Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Ripple Effect

Yesterday was my birthday and a number of people did some very nice things to help make the day extra special. Some of those people I hardly know and one of them said to me that  she loved making people happy because it makes her happy. She said it was a ripple effect. Indeed.

I know I have told the story here many times about how each one of us can do what seems like a small thing, but when someone else also does it, and than another person, and another, and still another, it keeps growing. It's that ripple effect. Each ripple gets a little bigger.

I'm not the only one who has talked about this before. The late Senator Robert Kennedy said "Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, it sends out a tiny ripple of hope." That's a pretty encouraging message.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Grocer to the Lower Ninth

Hurricane Katrina formed as Tropical Depression Twelve over the southeastern Bahamas, ten years ago today. Five days later, shortly after Katrina was upgraded to a Category Five storm, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin ordered the first-ever mandatory evacuation of that city. He called Katrina "a storm that most of us have long feared." The devastation was unbelievable, in several regions, but especially in New Orleans. Some estimates say that 80% of New Orleans evacuated, and in the Ninth Ward, return has been slow. Until recently, there were no stores in the Lower Ninth, and with no place to shop for simple groceries, it was difficult to attract residents.

Meet Burnell Cotlon and his wife Keasha. They wanted to make a difference, and so using their life savings, and with the help of a GoFundMe campaign, they opened up a market last fall. It was an immediate hit! There was nowhere else to shop in the neighborhood, and many who life there don't have cars or enough money to pay taxi fare every time they need to buy basic items like milk, bread, or rice. The Coltons have filled a need and they aren't finished yet. They want to expand their store and fill it with just about anything their neighbors might need. They even ask for suggestions. Oh and they want to open a Laundromat too, since there is no place for people there to wash their clothing. They are hoping that the success of their business will cause others to want to return to an area that the rest of New Orleans seems to have forgotten.

When I first heard about these wonderful people I couldn't help but smile. It's always nice to see neighbors helping neighbors. It's great to see a business with a heart! That they keep wanting to do more is so encouraging too. It is costly to start such an endeavor though and so they have set up a new GoFundMe campaign, specifically so they can expand and bring in refrigerators for more food, as well as washers and dryers. You can help. Click HERE to go to that campaign and donate any amount. Let's all pitch in and help the "Grocer to the Lower Ninth," do even more!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

hashtag

Waking up this Saturday morning, I find the phrase "Make someone's day in three words" trending on social media. Of course twitter is offering it up with a hashtag and using the numeral 3 instead of writing out the word. What did we ever do without hashtags? (By the way, did you ever refer to it as a number symbol or pound sign)? #hashtag

Anyway, this particular hashtag got me thinking. Three words. Pretty hard. How can you make someone's day using just three words? Let's see what we come up with. Off the top of my head there is Enjoy your day, You're really special, Be the change, You thrill me, oh and of course I love you. I'm sure we could come up with more.
 
That's what I'd love to see you come up with - more ways to fulfill this hashtag.  Send out your own tweets or list them in the comments section below.  Oh and go ahead and use them as you go about your business today.  It's a party!  Make it happen!  No work today.  Beer's on me.  Make my day.  Let's do dinner.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A very real debt we can't ignore

Debt. Nobody likes it. It becomes particularly hard to get out of debt. We all need to live within our means. In this case, we need to live within the earth's means. Today is a commemoration, but not a day of joy and celebration. Today instead should be a day of action. Today is Earth Overshoot Day.

So what's it all mean? Well, each year our planet is only able to produce a certain amount of natural resources — trees, wetlands, lakes, and such. Today we go in debt to the Earth. Yes, today is the approximate time when our consumption for the year exceeds the earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources this year. Yikes! That to me sounds pretty scary! Of course we don't run out, because we borrow from what we don't even have yet, from our future generations.  Of course if we end up borrowing too much, then they end up with nothing!  The idea of course if to consume less so that we don't exceed what the earth is capable of producing, and also to replenish by helping out our planet and cleaning up our waterways and planting trees.

