Friday, June 28, 2013

Introducing Felicia Flames

Today I want to tell you about Felicia Alvarado Elizondo, known too as Felicia Flames, a transgender Latina who makes a difference in this world every single day. Felicia is a US Navy Viet Nam Veteran, and lgbt activist, and a living history book.  She was involved in the 1966 Gene Compton's Cafeteria Riot and can give you details of that and so much more of our local lgbt history.  In the interest of full disclosure, I need to add one more thing,  Felicia is my friend.  
 
Some of you who read this might already know Felicia, or at least know of her.  She has been doing things that make a difference for her entire life.  Felicia is a performer, and you may have enjoyed one of her performances.  Perhaps you have been at a march or rally she has organized.  Another of the things she does that I really like is she makes AIDS Quilt panels. 

Everyone is talking right now about the announcement that came from the US Supreme Court on Wednesday.  The day before, Felicia said "I am very fortunate that I was able to get married in 1975 without nobody telling me that I couldn't do it. It just came natural after my sex change. I'm hoping it comes thru for the Gay and Lesbian Community. It is long overdue."

This week Felicia isn't just thinking about her gay and lesbian friends.  She's be up front with the trans community for several events including the Trans March tonight (6:15pm is the start time in Dolores Park).  I'm sure we'll see her in many other places this week as she continues to make a difference!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I Will, I Do, We Did

Profiling different Bay Area LGBT heroes this week, I wasn't sure yesterday whether or not to write about Molly McKay then or now.  As you know, I wrote about Gavin Newsom first but Molly has been a huge part of the whole Marriage Equality fight and she is a hero of mine on so many levels.  Today therefore is her day here.

When I first met Molly McKay, her partner was a woman.  The documentary "I Will, I Do, We Did" was shot at the height of the landmark same-sex marriages that took place in February 2004 and Molly and her then partner are at the center of it.  The two would later separate, but that did not slow down Molly's determination to see marriage equality become a reality.
 
I have been an activist of some sort all my life, but it was Molly McKay's energy and confidence that made me care so much about marriage equality too.  I have to admit, yesterday morning as I heard the announcement, the first thing I did was look for Molly's face.  It was a bit hard to see with the tears flowing from my eyes, but I know she was smiling!
 
Thank you Molly for making a difference.  Thank you too for showing that there is more than one way to love, because you now are married to a man, I think it gives an excellent example of how there are many sides to us all!  Thanks Molly, and happy Pride!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It's going to happen, whether you like it or not

California's Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom is not a gay man but he believes that gay men and women should have the same rights as everyone else, particularly in the area of marriage.  It was he, while he was Mayor of San Francisco, who directed the county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and got the marriage equality ball rolling.  I can tell you, Newsom has a smile on his face this morning, following the Supreme Court's ruling.
 
This is not to say for one second that others were not a part of this fight and credit should certainly be given to City Attorney Dennis Herrera and to so many faithful love warriors.  Gavin Newsom though played a major role and it was fitting that he would officiate the wedding of gay pioneers Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon.
 
Newsom started the fight while he was Mayor, but his involvement has continued.  He just recently attended the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on the Proposition 8 case, where he continued to voice his support for the LGBT community.  This morning he spoke of the joy that we can now all share.
 
Would we have gotten where we are today without Newsom?  Probably, but not as quickly.  Every movement needs a beginning, and for this one, it was his actions.  Newsom is not just a lgbt supporter in the area of marriage, he has proudly supported the lgbt community over and over and I'm certain will continue to.

Newsom has been a regular participant in San Francisco's LGBT Pride Parade and Celebration and this coming Sunday he will be there once again.  This time he will be there on the tail of some wonderful news!  Perhaps, now that the doors are once again open, he can quote himself from the main stage at Pride saying of same-sex marriage "It's going to happen, whether you like it or not."

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Very proud of Jason

Having just written here about Jason Galisatus back in April, you would think I could not possibly have anything else to say.  Wrong!  Jason is like that battery powered bunny - he keeps going and going and going.  By his example and leadership, so many good things are happening, and I am certain he will see more and more good from him.
 
