Friday, October 21, 2016


Walking down an unfamiliar street in Buffalo, New York a number of years ago, it suddenly began to rain. It wasn't a light shower but rather a cold and pounding downpour. I wasn't wearing an overcoat and had no umbrella, so I was soaked almost immediately. My usual sunny mood had turned to quite the opposite, but all that was about to change.

Hurrying up the sidewalk with water pouring off of me, I looked down and there in front of me was a fifty dollar bill! Oh my! Now the rain didn't seem so bad. If it hadn't been raining, surely that money would have blown away. I put it in my pocket and continued on my way.

Later when I mentioned my good luck to a friend, he said "But it isn't yours. Did you even try to find the rightful owner?"

This wasn't a wallet or an identifiable piece of property. It was US currency that someone had likely dropped without knowing, but since I didn't witness it, how could I possibly find the person it belonged to?

I'm telling you this story today to solicit your thoughts. Was I wrong to keep it? Was that a dishonest act? What would YOU have done?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The driver on the bus says move on back

Back when I lived in San Francisco, I rode the bus nearly every day. There was a lot of complaining about the buses being crowded at certain times of day, or about them running late, but it was still a pretty good way to get around. When I saw the same driver and he or she would smile or call me by name, that was a nice warm connection that seemed to melt other problems away.

Dealing with so many people every day would seem to be a pretty tough job, and yet most of those bus drivers were so good at their task. It particularly warmed my heart when they gave you a "bonus" like the drivers that sang out the stops or who made those extra announcements, especially when there were some jokes thrown in.

Last week, a friend of mine told me that he had lost his wallet while riding a bus. Losing money is never good, but when your ID and credit cards, and all those other things you carry are gone too, it can ruin your day. When the mail came a few days later, and it contained his wallet, that was a lovely surprise! Enclosed with it was a simple note: "I found this on my coach. Signed, Bus Driver." He wanted to get it back to its owner, but didn't care about any thanks, so didn't leave his name or any kind of identification. What a nice driver!

The operators of public transportation preform an important service. Too often we moan about the negative moments and ignore all the positive. The next time you ride a city bus or taxi, let your driver know they are appreciated.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Life is a picnic

Have you ever heard someone say "It's no picnic? It means that something is not particularly easy or pleasant. There may be a lot of things we can say that about, but if we try, we just might be able to make picnics everyday. Seriously.
Yesterday I was in the park with friends and neighbors doing all of the traditional things - listening to music, chatting with each other, playing games, and of course eating delicious burgers, hot dogs, salads, and cookies. It was a picnic indeed!

"When things are a bit tense, when life is not going at its best, when the potential for disaster is just around the corner, when your enemies are all around you - and even staring you down! - that's when God lays out the red-checkered picnic cloth and says, "Oooo, this is a nice place. Let's hang out here together for a while. . .just you and me." That's what David Brazzeal says in Pray Like a Gourmet: Creative Ways to Feed Your Soul (a very good read, by the way). Brazzeal is giving us his idea of what Psalm 23 is all about. Yes, God spreads a picnic for us - if we let him.

Not a lot of money in your pocket? Health not what you would like it to be? You don't know a lot of people? So many excuses we allow to turn us in the negative direction, and it is certainly true that every day is not as pleasant as the next, but why give up? When I look back at yesterday, I realize how simple it was. We didn't eat fancy food. We didn't have live entertainment. We didn't spend a lot of money on sports equipment. We could probably have scaled back and had an even more simple get-together, and still have had a lot of fun. Life is a picnic, if we allow it to be.

Friday, September 30, 2016

For him it makes a difference

Another one of those "internet parables" came my way the other day, and although you may have heard it, this one again is worth sharing. Like others I have shared here in the past, I have no idea who the author is.

It seems an old man was going for a walk one day when he noticed a little boy feeding a thin, shaggy looking dog with bits of bread. He went up to the boy and asked him why he was sharing his bread with the dog.

The little boy answered, "Because he has nothing. No home, no family, and if I don’t feed him he will die."

"But there are homeless dogs everywhere," the old man replied. "Your efforts don’t really make a difference."

The little boy looked at the dog and stroked him. "For him, for this little dog, it makes all the difference in the world."

I wish I knew who wrote that because they get it so amazingly right. Did you ever hold back from donating money or food or anything else because you could only spare a small amount and thought it wouldn't make a difference? If we all fed those homeless dogs - if we all fed those homeless people, it would make such a difference. I'm thinking we just might wipe out homelessness!

Thursday, September 29, 2016


My thoughts and the ideas I put forth each day in this space, are not the only concepts out there. Yes, I make suggestions on how we might all help make this a better world, but are my ideas any good? Are there better ways? Your sentiments are worth hearing too, even if we might not agree with them.

I have said this before, and will likely say it many more times, but even though this blog is NOT about me, it is written by me, and therefore is heavy laden with my opinion. What about yours though? You much have thoughts on the subjects I post here. Do you agree with me or disagree? Let's hear YOUR opinion too!

Right under the last line I write each day it says "blogged by Michael Fullam at time." Right next to that you will see a place where you can comment. I'd really love to hear your opinion. I'm sure many people would like to look at the thoughts of others as well.

So, after all these years, you pretty much know what I think about a LOT of things. You have read countless suggestions from me and I've told you about good deeds and folks I consider inspirations to me. Now, take a moment or two and tell me what YOU think!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

What sayeth you?

So many speeches during this political campaign season. How many are saying things of substance though? Will you be able to quote anyone in a year's time, or even in a month?

A great President long ago spoke these words: "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." Who will forget these words of Abraham Lincoln?

From John F Kennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." He also said "A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on."

From the wonderful Maya Angelou, who always inspired me: "Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud." What an incredible woman she was! One of my favorite quotes from her is "My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style."

The great inventor Thomas A. Edison said "If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves." Sounds good to me! Let's listen to him and to the many voices that have encouraged us, and let's astound ourselves!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

How do we live up to their example?

The deadliest day in US history - fifteen years ago today. Four passenger airplanes, bound for California, were hijacked by 19 terrorists, with two of them crashed into the Word Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and the fourth crashed into the ground in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania, when the passengers onboard overtook the hijackers. Nearly 3,000 perished with another 6,000 injured.

Each year at all three sites, there have been memorials. Permanent structures have also been erected at those locations, and others, as perpetual memories of that horrible day, fifteen years ago. We have used film, television, music, art, and literature to tell and retell the story of that day: September 11, 2001. Indeed simply saying September 11, immediately brings up thoughts of that hate-filled atrocity.
Today at The Pentagon, President Barack Obama told the crowd "Fifteen years may seem like a long time, but for the families who lost a piece of their heart that day, I imagine it can seem like just yesterday." Later in his speech he said "The question before us, as always, is: How do we preserve the legacy of those we lost? How do we live up to their example? And how do we keep their spirit alive in our own hearts?"

Some good questions Mr President. How many of us really remember though? Do you actually recall the moment you first heard about the planes crashing into the World Trade Center? Do you remember how you spent that day and the ones that followed? Do you recall fear or a sense of uneasiness? Of the first responders, do we think of them and all they did that day? Right now, fifteen years later, I would like to not only reflect on what happened, but what it brought about, and I'd like to answer the President's questions. I think particularly of the passengers who fought back and caused the fourth plane to come down in a field. "How do we live up to their example?"