Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Wheels on the bus go round and round

Back when I lived in San Francisco, I rode the bus nearly every day. There was a lot of complaining about the buses being crowded at certain times of day, or about them running late, but it was still a pretty good way to get around. When I saw the same driver and he or she would smile or call me by name, that was a nice warm connection that seemed to melt other problems away.

Dealing with so many people every day would seem to be a pretty tough job, and yet most of those bus drivers were so good at their task. It particularly warmed my heart when they gave you a "bonus" like the drivers that sang out the stops or who made those extra announcements, especially when there were some jokes thrown in.

Recently a friend of mine told me that he had lost his wallet while riding a bus. Losing money is never good, but when your ID and credit cards, and all those other things you carry are gone too, it can ruin your day. When the mail came a few days later, and it contained his wallet, that was a lovely surprise! Enclosed with it was a simple note: "I found this on my coach. Signed, Bus Driver." He wanted to get it back to its owner, but didn't care about any thanks, so didn't leave his name or any kind of identification. What a nice driver!

The operators of public transportation preform an important service. Too often we moan about the negative moments and ignore all the positive. The next time you ride a city bus or taxi, let your driver know they are appreciated.

Monday, January 30, 2017

In the beginning

In the beginning this blog was about making a difference.  The reason I started writing it was because I want to make a difference.  I want to change the world.  I figured if I looked for various ways to share with you, some of it would rub off on me along the way.  The more hometown heroes I encounter and write about here, the more ideas I get for things I can do to truly benefit others and make a difference in this world of ours.  In the beginning I had a handful of ideas - now I have tons of ideas and I get more and more every day.
I have been so very fortunate to hear about many amazing people who are doing wonderful things and really are making a big difference for the better.  I've even met some of these people and it warms my heart to see the generosity of spirit that exists all over our country.  We all too often hear of the bad things that are happening, but there is also a lot of good.  It's a great joy to tell you these various stories here every morning.  I hope that you enjoy reading my words here.  Do feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section below and feel free to share this with your friends too.
In the beginning I thought I might write this occasionally or perhaps for a year or so.  I had no idea that I would spend so much time on it and that I would be telling you stories here day after day and year after year.  I intend to continue too because there are so many stories to be told.  Do you know of someone who is making a huge difference in our world?  Tell me all about it and I'll happily share the story here.

Friday, January 27, 2017

My dear friend

I want to tell you about my dear friend, but my policy has always been to not write about private people without their permission, and he really doesn't want any attention.  I respect that.  I'm still going to write about him though because he is really one-of-a-kind.  I just won't reveal his identity.
This guy is special because he is always positive and upbeat and he get great pleasure out of making other people happy.  He is hardworking, the picture of health, and honest as the day is long.  He has the perfect smile and a wonderful sense of humor.  I cannot tell you how many lives he has positively impacted, but is a great inspiration to me just to know him.
He care about his family too, and his friends.  It's not just strangers that he brings happiness to.  It seems like he makes everyone happy!
Oh and did I mention generous?  He will think nothing of picking up the check in a restaurant, even he picked it up the last time you went out and even if you desperately insist that you really want to pay.
Now I'm not saying everyone should be like my dear friend.  I'm thinking that would be impossible.  How wonderful this world we be though if there were more caring folks like him though!  How wonderful indeed.

Monday, January 23, 2017

many hands make light work

Okay so you want to change the world.  Pretty tall order, huh?  Guess what?  You don't have to do it alone!  If we each get involved - if every one of us does something positive, the mission can more easily be accomplished!
I'm sure you have heard "many hands make light work."  The source is not known for certain, but it is believed to be one of the many sayings of playwright John Heywood.  It simply means that large tasks become small when divided among several people.  The same thing is true when you are trying to raise funds for a charity.  If your goal is $500, you can ask one person for that amount, but it might not be within anyone's budget.  If ten people gave you $50 though it is much more workable.
Spread it out.  Get more folks involved.  Everything becomes so much easier!  Small actions by many people can equal big change indeed.



