donate to Haiti relief efforts

We have all seen the stories and pictures of the destruction from the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked the island nation of Haiti.
Tens of thousands of lives lost, hundreds of thousands displaced.

Plain and simple, we need to show our love for all these people that have been ravaged by this disaster...along with Salvation Army and Red Cross, here is a list of some of the trusted Christian organizations that are offering help, assistance and support to Haiti:

Posted via web from jonkurozawa's posterous

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mander Collision, K-Love and Milwaukee Wave, Friday night to help Milw. Rescue Mission

This Friday night from 5-7pm join Mander Collision and Glass, K-Love 105.3 FM and the Milwaukee Wave at Mander Collision & Glass in Waukesha as we help save Homeless in the Milwaukee Area

For every donation of $25 or more to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, Mander Collision and Glass will give a certificate good for one Free Windshield Chip repair or one Free paintess dent repair (some restrictions apply). Please see here for more details.

105.3 K-Love will have your chance to win tickets to the Milwaukee Wave Faith & Day Day with Matthew West, Collision of Comedy at Fox River Christian Church and the Jeremy Camp/Mark Schultz/Point of Grace concert at Elmbrook Church, plus CDs and more.

Several players from the Milwaukee Wave will be in attendance to meet and greet fans, plus some great giveaways.

Mander Collision is located at 1604 Manhattan Drive in Waukesha, just off Hwy 18. Click here for directions

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Give This New Year Away #12- Skip that coffee or soda, donate the money

If you are like me, caffeine is a regular part of your day. Coffee, soda, lattes...they are liquid energy for you to get through your busy day.

Have you ever stopped to think about how much money you spend each day on these drinks? Each week? Month? How much did you spend last year? If you are one of this people that stops everyday at the chain shops...that adds up quick.

Change your habits, cut out just one soda out of that vending machine, one coffee from the coffee shop and put the money in a jar. At the end of the month donate the saved money to a local charity. It may not seem like a lot, but every donation helps. Do this on 2, 4 or 6 month cycles.

Increase the number of things you cut back on. Like to grab that afternoon snack from the vending machine? Pack a piece of fruit instead.

Do you smoke? Improve your health, save a bunch of money and make a positive impact in other loves with the money.
Positive changes start with small steps...start taking those small steps today.

Posted via web from jonkurozawa's posterous

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Give This New Year Away #11- Read the Name Tag

This one is courtesy of the Matthew West book "Give This Christmas Away"

Has this ever happened to you? You've been at an event where you had to wear a name tag. Hours after the event, you're talking to a stranger and suddenly that person calls you by name. Huh? How do they know my name? Then it dawns on you. I forgot to take off my name tag! Get into  the habit of looking for the name tag of every checkout person you see. Then wait for the cashier's smile or startled expression when you actually use his or her name. Calling someone by name is a guft that says "I'm interested in who you are." Every time you see each other, gather another detail while the person is scanning your soda or counting out your change from the drive-thru order.

One woman who started with the name tag connection at the checkout counter says that she knows that Jill the cashier "has a black Swatch watch exactly like mine though hers is misplaced and needs a battery, plays piano, loves Odwalla juices, prefers cooler weather, and enjoys art galleries."

 

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Give This New Year Away #10-Volunteer at a homeless shelter

The economic downturn has effected many people...jobs lost, foreclosures increased, homelessness has skyrocketed.

Homeless shelters are seeing an overabundance of people of all ages, including families that are in need. Along with beds and supplies, homeless shelters need volunteer help. If you are reading this, you most likely have a warm home, a bed to sleep in, comfort that those that are homeless do not have.

