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Architecture as Response

January 6, 2015 1 Comment 8

In order to establish the importance of architecture in our cities, it is important that we first establish some foundational beliefs. Coram Deo A Latin phrase loosely translated as "in the presence of God," this is a concept from Christian theology that summarizes the idea of living in the presence of, under the authority of, and to the honor and glory of God. This is primarily based on the idea that we are created beings; therefore, we can recognize that all activities of our lives can be God-honoring activities when they are seen as a form of worship. This includes all forms of our creative work. Accepting that we are God’s creation, made in his image, everything we create is a byproduct of the creator’s work. Thus, even in its imperfect reality, our creative works are God-honoring works of worship. Creation Mandate In Genesis 1:28, we were called to create culture and fulfill the creation mandate. This means we are called to care for and to cultivate the earth, making things with the materials and ingenuity we have been given. This creation mandate is fulfilled each day when we make our cities better places to live and dwell. Enacted Space Many architects can come up with attractive ideas, but very few can design places or spaces that actually attract people or create a profound experience with the built realm. Enacted space refers to the dynamic interaction between people and artifacts in a place through time. [caption id="attachment_1992" align="alignleft" width="800"]bicycle haus 01_timmerman Bicycle Haus in Scottsdale (Photo by Bill Timmerman)[/caption] Culture Shaping The living of your life is not only shaped by the built realm, but also shapes the built realm. We have been given the opportunity to engage and shape culture around us.  Movies, literature, and music shape our cultural landscape, but architects...

In order to establish the importance of architecture in our cities, it is important that we first establish some foundational beliefs. Coram Deo A Latin phrase loosely translated as "in the presence of God," this is a concept from Christian theology that summarizes the idea of living in the presence of, under the authority of, and to the honor and glory of God. This is primarily based on the idea that we are created beings; therefore, we can recognize that all activities of our lives can be God-honoring activities when they are seen as a form of worship. This includes all forms of our creative work. Accepting that we are God’s creation, made in his image, everything we create is a byproduct of the creator’s work. Thus, even in its imperfect reality, our creative works are God-honoring works of worship. Creation Mandate In Genesis 1:28, we were called to create culture and fulfill the creation mandate. This means we are called to care for and to cultivate the earth, making things with the materials and ingenuity we have been given. This creation mandate is fulfilled each day when we make our cities better places to live and dwell. Enacted Space Many architects can come up with...

In order to establish the importance of architecture in our cities, it is important that we first establish some foundational beliefs. Coram Deo A Latin phrase loosely translated as "in the presence of God," this is a concept from Christian theology that summarizes the idea of living in the presence of, under the authority of, and to the honor and glory of God. This is primarily based on the idea that we are created beings; therefore, we can recognize that all activities of our lives can be God-honoring activities when they are seen as a form of worship. This includes all forms...

In order to establish the importance of architecture in our cities, it is important that we first establish some foundational beliefs. Coram Deo A Latin phrase loosely translated as "in the presence of God," this is a concept from Christian theology that summarizes the idea of living in the presence of, under...

In order to establish the importance of architecture in our cities, it is important that we first establish some foundational beliefs. Coram Deo A Latin phrase loosely...

In order to establish the importance of architecture in our cities, it is important that we first establish some foundational beliefs. Coram Deo A Latin phrase loosely translated as "in the presence of God," this is a concept from Christian theology that summarizes the idea of living in the presence of, under the authority of, and to the honor and glory of God. This is primarily based on the idea that we are created beings; therefore, we can recognize that all activities of our lives can be God-honoring activities when they are seen as a form of worship. This includes all forms...

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Celebrating Unsung Heroes

December 31, 2014 No Comments 7

To many, Phoenix is known for its sprawling suburbs—and that reputation has seldom been seen as a good thing. But metro areas are changing, in many ways for the better, and ours is no exception. But while we rightly celebrate the revitalization of urban cores like downtown Phoenix—signified by hip cafés, luxury condos, award-winning restaurants, and the like—it would be a mistake to overlook how the suburbs are changing as well. Earlier this year, we linked to a Politico magazine story about the suburbanization of poverty in metro Atlanta, which invited the haunting question: “What happens when poverty spreads to a place that wasn’t built for poor people?” It’s a question that anyone who cares about human flourishing simply has to reckon with. I was reminded of this question while reading a new essay published by The Economist, which considers, among other metro areas, the changing face of the less-than-glamorous Phoenix suburbs: America’s suburbs are not withering, but many of them have changed, in ways that can seem disturbing. Recent events have made Ferguson a distressing example. It is a suburb that has become mostly black but which retains a mostly white power structure, parts of which strike its black residents as oppressive. Still, other suburbs have adapted more easily. Among them is Levittown in New Jersey, studied by the sociologist Herbert Gans in 1958. When it was built, blacks were banned from living there. It is now known as Willingboro Township and is three-quarters black. One of the biggest, oldest and poorest suburban developments in America is Maryvale, in Phoenix. It was built at great speed in the 1950s and sold just as quickly. But many of its white inhabitants fled in the 1980s following a strange cluster of leukaemia cases. Maryvale is now home to around 200,000 people, roughly three-quarters of whom are Hispanic....

