Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A black Labrador Retriever.
A black Labrador Retriever. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Yesterday at 2:30 p.m. I lost my best friend.  She was a beautiful female black lab, almost 14 years old, with brown eyes and a look to melt anyone's heart.  Mollie, loved my wife and me and tolerated very few others.  Her main responsibilities were to love and protect us.  She accomplished those duties with determination!  

We got her from a family in Macon when she was one-year old.  Driving home, she climbed from the back seat of our Jeep Grand Cherokee into my wife's lap in the front seat and into our hearts.  Labs spend their early years being rambunctious, becoming "adults around 5-7 years old.  Mollie was a normal lab in this regard.

Except for nights, she spent most of her early life outside in a kennel or fence.  As she got older, she gradually moved inside our home, spending many hours by the fireplace with or without a fire.

Every night around 9:00 p.m., one of us would say "Ready?"  If she was, she would stand up and walk down our long hall and get into her crate and look anxiously for her bacon treat.  Then, her day was over.

I have an office in our home.  For the last several years, when I was home, Mollie spent many hours curled up close to my desk chair.  When a noise disturbed her, she would softly growl.  If she was at the other end of the house, she would come running to me, letting me know that either someone was at the door or that she needed to go out.

At night, she would stretch out on a small rug by our bed until her bedtime.  

A week ago, she woke us at 4:30 a.m. with nonstop nausea and diarrhea. My wife got her to the vet clinic as soon as they opened.  A day later we found out that she had contracted pancreatitic problems.  Even massive doses of antibiotics didn't turn the tide.  

Yesterday, we and the vet decided she had suffered enough.  Mollie's ashes were scattered today in a memorial garden at the Albany Humane Society.  I'll never have a stronger friend.  I miss her terribly.  Rest in peace, my brown eyed girl...
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Middle School Students...A unique and challenging age

Middle School Field Hockey
A picture of Richards Middle School in Columbu...

Middle School Students...A unique and challenging age

I taught middle school science classes for one year, as I was completing doctoral classes at the University of Georgia.  I worked hard to stay ahead of them and on top of their challenges.  Never a dull moment.

I also had two middle school children of my own, a daughter and a son.  When they hit middle school, hormones were raging, feelings were running full tilt, and we rode the waves of emotions together.

Two recent events brought my mind back to those experiences.

First, the video of the bus monitor driven to tears from the taunts of middle school students about her weight and age.  The video caused numerous donors to send her over $640,000 to retire.

Second, middle school students visiting the 9-11 Memorial recently threw drinks, cups, and trash into the reflecting pool and said they were just "bored."  

Both incidents show a failure on the part of parents, teachers, administrators, and society.  Of course, the young people share in this blame but they must have strong behavioral foundations and examples to learn from and follow.

We are losing civility in every part of our society due to the lack of strong parenting and support by teachers and administrators.  Middle school students are not inherently bad....energetic, often rude, managed by hormones...but most can be caring individuals when inspired by strong exemplars.

When parents and teachers focus on their true responsibilities, most middle school children can survive those years and grow to be good adults.  Otherwise, they are devils in disguise! 
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Dr Bob Exley, accepts Mathison Award 01
Dr Bob Exley, accepts Mathison Award 01 (Photo credit: Larry Miller)
Official seal of Boaz
Official seal of Boaz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Homecoming 2010 at Snead State Community Colle...
Homecoming 2010 at Snead State Community College 24 (Photo credit: Larry Miller)

I spent yesterday morning with Dr. Bob Exley, President of Snead State Community College in Boaz, Alabama.  The night before was spent in the best Hampton Inn in the world (my humble opinion) on Guntersville Lake, home of many top-flight fishing tournaments.  The hotel has a commanding view from its perch above the lake and a great seafood restaurant...Wintzell's Oyster House.  

The portico of the hotel was populated by a flock of barn swallows, attaching themselves to the ceiling and beams like bats.  Just don't walk slowly under them or park your car in their vicinity!

