Thursday, July 31, 2014

Goodbye July

It's already July 31st? Wow! This summer is just whizzing by!  This is the time of year when many are on vacation and so folks tend to like it when things go more slowly.  I pretty much like the slower pace all the time.  Yes, I know - this is NOT about me, but I was just going to suggest that we all slow down a bit and enjoy our summer!
 
Actually, things do tend to be more enjoyable when we savor the moment.  Slowly let your senses enjoy all that is around you.  Look at the visual and listen to the sounds and breathe in the fragrance that surrounds you.  Touch every single day with all of your senses so that you may enjoy every day to its fullest!
 
Oh and don't despair that July is disappearing.  There will be great opportunities ahead in August too!  August is one of my favorite times of the year.  So, let's fully enjoy this last day of July as we look ahead to the next month with great anticipation of great things yet to come!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stop banning gay men

As I have written here on a number of occasions, the US Food & Drug Administration bans gay & bisexual men from donating blood. Is this fair? Of course not! The simple fact that the current lifetime deferral focuses on sexual orientation as the ONLY reason to deny should make it painfully obvious that the policy is unfair. Blood donations need to be safe. We don't deny that, but I ask you to join me in calling on the FDA to change its policy so that it focuses on sexual behavior and individual risk instead of denying all gay and bisexual men. The current ban rests on unsound science and perpetuates stigmas.

President Barack Obama has a lot of power and we are now, through a White House petition, urging him to join with us.  The petition begins by saying "We petition the Obama Administration to: Call On HHS & The FDA To End Their Ban Against Gay & Bisexual Male Blood Donors."  If you have not already signed the petition, I urge you to click HERE and sign.  After signing, I urge you to forward this important petition to all of your friends.

Let's not rest there though.  Campbell, CA Mayor Evan Low has been fighting this battle for over a year now and as a result of his good work, more and more people are aware of the discriminatory blood donation policy, but we need everyone to know about this and we need it to end.  Share this blog post on your twitter or facebook accounts.  Write emails to your friends urging their involvement.  Write a letter directly to President Obama and write as well to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell.  Get on the phone too.  Call the White House switchboard.  Call your other elected officials and urge them to sign the White House petition and to speak up for fair and equal treatment.  Gay and bisexual men should not be treated as second class citizens!

It is high time this ban was ended.  Let's make it happen!  Changing this policy is so overdue.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

More than 11 in Philly

Do the names Merrill Bittner, Alla Bozarth-Campbell, Alison Cheek, Emily Hewitt, Carter Heyward, Suzanne Hiatt, Marie Moorefield, Jeannette Piccard, Betty Schiess, Katrina Swanson, and Nancy Wittig mean anything to you? If you are a priest in the Episcopal Church you may recognize them as groundbreakers. Forty years ago today, those eleven became the first women to be ordained as priests in the US Episcopal Church. Until then it was men only. Now, the Presiding Bishop is a woman!

A lot has been written about that day forty years ago in Philadelphia.  What some folks miss is that the service and the ordinations were not illegal.  Nothing in church law specifically forbid such ordinations.  It just wasn't done.  It meant that some people had to stand up and question the status quo and say "Hey!  Why not?"  The Philadelphia Eleven, as those women came to be known, made a difference.  It is my opinion though that there were more than eleven though on that day.

Look at the picture.  Those are men laying hands on the newly ordained.  That is a bishop who is presiding.  There were hundreds of men, women, and children filling the church that day.  Together they ALL made a difference.  They wanted to move forward and to be inclusive.  Thankfully it was just those that day too. The 1976 General Convention of the Church meeting in Minneapolis on September 15–23, 1976 made the necessary changes in Canon Law to insure that women would have equal access to the ordination process. The next January, Jacqueline A. Means became the first female deacon canonically ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church.
 
