Friday, May 31, 2013

Make it so

Patrick Stewart is probably known for his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and his signature phrases "Engage" and "Make it so." Stewart is a very talented actor with a long list of credits, but lately he has been in the news for something entirely different.

It happened at Comicpalooza during a question and answer period when a young woman asked Stewart about what the most important thing he’d ever done besides acting. Stewart's response was his work with campaigns against violence towards women, which led to a wonderful but unexpected gesture. Stewart hoped off the stage and went directly to the woman, reassuring her that she was safe and giving her a warm hug. According to the news accounts, the people there were all moved to tears as Stewart reminded the crowd that domestic violence is never the woman’s fault.

Patrick Stewart is not the first celebrity to speak out against violence against women, but he is certainly correct that men can make it stop. He has opened up about witnessing his own mother suffer, and that is a powerful story.

I'd like to end this month by echoing the words of Patrick Stewart. Domestic violence has ruined lives and needs to stop. Make it so!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

the ripples of our lives

Did you ever stand on the banks of a pond or lake at throw pebbles in to the water?  What happened?  Ripples, right?  Every time you hit the surface, this ripple effect occurs, but it doesn't only happen in the water - WE can cause ripples ever day, and that's a wonderful thing!
 
When information is shared from person to person, it's impact becomes greater.  This ripple effect can go on and on, just like in the water, with each circle getting larger.  If each person continues to share, there is no telling how big this ripple effect can be.
 
I really love this idea!  Within social interactions, these ripples can be seen with situations not directly related to the initial interaction.  What one person does can effect another person, even if the two have never met.
 
Do something good for someone and watch them in turn do something good for someone else.  If everyone continues to pass it on, imagine those ripples as they continue to grow.  The ripples of our lives are among the joys of our lives!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

End discrimination

When I was little I witnessed so much prejudice during the short period we lived in the South. I can remember the "Whites Only" signs and the separate drinking fountains and I remember all the hateful things that were broadcast on television. Most of the obvious prejudice was racial. Later I became aware of the prejudice that existed based on sex and age and of course the big one (in this country): prejudice based on sexual orientation.
 
There are some people who think that such discrimination has ended. How wrong they are! While there are indeed better protections under the law, and while many attitudes have gotten better, it is still perfectly acceptable to hate and I have been seeing so many examples of it online and in the news these past few days.

Will it EVER end? We have the power! We can make things better. Why do we tolerate so much hate speech? Why do we remain silent when people are discriminated against right in our midst? If we all spoke up and if we all decided to say No! to discrimination, it would end immediately. Do we really want a world of hate?

What do YOU think?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Only a few days left

I wrote about this on May 3rd and again on the 15th, so you might be very surprised that I am visiting it again, but I really believe in this mission!  As I previously reported, Go Inspire Go is on a mission to tell the stories of 50 real life heroes in 50 states, but it takes money to do this and so a fundraising effort was begun.  It is absolutely wonderful that 106 donations have been made, but only 65% of the goal has been reached and there are now only six days left.
 
Goals are cool things I think.  They urge us on and help us to work harder.  No doubt all the Go Inspire Go people are hard at work right now planning what happens next.  I would really like to see this 50-50 come off without a hitch and can hardly wait to begin seeing those inspiring stories from all across our country.  I am convinced that the goal CAN be reached.  You can help make it possible of course.  Share this story with your friends and, if you are able make a donation.  Even a five dollar donation helps!
 
Go Inspire Go creator Toan Lam told the story last week of an elderly disabled woman who donated $10. She wrote a short note, "I don't have a lot of money. $10 means a lot to me. But I wanted to donate this small amount to your organization because I believe in what you're doing."  The story brought tears to my eyes.  It reminds me of a scene I witnessed yesterday.  I had volunteered at an event where we were feeding homeless people a special picnic lunch.  As people were departing at the end of it all, a man arrived only to be told that the food was gone.  One of the other homeless guests though had not eaten her plate of food.  She was planning to take it with her, but instead she turned to the late arrival and gave her plate to him. 
 
Give.  It feels good, and it helps others!  For more on the 50-50 Campaign and to donate, click HERE and thanks for making a difference!
 

