Thursday, August 31, 2017

Harvey's Heroes

Amidst all the sad and horrible scenes of destruction we are seeing in Texas and Louisiana, left by Hurricane Harvey, we are also seeing so many heartwarming pictures as well, with countless heroes springing into action.  It always amazes me how tragedy can bind people together working for a common good.

Harvey is being called the worst disaster in Texas history, and full recovery is expected to take many years.  So far there are 50 confirmed deaths, numerous injuries, and property damage around $190 billion.  Many of the homeowners were not insured.  But as gloomy as the picture is, so many people are digging into their pockets and donating money to help folks they have never met.  I'm hearing stories of neighbor helping neighbor clean out their water-damaged properties.

The Humane Society of the United States, Catholic Charities USA, American Red Cross, Lutheran Disaster Response, United States Equestrian Federation, Episcopal Relief & Development, and AmeriCares, are just some of the organizations providing help to the victims of the storm.  Any one of these is a good place to donate if you want to help.  Some of these organizations also coordinate volunteers who want to go there (and other disaster sites) to help in the various ways needed such as public health, cleanup, and construction.

As time goes by, we are seeing more and more heroes.  I urge you to join them in whatever way you can.  Our country is strong and these people will rebuild, especially when we all pull together!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Stand with Texas

Now is not the time to argue about what Texas has done politically or they lifestyles of certain cities or what is liked or not liked about the Lone Star State.  When people are in trouble, the thing to do is to come to their aid.  Texas, and the Houston are in particular, is most certainly in trouble and they can use our help!

Right now they are still in the rescue phase.  Thousands have been trapped by the rising waters.  Relief is also important.  Shelters are in place and more may be needed.  Once everyone is safe and accounted for it will be easier to determine what additional assistance is going to be needed.  Then comes recovery and rebuilding.  Because of the severity of the damage, this could take a long time.  One thing that will determine how fast Houston comes back, is how many stand with her.  The more hands and the more money, the easier and faster the recovery.

The news keeps changing, so it is difficult for me to say with accuracy just how things are right now, but one thing is certain.  Texas can use our help.  Pray for them.  Donate for them.  Volunteer for them.  In other words, do something, if you are able.

Many organizations are working to help victims of Hurricane Harvey and I would suggest that you use a reputable group such as the American Red Cross, Team Rubicon, Catholic Charities USA, and Trusted World to make a donation. The Greater Houston Community Foundation is also taking donations.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The wrath of Harvey

Over the weekend the Gulf Coast felt the wrath of Hurricane Harvey, the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005 (which ended a record 12-year period with no hurricanes of Category 3 intensity).  Fortunately the winds did not cause the extreme damage that they might have, but the rain has been another matter.

There is intense flooding in Texas, especially in the Houston area.  I'm sure many of you have been watching on television and via social media.  The conditions have been heartbreaking.  While it is good to see how folks come together there with neighbor helping neighbor, Texas is going to need a lot more help.

What we are hearing right now is that money is of the most use.  Various organizations are setup to receive donations, and if you are able, I urge you to give.  I've seen a lot of negative comments on the internet about people thinking about the situation in Texas and offering prayers.  Some have said that "thoughts and prayers are useless."  I disagree.  There is never a bad time to think good thoughts about those in need and there is certainly never a bad time to pray.

Harvey made landfall with wind gusts up to 132 mph, causing property damage and knocking out power, but then came the rain.  Texas got the worst of it, but the storm still poses a threat to Louisiana.  As horrible as it has all been, the stories of heroes have certainly been beacons of hope!

Monday, August 28, 2017

It's NOT about sashimi

You are correct if you think this blog is NOT about me. Oh and today, it's NOT about sashimi. (Did I get your attention though)? Actually I just wanted to remind you that your comments are certainly welcome here every day. You might even give me some ideas of people or events to share with everyone. Oh and I have two blogs (yeah I suppose a bit of self-promotion would be about me, but thought you might not know).

Five days a week I write something here about making a difference in the world. I've been writing these now for nine years. Last fall I also began a daily blog about kindness that you can find HERE. Those entries are short and hopefully inspiring - often I quote others.  Read them both.  Comment on both.  Share them with your friends.

