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Archive for the ‘#1000Speak’ Category

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Quintana Roo

She remembered hearing her father talk about it when she was a child. He had described it as a tropical jungle and a paradise. He had talked about how the weather was always warm there. Not too hot; just warm enough to enjoy being next to the ocean. He described the lush tropical plants and the clear blue skies that melted into the ocean.

That’s where she was going to go. She had always imagine it as the perfect place to live but had never had the opportunity. Now she did. Her husband was gone. Her children were gone. There was nothing but an empty house and a business that brought too much responsibility with it. There were memories. Lots and lots of happy memories. There were, of course, some bad ones but most of them were good. She had a pretty wonderful husband and marriage. They had three beautiful children. Her life had seemed perfect with all of the time she spent with her children and her volunteer activities. It had been as close to perfect as she could imagine but now it was all gone.

It hadn’t been anyone’s fault. It was an accident. Sure, there was always someone to blame; something to blame. But when it was all said and done, it had been a horrible accident. No drunk driver. No faulty vehicle. No pedestrian that got in the way. It had been a dog. A dog running out into the road. It had been the rain. It had been the place in the road where there was a blind curve. It had all converged at exactly the same time and so there had been a horrible accident and her family was gone. For a long time, her sanity had also been gone but she was now coming back to life. If that’s what you could call it.

She was taking off. She had left life long friends to run the business and had researched the world. She had thought she would just travel and she still might. But she had also remembered how that tropical and mysteriously named place had called to her as a child and so she had packed her bags and used an agency to rent a small home for her and she was on her way. She didn’t care that Quintana Roo was also in the perfect spot to sustain substantial damage in the event of a hurricane coming off the Caribbean or from the Gulf. They happened often enough and she figured that might be part of the charm; at least to her. She would be tempting fate; challenging nature; making a stand. If a hurricane came and wiped her out, so be it. But then again, maybe she would travel during the hurricane season. Who knew? She didn’t. She just knew where she was heading when she got off of the plane in Cancun–to a less touristy spot where she could have peace and quiet and solitude. At least until the winds called her name.

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If we were having coffee, I would not be my usual upbeat self.  I’m in a sad and pensive mood.  Early yesterday evening, I learned of the death of a friend.  Her name was Sallie. We went to high school together and while I don’t remember her very well from high school (she was a year ahead of me), I got to be her friend over the past few years, through the Facebook group for graduated from my high school. We shared a background, a school, teachers, and friends. We had a few meals together on my way through her northern California town during my trips back and forth from Oregon. And, just last month, she asked me for a ride to our high school reunion so I stopped by and picked her up and we shared the 2 1/2 hour drive.  We talked. We laughed.  We vented.  It was so much fun.  Sallie was just getting back on her feet after being homeless for a year. She had found a home.  She was feeling great.  She had big plans for the future.  We talked of her coming to visit me.  We chatted on Facebook over the past month.  Then just a couple of days ago, she had a massive heart attack and now she’s gone.

If we were having coffee, I would talk about how this serves as a reminder that we just don’t know what is in store for us. We shouldn’t refrain from telling people we love them.  We shouldn’t put things off.  We should appreciate one another. We should grab every moment and make it count.  We should.  We might even do it for a few days then we’ll forget again.  Don’t forget.  Keep it fresh in your mind.  Live every moment.  Laugh often.  Love much.

If we were having coffee, I think I might just be cutting it short today.  Perhaps I’ll come back on Sunday with a proper coffee share but I think that’s all I’ve got for now.

#WeekendCoffeeShare is a weekly blog hop hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster.  Why not join us?  Click here for more.

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I know I did a coffeeshare post yesterday but I’m ready for more coffee. Today, over coffee I would tell you that when I drove through Starbucks to get my first cup of the day, they goofed. I got to the window for my coffee and I paid with my gold card and then I sat and waited and waited and waited, with about five cars behind me. Then the young man apologized and explained that my cup had been knocked down and so the barista had not seen it so she was going to fix it next then he took my gold card and refunded my purchase price. Score! I wasn’t in a hurry anyway. So I waited. And waited. And waited some more. The still young man at the window apologized again and explained that the barista had fixed my 1% caramel flan latté iced instead of hot and she was remaking it. So he handed be the iced drink and the hot drink both for free and I was on my way with a smile on my face but feeling bad for the line that now wrapped around the building!

