October 27th, 2013
The weather has been sort of rough around here lately. Unseasonably cold, a few nights with frost, and then yesterday the final insult for a flower garden – nearly 40 mph wind gusts.
I grow roses in my garden. Actually a lot of roses. Over 100 bushes right now. When I walked outside late this evening, I really wasn’t expecting to see much. Yet, here was this beautiful rose glowing in the last rays of sun. (For you rose aficionados, the rose pictured above is a miniflora called “Showstopper.”) Granted, the edges of the petals are a bit tattered. It is far from a perfect rose. But its color and beauty stopped me in my tracks.
You see, I know what this rose has been through. I know it survived some awfully cold nights. I know it bloomed even with minimal sunlight the past few days. I know it was buffetted against other rose branches, with thorns no less, for hours yesterday. And still it has the audacity to open up today and add some beauty to a little corner of my garden. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised because some rose varieties actually grow larger and have better color in cooler weather. But this bloom seemed even more precious because I knew what it had been through.
Sometimes I feel like that rose. I’m blown and tossed in every direction possible and work in conditions that are far less than favorable. But I can still do my best. I can still brighten my corner of the world. There will be rough spots, but beauty is still possible. Perhaps that which seems on the surface to be a negative in my life can actually help make my world grow larger and brighter.
October 8th, 2013
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While I really would like to see an end to this disease and personally participate in several worthwhile cancer charities, please be aware that the scammers are out in full force right now. I just got off the phone with a telemarketer from the “Breast Cancer Financial Assistance Fund.” Five minutes of research shows that this organization may only distribute 54% of the money they collect. (See Charity Profile Report.) More research shows that they also operate under another name – “The Cancer Fund of America” that was ranked as the second worst charity by The Tampa Bay Times this past summer in an article titled “America’s Worst Charities.” . According to this article, The Cancer Fund of America gave less than one percent of their contributions to the people they claim to help. I realize any organization will have expenses, but if an organization uses less than $1.00 for helping people out of every $100 earned, that is probably not the place you want to donate your money. Bottom line: Do a little research before you donate to unfamiliar organizations.
April 4th, 2013
Feeling down. Maybe a little stressed? Try singing! You may be surprised at how quickly you feel better. A professor from the University of London reports that the benefits from singing can be both physical and psychological. So don’t be afraid to let loose and sing out loud!
January 24th, 2013
What we’ve all suspected. Co-pays are not acceptable!
July 25th, 2012
Many of you know that about a year and a half ago the lives of my family members changed in an instant. On her way home from church at the beginning of her college Christmas break, my niece, Emily, was in a tragic car accident. A few more details are available at her Facebook page, so I won’t repeat them all here. But the bottom line is that Emily’s major injury was a severe traumatic brain injury. Her life, and ours for that matter, will never be the same.
A shirt designed with Emily’s input by www.niceshirt.org!
This shirt will be available for a limited time at their website: www.niceshirt.org Sales of the shirt will help pay for some of Emily’s expenses.
Since Emily’s accident family, friends, and total strangers have given us support on many different levels. A number of people have prayed for her, sent cards, visited, helped work with her, helped with fund raisers, etc. Many of the same people who have been helping us have needs of their own and the fact that they are willing to sacrifice to help Emily is nothing short of amazing to me.
At this time Emily is continuing to beat the odds and make progress. She is currently at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta where we hope she will continue to improve. Emily was a true music lover before the accident and she remains one today. In fact, nothing lifts her spirits quite as much as music and so the shirt design is perfect for her. If you purchase one, I hope every time it is worn you will be reminded of the power of perseverance, prayer, and community.
This experience with Emily has also made me aware of the frequency of head injuries. We have met many people in person and on-line who have also experienced the devastating effects of a traumatic brain injury. If you know of a family in your area who has experienced this, please continue to give them support and encouragement. This is the type of injury that can effect a person forever so offering encouragement even years after the initial accident will be a tremendous blessing to the family.
July 16th, 2012
About a week ago I had the opportunity to spend some time with my two year old nephew. His curiosity is amazing right now and he wants to climb on everything, explore everything, and touch everything. Two of his favorite sentences right now are “I’m trying something” and “What’s that?”
His curiosity is a very important part of his learning and I’m glad to see him so intent on exploring. However, that exploration brings up an issue that is sometimes overlooked for the slightly older child. How clean are all the toys and surfaces they touch in a day? Do they wash their hands thoroughly before eating snacks or meals? My guess is probably not much of the time. I know how difficult it was for me to keep my nephew even somewhat clean. Yet he is at an age where it is very easy for him to pick up germs.
Food poisoning is especially dangerous to young children. Many people think it will just cause a stomach ache and the problem will be gone in a few days. But sometimes the effects of food poisoning and bacteria can linger for years. Here is a link to some safety information for keeping things sanitary for babies and children. Safety Information from FightBac.org It has several good reminders about how to wash toys and other surfaces plus some information about keeping baby food safe.
Please take the time to review these steps for keeping things clean around your little ones!
June 20th, 2012
I saw this sign while walking at our local Relay for Life last weekend. We all know we should eat more fruits and vegetables, but we don’t always do it. So if you need a little more motivation, here it is: Eating more fruits and vegetables is one way that seems to reduce the chances of getting some types of cancer.
So how much should you have? The American Cancer Society recommends at least 2 1/2 cups a day. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate recommend even more fruits and vegetables for most people and suggest making half of your plate of food fruits and vegetables. I know this and probably you do too. The challenge is to do it. I am trying and I hope you are too!
April 10th, 2012
I try to avoid playing games on Facebook or on my iPad because it is so easy to get hooked and use up a lot of time. But I have to admit, I do enjoy “Words With Friends.” It is similar to Scrabble, with the objective being to score the most points by creating words with the supposedly random tiles the app generates.
But as you can see below, this was my selection in a recent game.
My randomly generated letters!
Now, I have nothing agains the letter “E,” but really wasn’t this a bit much? I mean, it is bad enough that six out of my seven letters were one point letters. But did five of them have to be E? What word could I possibly create with this combination of letters?
I do not remember if I won that game (probably not), but I used those letters as best I could. Sometimes in life we just have to work with what we have.
March 17th, 2012
I have to give this store credit for honesty.
While waiting in the checkout line in a store this week, I was about to add a couple of items to my purchases when I spotted this sign.
I laughed and quickly put the items back. Thank you to the store for reminding me that I really didn’t need that stuff. Usually resisting temptation requires a little more discernment on my part.
At least the things I didn’t need in the first place were on sale.
March 5th, 2012
Our hearts have been heavy this week. The Chardon school shooting, tornadoes, illness, and a tragic auto accident with university students have all weighed on our minds.
The headlines are often filled with tragedy. Nothing unusual about that. But this time it just felt more personal and close to home, at least to me.
Although these situations have no easy fixes, the above quote comes to mind. Even though the situation is bleak, we do know that with time will come the dawn and there will be healing.
Perhaps this is also an opportunity for all of us to think of the important people in our lives. As Chardon School Superintendent, Joseph Bergant, said this week “If you haven’t hugged or kissed your kid in the past couple days, take that time.” He is right. Let’s do it now.