so many of my friends, many of them artists, embrace a word for the year. that's never been something i could buy into. however i had a clear revelation at church tonight, celebrating the new year, the solemnity of mary.
it just popped right into my head:
i want to think positive, speak positive, act positive
I don't write to our whole community often, but this week is special because it's the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and many people don't know that Meetup is a 9/11 baby.
Let me tell you the Meetup story. I was living a couple miles from the Twin Towers, and I was the kind of person who thought local community doesn't matter much if we've got the internet and tv. The only time I thought about my neighbors was when I hoped they wouldn't bother me.
When the towers fell, I found myself talking to more neighbors in the days after 9/11 than ever before. People said hello to neighbors (next-door and across the city) who they'd normally ignore. People were looking after each other, helping each other, and meeting up with each other. You know, being neighborly.
A lot of people were thinking that maybe 9/11 could bring people together in a lasting way. So the idea for Meetup was born: Could we use the internet to get off the internet -- and grow local communities?
We didn't know if it would work. Most people thought it was a crazy idea -- especially because terrorism is designed to make people distrust one another.
A small team came together, and we launched Meetup 9 months after 9/11.
Today, almost 10 years and 10 million Meetuppers later, it's working. Every day, thousands of Meetups happen. Moms Meetups, Small Business Meetups, Fitness Meetups... a wild variety of 100,000 Meetup Groups with not much in common -- except one thing.
Every Meetup starts with people simply saying hello to neighbors. And what often happens next is still amazing to me. They grow businesses and bands together, they teach and motivate each other, they babysit each other's kids and find other ways to work together. They have fun and find solace together. They make friends and form powerful community. It's powerful stuff.
It's a wonderful revolution in local community, and it's thanks to everyone who shows up.
Meetups aren't about 9/11, but they may not be happening if it weren't for 9/11.
9/11 didn't make us too scared to go outside or talk to strangers. 9/11 didn't rip us apart. No, we're building new community together!!!!
The towers fell, but we rise up. And we're just getting started with these Meetups.
Scott Heiferman (on behalf of 80 people at Meetup HQ) Co-Founder & CEO, Meetup New York City September 2011
It's been a while since I've done any active fundraising, but due to the persuasiveness of the dynamic Pat Lawson, I've pledged to raise $300 for CCI.
It's been 8 years since I joined the CCI family and having nothing but the highest regard for the work they do.
I've met some of the most awesome people and dogs during my 8 years of participation and own the most beloved of dogs, America.
So, while asking for money moves me way out of my comfort zone, that's exactly what I'm doing.
I have a donation page set up and any little bit you can give will help this organization.
Here's the link:
Just yesterday, during a visit to the VA with America, I encountered a vet in a wheelchair who said, "I hear there's an organization where you can get a service dog and not have to pay anything." I was proud to tell him, that's exactly right, NO COST for an AMAZING dog. I was able to share CCI information with him and tell him how blessed I am to be a tiny part.
I'm just starting with my blog which will go to facebook, but I hope you'll help me spread the word.
Deacon Peter has hit the nail on the head once again! His description of the Holy Spirit working in our lives puts into eloquent words what I've always felt.