To many, Phoenix is known for its sprawling suburbs—and that reputation has seldom been seen as a good thing. But metro areas are changing, in many ways for the better, and ours is no exception. But while we rightly celebrate the revitalization of urban cores like downtown Phoenix—signified by hip cafés, luxury condos, award-winning restaurants, and the like—it would be a mistake to overlook how the suburbs are changing as well. Earlier this year, we linked to a Politico magazine story about the suburbanization of poverty in metro Atlanta, which invited the haunting question: “What happens when poverty spreads to a place that wasn’t built for poor people?” It’s a question that anyone who cares about human flourishing simply has to reckon with. I was reminded of this question while reading a new essay published by The Economist, which considers, among other metro areas, the changing face of the less-than-glamorous Phoenix suburbs: America’s suburbs are not withering, but many of them have changed, in ways that can seem disturbing. Recent events have made Ferguson a distressing example. It is a suburb that has become mostly black but which retains a mostly white power structure, parts of which strike its black residents as oppressive. Still, other...

To many, Phoenix is known for its sprawling suburbs—and that reputation has seldom been seen as a good thing. But metro areas are changing, in many ways for the better, and ours is no exception. But while we rightly celebrate the revitalization of urban cores like downtown Phoenix—signified by hip cafés, luxury condos, award-winning restaurants, and the like—it would be a mistake to overlook how the suburbs are changing as well. Earlier this year, we linked to a Politico magazine story about the suburbanization of poverty in metro Atlanta, which invited the haunting question: “What happens when poverty spreads to a place that wasn’t...

To many, Phoenix is known for its sprawling suburbs—and that reputation has seldom been seen as a good thing. But metro areas are changing, in many ways for the better, and ours is no exception. But while we rightly celebrate the revitalization of urban cores like downtown Phoenix—signified by hip cafés, luxury condos,...

To many, Phoenix is known for its sprawling suburbs—and that reputation has seldom been seen as a good thing. But metro areas are changing, in many ways for...

To many, Phoenix is known for its sprawling suburbs—and that reputation has seldom been seen as a good thing. But metro areas are changing, in many ways for the better, and ours is no exception. But while we rightly celebrate the revitalization of urban cores like downtown Phoenix—signified by hip cafés, luxury condos, award-winning restaurants, and the like—it would be a mistake to overlook how the suburbs are changing as well. Earlier this year, we linked to a Politico magazine story about the suburbanization of poverty in metro Atlanta, which invited the haunting question: “What happens when poverty spreads to a place that wasn’t...

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Christmas in Phoenix

December 23, 2014 No Comments 4

Although author and journalist Jon Talton currently makes his home in Seattle, he is a fourth-generation Arizonan who formerly worked as a columnist for the Arizona Republic. On his blog, Talton examines the historic and contemporary developments that have made Phoenix the city it is today. He is often highly critical of the economic and political players who have shaped Phoenix, but for those of us who want to see our city thriving not just now but for decades to come, it's required reading. This week, however, he paused to remember, with fondness, what Christmas was like as a child: I never dreamed of a white Christmas because I grew up in Phoenix. On the one hand, you felt terribly disconnected from the world depicted by television and the movies. As a child, I had no idea what snow really looked or felt like. My one experience, when I was four, was seeing flakes coming down. I was so excited that I ran to the side of the house to tell my mother. By that time, they were gone. Not until my thirties would I experience a snowy Christmas. Growing up, I wasn't fleeing snow or staying in a resort. Christmas in this preternaturally green oasis surrounded by the Sonoran Desert was all I knew. And yet it seemed right and possessed no little sense of enchantment and meaning. After all, Jesus had been born in a desert. In the Phoenix of my youth, going to the Christmas Eve service at Central United Methodist Church and exiting into the chill, dry air and canopy of stars, I felt very close to those shepherds abiding in the field. In the 1960s the luminaria on the sidewalks of Willo were decades away. Willo wasn't even a name. The fancy light shows were to be found in Palmcroft and Alvarado, where the rich people...

