Friday, May 29, 2015

Some late May updates

Earlier this month I wrote here about several things you could get involved in, and since some ask how things turn out, I wanted to give you a few updates this morning. Let me first go back to last month and tell you about a lady many rallied for and then a few more recent events. If you ever wonder what comes next, please feel free to add comments below, and I'll come up with some answers.

Back in April, I wrote about Joan, an active San Francisco volunteer who was about to become homeless. Well her problem is permanently solved, but things are much better. The original post is HERE. In 28 days, $4,396 has been raised in a GoFundMe campaign for Joan. Some folks took her cat in and she has been "couch surfing" (going from one home to another for a few nights at a time) thanks to members of her church. Hopefully the money will help her find something lasting, but of course she is in one of the most expensive cities in the world! Donations (any amount helps) can still be made HERE.

On May 13th, I introduced you to Mike Nguyen, an incredible guy who is soon to leave for a couple years in the Peace Corps.  He's going to be doing incredible work there and could use a bit of help for some supplies and emergencies.  It's been almost two weeks and only a tiny bit of money has been raised ($530).  The work he will be doing in Zambia is important.  Click HERE if you can help.  His blog (HERE) will give you future updates.

I recently wrote here about AIDS Walk (HERE is that original post) and I am thrilled that several donors have come forward it the past few days.  This is an important cause too, and I would be honored to have your support.  Go to https://sf.aidswalk.net/michaelfullam to donate.

My blog post from May 19th got more attention than anything I have ever written here, except for when I posted about my mother's death. It was titled What Jesus said about homosexuality and in the space where my message usually appears, there was nothing at all. I had several rude comments (which I didn't allow to be posted) saying I was against Jesus, or that I was stupid. Some folks didn't get it at all. Jesus never preached about homosexuality, at least not according to the Bible, and that was my point.
 
Thanks for reading these messages.  Now, I think we are all updated!

Monday, May 25, 2015

The greatest gift

I say this every year, but it's important to remember. Today is not about sales or races or picnics, although there is certainly nothing wrong with doing any of those things. Today though is a special day of remembrance. It is NOT the day we honor all who have served in our military. It is good and right that they be remembered, but there is a special time, Veterans Day in November which celebrates the service of all US military veterans. Today has a different purpose. Today we remember the fallen.
 
It is good and right that we should remember such a sacrifice. (By the way, this was originally Decoration Day after the US Civil War, a time for the people across the country to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers).  These days we remember them at their gravesites with flowers and flags and we remember them in our minds and in our conversations with others who knew them, and in our prayers.  We remember that they gave the greatest gift: themselves.

To serve in the armed forces is already a huge gift to our fellow citizens.  Men and women in uniform protect the security of the nation and help in times of disaster.  It isn't always a war that is being fought, but that is a part of it.  It doesn't matter is we believe in fighting or not.  This day is not a political on and it isn't about beliefs of philosophy.  This is a day of giving thanks and remembering all those people who gave their lives.  Take a moment today to think specifically about any you know who may have died over the years and remember those whose names are not known as well.  They gave the greatest gift.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The hope of Milk

The US Supreme Court will decide within the next month or so whether marriage equality will be the law of the land. Folks are hopeful. Same-sex marriage is now legal more places than ever and people are hopeful that someday all barriers will be gone. Ireland is voting right now on the matter and is poised to leave tolerance far behind and replace it with true equality. These are the hopeful things that Harvey Milk spoke about.

Today is the birthday of that American politician, Harvey Milk, who became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California and who in death, became an lgbt icon. Because of his legacy, today in California is a day which is annually recognized as a day of special significance for public schools. Last year on this date, the United States Postal Service issued a new forever stamp featuring Milk's face. Recognition of an lgbt hero - certainly a hopeful sign.