Change comes when people realize that it is necessary.  Forty years ago, 11 women wanted to be priests and thankfully they were not alone.  Today, we still need to make changes.  Women are still underrepresented.  There are still those who would ban them and those who also would ban gay and lesbian clergy.  We will always need more to stand up and be recognized for doing the right thing and for supporting justice and equality for all.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A picture is worth a thousand words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and since I don't have time to write a thousand words this morning, I decided to give you a picture. Isn't San Francisco beautiful?
(Oh for you out-of-towners who might not know, the pointed building is the Transamerica Pyramid, the tallest building on our city's skyline at 853 feet, and even though they still use it as their logo, the Transamerica company is no longer housed there).  Beautiful skyline huh?

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Food Volunteers

Every day in San Francisco, thousands of people are touched by the generosity of the programs at Project Open Hand, the Saturday neighborhood food program at All Saints' Episcopal Church, Glide Memorial, Saint Anthony's, The Bethel Food Pantry on Fridays, and so many more.  The need is great in San Francisco, just as it is in so many places, and yet many come forward and donate their time and money.
 
Volunteering at a food program isn't just something for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter.  Often those occasions have more than enough coverage because there is extra publicity.  What about the other 362 days of the year though?  Many programs have a wide range of volunteer opportunities for all levels of ability.  Even the frail and elderly can find volunteering to be a great way to give back to others.
 
There are numerous food banks and meal programs here in the Bay Area - many more than the ones I just mentioned.  Consider regularly donating some of your time to any of there.  The food volunteers do some really incredible work and make a huge impact in the lives of many.  You could be one of them.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

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!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday

Today is Wednesday, the fourth day of the week (except for folks who don't count Sunday and then, today is the third day).  It is the name of the little girl Addams.  Wednesday is also a song by Tori Amos, the name of a couple of different films, a 70s pop band from Canada, and an opera.  The poem says that Wednesday's child is full of woe. 
 
It is often called "hump day" because it falls in the middle of the standard Monday through Friday work week and so once you finish Wednesday, you are "over the hump."
 
The are many significant things that can be said about this day, but I happen to think that all seven days of the week have special significance.  We can do great things every single day of our life - it really doesn't matter what day it is!  Since Wednesday though is the day upon us, let's go out and make it a wonderful one!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Witnessing history

In just a week it will be forty years since the very first eleven women were ordained as priests in The Episcopal Church back in Philadelphia on the Feast of Mary and Martha of Bethany. Sometimes it is hard for me to believe that we have only enjoyed this wonderful ministry of women for such a short time. Anyway, I was thinking about that this morning as I read accounts of an event yesterday at the White House at which this woman, The Reverend Susan Russell was in attendance.

That event yesterday (President Barack Obama signed an executive order protecting LGBT federal workers) was a pretty big deal. It was only a brief East Room ceremony with 300 or so in attendance, but it was likely the biggest thing for equality this entire month. Federal contractors and subcontractors employ some 14 million people, so this truly effects many. It's not the actions of the President though that I want to talk about. I want to say more about Susan Russell.

It was just last week that she was invited to fly across the country from her Southern California home to witness history and be one of those present at the signing. A parish priest with responsibilities within her church each week, how could she miss a Sunday? How could she be in Washington and still do her work at home? Talk about last minute!  It was fun watching her reaction (through social media and her blog) - she was like a kid in a candy store.

Now let me tell you that Susan Russell is one of the greatest leaders I know. She has worked tirelessly for equality for years. You may recall me writing about her in the past here in the past. Because of her powerful witness for justice for all and because of all that she has done for civil and religious liberties, I was so surprised that she had not previously been to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and I was even more surprised at her almost giddy response.

More than likely she will update us all on yesterday's experience - check http://inchatatime.blogspot.com/ for that, and check there often too. She's a much better blogger than I am! I did have to say something though.  I couldn't let this huge event at the White House pass without even a mention, just as I cannot let the anniversary on July 29th pass by without a mention.  Susan Russell has done so much to make these kind of events happen and yet it isn't about her.  She isn't the least bit puffed up or conceited about this.  She is just living her promise to "strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being." 

