Chick-fil-A Reminder of What Could Have Been

With us just 24-hours removed from National Chick-fil-A (CFA) day, the water is still warm enough to flush out one final thought. I promise.

Last year, CFA grossed $4.1B in sales.

The major debate? The donation of $2M to certain charities.

While the donations seem to be a staggering number, they actually only represent 0.049% of CFA’s gross annual sales.

For comparison’s sake, the $4.1B in sales can be broken down to assume CFA grosses $13.1M in daily sales.

For all the attention surrounding yesterday, it is safe to assume CFA received a 50% bump in business, meaning CFA did an extra $6.5M in sales.

Converting the $6.5M in additional sales to donation increases to the charities in question raises an increase of $3,200.

So, $6.5M in increased sales equates to $3,200 in additional contributions.

$3,200.

Now let’s play the “What If” game.

What if we used the $6.5M to fight other things, things that will have an actual impact or benefit to people, what would that look like?

  • $6.5M would fund 2,600 adoptions from Foster Care
  • $6.5M would fund 650 domestic adoptions
  • $6.5M would fund 325 international adoptions
  • $6.5M would support 18,000 impoverished children for one year
  • $6.5M would treat 5,900 people with AIDS for one year
  • $6.5M would provide clean water to 325,000 people
  • $6.5M would provide 65,000 Wounded Warrior Project Backpacks
  • $6.5 M would provide 130,000 school supplies and backpacks to school-age children
  • $6.5M would provide 430 specialized wheelchairs to disabled soldiers returning from war
  • $6.5M would provide Christmas presents to 50,000 families

These comparisons could continue to be made for shoes, vaccines, clothing, education, meals, and medical needs.

But what do we care, we just stood up for what we believe in, stuck it to the government, and were able to wash down waffle fries with a sweet tea.

The only thing this $6.5M won’t help much with is swaying this year’s election, which looks like it will cross the $1B mark, or 150 times yesterday’s sales at CFA.

Just think what we could do with $1B…

Okay, I’m done. Continue on America!

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Christmas Lights & Catholicism

Bringing religious discussion to any cult classic is sure to ruffle some feathers, but please hear me out. It may have a good ending – or great beginning, depending on how you look at it.

Nothing is more taxing than trying to untangle last year’s Christmas lights. They are frustrating and confusing while making you sweat and swear.

You wonder if you could ever untangle the mess, whether the Christmas lights will ever work again, or whether it’s all really worth it. Your promise yourself this is the last time you go this route and that next time will be different.

And while you are in the midst of this mess, you wonder to yourself: Have Christmas lights always been this way? Do they always get tangled? Does everyone have these same frustrations?

Catholicism makes us ask the same questions: Has Catholicism always been this messy? Does it always get tangled? Does everyone have these same frustrations?

I believe the early church, from which Catholicism was founded, was not a mess, but actually quite the opposite. It was beautiful. It was honest and sincere and humble – like the Griswold house with a dash of humility.

The Catholic Church consisted of caring for one another and meeting needs all while sharing the Gospel with everyone they came in contact with. It was focused on Biblical authority and the perseverance of the truth. It did not worry about getting everything right as long as the absolute truth was being sought.

But it is run by people. People like me – and Cousin Eddie. Fallible. Sinful. Emotional. Selfish.

Because we all are. All of us. Everyone of us. Regardless of our position and responsibilities. We’re not perfect – and never will be.

And when people are involved, something’s going to get messy and tangled. Unfortunately, this time it was a little bigger than last year’s Christmas lights.

Do other denominations have all the answers? No – because they too are led by people. People with the same character traits as the Catholic Church.

But if they preach Christ alone, they at least have directions for untangling any knots.

And they know the lights work. Because they are preaching the Light.

Christmas Happens

Christmas has that unique ability to take us back to a special memory or moment in time, which we only think of during the Christmas season.

And as my girls get more and more into the Christmas spirit, I am reminded of many great Christmas memories.  Memories that are probably only be special to me, but that is exactly what makes them so special – the fact they’re mine.

However, what good is a good memory if it can’t be recalled.  About the same as a good story that can’t be retold.  So, here are a few of my favorite, or most unique, memories of Christmas:

  • Night before Christmas
  • Not so much the evening before Christmas as much as the time between evening and morning.  I could never sleep Christmas Eve.  I would fight going to sleep until I finally gave in to exhaustion only to wake up at 4:00 am. Only problem was I was not allowed to leave the room to see if Santa came until 6:00 am. This meant 2-3 hours of Nintendo, reading, movies, etc… By lunch on Christmas Day, I was shot. And to be honest, I still get excited and don’t sleep very well.

  • Complete football uniform complete with helmet and shoulder pads
  • After seeing the complete football uniform, I opened it right of way and put it on. I then marched into my parents room slapping the helmet and pads thinking I was ready to play some ball. After getting into a three point stance and yelling “Hut, Hut” a few times, I was quickly reminded it was only 6:05 and everyone else in the house was still asleep.

    The uniform set got much play as we used it for every game. To make it fair, we would separate the set so one person got the helmet and the other got the pads.  Didn’t take long to figure out you wanted the helmet.

  • My first bottle of cologne – Stetson
  • The cologne didn’t last long as I tried to put it on that evening for dinner and it spilled. I didn’t care as I figured I was just being covered in more awesome. I no longer wear nor own cologne, but every once in a while I’ll get a smell of some good stuff and want to bathe in it.

  • My first Walkman
  • The very first “Music Monday” occurred on a Christmas morning as I received a Walkman and two full length cassettes. My introduction – Vanilla Ice’s “To the Extreme”, with smash hit Ice, Ice, Baby and my favorite Stop that Train, and MC Hammer’s “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em”. It’s been downhill from there.

  • Alan Kulwicki remote control race car
  • Complete posthumous replica of Kulwicki’s championship car. This was the fastest remote control car I’ve ever driven (from what I remember) and Dad and I enjoyed racing and playing with this thing. However, the car didn’t last long though as it met a brick wall and rolled a few times on the driveway/street. The debate still rages as to who really finished it off, but this is my blog, so I’m laying the blame on Dad (even though he could literally drive circles around me).

  • The scooter
  • My favorite memory of all. Some of the details are fuzzy, but I remember coming upstairs (my room was on the bottom floor) for Christmas and everyone was already awake. And as I came to the top step, I was able to look into the living room where Santa leaves the gifts. However, it wasn’t Santa’s gift area I noticed first, but my grandmother, Memaw, riding one of my gifts around the living room.

    This was the year of the scooter and its first foray came not from me, but from Memaw. I’ll never forget her trying to figure that scooter out and having the worst time trying to stay up. Not because it was hard to ride, but because she was laughing too hard to keep her balance.

We try hard to make Christmas special for those around us, and we have good intentions. However, it isn’t the parties or the gifts or the sweaters we remember the most, but the moments. And these moments can’t be bought or planned. They just happen.

And they are better than any gift I’ve ever received – outside of Vanilla Ice, of course.

And my goal is to create memories and moments for our girls to have, because they’ll soon forget about the tea set and the dollhouse and the dress up clothes, but hopefully they’ll remember me the way I remember my youth.