Monday, October 31, 2016

Boo

Every Halloween I think back to this lovely lady who used to live across the street from my grandmother. She decorated her porch, entryway, and much of her house. The trick-or-treaters weren't just greeted with some candy at the door, they were invited in! This was back in a kinder, gentler time when strangers did nice things for others. Each year more and more kids showed up as the word got around.

I can't remember this lady's name but everyone on October 31st called her the Halloween House Lady. Once inside you could help yourself to apple cider or cocoa, popcorn balls, homemade lollipops, and you could bob for apples. There was spooky music playing and she always had some kind of costume. It wasn't my neighborhood, so I didn't know most of the people coming and going. Nana walked across the street with my sister and I, but I think a few times we went over by ourselves. The big thing I remember was everyone left her house happy. We had fun.

In many parts of this country, it isn't safe to go door to door and it certainly wouldn't be safe to go into a stranger's house and eat unwrapped food and candy. Too bad. This lady made a difference. She brightened people's lives. MANY years later and I can still remember like it was yesterday!

Friday, October 28, 2016

I found something better

Maybe it was because I last night heard Aretha Franklin's signature hit "Respect" or maybe it was a scene I was recalling from the 1966 comedy film The Trouble with Angels, but something suggested I write this today.
 
First the scene from the movie.  An all girls school run by nuns is the scene and the Mother Superior is talking to one of the students about her own youth when she was a seamstress and had dreams of becoming a designer.  The student asks why she gave it up, and after a reflective pause, Reverend Mother says "I found something better."
 
Picture if you will, a high school boy asking a girl out on a date.  He asks just any girl because he wants to be sure of a yes answer, but all the while he is hoping for a yes from a more popular girl, whom he eventually asks.  Having gotten that yes from the girl he really wanted to go out with, he drops the first girl like a hot potato.  He found something (actually someone in this case) that he felt was better.
 
Now these are different situations to be sure, but the point I am trying to make is that we sometimes make changes for the better, but we don't always play fairly.  The girl in the second example certainly didn't get a good deal.  How about when you are choosing teams for basketball and the poor player always gets chosen last? 
 
Recently an organization sent out invitations to a number of people asking for someone to come and speak at an event.  They really didn't want just any of them though.  The first person who said yes was thanked and told when and where the event was and she was expecting to be the speaker - that's what they had told her.  A few days later the organization received a late response from one of the others that they had invited.  The late responder was a bigger name and so they dumped the first in favor of this new person.  Were they playing fair?
 
Think about these situations.  When, if at all, is a good time to go with something better?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Share a little tea

Is you life at all hectic?  Try though we may, there are moments of tension or stress that would could just seem to not be able to get rid of.  Sometimes we try to do too much or we let things we cannot control overtake us.  Good advise often is to simply slow down and relax and maybe share a little tea.
 
All of life's answers are not simple ones.  Sometimes we need help.  Never should we feel alone or under a huge weight of burden that we cannot handle.  Certainly I don't have all the answers!  If we really want to change the world though, one things we can do though that is an awful lot of help, if to be present for others!
 
When things get overwhelming, remember there are professionals out there too.  Don't let stress or worry overtake you.  Slow down and relax, and if you feel you need it, get help.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

what is the color of happiness?

First of all tell me, are you happy?  Is there something special that makes you happy?  Don't take a lot of time.  There might be several things or perhaps you are just a happy person.  Now, close your eyes for a moment and think of that happiness.  Does a color emerge?  Red?  Pink?  Blue?  What is the color of happiness?
 
Now you may think that I have lost my mind, but there is a point I want to make.  Science might say that there is indeed a happy color.  I say happiness is EVERY color, because happiness is EVERYwhere!  Yeah, we all have bad days and it's certainly normal to feel down sometimes, but even when things are bad, there can be happiness.  I don't have a lot of money, for example, but I am happy I know how to prepare a wonderful meal for just pennies.  Have you ever seen a homeless man with a big grin and wondered what he could possibly be happy about?  There are so many reasons to be happy.  So very many.
 
Am I blue?  That usually means depressed.  So blue is a bad color?  No way!  I say they are all good.  Look around you and see all the beauty.  Smile at the abundance of colors.  Be happy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

a better world

Sometimes things that we take for granted - things that are around us all the time, can bring us inspiration. Last night I was just half listening to music being played in store where I was shopping. Suddenly I found myself thinking about the lyrics. I was almost singing out loud because the words spoke to me.
 
The song I was hearing was Michael Jackson's Heal the World from back in the early 90s. If you have never heard it before, look it up and give a listen to the while thing. The words that particularly grabbed me were these:

"Heal The World
Make It A Better Place
For You And For Me
And The Entire Human Race
There Are People Dying
If You Care Enough
For The Living
Make A Better Place
For You And For Me"


 
It wasn't just entertaining.  It was energizing.  The words really stirred me and I am more determined than ever to make this a better world! I hope you will join me!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Clothing the world

When you think of the basic needs of life, shelter and food immediately come to mind.  There is a third very important need too, and that is clothing.  Some of us have WAY more than we need, while others can hardly cover themselves.  There are shelters for the homeless and meal programs too, but we don't hear as much about the clothing.
 
Years ago I belonged to a church that had a large barrel into which members of the parish would dump their clean unneeded clothing.  It was pretty simply.  You emptied your closets of things you no longer needed or wanted and brought them to the barrel.  We visitors came to the church they searched through the barrel for things that might work for them.  Of course there was no charge.  Some places with sufficient space have more elaborate programs where clothes are sorted and placed on tables, shelves, and racks and in addition to receiving donations from members, they also do clothing drives, seeking to increase their inventory with donations from around the neighborhood.
 