It was sure nice watching the live feed yesterday from that signing ceremony though and I am certain I heard her voice loudly and clearly proclaim Amen!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Another walk in the park

Just another walk in the park? Hardly. This is certainly a fun event even on a damp cool morning like yesterday and many of the participants added their own special touches (some teams barbecued after the walk), the big thing though is the awareness and the money that is raised.
 
Since 1987, AIDS Walk San Francisco has raised more than $82 million for lifesaving HIV prevention, testing, and care programs and services, and has grown into the largest AIDS fundraising event in Northern California. I don't know how many times I have written about it here, but every single year I personally come out to the park to walk.  This year I am particularly pleased to have again made it to the Gold Star Walker category again raising $2,702.  (The number could even go higher because donations are still welcome.  Click HERE to give).
 
Like I said, the weather wasn't exactly super, but that didn't hold back the thousands of participants in Golden Gate Park.  It's amazing to see the folks who come out to volunteer and all the many walkers.  It's not just local people who participate either.  I met a number of people who came from southern California to walk and at least a third of my sponsors live outside of California.  This is an event that is all about making a difference and over the years it has done so much.  Again, even though the walk already happened, you can still participate.  Sponsor me or make a general donation to my team or to the event or plan something that will benefit AIDS Walk.  There are also AIDS Walk events in several other cities that you can get involved with too!  Go to http://www.aidswalk.net/ to find out more.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Long Walk to Freedom

It was on this date in 1918 that Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born. We knew him as a lawyer, politician, activist, great leader, philanthropist, and a person who did indeed change the world. His autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, was published in 1984 and I can remember reading it around that time and thinking about how incredibly strong this man was to have done so much and to have endured so much. Mandela presided over the transition from apartheid minority rule to a multicultural democracy in South Africa and he showed the world how people from all backgrounds can work together.

If ever there was a poster person for what this blog is all about, it would be Nelson Mandela.  He was not only a great leader who made a huge difference in this world, but he did it with dignity and grace and a sense of humor. 

In 2009 the United Nations General Assembly created by unanimous approval, Nelson Mandela Day to honor the former South African President and to inspire other people to carry on his efforts to "take responsibility for making the world a better place, one small step at a time." This is the first year the day has been celebrated since his death last December. I urge you to visit http://www.mandeladay.com/ and find out more about this man and about how we all can observe Nelson Mandela Day.
 
It was Mandela that said "There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires." Many of us experience our own long walk to freedom.  Seeing Mandela's life and remembering his words can inspire us and push us forward.  In his words: "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

what a beauty

What a great beauty this land of ours is.  What a great beauty is our life.  What a great beauty we are surrounded by each and every day of our lives.  Look at the trees and the flowers.  Breathe in the fresh air.  Listen to the birds and the crickets and the little children giggling. 
 
Doesn't look beautiful to you?  Look again.  If you live in the big city you may have forgotten that beauty comes in many forms.  If you are in a great hurry ever day you just might miss some of the beauty in our world.  Slow down.  Take the time.  If you become jaded or choose to not open your eyes and your ears, you just might miss out.  There really is so much to see.
 
What a beauty we have all around us though!  Don't take my word for it though.  Open your eyes and take a look!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A woman's place

The woman pictured to the left is The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, who in 2006 was elected as the first female Presiding Bishop in the history of the Episcopal Church in the United States and also the first female primate in the Anglican Communion. This morning our sisters and brothers in England have voted to finally allow women to enter its top ranks as bishops there as well.
 
It was forty years ago this month that eleven women were ordained irregularly in Philadelphia.  A celebration of that historic event and the wonderful ministry of women in the Episcopal Church was just commemorated in a joyous ceremony on Saturday at Grace Cathedral here.  How excellent that there is now one more thing to celebrate.  The Church of England has opened the door wider, although it still might be some time before a woman is actually consecrated as a bishop there.
 
