Kind Hearted Challenge – August Edition

We all know how, of late, kindness, respect, compassion, and the like seem to have gone by the wayside, right. Last night, a blogging friend shared a blog titled “Cyranny’s Cove”, and specifically the post I am about to share. I love the concept … one act of kindness a month. That isn’t too hard, is it? What if everybody in the world followed this … tried hard to bring ‘kindness’ back into our society? Anyway, take a look if you will, and let’s help Cyranny spread the word, okay?

Cyranny's Cove

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Happy first day of August, Lovelies!

As you might know, I have been waiting for a while to post this, and I am quite excited to finally launch this new, monthly Kind Hearted Challenge!

What is the Kind Hearted Challenge about?

It is really simple… First of all, it is not a challenge per se, but more an invitation to take a moment and think about doing kind things around you. You don’t have to participate every month, and if you join in, you have all month to complete your mission.

I think that spreading the word out is the best way to get at least a couple of people to think “You know what? That’s really easy, I think I’ll give it a try!” There are so many free, easy acts of kindness that we can do in our everyday life… Things to make other people around us…

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Shared Words … Shared Feelings

I wasn’t going to have an afternoon post today, for I have an overwhelming amount of things I must get done today, but then my friend Herb tagged me on something on Facebook this morning, and as I read it, I realized it sums up what the majority of people in the U.S. are feeling these days.

A Message to Trump Supporters
by Mike Miller

‘A message to all tRump supporters:

When this national nightmare is over….and it WILL be over, hopefully sooner rather than later….and the country is returned to normalcy, order is restored, and patriotism and common sense replaces bigotry, hate and stupidity, don’t expect to regain the stature you once enjoyed as a citizen and return to the society you ransomed to placate your hate. Everything this country once stood for….everything better men and women than you sacrificed their lives to protect and preserve….everything we held dear to our hearts, was cast aside, thrown away, denigrated, defiled, stepped on, ridiculed, and despised by you in order to support the most corrupt, dishonest, fascist traitor to every occupy the people’s house. 

When our free press told you the truth about him, you rallied behind his cries of “fake news” and supported his attack on our free press. 

When fake “chrisitan” religious frauds attempted to hijack religious freedom in order to force feed their own deluded brand of bigotry and hate disguised as “christian values” you stood by and let them stoke your inbred prejudices.

When the same mindset that turned Germany into Nazi Germany in the 1930’s tried to establish a foothold here, you again showed your true colors and instead of quashing it in its tracks, you abandoned the spirit of this country, forgot history, and allowed its hatred and division to seep into our society. 

When healthcare was taken away from the most at-risk of our society, you allowed it to happen.

When children were denied food and healthcare, you supported it.

When innocent African-Americans were murdered by law enforcement, you remained silent, only to finally raise your voices in disgust and hatred when they knelt in protest.

When children were murdered in schools and sane gun legislation was called for, you sided with the gun lobby and decided that the murder of school children was more favorable than sensible gun laws.

When hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens were denied their constitutional and human rights simply because of who they chose to love, you allowed discrimination and hate to overtake your sensibility and relegated them to second-class citizenry, using YOUR “religious freedom” as the rationalization for the hatred you hid behind.

When environmental policies that demanded clean water and clean air were thrown aside in order to coddle to the monetary interests of the polluters, you remained silent.

When policies that assisted the homeless, the elderly, the needy, the hungry, the veterans, the retired, and the sick were systematically nullified and terminated in order to transfer that tax money into the pockets of billionaires, you turned a blind eye to their struggles. 

When children seeking refuge were taken from their parents and housed in cages, instead of outrage you supported the victimization and maltreatment of refugees seeking asylum. 

When the reputation of this country and our commitment to our steadfast allies were trashed in order to appease our most rabid enemies, you supported the traitors who betrayed the country and everything we once stood for. 

In every instance where compassion, civility, sympathy, acceptance, inclusion, humanity, fairness, justice, and respectability were needed, you supported the policies and the people who showed no compassion, no civility, no sympathy, no acceptance, no inclusion, no humanity, no fairness, no justice, and no respectability to anyone whose very existence they disregarded and refused to legitimize. 