This being LGBT Pride week here in San Francisco, as I mentioned yesterday, I thought I would write about some people who are making a difference for the lgbt community and starting with Jason just seems so natural.  He will be leading the Bay Area Youth Summit (BAYS) contingent in Sunday's parade/  BAYS is an organization, founded by Jason,  that seeks to empower LGBT and allied youth to decide to make the difference in their communities by taking a leading role in the fight against bullying and it is the only completely youth-led LGBT organization in the world.

Jason has worked with San Francisco Mayors Ed Lee and Gavin Newsom as the LGBT Community Liaison. This year he was named Best LGBT youth activist for the Bar Area Reporter's 2013 Readers Choice Awards.  He is just at home with senior citizens though.  If you want to see Jason interact with veteran gays, take a look at Coming Out in the 1960s by clicking HERE.  Of course that will only give you another tiny glimpse of him.  There really is a lot to see.

One of the things I keep noticing is that Jason is as humble as he is dedicated.  In a very short time he has done a lot and nothing will keep him from continuing to make a difference in our world.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A week of Pride

Today begins a week of LGBT Pride Celebrations in many cities, including San Francisco with the biggest events here coming at the end (including Friday night's Trans March, the Dyke March on Saturday, and the Pride Parade up Market Street on Sunday.  The Supreme Court is likely to rule on the Defense of Marriage Act and on Proposition 8 and that will only add to the celebration.  Thinking ahead to all that will be happening, I was wondering, what's it all mean?
 
Are you proud?  What are you proud of?  I don't always understand the use of the word "pride" in this place.  When we said freedom it made more sense to me, but pride, that one doesn't quite sound the same.  What do you think?  I tend to think of pride more in accomplishments, but being gay is just part of who I am.  I'm certainly not proud of my blue eyes.  Yes, they are nice, but Mom and Dad had much more to do with it than me and I pretty much think that's the case with my sexual orientation too.  But this of course is NOT about me so, what do you think?

How about the celebrations - do we need so many?  Do we still need any at all?  As Pride Week begins here in San Francisco and visitors flood into town, I'd really be interested in your thoughts.  I might even comment on them later in the week.  The next few days though I am writing about some local lgbt heroes.

Friday, June 21, 2013

One Year Ago

One year ago was one of the hardest days of my life. It was the day my dear friend Brother Richard Jonathan passed away. It was a day I will always remember because he was a man I will always remember. 

I first knew of Richard Cardarelli (that was his secular name)because of his ministry and his activism. He was on the east coast and I on the west. We got to know each other through letters (later email) and phone calls and through an internet group that I founded many years ago. Eventually, when Ricky (that's what I always called him) moved to San Francisco, we would finally meet face to face and spend many years marching and praying and being part of candlelight vigils and rallies and generally working with each other toward the same goal of equality.

Brother Richard Jonathan was always an inspiration. I remember when he made his life profession the spirited address he made. I remember those nights standing with him in San Francisco's Castro district. I remember the Dignity events and the masses at San Damiano and holding picket signs on the steps of City Hall. He didn't just inspire me, he touched the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of people in his lifetime. Brother Richard Jonathan was someone who certainly made a difference in this world.

As my mother lay in bed fighting lung cancer this past spring, I thought of his fight against the same disease last year. Just as I prayed for Mom, I prayed also for Ricky - we all did, but on June 22, 2012, the lung cancer won and our dear sweet Richard Jonathan was born to eternal life.

I will carry so many memories of Brother Richard Jonathan with me. It might be difficult to pick one thing that made the biggest impact, but I will always be glad that he came my way.

One Christmas a few years ago I received a card from him with a quote from German Dominican monk Meister Eckhart. Those words really speak to my greatest memory or Richard Jonathan: "We are all meant to be mothers of God. What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the Divine Son takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself? And what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace, but I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I do not also give birth to him in my time and my culture? This, then, is the fullness of time: When the Son of Man is begotten in us.”

Rest in peace dear Ricky. Thanks for coming our way.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Harry Pottash Fights AIDS in Zambia

From time to time I have been fortunate to meet wonderful people who are making a difference in this world.  Harry Pottash is the latest such wonderful person.  He told me he was going to be part of Bike Zambia and I was intrigued and wanted to know more. 
 
First a little background.  Originally inhabited by Khoisan peoples, Zambia later became a British colony and since 1964 has been an independent nation.   Zambia is one of Africa's poorest countries and has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS infection with more than 1 in 7 adults living with HIV/AIDS and one in six children are orphans. One of the greatest ways to change things in Zambia (or anywhere) is through education and awareness and Bike Zambia is not just a fundraising activity, but also a powerful awareness tool that riders say  is also a personally life-changing experience for each of them. 
 
Last June 34 cyclists raised over $150,000 which provided contributions to four different beneficiary organizations.  In just a few days they will be doing it once again and Harry Pottash will be among them.  It's too late for you to head around the world and join up with them (think about that though for next year), but it is certainly not to late to sponsor Harry in his efforts! Click HERE to donate or to just find out more. 
 
As I write this, Harry has raised $5,126 of his $7,000 goal.  So close!  I know we can all get behind him and make this happen!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dan keeps on going

Over the years of writing this, Daniel Choi has gotten more space than anyone or anything else. During his courageous fight to repeal Don't Ask/Don't Tell, I talked a lot about Dan's activities and I have also updated from time to time about his other tireless efforts on behalf of equality.

Back in March of this year, Outright Libertarians announced that Dan was joining the LGBT caucus of the Libertarian Party as an honorary board member. Dan has also been keeping quite busy with speaking engagements.

Among his future endeavors is Dan Choi House, a home he is creating for LGBT Youth kicked out of their homes after coming out.

Dan does not slow down and continues to be not only my friend, but one of my heroes.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Not Yet

Watching the decisions of the United States Supreme Court this morning and wondering if today would be the day they rule on two separate  cases they are deciding on same-sex marriage.  Sometime this month.  Sometime, but not yet.  Today was not the day.

It's a simple matter of equality - simple justice, many would argue.  So, what's taking them so long?  On top of that, many organizations having been making predictions.  The justices will likely do this or might do that.  I'm not sure what good this kind of forecasting does, but I think it just makes everyone more anxious.

Earlier this month, a Pew Research Center poll found 51 percent saying gay marriage should be legal and 72 percent saying it is “inevitable.” Last month a Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Americans favor legalized gay marriage.  The Supreme Court Justices do not decide though on popular opinion.  They have to stick to the law and they way they interpret it.
 
And so we wait.  Hopefully justice will come soon.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Outing Tim Redmond

Information, I have always said, is key to a democratic society and certainly important for any change to occur in our world.  Tim Redmond has long dealt in information.  He is an incredible writer and editor and is probably the best known progressive journalist in the San Francisco area.  For the past thirty years he has been at The Bay Guardian.  Now he is out.
 
In his blog last Friday Redmond said he "got a letter from Todd (Vogt) saying ‘your resignation is accepted.’ But I never submitted a resignation.”  The media has since reported the same thing.  Redmond says he was fired and Vogt says he quit.  Regardless of which is true, Redmond is no longer at the Guardian and that is sad news indeed.
 
How respectable is our news media these days?  How much can we trust them?  There could be a very long discussion just on that question.  Things have changed and I don't think for the better.  This week we have just the latest example.  Outing Tim Redmond from his position is just the latest symptom of a much bigger problem.  So what's next?

Friday, June 14, 2013

I love you my brother

Last weekend, I went to the funeral for a wonderful priest who was filled with love for his fellow man.  In the remembrances that followed the ceremony, I kept hearing about love.  How wonderful!
 
A popular song from the 60s by Hal David and Burt Bacharach says "What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just too little of."  How very true that statement is.  Can there ever be enough love?
 
One of the mourners present last Saturday, spoke of how that priest would always say "I love you my brother."  Another person remembered the same thing and they both were just delighted about this.  "I love you my brother."  A simple expression like that the warms your heart and makes you feel special. 
 
Thank you Father Jim.  I love you my brother.  How wonderful it is to be loved.  How wonderful it is to tell someone.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Helping Bryan Stow

Here is a tough one.  I don't generally write about private individuals unless they have been in the news and have generally been covered by the media.  Bryan Stow certainly has been in the news, but this is one of those situations where part of me says to allow him and his family privacy.  Still his situation is heartbreaking and I hope it never happens to anyone else.
 
Bryan, a huge San Francisco Giants fan, was in Los Angeles to see his team play the LA Dodgers.  The night ended in tragedy when Bryan was severely beaten and came close to death.  The accused attackers are now on trial, but Bryan Stow's life will never be the same and the same thing is true for his family.
 