The battle over whether or not women should be ordained as clergy has been a long one and it is certainly not over.  There are still denominations that bar females.  The Roman Catholic Church is known for its "male-only" rule concerning priests and referred to the ordination of women as a "grave delict."  When the Episcopal Church elected Barbara Harris as its first female bishop back in 1988 there were some who thought the Church was doomed, but only good has come because now the Church truly is inclusive.
 
There is a old sexist saying that a woman's place is in the house.  Years ago after Bishop Harris was elected, there were signs that read "A woman's place is in the house .   .   . of Bishops."  I have to say that the news just now from England is fantastic and I hope the world someday realizes the true finish for that sentence - A woman's place is wherever she wants to be!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

When can we see equality?

Do you think that all persons are created equal?  Do you think that everybody should have equal treatment?  Do you think there already is equality in the workplace and everywhere else?  Let me give you a little eye-opener.
 
Race, sex, gender, religion, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, and a number of other things keep separating us in society with one group claiming superiority over another based on any or a combination of these characteristics.  The lgbt community is often on the low end, but let me tell you that prejudice against folks because of race is this a huge thing, and perhaps the biggest target of all is women.  The sad thing about all of this (or one of the many sad things) is that in many cases, folks are discriminating against a group of which they are a member.  Yes friends, and this is particularly true with women. 
 
Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers recently urged her male colleagues to bring policy "down to a woman’s level."  What?  She later complained about being misunderstood when she was quoted, but did not retract her comment. 
 
Yesterday I told you here that the Church of England had finally given the green light to women bishops.  True.  It was good news, but that was only part of the story.  Members of the Church of England can still choose not to recognize the episcopacy of women and request a male bishop!  Oh and the whole hang up in the vote for years has been from lay members (not ordained) of the church which includes both men and women. 
 
The recent Supreme Court decision regarding birth control and employers was also a direct hit against women.  The majority of the justices voting were the male members.  The three female justices voted with the minority, supporting a woman's right to birth control.
 
I bring all of this up, and there are numerous other examples I could cite, because we have a long way to go, but we do need to go there.  No one of us should be happy with inequality because any time one group is discriminated against, we all are diminished - we all are treated unequally.  Let's start standing up for what is right.  ALL of us!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Almost there

Kevin Taejin Kreider is getting closer to his New York City destination.  He's been on the road for just about three months and today left Philadelphia for the last leg of this skateboarding adventure that I have told you about here several times.  That huge backpack doesn't seem to even slow him down!
 
I want to mention that I received a negative comment after one of my previous posts concerning Kevin.  A reader suggested that the cross-country trek was a hoax.  The suggestion was that this was a scripted drama that was being acted out and that nobody was actually traveling by way of a small penny skateboard across the country.  My reader was quite wrong.  This is a real trip.  I have been in direct contact with Kevin and even told him about the hoax suggestion.  I have also been in contact with this manager (Kevin is an actor and model) and I have watched television accounts from stations across the country and read about Kevin in numerous newspapers.  It's quite real, I assure you.
 
Why am I writing about him here?  Well first of all this is quite a journey and that in itself is pretty exciting, but Kevin has also done a lot of amazing things.  He wasn't raising money for charity or trying to call attention to a political cause or even promote his own career, but he did something we all can learn from.  He faced a fear, and in doing that created an adventure. 
 
Before reading of his trip, how many of you had ever heard of alopecia areata (stress-induced hair loss)?  How many of you even knew that stress could be a cause of hair loss?  Without even thinking about it, Kevin Kreider brought attention to a medical condition that most folks do not know about.
 
We who have been following him have also been treated to a wonderful sample of Americana.  We have seen attractions, small towns, big cities, restaurants and diners, and a shapes of hospitality.  Those who await the documentary that will be made as a result of this trip are in for a bigger treat because it will be able to show even more.
 