Monday, May 27, 2013

what today is all about

Americans who gather at cemeteries, memorials and monuments across the country to honor fallen military service members today, are doing just exactly what Memorial Day is all about, but general public's nonchalant observance of this holiday has brought about a lot of confusion. (Thanks to actor turned chef Brandon Lee for pointing this out the other day).

First of all, today is not a celebration of our Nation's heritage or it's founding (that's Independence Day on July 4th) and it's not the day we pay tribute to all the men and women who have served in the military (Veteran's Day on November 11th is the time for that).

After the US Civil War, Decoration Day was started to commemorate both the Union and Confederate soldiers who died during that war. Later it was extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service.

Today has nothing at all to do with stores having special sales or parades up the middle of town or even backyard barbecues. It's about remembering our fallen. Sometime today President Barack Obama will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery and then, with First Lady Michelle Obama will host a breakfast at the White House with "Gold Star" families of service members who have been killed. Families will go to cemeteries and lay flags and flowers. Religious services will be held. That's what it's all about.

At National cemeteries, flags are raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position. It remains there all day. At other places where the American flag is flown, it is also lowered to half-staff, but only flies there until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.

Certainly other things can fill the rest of your day - that is true any day of the year. The main focus though should be of those heroes we have lost in service. To them, thank you!  (By the way, for those of you who wondered what happened yesterday, I have decided to skip Sundays, at least for a while.  You will still have something to read about making a difference in the world, the other six days, but we will begin each week by resting).

Friday, May 24, 2013

Oklahoma heroes

The horrific news from Oklahoma this week was both heartbreaking and frightening and the morning after we are seeing just how bad it was.  Estimated to be at least two miles wide at one point, a tornado struck the town of Moore, just south of Oklahoma City, tearing homes apart and other buildings and causing significant and widespread damage, serious injuries, and a large number of fatalities.  The death toll continues to climb this morning.

There were instances of people taking advantage of the misfortune of others.  This kind of thing often happens.  There has also been arguing on social media about the state's US Senators and their lack of support for hurricane Sandy victims.  There has also been something we often find in tragedy - heroes - people rising to the occasion to do good.

It's always sad when folks take advantage of others, but it warms my heart to see the opposite.  Almost immediately there were grass roots efforts to help the victims.  People in Oklahoma who were spared, have been reaching out to those in need.  People have also been reaching out all over the country to offer help.  President Obama's press conference just a little while ago, told of the federal response to the recovery effort going on in Oklahoma. The American Red Cross is of course on scene and they are always a good place to donate in times like these.  The Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma has also set up a relief and assistance program.  I urge you to donate through known sources like these where you know your money is going to be put to good use.

I'm hearing wonderful stories of heroes right in the thick of things too.  We'll likely hear more. NBC News reported last night that a car had been pulled off the body of a teacher.  Several students were under her.  She had been shielding them with her body in a restroom to protect as winds gusted up to 200 mph.  The teacher and the students survived.

Knowing how many are reaching out to help - Seeing the brave people who risked their own safety to help others - Looking beyond the destruction and beholding the heroes in our midst, that makes this horror so much easier to bear.  You too can be a hero of this disaster.  Donate or volunteer.  It all helps!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

We all need hope

This week was the birthday of the late Harvey Milk and at a celebration of his life on Sunday, a group of people read his "Hope" speech that I have quoted here before.  I noticed a number of people posted that entire speech various places online.  The oft quoted line from his speech is "you have to give people hope."  Indeed.
 
I'm not sure how many of you remember the great actor and comedian Bob Hope.  I'm not going to say that life without his humor is Hope-less.  His performances endure even today.  The comedian was not born with that name though and one reason for the name change (I have no idea if this is true or just a clever bit on his part) was that since he was Leslie Hope, when listed alphabetically with his last name first, the way they always do in school, he was Hope, Les.  Nobody wants to be hopeless!
 
We all need hope.  Every one of us.  What gives you hope?  Are there people who inspire you and urge you on?  Do certain events or organizations bring you hope?  Tell us about it.  I'd love to see your comments below.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Up in the clouds: The Story of Zach Sobiech

Zach Sobiech left his mark on this world of ours.  Zach Sobiech was an inspiration.  Zach Sobiech didn't get to live a long life, but he sure made good use of the time he had! 

