Read “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?”

One month ago today on Friday the 13th, I flew into San Juan, Puerto Rico. I volunteered to serve as part of the VA Disaster Employee Medical Personnel System (DEMPS) to assist with disaster relief efforts after Hurricane Maria touched down on 9/20. I fully intended to write a journal entry every day, just to capture the […]

via How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? — Tell It Slant Mama

Search for Kong

I am the grandmother of a three year old yellow lab.  He is my baby, and I went to the farm with my son to bring him home with that little wiggly ball of puppy in my arms.  This pup has lived with us off and on during his short life.

He lives full-time in Milwaukee now, so we see him around the holidays.  He was with us this Thanksgiving weekend.  And his “Gma” got to take him on walks by the river, play ball with him and attempt to hold him on her lap (all 90 lbs of him).

And like many grandkids, when it’s time to go, a favorite toy is missing.  His Kong!!!  Oh, no!  The toy we stuff with frozen green beans and peanut butter is lost.  Of course, all of the adults are searching the house for the missing toy.  I’m down on my hands and knees searching under sofas and beds.  I tear the living room and library apart checking between the chair cushions and under throw pillows.  After a search of the backyard, it’s determined that the kong is lost and a saddened puppy and his human get into the car and drive across the state to home.

This morning, I started cleaning the guest room.  Guess what I found under the comforter on the bed?  Yup, a blue rubbery toy.  The search for Kong is over.

Small Town Holidays

I love living in the tiny village along the Mississippi that I’ve called home for over twenty years!

I don’t miss the traffic, the noise and the lines found in larger cities.  I can walk through our streets without feeling threatened anytime day or night.  I get to soak up the beauty of my surroundings without driving anywhere.  In fact, I can walk from one end of the village to the other a couple times without tiring.

Thanksgiving weekend is a popular one here.  The population increases dramatically as all of the children and grandchildren return for the holidays.  Not only is it the start of deer hunting in the area, but there is an alumni basketball tournament at the school over the weekend.

My oldest son has played in it since he graduated, and it has been a tradition for over a decade.  The players reunite with their high school teammates to play against both younger and older teams.  Generations of family members come to cheer on the teams.  At halftime break of each game, the court overflows with children dribbling basketballs and shooting hoops until the teams return for the second half.

I sit in the stands greeting the mothers and fathers of my son’s team.  It’s a bit of deja vu from days past when our high schoolers ran up and down the court.  Our hair has more silver and our faces a few more lines now, but the enthusiasm and goodwill are still abundant.

In the evening, a Christmas parade with lighted floats, fire trucks, horses, music and Santa is followed by fireworks over the Mississippi River.  It is a fitting end to our weekend.

I saw a post the other day where someone wrote that they didn’t understand why Americans had a “day” of Thanksgiving.  The tradition is one of being thankful for the harvest, especially in the rural communities so dependent on a good harvest before the long winter.  It is also an acknowledgment of our country’s early beginnings, and how the generosity of the local Native American tribespeople helped the early settlers survive their first winter.

But, Thanksgiving is about more than remembering to give “Thanks” on one specific day.  For me, it is a time for gathering as a family and a community.  It is a time to realize the shared blessings of being a part of something so much larger than yourself.  It is a time to reinforce the importance of giving of my time, talents and resources to those less fortunate and to those I care about.

Our small town holiday weekend reminds me of what is good in the world and how crucial it is to be an active participant in the world around me.  To recognize and speak out against inequality and injustice while doing my best to be a positive force in the world.

This work doesn’t happen on just one day, but every day.  It all starts with you, your family and your community.  Make efforts to improve each of these areas and the blessings will continue to spread.

A Changing Outlook — by John Nedwill

I wanted to share the most recent blog by John Nedwill on the #OneMillionProject website.

theonemillionproject

Just over a year ago, my family was hit by a devastating tragedy. It was not something we expected; it hit us hard and suddenly. It also had ripples out into the communities my family was part of, affecting people beyond just us. I could write about what happened – indeed, some people might say that it is relevant to some of the things that the OMP was set up to do. But I’m not going to. In the last year, I have been over those events more times than I care to remember. Instead, I am going to write about the effects our experiences can have.

We are all the sum of our experiences. They shape our beliefs, our thoughts, and our deeds. It is also impossible to predict how our experiences will affect us. Something that seems trivial at the time may come back to haunt us, while…

View original post 297 more words

Heartwarming Story of Holiday Spirit

Listening to the news this morning, I heard a wonderful story about a homeless vet outside of Philadelphia who had assisted a young woman stranded after running out of gas.

Johnny Bobbitt, Jr. is a homeless vet who saw Katie McClure pull her car over to the side of the road.  He advised McClure to get back into her car and lock the doors.  He took the last twenty dollars he had and bought gasoline for the young woman.

Bobbitt was a flight medic in the military and wanted to go to college to be a medevac flight nurse after he left the service, but issues with substance abuse and money problems kept him from his goals.

His selfless deed touched McClure and her boyfriend.  They have kept in touch with Bobbitt and recently set up a GoFundMe page for him.  As of today, it has raised over 306,000 dollars in response to Bobbitt’s good Samaritan act.

Each of us has the ability to change another person’s life.  Johnny Bobbitt, Jr. helped countless of wounded service members when in his military role overseas.  He helped a young woman in her moment of need so she could get home safely.  Katie McClure and numerous donors are hoping to help change Bobbitt’s life.

Make today amazing by helping someone else in need.

I have a GIF for that…

I posted my blog on the #OneMillionProject blog in response to all of the GIF messages and emoticon ridden messages I receive.  I mean they are cute and funny.  I use them.  But it got me to thinking about social media and how it drives our culture.

Read ” Will Imagery Replace the Written Word” via Blog Posts

Time to Enter the Black Friday Giveaway

Do you love to read?img_5170

Do yourself a favor and enter to win one of the Black Friday Giveaways from The Kindle Book Review.  

I’m a sponsor of this special Black Friday Amazon Shopping Spree Giveaway!  Here’s a chance to win a $400 or $500 Amazon Shopping Spree from The No. 1 Site for Reader Giveaways ~The Kindle Book Review. Just click on the link and enter the $400 or $500 giveaway. It’s easy & fun. If you love #reading #Kindle #books, enter now. Giveaways end Nov. 22. Click here and enter every day ~> https://wp.me/P2H01p-7EQ and check out my book Exodus if you haven’t had a chance. I sincerely hope my readers win a prize, so pass it on!