Sunday, December 30, 2007

It's So Easy to Give!

Every day, I hit two different websites that let me do something good. It's quick. It's easy. And it's worth it. Take the time to put these URLs in your Favorites and help make a difference.

The first site is Xerox's Let's Say Thanks website. The URL is The website gives us an opportunity to send a free printed postcard to US military personnel stationed overseas showing our support and appreciation for their service to our country.

Several homemade cards scroll by, made by students across the country. Once you select a card, enter your name, hometown, and state. Then you select one of the comments already typed up. Click Submit and you're done. That's all there is to it. You've just sent a card to a military member!

The second website is The Click to Give Site. You can 'click' daily and sponsors will cough up the money for various causes. In all, there are six tabs across the top of the screen that allow you to get sponsors to donate. You can get to all of the sites from any one of the following URLs. (I pulled the following verbiage from the site listed.)

The Hunger Site was founded to focus the power of the Internet on a specific humanitarian need: the eradication of word hunger. Since its launch in June 1999, the site has established itself as a leader in online activism, helping to feed the world's hungry. On average, over 220,000 individuals from around the world visit the site each day to click the yellow "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button. To date, more than 200 million visitors have given more than 300 million cups of staple food. The food funded by clicks at The Hunger Site is paid for by site sponsors and distributed to those in need by Mercy Corps and America's Second Harvest. 100% of sponsor advertising fees goes to our charitable partners. Funds are split between these organizations and go to the aid of hungry people in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and North America. The URL is

Your click on the pink "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button helps fund free mammograms for women in need — low-income, inner-city and minority women whose awareness of breast cancer and opportunity for help is often limited. Your click is paid for by site sponsors, and mammogram funding is provided to clinics throughout the U.S. through the efforts of the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The URL is

The Child Health Site is dedicated to funding simple and very effective preventatives and treatments with the goal of robust child health around the globe. Your daily click funds the administration of Vitamin A to prevent life-threatening childhood illness and disease as well as one preventable cause of childhood blindness; the manufacture and fitting of children's prostheses so that a child injured by a landmine or other accident can still walk, run and play and still has a fighting chance to be a productive contributor in his or her society as an adult; eye surgeries that can reverse one kind of childhood blindness; and HIV testing that will alert medical personnel that a mother may pass the infection onto her child at birth so that she can be treated and the newborn spared of this terrible disease. When you click, once per day, every day, you are helping to get these types of treatments and services to the children who need them most. On average, over 70,000 individuals from around the world visit the site each day to click the blue "Click Here to Give - It's FREE" button. To date, more than 100 million visitors have helped more than 2,161,000 children. The URL is

The Literacy Site is dedicated to funding free books for children. On average, over 70,000 individuals from around the world visit the site each day to click the orange "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button. To date, more than 55 million visitors have helped provide more than a million books to children who need them most. Access to books is essential to reading development. Yet 61% of low-income families in the US have no books for children in their homes. Over 80% of childcare centers serving low-income children lack age-appropriate books and other print materials. By providing children from low-income families with books that they can take home and keep, together we target the only variable that correlates significantly with reading scores: the number of books in the home. Worldwide, there are more than 770 million illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds of whom are women and girls. In addition, there are over 100 million children not currently enrolled in primary school and millions of others not currently in secondary school. Education is a lifelong gift that empowers people to ultimately improve socioeconomic conditions for their families, communities, countries, and future generations. Through the opportunities that only an education can provide, we can break the cycle of poverty, one child at a time. The URL is

The Rainforest Site is dedicated to the preservation of rainforests around the world. Your daily click funds the purchase of rainforest land by The Nature Conservancy, The Rainforest Conservation Fund, The World Parks Endowment, and Rainforest2Reef. These organizations work to preserve rainforest land in Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Paraguay, and other locations worldwide. On average, over 35,500 individuals from around the world visit the site each day to click the green "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button. To date, more than 150 million visitors have preserved more than 40,500 acres of land. The URL is

The Animal Rescue Site focuses the power of the Internet on a specific need: providing food for some of the 27 million unwanted animals given to shelters in the US every year. Over 10 million animals are put to death every year in the US alone because they are abandoned and unwanted. Each click on the purple "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button at The Animal Rescue Site provides food and care for a rescued animal living in a shelter or sanctuary. Funding for food and care is paid by site sponsors and distributed to animals in need at the Fund for Animals' renowned animal sanctuaries, pet shelters supported by the Petfinder Foundation, North Shore Animal League, and other worthy animal care facilities supported by the foundation. The URL is

Friday, December 28, 2007

How You Live

Last night I went to a candlelight memorial for Cheryl Biggs. It was on the square downtown. And it was beautiful. So many friends, both from our community and the Emmaus community. It was cold, but not cold enough to keep us away.

