Kahlil Gibran said it well: “Kindness is like snow. It beautifies everything it covers.” Oregonians are a generous group—they give to food banks, homeless, animal shelters, and more. Giving to help others makes you feel even better about yourself. February 17th is “Random Acts of Kindness Day” but let’s do something every day to help someone else. All of us can.
The cold, wet, dark, and snowy months cause us to seek inner warmth as well as outer warmth. While giving blankets and coats to the homeless or animal shelters leads to feelings of warmth in your own heart, we must beware of self-serving charities. Any registered charity can be checked out but giving locally will give you a greater feeling of helpfulness. For instance, instead of sending dollars to a charity that can afford TV commercials or sending you “gifts,” you can give those blankets and towels to the local animal shelter or homeless shelter.
Get your kids and grandkids involved. When they see you giving they’re more likely to grow up caring about others. Some schools even teach that. But let the kids choose what appeals to them whether a nursing home, disaster victims, a hospital, food bank, or even a community garden, where excess produce is given to the Oregon Food Bank, which does an amazing job of distribution. Remember to donate food for pets too. Continue reading
When I was growing up in the 1940’s, my family lived in a very eclectic neighborhood. It seemed that every dad and/or mom pursued a different occupation. Every family had children and we all played together. At the time, I had no idea I would spend all my formative years in that neighborhood, not leaving it until I married. Our parents were either best friends or at the least fine neighbors. It was as if an unspoken code of ethics and conduct existed. Wives cleaned their own houses and husbands took care of their own yards. Summer brought the ice truck and the vegetable man. My own father drove an ice cream truck delivering gallons to the neighborhood. The rest of the year he worked in the Portland Public School’s administration.
Across the street lived an attorney and his family. Up the hill lived an active member of the NAACP. Whenever that family had lamb stew, I was invited to have dinner with them. Their daughter Elizabeth was one of my best friends. I would sit at their table marveling at the beautiful oil painting of a nude black woman that hung on the wall. We all had pets – theirs was a standard white poodle. We were served wine even as youngsters in dainty glasses. I found this to be an amazing experience. Much later in life, I would drive my friend’s mother to NAACP meetings.
I remember only a few times, when as a neighborhood, we experienced real tragedy. Our house was on a corner where four streets met. The second house across from us, facing the side street, was home to a family that was quiet and tended to wave hello’s although the children played with us. Continue reading
“Any way the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me.” —Bohemian Rhapsody
Sometimes I feel like I live in a bubble. It seems as if nearly every waking moment my mind is racing as I struggle to figure out what we can do to stop the onslaught of evil that is enveloping this land.
It is not the evil that troubles my sleep. It is the apathy. It reminds me of the old saw about the high school social studies teacher who asked his students what was the most pressing need facing the nation. To his despair, the most common response was, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
Any way the wind blows….
But my frustration doesn’t come from a gaggle of high school students who couldn’t tell the difference between a paper dollar and a solid Gold Eagle coin, but from the frumpy, sports focused men who attend the regular men’s “prayer breakfast” at your average evan-jellyfish assembly.
This really hit home last Monday night as I watched a stadium full of grown men paint their faces and jump up and down in hopes of cheering the LSU Tigers to victory in the National Championship game in The Big Easy. Continue reading
Save the Storks announced today that its new interactive devotional is now live on one of the largest Bible apps available– YouVersion.
Created for churches and small groups, Reimagining Pro-Life: 30 Days with Save the Storks is a tool to help pastors and congregations approach the issue of abortion and help abortion-minded women choose life. The devotional plan also comes with videos to help guide the discussion and illustrate the topics in greater depth
“We are encouraging pastors across America to announce this new devotional and teaching resource and let church attendees know it is an innovative and compassionate way to talk about the pro-life issue in their communities,” said Joseph Schmidt, Director of Solutions for Save the Storks and project manager for the devotional. Continue reading
Keeper talks, activities help bring attention to issues facing wild penguins
Penguin lovers, take note: The Oregon Zoo will host a Penguin Awareness Day Saturday, Jan. 18, with activities aimed at connecting visitors with one of the most popular species at the zoo.
