Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving - In Spite of Everything

"Who are we? What really matters?

It's the man or woman in your life that you love most. It's the child or grandchild who trusts you and depends on you to love them more than you love yourself. It's the beauty of the world we've been given and the chance to love it more than the stuff we mine from it, cut down and make from it, dig up or drill for. It's the feeling we get when we do something altruistic and realize that even a small selfless act gives us more satisfaction than our striving for our 'important' careers."

By Frank Schaeffer

Friday, November 28, 2008

Helping Hands

You may have heard that the better it gets, the better it gets, Or the worse it gets, the worse it gets. It seems whatever you have given your attention to creates an energy of its own and amplifies.

The other day I was unloading bags from my cart at Target, but it wasn't my regular Target (if you can have a "regular" Target). I began looking around for a cart corral in the expansive, unfamiliar parking lot. I must have looked lost and bewildered. A woman who was heading toward the store offered to take my cart back in for me. "Really? Wow. Great. Thanks!" It was a completely small gesture yet so thoughtful and collegial. And here I am still thinking about it.

So I have decided to put my attention to finding more acts of every day altruism. It's exciting (and even fun) to catch people being kind and thoughtful toward one another. I mentally keep a tally each day as I watch people hold doors, pick up random trash, and allow traffic to merge.

I have found it to be true that the more you see, the more you see.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

At the Idaho Human Rights Education Center there was a note taped to the Anne Frank memorial statue.
The poem read: 
"gay or straight 
black or white 
christian or jewish
be who you be
 be grateful 
happy thanksgiving."

There is always much to be grateful for, even in these difficult times. This Thanksgiving, let's "be who we be" and stop pushing back against those who oppose us.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Little Help

This morning I was reading about the Social Security Act of 1935. Unemployment insurance was created by the SSA  as a safety net when national unemployment was about 20 percent. Unemployment in Idaho has doubled to 5.4 percent in one year, and Idaho has endured the largest percentage increase in unemployment of any state.

It was with these statistics fresh in my mind that I went shopping for my family's Thanksgiving dinner. It was me...and everyone else who waits until the day before Thanksgiving to shop for food. The parking lot was so crowded that I had to park way, way in the back. But back by the farthest exit was a man sitting on the curb, holding a sign. I handed him a gift card to the grocery store I was shopping in. "I hope this helps." I said. "Happy Thanksgiving."

Monday, November 24, 2008

I Pledge

The Pledge of Allegiance
1954 to present
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands: one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

My children don't say the pledge of allegiance at school, and that bothers me. So we are learning it at home. I told them that it is more than just saying a pledge to a piece of fabric. It's more like making a promise to your community. You promise that you will stick together and look out for one another. And that in this community we will always treat each other fairly.

So when you see adults stand and put their hand over their heart when the flag passes in a parade or at a sport event, it is more than respect for a flag - it's that they are remembering and honoring the promise they made to their community.

Hunger in Idaho

Tonight, tens of thousands of Idaho children will go to bed hungry. That's just one statistic from a first-of-it's kind paper from the Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force (  That report on hunger in Idaho will be published this month.

This holiday season more and more people are squeezed by bad mortgages, shrinking 401Ks, deflation, and job losses. Already, many of our fellow citizens who were once food donors are heading to the food bank to accept donations. It's a new kind of run on the bank...the Food Bank.

Check out

Donate cash if you are able or participate in a food drive.
Every effort helps.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Place to Begin

My friend Heather is a fantastic, up-and-coming photographic talent. She donated her skills to a family in Boise, Idaho whose home and possessions were burned in an August 25th fire. The devastating fire in the Oregon Trail Heights subdivision destroyed 10 homes and damaged 9 others. Heather spent the afternoon photographing a family who lost all their family photo albums, and together they created new memories. It's a wonderful place to begin.

Thinking of the wildfires in Southern California this month that have destroyed over 1,000 homes and burned a combined area of over 65 square miles, it's hard to imagine all that's been lost. But, as always, we can give assistance with the talents we have and offer our good wishes to those who need it. It's a wonderful place to begin.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Toys For Tots

Today, while I was driving, I saw a military vehicle with "Toys for Tots" flags flying from the windows. I could see that they had boxes in the back of the truck that were labeled:  Toys for Tots. I began thinking..."I wish I could get one of those boxes for our school...I'm sure we could collect plenty of new, unwrapped toys"...So I followed the two Marines for several miles. They finally stopped at a supermarket, where I commandeered one of the boxes. Actually, they just gave me one and explained that I could return it, before December 20th, to any fire station for pick up.

Thank You Marine Corps Reserve for this wonderful service!

Friday, November 21, 2008

America Serves

"When you choose to serve -- whether it's your nation, your community or simply your neighborhood -- you are connected to that fundamental American ideal that we want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness not just for ourselves, but for all Americans. That's why it's called the American dream."

go to
Click on America Serves and let your government (Of the People, By the People) know that you are interested in serving your community.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

First Post

"Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today."  - President-elect Barack Obama

With those words to set the tone, welcome to Samaritan Blog!