Are Americans friendly?  Did people act kindly toward him?  Is this something he would ever do again?  Would he recommend that others take a skateboarding trip like his?  Well only Kevin has the answer to these questions, but what do you think?  Please share you thoughts about Kevin and His Skateboard in the comments section below.

Friday, July 11, 2014

On this date

On this date in 1921, former US President William Howard Taft was sworn in as the 10th Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. He is the only person to have held both offices.

On this date in 2007 Lady Bird Johnson, who was not only the 43rd First Lady of the United States, but also a very accomplished businesswoman, died at the age of 94. Mrs Johnson also spent much of her life working on beautification projects and she founded (with actress Helen Hayes) the National Wildflower Research Center.

The talented Yul Brynner was born on this date in 1920. The award winning Russian-American actor was also an accomplished director, photographer, author, and musician.
 
On this date one year ago in 2013, energetic transgender activist Jazzie Collins died, just days after leading another successful Trans March through San Francisco.
 
Many important things have happened on this date in history.  You can add to that.  Go out and do something for others.  Be the groundbreaker.  Be the pioneer.  Make a difference.  Do it today!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Gay Blood Drive Tomorrow

When writing about Evan Low a week ago, I also mentioned the National Gay Blood Drive which is coming up tomorrow.  Gay and bisexual men cannot donate blood in the United States and that is what Evan is trying to change.  He needs our help though.  We have to work on this together!
 
The need for blood is constant and the supply only comes from those who donate.  Gay and bisexual men however are not allowed to donate according to FDA regulation.
 
So what can we do?  Well there are a number of things.  First of all, if you have not already signed the White House petition, click HERE and do that now.  Share it with your friends via email or on facebook and twitter. Call on your elected officials also.  Write letters to the media.  Do anything you can to call attention to this prejudice and the get the policy changed.
 
Tomorrow there will specifically be a call for donations at blood centers all across the country.  Gay and bisexual men can show their willingness to give by showing up with their nongay friends and relatives to donate instead of them.  There is more information, and you can get a shirt too at http://www.gayblooddrive.com/ 
 
Together we can bring equality back to blood drives!  Get involved.  Make a difference!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

kidnapped! you MUST see this!

Were it not for Lance Bass, I might never have heard about this film, but now that I have, I need to tell others! It was part of Slamdance Film Festival and beginning tomorrow it can be seen on Showtime. It's called Kidnapped For Christ and it is one of the most shocking stories I have heard in quite a while. It's about American teenagers who were shipped off to a reform school in the Dominican Republic to cure them of their homosexuality or other sinful behavior.

Now I should point out that the Christian boot camp no longer is in business. That does not mean that the story is over. I have heard of other "therapies" to "cure the gay" and it is really pretty scary to think that places like this exist. The horribly abusive behavior shown here in this film is but an example of other disturbing programs that claim to be helping people but which actually do incredible damage.

Lance Bass is Executive Producer for this film and he is also the host of a SiriusXM Radio program called Dirty Pop! Tune in tomorrow afternoon at 4:30pmPT and hear him discuss Kidnapped For Christ with director Kate Logan. I believe there is an opportunity to call in to the show too.
 
Go to http://www.kidnappedforchrist.com/ for more on this powerful film.  Let's make sure that places like this are never allowed to operate again.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

It's a small world

After writing about Casey Kasem's death last month, I went out for breakfast. Two men in the restaurant were discussing the late radio disc jockey and they just happened to be looking at my blog. (A search engine had apparently directed them there). When they involved me in the conversation, I was smiling as I realized it was my words they were looking at. You just never know!

Back in April I wrote here about Jessica Goldman a woman who was just about to leave San Francisco to run across the country bringing attention to brain trauma and raising funds for the Brain Injury Association of America. A few weeks later I heard about a guy named Kevin Taejin Kreider who was skateboarding across the country. I ended up not only writing about him several times, but also being in direct contact him via text and email. Guess what? The two heard about each other and ended up meeting when they both arrived in New York City yesterday. Small world, huh?