I recently heard about some wonderful organizations that are also helping to clothe the world.  One is called World Clothesline and I invite you to visit their website to find out more about them http://www.worldclothesline.com/ - you can buy some really nice things, which also helps them to reach more people. They match every item sold with a new item for someone in need.
 
Stores operated by The Society of St Vincent De Paul, Goodwill, Out Of the Closet, and others sell clothes at very reduced prices.  Often they will have brand new, never before worn clothing.  They rely on donations too.
 
So here is the word I have used over and over - donation.  These clothing programs work because people donate.  So it comes down to all of us.  We have the power to cloth the world.  We simply have to do something.  Oh donations can come in many forms.  We can give our own clothes or collect clothes from others.  We can donate money to help pay for necessary supplies or to buy new clothes.  We can also donate our time to help make these programs run.  So let's all pitch in - we can clothe the world - we can change the world!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Are you rich?

It's amazing to me how so many people measure wealth. Do you own your house? How many cars to you have? What about jewelry? Stocks? Money? Do you consider yourself rich?

Okay, that might be an odd question to ask, but I want you to think about it for a moment.  Are material things important to you? Are you waiting for that big break? Do you dream of marrying a wealthy spouse? Are thoughts of a huge inheritance frequently in your thoughts?

I wanted you to think about this for a moment because if material wealth is always on your mind, perhaps its time to rethink.  Maybe you already are rich, but just in another way.  The everyday heroes we talk about here, are heroes because the put more importance on the everyday. Perhaps rich is really a state of mind. Take a closer look at the blessings already in your life, and you will discover riches of a more important kind.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Rounding Up

You may have noticed lately that a number of retailers have been asking if you would like to round up your purchase to the nearest dollar, with that change going to their designated non-profit. I was in a restaurant recently and they did that, and today it happened in a store where I was picking up a few things. What a great idea! Stores have long asked for donations to one charity or another, especially at certain times of the year, but this way, they are actually doing you a service too. So many folks paying with a debit card actually prefer for the numbers to be round and when you pay with cash, do you really want that seventeen cents? (What can you do with a dime, nickel, and two pennies anyway, except save it for the next transaction)?
 
Of course the customer can go even farther. Instead of rounding up to the nearest dollar, the customer might feel particularly generous and offer to round to the nearest five or ten, so a bill that is $13.79 could be rounded up to $15. We aren't talking about huge amounts here, but when this adds up, think of all the good it can do!
 
Now, I now that money doesn't grow on trees and there are some who really cannot afford even that extra nickel. That's okay. It doesn't make you a cheapskate. You really should make sure that you have taken care of yourself and your family above all else! I'm just saying this is a good idea and I'm glad so many places are making use of it. I think we might even be seeing an increase in generosity.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Too busy to be a Good Samaritan?

I'm sure you have all heard the term Good Samaritan before.  It is used as a common metaphor, applying to any charitable person, especially one who rescues or helps out a needy stranger as in the Biblical parable.  (Luke 10:29-37).  How many of us have it in us to truly be good Samaritans?  How many of us are too busy with our daily lives to even take a second to help?

As I have written here over the years, there are many different ways of helping out people in need.  Yes, sometimes we don't have a lot of money to give, but it isn't always about money.  There are certainly other things we can do.  Give a little time.  Give a little thought. Look at your neighborhood with fresh eyes. Where are the needs? What do you see, hear, smell, touch? What is it that YOU can do?
 
Feeding the hungry might seem huge, but how about bringing an extra sandwich in  your lunch and giving it to the first person you see who is hungry?  You can also buy fast food gift cards to give out to people you see who need a meal.  (These generally range in price from ten dollars up).  Eating out?  Pack up what you didn't finish and give it to someone on the street.  Volunteer at a soup kitchen or food pantry.  Donate canned goods.  What else?  Be creative!  Share some ideas with us.
 
Being a good Samaritan is something we can all make time for and there are many ways to do this.  Will YOU find the time, or are you too busy?

Monday, October 17, 2016

more

More.  Some of us are never satisfied.  Some of us always want more.  How can we do more though?  What can we do to make more of a difference in this world?  Where are the folks that already are doing more? Day after day I write here, but do I have all the answers?  Of course not!  Together though we have a lot of answers though, certainly more of them.
 
So what do YOU think?  There are more ways of doing things than I have written about here.  Can you share some ideas?  The more who contribute here, there more answers we will have in the end.  Come!  Join in the discussion!
 
I want to change the world for the better and I am doing ________ to achieve this.  What would you put in the blank?  I hope we hear from many of you.  Share some more of your good ideas!

Friday, October 14, 2016

anyway

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious order (which consists of over 4,500 sisters and is active in 133 countries), once said "By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus." It is no wonder that I admire her so!

Mother Teresa did and said many wonderful things during her lifetime. One of my favorite quotes I refer to as her "anyway" message:

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

Thursday, October 13, 2016

questions

Is this the first time you have read this blog? Have you been here before?   What made you stop and read this?    Do you know what this blog is all about?    Do you share our desire to spread good and to make a difference in the world?    Do you think it is important to give back to society?    Are there things that you do purposely to make a difference?    Would you like to share some of them with us (in the comments section below)?    Do you have any heroes?   Can you think of more ways to spread good?    What inspires you more than anything else?   Do you think you can take a few seconds to answer any or all of these questions?   Do you have any questions for us?   Do you think you will start to follow this blog regularly?