Although author and journalist Jon Talton currently makes his home in Seattle, he is a fourth-generation Arizonan who formerly worked as a columnist for the Arizona Republic. On his blog, Talton examines the historic and contemporary developments that have made Phoenix the city it is today. He is often highly critical of the economic and political players who have shaped Phoenix, but for those of us who want to see our city thriving not just now but for decades to come, it's required reading. This week, however, he paused to remember, with fondness, what Christmas was like as a child: I never dreamed of a white Christmas because I grew up in Phoenix. On the one hand, you felt terribly disconnected from the world depicted by television and the movies. As a child, I had no idea what snow really looked or felt like. My one experience, when I was four, was seeing flakes coming down. I was so excited that I ran to the side of the house to tell my mother. By that time, they were gone. Not until my thirties would I experience a snowy Christmas. Growing up, I wasn't fleeing snow or staying in a resort. Christmas in this preternaturally green oasis surrounded by the Sonoran...

Although author and journalist Jon Talton currently makes his home in Seattle, he is a fourth-generation Arizonan who formerly worked as a columnist for the Arizona Republic. On his blog, Talton examines the historic and contemporary developments that have made Phoenix the city it is today. He is often highly critical of the economic and political players who have shaped Phoenix, but for those of us who want to see our city thriving not just now but for decades to come, it's required reading. This week, however, he paused to remember, with fondness, what Christmas was like as a child: I never dreamed of a white Christmas because...

Although author and journalist Jon Talton currently makes his home in Seattle, he is a fourth-generation Arizonan who formerly worked as a columnist for the Arizona Republic. On his blog, Talton examines the historic and contemporary developments that have made Phoenix the city it is today. He is often highly critical of the economic and...

Although author and journalist Jon Talton currently makes his home in Seattle, he is a fourth-generation Arizonan who formerly worked as a columnist for the Arizona Republic....

Although author and journalist Jon Talton currently makes his home in Seattle, he is a fourth-generation Arizonan who formerly worked as a columnist for the Arizona Republic. On his blog, Talton examines the historic and contemporary developments that have made Phoenix the city it is today. He is often highly critical of the economic and political players who have shaped Phoenix, but for those of us who want to see our city thriving not just now but for decades to come, it's required reading. This week, however, he paused to remember, with fondness, what Christmas was like as a child: I never dreamed of a white Christmas because...

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Family to Family in Central Phoenix

December 19, 2014 No Comments 7

Arizona has the fourth highest poverty rate in the nation. In practical terms, this means that one out of four children in Arizona are at risk nutritionally. They are not eating well or sometimes not at all. Our public school system is partially meeting this need by feeding most school children at least two meals each school day and sending them home with food bags for the weekend. What most of us who are well fed don’t think about is this: what happens to these children during school vacations like summer break and Christmas break? How do these children eat? The sad answer is that some don’t. In 2012, Christ Church of the Valley piloted an initiative to address the need to feed school children during the two week Christmas break. Research was done in cooperation with Phoenix school districts, a plan was implemented, and some kinks worked out. The next year, CCV shared their plan with other Phoenix churches and the Family to Family Food Box distribution program was born. fcc-1 Through Family to Family, churches partner with local schools to provide two food boxes for each needy family identified by the school administration. Each box is filled with 23 staple items, which can help sustain a family of four to five for one week. Church members are asked to personally shop for these 23 food items and fill a box or two or more. The contents of each box cost approximately $35. This Christmas season, First Christian Church (FCC) is distributing 500 Family to Family Food Boxes, impacting 250 families through the following schools in our neighborhood: Mountain View School, Sunnyslope Elementary School, Desert View Elementary School, Maryland Elementary School, Rose Lane Elementary School, Richard E. Miller Elementary School, and Sunnyslope High School. Arizona has the fourth highest poverty rate in the nation. In practical terms, this means that one out of four children in Arizona are at risk nutritionally. They are not eating well or sometimes not at all. Our public school system is partially meeting this need by feeding most school children at least two meals each school day and sending them home with food bags for the weekend. What most of us who are well fed don’t think about is this: what happens to these children during school vacations like summer break and Christmas break? How do these children eat? The sad answer is that some don’t. In 2012, Christ Church of the Valley piloted an initiative to address the need to feed school children during the two week Christmas break. Research was done in cooperation with Phoenix school districts, a plan was implemented, and some kinks worked out. The next year, CCV shared their plan with other Phoenix churches and the Family to Family Food Box distribution program was born. fcc-1 Through Family to Family, churches partner with local schools to provide two food boxes for each needy family identified by the school administration. Each...

