Category Archives: Be-Causes

Old News But News To Me. And It’s Feel-Good-Friday!

Apparently, this is old news. Three months old, to be exact.

But it’s news to me. So I’m sharing.

The Allegheny Window Cleaning company, in Pennsylvania, surprised a client (a local children’s hospital) with this:

superherowindow

 

Not to be outdone (honestly, I don’t know who went first…it just fit my internet surfing timeline) the window washers at La Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennesee did this:

spi

 

And this great idea is now a movement. If you Google “superhero window washers” you’ll find similar stories popping up all over America. From Pittsburgh to Memphis to St. Petersburg, Florida and beyond.

Bringing joy to these children’s faces, allowing them to forget about their illness for even just a moment is such a precious and amazing thing.

Now, that’s my definition of a Superhero.

 

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Filed under All In A Day's Work, Be-Causes, RAOK, The !!!

The Sandy Hook Elementary Snowflake Project. An Opportunity For Healing.

The first day of holiday break and my daughter, home from college, dragged her brothers to the kitchen table.

“We’re making snowflakes. As many as you can. And we’re sending them to Sandy Hook Elementary.”

She had heard about the Snowflake Project for Sandy Hook Elementary on Facebook and like many of us, was searching for a way to help.

So two young boys, under the firm direction of their older sister, sat for hours at the kitchen table, designing, cutting, decorating. Pleased with some of their creations. Tossing their failures (or giving them to Mom, because Mom loves everything they create.)

PicMonkey Collage

And then, they wrote little notes, welcoming the students back to school, placed their creations in an envelope and sent them on their way. A small gesture. But so meaningful for my children to help with the healing, theirs and ours.

After my own children went back to school I was curious about the snowflake project and found this post.  Sandy Hook was inundated with snowflakes, from all over the world. An outpouring of love and caring. More snowflakes than they needed, they are no longer accepting snowflake donations. But if you are moved to help, check in here.

Or, create your own winter wonderland. At your school. Your home.

Snowflakes. To remind us of what is beautiful.

And precious.

And fleeting.

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Filed under Be-Causes, In the News, Uncategorized

Shannon Miller. Decorated U.S. Gymnast. And A Cancer Survivor.

Shannon Miller, former gymnast, is the most decorated gymnast in U.S. history. She is also a cancer survivor.

 

With absolutely no symptoms, her cancer was discovered during a yearly pap smear. Ovarian cancer is called the silent killer. Most symptoms do not present themselves until it is too late.

The following article was brought to my attention by David Hass of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. For inspiration and information, please click on the title below.

And then schedule your yearly exam, if you haven’t already.

From Olympic Gold to Ovarian Cancer: Our Interview with Former US Gymnast Shannon Miller

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Yes. There Is Even A Special Day For The Delusional. Happy Festival of Popular Delusions Day!

We all carry our favorite delusions around in our back pocket:

  • The 5-second rule for dropped food.
  • Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen of the United States. (For all you conservatives out there.)
  • Sarah Palin believes she can see Russia from her house. (For all you liberals out there.)
  • Global warming. (I just threw that in to irk my husband.)
  • Summer is a great time to get things done while the kids are out of school.
  • Irregardless is not a word. (So sad. It is so widely used it has become “nonstandard” English and now appears in virtually any dictionary. Look it up.) 
  • It takes 7 years for  gum to pass through your digestive system.
  • Eating turkey makes you sleepy. (Actually, ground beef and chicken contain the same amounts of tryptophan as turkey.)
  • Santa Claus. (For all of you. Because I still believe.)
  • That your boyfriend is completely faithful.
  • Saint Patrick was Irish. (He was English.)
  • Walt Disney is being preserved in a cryonic chamber.
  • Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. (When you’re a glass-half-full gal like me? It’s just another day.)

There are things we want to believe because it makes us happy. There are things we believe because it provides order and an explanation, no matter how irrational the belief may be. There are things we want to believe because it gives us hope. There are things we believe, not because we want to, but because we’re too lazy to look it up.

There are things we choose to believe because it’s the world we have created for ourselves and we like it that way.

Put me in that category.

I like my rose colored glasses.

I choose to believe that there can be a world without the need for war or weaponry. I believe in Disney magic and Santa Claus. I believe that the Mayan calendar would start all over again if the Mayans were here to produce a new one. I believe in the 5 second rule. (Depending on the surface on which it falls, of course.)

I choose to believe the unseen truths that comprise my faith. I believe that someday my mortgage will no longer be upside down. I choose to believe that I will not turn into my mother.  I believe that if I break a cookie in half the calories will fall out.  I believe in fairy tales and miracles. I believe that people are born good and fate has a nasty way of twisting those who succumb to evil. I believe in goodness and light and kindness and joy.

So.

Call me delusional.

I don’t care.

I’m much happier this way.

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Filed under Be-Causes, Holiday

Evolution Of A Hot News Story. Or How The Media Creates Mass Hysteria.

Day 1: I read about a young, innocent 17-year old boy, Trayvon Martin, shot by a crazed vigilante, George Zimmerman, in Florida. The crazed vigilante was patroling his neighborhood with a gun and it appears he singled out Martin because he was black and wearing a hoodie. Martin was armed only with a cellphone, a bag of Skittles and an iced tea. The nation is outraged. Twitter feeds light up. People are demanding the arrest of Zimmerman.

Day 4: I see a picture of George Zimmerman and he looks Hispanic to me. I think, of anyone he should be more sensitive to racial profiling, since he, too, is a minority. (Although, not for long.) I see a picture of Trayvon Martin. He looks all of 12 years old. He looks like a baby. How could he have been a threat?

Day 12: Citizens across the country are still outraged. Protests are being organized demanding Zimmermans arrest. I wonder how in the world he couldn’t have been arrested yet. This is outrageous.

Day 14: The friend Martin was talking to on the phone says that she heard Martin saying, “Why are you following me?” He tells her he has to go. He hangs up. Five minutes later, he is dead. I wonder what happened in those five minutes. Did Zimmerman chase Martin and then gun him down? Did they have a conversation? Did they argue? Could it have escalated to the point that Zimmerman did, indeed, feel he needed to defend himself? Nawwwww. He’s the psycho vigilante and Martin is the babyfaced victim that the media has portrayed them to be. I’m sure of it.

Day 15: Clever pictures of Skittles and cans of iced tea are popping up all over the internet with the caption “Not A Weapon.” I post said picture on my Facebook page to join the crusade.

Day 24: Geraldo Rivera claims that Martin’s hoodie is responsible for his death. Apparently, he thinks black men and boys shouldn’t wear hoodies, a common fashion statement among all people, of every race and gender. What an idiot.

Day 25: Rallies are popping up all over the country. Celebrities and politians are giving their two-cents. Zimmerman is still not arrested and has gone into hiding (legally.) I wonder how the authorities don’t have enough evidence by now to arrest the bastard. Sure, some inconsistencies are popping up, but he shot an unarmed man. How can this happen?

Day 29: Updated pictures of Martin and Zimmerman are now appearing on the internet. Martin now looks 17 years old and his full height of 6’3″. Zimmerman is now seen in a suit, not the old arrest picture, of which all charges were dropped. I also read that Martin was visiting his father while suspended for 10 days from school for possession of an empty baggie with trace amounts of marijuana.

Day 30: The Orlando Sentinel reveals that, according to police reports and Zimmerman’s account that has been corroborated by witnesses, that Martin knocked Zimmerman down with a single punch and then proceeded to slam his head into the pavement several times. This occurred while Zimmerman was returning to his vehicle and Martin approached Zimmerman. A witness states that Zimmerman was crying for help and then shot Martin twice at close range. It’s starting to make sense why, perhaps, Zimmerman hasn’t been arrested yet.  I take down clever picture from Facebook page.

Also Day 30: Martin’s mother is applying for a patent on phrases involving her child’s name. She says she is doing this to ” protect intellectual property rights for use in projects to help other families in similar situations.” Huh? This sounds fishy to me. But since I’ve never been in this situation, I’ll give her a crazy-because-I’ve-just-lost-my-son-in-a-tragic-horrific-way pass.

Day 31: Joe Oliver, a friend of George Zimmerman, a black friend of George Zimmerman, feels compelled to speak up for his friend. He confirms that George was attacked. He says that he is remorseful and suffering from post-traumatic stress. He can’t stop crying. Oliver describes a man who is caring and the farthest thing from a racist. I realize this is Zimmerman’s friend, so I take it all in with a grain of salt. But he is black. And he is on national television, supporting a very unpopular man. I take it all in with a minuscule grain.

The only two people who really know what happened are Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.

Tragically, Trayvon can’t speak for himself. He is dead. Please, don’t tell me that guns don’t kill people, that people kill people. I won’t believe you. Why anyone needs to carry a gun on their person is beyond me. I’m aware that people kill people. But guns sure make it easy. This is not the wild west. We are a civilized nation. I want a world where guns, used to kill people, are unneccesary. Using guns to kill people is barbaric. There has got to be another way.

As tragic as Trayvon’s death is, the news that has trickled out oh-so-slowly certainly casts doubt to his complete innocence. Did he provoke George Zimmerman? Was there an altercation? Did he deserve to die? No. But should we cast stones at Zimmerman if we don’t know the whole story?