You may have already seen stories about Zach and perhaps have heard his music.  What you did not know before though was that Zach was an incredible inspiration to me, even though we never met. In the past two months I listened to his youtube videos even more than when I first heard of him. Zach was slowly dying of cancer (specifically osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer). It was cancer that brought about my mother's death just two months ago. Zach bravely battled but last May was told that he likely had months to a year to live. The news did not cause him to retreat or to give up living. Zach got more and more into his music, and that is how I first heard about him.  I especially love his Clouds video.

Although his hair would come out in clumps and the chemo had to have been dragging him down, Zach continued to write and perform music and became an internet sensation. Zach released two albums, performed with some of today’s finest musicians, and raised a lot of money and awareness for osteosarcoma research. That money can continue to come in, as a memorial to Zach. His fight was fierce, but this week he lost that battle. Zach Sobiech passed away at the young age of eighteen, but not before leaving a mark that will certainly live on.

I only knew Zach through the newspaper reports, and the stories I saw on tv (one on CNN that was very detailed and showed a young talented man of great courage), and the internet buzz surrounding his fine music. I'm glad I had a chance to see him though. He taught me a lot. I had never known of osteosarcoma before, so that was a good lesson. I had never seen such a brave and talented person work so hard to make a difference! I do hope you will check out some of his performances. You can click HERE for his Clouds video and also click HERE to see him perform with his band.

Oh and one more thing - Zach would really like this - share the story. Let others know about osteosarcoma and about the brave teen who battled it, and in his memory, make a donation to wipe it out! Click HERE to go to the secure fundraising page for the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund.

What a great inspiration you were Zach and I have no doubt we will see you again, up in the clouds.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Until . . .

In the early days of AIDS, it was certainly not popular to be publicly supportive.  Sports teams certainly did not want to be associated with what was often thought of as a "gay disease."  Well I should say most sports teams.  In 1993, our beloved San Francisco Giants became the first-ever professional sports team to host an AIDS benefit game, “Until There's A Cure Day,” and they continue doing it each year. 
 
Closer Rod Beck, was the very first spokesperson for the first Until There's a Cure Day back then, and he continued to support the cause throughout the rest of his career. Tonight is the twentieth and fans at AT&T Park will not only watch the Giants take on the Washington Nationals, but they'll also receive a special collector's-edition Rod Beck bobblehead!
 
Other Giants stars have lent their faces and voices to the cause.  Tim Linsecum and Matt Cain are among those who wear the bracelet.  The entire Giants organization these days gets behind these Until events.  It's a fundraiser in part but it is also an awareness program.  The word still needs to get out, just as is done at the annual AIDS Walk - HIV/AIDS still exists and the fight must continue
 
until there's a cure.

Monday, May 20, 2013

In the midst of life

Just a little while ago, I received the sad news that (apparently about two weeks ago) William Gaines Swanson died in a diving accident in San Francisco Bay. William was a professional diver, but most who knew him will think of him for his ministry within the Episcopal Church and for his dedication to social justice. Although he lived in a wealthier part of the Bay Area, he and his wife Helene were much more comfortable feeding the homeless out in a park or setting up programs for Katrina's Dream, a nonprofit that the couple set up along with his father, and which honors his mother, The Reverend Katrina Swanson, one of the very first women to be ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. 

William was not someone I knew terribly well.  I have been connected to both he and Helene and The Reverend George Swanson (also a priest, and William's father), via social media.  It was  his parents Katrina and George though who first reached out to me years ago when I established an internet presence for lgbt Anglicans.  George continued to stay in touch with me after dear Katrina lost her battle with colon cancer.  More recently I finally got to meet their dear son William in person and see the great love he had and the wonderful excitement for giving back, that filled his life. 

As I said, I did not know William well, but if ever there was a posterboy for this blog, it would really have to be William Swanson.  The example of his life is the kind of thing I write about here every day.  I am saddened by the news of his passing, and my love and prayers go out to his wife and his father.  In the midst of life - the midst of doing wonderful things, our plans sometimes are halted.  None of us knows how long we will be here.  We should each try to do the best we can and to make a difference in this world of ours.  William Swanson worked very hard to change this world.  William loved.  So much of William's energy was spent creating a better place for us all. I am blessed that William Swanson came my way.