There were so many things about the evening that touched my heart, but as always my favorite was the music. Lauren sang a song by Mercy Me called 'Bring the Rain'. The premise of the song is that it doesn't matter what hardships and heartaches we go through in this life. What matters is that we have a God that is in control at all times. So why be afraid. Bring on the rain! I had never heard this song before and Lauren sang it beautifully.

The very last song that we heard was a tribute to the life that Cheryl led. I've decided I need to go out and buy this song. I loved it. The only thing it's missing is a beat that would make me get up and dance. But the words definitely make up for that.

How You Live
Point Of Grace

Wake up to the sunlight with your windows open
Don't hold in your anger or leave things unspoken
Wear your red dress
Use your good dishes
Make a big mess and make lots of wishes
Have what you want but want what you have
And don't spend your life looking back

Turn up the music

Turn it up loud
Take a few chances
Let it all out
You won't regret it
Looking back from where you have been
Because it's not who you knew
And it's not what you did
It's how you live

So go to the ballgames and go to the ballet
And go see your folks more than just on the holidays
Kiss all your children
Dance with your wife
Tell your husband you love him every night
Don't run from the truth because you can't get away
Just face it and you'll be okay


Oh wherever you are and wherever you've been
Now is the time to begin

So give to the needy and pray for the grieving
Even when you don't think that you can
Because all that you do is bound to come back to you
So think of your fellow man
Make peace with God and make peace with yourself
Because in the end there's nobody else


Thursday, December 27, 2007

I Have a Cat

His name is Linus. I love his name.

I got him 'free to a good home'. But within a week or so, he had a cold in his eye, so I had to take him to the vet. It cost me like $85 or something ridiculous. I mean, he was this tiny, little thing. I couldn't believe he was already costing me money. So, he quickly inherited a middle name... PITA, which is short for Pain In The A$$.

All of my cats get my son's last name. So, this one was now Linus PITA-bread Underwoo. I added the 'bread' just because it rolled off the tongue better. As for the last name, the first D is silent and the second D is invisible. So, it's more like Unnerwoo. Linus PITA-bread Unnerwoo.

Before Linus, we had Peek-a-Boo and Lily. Again, I played with their names a bit. That's what I do. Peek-a-Boo became Peek-a-Durn-Boo Underwoo. And Lily... well, Lily had a really long name. It went with her really long tail. She was also a total tomboy, not afraid of anything. So, she became Lily Monster Moe With a Long Tail. Monster was pronounced more like Monser. Moe, just because it made the name roll better. And 'With a' was more like Wissuh. (She knew I was talking to her!) Peek-a-Durn-Boo Unnerwoo and Lily Monser Moe Wissuh Long Tail.

I actually have several nicknames for he needed another nickname. I often call him Little Man Linus... pronounced L'il Man Linus. Of course, it made more sense when he was a kitten and well, little. Now, because he insists on living outdoors, he's fat and fuzzy. I assume he's fat because he's kind of in hibernation mode, what with winter coming on. He's fuzzy because his coat is coming in really thick. He'll thin down again as the weather warms up. But right now, he's fat and fuzzy...totally NOT a L'il Man Linus.

I also call him Linus-Felinus. It sounds very Latin and distinguished. I don't know if Linus can be described as either Latin OR distinguished. But it's cute. And Linus is cute. He's a cuddler and gives me a kiss before his dinner every night. He's definitely a cutie. So, I'm sure he'll hear that one again and again.

L'il Man Linus-Felinus PITA-bread Unnerwoo. My cat.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I love Christmas. Then again, who doesn't? I went to midnight mass last night... which was actually at 10 PM. I guess that happens when you have one priest for four parishes. But it was beautiful. And it was a gorgeous night. Full moon. Clear skies. Not too cold. Just gorgeous. Perfect night to welcome Christmas.

Today, I spent time with family. Opened presents, watched a movie with my niece. Played with the cats. Had a wonderful meal prepared by my parents. Nice conversation. And then topped it all off by taking a nap.