Arizona has the fourth highest poverty rate in the nation. In practical terms, this means that one out of four children in Arizona are at risk nutritionally. They are not eating well or sometimes not at all. Our public school system is partially meeting this need by feeding most school children at least two meals each school day and sending them home with food bags for the weekend. What most of us who are well fed don’t think about is this: what happens to these children during school vacations like summer break and Christmas break? How do these children eat? The...

Arizona has the fourth highest poverty rate in the nation. In practical terms, this means that one out of four children in Arizona are at risk nutritionally. They are not eating well or sometimes not at all. Our public school system is partially meeting this need by feeding most school...

Arizona has the fourth highest poverty rate in the nation. In practical terms, this means that one out of four children in Arizona are at...

Arizona has the fourth highest poverty rate in the nation. In practical terms, this means that one out of four children in Arizona are at risk nutritionally. They are not eating well or sometimes not at all. Our public school system is partially meeting this need by feeding most school children at least two meals each school day and sending them home with food bags for the weekend. What most of us who are well fed don’t think about is this: what happens to these children during school vacations like summer break and Christmas break? How do these children eat? The...

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Taking Responsibility for our City

December 11, 2014 2 Comments 21

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." – Peter Drucker The first time I heard that quote, it stuck. I didn’t need to hear it again because as anyone who leads a team knows, it’s true. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago while attending a leadership retreat, where a lion’s share of the morning discussion had to do with the power of staff culture. We were challenged to write down the cultural values of the teams we lead. All of the leaders in the room understood the importance of doing so, but few of us had gone through the process of actually writing down the words that both define our current culture and describe the culture we aspire to have. This process is beneficial on multiple levels and applies to all areas of life, whether in the home, in business, or in civic leadership. I recalled that nearly four years ago, when we started New City Church, we went through a similar process—almost without knowing it. At that time we looked at the city of Phoenix and asked ourselves two questions: “What are the current cultural values of this city?” and “What do the people of this city aspire to?” What we have seen over and over as we’ve lived and worked in the city during these past four years is that Phoenix has some very distinct cultural characteristics. First, we have seen that Phoenix values entrepreneurialism. Unlike other cities, there are very few “good old boy” networks you have to navigate, which means that if you have an idea, you really can go for it. Relatedly, we identified a culture of creativity. Perhaps because our city is relatively young, people aren’t afraid to try new things here. The story of Phoenix is still being written, after all. Ours is also a city characterized by resourcefulness, with people from...

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." – Peter Drucker The first time I heard that quote, it stuck. I didn’t need to hear it again because as anyone who leads a team knows, it’s true. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago while attending a leadership retreat, where a lion’s share of the morning discussion had to do with the power of staff culture. We were challenged to write down the cultural values of the teams we lead. All of the leaders in the room understood the importance of doing so, but few of us had gone through the process of actually writing down the words that both define our current culture and describe the culture we aspire to have. This process is beneficial on multiple levels and applies to all areas of life, whether in the home, in business, or in civic leadership. I recalled that nearly four years ago, when we started New City Church, we went through a similar process—almost without knowing it. At that time we looked at the city of Phoenix and asked ourselves two questions: “What are the current cultural values of this city?” and “What do the people of this city aspire to?” What we have seen over and...

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." – Peter Drucker The first time I heard that quote, it stuck. I didn’t need to hear it again because as anyone who leads a team knows, it’s true. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago while attending a leadership retreat, where a lion’s share of the morning discussion had to do with the power of staff culture. We were challenged to write down the cultural values of the teams we lead. All of the leaders in the room understood the importance of doing so, but few of us had gone through the process of...

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." – Peter Drucker The first time I heard that quote, it stuck. I didn’t need to hear it again because as anyone who leads a team knows, it’s true. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago while attending a leadership retreat, where a lion’s share...

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." – Peter Drucker The first time I heard that quote, it stuck. I didn’t need to hear it again because as...

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast." – Peter Drucker The first time I heard that quote, it stuck. I didn’t need to hear it again because as anyone who leads a team knows, it’s true. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago while attending a leadership retreat, where a lion’s share of the morning discussion had to do with the power of staff culture. We were challenged to write down the cultural values of the teams we lead. All of the leaders in the room understood the importance of doing so, but few of us had gone through the process of...