In the midst of life we are in death:
of whom may we seek for succour,
but of thee, O Lord,
who for our sins art justly displeased?
Yet, O Lord God most holy,
O Lord most mighty,
O holy and most merciful Saviour,
deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.


Friday, May 17, 2013

smiles are contagious

In the past few months since Mom died, I think I have looked at more pictures of her than ever before and the one thing I noticed is that she seems to be smiling in every single one of them!  Yes, I know it is customary to smile when a camera is pointed at you, but how many of us always do?  Oh yeah and what about those candid shots that were taken without you knowing?  I think one of the reasons I am always happy is because I am used to seeing smiles and smiles are happy!

Mom's smiles inspire me to smile more and it is said that a smile is contagious.  The more smile you see, the more you want to smile!  Test it out!

Today I intend to try and put a smile on the face of everyone I come in contact with.  Will I succeed?  It doesn't matter really because the joy will be in the attempt.  Come on and join me!  Let's see how many smiles we can be responsible for!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chocolate bullets

Out of the mouths of babes, they sometimes say.  Indeed!  Kids so often get it blessedly right and I am so happy to be able to tell you about a young man who received this note from the Vice President of the United States.

The youngster is a second grade student at Downtown Montessori Academy in Milwaukee, and his letter to Vice President Biden told of a simple idea for making the world safer, chocolate bullets, so no one would get hurt.

Mr. Biden's handwritten response arrived in the mail and seemed to be in agreement with the student. "People love chocolate," wrote Mr Biden. "You are a good boy."

Perhaps we should spent more time listening to the children!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

See the pyramids

Mom and I would walk around The City and it seemed everywhere we went downtown, we saw the iconic Transamerica Pyramid San Francisco's tallest building. (The building does not house the headquarters of the Transamerica Corporation, by the way.  It once did and it is depicted in the company's logo). When the Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company structure was finished back in 1972 it was one of the tallest buildings in the world. 

Okay, but why did I venture down to a Montgomery Street landmark to begin my Saturday?  Joy.  Yup.  In a word:  joy.  No, the building does not bring me joy, but the memories of walking around with Mom, on many different occasions, does bring me joy.  I remember singing that line from "You Belong to Me," that classic ballad sung by Patsy Cline.

See the pyramids along the Nile.

It doesn't have to be a huge event.  This afternoon I have plans for a couple of small things.  I'm sure there will be joy in them as well.  Joy can come from memories or from doing new things.  Be joyful today!  See the pyramids!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Abolish slavery

According to the website of the A21 Campaign, "There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history, with an estimated 27 million in bondage across the globe. Men, women, and children are being exploited for manual and sexual labor against their will."  That may come as a great surprise to you, but after you recover from the shock, get outraged and then help put an end to it!

Americans are familiar with the time in this country's history when rich (usually white) people owned slaves (usually black people).  We also know that slavery was abolished by law.  Not so easy to do away with the practices though in so many other parts of the world.  A number of organizations have chipped away at the problem.  You may recall me writing about young Vivienne Harr and her lemonade stand.  I am impressed at the impact she has had and continues to have on the problem.  The Jubilee Project, whom I have written about several times here, did a film "Back to Innocence," to show the millions of children who are forced and manipulated into slavery for sex every year.   I could list several others too, but the point is, it's a huge problem and can use as much attention and as much help as possible.

So today I want to make you aware of the A21 Campaign.  They have a presence in Europe, Africa, and Australia, as well as here in the United States.  There are many ways you can help them too.  Volunteers are needed and money too, but first, find out more.  A good place to start is on their website at http://www.thea21campaign.org 

The first thing you will see when you begin reading the information on their site, is that the problem of human trafficking is huge.  The next things I hope you will notice is that people are making a difference and each one of us can join in.  Get involved.  Everybody deserves to be free!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The news doesn't have to be all bad

The recent bombing at the Boston Marathon, the arrest of an Ohio man accused of kidnapping and holding three women, the brutal murder of an 8-year-old girl (possibly by her 12-year-old brother), a lengthy stand-off with a man holding hostages in New Jersey, and the numerous other bad news stories that have been coming our way lately, might give us reason to despair or even give up.  Is the world spinning out of control?  Is there nothing but bad news anymore?

