Monday, April 14, 2014

It was on a Holy Monday

It was on a Holy Monday, just one year ago, that Mom entered into eternal life.  I can recall everything from that day and the day before (Palm Sunday) just like it was now.  It's amazing how some things stick with you. 
 
I especially remember the wonderful nursing assistant who, seeing that Mom was in distress, asked my sister and I if we might step out for a few minutes so that she could put some lotion on Mom.  (I found out later that this angel was actually assigned to a different ward that night but came and did this on her break because who had really clicked with Mom and wanted to make her comfortable).  When my sister and I returned to the room later on, the nursing assistant told us she had given Mom a sponge bath and rubbed her down with lotion.  It was obvious too that she had combed her hair and put a dressing gown around her.  I'll always be grateful to this lovely lady who prepared Mom's earthly body for what turned out to be its final hour.  I really think it helped put Mom at ease, knowing that she was "presentable."
 
Oh and I have memories of the night before when Mom was anointed with holy oil and prayers were said for her.  She leaned over to the priest afterward and said "you're going to preach at my funeral, right?"  It amazed me at the time that Mom seemed to suddenly be full of energy and she went on to tell the priest that Abide With Me was her favorite hymn.  We would sing it at her service a few weeks later.
 
My aunt died in Holy Week two years ago and then Mom died in Holy Week last year.  It might make this week especially hard to deal with.  I'm going to use the time though to center on the good things - the positive things - the things that make a difference.  I had such a wonderful mother and I am grateful to her for all she did for me.  I'm grateful too that she is at peace and that I have so many warm memories to carry with me, not just on Holy Monday, but always.  Thanks be to God.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Challenged Athletes Foundation

Sometimes I stumble across the most wonderful organizations or events because some wonderful people are doing wonderful things with them.  Here's an example:  I just learned about the Challenged Athletes Foundation because a friend of mine is involved in a fundraiser for them.  More about that later.
 
If you where born healthy with all of your body parts in order and no illnesses to slow you down, you might not have ever thought about how much some folks would like to participate in sports and athletics but can't for lack of equipment.  I'm not talking about a baseball bat or a ball.  If you have special needs, you just might also need special equipment.  Adaptive sports equipment like basketball wheelchairs cost up to $5,000, while running prosthetics can cost more than $30,000. That's just part of it.  Only one in ten physically challenged people participate in sports and the main reason for that is they simply don't have the resources they need to succeed.
 
Using those special basketball wheelchair can require some instruction.  Learning to swim when you lack a limb (or limbs) requires special coaching.  Insurance typically doesn't cover these expenses. Challenged athletes may very well want to participate in athletics and feel the rush of competition, but they face a major obstacle. The Challenged Athletes Foundation is around to help.
 
My friend Bill McCarty is helping CAF.  Truth be told, he helps a LOT of different causes.  The man is a saint.  I'm not sure how he finds the time or energy to do all he does, but this one is incredible.  CAF needs big dollars because of the high costs involved in the grants it provides.  I'd love to give you great detail, but there simply isn't space here to do it justice.  I do urge you to visit their website at http://www.challengedathletes.org to find out more.  There is a lot of information there including many ways you can get involved.
 
Now, about Bill's fundraising efforts that I mentioned back in the beginning.  You can help him!  Click HERE to go to his personal secure fundraising page.  You can donate any amount from $5 up and it all helps him reach the ambitious goal he set for himself of $6,000.  Tell your friends too.  This is a great way to help a great organization.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

You'll never walk alone

There are less than 100 days until this year's AIDS Walk San Francisco in Golden Gate Park.  I was thinking about that last night as I went to bed.  My fundraising is going along nicely.  (Please click HERE if you would like to become one of my sponsors).  Thanks so very much to everyone who has donated so far!

At the beginning of the event each year there is an opening ceremony and the very last part of that is the singing of a song that has become an anthem for AIDS Walk more or less, but as I thought last night about the lyrics, I realized that it can be an anthem for each of our lives!