What could be better than a nice plate of salmon sashimi?  Why hearing from dear readers of course!  Today just happens to be my birthday, and even though this blog is NOT about me, birthday greetings are welcome!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Let us all unite!

A marvelous scene by Charlie Chaplin from  "The Great Dictator," a 1940 film where he condemns Hitler and the Nazis calling them "machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts," really got me thinking last night.  There is a great remix of this speech from the movie with Chaplin's voice over images from the present, showing how the words spoken then are still true.

I urge you to take a few seconds and watch the video by clicking HERE.  Then take a few more minutes and think about it.  We can do so much.  Our hate and distrust for other countries, other religions, other races, other sexual orientations, other anything needs to end.  We need to put aside hate - ALL hate.

In his speech, part of what Chaplin says is "You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let's use that power, let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness."

What a marvelous goal:  a united world!

Monday, August 21, 2017

The sun ain't gonna shine

As everyone already knows, the moon will photobomb the sun for a while today, and will cause the sky to darken completely within a 70-mile-wide band that begins in Oregon and extends southeast across the country to South Carolina, with Nashville being the major city to experience the event, the.first total solar eclipse in the US since 1979.  If you are not within that area, you still may experience a dramatic partial eclipse, or you can simply watch on television.

Over the weekend, I read a lot about this spectacular happening and watched video, including Frank Reynolds' coverage of the last one.  (Reynolds, by the way, was an outstanding newsman, and someone I can say made a huge difference in our world).  I found it interesting that we will experience another total eclipse in just seven years, whereas the last one was thirty-eight years ago.  Oh and I learned that eclipses don't all last the same amount of time.  For this one, much of the country will experience the eclipse for about an hour and a half, but the peak of the eclipse will last only for about two minutes and 40 seconds.

Of course none of this has anything to do with making a difference in the world.  I thought some of you might be interest, but it really is off-subject.  Please forgive me.  I'm sure there are a lot of cool stories related to this, and some might include actual heroes - people who really do make a difference.  Maybe you would like to share one in the comments section below.  Meanwhile, I hear my radio playing "the sun ain't gonna shine anymore" and "Total eclipse of the heart."  Let's make this a great day!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

For him it makes a difference

Another one of those "internet parables" came my way the other day, and although you may have heard it, this one again is worth sharing. Like others I have shared here in the past, I have no idea who the author is.

It seems an old man was going for a walk one day when he noticed a little boy feeding a thin, shaggy looking dog with bits of bread. He went up to the boy and asked him why he was sharing his bread with the dog.

The little boy answered, "Because he has nothing. No home, no family, and if I don’t feed him he will die."

"But there are homeless dogs everywhere," the old man replied. "Your efforts don’t really make a difference."

The little boy looked at the dog and stroked him. "For him, for this little dog, it makes all the difference in the world."

I wish I knew who wrote this because they get it so amazingly right. Did you ever hold back from donating money or food or anything else because you could only spare a small amount and thought it wouldn't make a difference? If we all fed those homeless dogs - if we all fed those homeless people, it would make such a difference. I'm thinking we just might wipe out homelessness!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Jeff Adachi is a hero

Jeff Adachi is a hero. He is indeed making a difference in this world. There. I said it upfront in case you don't want to read this all the way through, but I can tell you more.

Adachi, the elected Public Defender for San Francisco County, oversees an office with over 150 staff, including 100 lawyers. He's not just the manager though. You will just as likely see him in the courtroom, fighting for his client. I just read that he has tried over 100 jury trials. He does what every attorney should do, but what so many don't. He looks out for those he represents. 
There's also Jeff Adachi the film maker. Check out The Slanted Screen, You Don't Know Jack: The Jack Soo Story, and America Needs a Racial Facial to find out what I mean.  This would especially be a good week to check out that last one, an eight minute film about race in this country.  (The other ones are noteworthy too, dealing with the underrepresentation of Asian actors in the US film industry).