Then I would tell you that I invited you back for coffee to share two Compassion posts (#1000Speak) with you. The first one you can find here and it’s about a woman who was bullied online and after feeling really bad about it and herself, she decided to do something about online bullying. The second story is called Two Strangers And A Pizza and is an uplifting one. You’ll find it here.

Before you go, I would also like to mention three books which are helpful for discussing, teaching, or contemplating compassion. The first needs no introduction and is my all time favorite book, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The second is a children’s book called The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes and I wrote about it here.
The third book is called The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez. It is made up of short chapters which introduce us to a number of families and characters who live in an apartment complex where all the residents are immigrants from Mexico and Central America. Some are legally here, others not. We go through their stories, not only about how/why they ended up in the United States, but also what their lives are like here. If you don’t feel compassion for the characters in this novel, you’d better check your pulse.

Thank you for stopping by and letting me share some coffee, a couple of blogs, and some good books!

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If We Were Having Coffee is a weekly blog share and link up hosted by Part-Time Monster. You can join in the fun too!
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If We Were Having Coffee is a weekly blog share and link up hosted by Part-Time Monster. You can join in the fun too!
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If we were having coffee today, I would be dragging because I’m really exhausted today. I got enough sleep. I didn’t wake up achy. Yet my body is very tired and my mind is not far behind. I really feel like just curling up with a book or watching movies all day. In fact, I had hoped to stream whichever Oscar nominated movies I could find on Amazon and elsewhere this weekend but I know that’s not going to happen. Too tired.

If we were having coffee today, I would ask you if you participated in #1000Speak. I did and still am. I wrote my post. I publicized the event where I could. I read a lot of compassion posts and tweeted links and commented where and when I could. I will be reading more and sharing and commenting more throughout the coming days. In fact, I may be reblogging some of the posts here. The posts I’ve read are inspiring, uplifting, honest, and just all around amazing. I would also tell you that there are plans to keep the event going. Personally, I am planning on posting a #1000Speak related post on the 20th of each month, unless the group as a whole decides to do something different. But for now, that’s the plan.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week will be filled with more planning and gathering of “stuff” for Anderson’s birthday. He turns 5 on March 7th and we’re gathering Lego themed birthday paraphernalia. I’m currently looking for Lego iron-on transfers to make tshirts for Anderson, Spencer, and their mom and dad. My daughter wants them all to have Lego shirts and if I can find a transfer it will be cheaper. I’m also thinking I might just be able to download a graphic and have Tina print it out on iron-on transfer paper. Much cheaper, I think but that requires her to have ink and time. Tina works so I’m the one that does the running around that she doesn’t have time to do.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you to tell me about your week and what you have planned for the coming days. Not only is it time for me to take a break but I really want to know. I’ve gotten quite attached to some of you over our coffee shares these past weeks and I often wonder what you are up to during the week. You’re on my mind if not on my monitor!

I’m glad you were able to stop by today. For once there is no rain outside and it’s not freezing cold here. We’ve got sun. The temperature is 47 right now but we are expecting a high of 55 so it will be warm. Interesting how we think that’s warm and people in warmer places think its freezing! For example, my mom lives in southern California and has been complaining that it has been freezing there when it has been in the high 60’s and low 70’s! Location. Location. Location!

I’m off to read some more #1000Speak posts and if you are so inclined, it would be great to have you read some too. You can find links to, currently, over 610 blog posts here. See you next time.

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What do you do when you are out and about and you encounter someone with special needs? I’ve seen them ignored. I’ve seen people cross to the other side of the street. I’ve seen people look as if they were disgusted by them. I’ve seen people act as if they thought it was contagious. And there are those who will even voice their feelings that “such people” should not be out in public. I’m sure you’ve seen it too.

Is it fear of the unknown? Are people so ignorant of those with special needs that they would not treat them as humans with rights and feelings? How do you change that? Can you teach compassion? Is the capacity for compassion something you are either born with or without?

I have a nephew with severe autism. His name is Richie and he is chronologically 16 years old but has the mental capacity of a 2 year old. He does not talk. He wears diapers. He does not feed himself. He goes to school on the school bus every day and when he comes home he sits at the computer watching the same Wiggles video over and over again, for hours. He rarely leaves the house other than to go to school. However, sometimes he has to go out when my sister has appointments that cannot be made during Richie’s school hours or to his own medical appointments. They have to ride the bus because they have no car. That’s when we see how people react to him. I’ve been there when people look at him with hatred in their eyes. I’ve been there when people loudly speak about him, as if we can’t hear them. I’ve heard them say “someone like that shouldn’t be out in public”. I’ve heard them say very cruel things about what they assume is the cause of his condition. It is heart breaking to have him treated like that and I know it hurts my sister deeply.