When scientists first started computing this, the overshoot date was in December, but the past few years it has been in August, and it gets a little earlier every year. The still is time to do something though. There still is time to get out of debt, but we have to want to. We have to get involved. Become more aware. A good place to start is the World Wildlife Fund: http://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/overshoot-day
 
This is a very real debt we can't ignore folks.  We need to do something today and I urge you to get others involved as well.  Talk to your family, friends, and coworkers.  Write to your government officials.  Help save the earth!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Guitar Song

Bill Anderson III is a beloved songwriter, country music singer, and television personality. Some forty years ago I had the great pleasure of seeing him perform at the Grand Ole Opry back when I lived in Nashville, Tennessee. Anderson did a lot of game shows back then too. You may recall seeing him on Match Game or Password. Oh and he also appeared for several years on the daytime drama, One Life to Live. Well good old Bill Anderson just did something that was extra special.

It seems customer pawned a guitar a few months ago at Bell Road Pawn Shop in Phoenix and the pawn broker saw the name "Bill Anderson" etched inside the guitar's sound hole. Well he knew who Anderson is, after all, he's pretty famous. So he contacted Anderson's secretary and told her about the guitar. The guitar meant something to Anderson. It was old, but was his for may years as he was writing and singing those early hits. The pawn broker wanted him to have it too, so he simply gave it too him. How amazing in an age when greed seems to color so much of what folks do. Anderson was thrilled and flew the pawn broker and his wife to Nashville and then invited him to present the guitar on the sage of the Grand Ole Opry. For the pawn broker, it must have been the thrill of a lifetime!

One person did a good deed and another rewarded him for it. How wonderful! Of course just doing the deed can be reward enough. Seriously. What a good feeling it is to know you have done something so great for another person.

Of course Bill Anderson is already one of those special people we write about here. He's been making people happy for many years.  Oh and one more thing.  Anderson co-wrote "The Guitar Song," which he sang that night at the Opry and it's about a guitar that is gathering dust in a pawn shop!  Oh my!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

You warm my heart

There have been so many heart-warming stories in the news lately, I am truly joyous! Just when you are ready to scream because of all the negativity, along comes some inspiring stories that remind you that there is a lot of good in our world. We need not give up or run out of hope. I know that it is hard, but try to see the complete picture.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is such a great source for those "feel good" kinds of stories and I am thankful that this wonderful woman is such a giver. My local newscasts have been looking at the good side of things more and more, and I am really encouraged by that. Time was when gloom and doom was the mainstay for tv news programs. Oh and then there is Go Inspire Go. I know I have mentioned that many times here, but there is always something heartwarming from them. Check out their website at http://goinspirego.com/ and you can see on their homepage how you can also follow them on twitter and facebook.

The story I told you about country great Bill Anderson, and the news of Frank Gifford's passing and all the love in that family, and a local restaurant here in town that is helping a huge amount of people harmed by a devastating fire, all examples of things I have heard lately that have truly warmed my heart. What have you heard lately that has been heartwarming for you? Have you also noticed a lot of inspiring tales? Please share some of them with us in the comments section below!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Death of a Giant

Anyone's death is of course a sad occasion, but when we learned yesterday that Frank Gifford had passed away at the age of 84, a particular kind of sadness fell over me, because here was a man I had known about my entire life. He was an NFL superstar and then we went on to broadcasting where he also excelled, and he was a very public husband and father whom we frequently heard about from his wife. Yes there was a bit of a scandal or two, but it really wasn't our place to judge, because his family moved forward.

Everything I ever heard about Frank Gifford on the football field or in the broadcast booth, was positive. To say that what I heard about him from wife Kathie Lee or his two youngest children (he had three other children from his first marriage) Cody and Cassidy, was positive, would be the biggest understatement. People gushed with love for this man, and it seems that the feeling was mutual. Frank was also a big supporter of the Dana’s Angels Research Trust and other charities and helped create Cody Gifford House and Cassidy's Place, named for his children.


"How would you like to be remembered?" he was once asked, during an interview. His response: "First and foremost, as a good father. Who had a job to do and he did it well. A better husband this time than I was the other time. Somebody who cared passionately about playing the game, reporting it properly, kept my life in the right perspective. Never believed I was something I wasn't. And rarely believed I was what I was."

Seems like a great way for any of us to be remembered! With love to your family and friends who more, I want to say thanks for the memories Frank. Rest in peace.