The media, at the start, led us to believe this was a hate-crime. Pure and simple. Then, slowly, information starts oozing out on both sides that creates doubt and suspicion. No real answers. Peppered with opinion and speculation. News stories that are short and factual. New stories that indirectly point blame.

But no one really knows anything. We are going to have to let the authorities do their job. Once a full investigation is complete. We might finally know what happened.

And by then? We’ll all be on to some new crusade.

I don’t know who is innocent. Both men are victims. Of many things.

But I do know one thing.

Geraldo Rivera is still an idiot.

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Filed under Be-Causes, In the News, Observations

Joseph Kony And The Lord’s Resistance Army Must Be Stopped. NOW.

So important. Take the time.

Please.

Update: I’ve been criticized for perpetuating a cause that is old (the film is said to be completed in 2004), a cause that only sends 33% of its funds to Uganda and a cause that is virtually “over.” I did my homework. Kony may not be in Uganda but the Lord’s Resistance Army is alive and well. It is still wrecking havoc and terrorizing families and children. The Invisible Children financials are of public record. Google it. Their money is spread out approximately in thirds: to promote awareness, advocacy campaigns and actual on the ground  help. It is my belief that all three components are critical and deserve our support. And I humbly, yet loudly disagree that this cause is over. According to Michael Wilkerson, a freelance journalist who has lived and reported in Uganda, ” the LRA is the longest continually operating…rebel group that commits the kind of atrocities that it commits in the world. You pick any infamous group, and the LRA is right up there, except that it’s still going.” The Lord’s Resistance Army must be stopped. It is a terrorist group, like many others, that should be stopped. Joseph Kony is still at the top of the ICC’s (International Criminal Court) list of most wanted individuals

I will continue to support groups that promote peace. I will continue to support programs that do whatever they can to create a safer world for our children. No cause is without criticism or imperfections. But the basic tenants of Invisible Children come from a place of truth and goodness. Making others aware is critical to help change our world for the better. And that is all I need to know. 

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Friday’s Tornadoes Shift Priorities A Bit

When bad weather hits, I’m cautious but not an alarmist. My husband tends to get caught up in all the weather channel hype. You know, the storm-of-the-century-of-the-week. He borders on playing the alarmist. When bad weather is predicted, he turns up his weather radio and watches the radar on TV. Since he’s so tuned in, I tend to tune out.

Not last Friday.

Weather technology has become more and more amazing. A tornado, caught on the radar at the Alabama border, was headed our way. Gathering strength. Well formed. Highly damaging. I repeat, headed our way. It started almost 150 miles away and it was coming. And the weather man was able to tell us what street it was on and which street it was headed for next.

My husband was watching the news intently all evening. I got interested when the tornado was a couple towns away.

The logical side of my brain realizes that tornadoes can affect me. Our home. My family. The emotional, stunted part of my brain doesn’t really think it will. Until a few nights ago.

We woke the boys up out of sound slumber and brought them downstairs to our basement. As I was gently nudging #2son awake my husband got irritated, “This isn’t the time to be gentle! Get them up NOW and go downstairs!” (Remember? He’s the alarmist.)

Half asleep, but enjoying the adventure, my boys weren’t afraid. Probably because I had created a little sleeping bag nest for us, complete with books and ipods and nintendo games. My husband paced while the boys and I cuddled and giggled.

After the tornado had skipped south of us, my husband and I breathed a sigh of relief. Sure. I was scared. But I couldn’t stop the tornado from coming. And having it come so close to us, hearing the weather man announce which street it was on and which street it was headed for next? Made it a little more real for me than I was comfortable with.

The internet was loaded with pictures the next day of all the devastation Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio, and yes, Georgia had experienced. Our neighborhood message board lit up with requests for people in need. I tore through our home and put together clothes, toiletries from my extreme couponer-wannabe stockpile. It felt good to do something. Anything. Some neighbors, that I had never met before, have friends in Chattanooga who lost everything. Their home was flattened. They all survived, thank goodness, but now have to start over. I brought them the things that I could put together and told them to let me know if they need more for their next trip up there to help.

So many people lost their lives, their homes. Pictures, beloved books or toys, favorite curtains or cups. Sure, all of these things can be replaced. But the loss they must be feeling right now is unimaginable to me. It made my silly request of you all on Friday afternoon seem……silly. Share some love, indeed.

If you can’t help a family directly, please consider donating to the American Red Cross. Rebuilding is going to take time, money, and so much hard work. If we all share a little of what we have, together we can make a world of difference.

(My Friday post also included a bloggy friend who could use your help. If you can help her in her financial struggle as she tries to make things right, thank you. And if you still want to vote for the picture of my kids for the contest, that’s great, too. Just wanted to let you know, my own priorities have shifted a bit.)

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