So again, when this is finally over, don’t expect to be accepted back into the society of the REAL Americans you stabbed in the back simply to legitimize your own prejudices.

At every turn….at every chance….at every opportunity, when you were called on to support the foundation and pillars that this country was built on, you looked the other way and were willing to support those who were tearing down those pillars and destroying that foundation. You had no qualms about sacrificing this country to justify your own intolerance. When the choice was to support your country and its constitutional guarantees for everyone, or support the traitor who has worked tirelessly to destroy those constitutional guarantees, you chose the corrupt wannabe dictator over the constitution. Please know that there are many of us, this person especially, who truly love this country, and are intelligent enough to see the damage your misguided support of this administration has reaped. I, for one, will NEVER FORGET and NEVER FORGIVE you for the choice you made and what that choice did to this country.’

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Good People Doing Good Things — Dynamic Duos!

It has been a while since I’ve focused exclusively on young people doing good things, but these are always so uplifting … it is so heartwarming when we see kids who already have compassion and genuinely want to find ways to help others.  So, today, I would like to introduce two dynamic duos, brothers and sisters who work together to do good things to help humanity.


Julianna Gouthiere remembers when she was six years old, her mom telling her a story about a time when a fireman gave her a stuffed animal at the scene of a motorcycle accident and the impact it had on her mom’s life.  She turned to her mom and said she wanted to do that — to give stuffed animals to children in hard life situations.

Julianna in 2013 and in 2018

Julianna is eleven now and the founder of Bear Share.  Her project donates new stuffed animals to children going through difficult life situations. As of December 2018, Bear Share has donated over 16,000 stuffed animals in 6 states (Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, and Florida) and 2 countries outside of the United States (Africa and India).  Now that, in itself, is an awesome thing for a young lady of so few years, but wait … there’s more.

Joey in 2015 and 2018

Julianna’s brother, Joey, older by two whole years, saw what his baby sister was doing and wanted to do something of his own, so he founded Geaux Green, to encourage everyone to do their share in taking care of Planet Earth.  In the first few months of his project, he was able to secure a recycling container for his former school, A.C. Steere Elementary. He also adopted the garden there and had regular work days for 3 years where he and others picked up litter and took care of the garden. Hundreds of people have joined Geaux Green and are helping to keep their localities clean.  His short-term goal is for every school in Caddo Parish (Shreveport, Louisiana) to begin recycling and to stop using styrofoam for its meals.

The two together have formed a 501(c)(3) called Geaux Show Lovegeaux show love

Check out their website … I think you’ll be impressed by the sheer energy of these two young siblings!

Now, lest you think these are small things … sure they are, but folks, remember … these kids were only 6 and 8 years old when they started these projects … and already they have made a difference in people’s lives.


And yet another brother/sister dynamic duo are Alexander and Allison Wu of Lexington, Massachusetts.  It all started when 6-year-old Allison learned how to make origami cranes. She made a hundred of them to help Japan recover after a tsunami. For each crane that was donated, a company gave 1 dollar. Japan could use the money for housing, food and other things that they needed.alex and allisonAfterwards, she sold origami crafts at the local Farmer’s Market sale with her friend.  The following year, her brother Alex became her assistant. Alex and Allison worked very well together.  After selling at the local Farmer’s Market for five years in a row, together they decided to help others in need and to raise money for children.origami-1Proceeds from their origami are donated to Housing Families, Inc.,  an organization that provides shelter to homeless families.  Alexander’s goal is not only to raise money, but also to raise awareness about homeless families and their unique struggles.  In addition to selling origami, Alex tutors children at the shelter, organizes a holiday boutique called “Housing Families Holiday Boutique,” where homeless families can select gifts for each other, creates Birthday2Go boxes that include the necessary supplies to host a child’s birthday party, and curates cleaning supply kits for families transitioning into new homes.alex and allison-2Working together, Alexander and Allison have mobilized their peers to support Housing Families Inc. by contributing origami creations and by purchasing items from Origami4Kids to support the cause. More than 200 children and parents were able to celebrate the holidays this past year through the Housing Families Holiday Boutique, 25 children had birthday parties with the Birthday2Go boxes, and ten families cleaned their homes with the cleaning kits.