Well, there will be those, there always are, who say things are getting worse and that there is no more good.  I am not one of them.  Yes, it is hard seeing the seemingly endless parade of horror in our newspapers on on television, but the news does not have to be all bad.  Journalism might be out of control, and there is indeed a lot of bad out there, but there is also an awful lot of good.  We can work hard to eliminate that bad - we ALL have a stake in it you know.  We need to care.  We need to be responsive to the people around us.  We can also demand that our tv newscasts show us the good in our world, because there really is a lot of it.

From time-to-time I tell you about some amazing people here.  A little over a week ago I told you about Go Inspire Go and their 50/50 Campaign which will bring you the good news of some amazing people from all fifty states.  The Jubilee Project also regularly shows us good and positive things around us.  We can even make some good news ourselves.  Plan a project that will benefit others and while you are executing it, let your local media know.  The publicity might encourage you to do a better job and the good news will certainly boost or feelings.

We have the power to make things better.  We have the power to turn the bad news into good.  All we have to do is go to work at it!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Marriage equality is spreading

More and more people are beginning to get it, and I find that very exciting!  Marriage is about love, not gender.  If two women are in love with each other, why should that be any different than one man and one woman?  With victories in Delaware, Rhode Island and now Minnesota, the number of states with marriage equality has increased by three in just the last few weeks.  We have gone from nine to twelve and perhaps Illinois, or New Jersey, or even Oregon will soon follow.  Exciting times!  People are beginning to get it!

I remember a few years ago when I overheard someone say, "Well I love my basketball.  Does that mean I should be able to marry it?"  Of course not!  To the folks who have claimed that marriage to animals or small children is next, I say that is just as ridiculous.  Yes, marriage is about love, but marriage is also a contract and it requires two consenting people. Notice those two words:  consenting (there must be sufficient mental capacity, and if either does not have capacity to consent, there can be no marriage) and people (this lets out animals and of course it would prohibit his basketball). 

We need to keep spreading the word.  We need to be supportive as people change their attitudes.  The US Supreme Court will weigh in on the matter within the next month and that will be huge, but until then, it is really already huge that people are becoming more and more supportive of equality.  It's not about gay or straight.  It's about love.  It's about equality.

It's about time!

The Quick and the Dead

"The Quick and the Dead," an old English phrase found in three passages in the King James version of the Bible: Acts 10:42, 2 Timothy 4:1, and 1 Peter 4:3–5, just happens to have an additional significance to me. My friend used it every year in his church announcements when on Mother's Day he urged everyone to "Remember your mom, be she among the quick or the dead."

The day that Anna Jarvis set aside to honor her own mother in Grafton, West Virginia has become wildly commercialized over the years, but just eighteen years before my own mother was born, Anna's tribute was meant to be simply a time for each family to honor their mother.

"The quick and the dead." I used to smile as I read that quaint phrase each year in those church bulletins. Not quite as much smiling this year.  Sunday will be more difficult for my sister and I, as it is the first Mother's Day since our own mom's death. I will be thinking of Mom though and of Mother's Days in the past.

I invite you to think, if you will, what the world would be like without mothers. I cannot imagine. Our mothers not only give us life, but over the years bring us so much more! So tomorrow, take a moment and do something to honor your own mother and the wonderful mothers who have been significant to your life. Remember those wonderful mothers, be they among the quick or the dead.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Say grace

Father Leo Patalinghug says "the kitchen has always been a great place to connect with friends and family, and over the past few years, I’ve met thousands who feel as passionately about this as I do." And so, he created Grace Before Meals. (Yes, I have mentioned it here before, but it was a long time ago and so I thought I would mention it again. Well worth checking out)! Grace Before Meals is centered on one fundamental concept: the simple act of creating and sharing a meal can strengthen all kinds of relationships. It's a fun website too - tons of recipes, prayers for mealtime (including ones in Latin!), photos, videos, and much more. You can also sign up for a weekly inspirational newsletter that Father Leo sends out.

