People Making a Difference

It's been a weekend reminding me about the importance of making a difference.

Last night, we went to my friend Nicole's holiday party. Nicole has a very popular show on cable home channels ("Rehab Addict"), and an enviable track record of saving houses both here and in Detroit. But what I find really incredible about her — besides her unbelievable work ethic (seriously, she is going all the time) — is how authentic she is. Nicole believes completely in the work she does, and she follows those core values as a guidestar. She never does anything halfway, and she is always pushing those around her to do their best work as well. And she cares, passionately, about saving historic homes — and even more about the people who live in them and who work to restore them. Nicole makes me believe, just a little harder, every day.

Then tonight, we went to my friend Barry's housewarming party. Barry and his wife went through an open house in Dayton's Bluff just four weeks ago — and this week, they closed on the house. The house was part of the Fourth Street Preservation Project, an innovative program by the City of Saint Paul designed to intensely focus on preservation work in targeted pockets. Barry and his wife and daughters are the perfect people for a project like this, already attending community co-op meetings and inviting neighbors over and planning summer street festivals and adding vibrant life to a long-vacant home. As we left, they were saying they were looking at this home as a jumping-off place for a new level of change and involvement in their lives. It's pretty inspiring.

And I've been able to do a few intentional acts this weekend as well. I finally sat down and wrote a review of my friend Julio's book. I took Beatrix down to Jerabek's for breakfast, making good on my pledge to go there more often after they got a second chance and re-opened. I remembered to bring a food donation to our friend Chip and Amy's party, where they were collecting for a food shelf. These things felt great, and I need to remember to push myself in ways like that a little more.

But with friends like Nicole and Barry (and so many others, too many to list here) who create great change on a daily basis, I think I can be inspired to do that.

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