Saturday, February 21, 2015

Words matter...

“Words matter.  The average adult speaks 16,000 of them each and every day.  Sixteen thousand!  That’s a lot of talking, and a lot of communicating…and the two are not interchangeable.”  
-Dr. Ross Porter, Exploring the Good Life:  40 Ways in 40 days

Friday, February 20, 2015

Heroes You Should Know: Bill Ashe

In a speech to the United Nations, former Director General Kofi Annan stated:  “We shall not finally defeat AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, or any of the other infectious diseases that plague the developing world until we have also won the battle for safe drinking water, sanitation, and basic health care.” 

While that statement is sinking in, let me give you one more statistic:  every 20 seconds a child dies from a water-born disease. Enter Bill Ashe. 

The owner of a successful water pump business in Southern California, Ashe began travelling to Mexico in 1962 to help orphanages and churches develop safe water supplies.  And as he saw the tremendous impact his work was having, Bill began bringing other water professionals with him.  And the work grew to the point where in 1977 he founded Lifewater International, a non-profit dedicated to providing the rural poor with an integrated program of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene programs.

The vision is for long-term solutions, not temporary fixes.  To that end, Lifewater provides the necessary training and equipment to local partners so they can then provide their own communities with safe water:  by drilling for water, building and maintaining pumps, protecting natural springs, and implementing safe sanitation and hygiene practices.  Over 2.3 million people in 40 countries have benefited.

Providing water, health and hope…

Bill Ashe is a hero you should know. And I’m Dr. Ross Porter.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Season of YES!


“What makes the desert beautiful is that it hides, somewhere, a well.”                               

-Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Quick...what's the first word that comes to your mind when you hear "Lent"?

I bet it wasn't "Yes".

The 40 days that precede Easter have typically been known as the Season of "No"; "no chocolate", "no meat", "no coffee", "no television", "no Facebook" (yes, I actually know several people who have given up Facebook for Lent). And saying "no" to things that distract one from responsibilities, that numb one to feelings, that sap life is certainly part of this season. Saying "no" can help us detach from bad habits.

But if all we're doing is saying "no", we're only half way home. Because the "no" won't lead to joy, peace, and growth that lasts.

"No", by itself, stops being sufficient by about age three!

We are meaning-seeking people. We need to have a purpose in mind for why we do what we do, whatever it is. "What is the point of giving up coffee, dessert, meat, or the internet?" "Why am I doing this?" "Am I just following rules to follow rules?" God help us.  This is where the "yes" comes in.

Happiness, true happiness, is not just about being free FROM something, it is also about being free FOR something...something more beautiful, more healthy, more loving. "YES."

So the next time you find yourself saying "no", find the "yes" that is attached...and celebrate the good which you are moving toward!

Question for reflection:  To affirm the goodness of life, what can you say “Yes” to today?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Heroes You Should Know: John Wood

The fact that workaholic Microsoft executive John Wood---on a hiking trip through the Himalayas---would tour a school in Nepal is interesting.  That he would be moved enough by the impact of seeing hundreds of bright children without books to read to immediately begin soliciting book donations from family and friends---and within a year return with 3,000 books---is generous.  That he would leave his lucrative position at Microsoft to dedicate himself full time to confronting injustice in Third World countries by developing schools, libraries, literacy programs, and equal educational opportunities for young girls is heroic.

But for Wood, it’s just the right thing to do.  He writes, “If we were lucky enough to be living a good life, we should recognize this gift and thank God for it by looking out for others who need our help in breaking out of the cycle of poverty.”

In 2001, he founded ‘Room to Read’, a non-profit global organization that has already assisted an estimated 8.8 million children in Asia and Africa.

In the 13 years of its existence, Room to Read has now established over 1,800 schools, 16,000 libraries, and distributed 14.5 million books in ten countries.  Additionally there are over 27,000 girls in the long-term education program for young women.

Changing the world, one book, one child, one school at a time…

John Wood is a hero you should know.  And I’m Dr. Ross Porter.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Excerpts from Exploring the Good Life:  40 Ways in 40 Days

“Sincerity does not ask you to be perfect, but it does ask that you take responsibility for your imperfections, and do something about your imperfections.  Care enough to walk the walk, and not just talk the talk.”

-Dr. Ross Porter

Available at: