“Man must search for what is right, and let
happiness come on its own.”
As we say goodbye to May and get ready to embrace June. I wanted to close this month with gratitude towards our military, our veterans and all the families that sacrifice so much for each and every one of us. Memorial Day is behind us and summer is just peeking out from around the corner. So before we leave this month, thank you to all who have given and served.
One of the greatest thing about Charity Matters is meeting incredible people who do incredible things. A few years back I met an amazing lady named Beth Dolan, who at the time was producing a radio show that I was a guest on. We have stayed in touch and she recently reached out to share with me an inspiring project she is taking on, making a movie about our returning military veterans and the consequences of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
Her movie is called Stranger at Home. I don’t usually promote fundraising events, benefits or even indigo go campaigns here because this is a place to tell the story of one person making a difference. However, Beth and her husband Luis are making a difference. They are using their skills, talents and voice to share the story of our Veterans who do not always have one.
They inspire me and I hope they inspire you. So take a look and as Beth and Luis said, “They fought for us and now it is our turn to fight for them.”
“Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours.”
Today is Memorial Day, a day that was first celebrated in 1868 as Decoration Day. Decoration day was created to honor the 600,000 U.S. men and women who died in the Civil War. Millions more have served since, and many have made the ultimate sacrifice for us. So today as you enjoy your family, friends and freedom remember those that have given us that gift. Our soldiers.
As we get ready for Memorial Day this weekend and as graduations loom for many, I thought that Admiral Bill McRaven’s recent Commencement address was particularly fitting. Admiral McRaven is a 36 year old Navy SEAL veteran and a Navy four star who has avoided the spotlight successfully. Once his infamous squadron, known as SEAL Team Six, killed Osama bin Laden the attention was unavoidable. Despite Admiral McRaven’s adventures, his wisdom is a treat and as he so wisely states, “It all begins with simply making your bed.”
If you give your self one gift this weekend make it this.
God bless our SEALS, this great country and for goodness sakes, just make your bed.
I think I want to call for a timeout. Stop the clock, take a moment, regroup and simply stop time. It is going way too fast. On friday our two oldest sons went to their Junior and Senior prom, a great night, a happy time filled with all the fun and all the standard trimmings. Beautiful girls, handsome young men in their tuxedos, corsages and boutonnières and the parental paparazzi. It was a happy, fun and festive occasion. This seems like a good place to stop the clock and call a timeout.
It feels like yesterday, I was calling the timeouts. When the boys were naughty (which was an hourly occurrence) they were placed in a “timeout.” They had a timeout routine, a timeout corner to sit alone, the clock set to have time to think about their behavior, while trying not to wiggle and fidget. As the years passed, the timeouts were no longer determined by me but rather reserved for their baseball, football and lacrosse coaches. I really should have brought a whistle into the home at an earlier age, it might have helped to continue the timeout tradition.
Now as we are just a few weeks from high school graduation, the college deposits are in, the orientation booked and in this pivotal time of celebration and joy, I want a timeout. Every occasion is happier than the next. Each day is full of celebrations, happy news and life is action packed. It is as if there is a joy overload to offset the loss that is pending.
So, without a whistle or a timeout corner, I will try my very best to take my own timeout. To stop in a crowded room and smile at my handsome boys as if time had stopped. To give them hugs from my tippy toes instead of the other way around. Laugh at their jokes, beam every time they say “love you mom” and know that we have raised incredible young men. Timeout to be proud of them and all they continue to be. Timeout to feel the love and continue to let go.
“A good teacher is like a candle — it consumes itself to light the way for others. “
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, translated from Turkish
As we end the week and all begin to count down the days until school is out, it seems as good a time as any to say thank you to our teachers. You change our world, open our minds and hearts and inspire us to be the best we possibly can be.
Do you remember a teacher that changed your life? Did you ever tell them the impact they had? Sometimes we don’t realize until it’s too late. Truth be told, it’s never too late to say thank you and your appreciated. I think most schools celebrated teacher appreciation week last week, our school is a little behind….so we will be saying our thank you later but the impact is still the same.
Since my son is at a new school, I thought I would go straight to the experts on the topic of Teacher Appreciation. Those experts are none other than the nonprofit PTA., otherwise known as the Parent Teacher Association.
Here are a few ideas from the PTA ‘s website, just in case you didn’t remember to thank your teacher or your child’s teacher:
Write letters and cardsof appreciation to your students’ teachers throughout the week and ask you students’ teachers how you can support them throughout the year.
Show your support for the tremendous work teachers do by volunteering in your students’ classrooms.
Thank you may seem insignificant but just the simplest kindness and acknowledgement can go a very long way in the life of a teacher. I may not have told all my teachers what they meant to me but I am sure my sons will tell theirs. Since it is never too late….to all my teachers, Thank You!!
I like to run. A few days a week, I throw on my tired sneakers and just go. It clears my mind, takes away the stress and centers me in a way that few things do. There are millions of other people who feel the exact same way about their runs, however, very few have the running story that Anne Mahlum has.
In May 2007, Anne was on her regular early morning run through the streets of Philadelphia and became friends with some of the men from the local Rescue Mission. She had an ephifany, what if running could help these men deal with their own challenges, the way it had helped her deal with her own?