Today, Pentecost Sunday, is a day that we are invited to look very carefully at the third person of the Holy Trinity, the Spirit. All three readings mention the Holy Spirit specifically, but if I were to ask each of you to define the Holy Spirit, I’ll bet I get a whole multitude of answers. We all have a sense of God the Father, mostly personified in our culture by Michelangelo’s image of a large, floating, white-bearded guy in the sky, reaching out with His creative touch. God the Father seems a bit distant, maybe a bit fearsome for many of us. The second person, Jesus the Christ, is much more accessible, and clearly the focus of most of our prayer lives and meditations, particularly the Liturgy we call the Mass. Since Jesus is human as much as he is God, we feel a strong connection, an expectation that he understands us intrinsically, and through that connection we are made holy. All good stuff. But what about the Holy Spirit? The image of the Holy Spirit that we typically see in art is what? Yes, a dove. Why? Because the bible specifically tells us that the Spirit descended upon Jesus during his baptism “in the form of a dove”. Today’s first reading is quite different in tone, equating the Spirit’s arrival as a strong, driving wind that somehow morphs into tongues of fire resting on all of those present. Earlier in John, Chapter 14, Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit as the Advocate, perhaps better translated as a defense lawyer. But somehow, praying to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Attorney doesn’t quite cut it! So how do we relate to this third person of the Trinity? We are told by theologians that the Holy Spirit exists through the relationship of God the Father and God the Son. The mutual indwelling in perfect love between Father and Son is so intensely powerful that a third person “proceeds” from this relationship, co-eternal, co-equal, and consubstantial. The Holy Spirit is the action of God the Father and God the Son, an incredible energy produced that affects the entire universe. Think of the scientific principle that drives the most important star in the sky for us, the sun. The fusion of hydrogen atoms ignites a blaze of fire that warms our planet 93 million miles away. Can you see how that analogy, although not ideal, gives you a sense of the Spirit? So let’s go a bit further with this idea. The Spirit proceeds from the relationship between the Father and the Son, so that invites us to probably the best definition of the Holy Spirit that I can muster. The Holy Spirit, by nature of that amazing love connection, comes to us as the God of awareness. You see, the Spirit connects the dots, the Spirit produces the “aha” moments in our lives, the Spirit blows where it wills and surprises us. The Spirit makes us aware that God is all around us, that God loves us immensely, and that God wants to work through us. Let me give you an example or two. After the wild fires scorched East County in 2005, my wife and I took a trip to Julian one Sunday afternoon. We have every CD David Haas has ever produced, and we were playing his music in our car, with the music on shuffle – just playing songs randomly. We hadn’t seen too much damage to the forest up to a point, when suddenly, we rounded a bend in the road and there spread out before us was a moonscape of destruction. Burnt trees, blackened earth, charred houses. We pulled off the road and just looked at the scene in shock, tears springing to our eyes. At that moment, David Haas began to sing, “Come Lord Jesus, send us your Spirit, renew the face of the earth!” We both laughed out loud, and knew God was here, amidst this disaster, and He was going to make it right. That was the Holy Spirit doing his thing. When I write a homily, I invite the Holy Spirit to guide my words. One time, about 3 years ago, I wrote a homily about my younger brother, who died of cancer amidst a struggle with drug addiction. His journey was a journey of redemptive suffering, and I shared that story with some concern, because it was an emotionally wrenching story for me. After one of the Masses, a woman came up to me with tears pouring down her face, and I thought, oh no, what is this? I’ve clearly upset her. But her story astounded me. Her own brother, at that very moment in time, was living the exact same journey as mine did. My story gave her hope, gave her a path to walk, and we met twice more over the next few months, praying and talking about how to work with her lost sheep brother. It became a healing event. What did I learn? The Holy Spirit will use us in very direct, very specific ways, usually without our own knowledge. The Spirit of connections, working through His people, takes our meager gifts, offered in His name, and glorifies them. Maybe one of the reasons why it is so hard to get our heads around the Holy Spirit is that God doesn’t want us to! If we think we have God the Spirit defined, we immediately limit the Spirit, putting the Spirit in a little box on the shelf, rarely to be opened. The reality is that each of us comes to an understanding of the Spirit by how the Spirit manifests itself in us. St. Paul tells us that there are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit, given to us for some benefit. In other words, your gifts, whatever they are, if offered to God, will be used by the Spirit to affect the world in some way, sometimes astonishing, but more often quiet and profound. The Spirit connects the dots, bringing awareness to someone who needs a question answered, who needs a smile today, who needs to be reminded that God loves, and loves, and loves, and especially, loves you! And when we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, to use our gifts in ways pleasing to God, the Spirit will leave a gift behind. Just as a torrent of water moving across the land leaves a channel carved in the earth, so will the Spirit leave a channel in our heart and mind, a channel lined with joy. That’s how you can tell that your gifts are being used by the Spirit – if you feel joyful in the doing so. Healing, preaching, teaching, singing, smiling, building, comforting, holding, giving – if it gives you joy, you’re on the right track. The Holy Spirit is connecting people, smoothing over the chaos, yes, renewing the face of the earth. The Spirit can’t be held back, any more than you can dictate where a dove must fly, or where the wind must blow, or whether a person with inoperable cancer can be cured. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.
Tells the story of Harvey, a mime, who teaches the very spoiled Princess Mindy the value of imagination! This is the quote at the end, "Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." Dalai Lama And couldn't we all benefit from that lesson?