One thing that stands out about these young people, as well as the ones I have written about in the past, is that at such a young age, they are doing for others, selfless acts of humanity.  Where, do you suppose, they get their values?  I think we also need to give a ‘hats off’ to their parents, for they must be doing something right to be raising such conscientious young people.  If this world stands a chance for survival, our fate is in the hands of young people like these.

Remembering …

Good Monday Morning, friends.  Jolly Monday will return in its usual format next week, but for today, without apology, I am doing something a bit different.  I came across something that I felt was a timely reminder and important for us all to read, to think about, to remember.  This came from a Facebook page I follow, the Jon S. Randal Peace Page.Peace Page

In 2005, a foreign army made its way toward the southern border of the United States.

As the convoy and troops passed Mexican villages on its way to the U.S., people in the villages cheered, waved, honked car horns and rang bells to support the mission of their troops.Mexican armyThe Mexican army, its trucks emblazoned with large Mexican flags, crossed the border at Laredo at dawn and advanced up Interstate 35, arriving in San Antonio later that day. The Mexican Navy would also send ships, buses and helicopters. It was the first Mexican military operation on U.S. soil in 90 years.

Mexico had sent its people to help and feed their neighbors – tens of thousands of homeless and hungry Americans displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

To backtrack, in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. It would be one of the worst disasters in U.S. history, and it became obvious very early on that U.S. aid agencies and relief/support was overwhelmed. People in Mexico were horrified to see scenes of floating corpses and botched relief efforts.

Mexican President Vicente Fox would send his condolences to President George W. Bush, saying, “In the name of the people and of the government of Mexico, I assure you of my deepest and most sincere condolences for the devastating effects caused by Hurricane Katrina”. He would also instruct the Secretary of Foreign Affairs its neighbor to the North would be provided with any kind of help that was needed.

“This is just an act of solidarity between two peoples who are brothers,” said Fox’s spokesman, Ruben Aguilar.

The Mexican government, with support from its citizens, would send a 45-vehicle convoy, which included two mobile kitchens, three flatbed trucks carrying mobile water-treatment plants and 15 trailers of bottled water, blankets and applesauce, according to CBS News.

The 195 Mexicans taking part included military specialists, doctors, nurses and engineers.katrina-mex-2According to the Washington Post, the Mexican soldiers set up camp at a former Air Force base outside San Antonio, where they distributed potable water, medical supplies and 7,000 hot meals a day for the next three weeks.

The Mexican army even brought beef to serve their neighbors, but the USDA blocked the distribution. Undeterred, the Mexicans bought their beef locally.

According to former diplomat Stephen R. Kelly, by the time the Mexican army completed their mission, the Mexicans had served 170,000 meals, helped distribute more than 184,000 tons of supplies and conducted more than 500 medical consultations at a time when the United States was struggling to provide aid to its own citizens in devastated areas.katrina-mex.jpgMexican sailors also assisted with clearing downed branches and other storm debris in Biloxi, Mississippi, where they posed for photos with President George W. Bush, who thanked them for their help.

Kelly, who was a former U.S. diplomat who served in Mexico from 2004 to 2006, would say, “this doesn’t sound like the Mexico you’ve been hearing about lately — the one that has been ripping America off, the one that sends rapists and criminals across the border . . . it was an extraordinary gesture” of humanity from our Southern neighbor.

Good People Doing Good Things — Betty Kwan Chinn

You are going to fall in love with today’s ‘good person’ …gateway-to-life.pngHer name is Betty Chinn, and as you may have already guessed, she is originally from China.  I’ll let her tell you about the days of her childhood …

Betty-Chinn“I was born in a very good family. I’m one of 12 kids. And then in the 1960s, they had the Cultural Revolution. My mom was a US citizen and a Western educator. My mom believed in God, religion. Because my parents had religion and education, my family was a target for the government.