By July 4th, a few shorts months later, Anne had nine men beginning their own version of Independence Day. It began by signing a Dedication Contract that committed them to arrive on time at 5:30am, have a great attitude and commit to running 3 days a week with her. That first run was the beginning of Back on My Feet. Six months later Charlie Gibson featured Anne as ABC’s person of the week and the donations, interest and program began to gain traction. By January 2008 Back on My Feet had its non-profit status and was up and running….literally.
Today, Back on My Feet has a $6.5 million dollar budget, 45 employees and has expanded to more than 10 cities from coast to coast. Since its inception in 2008, 743 of their members have obtained employment and 519 have housing. What began as a morning run has turned into a game changer one step at a time.
In almost five years of blogging, I have rarely re-posted previous work. Last Saturday, I wrote a post about the Year of Magical thinking and loss. Little did I know that an earthquake of loss would hit our community within hours of writing it. Sadly, with a heavy heart, I am reposting this from a few years back…because there simply are no words…
Twelve years ago I had a phone call that changed my life, a car accident, a death and nothing was simply ever the same after that call. A dear friend just received that same call and so it all comes flooding back…the pain, the loss, the heart-break that feels like it will never end….it is simply too much. There are simply no words….
As I struggle with how to hold up my friend, I find myself thinking about loss and growth. I think many of us feel that growth comes in tiny layers added up over time and that each day’s journey gets us a little closer to inner-growth. I have a different theory.
I believe life is like an earthquakes where huge jolts cause cataclysmic shifts like tectonic plates to our souls. In nature these shifts result in mountains. Inside each of us is a similar experience. When the rocking stops we somehow come out shifted. Our vision becomes clearer, we see what is important for the first time, we learn gratitude in everything and the growth is as monumental as a mountain. It is the growth of our soul.
When I sat down to write this week about soul, I had no idea how I would conclude. I certainly didn’t envision this, but as I struggle and question why? I know that why an earthquake has leveled a family, I can only pray that the shift will bring the strength, foundation, and the beauty of a mountain to each of them.
These are simply words, when there really are none…
“Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.”
Marion C. Garretty
Where do we learn to do or dream the impossible? Is it nature or nurture? For me, it was nurture….and that is translation for mother. My mom told each of us that we could become anything we wanted and we believed her. So, this weekend as I celebrate 10 years of Spiritual Care and Mothers Day. I only have one person to thank and that is my mom. She believed in me from the beginning and taught me that anything is possible.
I miss her everyday but her lasting legacy is a gift that touches thousands of mothers and children each year.
Tomorrow night is proof that she was right….but I guess all mothers are.
Ten years has gone by in a flash! Where it has gone? Somedays I honestly don’t know. A decade ago a group of us got together and founded a non-profit called The Spiritual Care Guild of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. Our goal was to provide chaplains 24 hours a day 7 days a week for the children, families and staff at CHLA. We knew then if we simply could help one life, then we had succeeded. That was the beginning of the motto, “One Spirit, One Soul, One Child at a Time” and of our non-profit.
I am happy to report that we have exceeded our wildest dreams. Dreams are exactly what started this in the first place. Our friend, Father John Sigler was a chaplain at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and he had a dream of chaplains of all faith traditions at CHLA and reached out to us for help. Our first event was appropriately called, “Field of Dreams.” A benefit held in a stunning backyard that had a regulation baseball field. That in itself was an almost impossible feat!
Guest walked in thru turnstiles, strolled throw rows of fresh corn, met Dodgers and Angels baseball players and then at the twilight hour set up their blankets and watched the movie Field of Dreams on a 30 ‘outdoor screen. It was a magical night that changed everything.
This Saturday, May 10th, the 10 founders will once again return to the baseball field and revisit our very own Field of Dreams. What started a decade ago was much bigger than a cornfield, it was bigger than each of us and continues to continues to impact thousands of patients and families. I know that 10 years ago I could not have imagined what has been accomplished today. The one thing I will know for sure when I walk onto that field this Saturday night. I will know that dreams do come true if you just Go The Distance.
Last friday was Commitment Day at Verbum Dei High School in Watts. It is one of the most magical days of the year in South Central Los Angeles. It is a day of pride, accomplishment , celebration and pure joy. These young men, from one of the roughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, beat the odds of most in their environment. They will not be going into gangs or to prison but rather 100% of these students will be going to college in the fall.
These young men come from poverty, they are often a behind national averages in school when they arrive at The Verb. In addition to overcoming poverty, family issues, grades and gang pressures these students are trained to work in corporate America. One day a week they board a van to their job, where they work to help subsidize their education and more importantly see who they can become. After four years of studying, working, doing sports and becoming “Men for Others” these students are proud to tell their family and friends that they are heading to a place most have never been, college.
Last friday as I watched the boy’s pride in themselves and in each other, as they announced where they would be going to college, tears streamed down my face with joy . Verbum Dei Class of 2014 students will be attending schools such as Stanford, Georgetown, UC Berkeley, USC, UCLA, and Cal States to name a few.
The Commitment and the day was theirs but the joy and pride belonged to all.