You are the Author of the Book of Your Life

I’m going to talk to you about some things that I’ve learned in my journey most from experience, some of them I’ve heard in passing, many of them I’m still practicing, but all of them I do believe are true.

Life is not easy! It is not! Don’t try to make it that way. Life is not fair, it never was, it isn’t now, and it won’t ever be. Do not fall into the trap, the entitlement trap of feeling like you are a victim. You are not. Get over it and get on with it.

So, the question that we’ve got to ask ourselves is what success is to us, what success to you. Is it more money? That’s fine, I’ve got nothing against money. Maybe it’s a healthy family. May it’s a happy marriage. Maybe it’s to help others. To be famous. To have a jolly spirit. To leave the world a little bit of a better place than you found it. Continue to ask yourself that question. Now, your answer may change over time, and that’s fine. But do yourself this favor.

Whatever your answer is, don’t choose anything that will jeopardize your soul. Prioritize how you are, who you want to be, and don’t spend time with anything that antagonizes your character.

Be brave, take the hill, but first answer that question, “what’s my hill?” So, first we have to define success our ourselves and then we have to put in the work to maintain it. Make that daily tally. Tend to our garden keep the things that are important to us in good shape.

Where you are not is as important as where you are. It is just as important where we are not as it is where we are.

Look, the first step that leads to our identity in life is usually not “I know who I am.” “I know who I am.” That’s not the first step. The first step is usually “I know who I am not.” Process of elimination. Defining ourselves by what we are not is the first step that leads us to really knowing who we are.

You know that group of friends that you hang out with that really might not bring out the best in you? You know, they gossip too much, or they’re kind of shady they really aren’t going to be there for you in a pinch. Or how about that bar that we keep going to that we always seem to have the worst hangover from? Or that computer screen, right? That computer screen that keeps giving us an excuse not to get out of the house and engage with the world and get some real human interaction. Or how about that food that we keep eating? That stuff that tastes so good going down but makes us feel like crap the next week. When we feel lethargic, and we keep putting on weight. Well… Those people, those places, those things stop giving them your time and energy!

Just don’t go there! I mean, put them down! And when you do this, when you do put them down, when you quit going there, when you quit giving them your time, you inadvertently find yourself spending more time and in more places that are healthy for you, that brings you more joy.
Why? Because you just eliminated the who’s, the where’s, the what’s and the when’s that were keeping you from your identity.

Trust me too many options I promise you too many options will make a tyrant of us all. So, get rid of the access. The waste of time decreases your options. And if you do this, you will have accidentally, almost innocently, put in front of you what is important to you. By process elimination.

Knowing who we are is hard. It’s hard. So, give yourself a break. Eliminate the who you are not first, and you’re going to find yourself where you need to be. Instead of creating outcomes that take from us, let’s create more outcomes that pay us back. Fill us up. Keep your fire lit, turn you on for the most amount of time in your future.

We try our best, we don’t always do our best. Our architecture is a verb as well. And since we are the architects of our own lives, let’s study the habits, the practices, the routines that we have that lead to and feed our success, our joy, our honest pain, our laughter our earned tears. Let’s dissect that and give thanks for those things.

And when we do that, guess what happens? We get better at them! And we have more to dissect. Be discerning. Choose it because you want it. Do it because you want to. We’re going to make mistakes, you’ve got to own them. Then you’ve got to make amends. And then you’ve got to move on.

Guilt and regret kills many a man before their time. So turn the page, get off the ride, you are the author of the book of your life.

-Speech from a true American Patriot

President’s Update – November 2018

Good morning Rotarians!  

Today finds us one-third of the way through our Rotary Year.   November is The Rotary Foundation (TRF) month. Our Club Foundation Committee is led by Pete Leenhouts, and staffed by John Barrett, Diane Johnson, Betsy Pentz, Vince Verneuil, and Jack Zalaha (Planned Giving). The Foundation is known as “…the engine of Rotary…” Our goal this year is to raise $11,000 from among our Club members for the Foundation, so far, we have raised $5385. You will hear more from committee members throughout the month of November as they talk about the aspects of The Rotary Foundation.

