You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2008.

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We have some pretty tough urban turkeys around here so maybe I’ll have to settle for tofurkey.

What I am thankful for is to be healthy enough get out of bed to drive to my cousine’s house to enjoy Thanksgiving with friends.  Everything else is a plus.

Remember some of our neighbors who are less fortunate.

My favorite Thanksgiving picture is Norman Rockwells “Freedom From Want”.

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My grandmother Nell passed away 56 years ago.  She was the person closest to me as a child. The only time I remember crying was when she died.  I have posted the following video before but the song, “Will You Go Lassie Go” was her favorite.

Tommy Makem – Will You Go Lassie Go

I also remember my Uncle Francis, who sadly loved his Jamiesons Irish Whiskey , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jameson_Irish_Whiskey  ,more than anything.  He said that when he went he wanted a good Irish wake, one like Finnegan’s.

The Clancy Brothers – Finnegan’s Wake

fcharity_p1An article by Jane Lampman in today’s (11/24) Christian Science Monitor highlights the number of young people doing volunteer work, and helping to make the world a better place.  We never hear, or read, much about these kids on the major media outlets.  The headlines mostly tell stories about problem teens.  I believe the kids I see helping at the shelter I work at are more representative of today’s youth than the ones who grab the headlines.

I have absolutely no doubt that the young people of today are doing far more volunteer work than when I was growing up in the 1950’s.

“The World of Children”, recognizes these contributions, http://www.worldofchildren.org/Home.htm . Their awards, and the stories of the kids getting them, should be in the headlines.

 From the article, http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/1124/p13s01-wmgn.html:

1) Katie Simon, a teenager from Newton, Mass., says a lengthy family trip in the developing world when she was in second grade first opened her eyes. Then, when she heard two years ago about the child sex trade in some of those places, she knew she needed to do something.

“I learned about a rehabilitation center for children in the Philippines and talked with friends about raising $5,000 in a yard sale,” says the 16-year-old. “People thought that was impossible, but we raised $6,500!”

Thrilled with their success, Katie founded an organization, Minga (mingagroup.org), to educate others about the scourge of child sex trafficking and to raise funds to fight it. (Minga is a word in Quechua, a native language of South America, which means “the coming together of a community to work for a common good.”)

So far, Minga has raised $40,000, the rehab center has been completed, and the group is working with other partners in Guatemala, Thailand, and Boston.

Katie spends between 20 and 30 hours a week in the work, and says it’s well worth it: “I’ve discovered my own power to change the world, and have connected to some awesome people. I’ve seen the good side of everybody – it’s amazing.”

Last month, Katie won a Global Action Award given to young leaders by the international relief group Mercy Corps.

2)Talia Leman, an Iowa teen, got her feet wet in philanthropy after hurricane Katrina. At age 10, she started a project called TLC – trick or treat for the levee catastrophe. She wrote a news release on lined paper and sent it to TV stations, urging kids to ask for loose change on Halloween as well as candy. With the help of an adult friend who set up a website, she connected with children in 4,000 school districts across the United States. They raised $10 million, what ABC News said was equal to the giving power of the top five US corporations.

That experience led Talia to create RandomKid, which supports children in the US and elsewhere in carrying out their own project ideas. “When I speak at schools, kids often come up and say, ‘I have this great idea. How can I make it happen?’ ” says Talia, the nonprofit’s CEO. RandomKid has worked with children in 50 states and 20 countries.

Last week, they held an Internet video conference involving schools in five states with the South African entrepreneur who developed the “playpump” system to provide safe water to rural communities. The students had raised enough funds for their second pump. Hearing that, “entrepreneur Trevor Field said he knew of a community in Malawi that desperately needed one, and he’d get moving on it right away,” says Anne Ginther, RandomKid’s president.

On Nov. 13, Talia was recognized for her efforts with an award from World of Children (WOC), which sponsors what some call the Nobel prize for children.

 

I’ll start with a question, what do you think faith is?  How does having it improve the quality of your life?  How does not having faith make living harder?

For me faith is what gives me the confidence to look forward to facing each new day.  Faith makes me confident that I can pass any test that life throws at me.  I know I won’t be completely successful in passing all these test, but I will at least survive them to one degree or another.  I know someday my life will end but since I can’t know when that day will be faith allows me to believe that I can make the most out of whatever time I have left.

