Saturday, February 6, 2016

One of Many

One of many. (Not a Star Trek character. You're thinking of Seven of Nine). I was just thinking though of one marvelous thing, but as I did, I realized that it wasn't the only marvelous thing. There are tons of marvelous things and more keep on coming.  It was simply one of many. 

When you have a wonderful day, think of it as one of many. When you hear a great song for the first time, be happy about that, but realize it is one of many.   How about that fantastic breakfast you just ate, of the beautiful flowers you saw during your morning walk?  There are wonders just about everywhere you look.  We are surrounded by all kinds of goodness, but sometimes we just don't see it.
As you go through the day, make a mental note of every positive of joyful thing you experience.   As you do it, think of the fact that your list keeps on growing.  We aren't just talking about one thing - we are talking about one of many!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Mother's Bill

A story for you today that is not mine.  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".

Don't be a taker - be a giver (like this mother).  It is so much more rewarding!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

We can. I can.

Uniting the people of the world in the fight against cancer, today is World Cancer Day. This is a good time to shine a lot on these diseases and to do something. It seems like an awful lot of cancer deaths have occurred in the past month. Officially, 8.2 million people die from some form of cancer worldwide each year.

Today is about raising awareness and education about the disease and about raising funds for treatment and research. For me, it is personal. My grandmother died with stomach cancer. My mom lived with leukemia for a number of years and then was attacked by lung cancer as well. I had a very dear friend die of liver cancer fairly recently. Years ago, I worked for the American Cancer Society, and things I learned then have stuck with me. We can beat cancer. We need to work together.

There have been incredible advances. Many cancers are treatable these days. We do still have a long way to go though. In November, I will once again participate in the Light the Night Walk in San Francisco, something I do every year. If you'd like to donate, click HERE. You are welcome to come and walk with me. There are so many things that we all can do to help spread the word and to make a difference. Check out the American Cancer Society website HERE. There's also a website especially for today - chock full of information.

Let's do it!  Let's beat cancer!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Of human kindness

Imagine being very hungry. I don't mean that feeling you get when you suddenly see a food commercial on tv or when you smell a fresh pizza or when you begin thinking about what to eat on your lunch hour. I'm talking about the feeling you must have when it has actually been DAYS since you ate anything. You have no money. You have no food. Hunger is very real. You aren't thinking about the soup kitchen that feeds you for free. You might not even know about it. You are just hungry - VERY hungry, and you happen to walk past a produce stand.
I'm sure you have heard people say "there are exceptions to the rule," but just what are those exceptions and when do they occur?  If that extremely hungry person with no money comes across a stand with fresh fruits and vegetables, is it wrong for him to steal an orange or two?  Should he be arrested for grabbing a tomato and eating it?  Perhaps he should say to the owner, "I am very hungry.  Could you give me some fruit?"  Then, having said that, how should the owner respond?  If you were shopping and you saw someone run up and snatch a fresh plum and take a bite out of it, what would you think?  Would human kindness guide you to offer to buy something for this man? 
Picture this in your mind for whatever kind of shopping experience you might have.  Hunger is very real and needy people can react in a variety of ways.  What should our response be?  Do we even care?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

What is love?

There is a definition in the dictionary for love, but I'm not sure it really it's it on the head. Making a difference in the world, giving back, helping to build a better tomorrow, all that we talk about here in this blog - THAT is what love is all about. It is pretty hard to describe though.

Saint Paul wrote, in his second letter to the Corinthians "If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."

I mention this because it just might come closer to giving us a good picture, and because this particular passage from Scripture will be read in churches around the world today. The Blessed Apostle has more on the subject though.

He continues "Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love."

It's interesting to me that in earlier translations it says charity, rather than love. When you think of charity - of giving, isn't that something we do out of love? We all need to have faith and we certainly need hope, but that third thing, that wonderful glorious make-the-whole-world-better thing we call love - oh my! Yeah, it's pretty special!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

always giving

Just a month ago we were all too happy to give. December is usually the most giving of all the months. With Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, end of year tax breaks, and many other reasons, we all seem more willing to open our wallets. What about the rest of the year? What about now?

Yes I know that money can be tight and I know that many folks are living from paycheck to paycheck, and perhaps that is part of the overall need. Are you better off than others? Could you possibly skip the afternoon latte and give that many to the homeless man on the street instead? Of course there are other ways of giving too. Donate used clothing or donate blood or give of your time and your talent.

Some people never stop giving and they inspire me to want to do more. If I find I am unable to give in the manner I would like, I just think of a different way to give. Giving to me shouldn't have any kind of limitation. I really like the idea of always giving!

Friday, January 29, 2016

The innocence of children

I remember writing here a few years ago about the innocence of children saying that babies don't hate you because of your skin color or your sexual orientation or you height or weight or gender or religion or for any reason at all. Think about it. We are born without all of that negative stuff attached. Children don't know how to hate. Why can't we keep it that way?

Who is teaching our children the bad thoughts and the bad words and the bad actions? The answer of course is that we are. We are teaching discrimination. We are teaching hate. We are taking away the innocence of our children.  Oh most are not doing it on purpose - I'm not saying that, but that doesn't make it any better.  Children look to their parents, teachers, pastors, doctors, and babysitters for a map of how to act.  They follow our lead.  If we discriminate - if we hate others, they very easily copy our actions.
If you have ever heard a small child using foul language, you have an idea of what I am talking about.  If it stopped at language, we might not think it bad, but kids are learning more and more bad behaviors from the very folks who should be teaching them good.  Let's be positive are our children.  Let's teach them about love, instead of the opposite.  Babies come into the world without any idea of hate. Let's not give it to them!