Monday, May 2, 2016

Nice

"Have a nice day!" we tell folks. Many years ago, I used to close my radio program saying "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice." I think we can all agree that NICE is good.  I also used to say that nice is never out of style!

George Foreman was a fighter, so it might surprise you that he spoke of the importance of being nice. Foreman said "It's very important that people know that I really enjoy everything that has happened to me. And I tell my kids 'you're not going to be the tallest, fastest, prettiest, the best track runner, but you can be the nicest human being that someone has ever met in their life.' And I just want to leave that legacy that being nice is a true treasure."

The nice people you encounter today, the nice moments you experience, will warm your heart and you will remember them far longer than any bad moments. Make somebody's day. Be nice!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Buddy Can You Spare A Dime?

There probably aren't many of you who can remember all the way back to the 1932 song Buddy can you spare a dime, even though it was recorded by a number of different people. Perhaps you have been asked if you could spare a dime by someone on the street. Most who ask for a specific amount, are very willing to accept ANY amount. Being in need, is not a good thing, whether you are an individual, an entire family, or an organization trying to help others. They need donations, and they need them from us.

Does our donation have to be that dime? Oh no! We might not be much better off then they are. The list though of things we might donate really is endless. Sometimes when we think of giving, we divide into categories such as time, talent, and treasure. The treasure grouping is the one that gets the most attention. Give some money - the more the better. Our treasure might also include donations of used clothing or housewares or canned goods (to a food drive) or a car (many charities now look for used cars or even boats). Art work might also be part of this list, and books too.

Donating our talent is a very valuable thing too. This is true whether your talent is taking blood pressures or giving tax advice or reading to children. Sometimes doing yard work or light cleaning can be a huge help to individuals in need.

Donating your time is another wonderful thing. Can you spend a few hours helping out in the office of our non-profit? Can you come in one day and help hand out bags of groceries? That yard work I mentioned - is it talent or time (or maybe both)?

As I have mentioned here a lot, giving takes many forms. Buddy can you spare some time? Buddy can you spare a dime? Giving in all its forms, is such a rewarding thing to do!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Political nightmares

Trump? Clinton? Sanders? Cruz? Someone else? Having trouble deciding this presidential race? How about your US Senator? Who would you vote for right now? Congressperson? Are you having any political nightmares? Do you want to just throw your hands up in the air and run?

Don't! Seriously. Some of the shenanigans from various candidates can certainly be frustrating, but that is all the more reason to stay involved. Read the flyers. Go to the meetings. Read what the newspapers are saying. Have conversations with friends and neighbors. The process involves us, all of us, and for it to really work, we need to all do our part. The biggest part of that, of course, is voting. Vote in EVERY election, even ones where there are few decisions. Think your vote doesn't count? Think again. I have seen some very close races over the years. Once about thirty-five years ago, I saw an election decided by just 47 votes. More recently, a friend of mine ran for office in Northern California, and won by just 292 votes. What if 300 of his supporters had said "My vote isn't important," and stayed home? The other candidate would have won.

I'm not a fan of any sort of negativity, even if the other guy starts it. I wish every candidate would run a clean and honest race. It just doesn't work that way though. All of the bad isn't enough to keep me away though. Want to change the system? Be involved in that system! Don't give up on this presidential race, as frustrating as it may be. Work to make things come out for the better. Change comes about when people dedicate themselves to making it happen.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Lets go back to bed

It is VERY windy this morning where I am, with sustained winds at 35mph with gusts to 50mph. The temperature is only 49 degrees, but that wind is making it seem so much colder. Oh and on top of that, it's just beginning to rain, and the sky is clouding up, making it look like the rain might stick around for awhile. Why the weather report? Well this is one of those days, where it might be so tempting to just go back to bed - but don't!

It's nice to get a little extra sleep from time to time, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that, but when we roll out of bed expecting perfection in our day, and want to return to sleep when we realize that perfection isn't coming, we're just setting our self up for more and more disappointment. How many of us really have perfect days? We can make them turn out pretty well though, if we just give it a little effort. Too cold? Wear a sweater or a jacket. Not liking the rain. Carry an umbrella or wear a raincoat. Remember the good that comes from the wind and the rain!
 
Did you ever try creating your own sunshine on a cloudy day?  It's pretty amazing.  Smile.  Project happiness to those around you.  Before long you will not only be making others happy, but you'll forget all about being bummed out about the foul weather.  It's much more productive too than going back to bed!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The necessities of life

We talk about the necessities of life, food, clothing, and shelter and there is a lot of discussion about people being homeless or hungry, but we don't say as much about clothing. If we are really going to change the world, we need to wipe out homelessness, hunger, and lack of clothing - all three.

There is no easy solution of course. If there were, the problem would have been solved long ago. Large cities do have shelters and that might ease the problem, but it doesn't solve it. There are more food and hot meal programs in larger cities too. What about something to wear? Although there are clothing drives, that doesn't seem to be addressed as much. I've lived in places where there were clothing donation bins in public places and civic organizations and churches often have occasional collections.

What do people donate though? Let me tell you this - a shirt full of holes or a dress with the zipper missing isn't much use to a homeless person. They usually don't have access to sewing supplies and equipment. Donating shoes that are worn out or pants so thread bare that you can read the newspaper through them, doesn't do a lot of good. If you have old shoes and clothes that are ugly and worn out, throw them away! If you want to donate clothes but don't really have anything that is appropriate, consider making a purchase at a low-cost store and donating them. You might also consider volunteering for an organization that supplies clothing to those in need. While the need for clothes in this organizations is obvious, they are often in need of folks to help them collect and distribute.

There are also a number of organizations across the country that deal with clothing for those who are in need. Goodwill is a good place to start. There is also http://www.clothingdonations.org/

Friday, April 22, 2016

In OUR hands

This big old planet we live on, it is OUR responsibility. It's in OUR hands! On Earth Day last year I wrote here that "My goal is that EVERY day be Earth Day - that we care about our planet every single day of our lives." That is still my goal. What are YOU doing to help the earth?

Let me say a few things about this annual commemoration. Earth Day came about back in 1970 and has been on the calendar every year since. It's about planting trees, keeping our streets clean, divesting from fossil fuels, guarding against pollution, and so much more. At http://www.earthday.org/ you can learn about the history of this day and learn about numerous ways to help. Of course the list is endless. Each one of us can think up more ways to keep our towns, our states, our country, and our planet safe and healthy. Like I said, it needs to be an everyday thing too, not just something we think about on Earth Day.

Some of the simplest things can make a huge difference, like not throwing litter out our car windows, watering the plants and trees in our great outdoors, and not wasting any of the precious resources of our world. Teaching our kids to respect the earth is important too. Each generation needs to do its part. This fragile earth will only stay wonderful if we all do our parts. Truly, it's in OUR hands.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

desired things

The 1927 poem, Desiderata (Latin for desired things) by American writer Max Ehrmann, has long been a favorite of mine. I've mentioned it here before. Since I desire happiness for everyone and I desire that everyone realize his or her importance, it seemed fitting and proper to mention this wonderful prose once again on this Sunday morning. It being in the public domain, I'd actually just like to print it here for you all to ponder and enjoy:

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

-Max Ehrmann