Saturday, March 28, 2015

Missing piece of the puzzle

Somehow I never really got into the jigsaw puzzle thing.  Mom loved them and I remember her having them laid out on a card table when I was little.  It might take her a while because she stopped to do other things, but when she found those last pieces, it was an accomplishment - especially that last missing piece of the puzzle.
 
Sometimes our lives are like that.  It doesn't mean we are unhappy necessarily, but we are looking for something that just is not there.  When it comes:  WOW!  It seems somewhat like finding those missing puzzle pieces.  (Now of course if you are putting together a jigsaw puzzle, you actually look for those pieces.  In life we might not even realize that something is even missing).
 
So what do we do?  Well, keeping our minds and our hearts open to new possibilities is always a good thing.  Listening to others and realizing that "our" way might not be the "only" way is a start in the right direction.  If we think there is a missing piece that we'd like to find, there is nothing wrong with asking for help too. Perhaps our puzzle pieces are a bit more fluid than those of the jigsaw puzzle.  Perhaps in some cases, there is nothing really missing at all.

Friday, March 27, 2015

prejudice rears its ugly head

I'm waking up this morning to a lot of news about the so called religious objections bill in Indiana, which Governor Mike Pence signed into law yesterday. What many are saying is this could lead to legalizing discrimination against gay people.

I'm not a fan of excluding people and I can remember the days when the "no Blacks allowed" signs were in store windows. I remember reading about so many other groups that have been discriminated against over the years. It seems to me that all too often prejudice rears its ugly head.

Sadly, the Indiana law isn't all by itself. A similar bill in Arkansas, supported by their governor is advancing in that state's Legislature. Last year a bill in Arizona, that would have permitted businesses there to deny service to gays and lesbians for religious beliefs, passed their legislature, but was vetoed by the governor.
 
This morning I am hearing many religious leaders condemn this new Indiana law.  Religion should not exclude, is the message I am hearing from so many.  Hollywood celebrities and big business also have spoken against the law and some have called for a boycott of Indiana.
 
"We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" is a sign most of us have seen on store walls.  Anyone?  For any reason?  When you open your doors for business, it seems to me you should be happy for anyone with money to come through your doors.  Oh I know, some customers aren't as easy to serve as others, but that's just part of doing business.  Another part of doing business is to treat everyone alike and the only thing that should get excluded is that ugly prejudice.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

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. Bing 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!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Learning to be a hero

Does being a hero require a special license or certificate? Are there classes you can take to learn to be a hero? Can only some people be heroes?

When you come across a horrible car accident on the freeway and rush to the aid of the victims, you become a hero.  It wasn't something planned or studied for but rather it was a basic human response.  The same is true when you see injustice and you stand up and fight against it.  While you may have had more time to think about it and to plan your response, you are still there, not because of a special license you hold or because it is your job.  You fight injustice because it is what good people do for each other.  It is a basic response of our humanity.

Anyone can be a hero and they come in all different kinds.  Most of the heroes in the world are those quiet unsung type.  They are making a difference without much fanfare and often without any acknowledgement at all, but by doing basic good things that will benefit future generations.  You likely have some people that you consider to be heroes.  Perhaps your parents or a favorite teacher or a boss from work.  Maybe a famous person is a hero to you because of something they have done.  Superheroes like Spiderman or Wonder Woman?  Not likely. 
 
Two years ago on this day, a hero of mine died.  She was my mom, Teddy Fritts.  Can you learn to be a hero?  I suppose the answer is partially 'yes' because so much of who I am, I learned from her.  She was a great teacher of how to be good and how to love others.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about her.  Not a day goes by that I don't act in ways that she influenced.  If I am a hero to anyone, it is because of what I learned from Mom.

Last Wednesday I introduced you to another hero, Jason Chu and shared his video Marvels.  The lyrics are so powerful, they have been with me every day and they speak to the very subject I am talking about this morning. His closing words:  "But I’ve learned: a hero isn’t about being super
We become heroes because of what makes us human."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

do not crumple, scar, or mess up

Here's a story you may have heard before. It's about a teacher in New York who was telling her class about bullying and gave them an exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stamp on it and really mess it up, but not to rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty it was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry.
 
Sometimes a child who is bullied will later receive apologies, but the damage is done. In this exercise, even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bully’s another child - they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever.
 
Hardly a day goes by when I don't see something about bullying. The It Gets Better Project has done some amazing videos aimed particularly at lgbt youth. Let me be clear though. While gay kids are so often the targets of bullies, ALL bullying is bad. We need to get rid of it ALL.
 
The kids in that classroom learned an important lesson. The looks on the faces of the children told their teacher that the message had indeed hit home. I hope this hits home with all of you too! Bullying must STOP!

Monday, March 23, 2015

INAM Quote

Ellen Lee DeGeneres has done it all. Not only is she terribly entertaining, but she is very influential. She says things that are funny and she says things that are touching and things that make you think.  She's also not afraid to stand up to the bullies and the bigots and she has certainly seen more of her share of them! Ellen DeGeneres is one of my heroes!

Yes, there is something very special about this lady and so today I chose to share a quote of hers with you: "Here are the values that I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values."  I completely agree.
 
Thanks Ellen!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Life after delivery

This is one of those stories that circulates and nobody knows who the author is.  I've posted before things that I didn't write, and I want to do it again today because this one can really make you think.  This one is about faith -

In a mother's womb were two babies. One asked the other: "Do you believe in life after delivery?"

The other replies, "Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later."

"Nonsense," says the other. "There is no life after delivery. What would that life be?"

"I don't know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths."

The other says "This is absurd! Walking is impossible. And eat with our mouths? Ridiculous. The umbilical cord supplies nutrition. Life after delivery is to be excluded. The umbilical cord is too short."
 
"I think there is something and maybe it's different than it is here."
 
"No one has ever come back from there. Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery it is nothing but darkness and anxiety and it takes us nowhere."

"Well, I don't know," says the other, "but certainly we will see mother and she will take care of us."
 
"Mother??! You believe in mother? Where is she now?"
 
"She is all around us. It is in her that we live. Without her there would not be this world."
 
"I don't see her, so it's only logical that she doesn't exist."
 
To which the other replied, "sometimes when you're in silence you can hear her, you can perceive her." I believe there is a reality after delivery and we are here to prepare ourselves for that reality."

As I said at the beginning, these words are not mine, but I wanted to share this beautiful perspective on faith with you.  Of course we all know that there is indeed life after delivery from the womb.  How many of you believe in life after delivery from our earthly journey?