One good thing that has come out of this is an increased awareness of security at baseball stadiums and other large gatherings.  Hopefully this sort of violence can be prevented in the future.  For Bryan though, and his family, the continuing problems are huge.  Bryan's overall health and his relationship to the rest of his family, will never be the same. The bills for his care and treatment are enormous.
 
There have been fundraisers.  Individuals have made donations (including Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum who gave $25,000), but the cost of care has still been out of reach and his insurance only has covered part of the overall expense.  You will be reading in the next few days about Bryan coming home because they cannot afford the cost of a rehab or skilled nursing facility.  He will likely need medical care for the rest of his life.  A couple of pending lawsuits might help, but there is no guarantee. 
 
So why am I writing about this?  I am outraged that two men can brutally beat the father of two small children and that those children might never know their father in the way they should and that that father (Bryan) will need continued care, costing millions of dollars that could have been spent for family vacations and visits to the zoo or an amusement park or more baseball games.  I am outraged that the Stow family has to endure all of this, and I invite you to help. 
 
The Stow family has set up a website where you can get updates and where you can also make donations.  Click HERE to see several ways you can donate.  Find out more at http://www.support4bryanstow.com or click HERE to join their facebook page.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bad news? Wotcha gonna do?

When you turn on the evening news on your television, are you hoping for some positive stories?  Do you want to hear about the good things in the world?  Fires, murders, car crashes, military uprisings, slowed-down economies - the list of bad news can go on and on.  What are we going to do?
 
Some studies show that bad news outweighs good news by as much as seventeen negative news reports for every one good news report during a typical tv newscast.  Sometimes in is worse. 
 
Well one answer to the problem is to work on doing good.  Let's make our cars and trains and airplanes safer to cut down on crashes.  Fire prevention is always a good thing of course, and with no big fires there is one more piece of bad news gone.  We can do the same thing to get rid of crime.  Some of these measures take time - which is not to say we should give up, but perhaps we should employ a few other things as well.
 
If we don't like what our tv stations report, perhaps we should tell them.  Call or write to your news directors and ask them to spend time covering good things, the positive items that all too frequently get ignored.  I'm not suggesting for a minute that bad news should be ignored, but it shouldn't be all.
 
Of course there is one more thing - we have told you about it here over and over and never tire of it because what they do is good news.  I'm talking about Go Inspire Go.  Visit their website.  Take a look at their uplifting videos.  When the bad news gets you down, Go Inspire Go just might be the ticket!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

She walks with integrity

If you are not acquainted with Susan Russell, the Episcopal priest pictured to the right, you might think from the photograph that she is a screaming larger-than-life Bible banger out to convert the world.  When I first met her years ago, she seemed to be a quiet down-to-earth, well spoken woman of God, giving her all for the Church and for equality.  Perhaps we are both right.
 
As President of IntegrityUSA, the lgbt organization within The Episcopal Church, Susan was a powerful force, always present and always seeking justice.  When she would show up on a CNN news program at 8am, I knew that meant she was sitting in front of those cameras at 5am in her southern California home.  She might very well be still going long after the sun went down, but nothing seemed to slow her down.
 
The purpose of this blog is to write about making a difference in this world, just in case you are visiting here for the very first time, and it is people like Susan that we talk about because she has truly made a difference and continues to do every single day.  Her own blog, An Inch At A Time, tells her story and the story of the struggle for inclusion.  I urge you to take a peek there and to read her words.
 
The Reverend Susan Russell is not someone that I know well.  Much of what I know of her is from the media and from other folks who know her much better.  Still, she is one of my heroes, something which most likely would embarrass her, but it truly warms my heart to see such dedication, such love and devotion, and such a complete witness to the Gospel of Jesus.
 
One more thing:  yesterday just happened to be her birthday.  I celebrated her life and her extraordinary ministry as she begins another year.  May God grant her many more!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Still running with Jesus

Father Malcolm Boyd celebrated a milestone over the weekend.  Saturday was the 90th birthday of the Episcopal Priest, activist, and author who has touched my life, almost from the beginning.
 