It was way back in 1978, not long before an assassin's bullet would end his life, that Milk told crowds "you have to give people hope." There are still hate crimes and there is still discrimination, and many lgbt people might see the future as hopeless, but it is not. More and more people are standing up to bigots and haters and saying enough! Change, even though it may at times seem slow, is coming. I think Harvey Milk would be hopeful.  I think there are many positive events around the world that are indeed giving people hope!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Red Nose Day

One of the things I have said here for years, is go out and find a creative way to help other people - to give back to the world. Red Nose Day has done just that. The very first Red Nose Day is today, and it's a delightfully creative campaign dedicated to raising money for kids living in poverty by simply having fun and making people laugh. There's a tv special with big stars. Walgreens stores are selling red clown type noses to raise funds. That's only a tiny bit of it all though.

The public is encouraged to get involved. Put up a red nose picture of yourself on facebook, for example. Help raise money. Share information with friends. There's a whole bunch of ideas HERE on the official event webpage.  Of course you can donate money too.
 
If you see folks running around with red noses today, smile and be happy that folks care.  Get involved too.  This is really an easy one!  Stop by a Walgreens and get yourself a red nose - while you're at it, get one for all of your family!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Walks Continue

I've written here about AIDS Walk so many times and I am grateful that so many participate at AIDS Walk events all over the country. I've been very fortunate to have many personal sponsors, although there is always room for more donations!

There are some people who have forgotten about those early first days of AIDS and there are some who think there is already a cure.  No so.  That's why I walk.  That's why I write about it so often.  That's why so many caring people are passionate about this. 

Today is AIDS Walk New York, one of the biggest each year. My best wishes to everyone there in the Big Apple making a difference. If you are not near New York, you can still make a contribution to that event, of find an AIDS Walk that is nearer to you. There are several here in Arizona, the state where I now live, but I will be going back to San Francisco for the 21st time participating in their event. To sponsor me, just click HERE.

AIDS is still with us, and we need to keep on fighting.  Tomorrow is HIV Vaccine Awareness Day - to learn more, click HERE.  This Tuesday is National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.  More information on that is HERE.  Stay informed.  Do what you can.  The walk continues .   .   . until there's a cure.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Help for a hungry man

Lately I have been seeing a lot of kindness in this world, and that is such a wonderful thing! This story, reported by WTVD in Durham, NC, is one you may have already heard.  Other outlets have picked in up in the past day or so, and many are springing to action.

Here's what happened: an 81-year-old North Carolina man had been hospitalized for months of cancer treatments, and when he returned home, he hadn't even thought about the cupboards being bare. They were though - he had nothing at all to eat and nobody to turn to, so, it being an emergency, he called 911. Well in some cities they may have ignored his call, but in this case, the very operator who he spoke to, along with police officers, went to his house with food. It was very touching. Oh and that operator even made him sandwiches while she was there!

According to news reports, the Fayetteville Police Department is working with a local church to make sure the man's future needs are met. His cancer is seriously slowed him down and some reports suggest he may not have long to live. It's nice to see folks helping to make sure his end days are comfortable. The Fayetteville Police Department (at 910-433-1529) welcomes any assistance that might be offered to help.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

one little word

Really want to make a difference?  Make sure this word is part of your vocabulary:  thanks.  It's pretty simple - when someone does something for you, however big or small, say thanks!  When people say it to me, it really makes my day.
 
During the course of the week I do various volunteer efforts and I really enjoy giving of my time and hopefully helping the life of other people.  I don't have any great expectations of something coming my way as a result of what I do, but you know what?  I get something often - a thank you!
 
Wow!  It's really hard to describe, but when someone indicates that they appreciate what you just said or what you just did, that is a pretty special feeling.  I'm going to try to be more conscious of saying it myself. 

Auctioning for Saint Dorothy's

There is a wonderful facility in Northern California, operated by the Diocese of California, that hosts all kinds of great memories. It's called Saint Dorothy's Rest, and I have written about them here before. (Click HERE for my words from last December).  I could go on and on about how great this place is and what a difference it makes in so many lives.  Check out there website at http://stdorothysrest.org/ and find out a whole lot more.