I was separated from my family and I lived on the street by myself. I had to wear a sign on my neck that said, ‘I’m a child of the devil.’ I had nothing to eat, hungry all the time. Every time when I asked for food, I was beaten up by people. Torture, separation from my family, abandoned, betrayal … this all happened at a very young age.

My sister took me out of the country … and then to Hong Kong. I did not know my birthday.

I had never been to school. I stayed home. Then I found my best friends on Sesame Street. They were the ones who taught me English.

Each day when I get up in the morning, I get moving, that’s my birthday. I am celebrating my birthday every single day when I can move, and I can breathe. I have my freedom. That’s the way I look at it.”

And now that you know how Ms. Chinn got her start in life, let’s take a look with what she is doing today.  Eventually Betty was sent to live with a sibling in California and settled in the town of Eureka in Humboldt County.  Married to now-retired Humboldt State University physics professor, Leung Chinn, the couple had two sons, and it was this that would spark Betty’s passion for helping others.

One day in 1984, while volunteering at her son’s elementary school, one of his classmates complained that she was always hungry.  Betty began putting an extra sandwich in her son’s lunch for the girl, only to discover a few days later that the girl and her family were homeless, living out of their car. So, Betty began sending extra food for the family, as well.  Although she didn’t realize it yet, she had just started down the path that would last for the rest of her life. She began observing people in the town and was shocked to see how many other people were in the same situation and decided to make it her mission to provide for the less fortunate in her community.

“I’d do anything I could do to make people not hungry. When I even hear somebody say, ‘I’m hungry,’ my stomach hurts. I feel the hunger inside me. I still remember the hunger.”

She used income from her part-time job to buy food, which she would load into her car and deliver to people living on the street, under bridges and highways, anywhere she could find them. At first, she didn’t tell anyone about what she was doing – not even her husband.

“He did ask me, from time to time, ‘Why are you cooking so much food? Why we buy so much food from the supermarket?'”

He eventually found out – ten years later – and is now her biggest supporter!

Though she never publicized what she was doing, Chinn’s efforts were noticed and appreciated. In 2008, she received the Minerva Award for remarkable women from California’s first lady, Maria Shriver, which included a $25,000 prize.  By now, I’m sure you can guess that Betty did not spend that money on new clothes and a lavish vacation, right?  Nope, she built showers!  Yep, you heard me right … showers.  The following March, she opened Eureka’s first (only) free public shower facility, with the mantra “Providing Dignity One Shower at a Time”.

In 2010, she was one of 13 recipients of the 2010 Presidential Citizens Medal from President Barack Obama, the nation’s second highest civilian award. She was honored for showing how one person can touch the lives of hundreds of people whom the rest of the world has forgotten.Chinn-Obama-2010It was at that point that she started dreaming of opening a “Betty’s House,” a type of central location where she could help clients keep warm and fed while connecting them with a variety of services housed under one roof.  Four years later, this dream culminated in the Betty Kwan Chinn Day Center which houses Betty’s commercial kitchen, helps clients connect with services, jobs and housing, while also offering after school care, wellness courses, and educational programming for homeless children.day-center.pngBut Betty didn’t stop there!  In 2016, she opened Betty’s House, a family shelter that provides transitional housing up to 8 families at a time, giving them the stability, services, and support needed to find a permanent place to live. The shelter’s downstairs, operated in partnership with St. Joseph Hospital, offers a space for up to 10 homeless people recently discharged from the hospital to convalesce under a nurse’s 24/7 care.betty-house-front.png

Betty-house-1

Betty-house-2Betty-house-3But we’re still not done …

Also in 2016, as the city of Eureka was working to clear its largest homeless encampment from a greenbelt near the bay, Betty partnered with the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights to convert some old Connex shipping containers into a housing village, known now as Betty’s Blue Angel Village, that shelters up to 40 people at a time while offering intensive wrap around services aimed at transitioning them into permanent housing situations. It is one of few shelters on the West coast that allows animals.Village-1Village-2There is so much more I could write about Betty Chinn … this woman … this woman is so good, has done so much for her community, that my words feel inadequate to describe her.  Betty arises at 2:07 every morning, ready to go, seven days a week, rain or shine.  I recommend paying a brief visit to her website, The Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation, where you will find additional information, photo galleries and more.