When I was little, Mom had several Malcolm Boyd books.  The one I became most aware of was Are You Running With Me Jesus?  (Going through Mom's things recently I found a newer copy of it that was still well worn.  It seemed that Mom continued to turn those pages).
 
It's odd that Boyd first came to Hollywood to be a producer and in fact set up a partnership with actress Mary Pickford.  That didn't last though.  He had been called to ordained ministry and he didn't just minister to a tiny parish church.
 
I don't remember the exact chronology but Boyd came to Berkeley and attended seminary.  He wrote books and he worked in churches.  At some point he came out as gay.  Again, I don't remember exactly when this was, but he had already done so much by the time he came out that it never seemed like a big deal to me.  (I'm told he did face a lot of difficulties however.  The Church wasn't ready yet for an openly gay priest).
 
Boyd's books have spread the gospel all over the world, and not just to believers.  One of his incredible gifts has been to make God come alive even for folks who never knew him.  He appeared in San Francisco with Dick Gregory and read prayers to his audience at a popular nightclub.  Can you imagine prayers at a nightclub?  His activism for justice, peace, and for racial equality brought him to a Freedom Train with other clergy and to numerous marches including some with Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
There was a magazine that ran a story about famous people and what brought them peace of mind.  Joan Baez was one of the others with Boyd.  I don't recall what either of them said.  I do remember thinking it odd that the magazine had called them famous.  Boyd is just an author for heaven's sake!  I was wrong of course.  He is so much more!
 
I've known Boyd over the years mostly from his books, but as a fellow Episcopalian, I have watched his ministry and the huge effect he has had on people.  I may tend to overuse the word inspirational, but Boyd is one of the most inspirational people I have known.  Another really incredible thing is that he keeps going and going and going. Finally last year I had the honor of meeting him here in San Francisco at an exhibition honoring another great man, "Radically Gay: The Life of Harry Hay." (Oh and the Harry Hay exhibit was curated by a friend whom I also consider one of our fine leaders, Joey Cain). 
 
So happy birthday Malcolm Boyd and thanks for all you have given the world!

Friday, June 7, 2013

reason to deny?

Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Maria Sotomayor is one of the High Court's more liberal justices, and also one of its newer ones. She is also the first Hispanic justice on the Court, and only its third female. Along with the other nine justices, she earlier this year heard two cases involving same-sex marriage.

There has been a lot of speculation about how the Court will decide on those cases. Most of what I have hear suggests that gay couples will once again be able to wed in California, and if that is true, it would certainly be a good thing. Discrimination is never good and denying a class of people something that is available to others most certainly is discrimination. Within the next week or so I expect we will have a decision, and I'm not going to predict here what it is.

I'd like to go back though to the hearing before the High Court and share with you a brief exchange between Justice Sotomayor and Proposition 8 attorney Charles Cooper (arguing in support of Prop 8 and against same-sex marriage).

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: Outside of the - outside of the marriage context, can you think of any other rational basis, reason, for a state using sexual orientation as a factor in denying homosexuals benefits or imposing burdens on them? Is there any other rational decision ... that the Government could make? Denying them a job, not granting them benefits of some sort, any other decision?

MR. COOPER: Your Honor, I cannot. I do not have any - anything to offer you in that regard.

Madame Justice makes a very good point. How about you? Can you think of any reason for a state to use sexual orientation as a factor in denying homosexuals benefits?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Credit where credit is due

I strongly believe in giving credit where it is due.  These days that may be rare, but that is a part of who I am, and although this blog is supposed to be NOT about me, it is written by me and therefore I need to make a few things clear.
 
The words written here every day are mine.  Occasionally I have quoted other sources, but I have clearly noted that.  I also clearly indicate that other sources might be good for some of the topics I discuss here and I link, when possible, to those sources.  The information I provide is from first-hand knowledge or from published sources that I reference. 
 
The images are either from pictures I have taken, drawings I have done, or from pictures that have been send to me, or from images believed to be in the public domain. l'd easily write this without any images because the message is in the words.
 
Recently I used a man's image, believing that since he had sent it to me, I had a right to use it.  Well, it turns out that someone else, a professional, had taken that picture.  It has been removed from here and I have apologized to the photographer.  I cannot make much of a difference in the world if I am a thief, and I humbly apologize to anyone who may have been hurt.
 