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Why You Should Make Your Own Coffee

December 9, 2014 No Comments 3

If I were to ask any given person how they brew coffee at home, odds are they would likely tell me one of three things. Common nowadays are Keurig, Nespresso, or similar “pod” coffee brewing contraptions—essentially glorified and overpriced instant coffee sputtering out convenience store swill. Others may own a Mr. Coffee maker or similar low end automatic brewer which is practical, albeit unable to truly produce high quality coffee. Still others may tell me that while they could make coffee at home, they simply go to their local coffee shop every day because they don't have time to make it themselves. From my experience, it seems that brewing coffee manually at home isn’t very popular for these main reasons: the time it takes to brew it, the perception of difficulty and inconvenience, and the cost of quality coffee and brewing equipment creates an entry barrier. I believe that the answers to these problems lie in the idea that coffee at home should be the intersection of craft, quality, and value. Craft, the act of making something by hand, is intertwined with the narrative of humanity and it is impossible to remove our basic need to make, create, or craft. Instead, we have opted for convenience, citing the increased efficiency and ease that attempts to compensate for the satisfaction of doing it yourself. Initially, the concepts of brewing might be a bit daunting, but with a small amount of research and a little practice, coffee brewing easily becomes second nature. It may take a few more moments to grind the coffee and boil water every morning, but it is well worth the wait. You will enjoy the coffee more after making it yourself and may even find that enjoying one cup made by hand satisfies your need for coffee as much as a...

If I were to ask any given person how they brew coffee at home, odds are they would likely tell me one of three things. Common nowadays are Keurig, Nespresso, or similar “pod” coffee brewing contraptions—essentially glorified and overpriced instant coffee sputtering out convenience store swill. Others may own a Mr. Coffee maker or similar low end automatic brewer which is practical, albeit unable to truly produce high quality coffee. Still others may tell me that while they could make coffee at home, they simply go to their local coffee shop every day because they don't have time to make it themselves. From my experience, it seems that brewing coffee manually at home isn’t very popular for these main reasons: the time it takes to brew it, the perception of difficulty and inconvenience, and the cost of quality coffee and brewing equipment creates an entry barrier. I believe that the answers to these problems lie in the idea that coffee at home should be the intersection of craft, quality, and value. Craft, the act of making something by hand, is intertwined with the narrative of humanity and it is impossible to remove our basic need to make, create, or craft. Instead, we have...

If I were to ask any given person how they brew coffee at home, odds are they would likely tell me one of three things. Common nowadays are Keurig, Nespresso, or similar “pod” coffee brewing contraptions—essentially glorified and overpriced instant coffee sputtering out convenience store swill. Others may own a Mr. Coffee maker or similar low end automatic brewer which is practical, albeit unable to truly produce high quality coffee. Still others may tell me that while they could make coffee at home, they simply go to their local coffee shop every day because they don't have time to make it...

If I were to ask any given person how they brew coffee at home, odds are they would likely tell me one of three things. Common nowadays are Keurig, Nespresso, or similar “pod” coffee brewing contraptions—essentially glorified and overpriced instant coffee sputtering out convenience store swill. Others may own a Mr....

If I were to ask any given person how they brew coffee at home, odds are they would likely tell me one of three things. Common...

If I were to ask any given person how they brew coffee at home, odds are they would likely tell me one of three things. Common nowadays are Keurig, Nespresso, or similar “pod” coffee brewing contraptions—essentially glorified and overpriced instant coffee sputtering out convenience store swill. Others may own a Mr. Coffee maker or similar low end automatic brewer which is practical, albeit unable to truly produce high quality coffee. Still others may tell me that while they could make coffee at home, they simply go to their local coffee shop every day because they don't have time to make it...

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Getting to Know the Tribes of Arizona

December 3, 2014 No Comments 3

Walk into Kristine FireThunder’s office and you’ll notice the smell of cinnamon, the bouquets of fresh flowers, and the holiday decorations. (“I love Halloween,” she says. “I only love Christmas more.”) You may also see evidence of her two young daughters’ artwork, and her rabid love of ASU football. You’ll certainly see a series of clipboards organizing the week’s work—a lengthy list advising Governor Jan Brewer on issues related to Arizona’s 22 American Indian tribes. “In addition to providing strategic analysis and advisement to Governor Brewer, I am a senior-level liaison to the Arizona Indian tribes and tribal community members,” she says. Her official titles are Policy Advisor on Tribal Affairs for the Governor’s Office and Director of the Commission of Indian Affairs. But with a coy smile she says, “I prefer to be called mommy, but Mrs. FireThunder will do.” FireThunder has now worked for two governors, but her path to working in politics was unexpected. “My plan was to join a large architectural firm to live the dream of designing culturally competent health care facilities,” she says. “I was encouraged to become more familiar with the procurement processes of state and local governments as many of the jobs would be municipal projects. Come to find out the only way to do this was to get a state job. Having a fulltime job as a design student was next to impossible and I ended up volunteering at several state conferences before I came across an opportunity as a management intern. I have learned so much since that time that I feel that this is where I need to be.” firethunder-1000 FireThunder was raised in the West Valley, spending one year attending parochial school on the Hopi Reservation in northern Arizona. She says being a tribal member...