In 2015, she received yet another award from President Obama …2015-Chinn-ObamaLast week, Ms. Chinn was named one of CNN’s Heroes … an honour well-deserved. In addition to American recognition, Betty has received commendations from China and is hailed as the “Hong Kong Angel.”  And around Humboldt County, she is known as the ‘Chinese Mother Teresa’.  Eureka’s police chief, Andrew Mills, described her as a philanthropic force of nature. “It’s a humbling experience just to sit in her presence.”

Heck, I found it humbling just to research and write about this woman … I am in awe.  If I had a third, I would give this woman three thumbs up, but as I have only two, I shall give her both.  Thank you, Betty Kwan Chinn, for making such a wonderful difference in the lives of so many!  👍👍

“Liberal” Is NOT A Dirty Word!

An article yesterday morning in The Washington Post unveils the republican’s latest strategy for winning in the November mid-terms:  using the word ‘liberal’ as if it were a four-letter adjective.  It isn’t.liberal-1According to Merriam-Webster, a liberal is “A person who believes that government should be active in supporting social and political change”.

According to the Oxford Dictionaries, a liberal is one who is:

  • Willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one’s own
  • Open to new ideas
  • Favourable to or respectful of individual rights and freedoms
  • Favouring individual liberty, free trade, and moderate political and social reform
  • Concerned with broadening a person’s general knowledge and experience, rather than with technical or professional training

I see nothing in any of these definitions that makes being a liberal a bad thing, and yet I hear the word spat out by republicans, almost as if by being a supporter of a liberal ideology, we are something vulgar, something akin to the unidentified substance on the bottom of your shoe.

For decades, people on the left or center of the political spectrum have been referred to as “bleeding heart liberals”.  So, what exactly, does that mean?  By one definition, it is “Someone who is particularly compassionate and concerned about people who face disadvantages, whether temporary or institutionalized.” But to those who would use the term as an insult, it implies that caring about anyone other than yourself and your immediate family is somehow “bad,” and caring for those less fortunate than you is somehow “stupid.”

By any realistic definition, I have no problem with being called a liberal.  I would, of course, prefer that the word not be spat at me such that I need to clean my glasses after being called such, but still, I do not consider it an insult.  And I have no problem being called a ‘snowflake’, for as I tell those who call me that, it is a compliment– snowflakes are beautiful and unique. The one that really offends me is being called a “libtard”, for it indicates something that nobody with a brain should use. Perhaps we should simply remember that it is a reflection of those who use the term and their intellectual capacity, or lack thereof.

Back in the day, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s liberal ideas earned him the titles “Moosejaw” and “momma’s boy”, by journalist Westbrook Pegler, who coincidentally also coined the term “bleeding heart liberal”. The term came into its own during the 1950s when Joe McCarthy, called Edward R. Murrow one of the “extreme Left Wing bleeding-heart elements of television and radio.”

On the other side of the aisle are the conservatives who see the world as a challenging place in which there is always someone else who is ready to steal your lunch. Confronted by a potentially hostile environment, the best course is to take precautions and to ensure your own well-being and that of your family.  Most sane people, liberal or conservative, democrat or republican, would agree that the first priority in our life is taking care of our family.  It is why we go to work every day and come home every night.  But taking care of our families and helping others need not be mutually exclusive.

The difference, I think, comes in the definition of what ‘taking care of our family’ means.  For most of us, it means having a job so that we can meet the needs of a place to live, food on the table, bills paid, a car to get around in, health care, and the ability to put aside a bit for a rainy day.  That is enough for me.  My needs are met … there is no need for a bigger house, a fancier car, or steak on the table every night.  If that makes me the object of scorn by conservative republicans, so be it.  I am far more content than they, for I am not always wanting more.

