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Of all the charities that make requests to me to finish out the year, I wish I could contribute to more of them.  To wind down 2013, I made my highest donation priority to help the way for my advisees’ pledges to Push America, which three of them will be riding a bicycle cross-country this summer promoting its mission.

The cross-country trip is called The Journey of Hope, and aside from the physical test of the bike trip, it involves making visits to local facilities along the way that care for people with disabilities.  The fraternity members who participate in the ride must meet a minimum fundraising requirement towards the organization, and most members have a goal greater than that minimum.  The fundraising campaign runs the sensible model of benefiting both the organization and the person who would be getting credit for the funds on behalf of their goal.  Push America provides an easy way for a rider to market themselves and accept donations over the web.  As a result, I took advantage of the service and my very late December charitable givings is well summarized by the below

Dylan Reed  joh-dreed
Jeffrey Gorenshtein  joh-jGorenshtein
Brian Bott  joh-bbott

(  Great video recap of a past ride–   http://sloandickey.com/journeyofhope/?p=468  )

I’m especially proud of the efforts of these young men in their fundraising and commitment to the trip.  There had not been a member of the George Mason University Pi Kappa Phi chapter to ride as part of the Journey of Hope in many years.  Hopefully, they can start a trend for years to come.

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Backyard wilderness.  RIP Wookie

Thanksgiving comes on it’s earliest possible date this year. Even still, having gone through the recent hurricane experience and come out the other side with no lasting damage to house and family, I want to get out my advanced thanks and gratitude. My thoughts especially go out to those who are rebuilding, recovering, and grieving, especially leading into this upcoming holiday season.

This being my first time owning any property during a heavy storm and this past summer dealing with some tragic loss (albeit a pet), it has made it even more clear the importance of caring for each other and sharing that sense of disaster when all of a sudden your home becomes compromised.

On top of the feeling of being fortunate to not have any damage from hurricane Sandy, I do come away with a sense of pride for all the work I put in over the summer to setup a drainage system in the backyard, trim trees, and all the landscaping sweat to minimize issues from the massive rain. The winter may bring some new challenges for me as a new home owner, but from the early experiences of the derecho and hurricane within 6 months, I will chalk it up as just occurrences that I need to be rolling with more as time goes on.

Happy early Thanksgiving everyone.

Over the past couple of years of considering the path towards a full time MBA or other graduate degree, it really caused me to look at my priorities. Beyond the clear advantage of the degree, the costs of it is the next immediate thought that comes to mind. As of May 7th, I’m now a home owner, and have exercised one of the big near-term opportunities that I would forgo, had I decided to go back to school.

I am happy with my funds draining decision, and these fruits of the huge (beyond my imagination!) amount of work that comes with both buying a home and overseeing large renovations on a property that I will be living in. The decision to buy a home was not an easy one, but it was helped greatly by the unheard of mortgage rates that are available and finding a good fit property that is in a high value location.

As is key with most big decisions, timing is such a key factor like with the lending rates and home prices, but it’s equally important to have the confidence of projecting where I want my life to go. Not only am I making a deep commitment to living in the DC suburbs of northern Virginia, but also the near-term limitations that I have put on my formalized education. Yet, I am confident in my decision for this huge financial play, and even more determined to continue my personal pursuits and curiosities I’ve set up for this blog to discuss. The home renovations and ongoing transition for my new professional position, have taken so much of my time lately, but regardless of the lack of updates to this page, my mind is full of thoughts that I hope to express here in the not too distant future.

(photo credit: woodleywonderworks )

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