I just ordered yarn to start a scarf. I think this is the coolest project and I hope some of my friends will join me! If you think you can't knit I can prove you wrong. You know I love to teach knitting and even have a few success stories!
Here are some quotes I gathered to get you thinking about what being a mother means. I've started with Erma, my mother idol, but there are several good ones that follow.
"When God Created Mothers"
When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of "overtime" when the angel appeared and said. "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one."
And God said, "Have you read the specs on this order?" She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts...all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands."
The angel shook her head slowly and said. "Six pairs of hands.... no way."
It's not the hands that are causing me problems," God remarked, "it's the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have."
That's on the standard model?" asked the angel. God nodded.
One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, 'What are you kids doing in there?' when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. 'I understand and I love you' without so much as uttering a word."
God," said the angel touching his sleeve gently, "Get some rest tomorrow...."
I can't," said God, "I'm so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick...can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger...and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower."
The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. "It's too soft," she sighed.
But tough!" said God excitedly. "You can imagine what this mother can do or endure."
Can it think?"
Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise," said the Creator.
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.
There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model."
It's not a leak," said the Lord, "It's a tear."
What's it for?"
It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride."
You are a genius, " said the angel.
Somberly, God said, "I didn't put it there." — Erma Bombeck (When God Created Mothers)
A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan___
A suburban mother's role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after. ~Peter De Vries___ The phrase "working mother" is redundant. ~Jane Sellman___
I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. ~Abraham Lincoln
Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together. ~Pearl S. Buck
If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been. ~Robert Brault
Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly. ~Ambrose Bierce
An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy. ~Spanish Proverb
She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn't take them along. ~Margaret Culkin Banning
When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. ~Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty
If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? ~Milton Berle
A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. ~Washington Irving
Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease. ~Lisa Alther Now, as always, the most automated appliance in a household is the mother. ~Beverly Jones
A mom forgives us all our faults, not to mention one or two we don't even have. ~Robert Brault
This is the conclusion of Deacon Peter Hodsdon's homily at mass on Saturday:
That night in the woods, in the utter darkness, was quite frightening at first. We fingered the switches on our flashlights, but my friend said, “wait, just wait”. So we did. And slowly and gradually, as our eyes adjusted, we began to notice that there was indeed light, the light of a million stars. The fear ebbed away, replaced by awe and wonder. I was reading in the news just the other day that scientists have come to realize that their estimate of the number of stars in our universe has been wildly inaccurate. It’s not that they’ve over-estimated the number of stars – it’s quite the opposite. They’ve under-estimated the number of stars. They used to say that you could count a star for every person alive on the planet. Now, it appears that there is a star for every person who has ever lived on the planet since the dawn of time. And then some. Perhaps our ancestors are lighting our way in the darkness. But more so, there is light to be accessed, even when it appears on the outset that there isn’t any at all. We just need to be patient. St. Paul tells us that we are light in the Lord. We cannot shine on our own, of course. We can only shine by reflecting the light of God, who by definition is beauty, goodness, and truth. So how clean is your mirror? Do you reflect God clearly and brightly? Do you need some spiritual Windex? We’re right at the apex of Lent today – we began 20 odd days ago, we have 20 to go. Fasting, prayer, and alms giving, the three “mirror polishers” of Lent, are still available. Pick them up and keep polishing. The light of the world needs bright mirrors to pierce the darkness. That’s you and me, that’s us!
From beginning to end, it was full of life lessons. Here's a link, should you wish to read the full text:themanbornblind and a link to his sermons, always thought provoking,DeaconPeter
Here's a great link to a flickr slideshow of the yarn bombing on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin. 99 trees covered with love. I was thrilled to get to see it and meet Jane Arney, formerly of CCI, at the same time.knitwithlove
Oh, faithful friends, who still check in on my blog, I owe you an apology. Life got out of hand busy all of a sudden. One of the reasons is America being fully certified as a therapy dog. She has a full schedule, visiting hospitals and classrooms, sometimes up to five visits a week. I'm delighted that she's truly become a working dog, even if it was through a different path than CCI. I wish I could include pics of her in her fancy vest, but my camera bit the dust. I'll replace it soon, but in the meantime, just imagine her sweet self in a lovely red cape.