Finally, this has always been meant to be "our" blog, not mine.  I write observations and make suggestions and invite you to do the same.  Rarely is there any feedback here.  I do get the occasional email.  I will give credit to the core of loyal readers, but some days there are only 40 visits to this page - not terribly busy!
 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Safety Starts with Me

Safety is no accident.  Really.  Safety is up to all of us and it include more than just safe driving or going for days and days without any accidents at work.  "Safety starts with me" is the theme this year for National Safety Month which happens every June.  Being safe can really make a difference and to a lot of people, so I want to call this to your attention.

How can we be safe or stay safe?  Check out the National Safety Council's website HERE and find out much more.  You can also read about a million acts of safety HERE.
 
Any ideas you might have as to how to be safer?  Let is hear from you.  Please feel free to add suggestions in our comments section below.  Oh and be safe!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

thanks for coming our way Father Jim


Initially I know James D. Swearingen as an Episcopal priest and later as a pastoral counselor, teacher, spiritual advisor and hypnotherapist , but that was only a tiny part of his long career history. Father Jim had also been a stock broker, insurance agent, notary public, radio host, real estate agent, and a college-level communications instructor. Sounds interesting huh? He was indeed. Father Jim, who died yesterday after a long illness, was certainly interesting. He was also beloved.
 
Jim Swearingen was a wonderful, compassionate individual; sincere in his love for helping other people. It was so obvious that he should be a priest and he was so suited for the job. Father Jim was one of those people who wanted to help every single day of his life, and when his health headed downhill, it was a great frustration to him that he was unable to do many of the things he used to. He NEVER gave up though! He kept on going even when he sometimes should have been resting. Back in April, he was present at my mother's funeral even in his frail condition. His wife Lynn later told me that he really should have been in the hospital but he wanted to be present, for me. That's the kind of guy he was.

To do a complete biography of Father Jim would take a good many pages. The important thing to emphasize is that he was a faithful priest, pastor, and friend. He also loved his family and will be missed by his wife Lynn and by his children.

Writing day after day about giving back and doing good, you might think (especially with all the negative stories we hear in the news these days) I would run out of people to write about. As long as there are folks like Jim Swearingen, I will never run out. He was a Giver of the highest class and he made an impact on many lives. "I love you brother," he would always tell me. He meant it too!
 
Rest in peace dear Father Jim. Thanks for all you have done. We'll miss you.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A few of my favorite things

Just in case you were wondering, I am not writing today about raindrops on roses nor about cream colored ponies or crisp apple streudels.  I did see a cute kitten this morning during my early run, but didn't notice if it had whiskers.  Today I do want to take this big giant cyber package and tie it with string, at least for a moment.  I want to talk just a tiny bit more about a few of my favorite things.

First, I have written so many times about Go Inspire Go and especially their latest venture, the 50-50 campaign, telling the stories of 50 people in all 50 states.  Yesterday the big campaign came to a close and the $25,000 goal was met and even a bit more was collected!  Wonderful news and I hope you will keep your eyes open to see the fantastic heart-warming reports that will be coming our way.  You can always stay up to date on their activities at http://www.goinspirego.com/ and can even make a donation that way.

Another of my favorite things is the San Francisco Night Ministry and I was fortunate to be able to attend their Open House yesterday and here even more heartwarming stories.  Someone said that as a volunteer, they actually bring more home from their shifts than they bring in.  It is very satisfying to know that you have been a help to someone else.  Their mission statement says they provide "compassionate non-judgmental pastoral care, counseling, referral and crisis intervention to anyone in any kind of distress."  I have seen this up close and know what a valuable service they provide.  I have written about them here before of course, and certainly will again, but anytime you want an update or to volunteer or donate you can simply go to http://www.sfnightministry.org/
 
Finally I want to mention AIDS Walk San Francisco once again because it is now just over a month away and it too is a favorite thing because it provides funds, information, social networking, and helps keep the public reminded that we still need to conquer HIV/AIDS.  I am one of the walkers and over the weekend, thanks to so many of my generous friends, I hit the $1,000 mark.
 
There are days that are less inspiring than others and some that are filled with so much bad news in the paper and on television that it might easily depress you.  Just like Julie Andrews though, I simply remember my favorite things, and well you know the rest!