An old man walked up a shore littered with thousands of starfish, beached and dying after a storm. A young man was picking them up and flinging them back into the ocean. "Why do you bother?" the old man scofted. "You're not saving enough to make a difference." The young man picked up another starfish and sent it spinning back to the water. "Made a difference to that one," he said.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Giving JELL-O?

I was recently asked to speak on organizing for the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group at Liberty Bible Church in Chesterton, IN.  I was working with the coordinator and we had negotiated and finalized my speaking fee.  Several weeks later, I had an idea.  What if the MOPS group could help me on a giving project I was working on?  What better way to spread a message, share about giving and get others involved.
For the past several years I have been volunteering for 500 Turkeys.  500 Turkeys is an annual event where hundreds of individuals, businesses and churches collect food and volunteer with a goal of providing families in the community with a Thanksgiving meal.  It takes tons of people collecting all the wonderful foods that make up the Thanksgiving meal.  500 Turkeys collects mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, green beans, carrots, yams, cranberries, corn bread mix, brownie mix, boxed JELL-O, salt and pepper and roasting pan.

This year I signed up to collect 200 boxes of JELL-O.  Every time I go to the store I pick up ten boxes in hopes of getting to 200!  There are no rules on how to collect the items so I thought what if the MOPS group could help me get to 200 faster? I emailed the coordinator and asked if the group would be willing to collect 50 boxes of JELL-O. If so, I would waive my speaking fee.  They enthusiastically accepted my challenge. I was so excited!  Number one, I didn’t have to collect all 200 myself, and number 2 I was spreading the message of 500 Turkeys and getting others involved in giving.  1 Making a Difference in action!
I showed up the morning of the speaking event and the women of the Liberty Bible Church MOPS group did not disappoint.  They had taken the challenge seriously.  They didn’t collect 50 boxes of JELL-O, but 115!  I was so grateful for their generosity. 

I go back to my mission of this blog and really my life.  It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to make a difference.  One box of JELL-O that cost between $.50-$1.00 will make it into a box along with other Thanksgiving staples that will end up on a family in needs table at Thanksgiving.  It will be probably the one thing that everyone will eat and enjoy.  One little box of JELL-O will impact, most likely, a family of four or more.  One little box of JELL-O making a difference and helping to feed a family on Thanksgiving.
 As I was walking out to my car with all the JELL-O and thinking about 500 Turkeys and what the women of the MOPS group did, one of my favorite quotes popped in my head:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead.

I know I have said it often and will keep saying it but it doesn’t take much to make a difference!
To learn more about 500 Turkeys or to get involved go to

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Being Grateful

October 19, 2007 I graduated for the police academy. On that day my sister gave me a journal with an inscription on the front that said, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Inside she wrote a note to me that I should take a couple of minutes every day to write down what I’m grateful for. 
My first journal entry was on October 23, 2007.  It read, “My goals are simple, I will always be painfully honest, works as hard as I can, learn as much as I can and hopefully make a difference in people’s lives.  (This is the creed of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)  Last night was Bob’s funeral. It was very sad to see such a great man, gone to early in life.  Today I am grateful for Bob being in our life and the opportunity to have known him and call him a friend.”
Bob built Mike and I’s first two homes.  He was our builder, but through the process became our friend.  Unfortunately while building our second home he was diagnosed with cancer and passed away shortly after.  It’s funny that after all these years I still walk through our home and Bob’s touch in different places and smile.  We have an archway from the reading room to the living room that was his idea.  Our laundry room is upstairs, which I was convinced it would leak and make a huge mess, but he talked us into it. Boy was that a great decision. No more carrying clothes up and down to flights of stairs.  He worked our kitchen out perfectly so I could have my double oven.  He suggested pocket doors in several places to save space. And his writings are still on some of the concrete outside.  I see the writings when I’m planting flowers and just smile.

We miss Bob and sometimes talk about him as if he is still living down the road and may pop in and see us. I loved seeing that grey truck pull up in the driveway and his smiling face at the door.  He always had an idea or was trying to solve a problem we threw his way.
My original intent for this post was to talk about being grateful during times of trouble. Being grateful when there is something you could be complaining about. Being positive about a situation when most people would look at the negative. 

My intent for this post was to write about how I received word from my dentist today that I had an abscess tooth.  I was bummed about the news, but then immediately saw the good.  I was in Rhode Island and Connecticut on work travel last week.  The first night of my travels I woke up with a terrible pain in my tooth.  I took two ibuprofens and tried to go to sleep. When that didn’t help I took another and then got a warm, wet washcloth, laid it on the tooth that was hurting and applied pressure. Somehow I fell asleep and for the remainder of the trip my tooth never hurt.  I have talked to several people that have had an abscess tooth and they needed immediate attention from their dentist.  I’m grateful the pain went away, I was able to have a productive trip and I’ll be able to get this issue taken care of by my home doctor. 
Anyways, I went to write this down in my gratitude journal and realized my first entry was six years ago yesterday and I wanted to share with you about my friend Bob.  In all the time I knew Bob, even through all his cancer treatments, I don’t think I ever heard him complain once.  There is always two ways we can look at a situation, I’m really trying to focus on the positive. It’s funny when we focus on the positive, the thing that could have gotten us down doesn’t seem all that bad in the grand scheme of things and is nothing compared to what others are going through. 

Be positive, find good in everything and always be grateful.