I had nothing to do with the two getting together either. It was a coincidence that I only found out about after their meeting on the George Washington Bridge.

Years ago when I first started writing this blog, I heard a US military officer on national television tell the host that he was gay. I was so impressed with that man and many other things he said and did afterward, that I have written about him often here. Dan Choi and I had never heard of each other that night, but in the years since we have become friends. It's a small world after all!

Monday, July 7, 2014

You are here to enrich the world

It is very pleasing to me when I see someone else say what I am saying here every day.  We are here to make the world better and to give back.  That's what I think anyway, and that's what I write about in this blog.  I know one of the reasons many of you read this is because you agree.  Right?

Thomas Woodrow Wilson, the 28th US President (early 1900s) apparently agreed too. He said "You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand."

Thank you President Wilson. I totally agree!  Let's all keep enriching the world!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Anthony Turney made a difference

Today marks the 238th Anniversary of the birth of our Nation and while all kinds of celebrations will be taking place, I am also waking up to great sadness of hearing of the death of a wonderful man.  The Venerable Anthony Turney was born to eternal life in the wee hours of this morning after a three year fight with cancer.  His passing at the age of 76 came on the 38th anniversary of his becoming a United States citizen. (He was born in England).
 
Anthony was not a close friend of mine, but someone I knew because of his work.  I new him mostly as a deacon in the Episcopal Church, a deacon who truly lived his ministry.  This picture from a Marriage Equality protest (that's him on the right) was typical Anthony.  He did the hard physical work, but also was right at home with arts and culture and even simple things like gardening.
 
I remember seeing him often at Grace Cathedral for Evensong.  What a rich lovely voice he had.  When he was in the room, you knew he was there, and yet he was there boasting or being pretentious. 
 
Usually seeing him in liturgical vestments or at least with a clerical suit, I was amazed to see his incredible physique once at an AIDS awareness event. His work for various HIV/AIDS causes was quite amazing.  He was for a time the CEO of the NAMES Project Foundation.  He also made a number of trips on his bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles as part of AIDS LifeCycle.
 
Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he was one of several people from Grace Cathedral who helped in rebuilding a home for a woman who had lost her home in that disaster.  I wasn't there, but remember the marvelous uplifting stories of people working together, that he told afterward.
 
So many stories will be shared in the days and weeks ahead about Anthony because he truly was that great and I have no doubt at all that we are so much better of because Anthony Turney came our way.  Anthony Turney truly made a difference.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Aim High, Get Low


Evan Low learned the importance of community activism at a young age and served on the Santa Clara County Commission on Senior Care, worked as Director of Government and Public Affairs for the Volunteer Center of Silicon Valley and at the Campbell Chamber of Commerce all while attending college. Since then, he hasn't slowed down a bit. As a member of the Campbell, California City Council, twice selected by them to be Mayor of that city, Evan Low has made a name for himself. In 2009 he had become the youngest openly gay, Asian American Mayor in the country. He continues to work with a vision of a better future for the people he represents and after working as an Assembly aide, he is currently a candidate to represent his district in Sacramento.

While I have never directly written here about Evan, I have mentioned his name a couple of times.  As you may recall, there is a discriminatory practice in this country that prohibits gay and bisexual men from donating blood.  I've written about that several times here and said that the practice needs to end.  There is no logical reason to exclude gay and bisexual men.  Evan Low not only agrees with that, he has been a champion of the cause and a year ago hosted a blood drive where he, as a gay man, was barred from donating. On Monday (July 7th) he will join Representative Mike Honda and many others in San Jose for a press conference to call on the Food and Drug Administration to end the discriminatory regulation.
 
Evan Low is exactly the kind of person we write about here every day.  Evan Low makes a difference!  I have only met him once, but I follow him closely in the news and everything I ever see is positive.  He is genuine.  What you see is what you get.  How refreshing from an elected official!  I so hope that he is elected to that Assembly seat in November and I so hope he is successful in ridding us of the anti-gay bias in blood donating.  I'm certain we will continue to here great things from Evan.  Oh and I love his slogan: Aim High, Get Low.  It so perfectly fits.  You cannot possibly find a person of higher potential than Evan Low.
 