Terry Umbreit, as Past-President and the chair of our Nominating Committee, will begin accepting nominations in November for various Club leadership positions for the next Rotary Year, 2019-2020. During this phase, he will be looking for nominations for Presidential candidates, to follow Paul Wynkoop. Club elections will be held during our Annual Meeting on Thursday, December 6th, 2018.    

Our faithful Club Secretary, Pete Hubbard, has announced that he is stepping down as Secretary as of the end of this Rotary Year. Pete  has served as Secretary since 2014 and I know I can say this on behalf of the club we will always be grateful for all that he has done for us, and we look forward to working with him in other roles within the club. I personally can’t say enough about what he has done for our club, and I know I’m not alone. Thank you Pete!

Betsy Pentz has volunteered to serve as Secretary in his place and will assume that role on July 1st, 2019, since she will be traveling for part of the next Rotary Year. We need to form an active committee to support her and this vital role. The goal is to transfer some of the secretary’s tasks directly back to the committee and to other committee chairs to help Betsy in her new position. One of the tasks that has been already been transferred is the management of our Club’s website. I’m currently working with the Public Information Committee, led by Pete Leenhouts, to start working on these details.

We are making decent progress on our effort to qualify for the Rotary Presidential Citation for this Rotary Year, one of my key goals is to earn this citation with platinum distinction. I will address the status at the next Administrative Day. The requirements are somewhat different each Rotary Year, and reflect not only the long-standing priorities of Rotary, but those of our RI President as well.

John Erickson reports that we are making reasonable progress on our annual Pot of Gold fundraiser. The prizes consist of  four $2,500 cash prizes, a $1,000 QFC gift card as second prize, and a $500 gift card for Hadlock Hardware. The drawing will be at the regular meeting of the Club on Thursday, November 15, 2018. John states that we could certainly use a renewed effort to sell every one of the tickets since this is one of our primary sources of funds.

John Barrett is wrapping up the Club’s support of our global grant which involved support of a well-digging project in Honduras with the final report. As this project comes to a successful conclusion, we are starting the process to identify the next Global Grant Project.  The South Lake Union Club reported on their work in Ethiopia with SPLASH to improve water and sanitation access and was met with excitement and positive feedback. I was excited by the positive enthusiasm and thought it would provide a perfect fit to create a similar global grant. As many of you can remember from the videos I have shared about SPLASH coupled with our dedication to help youth, Nepal is an area that includes our Club’s interests. Currently, the goal for the Grant will be to serve 8-10 schools which would serve approximately 2,500-3,000 schoolchildren daily, with improved water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure; behavior change programs, with the addition of the sustainability measures like rainwater harvesting. If we could harness the power of SPLASH and our Club, in conjunction with a few other Rotary Clubs we could develop a global project to support water and sanitation in Kathmandu. I will eagerly update everyone as details become available.  

The District Community Grant for which we have received conditional approval, EJC Rotary Support of the Jefferson Teen Center, should be ready for District approval in early December. John Barrett has lent his expertise and initiative to helping to determine the needs of the Jefferson Teen Center so that we can match our Club’s abilities to their needs. We have agreed to support the Teen Center for the next several years, so this is the first of what I would expect would be several Club and District Community Grants to support them.  

Since District Community Grants essentially take two years, a year in development and a year in execution, President-Elect Paul Wynkoop has begun working with Chimacum High School and FinnRiver to develop a District Community Grant to support the development of a small outdoor pavilion in the CHS Horticulture gardens to support that program.  If approved by the Rotary District, this project could begin as early as July 1st, 2019.

Club member Elena Lovato-Kraut has formed a small non-profit called “Holiday Meals” to put on the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meals at the Tri-Area Community Center, and is seeking Rotary volunteers to help. The meals will be served on Thanksgiving, November 22nd, and Christmas Day, December 25th. Please let Elena know if you can help this year, or feel free to contact me. Since Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 22nd, we will not have a Club meeting that day.

We have a great Club, and I’m proud to be this year’s President!

Caleb Summerfelt
2018-2019 President
The Rotary Club of East Jefferson County