The divisiveness in this nation today is both toxic and dangerous.  We have a so-called president who is inciting violence against the free press by calling them the ‘enemy of the people’, and we have the opportunists like Alex Jones who intentionally rile the masses and drive a wedge between right and left.  And now, in desperation, for the GOP must surely realize that people are getting fed up with their antics, the republican candidates’ modus operandi will be to denigrate democrats by calling them liberals in a tone that indicates nothing good.

Being a liberal is not a bad thing – it simply means we care more about people than we care about wealth.  It means we are willing to settle for a bit less if it means somebody can feed their children tonight.  If that is scorned and mocked by certain politicians and their followers, then in my book, it says something about them, not us.  Liberal is not a bad word … it is a perfectly legitimate ideology and it is past time that people wake up to the reality that we are all, like it or not, on this planet together and will survive a lot longer if we learn to get along.

Be Better …

I did not plan nor want to write a post about the Red Hen.  Or about Kirstjen Nielsen or Sarah Huckabee Sanders and their restaurant choices.  It is ridiculous and a waste of my time and yours.  BUT … there is a bigger issue here and it is an important one:  R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

I do not dislike Sarah Huckabee Sanders, for I do not know her.  Never met her, never had a conversation with her.  I do not like the fact that she perpetuates Donald Trump’s lies, I do not like her denigration of certain members of the press, and I think as far as the job she does as White House Press Secretary, she is without values.  That said, if I saw her eating in my favourite restaurant I would not harass her, would not so much as give her a sidelong glance.  I would either ignore her and leave her to eat in peace, or if I felt I could not do that, I would quietly leave and go elsewhere.  The same applies to Kirstjen Nielsen, Stephen Miller and any of the rest of Trump’s entourage.

U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California who is, like myself, passionate about causes and often outspoken, added fuel to the fire:

“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere. We’ve got to get the children connected to their parents.”

My baser instincts, the part of me that is sick and tired of this circus that surrounds Donald Trump, applauds Ms. Waters, but my head, my intellect, is screaming, “NO NO NO NO NO!!!”  This is not the path to bringing an end to the Trump regime, but only fans the flames that feed the frenzy of his supporters.  Not to mention Trump, whose ignominious response via Twitter was …

“Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!”

Never mind that Ms. Waters’ IQ is almost certainly far above Trump’s and never mind that she did not call for harm to anybody and did not even mention his supporters. And never mind, even, that no other president in the history of this nation has ever spoken in this manner in public. What his supporters and others will hear is what Trump said, even though it is not true.  This is not a time when people who slavishly follow Trump are seeking facts, but a time when they believe what comes from his mouth.  Period.

There are just over four months until the mid-term elections and if Democrats have any hope of taking a majority in either or both chambers of Congress, we … all of us … are going to have to act better.  The Republican Party, such as it is today, has very low standards of behaviour, but if Democrats lower themselves to those standards, I can guarantee you that all is lost.

Stephanie Wilkinson, the owner of the Red Hen restaurant who asked Ms. Sanders and her party of 7 others to leave, was wrong.  She did so in a respectful manner, and she did so with just cause, however she was still wrong.  I am appalled that the Supreme Court recently affirmed the rights of the baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.  If you have a business, you serve your customers … all your customers.  I would hold Ms. Wilkinson, though I understand her reasons, to the same standard.

Maxine Waters is also wrong, though again, there is a part of me that would love to applaud her words, but I cannot.  Nearly every day I sit with this baby Dell on my knee, writing about values, about humanitarianism, criticizing ‘the other side’ for their lack of values, for their vulgar speech & actions, for their intolerance of those who may be different than them or have different ideas.  So how can I condone or praise the actions of Maxine Waters or Stephanie Wilkinson when they are acting in the very manner I am railing against?

I have a confession of my own.  This morning, one of the people who mow and trim the lawns in my apartment complex chopped down our sunflowers with a weed whacker.  Every year since Miss Goose was about knee-high, she and I have taken joy in planting sunflowers in our tiny postage-stamp front yard.  We lovingly tend them and watch them grow, squeal with excitement when the first one shows its beautiful yellow face.  And in less than 10 seconds, they were gone.  My confession?  I flew out the door in a rage and forced myself to stop a few feet short of the worker, else I would have strangled him.  Through tears and with fury I called him every name that came to mind, and acted, in general, like a 2-year-old.  Then I came inside, sat down on the stairway and cried for 30 minutes.  I had every right to be angry, to be hurt, but I did not have the right to launch a venomous attack on the man who was only doing what he thought was his job.  It was not one of my prouder moments.

This is what the past two years have done to us all, but … we are better than this.  We must be better than this, else Donald Trump and his supporters will have the last laugh.  Hate the behaviours, the ideology, the attitudes if you will, but for the sake of this nation, for all of our sake’s, do not emulate them.  Rise above what you see on the news and in the streets every day.  Be better.

Good People Doing Good Things — The Next Generation

If there is hope for the future, it must lie with our young people.  Every week, when I begin trolling the ‘net for a good person to write about, I come across many, many shining examples of young people – some as young as 5-years-old – doing good things.  This week is no exception, and being in somewhat of a bleak mood after the events of the past few days, I decided to give my sagging spirits, and yours I hope, a boost by seeing what our future leaders are up to.


Sam Coleman-Dancer, 19, works at an Ace Hardware store in Cleveland, Mississippi.  Two weeks ago, an elderly man walked into the store looking for a shovel. The man proceeded to tell Sam how he was just diagnosed with cancer and was having to bury his beloved dog of 15 years.

“He told me about the times they spent together, walking and playing fetch. He said his dog had always been there for him. He was very emotional, and it touched me. I told him I would like to come to his house after work and help him bury his dog. His eyes opened wide. It was amazing. He said, ‘I can’t let you do that. Are you sure?’ I said, ‘I’m positive. As soon as I’m off work, I’ll head right over’.”

And he did just that. After work, Sam went to the man’s house and helped him bury his loyal companion.

“He asked me if there was any way he could repay me and I told him ‘yeah, by taking a picture with me’. Because I know that picture is something I will cherish forever.”

teen-helps-bury-elderly-mans-dog.jpg


Eight year old Maurice Adams was riding in the car with his mom and sister on the evening of May 31st when he looked out the car window and spotted an elderly lady struggling to climb a flight of stairs on an outdoor path in Milledgeville, Georgia.  Maurice asked his mom, “Can I go out there and help her up the steps?”

This video tells he rest of the story …


Brecken Hayes, a 7th grader at Avon Middle School North in Indiana, had been saving his money for some video games he wanted to buy.  But when he learned of a shortage at the local food pantry, Brecken chose to use all of the money he had saved up to help those in need.

“I don’t really need that stuff. Those are wants. People need food and water to live. and they don’t have that. And I already have it. So I don’t want to be greedy. I just wanted to help them.”

food-pantryCool kid, eh?  In total Brecken’s school donated $1,000 to the Mary Lee Maier Community Pantry.


Last Wednesday night, two Minnesota high schools competed in a do-or-die playoff baseball game. The winner would move on to the state championship while the losing team’s season would come to an end.

In the final play of the game, pitcher Ty Koehn struck out Jack Kocon sending Mounds View to the state championship. For Totino-Grace, the season was over.

As soon as the strike was called, Koehn made a beeline for Kocon and embraced him, all while his teammates rushed the field, celebrating wildly.pitcher-Koehn

“We are very close friends. I knew him from all the way back when we were 13. We were on the same little league team. It was tough when we went to separate schools but we kept in touch. I knew the game was going to keep going or it was going to end right there. I knew I had to say something. Our friendship is more important than just the silly outcome of a game. I had to make sure he knew that before we celebrated.”

That, folks, defines the word ‘sportsmanship’.


Bruno Rafael Paiva is a substitute teacher in Brazil, who is currently filling in for another teacher who is on maternity leave.  Things work a bit differently in Brazil than they do here in the U.S., and Bruno has not yet begun receiving paychecks due to bureaucratic hurdles.  Since the position he is filling is in an area too far from his home to commute, and since with no paycheck, he cannot afford to rent a room, Bruno has been sleeping at the school.

Eventually the students learned of Bruno’s plight, and they pooled their money to come up with $400 to give Mr. Paiva.  He was stunned …

“This cannot be. How can you do this?”

When Bruno began crying, wiping tears from his face, every student in the class went to him and they had a huge group hug.  Bruno-Paiva


Now, granted, these stories are all about small things, things that likely go unnoticed in the course of a day.  Nobody in these stories dedicated their life to saving starving children in Africa, or giving million dollar grants to climate scientists to pursue their work.  Nobody built houses for the homeless or rescued people from an avalanche.  But you see, it doesn’t matter the size of the good deed, but rather the compassion behind it.  These are all young people who have their hearts in the right place, who have somehow, whether from parents, teachers, family or friends, come to realize that we are all on this planet together, are all part of the human race, and that it feels good to help each other.

We don’t learn to be givers, to have compassion for others at age 25, or 43, or 59.  It isn’t something that comes to us at some point in our lives.  It is nurtured in our youth.  These young people are the sort who give us hope for the future, hope that perhaps people with humanitarian values are not a dying breed after all.  If we just look around us, we can see everyday people, ordinary folk like us, doing good things.  I am encouraged by the big hearts of these young people.  I hope you are too.

Yet another Greek tragedy…

Once again, I share a post by “From Greece with Love”, the Scottish girl living on the isle of Kos in Greece, and dedicating her life to helping refugees arriving on the island. Her post today brings tears, and reminds us that while we are sitting in our warm cozy homes, sipping our tea or coffee, people are fighting for their very lives. And it also reminds us, I think, of that old adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. Please take a moment to read this first-hand story of the most recent tragedy … and to remember those who died while simply trying to stay alive. Thank you, Scottish Girl, for sharing this part of your life with us … stay strong and thank you for doing what you do.

From Greece With Love

It has been over two years now since I first came to Greece. Before I jumped on that flight on Sept 29th 2015, with no idea how that decision would utterly change the direction of my life, I had been following the unfolding crisis in Greece for many months.

I don’t know what I expected to happen over all this time, but I had hoped that history wouldn’t continually repeat itself over and over again with no lessons being learnt and no real change.

Yesterday morning I woke up to news of another shipwreck in the region of Greece I now call home. I saw the messages of friends in my new home, the anger of yet another tragedy upon our doorstep. I saw the frantic grief of the volunteers on the island of Kalymnos who have dealt with too much death upon their shores already. I saw the…

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Giving makes me feel like I’m living

It is said that it is better to give than to receive, and this I believe. We become so wrapped up in the day to day detritus that sometimes we forget the simplest things. Blogger-friend Keith has written a short but inspiring and insightful piece reminding us of this. Please take just a minute to read his words. Thanks Keith!!!

musingsofanoldfart

The above title is a quote offered by Morrie Schwartz, the subject of Mitch Albom’s book “Tuesdays with Morrie.” The book continues to sell with over fifteen million copies sold in 45 countries. It describes Albom’s weekly visits with his favorite teacher and mentor named Morrie.

Albom shared today on CBS This Morning, he was not the only person to routinely visit his mentor. Others went with the goal of cheering up Morrie, but they would leave being comforted as Morrie would invariably ask them about their lives and challenges.

When Albom inquired about this of Morrie, he said “Giving makes me feel like I’m living.” What profound words coming from a teacher. To me, this echoes the term I have used called “psychic income.” Giving to others with your time, ear, support, donations, etc. provides you with a psychic income.

Yet, like with lessons in the book, Morrie’s phrasing…

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