In the first part of my life I lost whatever faith I had in myself, and everyone I might have believed in, my family and the God I was told to pray to.  With no faith I tried to end my life.  When I survived I made the decision that I had to find a way to make my way in life.  As I get through each new day, made more good decisions than bad ones, my confidence grew.  I gained faith in my self.  I also learned that sometimes I needed help.  Not asking for help when I need it continues to be a problem for me.  However I learned that are people in the world a lot smarter than me and if I sought their help they would help me make better decisions.  My faith in my fellow man grew, well at least in most of them.  🙂

 

There are still times when my faith waivers a bit, like when yet another girlfriend gives me the “it’s me not you speech”.  🙂  We humans have still not overcome war and poverty, but I see enough progress to maintain my faith in my species.

My faith is in my ability to make the decisions I need to make to survive, and thrive, in life.  That we humans will continue to evolve and make our world a better place in the future.  I can’t wait to see what each new day has in store for me, even it if is a test.

The Christian Science Monitor has a story about a weekly Bluegrass jam session at the Grisly Pear in New York City of all places.  The sessions are run by “Sheriff Uncle Bob”, the grandfather of New York’s bluegrass jam scene and the “sheriff of good times”.

http://features.csmonitor.com/backstory/2008/11/18/bluegrass-music-echoes-from-honky-tonks-of-new-york/ 

I have never listen to much bluegrass music but with it’s toe tappin rythem this music a great why to get the good times rollin.  The Wikipedia entry on Bluegrass music – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluegrass_music .

 

Bill Monroe started it all with the “Blue Grass Boys”, Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt, Chubby Wise and Hwoard Watts, Roanoke –  

Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, “I’m Ready To Go” –

What are your favorite Bluegrass, or Country music bands, or singers?

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I have made it back from cat land with my health and sanity in tack.  I am sure the cats will tell my cousin Inga the same story.

What made it harder was that two of the cats are so sick they don’t move well enough to make it to the litter box.  Midnight has the cat version of AIDS and arthritis so bad he can’t move his hind legs.  He stays on a wee-wee pad on my cousin’s bed.  I am not sure what is wrong with a large female, Mishka, but she just stays on a couch in her own room.  The couch is covered by two wee-wee pads.

Besides changing the wee-wee pads twice a day there are also three litter boxes the other four cats use.  I did remember to bring rubber gloves with me this time.

Inga lost her mother, father and husband all in the last 10 years and these cats are now her family.  She had a very close knit family and has never lived alone.  Inga told me she couldn’t stand coming home to an “empty” house and loves her cats very much, even if they are a lot of work and cost a lot of money.  She probably spends more money on her cats then on her self.

I on the other hand I am very happy to get back to my cat free condo.

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My cousin Inga has to go out of town for one or two weeks.  That means another trip to the land of the cats.

I will be offline for at least a week, and likely out of my mind if I have to stay any longer.  🙂

What is your dream for the future?

Charles Darwin, “The Descent of Man”, 1871:

“As man advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all the members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races. If, indeed, such men are separated from him by great differences in appearance or habits, experience unfortunately shews us how long it is, before we look at them as our fellow-creatures. Sympathy beyond the confines of man, that is, humanity to the lower animals, seems to be one of the latest moral acquisitions.”

Vaclav Havel, “The Need for Transcendence in a Postmodern World”, 1994  :

“In today’s multicultural world, the truly reliable path to coexistence, to peaceful coexistence and creative cooperation, must start from what is at the root of all cultures and what lies infinitely deeper in human hearts and minds than political opinion, convictions, antipathies, or sympathies – it must be rooted in self-transcendence:

Transcendence as a hand reached out to those close to us, to foreigners, to the human community, to all living creatures, to nature, to the universe.

Transcendence as a deeply and joyously experienced need to be in harmony even with what we ourselves are not, what we do not understand, what seems distant from us in time and space, but with which we are nevertheless mysteriously linked because, together with us, all this constitutes a single world.

Transcendence as the only real alternative to extinction.”

 John Lennon, “Imagine”, 1971:

I can imagine a future where the people of the world just work together as one family, no countries, no races, no God(s).  Just people with the same dreams and hopes working together.  It won’t happen in my lifetime.  I have no idea what the odds are that it will ever happen.  it’s just a dream I hope will one day become a reality.

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