Did I mention there is a cookbook too? Indeed! Grace Before Meals: Recipes for Family Life, is actually more than just a typical cookbook – it offers families recipes for building more meaningful lives and each chapter reflects on a variety of topics related to personal milestones, family holidays and faith observances. There are short essays that offer practical wisdom and ideas, so parents can create a comfortable environment for honest communication and a “real life” approach to discussing important spiritual themes that impact the life of a growing child. It costs $15.95 I believe and you can probably find it in your faovorite bookstore or at amazon.com in addition to the GBM site.

Oh yeah and you can spead the word too. This is a website that really has something for everyone, regardless of your faith tradition. Again, that's http://gracebeforemeals.com

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage


The United States Census Bureau projects that by the year 2050, there will be more than 40.6 million Asians living in this country, comprising 9.2 percent of the total US population.  That number may seem small if you live in San Francisco or other places with larger Asian and Pacific Islander populations, but it is a number that continues to rise.  This month, take a moment to look at what Asians and Pacific Islanders bring to the United States.

May was designated in 1992 as a month-long celebration of the contributions Asians and Pacific Islanders have made to the United States, called "Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month."  There is much to celebrate too!  Lot's of events here in San Francisco, but it isn't limited to celebrations here.  There are all kinds of events and celebrations and some of them are available online.  Go to http://asianpacificheritage.gov/ for some wonderful resources hosted by the Library of Congress.

Don't rely on stereotypes from books and movies.  Get to know your Asian and Pacific Islander neighbors and find out about their history and who they are.  We will all be better people when we share our heritage.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Appreciating our teachers

Way back in fifth grade, I had a teacher whom I will always remember!  Her name was Lou Ella Gridley, and she had been teaching for years by the time I came to her classroom at Oneonta's Center Street School.  Miss Gridley was the most memorable of all the teachers I ever had, and this being Teacher Appreciation Day, I was thinking about her and the difference she made in so many lives.

Miss Gridley was a summer traveler and she skillfully wove her home movies and stories of her vacation adventures throughout our school year.  We learned what the the fifth-graders learned, but we got a bonus.  Miss Gridley also was the author of several books on New York State history and she introduced us to some pretty incredible tales from her books too.

You may have been fortunate enough to have had one of those remarkable "way above all the rest" type of teachers like Miss Gridley.  You might have just had all those darn good teachers who do their best and sometimes get some good results.  Today is the day to remember them fondly and to show your appreciation.

In some schools there will be special programs this week.  Some students will bring gifts to their teachers.  A number of years ago I tracked down a number of outstanding teachers from my past and called an thanked them.  You might consider doing the same thing.  Sadly, Miss Gridley died before she heard a thank you from me.  I do hope she did hear it from others though.  She really was pretty remarkable.

Monday, May 6, 2013

being there for others

There have been many days since my mother died that haven't been easy.  Yesterday was the day we interred her ashes at their final resting place.  It was emotional to say the least.  I'm a lucky guy though because I have not been alone.  My sister has been there the whole time and so have a lot of great friends.  Yesterday, a friend who never even met Mom, came to lend support.  Today I am having coffee with another person who cares and wants to be there.

There are times in all of our lives when we need others.  Sometimes we don't want to admit it, be having support is a great joy and comfort.  It wasn't long ago when I wrote something similar and quoted a popular song "No man is an island."  Pretty simple I said back then.  We need each other. 

I cannot tell you how much it has meant to me when people have called or come by or written or otherwise made themselves available to me during the past several weeks.  I'm not talking about saying "I'm here for you" either.  I'm talking about actually being there.  It does make a difference!

Be active!

This month is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, an excellent time to not only get more active, but also to spread the word about the benefits of being active. Regular physical activity in your life can benefit everyone, both young and old.  Physical activity has been proven to help lower the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.  Plus, it just makes you feel good!

This is nothing like a good swim after a long day!  I nice brisk walk at lunchtime can energize you for the afternoon.  I do this often!  Many folks start the day at some kind of fitness club.  Think about joining them!