Walk into Kristine FireThunder’s office and you’ll notice the smell of cinnamon, the bouquets of fresh flowers, and the holiday decorations. (“I love Halloween,” she says. “I only love Christmas more.”) You may also see evidence of her two young daughters’ artwork, and her rabid love of ASU football. You’ll certainly see a series of clipboards organizing the week’s work—a lengthy list advising Governor Jan Brewer on issues related to Arizona’s 22 American Indian tribes. “In addition to providing strategic analysis and advisement to Governor Brewer, I am a senior-level liaison to the Arizona Indian tribes and tribal community members,” she says. Her official titles are Policy Advisor on Tribal Affairs for the Governor’s Office and Director of the Commission of Indian Affairs. But with a coy smile she says, “I prefer to be called mommy, but Mrs. FireThunder will do.” FireThunder has now worked for two governors, but her path to working in politics was unexpected. “My plan was to join a large architectural firm to live the dream of designing culturally competent health care facilities,” she says. “I was encouraged to become more familiar with the procurement processes of state and local governments as many of the jobs would be municipal...

Walk into Kristine FireThunder’s office and you’ll notice the smell of cinnamon, the bouquets of fresh flowers, and the holiday decorations. (“I love Halloween,” she says. “I only love Christmas more.”) You may also see evidence of her two young daughters’ artwork, and her rabid love of ASU football. You’ll certainly see a series of clipboards organizing the week’s work—a lengthy list advising Governor Jan Brewer on issues related to Arizona’s 22 American Indian tribes. “In addition to providing strategic analysis and advisement to Governor Brewer, I am a senior-level liaison to the Arizona Indian tribes and tribal community members,” she...

Walk into Kristine FireThunder’s office and you’ll notice the smell of cinnamon, the bouquets of fresh flowers, and the holiday decorations. (“I love Halloween,” she says. “I only love Christmas more.”) You may also see evidence of her two young daughters’ artwork, and her rabid love of ASU football. You’ll...

Walk into Kristine FireThunder’s office and you’ll notice the smell of cinnamon, the bouquets of fresh flowers, and the holiday decorations. (“I love Halloween,” she...

Walk into Kristine FireThunder’s office and you’ll notice the smell of cinnamon, the bouquets of fresh flowers, and the holiday decorations. (“I love Halloween,” she says. “I only love Christmas more.”) You may also see evidence of her two young daughters’ artwork, and her rabid love of ASU football. You’ll certainly see a series of clipboards organizing the week’s work—a lengthy list advising Governor Jan Brewer on issues related to Arizona’s 22 American Indian tribes. “In addition to providing strategic analysis and advisement to Governor Brewer, I am a senior-level liaison to the Arizona Indian tribes and tribal community members,” she...

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Hiking in South Phoenix

November 6, 2014 No Comments 5

Before you tie up your weekend with commitments, consider tying up the laces on your hiking shoes and enjoying the cooler temperatures at some of my favorite spots in the South Mountain Preserve. Mormon Trail is one of my favorite places to take friends and family because I can adjust the distance to match their preferences. The trail can be seen from the south end of 24th Street, just before the merge with East Valley View Drive. Do not let the overflowing parking lot deter you from visiting; this trail’s population is significantly less compared to Awhatukee’s trails. To find the best parking place, I recommend parking on Euclid Avenue, which is a short walk northwest of the trailhead. Near the trailhead, there is a ramada that provides shade for a pre-hike stretch or point-of-location if you want to hike with a group. The trail varies between rocky inclines and flat footpaths, as it follows the side of the mountain. I love the fact that the mountainside provides shade for the majority of the hike, as this extends the hiking season for me. The trail is wide enough to allow a couple to hike alongside each other while conversing. There are plenty of places to step aside and relax while letting the occasional biker or horseback rider pass. The trail is also pet-friendly, so feel free to grab a leash and bring Fido along with you. Mormon Trail is 1.25 miles long, with an elevation change of 1,000 feet. The end of this trail marks the beginning of two more, Mormon Loop and National. From this junction you can return the way you came or continue on with the other trails. Whatever option you choose, make sure you carry plenty of water for yourself (and your dog, if applicable). For those looking for higher...

