Saturday, January 19, 2019

The leadership of Mrs Carter

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”  I don't know how many would say that Rosalynn Carter is a great leader, but she is a very wise observer and a wonderful person.
Some say her husband Jimmy Carter is a better former President than he was a President.  Mrs Carter though has always inspired.  Some of her work as First Lady that stands out is the welfare of senior citizens, her mental health advocacy, and her sponsorship of both a poetry festival and a jazz festival.  She has authored several books, makes public appearances speaking out for social justice, and is one of the most famous Habitat for Humanity volunteers.
There are so many quotes of Mrs Carter's that continue to inspire me and this morning I was particularly thinking of one thing she said about making a difference.  “Do what you can to show you care about other people, and you will make our world a better place.”

Friday, January 18, 2019

The answer is YES

Can I change the world? Someone actually questioned me about that. After reading this blog for a while, they sent me an email asking, "do you really think you can change the world?"

The answer of course is YES! I can and you can and all of us can if we get involved and if we do something and if we simply TRY to make a difference. Will sitting alone in a room and moaning about the things we don't like change anything? Probably not.

This blog does not give you all of the answers. I certainly don't have all of the answers. Nobody has all the answers. I never have pretended that to be the case. I don't think I am the authority on change or involvement or making a difference - I am just one voice. I do hope you will join me though. Some 6,000 people have already joined Josh in his efforts to help Thomas proving that together we can do so much more! (If you have no idea what that last sentence meant, you have been reading this recently.  Just click HERE and you can read the whole story and also donate if you wish).

I would love to hear your comments too. Occasionally I get an email, but you can comment right here too so that other readers can easily read your thoughts (and you can even do so anonymously). Changing the world for the better is something all of us should be interested in doing! Join us!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Human Race

As David Letterman might say, "this is not a competition, so please .   .   . no wagering."  The human race, despite the way the name might sound is not about running.  It's not a contest of speed or to achieve superiority.  We can stop trying to show that we are better than the next person, because in reality, we are all equal. 
Now, don't get me wrong.  There are certainly people who do great things and we might not all do those things, but we all can aspire to greatness!  We all can make the attempt.  Along the way we can learn a lot from other people.  We can appreciate them and be inspired by them, but it is a complete waste of time for us to compete against them.
Competition is not a bad thing, but we should be competing against our self, or at least our younger self.  Can I be a better person than I was yesterday and the day before?  The answer of course is yes and we can aim higher and higher each day.  An old slogan for the US Army said "Be all that you can be."  That should be the goal of all of us.  The human race is the course that each one of us travels in our quest to do good and to make a difference and to be the best we possibly can.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Hero Headquarters

This space could easily be hero headquarters, because I certainly write here a lot about heroes. I've asked about your heroes and said what I think it takes. I have written about a number of folks that I think are heroes. I've even quoted the wise words of Jason Chu, who in his song Marvels said "We become heroes because of what makes us human." What more than is there to say?

Well our ideas of a hero are not all the same. A hero to you might not be one to me. Lately I have seen more and more heroes and that is something to celebrate. That wonderful human factor - that love of good and decency.  We all are capable of doing something heroic.  It doesn't mean we have to pull someone from a burning building or out of a car wreck.  We don't have to thwart an armed robbery or help an old lady who just had her purse snatched, to be a hero.  Each of us can be heroes in our own way.

The many activists who stand up for justice and equality belong in this category too.  The unconditional love - the "making a difference" kind of people:  heroes.  There seem to be more and more folks coming out and changing the world.  You can be a hero too!  You can make a difference.  Perhaps you already are.  I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.  Tell me about the heroes in your life!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Sharing the food

The other day someone who reads these words send me a message saying I seemed to have all the answers. Goodness no! I don't think anyone has all the answers, but if we listen to others and keep our eyes open, a lot of those answers will become very obvious. Downtown yesterday I saw a number of people arriving at their church for worship. I noticed that they all seemed to be carrying something too - food. Some folks had big boxes of cereal and other had those multi-packs of instant noodles and some had bags that seems to have cans in them (tuna perhaps, or soup, or maybe vegetables). Now I don't know how often they do this, but even if it is just occasionally, what a great idea! Here's something anyone can participate in.

Yesterday afternoon while I was in the supermarket, I took note of some of the sale prices of food. Amazingly I found soup for a dollar or less and canned tuna was just sixty-nine cents! Outside the store I saw a vending machine that had canned beverages for thirty-five cents. For five dollars, I could buy a soda, five cans or tuna, and a can of soup, and still have money left. So I did it. Most of us can afford five bucks every now and then, and look how much food you can get. There are of course many other options, but that's just one example.

There is a small boutique in my old San Francisco neighborhood that did food drives occasionally and, to encourage participation, they gave discounts on their merchandise to folks who brought in canned goods. It was a win-win situation, and just about everyone put some cans in the barrel. People who didn't know ahead of time, would run across the street at a Walgreens store and pickup some sliced peaches or chicken broth or maybe a can of beef stew or chili. Such a simple act that makes such a big difference!

Here is one answer to hunger. The other day the US Postal Service did a collection. The church here in Kingman that I mentioned does it and that clothing store back in San Francisco, and they aren't the only places. We can even start some new collection programs where we live, if ones don't already exist. Perhaps you have some other suggestions. You are more than welcome to share them in the comments below.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Paid in full

I think about my mom a lot.  It's been almost six years since she passed away.  I'm tempted to tell you something about her this morning, but I've done that before, and after all, this blog is NOT about me.  Instead, here's a story for you that isn't even mine but it is about a mother.   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 I miss my own mom - she died just a few years 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, whether from a mother or from anyone!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Ten Ways to Love

I came across a poster the other day that I want to share with you this morning. It's a wonderful message: 10 Ways to Love.
Listen without interrupting.  Speak without accusing.  Give without sparing.  Pray without ceasing.  Answer without arguing.  Share without pretending.  Enjoy without complaint.  Trust without wavering.  Forgive without punishing.  Promise without forgetting.

I should point out that these ten come from The Bible.  They don't appear together as a single list but rather they are found in various sources.  Four of them come from Proverbs.  One is from the letter of Saint James.  The other half of these are from writings of Saint Paul.

I think it's a beautiful list!  Did they leave anything out?  Perhaps when things get tough or is tension builds, this would be a great reminder of some very simple acts that are an important part of love!