Here's an article on the value of therapy dogs, both for the recipients and the owners (that would be me!) from yesterday's UT:
Pet therapy provides benefits for everyone
BY MARIO GARRETT TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2011 AT 12:01 A.M.
The story that older adults benefit from pet therapy is misguided. EVERYONE benefits from pet therapy. Who ever thought that a four-legged bundle of soft fur or a smiling dolphin could make you feel better and actually healthier?
Pet therapy, also known as animal assisted therapy, is a broad technique involving any interaction that patients have with animals to make them feel better. In 1859, Florence Nightingale wrote that a small pet “is often an excellent companion for the sick, for long chronic cases especially.” Apart from the possibility of small pets causing falls for frail older adults, pets provide multiple benefits to their companions. It not only feels good to be around pets, but it makes you healthier. Emerging studies show that pet therapy translates to positive clinical outcomes.
Even just owning a pet has been found to be beneficial. Dog ownership is associated with lower heart attack risks and increased survival one year after a heart attack. Older pet owners walk significantly farther when they walked with a dog, which might contribute to their making fewer visits to the doctor.
And it is not just having a companion—talking to a pet rather than a person was associated with lower heart rate. Even in nursing homes, the presence of a dog is associated with reduced need for medication, improved physical functioning, and improved vital signs—even when patients are suffering from dementia. The list of benefits includes reductions in loneliness, agitated behaviors, and depression, and increases in engagement, well-being, nutritional intake, and social interactions.
It sounds like a panacea. But what is the reason for these health-boosting outcomes?
One line of aging research that shows great promise investigates how pet therapy generates hormones that affect mood. The University of Missouri-Columbia, currently conducting research in this arena, suggests that hormonal changes that naturally occur when humans and dogs interact could help people cope with depression and certain stress-related disorders. Preliminary results show that a few minutes of stroking a pet dog prompts a release of a number of these “feel good” hormones in humans, including serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin. In addition, decreased levels of the primary stress hormone cortisol, the adrenal chemical responsible for regulating appetite and cravings for carbohydrates, occurs.
If you already have a pet, one of the hidden added benefits is that you can share them and help others. This is not only beneficial to patients but also to the volunteer on a number of fronts. Older adults can volunteer by going to nursing homes, hospice, clinics or schools and providing pet therapy with their pet.
Before heading out the door with your little puppy you need to make sure that you are certified. The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA has been bringing the joys of animals to people for more than 30 years through its Pet-Assisted Therapy Program. For more information contact them at (619) 299-7012, ext. 2271, or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Paw’sitive Pals is another well-established program in San Diego, and can be contacted at email@example.com. More information about the Pet Therapy Program at San Diego Hospice can be accessed at sdhospice.org/pdf/PawsitivePals4-ColorFlyer.pdf.
By training your dog to become a service dog you not only become better engaged with your pet and the community, you will become part of the therapy for frail older adults.
Mario Garrett, Ph.D., is a professor of gerontology at San Diego State University and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday: steak and wine tasting with the oldie but goodie bottles from the bar
Sunday: scallops on skewers
Monday: fish tacos
Tuesday: turkey burgers
Wednesday: spaghetti and meatballs
Thursday: boboli-got scratched - instead we had the divine bacon,eggs,fried potato, biscuit supper (Rod had leftover steak - his dream breakfast for which he asks everyday-"steak and eggs today?"-my replies range from none, ihop down the road?, help yourself, smirk)
In all things be thankful. Thessalonians, via Fr. Tim in the Mitford books.
Without change there would be no butterflies.
Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels. Faith Whittlesey
It's better to be happy than right.
You never know what the day will bring.
We all have different gifts. Celebrate yours.
Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can. John Wesley
Yesterday is history tomorrow is a mystery today is a gift And that is why it's called the present!
dance as though no one is watching you, love as though you have never been hurt before sing as though no one can hear you. live as though heaven is on earth.
Sometimes it may seem to us that there is no purpose in our lives, that going day after day for years to this office or that school or factory is nothing else but waste and weariness. But it may be that God has sent us there because, but for us, Christ would not be there. The Reed of God
Books I love
Expecting Adam by Martha Beck
Water for Elephants
The Mitford series by Jan Karon
Bitter with Baggage Seeks Same by Sloane Tanen
The Power of Now
Anything by SARK
God Thinks You're Wonderful by Max Lucado
The Grovont Trilogy
The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kinsolver
A Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey