Thursday, November 26, 2015

There's always reason to be thankful

The inaccuracy of the first Thanksgiving story we generally hear, is causing more and more people to re-think any kind of celebration this day. Just what are we to be grateful for? Genocide? Certainly not! I do understand how uncomfortable it is to tell that untrue tale and to romanticize those Pilgrim-Indian feasts though, so  let's stop doing that!

Wait a second though. I'm not saying there is nothing to be thankful for. I'm not saying a harvest festival is a bad thing or that being grateful for the good things in our lives is wrong. We just need to make some changes. First, let's stop telling the untrue story and admit our past horrible deeds. Next, let us move forward, vowing to never do anything like that. Let's also look at the good things we have done and the good that have happened in our lives. Our ancestors committed horrors, but they certainly did some positive things as well. We might personally have never done anything that can be described as horrible, but we can still apologize on their behalf. Then, we need to move on.

The good in our lives can and should be acknowledged. There's always reason to be thankful. Did you have food to eat last night? Did you have a warm bed? Do people love and care about you? Look! There is reason for gratitude right there. Gathering family and friends together and having a good time over a meal, is not a bad thing to do.

Thanksgiving Day has baggage to be sure - in fact, with the atrocities committed, baggage is an understatement. I'm not suggesting we should ignore it either. Perhaps we need to re-invent the day. My suggestion though is that we continue to give thanks; that we continue to gather together. Let us do so honestly though, making reparations for our past, and looking ahead with thankful hearts for all the good that we can be.

Monday, November 16, 2015

a slice of pie

Pie. I love pie. Here in San Francisco, where I am visiting, there are so many places where I can get some good pie! My favorite is strawberry-rhubarb, but a nice cherry pie is good, and pumpkin is quite satisfying too. Now I know this blog is not about me. It's about making a difference in the world, so what does pie have to do with that?

Happiness is one of the greatest things we can experience, and different things make different people happy. Pie is one of the things that makes me happy. Do feel free to tell us about some of the things that make you happy. I remember an old time television program where the maid was always giving slices of pie, or sometimes fresh homemade cookies, to people. It made them happy. I had some wonderful neighbors once who did the same thing. There would be a knock at my door, and one of them would be standing there with something delicious for me to eat. My mom's landlady did it with bread. She was always baking bread, and there would always be an extra loaf for Mom. If you haven't tasted fresh hot bread, straight out of the oven, you are missing out.

Do you bake? Think about sharing with someone. Bring cookies in to school or to work. How about that deliveryperson who is always doing extra things for you? A slice of pie (or even a whole pie), can be quite a reward. You get the idea.  You can easily make someone's day with very little effort.  A slice of pie might not change the world all by itself, but what a delicious way to start! 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

In Memory of Mom and Wilson

There are great people you meet along the way, who inspire you to do great things yourself. For me, my mom Teddy Fritts, and my friend Wilson Fang were two such people. I'm in San Francisco this morning to do something I have done a number of times before, but today I do it in their memory. Cancer is a terrible things, but they both fought with courage, and both lost their battles way too soon.

The Light the Night Walk is a fundraising campaign benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and their funding of research to find blood cancer cures. Walks take place on various dates at cities all across the country. In addition to raising money, they also raise awareness. Before each walk, there is also a remembrance ceremony which is very strengthening for the participant. I try hard each year to let folks know I am doing this, so I can raise a good amount of money and really make a difference. If you have been touched by any cancers, you might like to donate money or to even participate in a future event. To sponsor me, just click HERE. ANY amount can be donated.

Mom and Wilson were an inspiration, and I miss them both. Tonight I join with so many others to Light the Night in their memory. Find out more and get involved too at http://www.lightthenight.org/

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

They who served

It was November 11, 1918, the end of “the war to end all wars.” The following year, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day, saying "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations." In 1954, it became Veterans Day.

This is not a day about war or about loss of life. Today honors military veterans regardless of whether they served during a time of conflict or peace, and it isn't about those who perished in the line of duty (Memorial Day honors those people). Today is for all persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It used to feature parades, and speeches, and special tributes to military personnel. These days retail stores use it as an excuse for a sale. One positive thing is that more and more businesses do special things for veterans on this day. Numerous restaurants across the country are giving away from meals to veterans today, for example.

You'll see a lot of mention on social media today about veterans, and certainly it's a very good thing to join in that. Remember they who served in our military. Say thank you to a vet!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Joyful moments

How much joy do you have in your life? I'm not talking about money or wealth or how many friends you have or how well known you are. I'm talking about genuine bliss. What brings you happiness? Do you even take the time for joy or are you to busy with the kids or the job or trying to impress someone?

I'm still fairly new to this neck of the woods (almost a year here) and so I am frequently discovering new things. I my daily morning walk, I go in different directions and sometimes encounter small animals, especially rabbits or lizards, or I might see some gorgeous flowers or other plant life. It's amazing. I have found myself smiling at some pretty simple things, even at the window of a newly opened downtown business.

Joyful moments seem to be more and more frequent. Want to be happy? Allow yourself to be! That may seem odd, but seriously, take the time. Allow yourself some joyful moments. You deserve it!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Read all about it

Recently there seems to have been more horrifying violence all across our nation and around the world. I could list the instances of hate crimes, police brutality, terrorism, and various other terrible news stories, but you already know what they are. What about good news? Is there any? Isn't it time we saw more of that?

What I try to do here each day is tell you positive stories, and there are many of them. I talk about ways we all can get involved and make things better, and I talk about those wonderful people who are already doing just that. There are tons of heartwarming tales that deserve to be told. The mainstream media may not spend much time on it, but that doesn't mean there is no good news.

Of course you can help too! Have you heard about an individual or an organization that is doing something really great? Leave the information below in a comment, so we can read all about it. Share this blog with your friends too and invite them to tell some good news stories that we can all benefit from.

With Thanksgiving coming up soon and then all of the end of year holidays and celebrations, we generally hear more of those positive stories. How wonderful to remember that while there are bad people doing good things, there is still a lot of good in this world!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Baby it's cold outside

Although winter doesn't officially come to the US until next month, the temperatures have already dipped in a number of places. Here in Arizona where I live, it's been down in the 30s every night this week, and we even had a significant snowfall already. Now is a good time to remember your farm animals or pets and to especially remember the homeless who are outside all the time.

Nice clean warm socks, sturdy shoes, and warm blankets to cover yourself, and of course a good sturdy overcoat are all so very helpful to those in need. A Texas organization called Project Warm Us can use donations and volunteers. Find out more at http://www.projectwarm.us/ A Nashville based organization called Soles4Souls distributes shoes to needy people and, I'm told is also now distributing coats. Their website is https://soles4souls.org/ There are churches and other organizations in communities across the country that do collections and give these things to the needy. Check around where you live, and if you don't find anything, consider beginning a program of your own. The thanks you get back will warm your hearts!

When I lived in San Francisco, we had an annual memorial for people who died outside on the street. Many of those died because of the cold. Most of those deaths could have been prevented. Let's step up and do something.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Keeping Bonnie Franklin alive

These days we can regularly see her talent on reruns of One Day At A Time, and videos from Applause are available HERE. Bonnie Franklin was a brilliant talent with a zest for life. A few years ago, when she passed away, I wrote about her here and what a giver she was. Death didn't put an end to that.
 
Bonnie Franklin lives on in so many ways: the performances I just mentioned and also in a splendid charity she founded a few years before her death, that brings theatre to schoolchildren in Los Angeles. It's called Bonnie Franklin’s Classic and Contemporary American Plays, and I hope you will take a few minutes to check it out.

Now in their 15th season, this incredible idea continues to be a reality thanks to wonderful volunteers and generous donors. One of the reasons I am bringing this up, is because we all can help. One of her old tv co-stars has begun an online fundraiser and donations of any size will help. Click HERE to go to that fundraiser and donate or just get more information. You can also visit the organizations homepage at http://bfccap.org/

The National Endowment for the Arts, Pico Playhouse, The Broad Stage, the Friends of Bonnie Franklin's CCAP, and wonderful individuals like you are all helping to keep Bonnie Franklin alive. Such a wonderful program. Do share it with others, too!