Not sure how you can help....here is some information provided by the National Coalition for the Homeless:

Remember that service providers need help at all times of year—not just holidays—and will appreciate regular volunteers who can be counted on to show up. 
Here are some ways you might help:

  • Work at a shelter. Take an evening or overnight shift.  Help with clerical work such as answering phones, typing, filing, or sorting mail.  Serve food, wash dishes, or sort and distribute clothes.
  • Help build or fix up houses or shelters. Check with your local public housing authority, or find the nearest chapter of Habitat for Humanity by calling (800) 422-4828 or visiting http://www.habitat.org
  • Offer professional skills directly or assist in job training. Direct service providers may be able to use many services and skills, including secretarial, catering, plumbing, accounting, management, carpentry, public relations, fundraising, legal, medical, dentistry, writing, child care, counseling, tutoring, or mentoring.
  • Share hobbies. Teach your hobbies to a group of people staying at a homeless shelter.  Ask them about their hobbies and have them teach you.
  • Invite people experiencing homelessness to a community event.  Invite people who are experiencing homelessness to a worship service, public concert or picnic, city council meeting, etc.
  • Organize an event at a shelter. Plan an evening program such as a board game or chess night, an open mic poetry reading, a guest storytelling or musical performance, or a holiday party.
  • Work with children.  Assist program directors that are coordinating events such as field trips, picnics or art workshops for children staying in homeless shelters.  Find out if there are children who could benefit from tutors or mentors.

Involve others! Encourage your classmates, co-workers, church/synagogue members, or civic club to join or support your efforts.

 

 

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Give This New Year Away #9- Offer An Encouraging Word

Encouragement can come in many different forms. It can be a simple gesture, a short conversation or even a pat on the back.

It can more detailed like a letter or email, even a public declaration.

We can all use encouragement during our day, but do we know when someone else needs it?

Open your eyes, focus your hearing. Watch for that co-worker that is struggling. Listen for that friend that is feeling down. Pay attention to others and do not dwell on yourself.

Look in your own house at your spouse and your children. Be a positive force in someone's life everyday offering even simple encouragement....sowing the seeds and creating fertile ground.

Mark 4:9 Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let them hear"

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Give This New Year Away #8- Give Your Good Stuff Away

 If you are like me, you accumulate lots of stuff. New clothes, new toys, lots of books, just lots of stuff. But what do you do with all of the old stuff that begins to fill the drawers, closets and shelves of your house?

There are many great organizations that would gladly take you unwanted (but still good and useful) items:
Goodwill
Salvation Army
Teen Challenge
Milwaukee Rescue Mission
St. Vincent DePaul
your local church
These and many organizations like them thrive off donations of items, from people like you, to help fund their programs.

Take a day to look carefully at the clothes you have, books, CDs, movies, kids toys, thos fancy little gadgets you bought.
If you haven't worn it or used it in a year...Give it away. Someone else can use it and you can help benefit any of these organizations.

 

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Give This New Year Away #7-Feed The Hungry

We have just come out of the holiday season...Thanksgiving, Christmas, New years...holidays that may of us indulge in. Parties and gathering filled with food, treats and more.

2009 saw an astounding increase in the number of people and families that turned to the help of food pantries and other assistance programs. The need has grown, but the response has not. There are many great organizations that help supply these food pantries. in SouthEastern Wisconsin we have Hunger Task Force and Feeding America WI just to name two.

Next time you go grocery shopping, consider picking up a few extra items to donate. Maybe start a food drive at your place of employment, your child's school or your church. The need for food is not seasonal, it is year round.

Next time you have the urge to go out for lunch, why don't you brown bag it. Save that money...in a months time you could save a good amount and donate it to your local food pantry. Skip one coffee, one soda or that afternoon snack out of the vending machine and save that money.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Give This New Year Away #6-Clear the snow

Across the country, many of you are seeing cold and snow, some more than others. Beautiful as the snow may be, for some it can be something  that is difficult to deal with. The single mom with little kids, the elderly man that doesn't get around as well as he used to. Maybe its the couple that works two jobs just to make ends meet.

Seeing inches of snow piled up on the sidewalks and driveways can be almost daunting.