Before you tie up your weekend with commitments, consider tying up the laces on your hiking shoes and enjoying the cooler temperatures at some of my favorite spots in the South Mountain Preserve. Mormon Trail is one of my favorite places to take friends and family because I can adjust the distance to match their preferences. The trail can be seen from the south end of 24th Street, just before the merge with East Valley View Drive. Do not let the overflowing parking lot deter you from visiting; this trail’s population is significantly less compared to Awhatukee’s trails. To find the best parking place, I recommend parking on Euclid Avenue, which is a short walk northwest of the trailhead. Near the trailhead, there is a ramada that provides shade for a pre-hike stretch or point-of-location if you want to hike with a group. The trail varies between rocky inclines and flat footpaths, as it follows the side of the mountain. I love the fact that the mountainside provides shade for the majority of the hike, as this extends the hiking season for me. The trail is wide enough to allow a couple to hike alongside each other while conversing. There are plenty of...

Before you tie up your weekend with commitments, consider tying up the laces on your hiking shoes and enjoying the cooler temperatures at some of my favorite spots in the South Mountain Preserve. Mormon Trail is one of my favorite places to take friends and family because I can adjust the distance to match their preferences. The trail can be seen from the south end of 24th Street, just before the merge with East Valley View Drive. Do not let the overflowing parking lot deter you from visiting; this trail’s population is significantly less compared to Awhatukee’s trails. To find the...

Before you tie up your weekend with commitments, consider tying up the laces on your hiking shoes and enjoying the cooler temperatures at some of my favorite spots in the South Mountain Preserve. Mormon Trail is one of my favorite places to take friends and family because I can adjust the...

Before you tie up your weekend with commitments, consider tying up the laces on your hiking shoes and enjoying the cooler temperatures at some of...

Before you tie up your weekend with commitments, consider tying up the laces on your hiking shoes and enjoying the cooler temperatures at some of my favorite spots in the South Mountain Preserve. Mormon Trail is one of my favorite places to take friends and family because I can adjust the distance to match their preferences. The trail can be seen from the south end of 24th Street, just before the merge with East Valley View Drive. Do not let the overflowing parking lot deter you from visiting; this trail’s population is significantly less compared to Awhatukee’s trails. To find the...

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Helping Boys Find Purpose

October 31, 2014 No Comments 6

As I stood in the vestibule during a break between presentations at the Helping Boys Thrive Summit, standing amidst the tables of exhibiting organizations, I found myself somewhat mesmerized by a book cover. The book I held in my hands was by Michael Gurian, the key presenter at the summit. The title, The Purpose of Boys, caught my attention along with the subtitle, “helping our sons find meaning, significance, and direction in their lives.” But what mesmerized me were the faces and eyes of the three young men on the cover. How often in my 25 years of involvement in healthcare had I seen young boys from preschool through teen years look out into the world in search of a connection? How often have I heard someone ask young boys with similar faces, “What is wrong with you?” On this particular day, however, what I heard from Michael Gurian, Tim Wright, and Dakota Hoyt was that in many circumstances and settings we have been asking our questions from a “management of behaviors” standpoint, rather than with the appreciation for the unmet needs driving those behaviors. Male and female brains are different. The science presented by Michael Gurian at the summit and documented in his extensive writing is shared from the best research available. The conversation about the development of the brains of young boys and girls were presented to bring about an appreciation of the differences, without reopening any wounds regarding equality issues. gurian-scans The presenters were very clear to establish that their inquiry and research into gender bias being experienced by boys in education, psychology, social service fields, and certain employment opportunities is not equivalent to the patriarchal bias that many women continue to face. The bias that boys and young men face is not intentionally designed...

As I stood in the vestibule during a break between presentations at the Helping Boys Thrive Summit, standing amidst the tables of exhibiting organizations, I found myself somewhat mesmerized by a book cover. The book I held in my hands was by Michael Gurian, the key presenter at the summit. The title, The Purpose of Boys, caught my attention along with the subtitle, “helping our sons find meaning, significance, and direction in their lives.” But what mesmerized me were the faces and eyes of the three young men on the cover. How often in my 25 years of involvement in healthcare had I seen young boys from preschool through teen years look out into the world in search of a connection? How often have I heard someone ask young boys with similar faces, “What is wrong with you?” On this particular day, however, what I heard from Michael Gurian, Tim Wright, and Dakota Hoyt was that in many circumstances and settings we have been asking our questions from a “management of behaviors” standpoint, rather than with the appreciation for the unmet needs driving those behaviors. Male and female brains are different. The science presented by Michael Gurian at the summit and documented in his...

As I stood in the vestibule during a break between presentations at the Helping Boys Thrive Summit, standing amidst the tables of exhibiting organizations, I found myself somewhat mesmerized by a book cover. The book I held in my hands was by Michael Gurian, the key presenter at the summit. The title, The Purpose of Boys, caught my attention along with the subtitle, “helping our sons find meaning, significance, and direction in their lives.” But what mesmerized me were the faces and eyes of the three young men on the cover. How often in my 25 years of involvement in healthcare had...