Adachi is an annual participant in the LGBT Pride Parade in San Francisco and a huge group from his office usually accompanies him.  You'll also see him on the evening news, speaking out whenever there is a local injustice, and raising his voice to see that justice prevails.

I could easily go on and on about how this man has made a difference in the lives of many, as an attorney, a film producer, and an activist, but trust me - Jeff Adachi is a hero.  Our world could use more folks like him!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Disgusted by the hatred

This was not a weekend to be proud of.  On Friday night, things began with a large group of white men carrying torches though the University of Virginia  campus in what they called a “pro-white” demonstration, protesting plans to remove a statue of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It quickly spiraled into violence Saturday morning and at least three lives were lost.  Many voiced opinions over the weekend, but none have condemned the hatred as strongly as Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

On Saturday morning, Governor McAuliffe declared a State of Emergency saying in part "It is now clear that public safety cannot be safeguarded without additional powers, and that the mostly out-of-state protesters have come to Virginia to endanger our citizens and property. I am disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence these protesters have brought to our state over the past 24 hours. The actions I have taken are intended to assist local government and restore public safety."

On social media there were some who made jokes.  Seriously.  How can hatred and prejudice be funny?  Some leaders made statements, but didn't condemn the hate and the violence.  There were Confederate and Nazi flags and salutes and there were even supportive messages from the Ku Klux Klan.  Terry McAuliffe was quick to condemn all of the violence and hatred.  "You pretend that you are patriots, but you are anything but a patriot," McAuliffe said, with Charlottesville's mayor and police chief beside him.  "We are stronger than you," he added, speaking to white nationalists.  "You have made our commonwealth stronger. You will not succeed. There is no place for you here."

The Democratic Governor would be heard from several times over the weekend.  There were counter protests as well.  There was a lot of anti-hate comments on social media, but will that translate into action?  It is clear that a huge racism problem exists.  Will the haters be driven away though or will everyone just forget about it in a day or so?  Governor McAuliffe said he was "disgusted by the hatred."  Shouldn't we all be disgusted?

"You are not patriots," Governor McAuliffe said at his press conference. "You came here today to hurt people and that is not patriotic.  My message is clear.  We are stronger than you. You will not succeed. There is no place for you here and there is no place for you in America."  Governor McAuliffe should inspire us all - there should never be a place for hatred in America.

Friday, August 11, 2017

A trip to Barn Sanctuary

Animals are such wonderful creatures. I've always enjoyed the visits I have made to farms and to the woods where all kinds of animals exist in a nice peaceful setting.  I've written here before about the importance of treating all animals with decency and respect, but I want to mention the Barn Sanctuary, which I just heard about.

Now generally I like to have a lot of information about any organization I write about, but I just couldn't wait.  I saw a tv news report and immediately said "What a great idea!"  It seems that in Chelsea, Michigan there is now a place that provides shelter to cows, horses, turkeys, pigs, chickens, ducks, sheep, and goats who have been rescued from cases of abuse, abandonment, and from natural disasters.  I watched videos and pictures on their facebook page, and my heart melted.

As I said, I don't know a lot about them, but I intend to find out more.  They do have a website at that does a great job of telling their story and how we can all get involved.   I'd love to take a trip there, and they will soon be open to the public.  Until then, be kind to all animals.  They deserve our love and respect just as much as humans do.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Oh and speaking of hospitals

Well, since I am still not feeling great, I think I will re-tell a story today and since I was talking this week about health and hospitals, this seems appropriate.  Occasionally I've shared stories here that are not my own, and this is one of those. This has been floating around on the internet, and I have no idea who wrote it, but please read on for a moving tale.
"Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for endless hours.

"They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, and where they had been on vacation.
"Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.
"The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.
"One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band, he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.
"Days and weeks passed.
"One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.
"As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.
"Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall!
"The man called the nurse and asked her what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, 'Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.'"