Be a good neighbor, shovel the sidewalk for them while you are doing yours. Snowblowing your driveway? Take a few extra minutes and do theirs. This is especially good when you know that neighbor only has a shovel and the snow is heavy and wet. Yes it may be cold and could take you extra time, but imagine how happy someone would feel if they came home and all the snow was gone.

Don't forget about the people that get stuck in the snow...if you can lend a hand, stop and offer assistance. Wouldn't you want someone to do the same for you if you needed help??

Posted via web from jonkurozawa's posterous

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Give This New Year Away #5-Serve in your church

"Wait a second Jon, you want us to do more than just sit in a pew for an hour each Sunday??"

Yes that is exactly what I am saying. Churches do not just run themselves. The pastors and their support staff cannot do everything themselves.

"I am not biblically sound enough to teach or preach"

Guess what...either am I. But I use my God given gifts to help out. My wife and I, along with our small group, were encouraged three years ago to serve in our church's Children's ministry, helping out one Sunday per month, giving some of the regualr helpers much needed off. This was uncomfortable for some, but 3 years later, most are still helping. It grew so much that a number of our small groups are volunteering.

No matter the size of your church, there are opportunities to help. Good at fixing things? I bet they could use you? Excellent typing skills? The office could use help. Love children? Read bible stories to the Sunday School. Love to greet people? Become a greeter or usher.

One or two hours a month...not a lot of time, but imagine the impact if even a dozen people joined you. Don;t be afraid to step up and help out. You don't have to feel obligated to volunteer for everything that is asked of you...pick and choose what is right for you. But most importantly, start serving.

It is another one of those simple ways of Honoring God, but serving in His house!

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Give This New Year Away #4- Be a teacher!

You are never too old to learn.

You can always turn every situation into a teaching moment.

 

If you are a parent, this is an ongoing process, always teaching your children…rights and wrongs, what to do and not to do. Not only is this something a parent can do with their children, but each of us can do this on a daily basis. Teach your children about your job…what you do, what you do to succeed. Stay at home moms??? You have a very important job...teach you kids about the things you do during the day.

 

No kids? What about your spouse? Teach them about something you are interested in? Teach your parents…help them with the internet, their DVR or another piece of technology they are struggling with.

 

In our work lives, we can teach as well. Help that coworker next to you that is struggling with a program, document or project. Teach them how to find new clients, make more appointments, be more productive with their time.

 

There are many ways that we can all reach out and teach others around us…we just have to open our eyes to the opportunities.

Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.

~ Proverbs 9:9, NLT

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Give This New Year Away #3-Hold That Door

Hold the door open for others

Today is Monday January 4th, which means many of you will be returning to work after an extended holiday weekend or a longer break. Gone is the lost art of holding the doors for people.

I remember as a young boy, my grandfather instilling in me "make sure you always hold the door open for a lady". I think it goes far beyond that. We are always in such a rush to get where we need to go, we don't look to see who is behind us.

Stop for a moment and hold the door open for not just one person, but for a handful of people. Same thing goes for the elevator door. Don't just ignore the person that you see racing to catch the elevator...make sure you hold it for that person. This is something that can be done more than once, make it a habit. Slow down and help that person...whether you know them or not.

We are God's fellow workers. - 1 Corinthians 3:9

 

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Give This New Year Away #2-The coffee is on me

Pay for the coffee for the person behind you in line.

Much like #1, this could come as difficult for some of you, but imagine the feeling you would get if the person at the counter said to you "Someone has already paid for this for you". Pay for that cup of coffee for that person behind you. Give them a little liquid gift. Sounds pretty simple doesn't it.

Guess what...someone else has already done that for you, has paid the price for someting for you...Jesus Christ. When He was nailed to the cross, He not only died, but paid the price for all of our sins. The debt has been paid!

I'm not saying that paying for someone's coffee will be the greatest gift they have ever received, but it could be the spark to light their day. The greatest gifts don't always have to be large, wrapped with a big red bow and be given on birthdays, Christmas or anniversaries.