At 12:45 and 2:15 p.m., visitors can stop by the zoo’s Penguinarium for keeper talks and a chance to watch the zoo’s Humboldt penguin colony enjoy enrichment treats or participate in training sessions.
“Humboldt penguins live in a region that’s greatly affected by human activity,” said Travis Koons, who oversees the zoo’s bird population. “They need healthy ocean habitats to thrive, and we can help make a difference.” Continue reading
In the mid-nineties I purchased as a Christmas gift for my preschool-aged daughter the popular battery-operated game Lucky Ducks. I’ve kept the game, along with many other vintage toys and games, in my basement all these long years. So, it made sense to bring the game out for granddaughter Olivia on one of her early visits to my house. Unbelievably, the original batteries still worked.
Olivia, then aged 18 months, was drawn to the game, until we turned it on. Lucky Ducks features a revolving base upon which twelve plastic ducks go around in circles squawking loudly. Four players receive color-coded cards, and then start claiming random ducks with color-coded stickers that can’t be seen while the ducks are circling in the “pond.” If the selected duck doesn’t match the player’s card, they must put the duck back. The first player to claim three same-colored ducks wins. Continue reading
American Heritage Girls, Inc. (AHG) is rolling out its new Girl Handbooks – updated with a fresh look, and personalized elements to enhance each girl’s AHG journey. The new Girl Handbook will be available for Girl Members to purchase at the ministry’s 25th Anniversary Convention in July and via the AHGstore the first week of August.
“We are excited to have created Handbooks that not only take a girl through her AHG journey but also serve as a treasured keepsake for the rest of her life,” said Patti Garibay, AHG’s Founder & Executive Director.
AHG’s new Girl Handbooks are designed as a comprehensive, age-appropriate guide for Girl Members to read, journal, and enjoy as they progress through each Program level. Girl Handbooks are a valuable tool for understanding the core Emphases and components of the American Heritage Girls Program. Continue reading
A fresh start implies change and can be, frankly, scary. It is usually forced upon us by an event – more often than not, an emotional event; in my case, the unexpected death of my husband. I won’t drag you through it – however I will share observations. A comparable situation might be the necessary uprooting of a family and making a move you wish was not necessary. In a situation that makes one feel upside down, the natural desire is to work hard to “right” oneself. Not an easy task.
Others close to the situation are trying to do the same thing, and so one may feel the need to make life right for them also. There is always one person hit harder than anyone else. Often it can be the youngest member in the family. It might also be someone who’s never experienced such an event. What I will tell you is that a consistency of effort can provide unexpected comfort. With comfort comes the desired ability to move mentally to a place—any place—approximating happiness. Believe it or not, it is happiness we seek. To admit this is not shallow, it is in a word “truth.” Continue reading
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and when I visit with friends, we tend to compare all the great variety of problems in our lives. Some problems are yesterday’s news, but others are definitely current and usually “economy” related.
Some problems are virtually unsolvable due to their nature versus ours. Other problems are beyond our solving but are greatly affecting none the less. So I suggest a little tactic I have often employed called “boiling it down.” Here’s an example: I am heading out the driveway for my walk and I cast my eyes to heaven and say silently to God, “Please don’t let me see any road kill today. Let me find and save a wooly bear caterpillar. Let the squirrels make it across the road and please God, no more dead goldfinches.” These may seem rather incongruous to some readers but let me tell you it is not fun to lose it over a hit-and-run cat, sit on the curb, and cry your eyes out!
At our house, prior to Thanksgiving dinner, I usually say a “grace.” On occasion, however, I have foisted it onto my son or daughter – for fear of breaking down. Continue reading
Fall is the season where we harvest the fruition of what was planted in Spring and Summer. We gather in the fruits, grains, nuts and seeds, and all the abundance of Fall vegetables. We turn to inward thoughts, our homes, and our families. We take quiet walks to enjoy the coloring of the leaves. We rest more to keep that immune system in tip-top shape. The Days of Thanks (which should actually be every day) are a good time to do a little Fall cleanse of our digestive system in which you might include the juices of beets, celery, carrots, parsley, zucchini and such though always diluted with water, or apple, grape, or pear juices. Continue reading