I was just talking to the operator of a place called Live Fit here in San Francisco (they have several locations:  Hayes Valley, the Mission, and Nob Hill).  He told me that most people sign up for gym memberships at the start of the year.  The New Year's resolution to get fit sends people out to do it.  What about the rest of the year though?  It is important to be active all the time, not just after celebrating big holidays.  This Live Fit operator was telling me about all the services that are available and I was amazed!  It's not just stationary bikes and treadmills anymore. 

Of course joining a health club is good, but there is so much more that can be done.  Getting involved in a sport or doing that walking I mentioned, or the swimming, or teaming up with a buddy for a specific fitness program.  If you are in ill health or if you are planning on changing your regular habits a great deal, it may be helpful to talk to your doctor first.  Do something though.  Fitness feels so good!

Friday, May 3, 2013

50/50

If you are one of my regular readers, you might already know about 50/50 and you certainly already know about Go Inspire Go.  I have written here about them so many times and I have their link here on my page too.  I hope that many of you have checked them out further and have watched their videos.  Toan Lam, their founder, seems to be a simply inspiring guy.  His organization certainly is amazing.  Go Inspire Go just started a special 50/50 campaign and so that's why I especially wanted to write about them again today to call it to your attention.

GIG is always amazing, but right now Go Inspire Go is on a mission to tell the stories of 50 real life heroes in 50 states.  That is going to be simply incredible! 

Every day I write here about giving back and making a difference in the world.  Sometimes I profile some people who do just that.  About six or seven months after I began writing this I heard about Go Inspire Go.  I believe it was just starting up, but it perhaps might have been around for a while.  I am really not sure of the exact start date but think they have been inspiring for about four years.  I have written here too about The Jubilee Project which says that "doing good is contagious."  Indeed it is.  I never tire of writing inspiring stories or hearing about them.  Oh and please don't think for a second there is any competition here.  We can ALL inspire!  The world needs much more of that!

Anyway, this whole 50/50 thing got me excited.  I hope it excites you too, or at least grabs your interest.  They could use a hand.  (Remember yesterday when I wrote here asking to hear from you?  Well, I'm not the only one!  They would love to hear from you too).  Send them information on those inspiring people you know.  If you can afford it, make a donation.  Oh and on their website it says "smile."  That always helps!

Check out their website often and to find out more about 50/50 or to donate, go to http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gig-50-50-uncovering-50-inspiring-stories-from-50-states

Thursday, May 2, 2013

hello? anybody out there?

Who reads this stuff?  I wonder that a lot.  It was never my purpose to have tons of daily readers and to receive so many comments and so much email that I could not keep up with it, but the fact is, I get only about two or three comments a month.  (My initial post about Mom's death was an exception and numerous people posted then).

Part of my wondering of course is to see if this is all going in a good direction.  I want to make a difference in the lives of others.  I want to encourage other people to make a difference in their various ways.  I want to light a fire or put some fuel on an already lit fire and see how great we can make this world of ours.  If we all contribute, there is nothing that cannot be accomplished!  There is so much good in the world and I am always encouraged when I see that good.  I am also personally encouraged when I hear that people read these words and that it has some kind of meaning for them.  Please feel free to make suggestions too.

I recently heard from my cousin in New York State that she reads this.  That brought a smile to my face.  She is a wonderful person who brings joy in our world.  I can remember her sharing that joy with our grandmother and with my mom.  I'm happy that she reads this and I'm happy that others do too.

Since you just made it throught these three paragraphs, why not take a second and say something in the comments area below.  Is there some way of giving back that you think I should be talking about?  Tell me!  Do you know a giver that perhaps I should profile here?  Tell me!  Do you think I need to change my focus or say more (or less) about something?  Tell me!  I really would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Do your best each day

I came across a calendar the other day just in time for the start of this new month.  The words of course are good ones for any time of year, but since it was on the May page, it seemed appropriate to share with you today.

I will resist any cute references to Cinco de Mayo and this Saturday I promise not to say "May the fourth be with you."  With the fifth month of the year upon us already and a lot of observances this month, there will be plenty to talk about!  I wanted though to share this picture and simple message.

The message, beside a picture of an elephant (I'm not sure of that.  Are elephants symbols of doing your best?) was "Do your best each day."  In all the years I have written this, I don't think I have ever given out more important advice!  So have a great May everyone and do your best each day!