Category Archives: concerns

praying for Haiti

Praying and helping in Haiti . . .

What they need . . .

The devastation in Haiti is heart-breaking and  there are many worthwhile organizations  providing aid to the Haitians.

God be with these families – those who have lost friends and family members to death and those who are wounded (with medical help lacking and much needed), and the other terrible results because of this earthquake.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) is already taking donations through a special phone line, 0370 60 60 900, and through its website http://www.dec.org.uk, and tomorrow it expects to launch a television appeal.

A spokesman said major UK broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Al-Jazeera have agreed to broadcast the appeal.

A DEC spokesman said giving money was the best way to help so supplies could be purchased as close as possible to the disaster area and sent straight to those in need.

He said, where possible, emergency supplies would be bought in areas of Haiti which are not affected by the disaster.

If that was not possible, aid agencies would turn to the Dominican Republic and then the US.

Some aid agencies have already started trying to help those in affected areas but the spokesman said: ‘The aid effort isn’t on the scale that’s required and we need people’s help to scale it up urgently.’

Money raised from DEC’s Haiti Earthquake Appeal will support the efforts of the DEC’s members, which are the major UK aid agencies.

The 13 member agencies are Action Aid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.

Bertin Meance, from HelpAge International, said: ‘This is definitely the biggest disaster that Haiti has to face in more than 200 years.

‘The situation is indescribable.  A few images remain in my mind – thousands of people are homeless and will need temporary shelters.

‘They are all gathered in public squares. Some are afraid to return to their homes.  Some do not have homes to return to.

‘There are reports of looting.  Many people, including older people, are traumatised because this is
the first time that most living Haitians are experiencing an earthquake.

‘The extent of losses of human lives is leaving many people traumatised.

As well as tens of thousands of homes, hospitals and schools were also destroyed.



suffering

I have a friend who is suffering horribly with Stage Four Cancer Poorly Differentiated Neuroendocrine; there is not one single moment that she is pain-free and the pain is off the charts.  My friend Chris  and her family have tremendous faith and as I follow her “Ups and Downs”  – as one of her daughters posted on an internet blog – my heart aches and my eyes weep.  It is hard to comprehend Chris’s suffering and there is no explanation as to the questions of “why?” . . .  Why??

Elaine M. Prevallet writes in “Carrying in the Body the Death of Jesus” that Jesus never taught suffering as a value in itself.

The postings on Chris’s blog about her cancer illuminate the tremendous faith and love within her family;  friends regularly post encouraging messages to support her as she undergoes the pain of this insidious disease.  These messages and seeing the love, strong faith, and faithfulness of Chris’s family is heart-warming.

BUT, I still rail at the horrible pain Chris is enduring.  At our impotence.  At the unfairness of it all (I know:  that tired old phrase that Life Ain’t Fair).

I also know the well-worn phrase that it is how we deal with suffering (no matter how small or how large) that  is instructive and strengthens our faith and draws us closer to God and to one another.

I know.  I know.

I know that like Jesus, we suffer and we die. 

I know.  I know.

Chris is dealing with her suffering the same way she has lived her life: with courage and grace and unfaltering faith in her God.

However, I hate she has to deal with it at all . . .

I am assured that Chris is in the loving heart of God; God is with her every minute of her interminable pain; He never wavers in this love.  No one suffers alone, yet every sufferer is singular and unique.

I know.  I know.

But I still hate it all . . .

David Rensberger writes that

. .  . The message of the Cross of Christ is not that God will shield us from suffering, but that we can encounter God in our suffering, even as God has encountered us in human suffering.  God knows our suffering.  Coming into God’s presence as sufferers, we can learn who we are, in our suffering and beyond suffering, and we can learn who God is, the God who suffers and the God who both transcends and transforms suffering.

May Chris be aware of God’s holy presence

every minute of every day.


no thanks

Women in the United States visit an orthopedic doctor over four times as much as men do with a large number of these visits being for problems associated with wearing high heel shoes. This is one of the best illustrations to show how the love of fashion or beauty can lead to health problems when taken to extremes. Nearly nine out of ten operations done to correct foot problems are for women who wore high heeled and narrow toed shoes on a repetitive basis.

Surgeons are commonly seeing deformities that resemble those that women in China exhibited from having their feet bound. The x-rays of these women didn’t show bone deformities but rather joint problems which is the same thing we are seeing in American women who are wearers of high heel and narrow toe shoes.

journalists in peril

The Philippines has been labeled the second most dangerous place for journalists, next to Iraq.

More than 34 (some articles state the number as 18)  journalists were massacred  on November 23, 2009 in the Philippines.  The Committee to Protect Journalists has called the Maguindanao massacre in the Philippines the single deadliest event for journalists in history.