Monday, January 16, 2017

Why we can't wait

Today is the day we remember the great leader, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr and all the lessons he taught us. Dr King has been dead longer than he lived, but his legacy will be eternal, and for good reason. He had ideals. He was a man of love and of courage and of the belief that we really all are equal, and that everyone should be treated that way. Dr King didn't put things off hoping the next day would be brighter, he worked in the here and now, and encouraged others to do the same thing. His Letter from Birmingham Jail, written on April 16, 1963, gives us examples of why we need to do something NOW. There is an urgency that you can clearly see in this one sentence, that points out that waiting is not the way to go.

"But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your 20 million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your 6-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a 5-year-old son asking in agonizing pathos, “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs;” when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness;" then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait."

The same kind of urgency is always present when people are being treated unfairly. When people of color are being slaughtered by police officers, when our transgender sisters are being murdered just for being themselves, when elected officials take away healthcare from millions of Americans all in the name of politics - these are times when we can't wait. These are times when we must get involved and do something. What good is whining about an election, or about unfair wages, or about gun violence, or about racism or homophobia, if we are going to just sit back and allow things to stay as they are? Did we learn nothing from our brother Martin?

Wonderful ceremonies are taking place across the nation today, and numerous programs are reminding us of the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, but the biggest thing we need to remember is that when something is wrong, we can't wait. We need to get involved. We need to follow Dr King's lead, and do everything we can to bring justice to all.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Shrink-wrapped life

You have probably heard jokes about the shrink-wrapped furniture that some folks have in their house.  Don't sit on the couch.  It might get dirty!  I've actually been to homes where the chairs and sofa are covered with plastic.  People actually try to save their furniture for special occasions and to keep them clean.
I suppose nobody wants a dirty couch, but guess what?  It's supposed to get dirty!  It's supposed to get used!  You bought the couch to sit on, not to use as some sort of museum piece.
We can put all of our possessions on a shelf and save them for just the right time, but who decides when that right time is?  Do we really want to lead a shrink-wrapped life?  "Don't smile too much - it might cause wrinkles."  Oh the things I hear sometimes.  "My friend gave me that and I'm saving it for just the right moment." 
That bottle of wine, your plastic covered furniture, the jewelry you have in that seldom-opened box - it ALL should be broken out now!  What are you waiting for?  Don't waste your life looking for moments still to come.  Embrace what is already here.  Just being alive is a special occasion.  Being part of humanity is something that should be enjoyed every single day.  Don't keep waiting for a special occasion.  The special occasion is already here!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Start each day with YES!

Sometimes with all the negativity in the world, it can be difficult for us to stay positive, but I have found it helps to have a very simple resolve: start each day with YES!  Our minds are powerful tools though and sometimes just thinking something gives us a very good boost.  Having a yes kind of attitude can go a long way!
Now I won't make believe that there are not any problems in the world.  Certainly there are many.  Can we solve every single one of them?  Probably not today.  We can make a start though.  We can do some good.  Of course changing the world means believing in yourself and your ability and trusting and believing in other people.  It's a tall order I know.
Think about the opposite though for a moment.  You wake up in the morning and ask if it's going to be a good day.  NO!  Am I going to eat a nice delicious breakfast?  NO!  Will the commute to work be an easy one?  NO!  If you begin each day with negativity, there is no chance there for a smile - no chance for a happy day.  Even when something bad happens, no matter how minor or how big, shrug it off believing that better things are coming.
Yes, I'm going to have a good Monday!  Yes you are too!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

show the world your joy

Ever notice how small children always seem to be happy? Why can't the same be true for adults? Yes, every single moment of our life is not necessarily magic, but I think we could have a lot more joy if only we tried a little more!

Babies and small children are really good at showing off their happiness too. It seems there is something else we could copy from them!

Someone once said that life is not about making others happy. Life is about sharing your happiness with others! Even those little tiny happy moments are worth sharing! Show the world your joy. You just might be surprised at the results!