Back to Snead State...founded in 1898 as a Methodist Episcopal seminary.  John Snead. a Boaz businessman, provided land, money, and leadership to the seminary.  Now Snead State is a dynamic community college with strong academic programs, very reasonable costs, and a unique setting on a beautiful campus.  Dr. Exley and his team are providing outstanding leadership, including a long-range campus master plan that will soon result in a pedestrian campus with up-to-date facilities.  Classes available on campus (including evenings) and on-line for students' convenience.

At Cargill Associates we have always said that community colleges are the nation's true bargain in education, providing easy access for millions to a diversity of associate degrees and a strong start to further educational opportunities.  We hope to be strategic partners with President Exley and Snead State in the near future!

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Friday, October 21, 2011


This map shows the incorporated and unincorpor...Image via WikipediaI recently completed a very positive feasibility study for Florida United Methodist Children's Home (FUMCH), headquartered in Enterprise, Florida. Now they are beginning the silent phase of their capital plan for an exciting project. The campaign will fund the facilities on a ranch environment north of Madison, Florida for children from dysfunctional families. One of the exciting aspects of this project is that the 120 acres of land was donated by one family. In addition, the feasibility study was paid for by another donor.

FUMCH provides services related to sexual abuse, physical abuse, abandonment, or family breakdown due to divorce, drug abuse, illness, or parental death.

The campaign is seeking $12-million to improve the beautiful pasture and timberland, constructing cabins, offices, barn, open-air chapel, and lake. The barn is needed because they use equine assisted psychotherapy(EAP).

We are excited about this campaign and, most importantly, the positive future impact it will have on children and families
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Friday, July 30, 2010


Shoulders, Tahlequah, OklahomaImage by adobemac via Flickr

Each Methodist conference, Baptist state convention, Episcopal Diocese, and other similar faith-based organizational structure usually has a camp and conference center program. These programs are vital to the energy of the denomination because major personal changes take place in these recreational settings: young people learn critical life skills, meet persons who may become their life partners, become Christians, grow closer to God, hear God's call to the ministry, and many other significant events shaping the remainder of their lives. These facilities allow the time, solitude, and setting for similar impacts on young adults and adults.

In addition, conference centers provide creative spaces for church gatherings, conferences, weddings, reunions, picnics, baptisms, youth rallies, and a variety of other events important in the lives of individuals, churches, parishes, and groups.

Many camps and conference centers operate on fees charged for camps and programs. This schedule usually does not allow for sufficient funds for adequate maintenance, repair, and expansion.

New meeting centers, complex rope courses, larger dining halls, updated cabins, technology, off-site events, staff training, and special entertainment are normally out of the question unless the organization has an endowment for these items.

Carefully crafted comprehensive campaigns designed to strengthen annual funds, secure major gifts, and provide for and recognize planned gifts are necessary for camp and conference centers to thrive and continue to be a very relevant part of the life of the church and its members.

Cargill Associates has extensive experience in faith-based camp and conference center feasibility studies and campaigns. They understand these special programs and their unique needs.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Christ the Saviour (Pantokrator), a 6th-centur...Image via Wikipedia

As we consult with organizations to meet their needs, I am reminded of Paul's letter to the Ephesians as he wrote:

"...so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you...may have power... to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory..."

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 20:  (Miss World Ks...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Several organizations developed and endorsed "A Donor Bill of Rights." Every non-for-profit organization should have its Board adopt this document and reinforce its principles through daily use. We declare that all donors have these rights:

I. To be informed of the organization's mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.

II. To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization's governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgement in its stewardship responsibilities.

III. To have access to the organization's most recent financial statements.

IV. To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.

V. To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition.

VI. To be assured that information about their donation is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extend provided by law.

VII. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.

VIII. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.

IX. To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.

X. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful, and forthright answers.

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