Great story, huh? As I said, the author of this is unknown. You may have even read it before, but I think it is worth seeing again. I was very moved when I first read this story, and I hope it touches you as well.  Do share this with others too. That's what encouragement is all about.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Gentle on my mind

The incredible singer, songwriter, musician, tv host, and actor, Glen Campbell died yesterday morning at memory care facility in Nashville.  We will remember him for "Gentle on My Mind," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman," "Galveston," "Rhinestone Cowboy," "Southern Nights," and many other hit songs.  We will of course remember "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour" on television, along with his many other tv appearances and his film roles in "True Grit" and "Norwood."  To say that Glen Campbell brought joy to people for many years, would be an understatement. 

Campbell is forever been known for his final years as well.  It was inn June of 2011 that he announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.  At a time when most people would want privacy, especially celebrities, Campbell let the world have a glimpse of this disease and how it was effecting him.  We also heard reports from friends and family members and listened to him perform one more time.  Campbell's courage in revealing his illness brought more attention to Alzheimer's.

Please go to to learn more about the disease and what is being done.  This is an organization that Glen Campbell supported.  A donation in his honor would certainly be appropriate.

All day yesterday, tributes came from performers and others who had worked with Campbell over the years or who had been touched by his talent.  Please feel free to add your own memories in the comments section below.  Also, donations can be made to the Glen Campbell Memorial Fund, by clicking HERE.  Forever he will be gentle on my mind.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


As I mentioned yesterday, I had a health concern this past weekend. I know this blog is NOT about me, but it almost didn't happen. There was pain yesterday and again today. They cool thing is that it is getting better. (By the way, I have always posted something here, except right after my mother died back in 2013. Originally I even wrote on weekends, and I still do another seven-day-a-week blog about kindness).

I remembered though that the health care workers I mentioned yesterday make a huge difference in this world, and so do many other people! I'd love to tell you about every single one of them.

Thinking about all of those marvelous folks is a wonderful tonic for me - perhaps even a form of pain relief.  Think about all of those who do good for others - doesn't that make you feel great.  Let's join them, even if we have one of those "Ugh!!" kind of days.  Let's all get involved and make this a better world!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Love those health care workers

It was not my plan at all to spend the weekend in hospital, but that's what happened. I won't go into details, because this blog is NOT about me, but I will say I am okay and there is no need to worry. I also want to say that health care workers are incredible!

In the past few days I got to see nurses, aides, technicians, phlebotomists, physicians, and any number of other hospital employees, not only dealing with me, but I could overhear their interactions with other patients.  So much caring!  If the whole world was like the people I have just encountered this weekend, we would never have anything to worry about.

Being a nurse or any health care worker, makes a difference to other people.  Think about the work they do the next time you visit your doctor.  Be sure to say thanks!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Still more of my favorite quotes

There are famous quotations that have become a part of our daily lives.  Sometimes we even get confused as to the source - is it from The Bible?  from Shakespeare? I'll bet there is a favorite of yours that I haven't mentioned in the ones I listed these past two days.  Do feel free to share it with us! 

Yesterday I quoted John Lennon and indeed many great sayings come from songwriters.  Think of a favorite lyric and the meaning behind it.  Think about how powerful some song words have been to you.

Encouraging statements are the ones that stick with me the most.  Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once made a very encouraging statement that is like an anthem to me:  “The purpose of life is to live it."  Indeed.

Perhaps the most encouraging of all statements for me is one from Blessed Paul the Apostle in his letter to the Romans.  Saint Paul said "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  To that I'll simply say, "Amen."

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Some more of my favorite quotes

Once I started this yesterday, a bunch of additional quotations came to mind.  There are really a lot of profound things being said.  Here are some more -

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." –Maya Angelou

"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life." –John Lennon

"The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be." –Ralph Waldo Emerson

"You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take." –Wayne Gretzky

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover." –Mark Twain
More things to think about.  Perhaps some of you will act on these.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Some of my favorite quotes

Sometimes people say things that are so profound, they are quoted over and over again.  These are some of my favorite inspiring thoughts from some folks you may have heard of -

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." –Benjamin Franklin

"You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try." –Beverly Sills

"When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it." –Henry Ford

"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." –Albert Einstein

"It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years." –Abraham Lincoln

"If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough." –Oprah Winfrey
A few things to think about today.