Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Christ, Christmas, and Traditions

For many people December is a busy and festive time of year.  As a christian I proudly celebrate Christmas and love the reason why we celebrate.  The birth of Christ was, and still is, a huge even to put it lightly.  It is played out across many communities across the globe.  Now I don't claim to be well traveled or cultured so take this next statement for what it's worth.  The best reiteration of Christ birth is done by the St. Mark's Church at their "Living Manger" and it is coming up December 18th.

I have watched this event for the last 10 years.  It has become a family tradition where my wife and I invite our family to park in our drive way and walk a couple hundred meters down the street to where they host the "Living Manger."  Afterwards we all come back and have some hot chocolate as the kids play rambunctiously in the back bedrooms.  The chill in the air, the smell of the tree mixed with slopped hot chocolate, laughter, and music, it is a family tradition where we put Christ at the center of our thoughts, where family is important, and where memories are made.

Not only have I taken in this great event, I have also written about it here before.  Check them out if you want to know more about the event.  I encourage you to take it in December 18th with two showings in the early evening.

Corner Christmas Carols

An Alabama Rockwell Christmas Town

Living Manger

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Wandering Work Day

I am pretty fortunate to be able to work at a job I love.  It is different, not only every day, but every minute of that day.  Just like maritime weather my job continuously offers up something new.
A sign post from the Alphabet Ecology Trail
One project that we've been working on is an "Alphabet Ecology Trail" for a private school.  It is a trail slash board game where the students can explore their relationship with nature.  Using the letters of the alphabet and simple things found in nature we have developed a great learning experience.  Watching the kids engage while hiking this trail was a true blessing as I witnessed my humble idea come to life and the expression on the kids faces was as rewarding as any salary or pay check.
Getting ready to grab a water sample on the Kennebecasis.

This morning I was standing in the middle of the Kennebecasis River collecting water samples as a light snow fell.  The samples help identify threats or changes to the water quality of the river.  That in turn will allow us to better address threats, changes, and pollution.

If that isn't diverse enough, this afternoon I was writing proposals.  In order to complete projects I have to successfully apply for funding.  That means lots of proposals and writing.  It also means that my success depends on my ability to put good proposals together.  It leaves me with a strong sense of self dependence and I like that, however, it isn't for everyone as it can be stressful when the funds start to diminish.

Working for a non-profit has many rewards, none of which is the salary.  The idea of making a difference to the community you work and live in is an amazing opportunity.  It is a concept that seems to be harder to find in communities now a days.  In the Sussex area, where I live, it is common place though and those in the region should feel blessed to have as many volunteers and non-profit organizations working in their region.  As a non-profit manager, the organization I work for contributes a good deal of money to the local economy and we prefer to keep our money in the local economy.  I think most NPOs have the same ideal.  I only make this statement as some people would like to discard the value of NPOs without truly understanding not only the economic value we provide to the community we serve but also the social and (in my case anyway) ecological values.