Love Lemons

Yesterday we received the following email. It's timing was no coincidence, I believe. The sender, the daughter of a very kind and loving family whom we don't see enough of, is Hannah's age, and her younger brother and Max were the same age also. I think Max (or God) is trying to send me a message, perhaps I'm complaining too much and praising too little. Thank you Shiney!

hi how are you? this summer ive raised a lot of money doing lemonade stands with my friends! today im doing one and i made a very great sign telling about max! cant wait to see you again so i can give you the money i raised !


The transformative power of love (or how we came to name Max's Ring of Fire)

Some people have asked lately about the origin and/or inspiration for the name of our foundation, Max's Ring of Fire.

I've also been seeing a lot of comments lately about the upcoming fun-run/fun-draiser Max Run that sound like, "hey, sounds like a great idea, great cause, but... I don't run... I don't like to run... blah, blah, blah"

All the excuses start to sound like Jake Elroy (John Belushi) from the Blues Brothers.

I'm not bitter when people decline to participate because they aren't available, can't afford to, or even just don't believe in the cause. Long ago I chose not to take it personally when someone declines to contribute, participate, or otherwise engage with our cause - life's too short to worry about that kind of stuff (and there's so many people who DO want to help if only you ask and show them how, so that's time better spent anyway!).

But what gets me are the excuses. "Oh sure, I care Andy, just make it easy for me to care, and I'll show up."

As Melissa and I have started giving more and more of our time to fighting neuroblastoma and other causes, a constant theme has emerged for me, and that is when giving is easy, you get less out of it. Giving in a manner that challenges the giver, also helps the giver; it helps them appreciate the sacrifice of their giving more. It makes the giving mean more to the giver. Altruism is a funny concept (quick refresher: altruism being an act that benefits someone else other than the actor). Altruism doesn't align well with biology and evolution.And while I know that evolution exists, I also believe in God. Perhaps that's where love enters the equation. Maybe God's love makes it possible to see past our own selfish interests and limits. To extend ourselves past our comfort zone. Take risks on behalf of someone else, but get something unattainable otherwise in return.

And there you have it, the meaning behind the name Max's Ring of Fire.

According to Rosanne Cash, Johnny's daughter, "The song (Ring of Fire) is about the transformative power of love..." The story is that four years after the song was released, Carter and Cash were married which Cash states helped to stop his alcohol and drug addictions.

I like the Rosanne Cash explanation. And I believe the Love Transforms message from the song, has become the durable meaning of the name Max's Ring of Fire. The video below also demonstrates the reason for the name (simply put, Max loved the song, sang it all the time, and aligned well with the skate, hot rod, alt country aesthetic associated with the Social D version).


Things you find...

... when you really clean the playroom (if you click on the images a bigger picture should open so you can read these):

self dated

written by Hannah while at church camp summer 2009

written by Hannah for Max... 2007?

Sometimes it really pays off to go through each and every page of all those note books and mostly unused journals to find the gems.


Wear Your Care

I came across this video today from Sept 2007, while cleaning up some photo archives on our computer. I don't think I had ever seen it before - watching it of course made me smile and tear up at the same time. This was for a Magic Water fundraiser that Max's infamous first (and second) grade teacher Lisa Sturt conjured up at our school. Hannah and Max are delivering the morning's message to the entire school via the Dolphin News Network, the in-house video network at Solana Highlands Elementary. In all, $11,000 was raised to help fund a cure for neuroblastoma. What do you think, should we try it again this year when Nicky starts kindergarten?


Happy 4th!

July 4, 2007.

This year we'll be watching fireworks from the deck of the USS Midway-one of Max's all-time favorite places to visit. Hope you all have a safe and fun 4th of July with your loved ones, both near and far away.