Best way to do this is quietly, without attention being drawn to you, but in most cases you will need to say something to the person simply to make sure the bill is paid in full. Watch the reaction you get...but you don;t need to say anything other than, "This one is on me!"

 

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Give This New Year Away #1

Tell 5 strangers "Have A Wonderful Day"

How simple can our words be when used to make other feel good?
When you are having a rough day, doesn't a simple but nice gesture make you feel better?

For some this first one could be difficult or uncomfortable...but its really now that hard. Think about the retiree who bags your groceries, the teenager working behind the counter at your favorites fast food restaurant, the man that works in the booth at the parking lot you park in everyday. There are many opportunities to share a few uplifting words with people that probably never hear them.

Say them with sincerity and imagine the warmth you can add to someones days with just a few pleasant words from the heart.

With God's Help we will do mighty things. Psalm 60:12

2010, Give This New Year Away

Resolutions...we all have good intentions when we make them at the beginning of the year...to lose weight, to read more, to give up smoking...the list goes on and on.
How many of us really accomplish what we set out to do at the beginning of the year (I do know one person that has been successful giving up something for an entire year for the last few years!)

I have mentioned it a couple times over the past few weeks about the inspiration I got from Christian singer/songwriter Matthew West and his book "Give This Christmas Away", which listed 101 ways for you to inspire others. I loved the book and thought "Why just do this at Christmas? Why not all year round?"

Many of the 101 things listed in West's book can be done anytime of the year, but I am inspired to to at least one thing each day in 2010, but to also make it a quest to have as many people join me as I can.

Call it a Revolution...to give to others, to Pay it Forward, to live like Jesus by loving others even in the simplest ways.

I will be posting and Tweeting each day about different ways to give to others, many that won;t cost a penny, some that will require spending a little money, but all that can impact one or more people. Most of these can be done by anyone no matter that age, sex, financial status, etc.

Our country has been filled with so much negativity that it's time to turn it around, make a positive change one person at a time.

Whether one person or one million people join me doesn't matter...this is my quest for 2010. No looking for recognition, pats on the back or Thank Yous. The reward I get is know I have done something to brighten the day, week or life of another that may need it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009...glad that it's over, but blessed none the less

For any of you that have followed the ups and down, peaks and valleys or good and bad of 2009...you know that it was a difficult year for the Kurozawa family. From job loss to financial problems, van repairs and health issues...we ran what seemed like a gambit of issues.

Looking back at everything, it was frustrating, stressful, almost forgettable year. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
Conversely, we were blessed with many good things too. Overall my kids were healthy, we were able to take a family trip to Disney World over Easter (though when I returned to work the following week I was laid off :), despite financial troubles we never went hungry, without shelter, heat or the other basic necessities of life. i do have a new job with a company I love, have made lots of new people through social media and have broadened my skill set.

All in all our year was one of the toughest we have had as a family and it has not ended on the brightest of note, but I know that God has blessed us and continues to everyday. Some days it is hard to remember that when our bank account floats towards $0, when we wonder how we will pay the next bill, or have to tell our kids "no we can't do that because we don't have enough money". I remember it when we are able to do things that many people don't get a chance to do.

My wife Holly's opportunity to sing in a choir with Michael W. Smith, My son Noah and my first Packers game (thanks to my new boss), getting to take my kids to a variety of different concerts, events and shows through good fortune or the kindness and generosity of others.

One of the greatest joys I have gotten this year is seeing the joy in my childrens' eyes when they are rewarded with something simple or when they have learned how important it is to help others in need (more need than we are in).

You cannot place a monetary value on those special moments when your kids talk about wanting to help others, how they want to sacrifice to help someone else.

Based on those moments, and from the inspriration of new friend Matthew West, my next blog post will discuss my vision for 2010. No matter what happens with my job, my money or anything related to that...I will be Giving This New Year Away.

With the grace of God, 2010 will be the best year ever for our family and I hope it is for you too!