Banana bread & cookbook tip

One of my favorite cookbooks that I can pop open and get a great recipe each time is Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. The binder version is the one to get, but I got the bound copy and use it relentlessly.

Strangely enough, tonight I used a recipe that I DIDN'T get out of this book, but I can always make more than one banana bread loaf.


Movie: Hidden Figures

This movie is what I needed. You need this movie. This movie is what the United States of America needs right now. Everyone in the United States should definitely see this movie. That was the long and short of my night.

Also, I'm definitely going to read the book Hidden Figures so I can learn more and continue to be inspired by these women and others like them. I've been reading some pretty depressing stuff - WWII history, dystopian fiction, etc. - so it's time for some stories about amazing females. It's a perfect addition to invigorate my reading challenge for 2017. I mean, come on, NASA archivists were involved.

And this movie. 

I am so grateful that I got to watch the pre-screening of "Hidden Figures" tonight with my alma mater - the University of Michigan-Dearborn. I watched it with students and alumni, members of my family and many of my dear friends. It was a packed house and a great night in Dearborn. 

"Hidden Figures" follows three awesome women who overcame all kinds of odds and, frankly, bullshit, to succeed at helping build up the NASA program. Katherine Johnson was a human "computer" and overall mathematical powerhouse. Dorothy Vaughan was the boss lady that wasn't paid like a boss, but learned, looked after her team and became THE boss lady supreme. And Mary Jackson, who fought to be able to become an aerospace engineer. 

I took a tally of how many times I teared up: 8. That is pretty high, even for me! This movie really, really moved me. It was a strange juxtaposition of widespread racism and segregation, but still had so much triumph, so much progress. Like, we wanted to reach friggin' space before the Commies and we really came together to do it. Anyway, it was inspiring to watch women influence science and technology, especially black women in the south. 

As I stated at the beginning, everyone should go see this film. The performances were great. It was shot well. It is especially great for families. Also, go to the library and get the book, too.


#GivingBlueday and that

I was asked: "Why does Giving Blueday matter? Why should people give on this day?"

We usher in the giving season together. That's why.

If that's not acceptable, I get it. But for me, it has been a single day of changing lives and making impact together.

Giving Blueday is the University of Michigan's Giving Tuesday. The university has participated in it, u-wide, for the last three years. Tonight, though, we had a lot of fun. Today is one of those days that I am just in awe of how fun it is to do what I do.

At Dearborn Brewing, I hosted a trivia competition. Not one team won anything beyond deciding what area of UM-Dearborn a $500 donation would go. It went off without a hitch, we catered just the right amount of food and everyone had a great time!

For a living, I engage with fellow alumni, host local events, support my city, my school, my team. At this point, it's not why I give. It's why I'm never going to stop giving. Have a good night and a great season of joy, gratitude and giving.


Why I give - Day 7 - It's my job.

I am a fundraiser for a living. Sometimes I'm a part-time librarian, but for my main bread and butter, I raise money for the University of Michigan-Dearborn, my alma mater. Being a part of the Michigan development family has be a joy and an honor and I've learned so much. Perhaps the most important thing I've learned is that I'm in the right place, doing good for an institution that I love very much. Sure, it gets busy and crazy sometimes, but I rest my head each night knowing that the work I do helps teachers teach and students learn. I help create great citizens of this world and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Tomorrow is Giving Blueday, Michigan's take on Giving Tuesday. A little over a week ago, someone asked me how to explain why one should give on this day. I stumbled and bumbled around, but in the end, I explained it was a way to celebrate the beginning of the giving season. However, my struggle to answer the original question made me want to reflect on why I have embraced this life so much.

Consider giving to the University of Michigan-Dearborn tomorrow!


Why I give - Day 6 - To make a political statement

Yes, it has been quite an election season. The results of it have made me realize that there are some things I stand for and support, including civil liberties, women's reproductive rights and public education. Philanthropy gives me an avenue to express some of my beliefs by supporting them monetarily. Better than getting trolled on Facebook.


Why I give - Day 5 - Shared experience

I support a student scholarship at a library I used to work at, BECAUSE I GET IT. There is just nothing like working at a public desk at an institution of higher education. I salute the library student worker, always.


Why I give - Day 4 - The world needs more good. Like, a lot more.

This has been a pretty rough 2016 for a lot of people. In the past, when I have felt that things are grim in my own life, I would read about horrific history to remind myself that things could always be worse. I would read nonfiction about World War II, fiction about the early years of the meatpacking industry. In the last four years or so, I have had enough tragedy in my life where I pulled away from engaging in depressing literature and history.

But now I'm back. I am reading about the Bloodlands of Europe, where I'm learning much more about Stalin than I ever knew - whoa. And I'm being reminded that there is some scary historical shit that is happening right now in the United States of America. I will spare you my intellectual history ramblings, but the long and short of it is this: there is some serious hatred in the world today and it appears society is close to normalizing it.

So, in addition to getting back to reading humanity's gruesome details, I want to start giving to causes that are most important to me. Millennials, the generation of which I am part of, tend to give to 3-5 nonprofits, so I'm a bit behind as most of my giving is to the university. 

But there are many other organizations that do great work and there are great places to donate to. I want to be part of the good that overcomes evil. I want young people to know their rights. I want LGTBQ folks to feel loved and not scared. I want all people to know the power of literacy and have access to learning and reading. Hell, the fact that my State of Michigan is trying to argue that literacy is not a fundamental right might be the fire that I needed to take action. Literacy SHOULD be a fundamental right. All of the sudden, law school sounds like a pretty swell idea.

But I digress, for there are many great nonprofit organizations that do wonderful and worthy work. It is time for me to start giving to additional causes, for the world needs more good.


Why I give - Day 3 - Support a buddy

There's a school (I think) in Chicago that has been sending me a lot of direct mail appeals. Their attempts are futile, because the single reason I ever gave to this organization was to support a bud. I suggest that if you engage in fundraising, don't be afraid to ask those close to you - we'll support anything! Your buddies love supporting your worthy causes and passionate efforts.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Why I give - Day 2 - To honor my dad

There is something special about giving in memory of someone. For me, I like to support engineering students, because my dad was a brilliant engineer. One day I will name a scholarship in his memory, but for now, I want to support engineering students in any way I can to honor my dad each day. Giving someone better access to education is a tribute he would appreciate.


Why I give - Day 1 - Lifestyle of generosity and gratitude.

Philanthropy is a lifestyle to me.  I feel that I have been given much in my life: unmatched love and support from my parents, a perfect friend and partner in my husband, a great network of colleagues and friends who are like family. I am in awe of how much the people in my life have made it better.

I don't tend to quote the Bible much, but this passage always stuck with me. I first saw an iteration of it in the Detroit Red Wings locker room back when I was a college intern.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and from him who has been entrusted with much, even more will be demanded. Luke 12:48 
People have been good to me. A good reference, a tip on a job, a wordless, teary hug - this is a small sample of gifts I've received from others. People are naturally good. They give love, money, time. When I think about all of people's blessings bestowed upon me, gratitude manifests into giving back. It is a wonderful cycle.