By the way, to find out more about Congressman Honda's press conference, click HERE.  To sign the White House petition in recognition of the National Gay Blood Drive, click HERE.  To find out more about Evan Low and how you can support him, go to http://www.evanlow.com/

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Go ahead. Make my day.

Do you feel like changing the world?  Maybe you'd like to give some gratitude?  Show some love? Be nice? Thank someone?  Make a difference?  Bring a little joy?  How about encouraging others?  Celebrating life?  Perhaps doing all of these?  Go ahead.  Make my day! 

Here to help motivate you on this Wednesday morning are a number of random acts of kindness that you just might want to borrow.  Use them as often as you like.  If you prefer, please feel free to make up some of your own!  You might want to even tell us about some ideas you have - they are most certainly welcome in the comments section below!

Share your smile generously.

Take an acquaintance to dinner.

Sponsor people in fundraising walk-a-thons (like Sunday's AIDS Walk).

Donate time at a senior center.

Give a pair of tickets to a concert or baseball game to a stranger.

Send a gift anonymously to a friend.

Pay for the person behind you in the movie line.

Tell your parents/children why you love them.

Spend some time serving food at a meal program for the needy.

Volunteer to be a tutor in a school.

Stop by a nursing home, and visit a resident with no family nearby.

Have a clean-up party in the park.

Bring coworkers a special treat.

Volunteer to read to kids in the library.

Make a point of finding the name of a supermarket or drugstore employee and then praise him/her through that company’s corporate office.

When drivers try to merge into your lane, let them in with a wave and a smile.

Tell your boss that you think he/she does a good job.

Call or visit a homebound person.

Pay a compliment at least once a day.

Transport someone who can’t drive.

Make telephone calls in support of equality urging others to put aside hate.

Say something nice to everyone you meet today.

Send a treat to a school or day-care center.

Give public testimony about an important civic matter.

Volunteer at an organization that needs help.

Go through your closets and find several nice items and then donate them to a shelter.

Buy books for a day care or school.

Give toys to the children at a shelter.

Volunteer to fix up an elderly person's home.

Buy a pack of brightly colored stickers and give them to children you meet during the day.

Let the person behind you in the grocery store go ahead of you in line.

Give your full attention to someone in need and simply listen.

Invite someone new for dinner, either in your home or in a restaurant.

Say nice things randomly to facebook and twitter friends.

Buy some bottles of water and randomly hand them out to strangers on the street.

Drop off a plant or a plate of cookies to your nearby police or fire station.

Clean graffiti from neighborhood walls and buildings.

Buy a stranger a free pizza.

Give a bag of groceries to a homeless person.

Give coffee to people on their way to work in the morning.

Leave a treat or handmade note of thanks for a delivery person or mail carrier.

Treat someone to fresh fruit

Sing at a nursing home.

Open the door for another person.

Leave an extra-large tip for the waitperson.

Tell a bus or taxi driver how much you appreciate their driving.

Give another driver your parking spot.

Give flowers to be delivered with meal delivery programs.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE

Well with the Pride Celebrations behind us you might think I have nothing further to say about LGBT matters.  Wrong.  Until there is full equality and until discrimination and hate crimes are all things of the past, there is still much to say.
 
It comes down to just one word:  love.  Love is the answer.
 
I was part of a conversation with several people last Wednesday morning and one of the told a priest who was part of our chat that all of his sermons were about the same thing:  love.  Yup.  He gets it!  Love is the answer.
 
It's not just an LGBT thing.  Whatever problems we are facing, throw in some love.  Seriously.  Look at any situation with love as part of the equation, and the answer becomes clear.  I don't mean to oversimplify here, but try it.  I know you will find I am correct.  Just add love.