A couple of years ago, my sister texted me a picture of Richie out on the football field (he is in high school). She said he was running a touchdown. Later, she explained that each year they have a super bowl for the kids in the severe special needs class. She has mentioned it several times and has sent me pictures. When I looked it up online, I found out that it is called Super Kids Bowl and it was started by a principal at one of the local schools (this is in Hemet, California). He later expanded it to include other schools and more grade levels. This is how it works: The students are taken out to the football field (some are bussed in from the other schools) with parents and other family members as spectators. The football team is out on the field along with the cheerleaders, the school band, and photographers. Each special needs student takes their turn on the 20 yard line where they are given the ball to run for a touch down. The loud speaker announces the student’s name and calls the play as it happens. The football players help the student get through the field of other football players who are fake blocking them as the cheerleaders cheer for the runner. When the student crosses the goal line, there is cheering and the band plays and the photographer snaps pictures. Some of the students even know to spike the ball when they make the touch down. Every single special needs student gets the opportunity to run for a touch down. The program began with 36 kids in 2008. In 2013 there were 220 special needs participants.

Why do they do this? First, to provide the special needs students with a goal and an accomplishment that they can hear and feel and have a photo of. And equally important, to give the general ed students the opportunity to positively interact with the special needs kids. This interaction leads to the general ed kids feeling that it’s okay to accept students with varying abilities and needs. It’s okay to say hi to them in the hallways. It’s okay to admit that you know students with special needs and to know them by name and even call them a friend. Over the years, they’ve found that the general ed kids that participate in this Super Kids Bowl do become friends with the special needs kids. It is not uncommon to have a special needs student greeted by name when they are out on campus with general ed kids.

I think this is one way that kids today will learn to be accepting and to feel comfortable around special needs kids. This is one way to foster compassion. It’s not the only way. But it’s a start. To have it begin with school kids is wonderful, too. They’ll grow to be more accepting and compassionate in later life and that enriches the lives of everyone, special needs and not; kids and adults.

This is just one program that tries to bridge that gap between the special needs population and the general population and it was started by one man who saw the need and the opportunity for him to do something compassionate for all students. Afterall, doesn’t it show compassion for general ed students as well? Compassion in helping them to learn compassion.

Now ask yourself what YOU can do to foster compassion in others.

Video of elementary student participating in the Hemet Super Kids Bowl
Press Page about Super Kids Bowl
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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion is a blogging initiative started in response to violence and alienation in our world. The original plan was to gather 1000 bloggers to write about compassion on 20th February 2015. However, we now plan to keep going, and flood the internet with compassion many more times. If you would to be part of a movement for loving change, join our Facebook Group, like our Facebook Page, or look for our posts on Twitter with the hashtag #1000Speak.

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Where To Find Compassion

February 20th is the day that was chosen for the 1000 Speak For Compassion international blogging event (#1000Speak). It will be/is a day for bloggers to post about compassion in any way they interpret it or want to focus on it.

My post will come tomorrow, on the 20th in the U.S., however, because it is an international event, the posts are starting to appear all over. I’ve read a few of them and they are not only interesting, but also thought provoking.

There are a number of hosts for the event. The host blog posts feature a Linky at the end where other bloggers can list their url for their compassion posts. So I have compiled a list of links where you can click to find the linky, click on it and you will see the blog posts listed (they are photo links). You can pick and choose which to read. I’ve only listed the blogs where I could verify there was a linky already up and running (there are another five or so blogs signed up to host but I either cannot load their page or they don’t have their linky up yet so I won’t send you there). There will be over 1000 blog posts on compassion when all is said and done. I think that’s an amazing thing to organize in a month’s time, don’t you?

I hope you visit some of the blog posts. Be sure to come back tomorrow for my compassion post. Here are the links:

Just GeneO
Chronically Sick Mother
Considerings
Yvonne Spence
1000 Speak For Compassion
Driftwood Gardens
Finding Ninee
The Meaning Of Me
The Qwiet Muse
Little Miss Wordy
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