Sure beats last week when I had no heat and no hot water. I thought I had a gas problem. I mean really, what are the chances that I was having problems with both my furnace AND my hot water heater on the same day? Well in this instance, 100%. But thankfully, my dad was able to repair the possible leak in the roof that caused the problem. My furnace was repairable... for a mere $269. And my hot water heater just needed a bit of tightening to stop the leak and a bit of drying out in order to relight the pilot light. Of course, it is a 1978 model, so I really need to replace it soon. Just not four days before Christmas. At any rate, it's all fixed now. My home is toasty as I type. Merry Christmas to me!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I had a dream last night that I played football. I was a wide-receiver. And I was pretty good. I was only playing because one of the starters was out. But I was doing pretty well. I don't remember the whole dream, but I do remember scoring a touchdown. I remember thinking that there was nothing that felt better than scoring a touchdown!

After the game, I was interviewed. I sounded like a stupid jock! And it wasn't because I was stupid. Please, I'm not stupid. But I was so excited that I couldn't form a coherent sentence. I was just giddy. Then they interviewed the coach and he was so eloquent. Of course, most of what he said was just fluff, expected words that all coaches come up with in the same circumstance. But I remember thinking that I needed to put some time into practicing what I would say next time I got the opportunity to be interviewed.

After that, I remember looking for articles about the game in the papers online so that I could see if my name was mentioned. Most of the time, it wasn't. But I found one that mentioned that I scored a touchdown. So, I emailed it to everyone that I knew. Then I started getting playing tips from my friends. I tried to commit them all to memory, thinking they could help my game AND they would be fodder for my next interview.

The only other thing I remember was that our next game was against Navy... which is strange, since I think I was playing for the NFL. Oh, well, who I was playing for and in what league is not important compared to the fact that I SCORED A TOUCHDOWN!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A Word to My Date

I want you to know… I truly wanted to take you to the Christmas party tonight because I thought it might be helpful in your quest to find another job. But if I’m being honest, I have to admit that I was really looking forward to spending time with you, regardless of the initial reason for extending the invitation. I was impressed with you before I ever really knew you. And I base that on the simple fact that I LOVE it that I see you at mass with your parents while I’m at mass with mine.

But in talking with you on the way to Bloomington and especially on the way home, I learned so much more about who you are. And I know that I can only work at being as good a Christian. I am SO impressed with the man you are. I find myself wanting to spend more time with you to learn more about how devout and true a man can be. But I feel like I’d be the only one benefiting from the encounter. (I imagine that's how people felt about Jesus.) I don’t ever want you to know all of my shortcomings. I don’t ever want to disappoint you. I just want to reflect your goodness...which of course comes from the light of Christ in your heart.

Maybe it’s because it’s late and I’m tired, but I am so emotionally overwhelmed by how much I fall short, how much I fail… even you… and you’re just a guy. (No offense.) It makes me wonder what GOD must think of me. You are the first person that has ever made me realize how much I must disappoint Him for not living up to my potential, His will for me. Whether you intended to or not, you spoke God's words to my heart tonight. And... I am ashamed. I thought I had come a long way on my spiritual journey. But God used you to help me realize that I still have a long way to go. I will begin that climb today.

And I thought I was doing YOU a favor. I love how God finds ways to speak to us. Thank you for the gift.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

A Great Day for a Parade?

It's the first Sunday of December. And that means it's the day of our home-town parade. I'm not a big parade fan. But folks around here seem to enjoy them. Either they are part of the crowd that lines the streets to catch candy and watch for people they know. Or they are actually on one of the many floats, in one of the many vehicles, or walking the route with their group.

According to the National Weather Service, it's 57 degrees out there. But you'd hardly know it. The wind is blowing at about 14mph. And then there's the cold, constant drizzle. It's gray and dreary and just wet out there. Has been all day.

I don't know if they were planning for fewer entries in the parade today or if the floats that entered simply backed out due to weather. But it was pretty sparse. The band was there, in uniform, playing in the rain. (That can't possibly be good for an instrument.) Several churches were there; their poster board signs no longer readable. The Summer Fest and County Fair queens were there, in their crowns and convertibles. (That's definitely not good for the interior of a convertible!) There were a couple of men running for office, looking for votes or simply visibility amongst their potential constituents. And then it was mostly just big trucks or sexy cars doing their advertising. Oh, yeah, and every vehicle in the county with a siren... can't forget them. Boy, are they loud!

Personally, I stood on my porch where it was dry. I could keep one eye on the parade and one eye on the Colts game. The Colts are winning, but the Jags are doing everything they can to make it interesting. I had a couple of invites to join the parade already in progress, but I adamantly declined.

My house is very, VERY close to the beginning of the parade route. The parade only lasted about 20 minutes. And within a few minutes of coming inside after the tail-end passed my driveway, there was rolling thunder and much harder rain. Those unfortunate parade participants.

Yeah, I'm just not a big parade fan. And this year's event didn't do much to sway my opinion.