Two days before the incident, the mass grave was prepared using a backhoe.

~~~~~~

Statement of GMA Network on the Maguindanao massacre

We are no longer who we were before Monday. In the annals of political violence in the Philippines, there have been no parallels to the slaughter that occurred on the lonely road to Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao on November 23.

57 unarmed civilians all, the majority of whom were media professionals, most of the victims were enroute to perform basic functions in a civilized democracy: the Mangudadatu women were to file certificates of candidacy; the lawyers were to provide legal advice; and the journalists were to bear witness on behalf of the public and to report on an important event without fear or favor.

All of these roles are essential for a political system where power is meant to be transferred without violence.

What met them in a town recently renamed Ampatuan was the exact opposite: a force and mentality that invoked the barbarity of more primitive times.

The crime that occurred in Ampatuan was uniquely savage, but it was also an extreme example of the violent tendency in our politics. At the other extreme are the many citizens who are bravely committed to the difficult and complex process of peacefully deciding who our leaders should be, such as those souls who perished on Monday.

It is this tension between savagery and peaceful process that has marked our electoral history. Those are the most critical choices in 2010.

Much will depend on how the government reacts in the coming days. For what is emerging is evidence that the assailants were not outside the law but part of the political machinery of local officials backed by the Arroyo administration.

The President so far has ordered a thorough investigation and declared a state of emergency in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, and Cotabato City. Philippine National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa has relieved six PNP officials in Maguindanao.

We trust that this is just the beginning of a series of actions that will bring all of the perpetrators to justice, including the warlords who orchestrated this bloodbath.

If they are permitted to escape harsh punishment, it will clearly be a vote for barbarity and for the other savage armies prepared to assault our maiden automated elections.

As we wait for action, we grieve. We grieve for the believers in a democratic system who paid with their lives. We grieve for the martyred journalists who believed the Constitutional protection of their rights was enough.

By travelling without arms to perform their democratic duties in hostile territory, the 57 made their choice. We honor their example and sacrifice, as their fate continues to chill our bones. As fellow believers, we could have easily been them.

~~~~

Ampatuan surrenders, to be flown to Manila
By Abigail Kwok
INQUIRER.net, Inquirer Mindanao

SHARIFF AGUAK – (UPDATE ) A key suspect in the gruesome killings in Maguindanao province and member of a powerful clan in Mindanao has surrendered to authorities and would be flown to Manila.

Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., son of Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., has been identified as having masterminded the massacre last November 23 that claimed the lives of at least 57 people, including 18 journalists who were supposed to cover the filing of candidacy for governor of the Ampatuans’ political rival, Buluan Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu.

~~~~

We usually think of journalists who are in war zones as being in danger; that isn’t always (and only) the case.

Journalists’ lives are in danger – all over the world.

Counting my blessings

Counting my blessings . . .

Does counting our blessings really help?  The article by Dave Munger explores this subject and cites a study by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough.

I know that I certainly have much to be thankful for; the glass is always half full – and sometimes overflowing.

Runaways

Excerpt from Seguin Daily News article by Darren Dunn:

Local group raising awareness about runaways in the Seguin area

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) — November is National Runaway Prevention Month, and a local non-profit organization is using the occassion to try to raise awareness about a serious problem in our community.

Connections Individual and Family Services provides a number of family and individual services to people in this area. Connections Development Director Susan Delano says they hope talking about the problem will help to get more kids off the streets and back into a safe home.

“We are trying to get out several different messages. The main one is for those children that are living out on the streets, or (children who are) afraid that they may be living out on the streets soon because of circumstances. (We want them to know) that Connections is here to help them, and to provide safe shelter for them” said Delano.

Delano says there are a number of misconceptions about who these kids are that are running away from home. She says there are a variety of situations that often lead to kids running away.

“Kids run for several different reasons. Some are because of abuse at home. Some kids run because they are confused and are not sure if home is safe or not. Sometimes kids run because mom and dad set a boundary line that their kids don’t like. So at that point the child will run away from home and then get scared, but are afraid to call home. That’s where Connections can step in and help them bridge that gap,” said Delano.

. .. The problem with runaways is not just a big city problem. Delano says there are plenty of runaway cases right here in this community, and that’s why they want the raise the public’s awareness about this problem.

“It’s everywhere. We are in little Seguin and little New Braunfels and most people don’t think that we have runaways here. We get approximately seven to nine runaways a month here at Connections,” Delano.

The National Runaway hotline can be reached by calling 1-800-RUNAWAY. It’s available 24 hours a day, and it’s anonymous, confidential and free. For more information on National Runaway Prevention Month, visit http://www.1800runaway.org. For more information on the local services offered by Connections, visit its website at http://www.connectionsnonprofit.org.

a question

a true – and heartwarming – and inspirational story

A dreamer . . . perseveres . . . and triumphs.

Blessings and opportunities because of  the Heifer Project . . .

four legged volunteers

penniesfromheaven (2)

A therapy dog is a dog  trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools,   with people with learning difficulties and stressful situations such as disaster areas.

Therapy dogs come in all sizes and breeds. The most important characteristic of a therapy dog is its temperament. A good therapy dog must be friendly, patient, confident, at ease in all situations, and gentle. Therapy dogs must enjoy human contact and be content to be petted and handled, sometimes clumsily.

A therapy dog’s primary job is to allow unfamiliar people to make physical contact with it and to enjoy that contact. Children in particular enjoy hugging animals; adults usually enjoy simply petting the dog. The dog might need to be lifted onto, or climb onto, an invalid’s lap or bed and sit or lie comfortably there. Many dogs contribute to the visiting experience by performing small tricks for their audiences or by playing carefully structured games.

therapydog-walking

Helping the wounded . . . Paws on Therapy

Click every day

I visit this site every day – and click on all of the sites (Hunger, Breast Cancer, Literacy, Child Health, Rain Forest, and Animal Rescue) – all of which are worthwhile causes.

breast cancer site