"You'll Never Walk Alone" is a show tune from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel, and it had a popularity back in the sixties when Gerry and the Pacemakers recorded it. We could all get something every day of our lives though out of these wonderful and encouraging words:

When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm, there’s a golden sky
And the sweet, silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday

Everybody gets excited about Friday.  Of course the reason is because many folks don't work on the weekend and for those going to school, that is almost always a Monday through Friday situation.  Yeah!  Friday is here!  I'm so happy!
 
Well I'm always ready for a good celebration and being happy for two days off from work is certainly not a bad thing, but shouldn't we be happy EVERY day?
 
Don't like going to school?  Perhaps you are not taking the right classes.  Hate your job or unhappy with the way things are right now at work?  Do something about it.  Perhaps it's time for a change.  Instead of rejoicing when Friday arrives, we should celebrate every single day of the week.  Mondays don't have to be a dreaded day.  We can have our Friday kind of happiness every single day of he year.
 
Happy days are upon us.  Let's see that they are ALL happy!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Who else inspires you?

I'd love to see some of you respond to yesterday's post.  I made a few statements here, but I certainly don't have all the answers!  If you were to make that list, who would you put on it?  Seriously.  Give it some thought and then share with us in the comments section below.
 
It might be easy to say that your fifth grade teacher or someone you work with inspires you.  Perhaps you are inspired by a famous athlete or entertainer or politician.   Someone in your family might inspire you, like Mom or Dad or that special aunt.  Who else inspires you though?  Maybe just the little things that someone does can inspire others.  It doesn't always have to be huge. 
 
Okay, so we are finding people who inspire us.  Do we ever inspire others though?  Should we?  Do you want to live a life that others will find inspiring?  I'd love to hear your comments on that too!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Paid in full

Here's story for you that is not mine and I've even printed it here before.  I really like it and hope you do too.  I'm not sure who wrote this - it's been floating around for years, but it just might touch you and perhaps even make you think -

A little boy came up to his mother in the kitchen one evening while she was fixing supper, and handed her a piece of paper that he had been writing on. After his Mom dried her hands on an apron, she read it, and this is what it said:

For cutting the grass: $5.00 For cleaning up my room this week: $1.00 For going to the store for you: $.50 Baby-sitting my kid brother while you went shopping: $.25 Taking out the garbage: $1.00 For getting a good report card: $5.00 For cleaning up and raking the yard: $2.00 Total owed: $14.75

Well, his mother looked at him standing there, and the boy could see the memories flashing through her mind. She picked up the pen, turned over the paper he'd written on, and this is what she wrote:

For the nine months I carried you while you were growing inside me: No Charge

For all the nights that I've sat up with you, doctored and prayed for you: No Charge

For all the trying times, and all the tears that you've caused through the years: No Charge

For all the nights that were filled with dread, and for the worries I knew were ahead: No Charge

For the toys, food, clothes, and even wiping your nose: No Charge Son, when you add it up, the cost of my love is: No Charge.

When the boy finished reading what his mother had written, there were big tears in his eyes, and he looked straight at his mother and said, "Mom, I sure do love you."

And then he took the pen and in great big letters he wrote: "PAID IN FULL".


Perhaps it's because my own mom died just over a year ago that I think more about the value of mothers.  This story though is not just about the love of your mom, it's also about giving and I guess that's what's so special about it.  Giving is always a good thing. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

how do you say thank you?

How many ways are there to say thank you?  I'm not talking about the many different languages, although putting together a nice graphic with those two words as they are said in other tongues can be a lot of fun and I'm sure would be pleasing to the person you are thanking.  What else though?  What can you do to convey that you are actually grateful for that something you have received?
 
We give thanks at different times for different things.  Sometimes a polite courtesy is almost taken for granted, but when somebody hold the door open for you or pulls out your chair or refills your water glass, say thank you.  When you receive a present or money, then most certainly thanks should be offered.  How about when you ask for someone to help you with a project?  Let me just say there is never a bad time to offer thanks. 
 
You are an awesome caring person and I'm sure you want folks to know you appreciate those things they do on your behalf.  Let it be known then! Let them see your happy dance!  Notes are always nice too.  I know many have fallen away from the habit of writing personal notes, but the most awesome people I know still write them (David, Zoe, Jack) and it means a lot.  Say thanks though it they way that works best for the particular occasion, but say it!