As I stood in the vestibule during a break between presentations at the Helping Boys Thrive Summit, standing amidst the tables of exhibiting organizations, I found myself somewhat mesmerized by a book cover. The book I held in my hands was by Michael Gurian, the key presenter at the summit. The...

As I stood in the vestibule during a break between presentations at the Helping Boys Thrive Summit, standing amidst the tables of exhibiting organizations, I...

As I stood in the vestibule during a break between presentations at the Helping Boys Thrive Summit, standing amidst the tables of exhibiting organizations, I found myself somewhat mesmerized by a book cover. The book I held in my hands was by Michael Gurian, the key presenter at the summit. The title, The Purpose of Boys, caught my attention along with the subtitle, “helping our sons find meaning, significance, and direction in their lives.” But what mesmerized me were the faces and eyes of the three young men on the cover. How often in my 25 years of involvement in healthcare had...

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…Nonprofits Are From Venus

October 29, 2014 No Comments 16

In my last post, I shared four things that donors—who I prefer to call “partners”— wish they could say to nonprofit organizations. I wrote that partners want to be educated, that they can handle bad news, that they value partnership, and that a simple thank you can go a long way. Today I want to flip things around and consider the partner-nonprofit relationship from the nonprofit leader’s point of view. So without further ado, here are four pieces of advice that nonprofit organizations would give to partners: 1. We cannot be all things to all people. Every day, we are pulled and tugged with proposals and expansion opportunities. We earnestly consider the opportunities that are presented, but we cannot pursue every idea. Resources are limited, but more importantly, we need to stay focused on the mission and vision of our work. This is not to say that your idea does not have merit, but simply that we’re not the organization to see it come to fruition. 2. Meaningful accountability is not cheap. We join you in wishing that every dollar we receive could go straight towards our “boots on the ground” program. But if we really expounded on that thought, we would quickly realize our folly. Without audits, accountants, board meetings, and gifted administrators, our well-intended efforts would turn into chaos. When we value accountability, we are saying that we not only want to care for our community, but we want to do it with excellence. If you hear that your favorite nonprofit used a Groupon for their annual audit… well, that might not be a good thing. 3. Become a “grocery list” partner. Driving to the grocery store without a plan is a disaster in the making. You’ll come home with a bunch of food, but none of the ingredients you need to...

In my last post, I shared four things that donors—who I prefer to call “partners”— wish they could say to nonprofit organizations. I wrote that partners want to be educated, that they can handle bad news, that they value partnership, and that a simple thank you can go a long way. Today I want to flip things around and consider the partner-nonprofit relationship from the nonprofit leader’s point of view. So without further ado, here are four pieces of advice that nonprofit organizations would give to partners: 1. We cannot be all things to all people. Every day, we are pulled and tugged with proposals and expansion opportunities. We earnestly consider the opportunities that are presented, but we cannot pursue every idea. Resources are limited, but more importantly, we need to stay focused on the mission and vision of our work. This is not to say that your idea does not have merit, but simply that we’re not the organization to see it come to fruition. 2. Meaningful accountability is not cheap. We join you in wishing that every dollar we receive could go straight towards our “boots on the ground” program. But if we really expounded on that thought, we would quickly...

In my last post, I shared four things that donors—who I prefer to call “partners”— wish they could say to nonprofit organizations. I wrote that partners want to be educated, that they can handle bad news, that they value partnership, and that a simple thank you can go a long way. Today I want to flip things around and consider the partner-nonprofit relationship from the nonprofit leader’s point of view. So without further ado, here are four pieces of advice that nonprofit organizations would give to partners: 1. We cannot be all things to all people. Every day, we are pulled and...

In my last post, I shared four things that donors—who I prefer to call “partners”— wish they could say to nonprofit organizations. I wrote that partners want to be educated, that they can handle bad news, that they value partnership, and that a simple thank you can go a long...

In my last post, I shared four things that donors—who I prefer to call “partners”— wish they could say to nonprofit organizations. I wrote that...

In my last post, I shared four things that donors—who I prefer to call “partners”— wish they could say to nonprofit organizations. I wrote that partners want to be educated, that they can handle bad news, that they value partnership, and that a simple thank you can go a long way. Today I want to flip things around and consider the partner-nonprofit relationship from the nonprofit leader’s point of view. So without further ado, here are four pieces of advice that nonprofit organizations would give to partners: 1. We cannot be all things to all people. Every day, we are pulled and...

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