Looking for a place to support?  This is it!  There are many ways of giving as you can find HERE, including giving them items on their wish list.  There is also an online auction with a whole bunch of great things to bid on.  These fun and unique items are being auctioned to raise money in support of Saint Dorothy's Rest's Hospital Camps. Beginning today and going through June 7th, you can bid on a chance to sponsor the new stained-glass chapel windows, a weekend retreat and guided hike at Saint Dorothy's Rest, dinner for up to eight people served in your own home by Saint Dorothy's kitchen staff, a 14K Gold - 12 diamond ring with a story that is sure to warm your heart, and several other items. Check out the entire list (with pictures) and place your bid, by clicking HERE.

Saint Dorothy's Rest is amazing, truly amazing!  It's the oldest camp in California, and serves children, youth, and adults.  I have never heard anyone not be impressed.  Here is a wonderful way to help more people become acquainted with this place and it's programs.  Give them a closer look, and get involved in that auction, a truly inspired fundraising idea.  Let the bidding begin!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love

Remember that slogan "The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love"? It was for the Peace Corps, where nearly 220,000 Americans have served in 140 countries since President John Kennedy created the Peace Corps 54 years ago. You might have been one of them, or perhaps you wanted to signup, but just didn't. A friend of mine is about to go, and I don't know if the slogan will apply to him, but I do know he is about to do some pretty amazing things! His name is Michael Nguyen, and he has already done amazing things.

It was just after Christmas when I heard that Michael had accepted an invitation to serve in Zambia, Africa. I smiled. I know he is up to the task. It's been that way when he organized fundraisers, or parades, or HIV testing. If Mike is doing it, you know it's going to work out. Since I have faith in him, and already knew about how great the Peace Corps is, I settled back in hope of an occasional update.

Let me tell you, there is going to be a lot of information. Mike has begun a blog and has already started posting, even though he is still a few weeks away from leaving. To stay up to date, check it out at https://2yearsinzambia.wordpress.com/ and to find out more general information about the Peace Corps (or to volunteer), click HERE.  I'm sure I will have some updates here during the next two and a half years, too.
 
One more thing - and this is important.  Mike has a big expense in getting ready and could really use a hand.  He needs journals to remember this mission, a sleeping bag, some sturdy boots, a dependable hiking backpack, and various emergency supplies.  Any idea how expensive this will all be?  There's a fundraiser at http://www.gofundme.com/zambiamike to help raise some money.  Click on that link if you can donate - ANY amount (yes, even if it's just a dollar or two), and share this with your friends too!  Thanks and watch the adventure ahead.  I'm certain Mike will have some inspiring tales from Zambia!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Free Food!

Remember that peanut butter and jelly restaurant in Warr Acres, Oklahoma that I told you about last month, or the Philadelphia pizza place I wrote about earlier in the year? They are doing an amazing job of feeding the homeless, and many other restaurants are helping out. I just heard on facebook of a place in Leeds, England called Taste.

Deli owner Gary Hendrickson has a sign posted in his window which says "If anyone is homeless or otherwise and in need of a hot meal or a hot drink, please ask a member of staff inside. We guarantee total discretion." 
 
The food they show on their facebook page (such as the stuffed potato and salad shown above), looks truly delicious, but what really warms my heart is that here once again is someone who cares about others and doesn't want to see them going hungry.  Taste is a place I will definitely stop in, when I am in that area!
 
If you know of other restaurants that are helping to feed those who would otherwise be going hungry, tell us about them in the comments section below.  Oh and when you hear about these businesses with a heart, be sure to patronize them.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Maypole

It was fun when I was just a kid. We danced around the maypole. Looking back, I realize how much work was involved just in making this thing. My teacher was like that though. She was always creating things for her students. My aunt had been in this same teacher's class many years earlier and she told me that was how it was then. My sister was fortunate enough to follow and be the beneficiary of this gifted instructor a few years later.  Letha Sines was her name. 

Of course the first day of May, which is referred to as May Day in many parts of the world, is famous for a number of things. There is some kind of commemoration on this day in much of Europe and North America. In Hawaii, this is Lei Day, celebrating island culture.
 
Somehow though, despite all the different kinds of celebrations that might occur, I always find myself thinking back to sixth grade and a teacher who made a maypole for us to dance around.  She is the only teacher that I think about often, because she truly made a difference!